Chicken Daniel Francese

Main, Poultry, That Is So Fetch Week

Unlike Mands, I didn’t meet Dan Franzese – or Dan Fran, as I prefer to call him – until we were on the set of Mean Girls. Given it was based on my life story, I had offered Tina support in coaching the three actors whose characters which were based on me; Regina, her mum – when Ames plays your future self, you know you’ve made it – and too gay to function Damian.

After five minutes in the trailer, I noticed that Dan didn’t need any help with the character, instilling Damian with humanity that my teenself couldn’t even fathom having. So instead, we hung-out. And by hung-out, we commenced a torrid affair.

While you will soon find out that out all-too-brief affair ended in a total disaster, we remained friends against all odds and I am so proud of the career that Dan Fran has gone on to have. Despite me vowing to ruin his career, even though I was in the wrong when our relationship ended. Hell, I even suggested him to Jonathan for a role in looking!

Damn – why am I admitting fault?

Given he is busy being a successful boss, we haven’t had the joy of spending as much time together as we would like. As soon as Dan Fran walked into my room, he lit the place up with his beautiful soul. Which off topic reminds me that I need to see Jesse McCartney ASAP.

Anyway … he lit up the room and TBH, that is to be expected when a big plate of Chicken Daniel Francese is awaiting you.

 

 

Lightly coated chicken for optimal crunch, combined with a punch of garlic and lemon works to create a mouthwatering delight. Add in the fresh hit of parsley – which I never thought I would say but it really makes it sing – and I just can’t stop.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Daniel Francese
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
flour, salt and pepper, to taste
4 chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
2 eggs, whisked
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 lemon, half sliced and the other half juiced
½ cup dry vermouth
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Combine a cup or two of flour in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. In a second bowl whisk the eggs with a couple of tablespoons of water.Flatten the chicken breasts with the back of a frying pan until they’re about 2cm thick.

Heat a good lug of oil in the base of a pan over medium heat. When scorching, dip the chicken in the flour, then the egg and transfer to the skillet to cook for about five minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan and leave to rest.

Add a knob of butter to the pan and cook the lemon slices and garlic for a minute or so. Add the vermouth, stock and lemon juice, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and leave to simmer for five minutes, stirring through the parsley towards the end. Return the chicken to the pan for a couple of minutes to heat through.

Serve chicken topped with a slice of lemon and drowned in sauce, for optimal devouring.

 

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Lena Wafers

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

It is the second last day of this year’s Emmy Gold celebration The Gold Wing, can you believe? And something something segue Gaz, Marg, Ava, Rami and Rhea something, I am thrilled to catch-up with my dear friend and semi-freshly minted Emmy winner Lena Waithe.

Given she won her Emmy with my (problematic) friend Aziz for the beautiful Thanksgiving episode of Master of None, it should come as no surprise that he is the reason we became friends.

I was visiting the set during season 1 and Lena and I got to talking about our coming out experiences, and Aziz suggested that they write it into the second season. So you’re welcome, because that episode was perfection and he and Lena truly deserved that Emmy and I can’t even begrudge them for not including me in the writing process.

Since her victory, Len’s career has absolutely exploded and while it means we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, I’m so proud of her. And it makes our fleeting dates even more special. As a fellow writer, I knew that she would be best placed to go through the writing categories with me. Obviously she agreed that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s auteur Amy Sherman-Palladino would snag it for Comedy. Continuing our agreeance, we both backed Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Killing Eve, Steve Martin and Martin Short for their Netflix special and William Bridges and Charlie Brooker will snag it for USS Callister.

With the formalities out of the way, we toasted her success and got to work demolishing a big batch of Lena Wafers.

 

 

Not your childhood’s technicolour crosshatched biscuits, these wafers may not look as perfect but damn they are delicious. Light, sweet and delightfully crisp, they are the only thing worthy of honouring my girl Lena.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lena Wafers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g raw caster sugar
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of kosher salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for a couple of minutes, or until it is light and fluffy. Still going, add the egg, vanilla and milk and continue beating until just combined.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl before folding through the wet ingredients. Cover and transfer to the fridge for half an hour.

When you’re ready to bake, place teaspoon sized bowls on lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of space for spread. Flatten each ball to form a thin disc and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once set, devour.

 

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Garry Shandyling

Drink, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing

Given it is the 70th anniversary of the Emmys, I decided to kick things off with an icon that has hosted the ceremony before in addition to being a victor. And as such, I also decided it was time to get the time machine back out of the garage and go celebrate Emmys’ milestone by hanging with my dear friend Garry Shandling.

I first met Gaz in the mid-70s; I was working as John Travolta’s stand-in – and definitely not lover – on Welcome Back, Kotter when Gaz wrote an episode. While I was fired during the filming of the episode after a major non-lover’s tiff with Travolts, the final straw really was my inability to stop laughing because it was the funniest episode of all time.

As such, Garry felt bad about me losing my job and took me under his wing. Given I am a crafty Hollywood strategist, the tables turn and I took his career to the next level. That level being working with Johnny Carson, two hit shows and eventually in ‘98, an Emmy.

Now I know the name of this game is to run odds and it is extremely difficult to run odds with a dearly departed friend, but my drive in the delorean gave me enough time for some much needed clarity. While Ted Danson and Bill Hader gave killer – oft literally – performances, I can’t see anyone beating Donald Glover for lead actor, give how freaking creepy he was as Teddy Perkins. And obviously the Fonz is going to score his first Emmy due to being an icon slash robbed some many times. For the Emmys and an Oscar as Principal Arthur Himbry in Scream, may he rest in peace. That being said, if Tituss Burgess doesn’t win an Emmy for Kimmy Schmidt next year, I will riot.

By the time I arrived I back in ‘98, I was ready to celebrate Gaz’s sole Emmy win and catch-up with a clear mind. Well, until the Garry Shandylings kicked in.

 

 

I used to mock my brother mercilessly for enjoying a shandy … until I drank one, and realised how freaky delicious they are. Light, bubbly and a little bit sweet, there is no better drink to toast a friend or while away a summer afternoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Garry Shandyling
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups of beer
1 ½ cups lemonade

Method
Split the beer amongst two glasses. Top up with lemonade.

Down. Repeat.

 

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John Coq Au Ransling

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Caramoan - Fans vs. Favourites, Survivor: South Pacific

While I kind of dropped off the radar – which as you know, I will strike from memory in the coming weeks – as soon as Wendell defeated Domenick thanks to Laurel breaking the tie on Ghost Island, I am super pumped by the fact that in sub five weeks Survivor: David vs. Goliath will be back and all will be right in the world.

Because let’s be honest, no matter how terrible a season can be any survivor is better than no Survivor because there will also be a Michael or Brendan to thirst over.

As has become the tradition, I decided to reach out to some of my dearest Sole Survivor friends to countdown to the latest season … and since they were all unavailable, I decided to invite John Cochran.

I joke, I joke! I love Cochran and he is my dearest friend … now. But damn did I hate him during the horror that was South Pacific. The self-deprecating humour, the inability to fit in with the jocks and not wanting to get naked in the water – it was like watching myself on screen and I just couldn’t handle it.

Thankfully his flip to Coach and Co’s side led to a glorious Sophie victory, so I apologised to him for my heavy use of voodoo during the season and we slowly, tentatively became the best of friends. A friendship so strong, I couldn’t even bring myself to hate him when he voted against my lover Malcolm in his winning season.

Say what you will about the season being terrible and made for him, Caramoan had some killer moments – the TEETH, Malcolm losing his pants, Dawn seething about missing out on the family reward – and Cochran ran the game, well and truly deserving his victory.

While we couldn’t run the odds since the cast is yet to be released, we do agree that Probst’s friend, creator of Enlightened and The Amazing Race contestant Mike White – who was clearly visible in the preview at the end of Ghost Island – should become an icon of the game … and the hot cop will most likely be my number one thirst trap. Though maybe those opinions were just the John Coq Au Ransling talking.

 

 

Like his oft joked about daughter – with Sophie, obvi – Aubry Bracco, I can’t bring myself to see him without the sweet flavour or bacon, mushrooms, chicken and sweet, sweet wine. This time, however, the wine is white and hot damn does it still taste amazing. Rich and creamy, Coq au Riesling is all the fun of Coq Au Vin but with a lightness … that is removed by addition of cream. But it’s cream, so you know what, so what, who cares.

Enjoy!

 

 

John Coq Au Ransling
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
6 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken thighs, diced
250g mushrooms, sliced
750ml Riesling
1 cup cream
salt & pepper, to taste
handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Melt the butter in a large pan and sweat the onions over medium-low heat for five minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered before adding the garlic and cooking for a further minute or so.

Reduce heat to low, add the mushrooms and cook for five minutes or until browned and glorious. Add the chicken and cook for a minute to brown the sides before drowning, giddily, in wine. Crank up the heat and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer and cooking, covered for half an hour.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream and cook for a further five minutes, or until slightly reduced. Season, sprinkle with parsley and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, and devour with a generous hunk of French Sourdough. Like a Paige de Keragne, for instance.

 

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Courtney Love Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my god – what a delight it was to see Courts again! I was anxiously waiting at the VIP exit of Brisbane Airport – the one where Schapelle left from! – and ran straight into her arms as soon as I saw her, breaking down in tears from either feuding with a washed up Gladiator or how desperately I missed her.

JK, obvi it was the latter. My feud gives me life.

Now as you know from my time-travel enabled date with Kurt, I’ve known Courtney for years when we were both huge in the Portland gay club scene where I was turning tricks at the time. She realised that I was destined for greatness – well, a different kind of greatness because no judgement – took me under her wing and vowed to make me a star.

While I kept on stumbling, Courts was never disappointed in me and always made me feel loved and appreciated. She truly is the sweetest person, which is why I’m honoured to have introduced her to Kurt.

Anyway I haven’t seen Courts since she toured Australia four years ago, so it was such a treat to see her, reconnect and see whether she believes that Nico and I will ultimately end up together. Well, if things don’t pan out with The Commando, obvi. And if she and Neeks enjoyed their time with Ru and Mish, obvi.

Given the deep love I have for dear Courts, I knew there was only one thing I could make that would do her and our friendship justice. A delicious Courtney Love Cake.

 

 

A traditional Sri Lankan celebration cake, the Love Cake is moist, spicy and sweet and is emblematic of all that is good in the world. Like my dear ride-or-die friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Courtney Love Cake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
350g raw unsalted cashews
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
4 eggs, separated, plus an additional 4 yolks
1 ½ cups semolina
⅓ cup honey
icing sugar, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 150°C and line a square cake tin with baking paper.

Blitz the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the rosewater and spices and blitz again until well combined.

Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, to the point where they appear to be pulsating. You know the look. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition before folding through the fragrant cashew mixture, semolina and honey.

Using a clean bowl, beat the egg whites in the stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into the semolina mixture, transfer to the cake tin and bake for an hour, or until firm and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Before carving, dusting in icing sugar and devouring. With your favourite friend.

 

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Celebrity Skin

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

The Ekka winds are ripping through Brisbane – it is a thing, think like Santa Ana winds, but far more ocker – and I’m kind of in need of some warmer weather. Basically, and I hate saying this, no matter how mild it is I am sick of winter and ready for spring to roll around and seasonally guilt me into refreshing my jush.

Essentially I’m suffering from SAD and I need someone to make me (mood) over.

Oh, make me over. I’m all I want to be. As my co-workers can attest, I’m a walking study in demonology. As such, I picked up the phone and begged my bestie Courtney Love to drop by and help perk me up?

What says, I want you to give me a reason to be beautiful rather than to crash and burn?

Image source: Unknown.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Pizzastarah Silverman

Main, Pasta

Let me start by getting the obvious out of the way first – while my dear friend Sarah Silverman wasn’t able to get me a role in Wreck-It Ralph 2, the rough cut she showed me is hilarious. Though I stand by the fact I should have been in the princesses scene as the queen.

But whatevs.

Thankfully I’ve been friends with Sez for such a long time, that I was able to look past the slight and join together for a nice date. I’m a damn saint, I tells you.

I first met Sare while skulking around 30 Rock trying to get Lorne Michaels to lift my life ban. She was finishing up her one-and-done run on the show while I was being escorted from the building, and Clive the kindly security guard threw me into her path. I call him kindly because that harsh toss from the door led me to my best friend, and for that I’ll always be grateful.

I took advantage of her post-SNL pain, and drove her to show them what a big mistake – HUGE – they had made, and in turn ride her coattails to fame, fortune and success.

While we had a brief period of vicious feuding after her edits on Fucking Matt Damon made me lose out on an Emmy – yeah, my version was pretty X rated – I moved past it because I knew my life is better with Sare Silv in it.

Who am I? That was so earnest and sweet.

Anyway – as I am wont to do, we laughed, we cried, we watched the movie, we watched the random swingers party happening in the rooftop pool in the building across the street and we smashed a deliciously confusing hybrid Pizzastarah Silverman.

 

 

What is better than pizza or pasta? Yes, you guessed it – a pasta made out of pizza ingredients! Ten points to Gryffindor! I mean, nothing can possibly give your pasta a pep in its step quite like pepperoni. Add in olives, mushies, parm and all the usual pizza suspects, and you’re in for a world of joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pizzastarah Silverman
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
a handful of mushrooms, sliced
½ cup black olives, sliced
½ cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
½ cup chargrilled capsicum, sliced
100g pepperoni, sliced
2 cooked Italian Sausage, sliced
400g can diced tomatoes
½ – 1 cup cream, to taste
2 cups baby spinach
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
500g pappardelle

Method
Start by getting a large pot of water boiling over high heat.

While the water is coming to a rollicking party, heat a lug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat Add the garlic and onion and cook for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chilli, mushrooms, olives, sundried tomatoes and chargrilled capsicum and cook for a further minute before stirring through the pepperoni and sausage.

Add the tomatoes and cream and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes, reduce heat to low, add the spinach and a good whack of salt and pepper and leave to bubble, covered, while you cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

When the pasta is ready, add the parmesan to the creamy tomato sauce and stir well. Toss the pasta into the pan and stir until coated. Serve immediately, slathered in additional parmesan for optimal devouring.

 

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I’m also f-*&ing Matt Damon

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I had an extremely hectic weekend, quickly dropping by the Berkshires – visiting Dorind, obvi – before getting an extremely patient and thorough lesson in how to play chess by my seven year old nephew. Obviously I was exhausted by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, so I lay by the pool drinking Jimosas and watched movie trailers.

Don’t worry, I’m about to get to the point.

I was wondering how The Meg differed from Jaws III before I was distracted by the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph 2 and realised I had about twenty missed calls from Sarah Silverman over the past fortnight.

Thankfully she bought how busy I claimed to be and accepted my invite to drop by and catch-up later this week. What do I make for one of my dearest friends that happen to be a Disney princess?

Image source: Gregg DeGuire/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.

Joy Beharsagna

Main, Pasta

It was actually my dear friend Joy that reached out to me about dropping by for this week’s date. She had noticed that I dropped off the face of the earth but the google alert featuring my name, rehab, prison and scandal hadn’t pinged, so she was extremely concerned about my welfare.

When I turned my phone back on after a ten minute digital detox, I discovered one to two frantic voice-to-texts that read, ‘Bern. Place chamomile me has been as chew grits kiss. Lava Jay’. After an hour abusing Siri, I deduced that it was Joy and decided to pick up the phone and see what was up.

Her concern for me was up, obvi, and that is why I love her.

I’ve known Joy for years after meeting on the set of Manhattan Murder Mystery in ‘92. I delivering Diane her daily filming steak when I literally bumped into her, in a rom-com fashion. We bantered about the accident, our acerbic wits instantly bonded us and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I put her name forward as a potential co-host of The View when Babs refused to hire me in drag as Angela Merkin.

She and I spent the afternoon chatting, laughing and taking a little time to enjoy the view, before sitting down to smash a big old Joy Beharsagna … and watch Australian Survivor, obvi. Honestly, did you really think I was going to make anything else?

 

 

Obviously this is Queen Joy’s famous recipe with the name smooshed into hers. But when I’m making my triumphant comeback to cyberspace, why should I get creative when Joy has already created something of perfection. Sweet and spicy sausage, a whack of herbs and the majesty of ricotta – if you haven’t tried Joy’s lasagna, you’re not living.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Joy Beharsagna
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
375g fresh lasagna sheets … or Alan Pastarkin, if you dare
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
750g Italian sausage, removed from skins
olive oil
800g crushed tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups passata
¼ cup oregano, roughly chopped
½ cup basil, roughly chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp pepper
500g ricotta cheese
1 ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
500g mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion over low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before bringing the heat up to medium, adding the sausage and cooking, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 10 or so.

Once the meat is no longer pink, add the tomatoes, passata, paste oregano, basil, salt and pepper and cook for twenty minutes or so.

While the sauce is simmering, combine the ricotta, a cup of parmesan, mozzarella, egg, parsley and a good whack of salt and pepper.

To assemble, spread a third of the mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish. Layer a couple of sheets of pasta over the top and spread over half the cheese sauce. Top with another third of the meat, some pasta and a the remaining cheese sauce. Pour over the remaining sauce, top with some parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until bubbly and crisp.

Devour. Preferably with Karlic Lagerbread.

 

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.

You know what, so what, who cares

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Hello *coughs* is this thing on?

As you may have noticed, I’ve taken a little unplanned hiatus (which I totally plan to wipe from memory by posting the multitude of documented-yet-unposted catch-ups in the coming weeks, after which will make this post slash me look completely cray) but I needed a little time for self-care, in the spirit of vegan and shellfish lover Queen Sonja T Morgan.

Oh and for once, self-care isn’t referring to feverish masturbation.

To apologise, I’ll offer you this vague explanation which may or may not include a Type-A aortic dissection (not me), a cold, graduation (not me), moving house, rehab, the flu, aortic arch and valve replacement surgery (I feels for others ok, shut up), prison and not appearing on Australian Survivor (which given my love of Locky last year, is probs a good decision in the post me too world. Particularly for CBS, hey Les?).

So basically, I needed to take a break – or at the very least a nap – and to work through my stress and anxiety.

Lucky for you, I am back and while I didn’t give you a heads up about needing said break, in the words of this week’s iconic guest, you know what, so what, who cares? Yes, my dearest friend Joy Behar is dropping by to help me get my groove back. Which I will use as inspiration to go back in time to write How Stella Got Her Groove Back and snag me my first Oscar, but that is a story for another time.

Any guesses what I’m making Queen Behar?

Image source: The View / ABC.

 

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.