Chicken Cormac McCarthy

Main, Poultry

Full disclosure, Cormac is one of those celebs that I’ve always assumed has died and I’ve got the time machine half way out of the garage, before I realise that just because his beautiful prose is timeless does not mean the man is dead.

And boy doesn’t he remind me in the kindest, most elegant of ways. Every. Damn. Time. We’re. Together.

As I mentioned, Cormac and I connected in the 50s at a writing workshop and I was brought to tears by the beauty of his words. I mean, it completely took my breath away and I knew that I was just what he needed to go from unrefined talent, to the literary icon he is today.

I’m sure that Cors would have a different take on our early years together – he’d downplay his talent, or something … I’m sure he is aware the my mentorship was the key to his success – our friendship has always been consistently strong.

Despite never being asked to write a foreword or a blurb for a novel, not that I’m bitter or anything like that!

Given that Cors is getting on, I met him at the airport and drove him straight to my home for a 4PM dinner. I mean, yes, we reconnected, caught up and chin-wagged the early afternoon away but by 4 we were well and truly done, so sat down for his favourite writing food, my Chicken Cormac McCarthy, and toasted to our beautiful friendship.

 

 

Fun fact: all the pretty horses was actually named after my original version of this dish … which he didn’t realise I actually made using horsemeat. Upon discovering that horrid little secret, he implored me to change over to chicken and this smooth, spicy delight was born.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Cormac McCarthy
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
800g chicken breasts, diced
50g natural yoghurt
sunflower oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp grated ginger
12 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 bay leaf
4 whole cloves
1 tbsp plain flour
small pinch of saffron
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 cup cold water
¼ cup double cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Chuck the chicken in a bowl with the natural yoghurt and a good whack of salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large pot and sweat the onions, garlic and ginger over low heat for about fifteen minutes or so, or until your kitchen is so fragrant you just can’t control yourself anymore. Add the crushed cardamom seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli, bay leaves and the end of the cloves – throw away the stalks, I hate them – and cook for a further five minutes.

Stir in the flour, saffron, sugar and a good whack of salt, then slowly pour in the water while stirring. Cook for a further ten minutes before removing from the pan, removing the bay leaf and blitzing the mixture until smooth.

Return the pan to the heat and add the chicken and yoghurt, and cook over low heat, stirring, for about half an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir through the cream and cook for about ten minutes.

Season to taste and serve immediately with some freshly cooked rice … to help with the devouring.

 

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My country’s for old men

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I have oft been described as an octogenarian in a thirty year old’s body, which I admit was super offensive until my last birthday on account of me still being in my 20s.

But anyway, now that i’m actually a senior stuck in a 30 year old’s body, I’m completely embracing my daddy-dom – as the kids say – growing out my Mr Sheffield streaks and hanging out with my distinguished peers, like the divine Cormac McCarthy.

I first met Cors at a writing workshop while attending the University of Tennessee in the 50s, where we bonded over our passion for (Phil) Olivetti typewriters, as was the style of the time.

I gave him a call on the wireless the other day and thankfully his dance card was free for latter this week. What says we’re going to the jitterbug and do the Charleston like a brutal piece of western American literature?

Image source: Unknown.

 

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David Croissant

Baking, Breakfast, Main, Side, Snack

As disappointing as it was to have series star – and my now current feud partner – Jason Bateman steal the announcement of Arrested Development season 5, seeing my boy Dave quickly cheered me up and helped me focus on positive things.

(Though obvi, revenge is still a possibility if I’m not cast as a missing Bluth).

I’ve known Dave for years, having met in the writers room of The Ben Stiller Show where I took him under my wing and made him my protege. Then I got fired, which resulted in me becoming ineligible for the writing Emmy that David went on to win with the rest of our co-workers in 1993. Obviously I held a grudge against all of them, but I particularly felt hurt by Dave and spent the next few years trying to bring him down.

Thankfully for my conscience, it didn’t work … and it also made Anna Faris’ job to reunite us on the set of Scary Movie 2, that little bit easier. Fun fact: helping us mend our mostly-one-sided feud inspired her to create her hit podcast Unqualified, but I digress.

With our friendship restored, I put his name forward for the small part of Tobias on that little show Arrested Development and the rest, as they say, is history.

Given that we haven’t seen each other since I caused a scene at the premiere of Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked – Jesse McCartney knows what he did – we had plenty to catch-up on.

I knew that we’d stay up all night chatting, so had pre-prepared a batch of David Croissants to help perk us up the next morning.

 

 

I have long loved croissants but the idea of making them had always terrified me. That is until I saw the hilarious – despite the insufferable children – It’s Complicated and fell in love with the scene of Mez and Steve making them.

While I in no way made the process look as glamourous as a Nora Ephron movie, these babies taste as buttery and delicious as you need. And can help you move past having your big announcement moment stolen by a dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

David Croissant
Serves: 6-12, hunger/greed dependent.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups milk, 41°C
¼ cup muscovado sugar
14g dry yeast
4 ½ cups plain flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
340g cold unsalted butter

Method
Ok, let’s start with the obvious part – this is a long-ass recipe and you need to start preparing it the day before. Maybe get a coffee and read through before you start it, ok?

Anywho … combine the warm milk, muscovado sugar and yeast in a large bowl of a stand mixer and allow to stand until foamy. This should take between five and ten minutes. Once foamy than a foam party – if they are/ever were a thing – add the flour and salt, and mix on low with a dough hook for about ten minutes, or until smooth, soft and only a little bit sticky. Like sticky in a good way, you know?

Shape into a 4cm thick rectangle, wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour or so.

Now this is where it gets time consuming and fiddly …

Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and beat mercilessly with a rolling pin until cold yet malleable, before shaping into a 20 x 12cm rectangle. Wrap in some wet kitchen towel and chill while you work on the dough. For the first time.

On that note, unwrap the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface until it forms a 25 x 40cm rectangle. Place the dough with the shortest end to you and place the butter across the centre. Fold the bottom third of dough up to cover the butter and the top third down over the done.

Brush off the excess flour before pressing horizontally dents along the short width of the  dough. Roll out the dough until it forms a 25 x 40cm rectangle without allowing any butter to escape.

Brush off excess flour, repeat the folding-into-thirds process to form a 20 x 12cm rectangle. Wrap in cling and chill for a further hour.

Repeat the dent, roll, tri-fold process a further three times, so it totals 4 folds. Confused? This is why I told you to grab a coffee and read it out – it is not as confusing in practice. After the final fold, wrap the dough and chill overnight for at least 8 hours.

To prepare the actual croissants – did you forget we were making those – cut the dough in half (chilling the other half until later). Roll out the non-chilling dough on a lightly floured surface until it forms a 30 x 40cm rectangle and brush off the excess flour. Arrange the shortest side of the dough to you, cut in half horizontally and chill another half. Cut the remaining half into thirds, vertically before cutting each rectangle diagonally into triangles.

Starting with the shortest side (aka the base) of the triangle – opposite the tip – and stretch the dough to double the length. Place the triangle on the bench and roll up from the base towards the tip – it should roll over itself three times. Place the shaped croissant on a lined baking sheet, tip side down and curve the ends inwards to form the crescent shape.

Repeat that process with the remaining triangles, then repeat the previous process with the other rolled rectangle, then repeat the process with the other half of chilling go. By the end, you’ll feel less confused … promise. Ish.

Lightly cover the shaped croissants with cling wrap and leave to rest for two to three hours or until puffy.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Uncover the croissants, generously spritz the oven more than a fading southern belle in the summer. Put the croissants in the oven, spritz the oven again and close the door. Reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for ten minutes. Switch the trays – I probs should have mentioned you will have filled two trays with croissants – and spin 180°C before baking a further ten minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven and devour immediately with jam, or with ham and cheese and baked a further five minutes.

 

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Never never nude

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I always knew that my very exclusive and dare I say it, militantly specific guest list for Cinco de Cuatro would raise some eyebrows AND tensions amongst my friends.

But I just didn’t expect Dave to get so cross … get it?!

Sorry, hard to go past such highbrow humour when it comes along. While my boy Dave Cross was feeling a little blue (man group) to miss out, he understood that I had to draw a line somewhere thematically.

Plus, I promised to have him over to coincide with a big announcement (which Jase has spoiled, but whatevs).

What says I can’t wait to work with you on season five?

Image source: FOX.

 

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Seth Rogen Josh

Main, Poultry

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve laughed this much in years. Like full on, deep, hearty Rogen-esque chuckles.

I’ve known my dear friend Seth since we were wee babes, well since just before we became men. You see Seth, Evan Goldberg and I attended the same bar mitzvah classes, became friends and commenced writing Superbad. It all went south, however, when they found out I wasn’t Jewish and was instead trying to find myself a boyfriend and join the moile high club.

Seth, loving his role as a (future) bear icon, didn’t mind however Evs was not thrilled and had my name struck from the Superbad script and hasn’t spoken to me since. Which, let’s be honest is a total dick move, since it puts our best friend Seth in a hella awkward place.

Given that Seth is so busy, I haven’t seen him since the premiere of Neighbours … where I caused a scene when Zac suggested we take a break. Which reminds me, that was another reason I haven’t seen Seth in years.

Thankfully, he is hella forgiving and understands that the thirst is real and Zefron floods my basement and that when Zef takes sex off the table, I go insane. After a quick apology, catch-up and subtle prying into whether he think Zef and I will get back together – FYI, he thinks there is hope for us – we sat down to a big bowl of his favourite Seth Rogen Josh.

 

 

Like Seth – and Zef, for that matter – this curry is hot, spicy and makes you feel unending joy when it is inside you, filling you up with its goodness. I got well distracted, didn’t I?

Oy – it is delicious, like Seth. Enjoy!

 

 

Seth Rogen Josh
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
vegetable oil
500g chicken breast or lamb shoulder, diced
5 whole cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
3 whole cloves
5 whole peppercorns
1 cinnamon sticks
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt
¼ cup plain yogurt
¼ tsp garam masala
fresh ground pepper
fresh coriander, to garnish

Method
Put the ginger, garlic and ¼ cup water into food processor and blitz into a smooth paste.

Heat a lug of oil in a large pot over medium heat and lightly brown the meat. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Place the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon in the meaty oil and fry, stirring, until the cloves swell and your kitchen is fragrant. Add the onions, reduce heat to low and sweat for five minutes. Add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for a minute before adding the remaining spices and cooking for a further minute.

Return the meat – and all their juices – to the pan with the yoghurt and stir until combined and cook for a couple of minutes. Add a cup of water, bring to the boil and deglaze the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

At the end of the hour, remove the lid and turn the heat to medium to reduce the liquid to desired consistency.

Serve with rice, garnished with some fresh coriander and your favourite sides. I recommend raita, naan and pappadums … but it is up to you. I guess.

 

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Ain’t No Party Like a Sausage Party

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Have I ever told you about the time I did good in the world?

Probs not – it was back in 2014 and I convinced my boys Ben Affleck and Seth Rogen to speak at two Senate committee meetings. It is so rare that I do something good that I forgot until Benny Aff reminded me last week.

Wanting to kind of marinate in the smug feeling I had, I reached out to Seth and thankfully he was hella keen to catch up and reconnect.

What says you’re a dear friend and I love that I can openly lust after you?

Image source: Gary Miller/Getty Images.

 

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Benoffee Affleck Pie

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Sweets

Even with us both currently sober – my birthday led to an arrest and court-ordered AA, what of it? – my cheeky B-squared reunion with Benny Affleck was completely off the chain!

Seriously … how is that possible? Is this old age? Is drinking not, shudder, required for a good time? Actually, don’t answer that … I’d rather not know.

Anyway … I obviously met Benny – and Matt – while attending Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in the 80s. I, again obviously, immediately spotted their talents and quickly moulded them into the writer/director/actors that you know and love day.

Unless you’re Jimmy Kimmel / Matt Damon … but that isn’t a prob for my boy Benny.

As I mentioned, I’ve tried to keep my distance with Benny for the last year or so given the scandalo with nannies … on account of my past work as a nanny and off the charts sex-appeal.

Thankfully his reunion with Jen means that I can up my profile and celebrate his Gone Girl – and pitch Tina Fey’s Tyler Perry sequel, Girl I thought you were goneBatman vs. Superman nudity and enquire about the prospect of Justice League shower scenes.

With that, I needed something to sweeten the deal and cut through my thirst, so settled on our favourite Benoffee Affleck Pie.

 

 

Be warned, this is insanely sweet. And I mean, insanely sweet – which is great to counter thirst, FYI – but make no mistake, banoffee is always a win. Plus, the banana means it’s healthy and the cream kind of cuts through the caramel.

You can’t go past that – enjoy!

 

 

Benoffee Affleck Pie
Serves: 2 Boston boys … 8-12.

Ingredients
200g muscovado sugar
200g butter, plus 75g for the crust
2 x 400g can condensed milk
200g butternut crunch biscuits … or digestives or something of that ilk, but butternut crunch are amazing, crushed
4 bananas, sliced on the diagonal
400ml double cream, whipped until soft peaks form

Method
Start by making the toffee by combining the sugar and 200g of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until combined and the sugar dissolves. Slowly stir in the condensed milk and bring to the boil, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens, gets darker and smells like caramel. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

While that is cooling, blitz the biscuits in a food processor and melt the remaining butter. Combine, press into a pie dish and transfer to the freezer for fifteen minutes or so to kinda-sorta-semi-set.

Reserve about a quarter of a cup of caramel. Add half of the bananas to the remaining mixture, quickly stir and pour into the pie dish.

Whip the cream, and pour/layer on top of the caramel banana mixture. Arrange the remaining banana on top … and then drizzle over more caramel. Because why not?

Devour.

 

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Argo fuck yourself

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I feel like I was a bit of a dippy downer last week, in processing my grief about Phil’s death and my rapid ageing.

As such, I decided that my 30s should be a more positive decade and that I should kick off the catch-ups of my 30-somethings on a happier note – hanging with my dear Ben Affleck celebrating his reunion with Jenny Garns.

Given the fact I was in my 20s and was a one-time nanny, I thought it best to stay away and save him the temptation, so we haven’t caught up in a few years.

What says I’m thankful we’re free to catch-up, now that I’m over the hill?

Image source: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

 

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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.

 

alan-meatballs-1

 

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!

 

alan-meatballs-2

 

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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Pedro Almoturnóvar

Baking, Dessert, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVII: Gold with the Wind, Side, Snack, Sweets

Para el segundo día de Oscar Gold, sabía que sólo podía celebrar una persona con mi querido amigo Pedro Almodóvar.

Oh – sorry, sometimes I forget I speak 1 ⅞ (combined total of four different) languages. What a smartie pants!

Anywho, for those who can’t be bothered popping that into Google Translate – like I needed to to fill in the gaps of the sentence – I knew that there was only one person I could spend the second day of Oscar Gold with, my dear friend, director, screenwriter and icon of Spanish cinema, Pedro Almodóvar.

I first met Peds while working together at Telefónica and we quickly fell in love and I began to ride his coattails to renewed fame and fortune. Oh, I should probably clarify, I had fled to Spain and pursued a career as an escort under an assumed identity … to avoid being deported from the US.

Upon first meeting I knew Peds was destined for greatness and the muse part of me knew that I needed to inspire him, resulting in the one-two punch of Law of Desire and Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. While our relationship didn’t work out, I have always maintained my muse status in his heart.

Given the success of his last movie Julieta, it has been hard to pin down Peds for a catch-up but thankfully he knew it was vital to drop by and run the odds on his previous categories – Best OG Screenplay (they officially change the award to this name in 2023) and Best Foreign Language Film.

Despite the fact that The Salesman is my preference to take out Best Foreign Language Film, Peds being polite old Peds is backing the little Australian gem Tanna. Best OG Screenplay was decidedly more complex – we both loved Hell or High Water and 20th Century Women, but know that this is firmly a two horse race for La La Land and Manchester by the Sea.

We argued back and forth for hours until agreeing that is La La Land goes on to scoop the pool as expected, this is probably going to be a lock for Kenneth Lonergan’s heartbreaker.

Or we’ll both be wrong and the Academy won’t give the screenwriter gongs to Moonlight and Manchester and will instead opt to break the Oscars record with La La Land – oh and FYI, as a director he is baking Damien Chazelle – I mean, if there is one thing Hollywood loves more than anything else, it is Hollywood.

Me and Peds? Well, we love a simple and sweet Pedro Almoturnóvar.

 

pedro-almoturnóvar-1

 

Now I know using store bought puff pastry is cheating but puff is the most difficult of the pastries and I’m not ready to attempt it and fail yet.

Plus, it is hella convenient and given how busy I am with prepping for the weekend ahead and what I’m going to wear/who I’m going to do, I needed something that I could quickly wrap my sweet, tart and altogether delicious raspberry, chocolate and almond filling.

Enjoy!

 

pedro-almoturnóvar-2

 

Pedro Almoturnóvar
Makes: 16.

Ingredients
¼ cup raspberry jam
½ cup raspberries
½ dark chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
4 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Combine the jam, raspberries, chocolate and almonds in a bowl and give a good stir.

Lay out the sheets of puff pastry and cut each into four squares. Place a generous tablespoon in a corner of each little square – leaving a centimetre around the edge – and brush the edges with a little bit of egg. Press and pleat the edges to seal, pushing out as much air as possible.

Place all the turnovers on a lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash and baking for about 20 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Devour.

 

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