Popcorn Wells

Party Food, Side, Snack

While we’ve both grown older since first becoming friends in ‘60s, the sweet, sparkle was well and truly still in her eye as I spotted her coming through the international arrivals gate. We gingerly – no pun intended – ran across the crowded room and straight into each other’s arms.

She held my face in her hands and said something that shocked me to my very core.

“I can’t believe it has been 16 years since we’ve seen each other!?”

Somehow I managed to have a mouthful of water, did a spit take and then fainted from shock. Well shock and my passion for causing a scene.

As I was roused awake by a hunky security guard and his less-so offsider, I locked eyes with Dawn once more and like a less selfish old Rose, whispered “it’s been 16 years? 16 years,” I then inserted a dramatic pause, “since the inaugural Spudfest?!”

 

 

“Yes my dear, and I’ve missed you each and every day,” said my dear friend and Idaho potatoes spokeswoman.

After the security guards carried us to our car – princess style, of course – we ventured back to my house and quickly got to catching each other up on the past decade and a half. We held hands, laughed, cried and wondered what the rest of the island gang would think seeing us together again.

Too worked up from the emotion of the day, neither of us felt like gorging on a rich, comforting meal. Which was convenient, because I was hella keen to nosh on some Popcorn Wells like in the good old days.

 

 

While it is hard to make popcorn that tastes as good as the stuff at the movies – I think the butter and salt needs the hours sitting in the warmed, glass case of emotion to fully release their flavours – this little number is pretty good fresh. Generously buttered, lightly salted, it has your stomach craving more, more, more. That’s how it likes it. That’s how it likes it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Popcorn Wells
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup popping corn
salt, to taste
melted butter, to taste

Method
Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat until the oil is shimmering.

Add a kernel and if it starts spinning, or better still pops, add the rest of the corn. Immediately pop on the lid and shake the pan. Return to the heat and once the popping kicks off, agitate the pot semi-frequently to keep the unpopped pieces shimmying down to the bottom.

Once the popping has all but stopped, remove from the heat and season with salt. Cover again and give a good shake before pouring in melted butter to taste, covering again and giving a more aggressive shake to ensure it is all coated.

Then devour. At SpudFest, or at home. Your choice.

 

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Henry Gorenicholson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor physical battles dominated the game, leading to a focus on strength on each tribe. After going on a losing streak, Vakama were determined not to return to tribal council and came to both challenges fired up. After scoring a fish and chip reward – kinda – Mat found an idol in front of the entire tribe, much to Locky’s dismay who finally wanted to be the person to snag an idol. At the immunity challenge – which was again super physical – Michelle quickly dropped out, putting her tribe on the back foot from the start, which tragically led to their loss. Also Shonee sat out on a bench which featured a clue to the hidden immunity idol which see didn’t see, which is just as tragic as you could imagine. Back at camp Henry pushed to get rid of Sharn, which made Nick decide it was Henry’s time to go. While Abbey and the Athletes – who sound like the world’s shittiest band – opted to focus on strength and sent Queen Michelle out of the game.

The next day Mokuta was feeling mighty miserable, which obviously led to John welcoming Lee into the Australian Survivor nudity club. The self-annointed Dumb Dumb Club frolicked, flipped and showed off their gloriously pasty buns and hot damn, I’m drippin’ more than the Fijian skies.

Meanwhile over at Vakama the mood was just as low, though tragically far more clothed as Locky worked his arse off to keep the tribe afloat in the torrential ran. Add to that the fact he is sitting pretty in the majority alliance AND is falling for Brooke, and you could say that Locky is on cloud nine. Wait, scrap that, he is fixated on the fact that Mat has an idol and as such, he decided to start wearing it around camp to taunt poor love struck Locky. As Mat desperately wants to make him look as silly as possible.

We returned to Mokuta where the rain had stopped, the clothes were tragically back on and the tribe were doing some home improvements like a less chic version of Brad and Monica Culpepper. Well except for Henry, who was busy doing his best Coach impersonation while Nick worried about how to deal with him after spooking him at the last tribal council. With that Nick started to do damage control as Henry ranted and raved about how to save himself and play like he has no other option, while Nick sat in the shelter looking like he is about to shit himself. Based on the conversation Nick decided that Henry’s next target is going to be Shonee, so instead of trying to manage him, approaches the rest of the tribe to warn them how dangerous Henry is, so that everyone manages the situation on his behalf.

Speaking of Henry, he was reflecting on his first time in the game and remembering his mother, who passed away just before he went out. Not one to be down for count, Henry channelled his grief and as Nick feared, started working his way round the tribe to show how strong he is and play up how weak our icon Shonee is.

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge – sadly clothed – where each tribe would face off one-or-one to knock an idol of the other’s handle with the first to four scoring victory. For a huge pack of cones, so you know Harry is excited. Mat and Henry were first to face off, with Henry chasing him down like prey and quickly snagging the point. Abbey made quick work of Moana, Queen Shonee was felled by Phoebe, Zach destroyed AK before Henry’s tricky juggling skills scored Mokuta the victory over David. Before the tribe headed out to smash their ice cream, Locky and Phoebe interrupted the proceedings and told Jonathan that they would like to use their previous reward and join then at the ice cream shop. Thankfully Jonathan is a messy icon, and asked them which two people they would like to send, outing their lie that it had to be used by them to the rest of their tribe.

At reward Harry was well and truly in his element, making ice creams and running around like a delirious child. Speaking of deliriousness, Henry was thrilled to show off his strength, so was working overtime to make as many friends as possible while they were all sugared up. Meanwhile Locky and Phoebe were filling everyone in on how much better the Mokuta camp is before Locky split up to gather intel from his rivals. While the tribe, smartly, stayed quiet. Making it super awkward, and honestly, painted a target on his back. Meanwhile my queen Shonee was loving the sugar but more importantly, loved finding a hidden immunity idol clue under a log. Redeeming herself for the day before. She bided her time until the tribe cleared out to wash their hands before she learnt that the idol was hidden under the well. She went for a wander into the jungle to find the well and got to work lifting it out of the way, grabbing the idol and then returning the well to its place.

Oh and she was wandering around in a jumpsuit and slides.

Terrified about being caught, she panicked about whether the well looked weird before her best friend Nick stumbled upon her. After confirming that the well looked normal, she looped her ally in on the intel and honestly, their happy dancing was too pure for this world and I ship the hell out of them.

The delicious Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to build a staircase out of heavy logs before collecting a hammer, pounding in some stakes, releasing a tunnel, climbing through a mud pit and some obstacles before shooting some baskets from a deck using a catapult. Mokuta got out to an early lead on the log stairs while Vakama struggled to grip their logs, given they were wet and slippery. I mean, I’m sad I have to use Jono’s smutty puns, but they also make me so proud of him. While I was welling up with pride, Vakama started to close the gap when it came to shooting baskets, thanks to Lee’s extremely steep learning curve. With both tribes even on nothing, Henry swapped in for Mokuta while Locky started to score basket after basket. Ultimately scoring a huge come from being immunity for Vakama while Henry narrowly avoided a nudie run, scoring one basket for the tribe.

Back at camp Nick quickly made it his priority to rally the troops against Henry, however was banging his head against a brick wall given all of the athletes are so passionate about keeping the strength. Thankfully Lee surprised me and was receptive to the idea of getting rid of Henry, and the plan quickly evolved to splitting the votes between him and Zach and getting rid of Zan Hen. Sadly for them however Abbey and Lydia weren’t feeling the plan, and Henry was busy winning over John by the fire. With Zaddy John, tragically agreeing to join him to vote out Shonee. They quickly pulled in Zach before taking the athletes aside to rope them into the plan, unaware that Harry – who invited himself along – is actually aligned with Shonee.

Harry took this information back to his fellow rascals, with Shonee quickly letting him know that she found an idol and as such, she will use it if she gets even a hint of danger. Wanting to keep the idol for a rainy day however, they split up to change the tide of the vote and continue to highlight Henry as the biggest threat. While they started to make inroads, Lydia warned Henry that people are nervous about his erratic gameplay and it would be wise to play an idol should he have one. With that, he decided to quickly throw together an idol and then plant and find it in front of everyone at tribal council. Which hopefully would be enough to force Shonee to play her real one. And given she is the CEO of the tribe, why wouldn’t she?

At tribal council Nick admitted that the tribe is still not really cohesive but hopefully after tonight, they actually will be. He used it as a rallying cry against Henry, highlighting the importance of predictability to the game. Abbey spoke about playing emotionally, Lee said that try as they might, they can’t separate their hearts from the game. Jonathan asked Lydia if they were strictly targeting the weakest, which she tried to dance around and said that she is solely focussed on doing what the majority want. Obviously Zach was all in on keeping the tribe strong before Shonee reminded everyone that they have actually won the same amount of the challenges and as such, they shouldn’t be so focussed on losing two immunity challenges in a row. John lied and said literally anyone could go tonight before Henry weighed in and said that that is a lie and in fact he or Shonee would be going tonight. Though he at least can add some strength to the tribe.

Shonee countered that she has something far more important and that is loyalty and doing what she says. Henry tried to counter it, challenging people to give him a chance. Nick tried to bring things back to making a logical decision and getting rid of the erratic players, while Henry’s eyes darted around looking for his fake idol amongst the trees. Shonee appeared to grow more and more nervous and as they were about to vote, Henry showed off his erratic behaviour, making a huge deal about finding his fake immunity idol. Shonee and Nick were unconvinced about his display and tried to calm the tribe, but they were all extremely nervous as they headed out to vote. Given she was too stressed to be blessed, Shonee played her idol and challenged Henry to play his, should it be real. Which it wasn’t so he didn’t, and as such, he found himself voted out of the game after Queen Shonee negated the majority of votes that were cast against her.

Whether it was in his best interests or not, Henry played his heart out and that is something I will always love about him. Plus, he is a total babe, despite not getting in on the nudity action. I took him in my arms as he arrived at Loser Lodge before sitting him down and berating him like Tyra did Tiffany for daring to try and target the one true Queen of Australian Survivor, my Shonee.


Emotionally spent, the only thing I could do was apologise for being not mad, disappointed in him and serving him a piping hot bowl of you-should-have-aligned-with-Shonee Henry Gorenicholson.

 

 

With as much fire as Henry had right out of the gate, this quick throw together meal appears anything but. Rich, tasty and packing a punch, you can’t be sad with this on your plate. Even if you don’t make the jury and are unlovable.

Enjoy!

 

 

Henry Gorenicholson
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tsp peanut oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bunches bok choy, trimmed and halved
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
2 tbsp kecap manis
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 lime, zested and juiced
200g thin egg noodles, cooked as per packet instructions

Method
Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and once scorching, add the shallot and garlic and cook for a minute. Add the mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for a couple of minutes, or until nice and browned. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper, and reduce heat to medium.

Stir through the bok choy, capsicum and broccolini, and cook for a further minute or so. Add the kecap manis, sriracha, lime zest and juice, and stir until sticky and starting to thicken.

Remove from heat and toss through the noodles. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.

And devour. Always devour.

 

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South West ShickAnn Huanger

Burgers, Main, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Thailand

This time next week we will have ventured to an island featuring absurdly large busts of Survivor icons Sandra and Rob, Jeffrey will no doubt have spoken about balls and poles and our first boot will have eaten their feelings with me in Ponderosa.

But more importantly, that means I have one more icon to celebrate as we anticipate the return. Which is where my dear, dear, Shii Ann comes in to play.

While All Stars cops a lot of flack because of the ugly, bitterness there was one shining light and that was the iconic underdog herself Shi Ann. I mean, name a more iconic moment than her winning immunity at the exact moment she so desperately needed it and then proceed to rub it in the faces of everyone that she was up against.

It was that spitfire moment that truly solidified her place in my heart and I was honoured that she accepted the invite to be the showstopper of this season’s countdown. Particularly since she is busy with her real estate career in NYC.

Obviously we gossiped about the cast and the upcoming season – she agrees that Janet and Elaine are icons that need to be protected at all cost – but mostly we caught up on how she has been (great), whether she would come back for another season (yes) and most importantly, whether my ex Frederick still pines after me (of course).

We then sat down to a plate of piping hot South West ShickAnn Huangers and toasted to the season ahead.

 

 

A little kick of chilli, a punch of lime and the creamy guacamole work together to make this burger sing. I mean, only stupid, stupid people wouldn’t agree that it is perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

South West ShickAnn Huanger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn, rinsed and drained
3 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 lime, zested and juiced
4 Kirsten Bunst
olive oil
1 tomato, sliced
a handful butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and drained
1 batch Lady Guagamole
hot sauce, to serve

Method
Start by combining the mince, black beans, corn, shallots, garlic, chilli, cumin and lime in a bowl, and scrunching with your hands until well combined. Split into four patties.

Place a skillet over medium heat and add the split buns to toast for a couple of minutes.

Add a good lug of oil to the pan and cook the patties for a few minutes before flipping and cooking for a remaining five minutes, or until cooked through.

To assemble, place a hearty dollop of guacamole on the base of the roll. Add a few slices of tomato, lettuce, the patty, hot sauce and another dollop of guac. Just because.

Then devour, greedily, rubbing it in the faces of those that didn’t get a burg.

 

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Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Side, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Daisy and Simon were sent to exile beach before facing off to return to the game, with the queen of green grass and rain exiting the game for good. After Luke took out immunity, Simon once again found himself as the target with Abbey, Luke, Baden and Harry planning to send him out of the game again. JaQueen and Pia weren’t so keen on that idea however, trying to woo Simon and the Contenders to their side to take out Abbey instead. When it became obvious that their backs were against the wall and the plan was a bust, they joined the rest of the tribe to send Simon out of the game. Unanimously. Again.

The next day the tribe awoke to wish Pia a happy birthday before reminiscing about what she would normally do on her birthday. She then spoke about how hard the game has been and how much she has missed her family. She then wrestled with Harry to celebrate and vowed to overcome the overwhelming minority she has found herself in since Abbey flipped the script on her and JaQueen.

Abbey, Pia and Luke then went fishing together while the latter regaled us with tales of how far he has come in the game and most importantly, how proud of himself he is. He then welled up and honestly, swoon – he is too pure for this world. And that is before he even mentioned his daughter having cystic fibrosis. We then checked in with Harry who reiterated that he is a cockroach before he and Baden caught up to come up with their next plan, deciding to join with Pia and JaQueen at the next tribal council and take out Luke. Speaking of JaQueen she shared that she signed up for Survivor to challenge herself and honestly, she is just a bloody icon. She then reminded us that while she is now on the bottom of the tribe, she believes in herself and Pia to make it through. Speaking of Pia, she was still out fishing with Abbey and Luke, charming the shit out of them and looking for another in while JaQueen approached Baden who floated the idea of joining together to get rid of Luke.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where the castaways would need to untangle themselves from a rope that is looped over a log, crossing a balance beam, tossing sacks to release a key and unlocking themselves and, wait for it … solving a puzzle. Luke and Abbey got out to an early lead while Harry looked to be nearing a heartattack which honestly, is not something I want to witness on TV tonight. JaQueen started to chastise herself as Luke and Abbey started to navigate the balance beam, with the AFL champion snatching the lead. Well until Luke proved more adept at tossing sacks. Luke started solving his puzzle while Abbey tried to close the gap and the rest of the crew slowly made their way to the sack tossing portion of the game. Harry joined Abbey and Luke on the puzzle, with JaQueen and Baden soon following. While Harry desperately tried to close the gap, Luke started to panic before getting his eye in and snatching immunity for the third time.

And unwittingly blowing up everyone’s plans.

Back at camp Abbey was the only person that wasn’t completely bummed that Luke had won yet another immunity challenge. JaQueen quickly pulled Baden and Harry aside to flip the vote on Abbey instead, given she is the next biggest challenge threat. Sadly for her Harry was more interested in targeting her instead, so pulled Abbey aside with Baden to float booting JaQueen instead. The boys then mentioned that Janine and Pia had suggesting voting her out to try and seal the deal, however, that only seemed to make her less likely to join them. Abbey then took the intel back to Luke and mentioned that she caught the girls getting frustrated after he won immunity, and while they agreed they need to stick together, they weren’t sure which duo to side with. We then returned to JaQueen who told us that her and Pia have no intention of siding with Harry and that their plan is actually to reconnect with Luke and Abbey to get rid of Baden. Which everyone agreed on as he stumbled upon the scene.

At tribal council Harry spoke about the likelihood that a Champion will take out the game, though did vow to fight until the very end. Baden praised them for staying tight and holding firm on their Champion strong mantra. JaQueen spoke about how tight their group remains and how she wants one of them to take out the game. Preferably her. Harry tried to pitch that the Champions who feel most likely to be blindsided should join him and Baden to make a move first. Abbey spoke about the generic confusion of the game, unsure which side was telling her the truth and she should trust moving forward. Baden continued to point out that it is always better to make a move sooner rather than later, rather than regretting their choices from the jury. Luke and Abbey spoke about the safe option sometimes being the smartest.

Harry was disheartened, Pia mentioned that making a move at the wrong time was just as bad as not making one while Luke mentioned that the vote ahead will be straightforward and simple. With that the tribe voted and it turns out that the vote was straightforward for Luke and Abbey, as they flipped on Janine and Pia and sent the godmother from the game. While the tragedy of JaQueen exiting the game is something that I will carry with me for the next few months, I am grateful that we could honour her spirit with some Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries.

 

 

 

Now I know we’ve already experienced the majesty of haloumi fries in the Australian Survivor context – oh, hi Mark! – the addition of lemon and garlic is enough to give them a boost. Crisp on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth in the centre and packing a major punch of garlic, these are proof that you can always do better. Which I imagine is what Janine would remind us in a killer inspirational speech.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries
Serves: 1 powerful CEO and her dear pal.

Ingredients
½ cup flour
2 garlic cloves, minced plus 2 extra finely sliced
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp chilli flakes
400g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into long chip shapes and patted dry
vegetable oil, for fryin’
1 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine flour, garlic, dried oregano and chilli in a bowl.

Pour 2cm worthy of oil into a large pan and place over medium heat.

Once nice and hot, coat the haloumi in the flour mixture, shake off the excess and transfer to the oil to cook for a couple of minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until the haloumi is done.

To serve, combine fresh oregano, lemon zest and a good whack of salt and pepper and sprinkle over the hot chips. Squeeze some lemon juice and devour, hoping to work through the confusing trauma of losing one of our Queens at the hand of another.

 

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Tex Mex van den Burger

Burgers, Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Africa, Survivor: All Stars

There are less than three weeks until the new season of Survivor kicks off and we almost have an official cast – remember the good old days when the pre-season lasted four weeks, swoon – and as such, I convinced my boy Lex van den Berghe to drop by and help me celebrate.

Sandra, not Rob. Obviously.

I’ve known Lex for decades, doing his first tattoo. Like Phoebe Buffay’s, it was a single dot after I broke down in tears admitting that I had no idea what I was doing, nor could I draw. While it was the end of my time posing as a tattooist as part of a grift, Lex appreciated my honesty and we became the best of friends.

Well until he found a pair of brothers in Africa and I stopped talking to him for a couple of years out of jealousy. Until he explained that he only aligned with Ethan because we had matching hair, after which I felt really awful for bribing Rob to eliminate him in All Stars.

(Please don’t tell him I played a part in that, it really turned out worse than I expected and I feel so guilty).

But anyway, I avoided talking too much about this seasons returnees and instead we focused on the amazing diversity of the cast we’ll learn about in the coming days and the fact that they err on the side of older. Which is something I always prefer.

Obviously Lex agrees that Janet is going to be the break-out star of the season and our dream final three is Karishma, Kellee and Noura. Oh and he is super keen to set me up with Tommy, Vince and Ronnie. Emphasis on and. With the formalities out of the way, we toasted to a good season and the dream that season 41 will be a fan voted Third Time’s the Charm on which he can dominate before smashing a Tex Mex van den Burger.

 

 

Less burger and more chilli sloppy joe, these babies are super simple and delicious enough to look impressive. Hot and spicy, sprinkled with a generous helping of cheese and piled high with all the tex-mex fixins’, there is no better way to spend time with one of your besties.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tex Mex van den Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 Kirsten Bunst
1 serve of Chilli con Kim Carnes
1 avocado
1 lime, juiced and zested
2 shallots, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated
sour cream, to taste
sriracha, to taste

Method
Cook the buns and chilli as per Kirsten and Kim’s recipes respectively.

Combine the avocado, juice and zest of the lime, shallots and a tsp of sour cream in a bowl and mash to combine. Season and leave aside.

To serve, split the buns and toast before ladle some chilli on the base. Sprinkle with cheese, dollop on some guac and sour cream and drizzle with sriracha, close the burger and devour. Joyously.

 

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.

Alicia Caraway Meatballs

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: The Australian Outback, Tapas

Get your flagging finger ready and sidle up to my face because Survivor: Island of the Idols is back in less than four weeks and my girl Alicia Calaway is finally making her triumphant debut on this here anthropological study.

I’ve known Alicia for years after training as personal trainers together in NYC and when Probst was casting Australian Outback, I knew she would be a perfect fit. While her epic finger-waving fight with Kimmi made our friendship difficult for a couple of years, we eventually buried the hatchet as I aggressively tried to help pre-game for All Stars.

While Alicia’s most famous moves in the game are the aforementioned fight and providing a break to the Mogo Mogo pagoning in All Stars, she also holds the joint distinction of being the first person to vote for the winner of two seasons.

Given she has a history with Rob, I thought it would be entertaining to bring her over to celebrate his return with Sandra to pal around Gilligan’s Island style. Though tragically, they had moved on from their All Stars dramas and instead she was excited to see him back. And hopes it isn’t as long between this season and his next.

Again, I won’t say anything here about warring winners.

We laughed and caught up on life, toasted to the ongoing success of the show despite its ever worsening twists and gorged on Alicia Caraway Meatballs in the hope that Island of the Idols will follow David vs. Goliath and be a killer season despite the shitty title.

 

 

I stumbled upon this recipe on Taste.com.au in a desperate hunt for something quick, easy and featuring caraway, and it quickly won my heart. Delicate meatballs, with a good whack of spice and sticky sweetness? They’re now the second favourite balls I like in and around my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alicia Caraway Meatballs

Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup

Method
Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, egg, caraway, chilli and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined and form into golf sized balls.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and once hot, toss through the balls and cook for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the maple syrup and toss to coat.

Serve immediately and devour, careful not to wag the balls near my face. Though there would go my social life.

 

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Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie

Main, Snack, Street Food, Tapas

What an absolute joy it is to catch up with someone as dear as Rachel Zoe. While it has been a few years since we’ve last caught up, our relationship is one that is so strong that it feels like no time has passed.

I first met Rach in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s while completing my college professor scam at George Washington University. While I was tiring of the scam, I say young Rach and a man named Roger in one of my classes and vowed to get them together. My scam gave way to my, let’s say fetish, for Fiddling on the Roof, and I set out to make them a match.

While they were both ropeable at the end of semester to discover they learnt less than zero, I pointed out that I brought them together. And having promising to get Rach into fashion, they agreed to forgive me.

Her career then took off and I was on the skids after too much white in the Great White Way – both kinds, FYI – and she took me under her wing and made me her assistant. I then slept with Andy Cohen, got her a reality show and was promptly fired by Andy when we broke up and was replaced by Brad Goreski.

Not that I’m still bitter at Andy about that or anything. I mean, he named his son after me as an apology which is meaningful.

In any event, Rach and I are dear friends and had a fantastic closing Brisbane Fashion Week – which full disclosure, I assumed was an oxymoron – before returning home to gossip and smash a tonne of Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pies.

 

 

Earthy and lightly spiced, these babies are damned delicious. Little flakey pockets of pastry, with a piping hot fresh filling and a hit of poppy seeds, it is truly delightful.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
500g chorizo sausages, casings removed
400g lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp smoked paprika
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs, whisked
200g vintage cheddar, grated
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini and chorizos and cook, breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon, for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the lentils, chilli and paprika, stir for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once the filling has cooled, cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press half into muffin tins. Add half the egg to the lentil mixture with the cheese and parsley and stir until well combined. Spoon into each muffin hole. Top with the remaining pastry, crimping to close, and brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then devour, giddily.

 

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.

Pizzara Frillips

Pizzara Frillips

Side, Snack, Street Food

Let me just tell you, one does not know how much Zara Tindall née Phillip’s visit meant to me. And boy does she know how to troll her cousins, which makes me even happier to call her a dear friend.

I arrived at Brisbane Airport driving a Tesla, as per her request, and picked her up from the pick-up zone of a genuinely commercial flight to avoid getting a ticket from the parking machine, to reduce adding to the burden of recycling plants. We then laughed the entire way back to our apartment, knowing that if her environmental heroics surface the very same week of Harry and Wills’ plane faux-pas, she will come out on top.

Shit, she made me promise not to say anything. Can you keep it between us?

In any event, it was such a treat to get to spend a little bit of time with Zars and fondly look back on our time spent together in our youth, when we would compete against each other in dressage events and tut-tut at the epic fails on the polo match.

Sadly at all those cultural events, we never got the chance to relax and gorge on food that we loved so it was a total joy for the two of us to get together and smash some like we would while attending the Gordonstoun School.

 

Pizzara Frillips

 

While we both grew up enjoying the finer things in life, we still know that there is nothing more enjoyable than some crunchy fries dirtied up with some pepperoni, napoli and tonnes of cheese. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Enjoy!

 

Pizzara Frillips

 

Pizzara Frillips
Serves: 2 regal chums.

Ingredients
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped
1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp thyme, roughly chopped
1 cup passata
pinch of raw caster sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
200g pepperoni, sliced
1 cup mozzarella, grated

Method
Cook the fries as per Jud’s instructions.

While they’re getting hot, heat a lug of olive oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Add the herbs, passata, pinch of sugar and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

To assemble slash serve, place the fries in a bowl, top with sliced pepperoni, a generous heap of sauce and an even more generous mound of mozzarella.

Then devour, messily, full of joy. And pomp and circumstance too, obvi.

 

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Some Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls waiting to heal Ross Clarke-Jones after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor after burning himself and then his idol at two back to back tribals, Harry was feeling the heat and again focused on the Ben Driebergen strategy of finding idols until the end. Thankfully we were put out of our misery and distracted from the horrible memories of Chrissy’s robbery with Jonathan lording of the reward challenge for parmas which made John smile so brightly my basement flooded. Once again Andy struggled to get anything right, this time bombing throwing the immunity challenge as Baden single handedly beasted his way to winning the challenge, sending the Contenders back to tribal. Not wanting to rest on his second idol, Harry talked to Simon and Ross to see if they would be interested in flipping on JaQueen, Pia and Abbey and joining him and Matt to take control of the game. Sadly they weren’t interest however and after Harry played his idol, which made Janine nervous enough to play hers, poor Matt was voted out of the game.

The next day we checked in with the Contenders where Ross and the girls were thrilled to still be standing. Well sitting really, in the water as they washed themselves and relished island life. Ross then found a plank of wood which he used to attempt surfing on the reef and again, I love the man and get can’t enough of him on my screen.

We checked in with Camp Champ where they too were enjoying island life, fishing and swimming together on the reef and feeling grateful for everything they were experiencing. Andy too was loving it SA MUCH and damn, that sours things for me. They soon returned to camp where Andy continued to ruin my vibe, talking about the pain of not returning to tribal though was thankful that nobody realised. Right on cue we heard from Luke who knew that Andy’s attempt to throw the challenge were as subtle as a brick and as such, he wanted to take him down ASAP. Luke then dived into his spy shack as Andy tried to catch up with Baden, knowing that getting Baden on board is key to his safety given he single handedly thwarted Andy’s lame attempts at throwing the challenge. Luke then pulled Baden away from Andy and suggested that they will be a powerful duo as nobody would expect it.

Back at the Contenders tribe Harry was feeling all alone, surrounded by Champions while JaQueen continued to lament the pain of Harry still surviving. Ross checked in with Harry to find out whether his tears were real and was disappointed to find out his good nature was taken advantage of. Ross then joked about tethering himself to Harry to avoid him finding one, so the two goofed around as the rest of the tribe got together to hunt for the newly hidden idol. Which filled Harry with joy to have spooked them. With everyone otherwise ocupado, Harry approached JaQueen with a Hail Mary pitch to sell himself as the more helpful ally than some of her current options. She then businessed the hell out of him before agreeing that it is smarter for her to keep him around and hot damn, JaQueen is a bloody icon.

Jonathan arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes would race across a series of poles, tarzan swing across a gorge before tossing a monkey fist in a fork before using the ropes to traverse a balance beam. They then need to release puzzle pieces, build a stair ladder and light a fire at the top of the tower. After benching Andy immediately, Shaun got the Champions out to an early lead, while the Contenders slowly tried to close the gap thanks to Daisy struggling on the poles until she leaped into Shauns arms. Swoon. While the Champs started to swing across, Ross and Pia struggled on the poles allowing the Champions to extend their lead. Then tragedy struck as Ross clipped his leg while doing the Tarzan swing, fell into the ditch and started screaming in pain.

That is when I started sobbing uncontrollably. In the words of Countess Luann, don’t let it be about Ross. Anyone but Ross.

The challenge was stopped immediately as the medics were bought in as everyone stood around with a look of sheer panic on their faces. He was then carried off the challenge site by Jonathan to before the doctors decided that his injury was serious enough to warrant further medical assessment … before the challenge was restarted from where they were. Decidedly more sombre the tribes battled it out, as the Contenders desperately tried to close the gap. One by one the Champs landed their planks as the Contenders slowly made their way back into the challenge. Until they didn’t and the Champs got into their rhythm, climbing the tower, lighting their fire and securing immunity for their tribe.

The Contenders returned to camp worried about Ross’ injury and wondering what to do at tribal council, should it go ahead. The four former Champs speculated whether Harry could have found another idol, before JaQueen started weighing her options and wondering whether keeping Harry over Simon is the smarter move. JaQueen approached Pia who was keen to get rid of Simon instead of Harry with them then going to Abbey who was far less convinced about the idea. While she was getting emotional, Pia grew more and more sure that taking out Simon was the better idea as Harry is desperate and will stick with them to take control. JaQueen and Pia approached Harry who was super keen, with JaQueen only requesting his undying loyalty in return for them going out on a limb to keep him around.

As Simon wandered alone in his speedo, the new alliance of four sat around the shelter speculating about Ross’ safety. Before Ross was escorted back into camp on crutches by Jonathan, who announced that he had broken his ankle and as such such could not return to the game. The Contenders all started to breakdown, heartbroken to lose the life of the party before Ross encouraged Pia and Luke to go out and win this thing. The Champions were then wheeled over to camp so that they could farewell Ross and celebrate the bloody icon, as he hobbled away wearing Harry’s socks.

Before hopping – quite literally – into the back of the 4WD to see if he could finally have his culinary comfort. You see Ross and I have known each other for years, as I grew up surfing up and down the NSW coast from D’Bah to Bateau Bay, with Ross spotted my talent and taking me under his wing and coaching me. While I found myself too distracted by attractive men in speedos to ever get anywhere with my surfing, Ross continued to mentor me, I believe, because he loved that I paid in Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls. I mean, I could have paid him, but I am also very cheap.

 

Ross Clarke-Jones waiting to test whether Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls could heal him after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

 

These babies are so delicious and warming, that I’ve oft said that they have healing qualities and while that may seem opportunistic or convenient based on the tragedy that befell our King, the proof is in the pudding. Or sausage roll. Sweet, salty and melting in your mouth, these are the only things that will dull the pain of losing the icon of the game. Our new, literally fallen god, Ross.

Enjoy!

 

Ross Clarke-Jones testing whether Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls could heal him after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

 

Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g streaky bacon, diced
1 bunch shallots, sliced
1kg chicken mince
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed and sliced into quarters
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until sweet, fragrant and translucent. Add the bacon and cook for a further ten minutes, or until its just starting to brown. Add the shallots, stir and remove to a bowl to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Add the chicken mince to the bowl with the breadcrumbs, chilli, maple, sage and a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined.

Divide the mixture into 24 and form into a sausage shape. Place a sausage along one edge of the pastry squares and roll to enclose, brushing the last centimetre or so with egg wash to close. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, seam side down, and repeat the process until done.

Brush all the rolls with the rest of the egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately, to fix your broken, Ross-less heart.

 

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Chickeke Parma Burger moments before Keke Palmer got her hands on it.

Chickeke Parma Burger

Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food

I don’t even know how I am typing this during Ekka season, but I feel like a positive, renewed man that isn’t crippled by the conflict of his passion for a Snoop Daggywood Dog and fear of falling back in with the intoxicating world of carnies.

Which reminds me, me and my hands need to catch-up with Lee-Anne Locken ASAP. I mean, once a carnie always a carnie, I guess?

But anyway, I am positively loving life ATM and that is in no small part thanks to spending time with my dear, perky, hilarious friend, the iconic Keke Palmer herself. While I knew her way back when she was simply Lauren, I knew she was destined for greatness, quit my job as a High School drama teacher and became her manager slash coach.

Did I mention I was the inspiration for Mr. G? Well I was.

While I’m not at liberty to tell you whether she is legit joining morning television full-time, I can confirm that we had a delightful time catch-up, plotting a way to get a reboot of Scream Queens happening at Netflix – I need Stamos to show skin and I know they will help – and that she assured me that if she were going to morning television permanently, she would have me on as an entertainment reporter slash culinary wiz.

Say what you will about my culinary skills, a gorgeously gloopy Chickeke Parma Burger can prove very convincing to get what you need from your nearest and dearest.

 

Keke Palmer overjoyed about potentially smashing a Chickeke Parma Burger

 

Crisp, juicy chicken, sweet tomato sauce and a heaping pile of sharp parmesan cheese, if you didn’t think there was a way to improve upon a parma, you would sorely be mistaken. I mean, adding the bun and with it, the ability to eat with your hands without judgement? I’m a genius, I tell you. Even if I wasn’t really the first person to come up with idea.

Enjoy!

 

Keke Palmer overjoyed about smashing a Chickeke Parma Burger

 

Chickeke Parma Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 Kirsten Bunst
4 Chicken Parmigina Gershon
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 tomato, sliced
1 lettuce, leaves removed, washed and drained.
Jud Beerza Battered Fries, to serve

Method
Cook the buns and parmies as per Kirsten and Gina’s recipes, and make the mayo.

To assemble the burgs’ toast the buns and smear the insides with a little bit of mayo. Add a layer of tomato, then the lettuce, then the parma. Close the burger and serve with fries, devouring 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.