Turkey Tom Westyum

Main, Poultry, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Palau

So I’m going to start by going a little off topic, which is so on brand for me that I really shouldn’t have had to say anything. Anyway I was already hitting peak excitement for Survivor’s return in less than three weeks, particularly given I got to reconnect with my dear friend Tom Westman today … and then I started listening to Josh Wigler’s First One Out, and now I’m surprised I haven’t had an aneurysm in anticipation.

Anyway … if you love Survivor, listen to it. If not, ignore the above par and continue on.

I’ve known Tom for years, meeting not long after 9-11. I was starting to fetishise all first responders following their bravery during the attacks, and was working my way through the ladder companies to find me a mans. While Tom ultimately wasn’t won over by my charm and sexuality, he did grow to love me and guided me like a big brother.

As is oft the case, he failed at turning me into a decent person but for some reason, never gave up on me. I repaid the favour by getting him cast on Palau … which earned him a mill, so technically I was a good investment. Fun fact: if he had made it farther on Heroes vs. Villains, I would have been his loved one visit.

Like me, he is hella excited for the new season and hopes that the cursed Stephenie LaGrossa doesn’t have to spend the entire time on Ghost Island, and can at least enjoy some tropical delights while sucking the life – literally – out of one of the tribes.

Was it a kind of dark way for our conversation to go? Sure. But when it comes with a side of Turkey Tom Westyum, how can you be mad?

 

 

Spicy, fresh and healthy – for the sole reason that turkey is healthy, duh – this tom yum, is the tom yum to beat all tom yums. Sorry Tom Yum Everett Scott, this is a winner.

Have I mentioned, tom yum? Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Tom Westyum
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g turkey mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp ground ginger
handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
vegetable oil
1 bunch of shallots, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp tom yum paste
1L chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 birdseye chillies, halved
1 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
salt and pepper

Method
Combine the turkey mince in a bowl with a clove of garlic, lime zest, ginger and a tablespoon of chopped coriander. Form into balls and place on a lined baking sheet in the fridge to semi-set.

Heat a lug of oil in a large deep frying pan and cook the shallots and remaining garlic for a minute or so. Add the tom yum paste and cook for a further minute. Stir in the stock, lime leaves and chilli and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, gently place the balls in and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Stir through the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, remaining coriander leaves and a good whack of salt and pepper. Serve immediately and devour, piping hot.

 

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Pie Float Newton

Gravy, Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food

Oh how bittersweet it was to reconnect with moonface, during the most rare lunar occurance – the super blue blood moon – in our lifetimes. Apparently, anyway. While I can confirm he is doing far better than the media cares to report – he is not on death’s door, nor does he have a gambling prob – he is getting on in age.

And the fact he kept patting me on the back saying, “Ben, my boy.”

You’d think he’d learn, no?

“This is a once in a lifetime event.”

Only served as a reminder that he won’t be around forever. It also further proved the fact eldery people love to bash the media for lies, but also take their word as truth if it suits. I mean, is this super bloody blue balls moon really that rare? Please answer in the comments below.

Anyway, I’ve gone well off topic so will start to work my way back. I first met Bertie in the early ‘60s through my ex-boyfriend Graeme Kennedy, and we became the fastest of friends. While Grae and I didn’t last, my friendship with Bert did and I helped guide his career, from late night, to game shows, to midday and most importantly, morning programming.

So as is oft the case, you’re welcome.

While I couldn’t convince him to make yet another comeback, TV or otherwise, I could convince him to split an iconic Pie Float Newton to toast his contribution to Australian, nay, global culture.

 

 

Now I know these don’t look overly appetising, nor do they look moderately healthy, but daaaaamn are they good. I mean, pie and mash is perfect, pie and gravy is glorious, and pie with peas sings. How can you go wrong by combining them all … with sauce?

Not possible, so enjoy!

 

 

Pie Float Newton
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 individual beef pies – you could make a bigger version of Mini Beaf Arthur & Mushroom Pies or Pie-an Ziering without the blue cheese, or you know, go with Four’n’Twenty. I ain’t judging … much
olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups chicken stock
5 washed potatoes, diced
2 tbsp milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp flour
2 cups beef stock
tomato – aka tommie – sauce

Method
Cook the pies as per their recipe, or the packet instructions you bloody bludger, strewth cobber.

While that is happening, heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the shallots for a couple of minutes or so. Add the peas and stock, bring to the boil, reducing to low once rollicking and simmering for half an hour, or until the liquid is reduced. When there is about 1cm of stock left, mash the peas until semi-smooth.

Meanwhile place the potato in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for ten minutes, or until just cooked through. Drain and return to the pot with half the butter, milk, a whack of salt and pepper, and the parmesan. Mash until smooth.

And just to add to your cleaning, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once frothing, add the flour, whisk to combine and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and whisk in the stock before returning to the heat and bringing to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes or until it is your desired consistency. Season and remove from the heat.

To serve, layer a bed of mash on your plate, top with some peas, then the pie … then drown in gravy and squirt with some tommie sauce. Because apparently, that was critical to the floater.

Then devour … or shame eat. Though you shouldn’t feel shame for loving something so damn good.

 

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Jimmychangas Fallon

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Main, Street Food

To be honest, this marathon month of celebration is really starting to exhaust me and I’m feeling desperate to just relax and have a laugh while celebrating this year’s Grammys. And no tea, no shade to Whits, Burt, Tom or Madge, but there is no friend funnier than my fave chum Jimmy Fallon.

Well no one funnier that had won a Grammy. And was available, at least.

I first met Jimmy whilst loitering around 30 Rock to try and get Lorne Michaels to forgive me and let me join the cast of SNL finally. Whilst that obviously did not occur, I did befriend Jim when he was walking in and out of the studio. Did he mistake me for a beggar for the first six months of our friendship? Yes … but it showed that we truly did have a lovely relationship.

As is oft the case, i made his career my top priority and vowed to make him a star. I started by getting him to dip his toe in the cinematic pond, before making him quit SNL to defend my honour … and ultimately, release a comedy album that would go on to bag him a Grammy.

Since that is his winning category, he was thrilled to sit down and run the odds with me. He agreed that it is Jerry Seinfeld’s Grammy to lose … though can’t bring himself to count out Dave Chappelle. When it came to spoken word, however, we knew that there was no one beating my girl Carrie Fisher. Fuck I miss Caz.

Talking about Carrie got me feeling hella emotional, so it was fortuitous timing that I was already balls deep on making some Jimmychangas Fallon.

 

 

Hot and spicy, fresh and comforting, this usually fried delight is just as perfect when oven baked. But I guess, can you go wrong with something slathered in cheese, sour cream, guac and chilli?

You can’t, so enjoy!

 

 

Jimmychangas Fallon
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 red chillies
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 shallots, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1kg brisket
olive oil
1 tbsp ground chilli
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
pinch of cinnamon
1L beef stock
12 flour tortillas
grated cheese, to serve
sour cream, to serve
guacamole, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Method
Place the chilli, cumin, coriander seeds, pepper, oregano, shallots and garlic in a food processor and blitz until it forms a paste. Blitz in a good lug of olive oil and transfer to bowl. Add the brisket and rub to coat, cover and place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

The next day, heat a lug of oil in a large skillet seal the meat for a minute or two on each side. Add the chilli, smoked paprika, turmeric and cinnamon and cook for another minute before adding the stock and bringing to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for three to four hours.

Remove beef from the pan and rest before bringing the heat back up to reduce the liquid. After about ten minutes of rest, shred the brisket with a couple of forks and return to the sauce. Continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to chill completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

To assemble, place a couple of tablespoons of the brisket along one edge of the tortilla. Fold in the sides and roll to form a small burrito and tie in the centre with kitchen string. Repeat the process until done. Brush with olive oil, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and remove the string from each. Top with some grated cheese and bake for a further five minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Serve immediately, slathered with sour cream, guac and sriracha. Though be careful when devouring, since they’ll be bloody hot.

 

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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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Mikey Zahalsky Bread

Bread, Main, Pizza, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, 18 strangers were stranded in the middle of Fiji and were arbitrarily split up into tribes of six – either heroes, healers or hustlers. That being said, Chrissy the heroic actuary is doing God’s work. Ryan kicked off his game with a secret advantage, which required him to pass it on to someone attending the first tribal. He gave the idol to Chrissy and set off an alliance that has carried them to the final five with their other ally Devon.

Speaking of Devon, he was gifted a disadvantage of not voting at the first post-swap tribal, Lauren had to hold onto a vote to play it at a later tribal and Mike, bless, burnt half of her idol in the tribal council fire, rendering it useless and Ben idolling her out of the game. He then played an idol at the next tribal council as well, sending Ashley out of the game as the sixth member of the jury.

The mood was somber back at camp after the latest #BenBomb with Mike grateful for being saved and Ben quickly disappearing to find another idol. Since the other four were confident he won’t be able to find another one and instead focussed on one of them winning immunity, you know that he will in fact find another idol. How they can stand around talking about where he went while concerned about him finding another idol, rather than trailing him like Andrea did with Malcolm is beyond me and completely absurd?

The next day Ben was feeling totes emosh about not finding an idol and given up on his sleep when out of nowhere and completely not rigged, he finally found another idol guaranteeing him a place in the final four.

The rest of the tribe awoke while Ben casually lazed about the shelter and Devon got a fire going, which feels like foreshadowing. Chrissy decided that it was time to bury the hatchet with Ben, though unbeknownst to him it was directly into his back. She then floated the idea of taking the best players to the end if he wins the next immunity challenge, while she gave him no assurance she would take him if the shoe were on the other foot.

Ben then guaranteed Chrissy would be the next one out … and you know what that means, Probst arrived for said reward/immunity challenge. The final five were required to swim out and climb up a crate step and jump off to release some keys, then cross a balance beam and collect some more keys and swim to a platform to unlock and complete a puzzle. Devon and Ryan – somehow – got out to an early lead before the balance beam made quick work of leveling the playing field. Mike and Devon arrived at the puzzle first, though Chrissy was first to release the puzzle. Challenge beast Chrissy continued her dominance – shock – taking out immunity and scoring herself comfort food and cheesecake, which she loves, because obviously. It is the food of mums and gays.

Wanting to stir shit up, Probst allowed her to pick to people to share in the feast with Chrissy taking Mike and Devon. The three of them had a quick look for a clue to the final idol before Chrissy made a toast to the three of them making the final four with Ryan. While it could have been a dangerous decision, Ryan had no interest in strategising while on babysitting. Back at reward, Mike decided they should hide Chrissy’s dead super idol and pretend that they found it on reward to get Ben to stop looking … for the idol he already found.

Chrissy then told Ben about her idol and told him to stop wasting his energy searching, filling she and Ryan with confidence and Ben with joy that he longer needs to pretend to look for the idol. He then got to work identifying who to take out with the real idol, deeming Ryan to be zero threat and debating who was best to take out out of Devon and Mike. Ben made one flaw however and didn’t strategise which made Devon nervous that against all odds, Ben had an advantage up his sleeve, and debated the merits of putting a vote on Mike just in case.

At tribal council, everyone but Ben spoke about how he was public enemy number one. Chrissy then spoke about how it was too hard to babysit Ben at all times, before Mike briefly spoke about their collective complacency before Chrissy brought out her fake idol as a show of power. Ben continued his defeatist attitude before trying to smear Chrissy’s game for gloating and tugging on the juror’s heartstrings as he spoke about how much he wanted to win.

As the votes were about to be tallied, Chrissy decided against playing her fake idol before Ben pulled out his real idol, much to the delight of the jury and the terror of the final five. Devon looked like he was about to throw up, making it extremely lucky that he put a vote on Mike leading to a 1-1 tie between him and Mike. The remaining three then revoted with Ben gloating to Devon that his fate was in Chrissy and Ryan’s hand, though thankfully for the walking torso his trust was well placed and Mike became the seventh juror.

While Mike was super disappointed in himself for not throwing a vote on Devon to save himself, he was proud of the way he played the game and was thrilled to see me waiting for him in Ponderosa with a big ol’ Mikey Zahalsky Bread.

 

 

I am only new to the monkey bread kind of scene but I’d argue that this is already one of the best. I mean, take all the gloriously comforting things you’d put on a pizza, and making it into a cheesy mess of dough? There is nothing better.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mikey Zahalsky Bread
Serves: 1-8.

Ingredients
1 cup grated mozzarella
¼ cup grated Parmesan
50g cold unsalted butter, grated
4 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
¼ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
non-stick  oil spray
Pizsa Zsa Gabor dough
1 cup passata
200g sliced pepperoni

Method
Combine the cheeses, butter, shallot, garlic, parsley, oregano and chilli flakes in a medium bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Spray a bundt tin with non-stick oil and roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls. Line the base with a couple of pieces, dot with passata, pepperoni and some of the cheese mixture. Continue the process, adding more balls and topping until they’re all gone, topping with any leftover cheese. Transfer to a warm place and allow to prove for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Transfer the bundt into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until puffed, golden and brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes before turning out of the pan and devouring.

 

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Slawren Rimmer

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, Ben continued his ascension finding an idol and successfully playing double agent between Chrissy and Ryan, and his new alliance with Lauren, Ashley and Devon. Sadly for him, Ashley and Devon knew that he was a threat and floated the possibility. Luckily for him, they didn’t flip – yet – instead getting rid of Ryan’s idol and Joe in one fell swoop.

Back at camp Mike was feeling extremely vulnerable after being completely unaware of what happened at the last vote. Things were looking worse for Ryan and Chrissy however, with Ben’s duplicity out in the open and him not interested in giving them an explanation. Chrissy felt the attack was personal, which motivated her to fight harder for her family.

You know what that means … FAMILY VISIT TIME! Probst arrived for the reward challenge the next day, which the castaways would run in pairs … with their loved one. We met Ashley’s dad coherent Mickey Rourke, Ryan’s dad who looks like a straight Liberace, Mike’s wife who I can’t even mock because they are so in love and now I’m crying. Lauren’s sister arrived to hug Probst then Lauren, who we should all be thankful for as she is the reason Lauren applied. Chrissy and her husband had a tearful reunion, as did Devon and his mum – again, I’m crying … give torso the money already – and Ben and his wife, who looks so young it is concerning, until you realise he is only in his early thirties.

With the tears out of the way, the castaways and their family got to the challenge which was literally just everyone picking either a white or black marble and hoping they match. Lauren went first and was immediately eliminated, as were Mike and Ryan. Ben and Chrissy each matched with their spouses before Ashley and Devon were eliminated. In the second round, Ben and his wife were eliminated, handing Chrissy and her husband the win. It was literally the most boring challenge since the Samoan bocce competition, begging the question, was this done to free up more airtime? In any event, Chrissy was allowed to pick three other castaways to enjoy the reward, choosing Ryan, Mike and Ashley. Of course, Chrissy reiterated that it was a message to Ben not to cross her.

Back at camp the victors and their families got to work catching up and devouring a barbecue. Well everyone but Chrissy who focussed her time on telling her husband the lay of the land and using him to help her get Ashley on board. While Ashley still agrees he is the biggest threat, she still is unsure whether it is the right time.

Speaking of Ben, he used his quiet time to construct a fake idol to hide. Tragically he told Devon and Lauren about the fake idol, rendering it pointless. Particularly when the entire thing is just a revenge plot against Chrissy. In any event, the three went hunting for the real idol which Lauren found and immediately shared with the boys. Well half off it, the other half being a shell stashed in front of her platform at the next immunity challenge.

Of course that mention lead to Probst’s return, where the castaways were required to hold two discs against posts on opposite sides of their station. Given Devon’s wingspan, he appeared to be the only person not struggling with the challenge as Ben, Chrissy and Ryan all dropped out within a matter of minutes. After around half an hour Lauren decided enough was enough, quitting the challenge, and using the free time to grab the shell component of her immunity idol. Mike dropped out soon after, leaving Devon and Ashley to fight it out. Not that there was much of a fight as they negotiated that the loser would get a shoulder massage from the winner, leading to Devon dropping instantly and handing a second immunity to Ashley.

The tribe returned to camp where Devon’s massage got delayed by Lauren, Devon and Ashley debating who to take out, with Devon convinced Chrissy was the biggest threat while Ashley still wasn’t sure whether to take out Ben. Sadly for them, Ben appeared from behind the bushes after hearing everything they spoke about. With that, Ben approached Mike to make a move, immediately spilling the deets on Lauren’s idol and extra votes. This filled Mike with confidence as Ben approached Ryan about reconnecting to instead vote out Lauren.

Not to be outdone, Chrissy approached Devon about taking out Ben … until he appeared behind her. She flipped out on Ben, though they managed to reach a tentative truce as he floated the possibility of flipping on Lauren. Until she decided it was another of Ben’s ruses, leading to her wanting revenge. Given shit was hitting every fan, Mike approached Devon and Ashley to fill them in on the counter attack to take out Lauren. They took said intel to Lauren, who then decided it was a good idea to give the shell component of her idol to Mike as a show of faith … RENDERING IT USELESS. I mean, I love you Queen Rimmer but that is stupid.

With that Solewa arrived at tribal council where everything started off calmly, with Probst talking about Devon and Ashley talking about being aligned when decided who should win immunity. That is until Devon accidentally left Ben off his list of allies, leading to Ben calling him out for trying to turn on him. Lauren then joined the fray and called him out for coming after her. Chrissy then mentioned Lauren’s advantages, Ben came clean about his fake idol and then Mike – ma’ fuckin’ Mike – threw Lauren’s shell idol in fire, rendering it completely useless. Everyone then fought over who Lauren should give the extra vote to – no fucking joke – before Ryan and Mike started whispering.

No joke, it was completely insane.

Things briefly calmed down before Devon walked over to talk to Mike about switching to Ben, while Chrissy and Ryan locked in their vote for Lauren. Channelling Hali, Devon got sick of the confusion and requested they all just vote. Ben then surprised everyone by pulling out his real idol – while wearing his fake – negating every single vote but his own, which sent Lauren out of the game and into my distraught, loving arms at Ponderosa.

While she was just subject to a historic, heartbreaking blindside – the first person idolled out by a single vote – Lauren appeared to be pretty darn chipper when she arrived at Ponderosa.I however wasn’t feeling chipper. I cried, I smashed glasses on walls like a housewife and tried to woo Cole slash JP for some comfort, so I could in turn provide comfort to my dear friend Loz.

Loz and I have been friend for years after I briefly took up fishing after watching The Perfect Storm. While I clearly misunderstood the point of the movie and fetishicised dying in an upturned boat, she took me under her wing and we became the ultimate of friends. The key to said friendship? An attraction to different types of people – I love rangas, she does not – and a big ol’ bowl of my spicy Slawren Rimmer.

 

 

A little bit spicy, a smidge of creaminess and a dickload of spice makes this slaw the perfect little slaw for some fried chicken … or maybe form a part of an epic recipe coming in the next fortnight. Maybe. You know?

Enjoy!

 

 

Slawren Rimmer
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
½ green cabbage, thinly sliced
½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
2 limes, juiced
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp muscovado sugar

Method
Combine the cabbages, shallot, carrot, chilli and coriander in a large bowl, tossing heartily.

Whisk the lime juice, rice vinegar, peanut oil and muscovado sugar, toss through the salad and serve immediately.

Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty

Side, Snack, Thankgiving for being a friend, Vegetarian

I know it is hard to pinpoint a more tragic death, particularly when it comes to your friends, but my dear, beautiful Estelle Getty’s was truly heartbreaking. I mean, I miss Bea and Rue just as much, but knowing that she truly suffered in her final years and couldn’t remember how wonderful she and The Golden Girls were will always break my heart.

After Bea and I circled back to the lot after catching-up yesterday it took all my strength not to break down in tears knowing what would happen in a couple of decades. We ran into each other’s arms and held each other close, silently acknowledging the deep love of our friendship.

“Pussycat!” Oh FYI, she used her pet name for me – pussycat – as her term of endearment for Dorothy on the show.

“Pussycat, I’ve missed you! How have you been? Why don’t you come visit me more? Are you well? Can I get you a part on the show? Do you want a snack?”

I’d known Estelle for a couple of years by 1987, having met while she starred in the Torch Song Trilogy which was written about me by my ex-Harves. Our bond was instant and while we never got to spend as much time with each other as we’d like, it always felt like only days between visits.

We drove to her L.A. home, laughing and catching up, despite the fact I knew exactly what she had and would be up to next. It was heartbreaking yet at the same time so wonderful to be able to spend time with her while she was still at her best. The only that made the date every better was chowing down on some Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty.

 

 

Potato bake is the side dish of champions. Be it normal or sweet, there is nothing better than perfectly roasted potatoes covered in dickloads of cheese and a punch of herbs.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
5 shallots, thinly sliced
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
a small stalk of rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
⅔ cup freshly grated parmesan
200g goat’s cheese

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the potato, shallots and a lug of olive oil in a bowl with the thyme, rosemary, nutmeg and chilli. Toast to coat.

Smear – yes, smear – a lug of olive oil on the base and edges of a small baking dish.

Layer the potato on the base of the dish, slightly overlapping, moving from the outside in, until covered. Sprinkle over a quarter of each of the cheeses, followed by another layer … and a quarter of the cheeses and more potato until it is all gone. Finishing, obvi, with the cheese on top.

Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, covering with foil after half an hour if the top is getting to crispy.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes. Then devour, ferociously.

 

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Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza

Main, Pizza, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, new-Yawa remained undefeated after the swap while at Levu, Joe proved that finding idols truly is a bald man’s game. Things however weren’t so peachey at Soko with Chrissy and Ryan having to decide between keeping JP and Ali, sending the latter out of the game

Back at camp Chrissy was quick to make JP feel comfortable after tribal, and was thrilled to be closer with each of the boys than they are with each other. We checked in with Yawa the next day to learn that Cole was feeling confident that should they merge, they were five strong. That, of course, was quickly disputed by Ben who rightfully was concerned by the closeness of Cole and Jess. Rounding out the catch-ups, Ashley spoke about how broken, starved and divided Levu is. So … final three of Chrissy, Ashley and Ben/Ryan/Cole/Devon, yeah?

Probst quickly arrived for the reward challenge, much to the excitement of the hungry Levu tribe. Though it wasn’t actually a challenge, it’s the merge – what a surprise!? After dropping buffs – sadly, not JP’s trou again – and getting swanky new purple ones, Probsty informed the starved castaways that instead of the merge feast, they’d be going to Queen Sandra’s fave – Outback Steakhouse.

The castaways toasted making the merge – YAS, they’re all dateable – downed steaks, and drank up which brought down Joe’s defenses and allowed Chrissy and Ben to quickly deduce that he has an idol, painting a larger target on his back. Jessica also emerged from her shell, hitting on the waiter’s thunder from downunder.

Back at camp, the new Solewa tribe got to work improving or building – who knows whether it is a new camp – their shelter, while Cole searched for a clue which was hidden in the wad of nails he was using. Bless him. Jessica and Desi got reacquainted, while Ryan and Devon caught up and floated the idea of a hustler-heroes alliance to take out the healers. The boys looped Lauren in on the plan, who wasn’t so keen on the plan giving she is aligned with Mike. She then told Mike and I was reminded of the epic ‘David as an idol’ scene from Millennials vs. Gen X.

Devon took the plan to Ben and Chrissy to get rid of Joe, that latter of whom was thrilled given she found him insufferable at lunch. Ben however was more keen to take out Cole, given he literally eats whatever he wants. Jessica and Lauren pulled Cole aside to warn him about his eating, Ben floated the idea of booting Joe or Cole with Mike, and I am reminded how freaking confusing merge episodes are.

Thankfully, Cole is pretty and Devon’s torso is longer than I am tall.

Pulling me out of the alliance whirlpool, Probst returned for the first immunity challenge where everyone stands on a narrow beam and keeps a ball spinning within a disc. As quickly as it started Ryan dropped out, followed by Mike whilst trying to be cute while taking a step – what did Alyssa Edwards say? Jessica was out after taking her second step forward, followed by Ben, JP, Devon and Lauren as they dropped to the final section. Joe soon dropped out, leaving Desi, Cole, Chrissy and Ashley to fight it out for immunity. Which Desi won, after Cole and Chrissy dropped their balls and Ashley dropped while trying to move her second foot onto the narrowest section of the beam.

Getting straight back into it, Cole pulled Ben aside back at camp to apologise for eating all the food and not thinking about others. Despite accepting his apology, Ben did not in fact accept said apology – preach – though wasn’t sure whether booting him was a good plan, or could blow up in his face.

Feeling unsafe, Cole approached Joe to fill him in on the new Yawa alliance immediately pissing off Joe, who knows Ben will flip at the first opportunity. Cole then joined Mike, Lauren and Desi to talk about getting rid of the heroes biggest threat Chrissy, leaving them to debate whether Ben was with them or about to go against the family. Obviously Lauren then approached Ben to talk about which side they would go with, before the hustlers and heroes – sans JP – got together to pick their target. Given they’re concerned about Joe and Cole having an idol, and the Cole and Jessica alliance, Jessica seemed to be their safest option.

At tribal, Probst quickly brought up the theme and put the target on the plentiful healers. Everyone danced around loyalty and truth, trying to keep their allies calm and not give anything away. Mike then offended Joe, who was talking about being extremely loyal, leading to him pulling out his idol and threatening to use them. Cole was unphased by the display –  given he helped Joe find his first idol – while Ben announced that the battle lines were drawn and they need to vote to see where the chips may fall. Joe played his idol just in case they fell for him, which they did not, instead coming down to Chrissy and Jessica, with the latter booted from the game … as the final pre-jury boot.

Poor, sweet Jessica was feeling quite down when she arrived at loser lodge – particularly after finding out it hadn’t ticked over to Ponderosa as yet – though quickly perked up when she saw me, her dear friend, waiting for her. Like the great, great Cirie Fields, I first met Nurse Practitioner Jessica while in rehab. She was completing a placement at the time and given how kind she was, she took a lost cause like me under her wing and helped me through (one of) my most recent stint(s) in rehab and got me sober. As such, we’ve been friends ever since.

After getting her out of her post-boot funk, we got to work catching up, talking about how dreamy Cole and his nips are … and then dreaming we were eating my Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza off dem plates.

 

 

If CalebAras and Joan – and Skarsy, obvs – have taught you anything, I love me some carbonara. I mean, warm, salty, creamy goodness going straight down my throat? Sign me up … and now, in PIZZA form.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
1 cup parmesan, grated
2 eggs, lightly whisked
salt and pepper
200g pancetta, roughly sliced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
a handful mushrooms, thinly sliced
125g pecorino cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s method – sans tommie paste.

Whisk the parmesan, eggs and a good whack of salt and black pepper until thick and combined.

Spoon the egg mixture onto the rolled out dough and spread across the bases. Sprinkle over the pancetta, shallots and mushrooms, and top with pecorino.

Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until the bases are crispy and the cheese golden. Devour.

 

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Chilleb McDucklin Dumplings

Main, Snack, Stranger Feasts

How good is season 2, right? I mean, sure, there are always things that disappoint you when you’re expectations are so high – like Rory not ending up with Jess on the Gilmore revival – but Stranger Things has proven it isn’t a one season wonder. While I binged the episodes while catching up with Shan, Mil and Gats, I still won’t be dropping spoilers whilst catching up with the rest of the cast as we barrel towards Halloween. So relax.

Like Gats, I’ve been friends with Caleb for years after working as a consultant on The Lion King on Broadway. While I was swiftly fired after de-anthropomorphising the production and turning it into a gay spectacular – I mean it is set in the Pride Lands, duh – he admired my spirit, and we’ve kept in touch.

While he oft even takes my horrible advice – like when I told him appearing in Shades of Blue would be a good idea – the suggestion that he audition for Stranger Things truly was a career making move, so he still loves me.

Cal has been so excited to be featured on the blog – what a doll – so giddily arrived at my door ready to gossip about where his character will go in season 3 and whether appearing in Shades of Blue again is a good idea. The answer to the latter, obviously, was a big fat no.

While the reminder of that little career hiccup brought up a lot of guilt on my part, little Cal, like he co-stars, didn’t see to harbour any PTSD related resentment. Though with my Chillieb McDucklin Dumplings on the menu, how could he?

 

 

Now I don’t like to play favourites when it comes to recipes, but this is up there as one of my faves. Though I have a mild duck obsession, so that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise? Packing – rather than peking – a killer whack of chilli, the cook into perfectly crinkled brains. Then cover them in some chilli? Well my friends, then you’ve go a delicious Halloween blood bath.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chilleb McDucklin Dumplings
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
30 gow gee wrappers
1 large duck breast, skin removed
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp grated ginger
3 shallots, roughly chopped
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 red chillies, roughly chopped
½ cup tamari
¼ cup hoisin
¼ sriracha
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Method
Roughly chop the duck and blitz in a food processor until it is finely minced. Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, coriander and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz until well combined.

Line the wrappers out on a dry clean bench and place a teaspoon of mixture in the centre of each. Brush the edges with water, crinkle close and place on a lined baking sheet until done.

Bring a large pot of shallow water to a rollicking boil. Place a lined steamer in and cook for 5 minutes, or until they’re at their brainy best.

While they’re cooking, combine the tamari, hoisin, sriracha and sesame. Once they’re done, toss the dumplings through the sauce and serve, blood splattered.

Devour, like a zombie.

 

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Jericroquettes Malabonga

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Side, Snack, TV Recap

And after 55 days out in the Samoan jungle, we finally have a new sole survivor in the form of Jericho.

He and Tara managed to outwit, outplay and outlast Joan, Adam, Kate, Tarzan, Aimee, Sam, Mark, Jacqui – yes this is a shameless plug for all our other recipes – Kent, AK, Ben, Odette, Jarrad, Anneliese, Henry, Tessa – yep, still going – Sarah, Luke, Ziggy, Locky, Michelle and Pete, to battle it out in the final tribal council.

While his performance at final tribal was – like night and day with last year’s champ Kristie’s – rather subpar, Luke’s going into bat for him and Henry pushing him to get fiery were enough to hand him a win for a game well played.

I mean, sure, I am shook to see that sometimes nice guys do win after he worked his ass off around camp to provide for his tribe, single-handedly tried to save his tribe from crushing defeat and made some hilariously ridiculous metaphors to give people a laugh … I assume. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he did get pretty villainous on his way to the prize.

Now it is quite awkward, but Jericho and I aren’t the best of friends after he restrained me on a flight for “drunk and disorderly behaviour,” so I wasn’t thrilled to see him out in Samoa, let alone taking out the win … but he did manage to win me over while we shared his victorious Jericroquettes Malabonga.

 

 

It could be said that croquettes are quite simple, but there is no denying that they’re delicious and definitely have more than meets the eye. Plus – potato, bacon and cheese. How do you go wrong?

Congratulations on your victory Jericho – enjoy!

 

 

Jericroquettes Malabonga
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 potatoes, cooked, mashed and cooled
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and – you guessed it – cooled
2 eggs
3 shallots, thinly sliced
½ cup plain flour
½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
salt and pepper

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mashed potato, bacon, 1 egg, shallots, half the flour and the mozzarella in a bowl. Divide into 10 balls – I like a big fat croquette – and roll into a sausage shape.

Place the remaining flour in a bowl, with the remaining egg whisked with the milk in another and some seasoned breadcrumbs in another. Roll the croquettes in the flour, followed by the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking tray, chuck it in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven and devour immediately, with some Spicy TomaJones Sauce.

 

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