Tabboulea Michele

Salad, Side, Snack

I’ve finally caught up on listening to all of Danny Pellegrino’s podcast in the last couple of weeks – not a paid endorsement, but it is perfection – and he has mentioned the importance of the Wicked movie moving into production ASAP with Lea Michele starring as Elphaba. It reminded me how desperately I needed this to happen, so I reached out and decided to push the point as hard as I could.

I’ve known Lea for years after meeting while sharing the starring role in Spring Awakening, opposite my ex-lover Jonathan Groff. You see, she and i were extremely busy chasing down roles and men respectively, so the producers allowed us to share the role if I became a Lea Michele drag impersonator and never spoke about.

NDA, shmemDA.

Anyway, given I had to develop a deep understanding of her psyche and perfect her mannerisms and vocal style, we became the best of friends. Even after I was kicked out of the cast in a blaze of scandal.

“You do a perfect Lea Michele impersonation, can’t you just play Elphaba and share your beautiful talents with the world?” she said as I sat her down to talk about the movie.

“Yes, obviously! But I feel it is the role you were born to play. I mean, my dear friend and OG Elphaba played your mum on Glee. And it would make Danny Pellegrino so happy,’ I pleaded.

I don’t know which part softened her but by the time I was serving up my Taboullea Michele, she vowed to Elphaba hers. Thank goodness!

 

 

While most people would argue that tabbouleh isn’t a meal, we aren’t most people. Plus – it is green people! How else do I convince her other than a big bowl of fresh, tasty salad that packs a delicious punch?

Enjoy!

 

 

Tabboulea Michele
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
⅓ cup fine burghul
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 shallots, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the burghul in a bowl with the zest and juice and leave to soften for about ten minutes.

While it is softening, combine everything in another bowl, then add the softened burghul and stir to combine.

Devour.

 

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Loadesiree Potatafuye

Main, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the end of the Chris v. Dom feud led to a unified Naviti splitting the vote between Michael and Libby to continue the desolation of Malolo. While Ozzy’s glowed up stick – not this NSFW one – saved Michael, poor Libby found herself heading out of the game and straight to the jury.

Given it was a rather straightforward tribal, we joined Lavita the next day with Dom telling Laurel about his dream from the previous night which featured a cameo from Martin Sheen – or maybe Michael TBH, I can’t remember – and a killer bacon and egg roll. While I would have loved to hear more about the dream and the BER, Des joined us to share that while the food situation is dire her experience being homeless set her up to deal with it. I’m a terrible person for caring more about the dream story, aren’t I? Des then joined Laurel, Donathand and Jenna to tell them that she was looking to make a move, put an end to Kellyn’s Naviti strong and take her out, followed by Wendell and Dom. While that is the best idea, she is telling Wendell and Dom’s closest ally and therefore it seems doomed to backfire.

Before we can hear more about her BIG MOOOOOVEEEESSSS, Probst returned to lord over yet another team reward challenge where they were required to have two people rescue the remaining members of their team, collect puzzle pieces and then, obvi, assemble said puzzle. Sebastian and Michael got the orange team out to an early lead and I noticed that Michael is once again wearing shorts instead of his holey jocks, making me yearn to see how large the holes are now. Anyway, Wendell is still rocking the jocks and I’m moister than an oyster. So anyway, the orange team of Sebastian, Michael, Chelsea, Kellyn and Jenna dominated while Donathan – who wasn’t selected – looked on and purple languished at sea. While purple did their best to close the gap, boy wonder Michael lead his team through the puzzle and to victory of a chopper ride and picnic. Once again, the victors couldn’t come to consensus about who to send to Ghost Island leaving the Survivor Gods to send Angela for a trip while they headed to the chopper.

Michael and Co arrived at the reward site, struggling to comprehend how epic their victory was and gave Michael the chance to find cracks in the majority. Which I hope for my lust’s sake, they listen to. While Chelsea and Sebastian were making him feel better, Kellyn was confident it was all a rouse and they were still – wait for it – Naviti strong. Meanwhile over at Ghost Island Angela was given the opportunity to play for an advantage and given she has the majority without her vote, she went for it. Sadly for her, she picked badly and finished with no vote at the next tribal which could screw her if a flip does happen.

Back at camp Laurel and Donathan decided they were better off sticking with Dom and Wendell, so went to them to share that the people on the bottom of the Naviti alliance were planning to flip on them ASAP. While Dom admitted it was in their best interests, he made quick work of putting out the fire by telling Kellyn that her closest allies wanted to kick her out at the next tribal council. She was mildly concerned that it was true, she felt confident enough to trust her gut that they would never turn on her.

Laurel and Donathan continued their dominance, encouraging Michael to go searching for yet another idol to try and ensure his safety. While Michael was a man on a mission, Donathan wanted to join him and then snatched it out from beneath him. Said idol was Scot’s Kaoh Rong idol which was cursed when Tai refused to join it with his idol to save him. As such, said idol was powerless unless Donathan could get the idol under the middle of the shelter to restore its power. He then returned to the shelter and with Laurel, Michael and Jenna’s help was able to distract the tribe long enough to make the grab and reverse the, yep, curse.

Probst returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribe was required to balance a ball on a disc suspended like two ropes, so you know Probst is going to have fun with ball puns. Wendell dropped almost instantly, I assume because his balls were covered by shorts. He was quickly followed by Jenna, Laurel, Des and Angela, before Michael proved adept at ball play and could keep it up. Not long after Donathan and Dom dropped out, followed by Michael just before the next section of the challenge. While the final three looked solid, Kellyn dropped soon after getting to the next stage before Sebastian couldn’t keep up his luck, dropping the ball and handing Chelsea victory. I think, since she is barely on screen.

After briefly congratulating Chelsea, Des celebrated the fact Kellyn didn’t win and got to work rallying the troops to take her out. Sadly Kellyn confronted Des and Chelsea about their potential flip assuming it was just a lie Laurel told Dom rather than the truth. Des then approached Laurel and the remaining Malolo members about her alleged lies to Dom to cover her tracks. Sadly for her, Donathan was also present for the conversation and quickly pointed out that it happened. Laurel and Dom reconvened, vowing the strong need to stick together and take Des out on the defensive. Dom then pulled in Michael, while Laurel and Jenna went to convince Kellyn that the conversation actually happened. Which she kinda did, despite still feeling it was too early to destroy the OG Naviti tribe. She then confronted Dom and accused him of starting an all male alliance with Michael which made me extremely confused as they headed off to tribal council.

At tribal council Des was quick to throw Des under the bus for causing all of the drama at camp. While she tried to deflect and make it seem like Laurel was making things up, Laurel, Donathan and Jenna joined Michael in completely dominating tribals and read Des for filth and called her out for all of her lies. While Chelsea was concerned about being thrown under the bus by Des’ plan, she had immunity and was kinda blase about the sitch. Michael was still feeling nervous about the upcoming vote since he is still on the bottom – I wish – while Donathan seethed about the fact no one was trusting them when it came to Des. Kellyn tried to channel her inner Jessica Jones and get to the truth while Des just seemed over sorting it out and just wanted to vote. Tragically for her that was a mistake as said vote resulted in her becoming the third member of the jury.

Poor Des was hella exasperated by the time she arrived at Ponderosa, though given the fact she was the one that spent the last 24 hours lying to save herself I was kinda confused. I mean, sure, be disappointed … but exasperation at people not buying your lie. I call sour grapes. Obvi I didn’t tell her this to her face, instead opting to hold her tight, let her cry through the pain and then cheer her back up with a Loadesiree Potatafuye.

 

 

While my primary school tuckshop referred to them as stuffed potatoes, there is nothing better than a loaded potato. I mean, how can you go wrong with a bed of gloriously baked potato stuffed full o’ – wait for it, waaaaaaiiiiit for iiiiiiit – all the fixin’s?

Enjoy!

 

 

Loadesiree Potatafuye
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 large potatoes
¼ cup sour cream
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp smoked paprika
small handful of chives, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 shallots, roughly chopped
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Prick potatoes with mental skewer, wrap tightly in foil and place on a lined baking tray. Transfer to the oven and bake for an hour or so, or until soft.

Unwrap the potatoes and slice off the tops. Scoop out the flesh and mash in a large bowl with the sour cream, butter, paprika, chives and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir through half the shallots, bacon and cheese and spoon the mixture back into the potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining shallots, bacon and cheese, and transfer to the oven to bake for a further ten minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crisp.

Devour immediately. Full of glee.

 

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Lindsay Lohand Fries

Main, Side, Snack, Street Food

Don’t you just love a good comeback story? And no. I’m not referring to the sublime TV show The Comeback based on an unnamed friend of mine – Mickey was modelled after me – I’m talking about the upcoming resurgence of my dear friend la Lohan.

As you could probs surmise, I first met Linds on the set of The Parent Trap. You see, I had convinced my dear friend Nance Myers to do an updated version to one-up the Olsen Twins and It Takes Two – it was during a brief feud – but was bested in the audition process by Lohan. Thus telling her it was the inferior movie, despite it being a modern classic and her performance – no doubt – inspiring Tatiana Maslany’s brave performances in Orphan Black.

Anyway, Nance offered to become my kitchen designer to soften the blow and that defused the on-set tension enough for Linds and I to realise that we’re essentially the same person, and as such would make the best of friends. Ever.

As an apology for being quite vicious early on in filming, I got Linds cast opposite my girl Tyra in Life-Size … then Freaky Friday with Jamie, followed by Mean Girls with Ames and Teens, after which, she became the star she was destined to be.

It was such a delight to finally have Linds over and to celebrate her reaching the halfway point of our career rehab plan. While I don’t want to spoil much of what is ahead for Queen LiLo, I can say that my Lindsay Lohand Fries aren’t the only bright point in her future.

 

 

Are loaded fries hella basic? Yes. But let’s be real, I am a basic bitch, Linds loves me for it, and the combination of bacon, shallots, cheese and piping hot fries are something that never fails. Ever.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lindsay Lohand Fries
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 washed potatoes, cut into fries
olive oil
4 rashers streaky bacon, diced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated
salt, sour cream and/or sriracha, to serve … optionally

Method
Preheat oven to 200C.

Toss the freshly cut fries through olive oil and place on a lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

While the fries are baking, bring a skillet to heat. Once piping, reduce heat to medium and add the bacon. Cook, stirring, until crispy and glorious.

When the fries are done, lightly salt them and transfer to a bowl before topping with the cooked bacon, shallots and a generous helping of cheese. Sour cream and sriracha are optional extras, but come highly recommended when you’re ready to devour.

 

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Matt Cheeseballm

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand

Good news everyone! Survivor NZ returns in less than a week, and while Thailand is far less likely to result some butchered pronunciations – remember Knee-Coo-Argh-Goo-Ah? – my dear, dear, dearest friend Matty Chisholm is back on the case to carry the show to greatness once again.

While sure, it felt very old school compared to what we’re used to these days … and both Tom and Barb were egregiously robbed of a deserved win, Survivor NZ had its moments of greatness. And had the ability to fix some of its mistakes heading into the second season.

Or so Matty assured me before I was whisked away to share a villa with him in the Thai jungle for 40 days whilst cooking for the latest cast-offs.

(“I’d be too nervous unless we share Matt!” I lied through my teeth).

Anyway, as a fellow, classically trained journalist, Matt and I have been close friends for years. I was working on the 20/20 crew that was interviewing his family about his inspirational brother’s story, and took Matt under my wing after spotting a fellow storyteller.

While Matt is hella busy with press and the impending arrival of his second child, he was thrilled to be able to follow in Probst and Jonathan LaPaglia’s footsteps and countdown to the latest season / celebrate all things Survivor.

Obviously we can’t spoil too much other other than to say that this season is nik livil – dare I say it, school yard pick tribes are on the horizon to start – though after a belly full of my Matt Cheeseballm, why wouldn’t you be happy?

 

 

Now first things first, yes, this recipe sounds like jizz ball. But I will counter by saying, how doesn’t that sound appetising? Creamy, salty, meaty and packing a kick, what more do you want to smear on a cracker? I’m talking about the dip FYI. And a cracker, not a SAO.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matt Cheeseballm
Serves: I say one, you say 6-8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
1 ½ cup vintage cheese
1 red capsicum, diced
4 shallots, sliced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and drained
a handful of chives, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Blitz the cheese together in a food processor until well combined.

Remove to a bowl, fold through the capsicum, shallots, bacon, chives and a good whack of salt and pepper. Transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Once chilled, remove from the fridge, shape into a ball and roll through the roughly chopped parsley to coat. Place on a plate and chill in the fridge to fully set for an hour or so.

After that, it is open slather so demolish with you fave crackers.

 

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Stephunghi Gonzalizza

Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on the 35 prior seasons of Survivor, the Survivor Gods started storing up every bad mistake any contestant made in a mental bank like a psychopath that is awful, but thinks they’re the victim (Janet – I know you hate millennials, so stop asking me about Microsoft Word as if it is my fault it isn’t working). You know them, we all have one. Erik handing over his hidden immunity to Natalie, Jay playing David’s fake idol, James getting booted with two idols in his pocket, Sierra handing off the legacy advantage to the person that blindsided her, the fucking stick and I assume, the entire Ulong tribe.

Anyway, they withdrew them from the bank and shoved them on an exile like island, and now it is up to 20 new castaways to reverse the curse or flame out in equal epic situations. Like the fucking stick.

Arriving on the beach to meet Probst, we were thrilled to discover they weren’t being shoehorned into a random theme and just got to form the Malolo and Naviti tribes. No heroes in sight … well except for zaddy Brendan of Malolo who was selected to represent the tribe for the ambiguous event Jeff teased to them after laying out the theme. On the flipside, young Chris volunteered to represent Naviti before anyone else had a chance to offer. Their task? Well it was thankless, having to select two people to complete an unknown challenge – one physical, one puzzle.

School teacher and owner of my heart Brendan selected baby Michael for the physical aspect and Michaela and Hannah’s baby Laurel for the puzzle, while Chris selected Sebastian – under the sea – for the physical and Desiree for the puzzle. On account of Morgan literally throwing herself out of sight to avoid being selected. The runner was required to, wait for it, run through obstacles to collect keys that the puzzle solver uses to unlock pieces and solve said puzzle. As Probst is want to do, added another twist to the the challenge where the winner would get a shelter building kit and a fishing kit, in addition to their meagre supplies. However if the loser knows their losing, they have a widow of time at which they can forfeit the challenge, get the booby prize of a fishing kit … and hand the winner 20 eggs and a flint in addition to their haul. See, thankless task.

The guys were neck and neck throughout the obstacles – Michael must have had a juicebox – before both falling apart towards the end. Of course Brendan gave his best fatherly, PE teacher pep talk and my basement flooded. Both Des and Laurel seemed to make quick progress on the puzzle, however Chris disagreed … pulling the plug on Naviti and handing Malolo a flame grilled feast to gorge in their dining room. Jeff immediately worked to stir up some drama, identifying all the people on Naviti – well the one – who wouldn’t have given up on the tribe.

Over at the camp of kings, Michael quickly worked his way into my heart which makes me feel all kinds of icky since he is 18.  Though not to his tribe, who he is telling he is 23. The tribe quickly got to work setting up home, where Donathan worked to learn who everyone was and warm my heart with his genuine, sweet nature.

Over at Naviti, Kellyn lived up to my own preseason hype, talking about how she recently made some major changes in her life and was genuinely super thrilled to be around everyone else on her tribe. Likeable Tony Lite Dom them led construction on their shelter, since he legit is in construction, and christened Sebastian Sea Bass on account of his occupation. Sadly that got him off on the wrong foot with old Sea Bass who quickly moved to align with Chris and set their sites on Dom.

The next day we checked in with Jacob who looks like Fozzie Bear and managed to lose his shoes while by the beach. This made him feel even worse, since he and Donathan are clearly not as physically fit as the rest of his tribe. To counter that, he went off hunting for an idol … which gave the rest of his tribe enough time to talk about said idol hunting, and paint a big ol’ target on his back. He then stayed back alone at camp under the guise of getting the fire going while the tribe bonded and looked for food together. Thankfully they weren’t aware that he used said time to pour the rice into his socks to see if there was anything hidden in the container.

Back at Naviti things seemed to be going better, with their shelter coming along well and Wendell building fish traps with bamboo like a total boss. He then shared with us that he studied Law and hopes that people are going to underestimate him. Things were looking up for Dom, as Wendell had taken a shining to him and he and Bradley gave him a heads up about the Chris/Sea Bass alliance.

Jiffy Pop returned to the scene for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would run across a net bridge, collect ropes and use them to wheel a sled of puzzle pieces towards a table before, obvi, solving said puzzle. To up the ante, he informed the tribes that someone from the losing tribe would be going to Ghost Island which is good for them, as it makes them immune from becoming the first boot. Naviti got out to an early lead while poor Brendan tried to coach the kids of Malolo to keep their heads held high. Sadly they were no match for Kellyn, who led her tribe to victory on the puzzle while Michael looked beautiful pushing the pieces in with his crotch.

While Jacob tried to keep morale up after their loss, the Naviti tried decided to punish his positivity and send him to Ghost Island. Though apparently, they fell straight into his trap and he wanted to find out what Ghost Island was and get himself immune. Sadly though, he said that out loud and his entire tribe know that what his game. But to reiterate, he is immune and he needed it. So yay Jacob.

Finally we met Ghost Island where Jacob was welcomed by two giant tiki statues, multiple immunity idols, all of the torch snuffers from seasons past and a row of small urns with the instruction to smash one. Inside he found a clue, telling him to follow a row of flames where he found a game of chance offering him a secret advantage … if he wagers his vote at the next tribal council. He saw three pieces of bamboo on the table in front of him, one of which was locked. He correctly assumed that the key was inside of one of them, and he simply had to pick which one. Which he did, opening it to find the Legacy Advantage from Game Changers that Sierra cursed by telling Sarah it existed, only to be blindsided by the eventual victor moments later. But of course, there was a twist, this one requiring him to hand it off to a person of the other tribe, the person he selected being puzzle-averse Morgan.

Back at Malolo, Gonzalez decided it was a good idea to chastise everyone about their loss and tell them they should have used Donathan’s idea, which she tried to pass off as her own. Thankfully he wasn’t a wallflower, electing to tell James, Stephanie and someone else – it is episode one, give me a break – that he tried to speak up during the challenge and was instead told to shut up by Gonzalez. While Gonzalez tried to rally the troops, the other Stephanie worked hard to turn things on her and protect Donathan … which Michael was concerned about, since they really need to hold on to any strength they had.

Like Ghost Island, tribal council was creepy as hell, looking like the Blair Witch had sex with a tiki god. Probst got to work needling the tribe, leading to Gonzalez talking about Jacob being special … which no one seemed to take issue with. Laurel spoke about the need to stay strong, Jeff asked Donathan how he felt about that given he is so teeny tiny. Thanks Jeff. Obviously Mama Stephanie stepped in to defend he potential new boyfriend ally, saying that strength comes in different forms. Gonzalez then spoke about wanting to be a part of the puzzle section of the challenge, which Brendan alluded would have been super useful to know YESTERDAY.

Jeff then polled the tribe about whether alliances had formed, which everyone started giving answers to before Michael said something that triggered Gonzalez’s paranoia. She then got up and started whispering in Brendan and Michael’s ear to find out who they were voting for. Michael then adorably apologised for interrupting Probst to talk to Jenna and Laurel about what was said, while Donathan sat in the left-right-out position. Thankfully for him as the votes rolled in, Gonzalez’s efforts were in vain and she found herself out of the game unanimously as the first boot.

Make no mistake Stephanie don’t call me Stephanie Gonzalez was not a happy no longer camper to become the first boot. And while I didn’t add salt to her wounds by telling her I was thrilled her exit saved Donathan, it did take an extend period of time to calm her down. But how could you not calm down when a Stephunghi Gonzalizza is in front of you?

 

 

Earthy, sweet and full of flavour, there is nothing better than the simplistic beauty of a mushroom, goat’s cheese and truffle pizza. I mean, name a more iconic throuple. I’ll wait.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephunghi Gonzalizza
Serves: 1 angry, sassy first boot.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
100-200g mozzarella, grated
½ cup goat’s cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp white truffle oil

Method
Make the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s recipe.

While they’re proving, heat a lug of oil in a pan and sweat the shallots and garlic for a minute or so before adding the mushrooms and cooking for five minutes, or until softened. Add the thyme, rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 180C.

When the bases are good to go, sprinkle mozzarella over the bases, top with mushroom and crumble over the goats cheese. Drizzle over some truffle oil, transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes or so, or until golden, crisp and delicious.

Devour immediately.

 

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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.

 

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.