Pita Andre Bread

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack

With Halloween now a distant memory, I’m balls deep in preparations for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, which of course means I’m desperately trying to fit in as many catch-ups as possible. Thankfully, I was able to fit in some time with my dear friend, fellow Gold Coaster and ex-lover Peter Andre.

Pete and I have known each other since the late ‘80s, after I hitched my wagon to his after his appearance on New Faces. I enrolled myself at Benowa State High, became his dearest friend and set him up to become the pop star of the ‘90s that he was destined to be. We also fell into a passionate love affair.

Our relationship was so beautiful and pure – well as pure as it could be – that he wrote a love song for me.

The song? Mysterious Guy.

Our break-up when he succumbed to the record company’s pressure to change the gender of his protagonist? Swift, brutal … and as vitriolic as the vengeful rage of Taylor Swift. For years after I couldn’t go to Thailand – where the film clip was made and we planned to holiday after – or the Gold Coast, as they triggered the painful memory of my broken heart.

Cut to a few years later and Pete, desperate to return to my good graces – flew down under to see me on the Tweed and try and reconcile. While he got lost while we went hiking on Mount Warning, stumbled on the set of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here and fell in love with Jordan, that few days we spent together before the show healed our wounds. And we’ve been the best of friends ever since.

Pete has been super busy with his young family the last year or so, so it was such a treat for him to take the time to catch-up before we got too busy with festive celebrations. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, devoured a shit tonne of Pita Andre Bread.

 

 

Light, soft and oh so good, these are the perfect thing for when you’re done with eating buns and what a carb alternative. I mean, who doesn’t love to stuff a good Peter?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pita Andre Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
7g dry yeast
1 ½ tsp muscovado sugar
450g flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper
⅔ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing if/as needed

Method
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a measuring jug and place in a warm spot for about ten minutes, or until foamy.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and oil and stir with the dough hook until all the flour is wet. Turn the mixer on and knead on medium for about five minutes, or until smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling and leave to prove for half an hour.

When it’s nice and puffy, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Punch back the dough and divide it into 12 balls. Roll them out into flat thin discs – a few millimetres max. Place a disc on the frying pan and cook for about 20-30 seconds, or until puffed. Flip and cook for another 20-30 seconds or so. Remove from the pan and repeat the process until done.

Then, devour.

 

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Kirsten Bunst

Baking, Bread, Burgers, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Party Food, Side, Snack

The star and true heart and soul of Drop Dead Gorgeous – and my life, TBH – is my divine friend Kirsten Dunst. Like all American girl Amber Atkins, Keeks has always been destined for greatness.

Given these facts, I simply knew that there was no better person to kick off our Independence Day / Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations … plus, we met via my friend slash nemesis slash star of Born on the Fourth of July, Tom Cruise. Which is even more meaningful because we both survived him and avoided scientology.

Anyway, I met Keeks on the set of Interview with the Vampire where I was juggling both my lovers of the time, Brad and Tom. It was so fucking exhausting and stressful trying to keep everything secret that I broke down one day. It was Tom’s day on my schedule and he took me out for a walk and before he could push me into a van to the Scientology headquarters, I was introduced to Keeks and we quickly bonded over our mutual superiority to those in our vacinity.

My words, not hers – she is a damn saint.

I quickly dumped both the boys and vowed to make my gal-pal the biggest star the world had ever seen, getting her a role in Jumanji and getting Sof to cast her in The Virgin Suicides before snagging her the career making roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous and Bring It On, both of which I wrote about my teen years.

Given how busy she has been with the 1, 2, 3 punches of Fargo, Hidden Figures and The Beguiled, we haven’t been able to hang out as often as we used to, so she jumped at the chance to celebrate the season with me.

Knowing she is the damn star of the entire event, I couldn’t go past whipping up my Kirsten Bunst … because you just know they be reappearing later in the week.

 

 

Soft, sweet and insanely delicious, these rolls are the best thing since sliced bread, which is kinda awkward given that they are bread rolls. You know? In any event, these are the perfect rolls for burgers and hot dogs, and will make you regret the years you spent buying store bought like a chump.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kirsten Bunst
Makes: 10.

Ingredients
675-700g 00 flour
7g dried yeast
3 tbsp raw caster sugar
generous pinch of salt
125ml water
50g butter
1 cup milk, plus extra to glaze
4 egg yolks
sesame seeds, to top

Method
Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Meanwhile, heat the water, butter and milk in a saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted and the liquid is 50°C. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Knead the dough on medium, adding the yolks one at a time, allowing the dough to come together before adding the next … if you need more flour, add it here, though you want the dough to be soft, it shouldn’t be sticky. Once the yolks are done, continue kneading for about 10 minutes or until beautifully elastic. Form into a ball and transfer to a large, oiled bowl, cover with cling and allow to rise for 2 hours.

After the dough has proved, smack it down and separate into 10 portions. Shape them into burger buns or hot dog rolls, and place on a lined baking sheet. Dust with flour, cover with cling and leave to prove for another hour and a half, or until they have doubled.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Once they are beautifully puffy, lightly brush with extra milk, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown but still soft and spongy.

Devour as is, or complete with your favourite burger filling.

 

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Leekoumaden Haan

Dessert, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, the least fun sausage fest – because of Jak, obvi – decided to throw the challenge and eliminate Shay to protect Shannon and Mike’s girl Georgia, who was a sure thing to beat Shay at redemption island. Sadly though, that didn’t actually happen with Georgia’s house of cards crumbling just before the end of the challenge, sending her out of the game and Shay back into it.

With Georgia exiting stage left, Matt announced that the recently returned Shay would be joining the newly formed Casar tribe with the 9 remaining contestants – yep, that is the roundabout way of saying that the tribes had merged!

Shay was feeling pretty proud to have reached the milestone and confident that her OG alliance would be able to regain control. While Mike was thrilled to snag some fries, he was still heartbroken about Georgia’s exit and was fairly confident that he was well screwed. Avi was thrilled to have Shay back, giddily hugging her on the way to the well as she caught him up on the awkwardness of the least sexy sausage fest and spill the t that Tom’s plot to pretend to be on her side did not actually fool her.

Back at camp, Jak continued to prove that he is the least funny person on the cast. Not allowing him to have any more screentime, Shannon reconnected with Mike to weigh up  her options and talk smack about Barb. Speaking of Barb, she and Nate continued their rise to power players, taking in everything that was going on.

Shannon and Avi joined up on the beach to discuss the boys trusting her, Jerk coached Tom on basic strategy and how best to win Avi over and Lee looked pretty in a tree. Tom and Avi then joined together to discuss the former’s faux-plan to take out Shay before turning on Mike and Lee, which Avi was not buying for a second.

The next day, Sala and an underwear clad Avi went from a stroll along the beach making me wetter than the waves on the shore. This made Tom and Jerk nervous, though the latter was super confident about his dear ally Shannon so was feeling ok. Showing a continued lack of self-awareness, Jak approached Shannon and Avi to outline all of their plans and lock in the fake final four alliance with them and Tom. On the other end of the spectrum, Sala, Barb and Nate were feeling relaxed and confident and sounded like they were ready for happy hour.

Dragging out the period between the merge and the first post-merge elimination, Matt returned for the first individual reward challenge where competitors are required to remember sequences of images for chocolate cake. Nate quickly fell out of the competition, followed by Barb, Lee, Avi – or RV if you talk to Mike – Jak and Sala, before Mike took out victory. He was then given the opportunity to share it with two people, giving it to Shannon and Shay who tied for second with Tom. While Tom told the girls to take the cake over him, Sala wasn’t buying that it was a kind gesture and continued to be suspicious of his ex-tribemate.

Trying to be helpful, Lee decided to fix the shelter so that the tarp would provide more coverage. While Sala appreciated the fact he was working hard, he found it rude that he decided to do it while Nate was sleeping. I however would argue that Nate sleeping and being lazy is probably the bigger sin, though I do think Lee is a total babe, so maybe I’m just being defensive? Despite the fact that it provides more coverage for the entire tribe, Barb and Nate were also pissed about Lee’s handiwork and continued the selfish narrative.

Poor Ange-Lee the spoke about how he just wants to provide for the tribe and help keep the camp running. He then had his longest confessional to date, about want to play with integrity and coast through with his allies making me extremely anxious that we are approaching the fall of my lover.

Avi and his undies – boy is he trying to take my heart away from Lee, or what – joined Shannon by the shore to discuss their plans, enjoying their place in the middle though if we learnt anything from Julia and Aubry, sometimes the person in the middle gets run over. Proving my fears correct, the sausage fest grew concerned that Shannon wasn’t actually with them.

Barb then continued to bitch about Lee for cooking an eggplant looking thing for the entire tribe, without consulting them first. I mean, I get it could be annoying but he is just trying to help. Seriously, this is making me sympathetic to the sausage fest.

After a brief pow-wow between Shannon and the sausage fest to complain about the complainers, Matt arrived for the long-awaited first individual immunity challenge where the tribe had to balance their balls on a disc, held up by ropes which is where we find out how smutty Matt can be. Shay, Avi and Sala quickly fell out of the challenge before Matt had even said anything about ball play. Jak and Tom soon followed before the second round commenced, still without a ball pun. After round three, Nate and Lee dropped their balls before my balls were reminded that Mike is actually kinda hot. Barb dropped out, leaving it to Mike and Shannon to fight for immunity before the wind picked up and lead to the latter dropping her ball, handing immunity to Mike.

While Shannon was talking about her experience in the challenge, Barb suddenly fainted  – I assume from expelling too much energy complaining – with Matt opting to send the tribe back to camp while she received treatment from the medic.

Not dwelling on her potential medevac, the tribe quickly got to work locking in their sides for tribal with the boys targeting Shay and Hermosa 2.0 targeting Lee, with Avi and Shannon in the middle with the ultimate decision. Thankfully for the olds, Barb returned to camp giving them the upper hand as they headed off to tribal … depending on who Shannon and RV actually decide to vote with.

At tribal, Nate and Shannon spoke about the importance of trust which is something the latter is about to break with four people. Lee said that the tribe was all over the shop and that he was just trying to stay out of the drama. Matt confirmed that everyone was guaranteed to make the jury, before asking Tom and Shay if that means that big moves will start to occur to win people’s votes in the end. Mike was thankful to have won immunity, confident that he was likely to have received votes otherwise. Little did he know how lucky he actually was, with RV and Shannon sticking with Hermosa 2.0 and Shay to vote out my babe-town Lee. Who was pissed, though thankful to be heading to redemption where he could easily Ozzy his way to victory.

Not wanting the remaining nine to feel too confident, Matt announced that they would be competing in their next immunity challenge then and there, before voting out another person from the tribe. He quickly stripped Mike of immunity before tasking them with remembering some very easy – what does fire represent in the game – and some completely fuck off hard – how many times has Matt worn a green hat. Thankfully Matt butchered the pronunciation of Nicaragua again before Jak sadly took out immunity.

Without so much as second to scramble, Matt tried to send the tribe to vote before Mike did his best Hali impersonation, stopping the vote and trying to woo people to his side and get rid of Shay. Shay then pointed out that Mike had won two of the three individual challenges this season and anyone would be mad to flip. Which was a compelling enough argument as Mike was sent to Lee’s arms on redemption island.

After a brief interlude of Lee and Mike suffering in their jocks on redemption island and blaming Shannon, we returned to camp where Nate and Barb were feeling smug for taking down the boys while Shannon was feeling nervous about ever going to redemption and having to deal with their rage. Oh and Tom got a glimmer of hope with Barb whispering to him that she’d keep him in the game as long as she can. Maybe she will win me over?

The next day, Shay was feeling nervous after barely surviving the first two post merge tribals, despite being in the majority. She joined Nate and Sala by the ocean to discuss next steps, with Tom being the obvious target despite Nate not thinking he is a problem that needs to be dealt with yet. While that is going on, Tom was correctly predicting that Nate and Barb would not sit idly by as Shay and Sala took control. Nate then zigged when I thought he was going to zag and suggested that getting rid of Shannon and throwing her to the wolves is always a possibility.

Meanwhile Jak was not having a good day and proceeded to bitch to himself about the olds taking his cool friends out of the game. Sucking up his pride, he then approached Barb to see what she was thinking and whether there was any hope for him. The most shocking part of the segment is that both of them were quite likable and seemed to be stepping up their games. She then got tea-bagged and I finally got her.

Not wanting to leave me hanging for long, Matt returned for the reward challenge – the infamous coconut chop from the Marquesas – for five Pizza Hut pizzas for four people, because that allegedly is too many for one person? I love you … but fuck you, Matt. Shay was out first, immediately followed by Tom, then Jak, Shannon, Sala and Avi, leaving Nate and Barb to battle it out, with the latter taking out the win. To make the challenge more controversial, Barb then had to select three people to share the pizza with, going with Nate, Jak and Sala – to keep the latter feeling safe so that she can take him out.

After the brief break for product placement and Shannon to chop a coconut, she and Sala went for a chat where Sala told her that Tom and Jak were telling everyone they couldn’t trust either Shannon or Shay.

We then checked in with Lee and Mike who were still feeling sad about Shannon’s betrayal, though at least Lee is still killing the hair game.

Back at camp, Barb approached Shannon to float the idea of getting rid of Sala which delighted Shannon who also wanted him out next. Barb then took this information to Jak, who took it to Tom … which definitely means Sala wins the next immunity challenge, right?

But before we get to the issue of the next tribal, we have to actually get rid of someone from the game – yep, the babe-off duel has arrived! While Lee is far prettier, Mike is more ripped, so I don’t even know who I want to see take out the win. After a bit of smack talking about Shannon, the boys got down to the challenge – which sadly wasn’t naked greco roman wrestling – where they had to balance a beam, empty some sacks and put the contents of said sacks into holes. The last part being a puzzle, obvi.

Sadly for my first love Lee, Mike and his nipples got out to an early lead that never really dissipated – even when some of his bits weren’t in the right spots – with him taking out the duel and sending Lee out of the game and into my loving arms at Pounderosa. While he was completely gutted to be out of the game, I’ve long known the way to his heart,  which like all men, is through their stomach. More specifically though, my Leekoumaden Haan.

 

 

While he never really warmed to the idea of being calmed my little honey puff as a nickname – nor was he into making me his creampie – he was always keen to down a few of these Greek delights. Lightly spiced and pillowy, the puffs are then drowned in honey and fill you with joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Leekoumaden Haan
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
7g active dry yeast
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 cups warm water
3 cups plain flour
¼ tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
vegetable oil, to fry
½ cup of honey, for puff drowning purposes

Method
Combine the yeast and sugar in a jug with the water. Stir and leave in a warm place to get all foamy for about five minutes. Once ripe and puffed, pour into the large bowl of a stand mixer and slowly stir in the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Chuck in the dough hook and mix for a couple of minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours in a warm place.

Pour enough oil into a pot to fill it 2 inches – you don’t need more, but then again frying scares me. Do what you think it right? Place it over medium heat until hot. Working in batches, slide a few tablespoon sized dollops into the oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Flip the puffs a couple of times, cooking for about five minutes total or until golden. Remove the puffs with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on some paper towel while you repeat the process until the batter is done.

Once all the puffs are cooked and crisp, heat the honey in a large frying pan over high heat. Toss the puffs through the honey, serve immediately and devour.

 

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Harvey Fiersteamed Buns

Main, Party Food, Snack, Tony Gold, Tony Gold: Hamilgold

As we move into the second half of our inaugural Tony Gold celebrations, I knew I had to go with some even bigger Tony Awards legends and there is no one more legendary when it comes to the multi-hatted Harvey Fierstein.

I honestly don’t even know where to start about my dear friend Harvey Fierstein, the man can do just about anyoneanything and truly is a Broadway legend. I mean, he’s won Tony’s for acting and Best Play and for writing the books of musical, there aren’t many of my friends that can say they’ve achieved more. Which is a huge part of why we’re friends, as I assume you suspected.

I first met Harve’s through my dear friend Andy Warhol – I was one of his muses – when he came in to audition for his play Pork. While I was ropeable that Andy didn’t hand me the part, I begrudgingly knew that Harves was the better man for the job and instead of tearing him down, hitched my wagon to his for inevitable fame and fortune.

Fun fact: he wrote the roles of Alan and David in the Torch Song Trilogy in honour of our love affair and my childish attitude, respectively.

Given the fact that he can do pretty much anything on Broadway, I decided to wrote the best book of a musical and best production odds, so buckle in. For the book, it seems to be a two horse race between Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, the edge I give to the former and Harves gives to the latter. For the plays, we agreed on Six Degrees and of Separation and A Doll’s House, Part 2 taking the gold, with the musical gongs going to Hello, Dolly – never bet against Bette – and Dear Evan Hansen, despite Come from Away taking out the Drama Desk.

Given the conversation was robust, I couldn’t go past whipping up our old favourite post-coital meal, Harvey Fiersteamed Bun.

 

 

There is a lot I could say about Harve and my passion for a tempting, hot bun but these are far and away the best ones we want to have in our mouths to devour. I mean, steamed buns are amazing – they even ended my feud with the artist formerly known as Cumberbitch – but have you ever had a mexican themed one? Because they’re amazing. A light, fluffy cornbread enclosing a piping hot chilli and gooey cheese? Sign me the hell up.

Enjoy!

 

 

Harvey Fiersteamed Buns
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1-2 cups of Chilli con Kim Carnes
7g active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup plain flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup cornstarch, talk about corny
¼ cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 ½ tsp baking powder
grated cheese

Method
Start out by whipping up the Chilli con Kim Carnes, remove the two cups required and cook a little bit further to get rid of as much liquid as possible. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while you carry on, not necessarily calmly, with the dough.

Combine the yeast and warm water in the large bowl of a stand mixer before adding the flour, cornmeal and cornstarch, stirring with the dough hook to kinda combine / avoid a kitchen resembling an anthrax scare. Place the dough hook in the mixer and mix on the lowest setting. Slowly add the sugar and oil and continue mixing until a smooth ball forms. Remove, cover with a damp cloth and allow to prove for a couple of hours.

As its had a chance to prove itself, add the baking powder and return to the mixer on low for a couple of minutes. At this point it may be looking a bit dry since the cornmeal acts like a sponge, so add a couple of tablespoons to keep it smooth and soft … but not sticky. Nice and simple instructions, no? Once the dough is smooth, cover with the damp cloth again and allow to prove for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, cut out 12, 10-15cm squares of baking paper. Once the dough has proven itself again, punch it back and divide into 12 equal balls. Press each into a 15cm wide disc and place on a piece of baking paper. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of each disc with a pinch of cheese before pulling the edges in to enclose like a bun.

Once the buns are prepared, bring a pot of water to water with a steamer over the top. Once the water is going off like a frog in a sock, add 3-4 buns and steam for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed, fluffy and gorgeous. Repeat the process until they are done.

Once you’re ready, serve with any combination of chilli sauce, sour cream or guacamole and devour.

 

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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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Ethan Calzone

Bread, Main, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands

With only three weeks to go until the premiere of Survivor: Game Changers – Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine’s Triple Crown, I thought it was fitting to mark the occasion with my dear friend and third victor Ethan Zohn.

After the aggressive sex appeal of Colbster in the Outback – not to be confused with Sandra eating at Outback Steakhouse – it was nice to see Africa bringing a calm, kindness to the way Survivor floods my basement.

Ethan was – and still is, FYI – a total babe. Perfect ringlets, kind heart, banging bod – Ethan was everything I didn’t know I wanted from a man and I immediately made it my goal to find and befriend/bed him.

Sadly Burnett had banned me from filming countries during production after the Outback incident but thankfully I found a loophole – identity theft – by the filming of All Stars and found myself in the jungles of Panama with the man of my dreams.

As hard as I tried, I wasn’t able to help this babe achieve a double crown – yes I suggested to Rupert that digging a shelter was a great idea to turn people against him – sadly that wench Jenna Lewis was around though and made sure no winner – not even the babes – had a chance.

I haven’t seen Ethan since his wedding last year, in part because I was busy but mainly because I am heartbroken. Thankfully Ethan was more than keen to reconnect and help win me back.

Even more thankfully, Australia is as hot as hades this week so Eth and I had no choice but to have a minimal clothing catch-up with a sizzling Ethan Calzone.

 

ethan-calzone-1

 

After poor Eth became the last winner standing in All Stars, I snuck into Loser Lodge and whipped him up a very suggestive calzone. Did you think this cooking for boot things started in Second Chances? Hell no.

I stuffed that soft pillowy dough full of spicy sausage, dripping, creamy cheese and some mushrooms. The mushrooms didn’t add to the innuendo … but it didn’t need. The rest was quite persuasive.

20 days until the premiere – who will join me next week? Lets just say … I love her but we did have a rivalry.

Enjoy!

 

ethan-calzone-2

 

Ethan Calzone
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
7g sachet instant dried yeast
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
¾ cup warm water
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil
⅔ cup passata
2 chicken breasts, diced and fried
2 chorizos, cut and fried
handful of mushrooms, sliced
120g chargrilled capsicum, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
handful of basil leaves
2 tsp chilli flakes
200g feta, crumbled
mozzarella, just to make it hella cheesy

Method
Combine the yeast, salt, sugar and warm water in a jug. Give a quick stir and leave to get all foamy for about ten minutes.

Please the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast mixture and oil, and need with a dough hook for ten minutes. Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for an hour, or until doubled in size.

While the dough is proving, prep the filling and preheat the oven to 200°C.

Punch back the dough, split in four and roll each out into a 30cm (ish) round). Smear a half moon of passata on each piece of dough. Top with the chicken, chorizo, mushroom, capsicum, garlic, basil, chilli and cheeses. Fold the dough over on itself, pushing out as much air as possible and seal the edges.

Place the calzones on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, trying to avoid burning yourself on the hot cheese.

 

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Beygel Knowles

Baking, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Golden Little Pill, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

We’ve made it to the end of the Grammy Gold road and it has been nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. Between Elts and I ending a decades long feud, Salt-n-Peps shooping over to down some squid, Braff and I also working to rekindle a friendship, Nells dropping by to convince me she was still making music and well, barely surviving the sexual tension between groffsauce and I, I am absolutely spent.

But hold up, that doesn’t mean our final visit was going to be cancelled so get in formation – my favourite Knowles-Z, Beyoncé, is finally dropping by for a visit!

As you know, I’ve been a close member of the Knowles clan since starting a fight club in (Whitney) Houston and Bey and I have been best friends ever since.

That being said, I sadly haven’t seen Bey in the flesh since the infamous Met Ball of 2014 … though I was the first to find out about her latest pregnancy. Also yes, the rumours are true – if they are both girls, she will be calling them Kelly and Michelle and if they are boys … Ben and Jamin.

Anywho, Bey appeared – nay, manifested – under the cover of darkness to avoid alerting the media to her pre-Grammy visit and ran straight into my arms.

“Ben, they don’t love you like I love you. You’re irreplaceable, I’ve missed you my little Sasha Fierce.”

“You liked it, well you should have put a ring on it my Dreamgirl!”

We held each other like best friends do and laughed – though I think a part of her was serious – in front of a large wall of imported flowers, covered in a veil, while discussing the upcoming awards.

I’d like to make one thing clear – yes, even Bey thinks she is going to sweep the pool. But who can really blame her? I mean, she has already won 20 Grammys and we both know that the academy is terrified of getting yelled out by our mutual friend Kanye.

Despite it being an evening catch-up, Bey had one pregnant craving she needed me to help with, so I gladly whipped up a big batch of my Beygel Knowles.

 

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I love bagels. Love them. So much. I mean, if you could marry a food I would have put a ring on it already.

My favourite, like these babies, are cinnamon and raisin. I mean, they are a gift from the gods … like Queen Bey. So get boilin’ and bakin’ and get in formation to celebrate her upcoming nine new Grammys.

Enjoy!

 

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Beygel Knowles
Serves: one pregnant angel and her babin’ chum. I am the babin’ chum, FYI. Also FYI, it makes 8.

Ingredients
500g 00 flour
¼ cup caster sugar
1½ tsp table salt
7g dried yeast
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
125g raisins (or sultanas but they are as juicy as I feel around Jon)
1 egg, beaten

Method
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, cinnamon and raisins in a large bowl for the stand mixer. Using the dough hook by hand, slowly stir in 300ml of warm water until everything is wet. Transfer to the stand mixer and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If you need more water, add it a tablespoon at a time. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and allow to prove for an hour or so, or until doubled in size.

While it is proving itself preheat the oven to 180°C.

When the dough is as big for its britches as Tay Tay when she beat Bey – remember that controversy? – knock it back to size and break into 8 equal pieces. Roll them into balls and push a finger through the centre to form a ring. Place on a lined baking tray and allow to prove for half an hour.

While they are proving again, bring a pot of water to boil.

Once the bagels have double in size, drop them into the water one at a time, and cook for thirty seconds each side. Transfer to a wire rack and continue until done.

Transfer them to a lined baking sheet, brush with the egg and bake for about fifteen minutes, or until golden brown.

Devour, slathered in butter or cream cheese. Like a Queen.

 

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Pidavid Wright

Bread, Main, Party Food, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Hannah made what appeared to be a boneheaded move by booting Bret in fifth place, rather than David. But maybe it wasn’t, or it was. Let’s continue …

Back at camp Adam, quite rightly, was shocked by Hannah and Kengel’s loyalty to David.

Wanting a redux of their first tribal aftermath, Hannah and Adam went to discuss the vote with Hannah actually making a logical argument that she couldn’t lose David and upset Ken and leave herself a path to final tribal. Oh and Adam was far more eager to listen to her explanation this time, despite disagreeing with her.

Wanting to burn through the final boot, Jeff arrived for this season’s final immunity challenge which required the castaways to guide plates through a vertical maze using a long, hard pole, before stacking the most plates on the top of the maze at the end of 30 minutes.

Oh and of course the maze wobbles.

Ken took the lead in stacking the most bowls, with Adam simply trying to outlast Ken and hope that his plates would all drop. Which they did. Sadly Adam’s plates quickly followed, as did Hannah and David as everyone started again.

Hannah and Ken then took the lead, while Adam tried to wait them out again, which sadly didn’t work and the pair finished the half hour tied. Kengel and Hannah then had a five minute tiebreaker where Kengel took out an early lead and never looked back, securing final immunity.

Again, how babin’ did Ken look getting that necklace? And more importantly … who can believe Hannah almost won final immunity?

Back at camp David gloated about Ken’s loyalty, while Hannah and Adam joined together to plot how they could convince Ken to turn on David, despite said loyalty. Hannah then went to work on swaying Ken, explaining to him that the jury don’t respect them and that leaving David in the game would simply confirm that, in their eyes.

With them busy, David told Adam that the easiest way for him to move forward was to campaign against Hannah. Thankfully Adam pulled on his big-boy pants and told David that if he wasn’t booted that night, Adam loses anyway, so why not try and make a move.

We then arrived at tribal where Jeff reminded us of all of Hannah’s foibles – including her glorious seventeen hour vote at the first tribal – to congratulate her on coming so close to winning final immunity. Adam then tried to explain how big of a threat David is, to which David agreed. Ken then brought up loyalty, Adam brought up the need to make a smart decision to win for your family with which Ken agreed.

Proving his superiority over Australian Survivor’s single father stud, Ken made the best possible move he could – for everyone … bar David – and as he sent David out of the game as the final member of the jury.

I met Dave while working as a screenwriter for Malcolm in the Middle and quickly rode his coattails over to Family Guy before being fired amidst scandal and inevitably inspired the character of Roger on American Dad! Dave being Dave kept in touch and tried to help me sort my life out, more than earning his comforting Pidavid Wright.

 

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The pide is the culinary version of David’s Survivor experience – it started out with a soft, delicate dough that made way for a fiery, dominant filling which leaves you salivating and wanting more, despite not winning.

That is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?

 

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Pidavid Wright
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 cup milk, warmed to 30C
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cups flour
lug of olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g minced lamb
6 roma tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sumac
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
¼ cup tahini
1 lemon, juiced
⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 eggs
handful of feta

Method
Combine yeast, milk, sugar, salt and vegetable oil in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead on medium for about ten minutes, or until smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and allow to prove for an hour. Knock back the dough, split into four, cover again and leave to prove for a further hour or so.

While the dough is proving, get to work on the filling by heating a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the garlic for a few minutes. Add the lamb and brown for a few minutes, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon as you go.

Add the tomatoes and spices and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the tahini, lemon juice, pine nuts and parsley. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.

Once the dough has proven itself, roll each piece into an oval shape. Fill each with some filling, leaving a couple of centimetre border around the edges. Pinch the ends together to form a boat shape and bring up the edges. Top with a cracked egg and some crumbled feta, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

Leave to rest for five minutes and devour. I slather it with natural yoghurt but that is just how I roll, you know? You do you.

 

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Bret LaBao Buns

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Previously on Survivor, we opened the finale with Jay’s killer blindside. Or maybe it wasn’t, I’m still not sure if we were meant to know that the idol was fake and I can’t be bothered rewatching yet.

Not wanting to dwell on the last tribal too much, we arrived at the next immunity involving swimming, traversing a ball through some obstacles, hard poles – yay – and a puzzle, which terrified David on account of his questionable swimming ability.

Ken got out to an early lead thanks to his exquisite ball play, his wet torso glistening beautifully in the sun.  As he lay me down on the sand and leant gently beside me and ki … sorry, tangent.

Sadly Ken wasn’t kissing me, now was he as good with those hard poles – he’ll learn, I have faith – with Bret overtaking him and snatching the lead. Despite Bret’s lead, the rest of the castaways caught up allowing Ken to snatch individual immunity with one of Jeff’s favourite phrases to say to the millennials, “not a participation trophy.

Can we just pause here to enjoy how pretty Ken looks whenever Jeff gives him immunity?

The tribe arrived back at camp where Adam got Bret to run interference for him while he scoured the island for the hidden immunity idol. With Adam away, David went to Hannah and Ken to reconfirm their final three alliance and the plan to boot Adam.

Sadly for David, Adam was successful in finding the actual hidden immunity idol, at least I think … right now.

With Adam busy celebrating his find, David and Ken pulled Bret aside to get him to join the plan to boot Adam. Bret then went to Adam to let him know David and Ken’s plan, while Adam shared his idol secret with Bret and then shared his news with Hannah who announced that she was in control of the outcome at the next tribal council.

Which generally doesn’t bode well for the person that said that.

Vinegar, sorry Vinaka, arrived at tribal and discussed the hunt for the idols, before Bret – this time – sparred with David about their threat status’, statuses, stati?

Whatever the plural of status, Hannah did control the outcome of the tribal and made the worst possible move – at least from the viewers’ perspective – sending Bret out of the game in fifth place as the ninth juror.

Obviously I know Bret, given my love of beer, Boston, bars, bars in Boston and picking up cops who are trying to arrest me for drunk and disorderly behaviour after drinking too much beer in bars in Boston.

The love affair was brief but we remained friends ever since (and I will cherish splitting Ben & Jerry’s after sleeping together through Peter Pan Live!), meaning I knew there was only one thing I could make to dull his post boot pain – Bret LaBao Buns. Emphasis on buns, that foxy minx.

 

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I love pork buns more than life itself. I also love bao buns and David Chang (and The Bun Mobile as well), but i’ve always been scared to try making them at home myself (until Cumberbitch) … but the Momofuku recipe is easy and put my mind at ease.

So yes, this is not my recipe … but I put enough love into it to make Bret happy.

Enjoy!

 

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Bret LaBao Buns
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
hoisin sauce, to serve
sliced shallot, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Steamed buns
7g dry yeast
⅔ cup water, at room temperature
1 cup bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of baking soda
30ml vegetable shortening

Pickled cucumbers
2 thick, juicy lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin disks
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Pork
1.5kg slab skinless pork belly
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar

Method
To start, place the pork belly into a roasting pan. Combine the salt and sugar and rub all over the meat, erotically if you want but that is a bit weird. Cover in cling and allow to rest overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 225°C and discard any juices – or discharges if you will. Once the oven is piping hot, place the pork in the oven, fat side up and cook for an hour, basting with the rendering fat throughout.

While that is getting as hot as Bret, my husband and I were while Walken sang his heart out, combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat, and mix on the lowest speed possible, just above a stir, for 8–10 minutes. Once it has formed a nice, not-too-sticky ball, turn it out into a lightly lubricated bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and leave to prove in a warm, dry place for an hour or so.

Reduce the pork to 110°C and leave to cook for a further hour and a half, by which point it is tender, pillowy and glorious. Once that is done, remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and allow to rest.

Get back to the buns by punching back the dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half, and half again and then each piece into three. Roll them into balls, cover in cling and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, prep the cucumbers by combining them in a small mixing bowl with the sugar and salt. Toss to coat and leave to rest – feel free to adjust the sugar and salt levels, to taste.

Then cut out 12 generous squares of baking paper and coat a chopstick in some shortening. When the balls are fully engorged, take them in your hand – and left turn – and flatten them into a long oval shape. Place the chopstick in the middle and fold over to make the bao bun, pulling the chopstick out the end to make the flaps nice and moist and place on the baking paper.

Yes – that sentence was deliberate.

Cover with cling and leave the buns to rest for half an hour.

While taking the final chance to prove themselves, cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices.

When the buns have proven themselves, get a large pot with a steamer on the stove and bring just enough water to the boil. Working a couple at a time, place the buns in the steamer, cover and steam, for ten minutes or until puffed and beautiful.

To build the bun, place one on your plate, slather with hoisin, top with the pickles and a few slices of pork belly. Top with shallots and sriracha, and devour.

 

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