He’ll be here

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Some people stand in the darkness. Afraid to step into the light. Some people need to help somebody, when the edge of surrender’s in sight.

But don’t you worry, it’s gonna be alright. Cause I’m always ready and my boy David Hasselhoff will be coming in to your sight.

I’ll be ready, so are you ready? Never you fear, no don’t you fear. Because I’ll be ready. Forever and always, and now Hoff will be here

What do I make the icon to celebrate last week’s 30th anniversary of Baywatch?

Image source: NBC.

 

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Stuffed Shelly Long Bake

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Main, Pasta

After spending the last few days catching up with the current shining stars of television – hey there current nominee Christina Applegate, and rising stars Riz and Tatiana! – I decided Emmy Gold: Golden Family needed some gravitas in the form of some TV royalty. So I picked up the phone and invited myself over to celebrate Shelley ma’ fuckin’ Long.

While yes, she is still working hard with killer runs on Modern Family and less recently – and my favourite – playing Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch movies, her Emmy winning turn as Diane in Cheers is truly the stuff of TV legend.

I mean, her and zaddy Ted Danson’s will-they-won’t-they romance is enough to flood my basement even now.

Obviously Shell was honoured to finally get the call up to appear on this patch of cyberspace and introduce herself to a new audience. While our relationship started out quite rocky thanks to the meddling ways of the morally corrupt Kelsey Grammer, Rhea Perlman – the saint that she is – was able to sit us down, make us see sense and finally end our feud in 1987 before Shelley departed Cheers.

Did I mention I was a featured barfly in Cheers? Because I was.

Anyway, given she starred in one of the most iconic comedies of all time, I got her to help me run the odds for Outstanding Comedy Series, hoping that this category provides a well-deserved surprise slash great return on gambling investment. While Veep, Barry, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag are generating the most chatter to take out the win, this is the category that I could honestly make a case for every nominee taking it out. Russian Doll was bold and moving, The Good Place is the greatest exploration of morality ever committed to screen and Schitt’s Creek is a remarkable show filled with hope and joy.

While my heart wants Schit’s Creek to take it out and Shelley thinks The Good Place deserves it, I think it will go to Fleabag. But given Schitt’s has the worst odds, am betting it all on them for a good return on investment. While Shelley tried to suggest I go for a safer bet, I didn’t listen and drowned out her wise words by smashing a big Stuffed Shelly Long Bake.

 

 

There is nothing better than pasta … except kitsch foods, so using that logic, this baby is the holy grail. Large shell pasta bake full of rich, creamy spinach and cheese floating through a sea of spicy tomato sauce like the SS Noms? Sign me up.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stuffed Shelly Long Bake
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
300g jumbo pasta shells, cooked per packet instructions
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
250g spinach, roughly chopped
500g ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly whisked
a small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
1 tbsp chilli flakes

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the spinach, remove from heat and cook, stirring for a minute or so, or until the residual heat has wilted the spinach. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Once the onion, garlic and spinach are pretty much tepid, add the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, basil and a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

To assemble, pour marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and stir through the chilli flakes. Stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place randomly in the baking dish. Repeat the process until the pasta and/or cheese is all used up.

Dot with any remaining cheese mixture, sprinkle with a little extra parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Or until gloopy and glorious.

Leave to rest for five minutes before serving and devouring. Triumphantly like an icon.

 

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Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Snack

And now, the end of The Gold Wing is here and I thought it best to once again go back in time and celebrate with someone that has faced their final curtain – Toto that into My Way, would you? – my dear friend Aaron Spelling.

As you know, I’ve long been a friend of the Spelling Dynasty and my catch-up with Loni – who played Candy in Tori’s hit show So Notorious – reminded me that Aaron has a couple of Emmys to his name, despite creating some of the most iconic TV shows of our time.

I used my time in the purring delorean to finalise my tips for the best series gongs, settling on an ASP clean sweep as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel takes Comedy, The Handmaid’s Tale goes back-to-back for Drama and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is honoured for Limited Series. I found things more difficult for Talk and Sketch Series, eventually decided Variety Talk would go to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and At Home with Amy Sedaris will/should surprise for Variety Sketch.

Oh and I obviously am backing RuPaul’s Drag Race but that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

By the time I arrived at the epic Spelling Compound, I was so overjoyed to see Aaron one last time that I didn’t want to let him go. I desperately danced around filling him in on what I had been up to, lest I set off a butterfly effect, eventually shoving Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies into our mouths to avoid any issues.

 

 

Inspired by a delicious Nigella classic, these babies are decadent, rich and a little bit healthy – yay spelt! – so you can devour them without feeling to guilty. And while that is a total lie, just buy it … because they are worth it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies
Serves: 2 nostalgic friends, or 6-8 normal people.

Ingredients
150g peanut butter chips
125g dark chocolate
125g spelt flour
25g cocoa
½ tsp bicarb soda
pinch of kosher salt
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g muscovado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, still cold

Method
Chuck the peanut butter chips in the freezer and preheat the oven to 160°C.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl and leave to cool a little, and combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in another bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled chocolate until well combined before adding the cold egg. Scrape down the sides, reduce speed to low and carefully add in the dry ingredients, avoiding a mushroom cloud of flour at all costs. Remove from the stand and fold through the peanut butter chips until combined.

Dollop a tablespoon of dough on a lined baking sheet, leaving a large rim for spread, until full. Place the remaining dough in the fridge while you transfer the baking sheet to the oven for ten minutes and bake until just set. Leave to rest on the warm pan for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Repeat the process until the batter is done, and then devour.

 

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Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

So Notorious. I was talking about So Notorious, the hit sitcom based on Tori Spelling’s life starring Tori Spelling and Loni as a heightened version of the divine Candy Spelling. Just in case the tease didn’t make it abundantly clear.

It was such a delight to reconnect with someone as dear as sweet Loni!

She ran through customs with a look of pure joy on her face and while at a distance I assumed it was someone trying to avoid an inspection on account of me needing new glasses, she eventually came into my line of site and jumped straight into my arms.

We both burst into tears, followed by fits of laughter at how emotional we were being and to be honest, I’m shocked our behaviour didn’t get us escorted out of the airport.

After we got home we got to work reminiscing and catching up. While she wasn’t convinced that So Notorious needed to come back and we need to take my ideas to Torz post haste, we still had a wonderful time. Which really just speaks to how deep our friendship runs.

Though I mean, when you share an ex-husband like Burt you’ve both got to admit you both have fantastic taste. Which was evidence by how much we both love a creamy Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson.

 

 

Earthy, spiced and dripping in glorious, gloopy cheese, these cannelloni pack a comforting punch. They’re the perfect meal for a cool spring night, while gabbing away with a dear friend over some cheap wine.

I mean, why pretend I drink anything better?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 tbsp butter, halved
2 leeks, thinly sliced
750g butternut pumpkin, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dry vermouth
salt and pepper, to taste
10 sage leaves, roughly chopped, halved
pinch of nutmeg, grated
1 ½ cups ricotta
1 cup parmesan, grated
500g dried cannelloni tubes
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large pot and cook the leek and pumpkin over medium heat for about ten minutes. Add the garlic, vermouth and a good whack of salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and cook for a further ten minutes or so, or until the liquid has all absorbed. Allow to cool slightly before transfering to a food processor with half the sage and the nutmeg, ricotta and parmesan and blitzing until smooth.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Meanwhile melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and once foamy, whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the milk and cream and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until smooth and thick.

To assemble, pour half of the cream sauce into the base of a baking dish. Pipe the pumpkin mixture into the cannelloni tubes and lay on top of the creamy sauce. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with sage and walnuts. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Allow to rest for five minutes before serving and devouring.

 

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BFFS in Cincinnati

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

After hanging with Courts last week and just getting back from seeing the greatest movie of all time Book Club, I realised that there was another iconic blonde – who is of a certain age – I’d been neglecting. And I thought it would be remiss of me to let it linger any longer.

Thankfully my dear Loni Anderson had a clear schedule this week, so she giddily jumped on the next plane after I called.

I’ve known Loni for years after meeting when she guested on The Love Boat. As you know, I was part of Charo’s entourage at the time and spent every spare moment on he set ogling male extras on the pool deck set.

Because if my love for Steve Willis and Mat Rogers has taught you anything, this guy loves a speedo.

Anyway, tangent over. What do I make for my dearest friend that has also played another of my dearest friends which made her the TV mother of my other dearest friend?

Image source: Ron Galella/WireImage.

 

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.

Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After the debacle of catching up with my frenemy, the worst winner of Drag Race and – my honest opinion only – all around garbage person Tyra Sanchez, it was so nice to spend time with my kind friend Engelbert Humperdinck.

Kind, warm, funny, charming and best of all, kind and open with his fans … friend.

Unlike Tyra.

Anyway, I first met the Dinck and his – well, you know – back in the ‘60s when he was still getting his career off the ground. My dear friend Tom Jones’ manager was his former roommate and one night while we were out partying, we decided his name was holding him back. Ten minutes later Engelbert was born and Arnold was no more.

With that, I earned his complete and unequivocal trust, shaping his career ever since. Well until yesterday, when he tragically declined my offer to coach him to another Eurovision berth. Which no doubt would have been more successful.

While I was upset he didn’t trust me, I respect his wishes like a friend – unlike say, Tyra would – and we instead focused on reconnecting and havin’ a laff. Though that is kind of the go to reaction to splitting an Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake between two best friends.

 

 

Moist, sweet and perfectly spiced, hummingbird cake is like a carrot cake on crack. In all the right ways. Add in some cream cheese icing and my shorts are creamed, culinarily speaking obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup, muscovado sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
2 ripe bananas, mashed
450g crushed pineapple (in juice), drained with juice reserved
2 eggs, lightly whisked
¾ cup sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar mixture

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease 2 x 25cm cake tins.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, and spices in a large bowl. Fold through the muscovado sugar, coconut and walnuts. In another bowl, combine the banana, pineapple, eggs, oil and ⅓ of the pineapple juice. While stirring pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and continue to fold until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the lined tins, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, checking after half an hour. You want it golden brown on the outside and an inserted skewer to just come out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until it is light, fluffy and just combined. Don’t overbeat as the icing will become too soft.

To assemble, smear a third of the icing on top of one of the cakes. Top with the second cake, and smear the rest of the icing on top and around the edges. Press the remaining walnuts into the icing and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour or so, removing ten minutes before serving … and devouring.

 

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The Last Waltz

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

If there are two things I love in the world, they are old people and Eurovision. And thankfully my dear friend Engelbert Humperdinck is hella old and was a contestant in the greatest song competition in the universe.

I mean, sure, he bombed pretty horrifically in the final but against all odds, I stuck by him and vowed to rehab his career.

What says, I think you’re almost ready for a second go at the crown? Almost.

Image source: Unknown.

 

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Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

Baking, Side, Snack, Sweets, Thankgiving for being a friend

Despite the fact my girl Betts is the only surviving Golden Girl, I applied yesterday’s logic with Rue – that she’d be upset if I disappeared after catching-up with Bea and Estelle – so decided to stick around in ‘87 to see out this year’s thanksgiving. Well, technically that year’s thanksgiving. But in lieu of this year’s.

Fuck – time travel can be a confusing bitch, no?

I’ve known Bet for years and years, after meeting on the set of Match Game in ‘63. Side note: based on how much fun we had, I suggested Ru do a version on Drag Race … and Snatch Game was born. You’re welcome.

While Betty and I talk on the phone every other day in the present day – I got super paranoid about a Golden curse in 2010/11 after Rue passed away a year after Bea, and she a year after Stell – we weren’t able to see as much of each other as we liked in the ‘80s. I mean, between my various crimes, scams and love affairs and her hit show, we were lucky to catch up once a month.

I rolled up on the lot for the fourth day in a row – talk about deja vu – as Betty raced into my arms for a hug.

“My dear Ben. I’ve missed you! It will be so wonderful to have my turn marking Thanksgiving with you.

“I’ve been so happy all day … Bea wanted to kill me!”

She burst out laughing while a fear gripped me … before I realised it wasn’t the present and she has outlasted the curse thus far. We gossiped and laughed as we drove back to her house. Both thankful, most of all, for each other’s company. And, obviously, my festively approved Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie.

 

 

Yes, cookie. In the singular – this was our first foray into the majesty of the skillet cookie. And dare I say it, we nailed it. Perfect spiced dough combined with the sticky sweet chocolate and pumpkin, and the earthiness of the nuts join together for a perfectly festive dessert.

I mean, how can you not be thankful for nuts in your mouth?

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
½ small butternut pumpkin, cut into a 1cm dice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
150g unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup firmly packed muscovado sugar
¼ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp bicarb soda, sifted
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups white chocolate chips
⅔ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking sheet with a lug of water and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Toss to combine, transfer the tray to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and sweet. Allow to cool while you get to work on the cookie.

Combine the butter and sugars in a 20cm, ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, or until the butter has just melted and everything combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk the egg and vanilla into the mixture before folding in the flour, bicarb soda, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg until just combined. Fold through the pumpkin, chocolate and walnuts, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool for half an hour before serving just warm with ice cream.

 

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Pumpkim Richartta Rolls

Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Given the troubles Kimmy has had the last couple of years, it was such a joy to catch up with her and see for myself how well she is doing. Particularly because I feel responsible for leading her down the path she is on.

Of course, my sweet, sweet Kimmy doesn’t see it that way.

I sadly haven’t seen much of Kim since the tragic passing of her dear ex and my beloved friend Monty. As soon as we saw each other, we ran into the other’s’ arms and sobbed for her loss before spending the afternoon reminiscing about the good times with Monty and how proud of her she would be.

While Andy Cohen would be extremely disappointed with my inability to convince her to return to the housewives full time – I still think she needs time to heal – he (and Rinna) would be happy that I was able to get her to accept the infamous bunny for Hucksley’s first birthday.

After achieving the near impossible, I decided to push my luck and talk to her about the sequel-reboot of Witch Mountain … which she just LOVED, though I sadly can’t talk about it due to Disney’s hella watertight confidentiality agreements (the slut pigs).

Given how much ground we had to cover, we needed something light, hearty and soothing – that I could also sneak a drink in a mug with – to give us sustinance. No doubt you know where this is going – given it is our simplest pun yet and isn’t shoehorned in at all – we shared my famed Pumpkim Richartta Rolls.

 

 

A little bit spicy, soothingly sweet and the earthy combination of pumpkin and the ricotta work to create a delightful vegetarian alternative to sausage rolls that doesn’t include spinach.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkim Richartta Rolls
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
500g butternut pumpkin, diced and roasted
500g ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs , lightly whisked
½ – 1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano, plus extra to garnish
1 tbsp plain flour
¼ cup grated parmesan
3 sheets puff pastry
salt and pepper, to taste
milk, to glaze

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the pumpkin, ricotta, garlic, eggs, breadcrumbs, cumin, oregano, flour and parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz until smooth(ish) and combined. Add more breadcrumbs if it is too wet.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, place a long strip of the mixture in the middle of each pastry half and roll over to enclose.

Cut each in half, transfer to a lined baking sheet and brush with milk before sprinkling with some extra oregano. Place in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes, or until golden and crispy. Then, obviously, devour like, again, a slut pig.

 

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Voom Voom Sha-Bang

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

As you know, I’ve long been a friend of the Richards-Hilton-Umansky sisters.

While one of my big-breaks came from being Kyle’s stunt double on Halloween, I actually connected with the girls during my previous big-break working as Kim’s stunt double on Nanny and the Professor and Escape to Witch Mountain.

Given my stunted height, Kimmy outgrew me but being the kind soul that she is, hooked me up to do Kyle’s stunts and we transitioned to being the best of friends slash drinking buddies.

What do I make that says, I’m so happy you’re doing so well and I’m sorry I introduced you to alcohol and the term slut pig?

Image source: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images.

 

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.