Florgeres Welch

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I know it is stupid and I sound so whiny – I am a diva, so like Britney, leave me alone – but damn did I need this time with Florence to perk myself back up – sorry, raise – and focus on what is important in life.

I mean, as soon as Florence got off the plane and held me in her arms it was like happiness hit me like a train on the track.

It should really come as no surprise to me, given we’ve known each other since attending Thomas’s London Day School as young kids. Fun fact: I was the one that suggested Kathy and Will send my godson George there.

While it has been a few years since we’ve had the time to catch-up, it felt like not a day had gone by since our last date. We laughed – even about the fact I was outside her door for Grammy Gold before realising she is just a nominee – we cried and she cheered me the fuck up over a big plate of my Florgeres Welch.

 

 

Crunchy on the outside, delicate and creamy on the inside, these sweet cigars are the perfect treat to bring people together and turn around your mood. Am I putting too much power into food? Sure. But what else am I meant to do?

Enjoy!

 

 

Florgeres Welch
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
125g cream cheese, softened
250g ricotta
250g cottage cheese
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinklin’
24 sheets filo pastry
unsalted butter, melted

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Blitz the cheeses, caster sugar and cinnamon in a blender or stand mixer until well combined.

Place a sheet of filo on the bench, brush with some butter and top with a second slice of filo. More butter, more filo, more butter and a fourth and final piece of filo.

Cut the filo tower into quarters and spoon 1 tbsp of filling along the short edge. Roll over to just cover the filling, fold in the edges and then continue rolling to form a small cigar, brush with butter and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until the four are done. Then repeat the process with the remaining filo.

Transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until golden and crispy. Devour immediately, sprinkled with some cinnamon.

 

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Dog days aren’t over

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I’ve had a stressful few months since becoming a puppy parent – or pawrent, if you’d like to make me cringe. My sweet little puppy has hydrocephalus, which has stunted her growth and now every member of the public feels they can approach me in the street for a free meet and greet and to comment on her size.

It is exhausting and oft infuriating, and when I was last telling my girl Florence Welch about it she could tell that I am close to breaking point. Barely five minutes after hanging up, I got a message that simply read, “I’ll be over tomorrow.”

I burst into tears and thanked her – of course it is Florence who will raise me up, raise me up.

What do I make to thank her for making me feel like I’ve got the love?

Image source: Unknown.

 

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Mortadella Reese

Main

It is always with such mixed feelings that I venture back to see my dearly departed friends, like the divine Della Reese. I mean, it is such a joy to see them again but it is also a reminder that the world has lost them.

And a fear that it will lead to a butterfly effect that will see a sequel to The Butterfly Effect reignite Ashton Kutcher’s career. Which is risky AF.

Lucky I understand that with great power, comes great responsibility and I am adept at keeping things in check. Plus – how can you focus on anything but when spending time with a dear friend like Della.

I first met Della in the ‘60s when I got my start as a production intern on the set of her talk show Della. While some talk-show hosts are actually vicious – apparently – Della was nothing but kind and took me under her wing, and as such, I became her most loyal supporter.

Given my passion for Survivor, I decided to go back to the early ‘00s set of Touched By an Angel as I knew it was me running my mouth about the show, that led to Roma and Mark Burnett getting together. So I couldn’t do too much damage.

Plus – TBAA is such a joyous iconic program, that I wanted to see Della in action just one more time. And boy did she deliver! We laughed, we cried and in between takes, we smashed some glorious slices of Mortadella Reese like it was the good old days.

I guess because it was slash is.

 

 

This may come as a shock given my passion for sausage, however this is the first time I’ve attempted this recipe – thanks SBS – but damn am I glad I did. Salty, sweet and smooth, this has fast become my third favourite meat to have in my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mortadella Reese
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1–2 full-length natural ox bung or other disgusting sausage casing which is far more terrifying in theory
1 cup sweet red wine
6g ground coriander
1g ground cinnamon
5g mace
10g standard kwikurit, not to be confused with kiwi fruit like when I went shopping
8g powdered gelatine
450ml chilled water
200g hard back pork fat
4.5kg pork shoulder meat
75g salt
125g skim milk powder
1 cup pitted green olives, sliced
25g dried pepperberries

Method
Soak the ox bung in cold water for 1 hour, then rinse well inside and out. Thread onto a sausage nozzle, put it onto a plate and keep in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile bring the wine to a gentle simmer in a large saucepan with the coriander, cinnamon and mace for 20 minutes, until well reduced. Set aside to cool completely.

While this is getting chill, combine the kwikurit and gelatine in a jug with the chilled water, stirring until dissolved. Set aside.

Now start working on the meat by cutting the fat into a 1cm dice, and putting the meat through a 1cm mincer plate into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and milk powder and scrunch to combine. Add the spicy wine and water mixtures, and stir to thoroughly combined. Return through the mincer using a 6mm plate.

Add the fat, olives and pepperberries to the freshly minced bowl and mix until combined. Place in an airtight container and place in the fridge to chill overnight.

Set up the sanitised sausage cannon and fill the bowl with the forcemeat, ensuring not to leave any air pockets, and attach the nozzle to the end of the sausage cannon. Remove the mixture from the fridge and pump the mixture out the end of the nozzle before you tie off the end.

Slowly start to crank the cannon and fill the sausage, guiding the casing out of the cannon as it fills, using your whole hand, onto a clear sterilised work surface. Once it has reached the desired length, stop and tie off the end. Repeat the process until you finish the mixture.

Place the sausage into a smoker after the temperature has reached about 49°C. Smoke heavily, raising the temperature gradually to about 80°C, and hold until the mortadella reaches about 65°C on a digital thermometer. This can take up to 3–4 hours.

Transfer mortadella to the fridge and chill overnight, before slicing and devouring.

 

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Walk With You

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I’ve been quite emotional with the tragic passing of my dear Luke, which got me thinking about all the other angels that have touched my life.

Which in turn reminded me that my dear Della Reese left the world just over a year ago, and I really could have used her support right about now.

As such, I’m backing the delorean out of the garage and heading back to the TBAA days to get some spiritual guidance.

What says I need you to walk with me while I work through this tragic loss, without mentioning said tragic loss and causing a butterfly effect?

Image source: Touched by an Angel.

 

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Linda Perry Peri Chicken Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Street Food

What a difference a few days can make, right? After witnessing Glenn’s seventh and Amy’s sixth snubs – no matter how deserving the delightful Olivia and Regina are, it still stung – I started to rage about all the things this Oscars failed me on like Shallow muse Timothée Chalamet and my girls Dolly and Linda Perry getting snubbed.

By the time Linda arrived at my house I was in such a state, alternating between crying and screaming, that she had to pull me into her arms and hold me until I calmed down.

And thanks to her warm, loving friendship, I’ve been in a state of zen since.

I’ve known Linda for years and years, first meeting as teens in San Diego. Fun fact: she taught me that San Diego didn’t actually translate to mean whale’s vagina, which I passed on to Will Ferrell to use as a joke in Anchorman.

But anyway, she was always so patient and kind with me, despite my many foibles, so I jumped at the chance to move to San Francisco with her in the ‘80s and I of course, vowed to make her a star.

Given how insanely busy she has been recently, Linda and I haven’t spent as much time together as we would like, so it was wonderful to be able to just have time to reconnect. And smash a piping hot Linda Perry Peri Chicken Pizza.

 

 

A crunchy base, sweet tomatoes and the fiery spice of peri peri chicken work together to form the perfect pizza for warming up a surprisingly cold evening in Brisbane. FYI, it got down to 25°C.

Enjoy!

 

 

Linda Perry Peri Chicken Pizza
Serves: 2-6.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
½ cup peri peri sauce
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup baby spinach
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a skillet and cook the diced chicken for five minutes or so, or until cooked through. Add the peri peri – more if needed – and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until well coated.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle of the herbs, onion, spinach, spicy chicken and cherry tomatoes, before blanketing – I mean, you don’t have to but who wouldn’t – in mozzarella.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Before devouring, thinking about how wrong it is that Lind and Doll still don’t have Oscars.

 

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My sweet dumplin’

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

As much as I love it, the marathon that is Awards Season is over for another year and it is so nice to be able to stop and breathe a little bit.

That being said, I’ve decided to invite my dear friend Linda Perry over this week in honour of her being egregiously snubbed of a well deserved Oscar nom for the soundtrack of Dumplin’.

I mean, I feel more attacked by the Academy than Glenn must, given ignoring Dumplin’ was ignoring just one, but two of my dear, sweet friends.

But it isn’t about me.

What do I make that says you’ll always be the girl in the movies wearing red shoes who won’t push and pull if we don’t … to me? Sorry, I went down a title rabbithole.

Image source: Unknown.

 

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.

Choc Berry Muffins

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

It has been an extremely busy week celebrating this year’s Grammys with my annual Grammy Gold parties, but as usual, I always push through. Or get by with a little help from my friends, so to speak. And Somebody That I Used to Gold would have been nothing without the love and support of my dear friends Lady Gaga, ONJ, Trey, Tina, Kandi and today, the late, great Chuck Berry.

Given I already had the delorean out to visit Kandi, I decided I should take it out for another spin and seeing Chuck again was high on my list of priorities.

I met Chuck in the ‘40s while studying to become beauticians at the Poro College of Cosmetology. While I wasn’t very good, my boy Chuck was a bloody star and so I quickly helped him rise in the industry. Until I heard his dulcet tones and realised that making him a singing star would be far more beneficial to my bank account.

While in the car, I started pondering about the major Grammy categories that I still needed to run the odds for. Obviously I am backing This is America for Song of the Year, however my gut – or indigestion – is telling me that movies are going to dominate the other two, With Black Panther snagging Album of the Year and Shallow getting Record of the Year, though This is America truly deserves the double.

With that out of the way, I arrived back in the ‘80s to help celebrate his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and boy was it an absolute thing of beauty. His kind, talented soul, and my Choc Berry Muffins, obvi.

 

 

Tart berries and gooey chocolate are quite possibly my favourite flavour combination. Add them into some pillowy cake, and I am in heaven. Heaven I tells, ya! Like my dear friend Chuck, may he rest in peace.

Enjoy!

 

 

Choc Berry Muffins
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarb of soda
2 tsp baking powder
75g raw caster sugar
200ml buttermilk
1 egg
100g blueberries
100g raspberries
200g milk chocolate, cut into rough chunks

Method
Preheat oven to 160C and line a six-hole Texan muffin pan.

Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and egg with the melted butter. Fold together with a wooden spoon until just combined before folding through the berries and chocolate.

Divide the batter between the holes and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until risen cooked through and golden.

Allow to cool slightly, though making sure they’re still warm enough for the chocolate to be gooey. When you devour.

 

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Kandi Cane Burruss

Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

The Grammys are so close that I can almost smell their breath – they believe in mints though, so I like it – and while I’m sad That Somebody That I Used to Gold is almost over, getting to see my dear friend Kandi Burruss sure does dull the pain.

Now I know what you’re thinking – how did you catch up with Kandi, since she is still in the Celebrity Big Brother house? Obviously the answer is time-travel, so let’s not focus on that, ok?

I’ve known Kandi for years after meeting in High School. While she was a star in front of the screen, as her dearest friend – and the OG Don Juan, I’ll have you know – I shone by designing all their outfits and choreographing their BET Teen Summit performance.

Yep – I was pretty much this Tina Knowles of Xscape. Don’t tell Mama Joyce.

Anyway now I feel like I should explain why exactly I’ve got Kandi running the odds for Best Alternative Music Album and Best New Artist. You see, I assumed another nameless artist had won a Grammy, turned up at their house and then, when trying to steal it from her bathroom, discovered she in fact had never won a Grammy.

That led to me jumping in the delorean and quickly back-tracking a couple of months to see my girl Kandi, who agrees that Beck will win Best Alternative Album and Dua Lipa will take out New Artist. I then awkwardly rummaged through my bag and discovered I was in the possession of some Kandi Cane Burruss, and pretended that the visit had been planned all along.

 

 

Even if she knew that my seasonal snack was inappropriate for the visit, she didn’t say because Kandi is literally the nicest person in the world and I am so damn lucky to have her as my friend. And I’m also lucky to have found a recipe for candy canes online, because there is nothing better than homemade.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kandi Cane Burruss
Serves: 2-12.

Ingredients
3 cups caster sugar
1 cup glucose syrup
¼ cup water
2 tsp peppermint extract
red gel food coloring, to taste
white gel food coloring, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 100C.

Place the sugar, glucose and water in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Crank to medium-high and bring to the boil, without stirring, and cook until it reaches 140-145C on a candy thermometer.

Remove from the pan immediately and let it settle before whisking in the peppermint extract. Divide the syrup between two lined baking sheets, add a few drops of each colouring to each half, stir until well combined and place in the oven to stay warm.

Working one at a time, pour the syrup on a lined piece of marble – I used a platter – and leave to sit until a skin has formed as it firms up. Spray a spatula with olive oil and knead the candy with the spatula as it cools. Once it is cool enough to handle, knead by hand using food-safe gloves – to protect from the molten hot syrup – and start stretching out the candy, bring the ends together and then twist the candy until it is homogeneous and shiny AF. Once it is cool and barely pliable, pull it into a 5cm wide strand, return to the baking tray and keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining colour.

This is where I got confused, so hang in there. Cut a 5cm length of each colour – return the rest to the oven – and press them together sideways. Twist and pull the candy to give the spiral pattern until it is about half a centimetre thick. Cut into 20cm lengths, curl into a hook and transfer to a third lined baking sheet to set. Repeat the process until done.

Once set, either devour in one sitting until you vom. Or you can wrap in cling and give them away as gifts. Because there is no way you’d make these any other time than Christmas time.

 

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Tina Turnovers

Baking, Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

We’ve crossed the halfway point of this year’s Grammy Gold celebration – Somebody That I Used to Gold – and no tea no shade to Gaga, ONJ or Trey Park, but I decided it was about time I enlisted one of my most iconic friends. And thankfully the one, the only Tina Turner was keen to roll down the river for a date.

While I haven’t know Tina as long as most of my celebrity friends, the moment we met in the late ‘80s forged an instant bond and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Though there really is no bond stronger than one built on thirsting over footy players while filming an ad.

I know I haven’t told you about said bond before, but she means so much to me that I wanted to wait sharing our love on this ‘ere patch of cyberspace until there was a special occasion. And there is no occasion specialer than an EGOT contributing award show.

After holding each other close and catching up on what we’ve been up to, Tina being Tina
interrupted our gabfest by saying, “hit me with the odds Ben. And put some stank on it.”

I mean, if that is not the mark of an icon, I don’t know what is. With that we agreed that Arctic Monkeys will take Best Rock Performance, that we’ve never heard of any of the metal performances, Greta Van Fleet feel like the best shot for Best Rock Song and Weezer should take Best Rock Album.

Did I half-arse the running of odds? Sure. But I really wanted to focus my attention on making my Tina Turnovers perfect for my dear friend.

 

 

Creamy, sweet and full of juicy, tart blueberries, these are the perfect snack for any occasion. And are super easy, so you’d be mad not to have a crack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tina Turnovers
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese, softened
¼ cup raw caster sugar
2 lemons, zested
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and quartered
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 egg, whisked
demerara sugar, for sprinklin’

Method
Preheat oven to 220°C.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Divide amongst the squares of pastry, dot with the blueberries and seal to form triangles.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately.

 

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Tray Baker

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Main

Like Gaga and ONJ before him today’s Somebody That I Used to Gold visitor, my dear friend Trey Parker dabbles in all corners of the entertainment industry. And if it weren’t for my frenemy Phil Collins, who be a proud EGOT recipient.

#JusticeforBlameCanada.

I’ve known Trey for years when I got hired to model a character on South Park. Sure Big Gay Al was controversial – you don’t need me to tell you that my primary school principal felt compelled to write a four page essay about the horror character in place of a newsletter – but he brought so much joy to my life, and gave me the most beautiful friend in Trey.

While I haven’t seen Trey in years, he was thrilled to catch-up and strategise a way to finally snag himself an Oscar – obviously a Big Gay Al spin-off movie, starring me – and help me run the odds on my favourite Grammy categories – musical theatre, comedy and the big one, SPOKEN WORD!!!!!

Sorry – too many exclamation points. I’m like a chain email from your mother!

Obviously we agree that the erstwhile singing voice behind Jasmine and Mulan, Lea Salonga, will take The Book of Mormon’s Best Musical Theatre Crown for Once on This Island. Comedy I’ve gone with Dave Chappelle while Trey thinks Fred Armisen is the hot money. Obviously my boy David Sedaris is going to take out my fave category Spoken Word and I refused to hear any argument to the contrary. Like how Tiffany Haddish is the darling of the entertainment industry and Jimmy Carter is old, which is why Chad Michaels and Raja won their seasons of Drag Race.

JK Kimora, they both slayed and deserved their victories.

Anyway, it was exciting to think that our Big Gay Al movie may sweep the Awards Pool. So much so that we didn’t realise how famished we were until my Tray Barker had filled the house with glorious, happy smells.

 

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but you know I have a passionate love for sausage. You may be surprised to learn, however, that I am just as passionate about apple and sweet potato. Chuck em in a tray, add some booze and you’re in for a glorious meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tray Baker
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
1kg pork sausages
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
250g sweet potato, cut into chunks
2 red apples, sliced thickly into rounds
300ml apple cider
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
½ parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Heat a decent lug of olive oil in a skillet and cook the sausages until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a baking dish. Add a lug of oil to the frying pan and cook the leek and fennel for five minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Transfer to the aforementioned baking dish.

Add the sweet potato and apple to the baking dish and pour over the stock and cider. Cover with foil and transfer to the oven to bake for half and hour, or until the potato is tender and the liquid reduced.

Sprinkle with sage and parmesan and return to the oven, uncovered, to cook for ten minutes or until the cheese is golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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.