Oh Ada, how you fill my heart with so much love!
Ada was thankfully given the night off from her relentless Home and Away filming schedule – the only reason I have never taken up one of the many offers to appear on the show – to drop by, gab and devour something as nourishing as our friendship is for our souls.
I mean yes, as with most of my friendships we had our rough patches like when I forced her off Heartbreak High and onto my new series Breakers where I was casting Alex Dimitriades look alikes to fill the void that he left after finally getting a restraining order. Thankfully after the show tanked, she got Home and Away though and I got her a role in The Matrix, so she eventually had to forgive me.
Despite the many lawsuits Channel 7 have brought against me in her past 16 years on Home and Away – the daily death threats to Kochie and Grant Denyer (back in the day – I forgive him after he tanked people I knew on Family Feud), the aggressive trolling of Tara Dennis’ design skills and my lecherous courting of Bruce McAvaney caused but a few – she has always demanded my presence on set to provide her with love and guidance.
Given how busy I’ve been the last year, travelling the globe to provide culinary coverage of multiple Survivor seasons while managing HRC’s campaign, hosting brunch with the All Stars of Drag Race and my usual weekly guests, our relationship has regretfully been on the backburner. Thankfully Ada jumped at the chance to come up and reconnect – but really, who would want to miss out on a batch of my Enchiladas Nicodemou.
Make no mistake, these enchiladas are less Mexican than Tex Mex but to a Australian Greek Cypriot and an Australian of questionable origins it does the trick – smokey, sweet and packing a nice kick of heat, they keep you coming back for more despite the complete bastardisation of a culinary history.
Serves: 4, heartily.
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
800g chicken breast, diced
1 capsicum, diced
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp tomato paste
hot sauce, to taste
salt and pepper, to season
1 cup tasty cheese
guacamole, extra hot sauce and sour cream, to serve
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken and cooking, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Add the capsicum and the shit tonne of spices and cook for a minute to release the flavours before stirring in the tin tomatoes and kidney beans, tomato paste and hot sauce. Season to taste and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, half covered and stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes.
Preheat the oven 180°C.
Once the mixture is ready, get out a large baking dish – one you’d use for lasagne etc. – and layer out your tortillas. Place about a half a cup of mixture on the middle of the tortilla, tightly roll up and place into the pan. Repeat the process until the tortillas are gone and the pan burst with deliciousness.
Pour any remaining meat mixture over the top of the enchiladas, top with the cheese and bake for about half an hour, or until golden, bubbly and moreish.
Allow to rest for ten minutes before devouring, slathered in gauc, hot sauce and sour cream.