Duck Risottozryski

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, we witnessed the rise of the previously invisible who orchestrated a blindside of Tegan to break-up the power couple. Sadly for him, she wasn’t eliminated from the game and was instead sent to Exile Beach to await the next boot with them battling out to return to the game. Once again the Contenders lost the challenge, with Benji leading the charge to take out Tegan’s ally Heath and guarantee one of them leaves the game. Sadly for him, Heath played his idol negating all votes but his and sending Anita to Exile where she cleared the air with Tegan and was swiftly beaten at the challenge and sent from the game for good. Upon winning her way back into the game, Tegan was heartbroken to have kicked Anita out of the game though the departing Anita gave her a peptalk to get her revenge, and hot damn, I’d be terrified to have her back at camp if I were Benji.

The Contenders returned to camp where Tegan quickly got to work making everyone feel awkward as hell before letting them simmer in their guilt and getting water with Heath. Back at camp, Paige told the rest of the tribe they needed to own up to things and clear the air with Tegan if they wanted to last. They then all shared the stories that led to Tegan’s boot, with Benji’s lie outed without Tegan even needing to get her hands dirty. Though obvi, Benji wasn’t concerned. Meanwhile back at the well, Tegan filled Heath in on everything she learnt from Anita and told him that they both need to stop playing Mr & Mrs Nice Guy and go for the jugular.

Jonathan arrived on the scene for the immunity challenge where Tegan and Zach assured him that the Contenders hashed everything out and were ready to win, however given the fact we haven’t seen the Champions at all this episode, it isn’t looking likely. Anyway the challenge required sick people to run up a slippery slope to fill buckets full of holes with water and fill up a tube to release a box filled with a ball, which two people will use to complete a wall maze. As is oft the case, Mat got the Champions out to an early lead however Benji closed the gap and got the Contenders out in front. Well, until the Champions stripped down – damn boys and their speedos! Mat, Brian, Steve … swoon! – and overtook the Contenders, giving Jackie and Sam the lead for the maze. After narrowly missing the hole on their first attempt, the Contenders managed to catch up. Well until Zach and Robbie choked and Jackie and Sam secured victory for the Champions. Again.

As Tegan promised, she returned back to camp ready to out all of Benji’s lies and scorch the earth, so to speak until Fenella spoke up and outed the reason why she turned on Tegan. This set her off, saying he was a bullshitter and everyone needed to know who they were playing with. Benji then straight up lied to everyone, saying how he simply pointed out that they were a pair, then trying to say Heath planned to turn on the girls. This then lead to an epic moment where Heath and Tegan went full mum and dad mode, chastising him for lying and pointing out that the bromance are far more dangerous than their pair.

Benji then ran off to the shore to hide his tears by washing his face before pulling Zach aside to reaffirm they need to put enough doubt in their tribemates mind. While Paige didn’t buy his bullshit a second time, he was confident that he’d be able to convince Shonee and Fenella he never lied. While they looked to be all in with his story, they also seemed genuine when Tegan pulled them aside to clear the air and build their relationship back up. All was forgiven and they were ready to join Tegan in the next vote, though only if they vote out Zach instead of Benji since he is far more dislikable. While Tegan felt uncomfortable not taking Benji out, Shonee shared with us that she needed to keep her options open and felt Zach was more expendable to her game.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to shade their string of losses and Tegan for previously being booted from the game. Tegan admitted that she had been floating through the game prior to her boot, and vowed to fight hard for the rest of the game. Jonathan asked Benji for his opinion, with him once again trying to dance around the truth with very much conviction. Tegan called him out for lying about her targeting the girls to get them to turn on her, saying that Anita told her that Robbie and Benji instigated it despite their denials. Shonee confirmed that it was all true, with Benji attempting to stutter out a defence before being schooled by Tegan like she is the Michelle to his Purple Ben.

Zach tried to jump in and defend Benji, saying Tegan lied and planned to take him out with her pointing out that she never actually spoke to him and he knew that she targeted him since he voted her out. Zach admitted that he was nervous about the upcoming vote, with Tegan pointing out that the boys strengths haven’t really been helping them and the girls are far stronger than he gives them credit for. Zach continued to shrink the target on Benji’s back, saying the girls were letting down the team much to the disgust of all the women on the tribe. You could see them completely shut down as he tried to dig himself out of the hole, with the girls all jumping in to talk why he is useless and failing the tribe and Robbie and Benji looking more and more defeated.

Which was well placed as Heath and the girls joined together … with the help of Benji and Robbie, to take out Zach, despite the fact that Benji completely had his game blown up by the Exile Beach twist. While Zach had been rehabbing his image over the last couple of episodes, he was letting his misogynistic flag fly when he walked into Loser Lodge. Thankfully like a leftie woman, I don’t tolerate white heterosexual male privilege, nor do I take kindly to fragile masculinity. As such, I went to town on him for all his shitty statements throughout his ten episodes on television and proceeding to roll him the tapes of real man Steve Willis, breaking down about his desire to be loved. Real men cry, bitch.

Anyway, I went on such a rage filled tangent that I made Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth II hurricane speech look like a children’s story … so then I whipped him up a delightfully salty Duck Risottozryski to apologise for going so hard when I know that every good show needs a good villain.

 

 

I love Duck Risotto. It is amazing – deliciously gamey, sweet, creamy and packing a punch, it is near perfection. And while some would say his statements about women made him less than deserving of such a beautiful dish, I made him promise to do better in the future.

To quote Melania Trump, when they go low, we go high. She said that, right?

Enjoy!

 

 

Duck Risottozryski
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 duck breasts, skin on
1L vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
3 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
⅔ cup white wine
500g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup parmesan, grated
100g Goats Cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat until scorching. Add the duck breasts, skin down and cook for about five minutes, or until super crispy. Flip and cook for a further five minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and leave to rest for five ten minutes before slicing into 5mm thick … slices. Keep warm.

Meanwhile place the stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Finally heat another lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes or so, or until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, or until well coated and starting to lose their colour at the end. Add the wine and stir until it is almost absorbed before adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring until each additional has almost absorbed. This will take about fifteen minutes total.

While you’re cooking the rice, place the fatty duck pan back on the heat and cook the mushrooms until browned and glorious. Add the parsley, stir and remove from heat.

When the stock has all been used up, add the lemon juice and zest, thyme, mushrooms and parmesan, and a good whack of salt and pepper before stirring to combine. Crumble over the Goats Cheese and cooked duck, and serve immediately.

Then devour and wash the dishes like Zach would want. Well, if you’re a dislikable, leftie female.

 

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Alan Meatballs

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVII: Gold with the Wind, Poultry, Snack

Ok, so full disclosure – I didn’t really think about category diversity when organising this year’s soiree. For that, I am sorry … but also, not sorry – these people are my friends and you’ll just have to accept that we’ll be spending a lot of time discussing the screenwriting categories.

Adding to my flock of seagullsscreenwriters is my dear friend, Best OG Screenplay winner and – of course – ex-lover Alan Ball.

I first met Al whilst working on Cybill – him writing, me as part of Chrissie B’s entourage – and our attraction was instantaneous. After a torrid affair, I broke things off assuming he would amount to nothing – I don’t admit it often but I was wrong. He was obviously heartbroken and injected his pain into a little known screenplay called American Beauty.

Yes, you’re welcome – I inspired the classic film.

After seeing that I was wrong I tried to grovel my way back into his heart – well I don’t know if I grovelled but I definitely recall being on my knees – and the Oscars. While he sadly declined my offer to rekindle our romance and we’ve helped each other creatively ever since.

Fun fact: I’m the one who inspired him to cast Skarsy in True Blood. Again, you’re welcome.

Now for the most important part of the event – oh, after catching up with my dear friend obvs – Al agreed that Manchester by the Sea will take out Best OG and Moonlight will take out Best Adapted Screenplay … though Lion and Arrival are worthy challengers.

Given my love of Alan and (his) balls, there was no way I was going to whip up anything other than my Alan Meatballs.

 

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You know I love balls as much as Jenna Maroney but these minimally altered lil’ Meatball Shop numbers are as pure perfection as Skarsky (obvi NSFW). Big, thick and juicy, they are everything you want in and around your mouth and are absolutely exploding with flavour.

Enjoy!

 

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Alan Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
a good lug of olive oil
500g chicken mince
1 egg
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
30ml white wine
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground chilli
a generous whack of freshly ground black pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Combine all the ingredients – excluding the olive oil – in a large bowl and scrunch together in your hands.

Roll the mixture into a golf ball size, packing firmly as you go. You will need to wet your hands frequently as you go to smooth out the edges. Place on the sheet and repeat until done – you should end up with a dozen balls.

Place into the oven and bake for twenty, or until firm and crisp. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving with your favourite salad or as sliders … and devouring.

 

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Zendgria

Drink

As you know – well should, I’m sure I’ve mentioned it … I got Susan Lucci inducted too – I am a Disney Legend and as part of that honour, I am required to mentor young Disney stars.

I don’t if that is a blanket rule for the legends but Walt asked me on his deathbed, so I kind of feel obliged.

After releasing dear Miley Cyrus into the wild, I was lost trying to find a replacement until Zendaya came along. As soon as I laid eyes on Z, I knew she would become my new mentee as she is the only person that possessed even half of my talent.

That isn’t a dig, it’s just that I’m amazing.

Anyway my tutelage has led to Z’s career blossoming from Disney starlet, to DWTS runner-up and more importantly a starring role in the upcoming Spider-Man movie.

While I would normally relish the opportunity to destroy someone reaching my dream – Spider-Man can shoot his web on me any day – Z is just such a sweet girl, that it makes me happy to see her succeed.

Plus, she owes 99% of it to me.

Like there is a rule to not wear white after Labour Day, I have a rule to not be sober after Halloween. Now before you get all grumpy, yes Zendaya is under 21 but she was visiting Australia so she can participate in my post-Halloween drinkstravaganza.

Particularly when it doubled as a meeting to finalise the signature cocktail for her 21st next year which we decided will be a Zendgria.

 

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We wanted something that adequately highlighted the fruity influence I’ve had on her life but also had a depth and a richness, like her many talents.

Our decision really was a no brainer – enjoy!

 

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Zendgria
Serves: 6. Lol – nope, 1.

Ingredients
2 apples
2 oranges
1 lemon
750ml red wine aka a bottle
½ cup brandy
¼ cup cointreau
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups soda water, chilled

Method
Core and dice the apples, and add them to a large pitcher.

Slice the oranges and lemon, and add them to the pitcher.

Pour the wine, brandy and cointreau into the pitcher, sprinkle in the caster sugar and cinnamon. Stir, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, add soda water, give and quick stir and down. Greedily.

 

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Alanis Morecchiette

Main, Pasta

First connecting with Alanis in the early 90s truly was like winning the lottery, thankfully sans dying the next day.

It should really come as no surprise that I’m a dear friend of Dave Coulier – who I really should see sometime soon – after the extended period of time Annelie and I spent on the set of Full House.

Dave was dating Alanis at the time and introduced us to her, knowing that our musical ability would be a real help to her then fledgeling career. While they broke up soon after, we continued to work with Alanis and birthed her opus, Jagged Little Pill.

Fun fact, we even co-wrote You Oughta Know about Dave.

While there was a period of ugliness after she started dating the man who should have rightfully been mine, Ryan Reynolds, we found our way back together after they ended their engagement and have been close ever since. And before you even try to speculate, the police have never been able to prove I was involved in the stalking and threats that lead to their break-up.

Aside from helping me celebrate the milestone, Alanis wanted to drop by as she needed to reconnect with her muse – me – to help produce her next album. While I have been really busy, I knew that taking the time to reconnect was all that we would need to start the journey to create more beautiful music together.

The Alanis Morecchiette also provided a whole lot of inspiration, obviously.

 

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Despite orecchiette making me feel like I’m sitting down to a meal with Mike Tyson or Van Gogh, there is a certain something about the texture of these babies that elevate them from a conchiglie. Obviously this is me being crazy, maybe it is the sauce – the spiced sausage, chilli, mustard, peppers and basil cut through the creamy wine sauce to give you a comforting meal that packs a punch.

Enjoy!

 

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Alanis Morecchiette
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g orecchiette
600g spiced Italian sausages, meat removed from casings into small meatballs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¾ cup white wine
3 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp chilli flakes
¾ cup double cream
1 cup basil, thinly sliced
zest of one lemon
¼ cup shaved parmesan

Method
Cook the paste in a large pot of salted water, as per packet instructions.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and fry the sausage, stirring, until browned, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the wine and simmer for a couple of minutes, deglazing the pan. Add the mustard, chilli and cream, reduce the heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir through the basil, zest, parmesan and orecchiette. Serve, slathered in further parmesan and some additional basil.

Devour.

 

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Arroz Conner Pollo Bethune

Australian Survivor, Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor – yes, I have to stipulate that now – Vavau neared extinction after the tribes absorbed resulting in major casualties in sweet, angel Craig and Aganoan goddess Phoebe.

We opened up right on schedule with the melancholic Vavau tribe, now down to three comparing their level of skeletal-ness. I literally can not pick a winner of this competition though.

Thankfully the tribes convened for what they thought was their next challenge where the Vavauns were surprised to discover they’ve been saved from themselves as the tribes actually merged and were treated to the Survivor Auction.

Conner walked away with the first two items, blowing all his money in the process, Sam bought some mediocre looking nachos, Brooke got a very cheap bath – why did no one bid against her? – while Lee got the ultimate prize – an advantage – for only $80, before Nick paid $440 for a covered item … which also turned out to be an advantage in the game.

The tribe arrived at their new camp, the former Vavau tribe, which made the old Saanapuans wistful for their days of opulence over at their camp. Instead they were stuck in the Survivor slums which Kristie and Phoebe attempted to burn to the ground but a week ago.

They immediately got to work scrambling as one tribe, with Flick leading the charge against Conner while Sue rallied the counter alliance to topple Saanapu. I’m not sure who should tell them the immunity challenge hadn’t even occurred yet?

Lee then disappeared to the well to discover his advantage, which is to block someone voting at tribal council.

Nick then disappeared to the well, at a different time, where he discovered he paid $360 more than Lee for an idol clue rather than a guaranteed advantage. Thankfully he found the idol … however sadly it was just after being sprung by Lee who is now wary of him.

The dominant alliance then found a pink piece of cloth and decided friendship bracelets were the best way to highlight the pecking order before they arrived at their first individual immunity challenge.

Sadly I was not competing as I would have dominated, I’ve never met someone that grips a pole quite like me!

After what seemed like an eternity, the poles got wet and slippery – according to JoJo, I didn’t actually see rain and think he was just feeling inspired by Probsty – before Kylie’s memory lapsed and Brooke took out immunity.

We returned to camp for the actual scrambling where we were reintroduced to Flick who seems to struggle with pronunciation before Nick got to work over-explaining a vote split, Sam worked his way into my good books by trying to turn it on Nick and Sue got to work dominating with a plan to screw Nick’s split vote.

The tribe – oh did I mention they called themselves Fia Fia? They did – arrived at tribal with me quite confused as to what would happen. Flick was confident, Nick was quietly confident and Conner was trying his best to throw the target on to someone else.

Anyone.

JoJo then opted to call out the friendship bracelets and attempted to throw them all under the bus as we headed into the vote, however poor Conner ran out of luck and found himself voted out.

While I’m sad that Sue’s plan didn’t come to fruition just for Nick’s tantrum alone, Conner was a legitimate threat and made sense however telling him how much of a scrappy underdog he was, isn’t what he wanted to hear as he stepped out of the game.

I’ve recently been teaching law in Canberra which is where I connected with Conner – seriously, why universities continue to hire me is beyond puzzling. As you can tell from the game, Conner is perceptive and could pick up on the fact I was not a qualified lawyer or professor. Despite this, his kind heart got in the way and we started a friendship despite his better judgement.

Thankfully for him though, that friendship meant I knew exactly what he needed as he exited the game – his favourite, my Arroz Conner Pollo Bethune.

 

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Hearty, warm, spicy and soothing – this dish is the epitome of comfort food while also packing a punch. Delicate saffron, a kick of cumin and the tart olives? Enjoy!

 

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Arroz Conner Pollo Bethune
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
½ cup white wine, or as much as your drinking allows
pinch of saffron threads
6 chicken thighs fillets, diced
1 onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground sweet paprika
400g can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 dried bay leaves
1 ½ cups short-grain rice
3 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed
1 cup pitted green olives, rinsed and drained
½ cup chargrilled capsicum, drained and roughly chopped
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the wine and saffron in a bowl and allow to steep.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion and garlic and sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook until browned.

Reduce the heat to low and add the tinned tomatoes and paste and cook stirring for a minute. Add the wine/saffron and bay leaves and cook until reduced slightly, about five-ten minutes.

Stir in the rice and stock, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cover, cooking for about half an hour stirring occasionally. Or until the liquid has all absorbed.

Remove from the heat, stir through the olives and capsicum and leave to stand for about ten minutes.

Then serve and devour.

 

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Bryam Cranston Balls

Emmy Gold, Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Ok – so I know it makes running the odds all the more difficult, I couldn’t bare to hold an Emmy Week without seeing my ex-love and six-time victor Bryan Cranston.

Plus he has won for Best Actor in a Drama and Best Drama on top of his nominations for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Best Limited Series or Movie and – catch your breath – Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, meaning he can run a shit tonne of odds with me.

Let’s start with Best Supporting Actor, on account of yesterday’s catch-up with Tone, where Bry (like me and honestly Tone) is going for the well-deserved though underdog Tituss Burgess. I mean, the academy really should make up for the fact he lost last year despite the majesty of Pinot Noir.

Anyway, let me take you back to the early 80s. As you know, I was working with my dear friend Erik Estrada on the set of CHiPs when a young Bry arrived to guest during an episode. Using my keen sense of great talent – I discovered Meryl Streep, did you know? – I knew that he was destined for greatness, kinda dumped E and hitched myself to the Cranston Wagon.

We stayed close through his bit parts on Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Baywatch, The Flash, Seinfeld before I finally got him his big break – via my ex-lover – on Malcolm in the Middle and the rest, as they irritatingly say, is history.

While I was never able to get through the shit stretch of Breaking Bad, I’ve always been Bry’s number one fan and know that he will once again take out the Emmy, this time for Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (I mean, the man won a Tony for the play) – obvs I’m putting a cheeky bet on Hiddleston for the sole reason that he finally broke up with Swifty.

Once again, despite our extremely loud and incredibly close relationship, Bry has opted to go to this year’s Emmys with his wife, although was kind enough to point out that Kit and I would make such a cute twincest couple, albeit with me in the role of low-rent Jon Snow. With such a beautiful compliment, I had to repay him so still whipped up a batch of my Bryam Cranston Balls.

 

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You know that like the egreciously snubbed Jane Krakowski’s alter ego Jenna Maroney, I’m a huge fan of balls. Balls, balls, balls, balls.

Balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls. If I can form food into a ball, I will.

So yes, these are just a version of arancini, but arancini is the best, so is that a crime? Add in some yam (or you know, sweet potato in a pinch … I was in a pinch), spinach and goat’s cheese and you’ve got a preemptive seventh Emmy party in yo’ mouth!

Enjoy!

 

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Bryam Cranston Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250g yam (or sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1cm dice
olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 cup baby spinach
100g goat’s cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp sage, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
½ cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the yam on an a baking tray, drizzle with oil and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and tender.

Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat.

Meanwhile, heat a good lug of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Add the rice and cook for a further couple of minutes or until they start to go translucent. Add the wine and cook until it is all absorbed, followed by the stock, half-cup by half-cup until all gone, absorbing between each addition.

Reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is al dente. Remove from the heat, stir through the baby spinach and allow to cool for an hour.

When it is as frosty as a Daytime Emmy winner at a Primetime Emmy party, stir through the sweet potato, goat’s cheese, sage and chilli.

Line a large baking tray, roll the risotto into 1-2 tablespoon sized balls and place on the tray to rest until the mixture is all gone.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl, the eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in another. One by one, roll each ball in the flour, then the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Return to tray and repeat until all done. Place the tray in the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Remove the tray from the fridge, drizzle with oil and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once, or until golden and crisp.

Devour.

 

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Chicken Cacciatori Amos

Main, Poultry

It was such a treat to have Tori drop by – I forgot how deep a connection we share and how robust the conversation is between us.

I first connect with Tori in the mid/late 70s while (I was) turning tricks in the cubicle of a Maryland gay bar.  Torz was working at the club as a singer – under the watchful eye of her father who sadly had no interest in my advances – and was drawn to my creative albeit debauched spirit.

While most Pastors would advise against their children befriending vagrant, attempted hookers Mr. A knew that I was a good guy deep down and supported what has become a four decade friendship.

Obviously there was a period of estrangement, after I lashed out at her for not properly thanking me for helping her rework her breakthrough album Little Earthquakes but thankfully we were able to work through the ish pretty quickly and I continued to be her closest confidante.

I hadn’t seen Torz since getting kicked out of her orchestra concert at the Opera House in 2014 – apparently the skin flute isn’t an instrument that establishment likes you to play to an audience – so I was paranoid she may have been annoyed at me.

Thankfully she wasn’t and we quickly got down to catching up and working on music for her next album. I mean, I am her muse after all, so she couldn’t pass up that opportunity.

But anyway, you know that one of the main reasons she travelled over those 1000 Oceans was to try the flavor sensation that is my Chicken Cacciatori Amos. Which obviously is her favourite meal.

 

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The catch to a good cacc is all in the simmer. Like me in a feud, you want the chicken to sit and stew in its rage until it either boils over in a mess/tabloids dream or softens up and falls off the bone. The meat obviously, you know I wouldn’t fall off.

Enjoy!

 

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Chicken Cacciatori Amos
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 kg chicken drumsticks and thighs (with bones in … you know I love that)
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
150g pancetta, diced
125g button mushrooms, sliced
100ml white wine
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
150ml chicken stock
⅓ cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Method
Dust chicken with flour, heat a lug of oil in a casserole dish – le creuset, obviously – on high and fry the chicken for a couple of minutes each side, in batches. Remove and set aside.

Reduce the heat and sweat the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and pancetta until soft, sweet and the pancetta rendered – a couple of minutes should suffice. Return chicken to the pan and add the mushrooms and wine. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer for a couple of minutes, or until the wine has almost evaporated.

Add bay leaves, rosemary, tomatoes and a tin full of water, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir through the olives and devour with a shit tonne of mash.

 

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Céline Dijon Chicken

Main, Poultry

Oy Céline, the way you break my heart (serious Toni, unbreak it for me)!

It was the first time I’ve seen Céls since René’s funeral and the way she is powering through is just so inspirational. We had had a decade long estrangement in the lead up to his passing after I sold a story about them to the tabloids in 2001 but thankfully her kind heart knew that he deserved closure before his death and she reached out to help us clear the air and reconnect.

I first met Céline in the early 80s while competing against each other – and Bryan Adams, but that is another story for another time – in the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival. Against type, I never held her superior performance against her … because I knew that it was smarter to buckle in and ride her coattails to fame.

Thankfully Céllo recognised the  talent I possessed and we went on to enjoy a successful period of co-writing songs, culminating in her 1988 Eurovision Song Contest winning song Ne partez pas sans moi – if only my fellow Brisbane girl Dami had taken me up when I offered to write her song!

After winning such a prestigious competition, I went off to Hollywood to diversify my portfolio (to open up some options to snag my EGOT) while Céllo returned home to Canada to commence work on her first English language album. Obviously her album was a success, so when Jim asked if I knew of anyone that could sing vocals on my song for his film Titanic – oh yeah, I’m friends with Jim Cameron – I knew she was perfect!

Sadly she didn’t listen to my fashion advice on Oscar night … and James Horner had my name struck from the song’s credit!

Despite the fact that she is such a trooper, we stayed up most of the night – while the wind was so cold – talking while I helped her work through her grief, process all the turmoil that started her year and plan the next steps of her career.

Given how much we achieved together, you just know we had to have eaten something substantial, comforting and invigorating – yep, I made my famous Céline Dijon Chicken!

 

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As a good ole Quebec girl, Céline loves herself some delightfully French dijon (culminating in us snorting it together like a party drug in Tokyo in 82)! After the mustard started to wear away my septum, I knew I had to come up with a healthier way for us to indulge our addiction so I added in some chicken, brandy and mushrooms, and that mustard really started to sing.

Beautifully! Like Céline – enjoy!

 

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Céline Dijon Chicken
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
4 chicken breasts, with skin
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, sliced
200g mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
500ml white wine
splash of brandy

Method
In a pan, heat a lug of olive oil in a large pan over high – when as hot as CD’s career, reduce heat to medium-low. Season the chicken breasts and fry, skin-side down, for about 5 or until golden and crisp. Turn over and seal the meat for a minute or two. Remove from the pan and leave to rest.

Sweat the garlic and onion to the pan and cook until soft. Add the mushrooms and fry until they are soft and silky. Stir in the mustard, tarragon, white wine and a splash of brandy, then reduce for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, add the chicken, skin-side up, cover and simmer/steam for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is your desired consistency.

Slice the chicken and serve on a bed of fresh, creamy mash, lashings of the sauce and garnish with some fresh tarragon leaves.

Enjoy the new day that has come … in your mouth.

 

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