Can you believe we almost survived 2016 – huzzahs all round! While the year has been the absolute pits, I’m still hoping to salvage it with the ultimate festive celebration with my he-bros, gals and gentiles of The O.C.
Given my close relationship with the cast, I’ve had many a sleepless night over the last few weeks, trying to perfect my Chrismukkah catch-up schedule that a) won’t offend anyone – you know that Tate can be a bit of a diva – is b) festively appropriate and most importantly is c) culturally appropriate.
With those criteria in mind, there was only one person I could select to open up our 12 Days of Chrismukkah celebrations – the incomparable Ryan Atwood … aka Ben McKenzie ak-to me-a Benny Mac.
I’m an old family friend of the Schenkkans – oh FYI, McKenzie is totally his stage name – having worked with Ben’s grandfather and President Lyndon Johnson to pass the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. While I had a falling out with Presi Jo after he discovered my many scandals and personal foibles, Ben’s grandfather took me in and raised me as his own … and I’m sure you can put it all together and see that Ben was named after me.
Anyway, my career and addictions took off and took me away from the family for an extended period of time but when we needed a brooding unknown to play the classic character Ryan Atwood, I knew that my pseudo-nephew and namesake was the only person capable of playing the part.
After Ben was done reenacting the scene when Ryan and Marissa meet with fans in my driveway – don’t tell him but those people that just happened to be waiting for us when we got back from the airport are fans that purchased an O.C. experience for an exorbitant amount of cash – Ben was thrilled to be able to relax, catch-up and celebrate the start of our festive fun by helping in my
sweatshopkitchen to make a generous batch of an edible gift, in the form of my Chillijamin McKenzie.
Like Ryan, the jam is deceptively sweet with a good kick of heat, spice and heart.
And obviously you want to drizzle him all over your meat … or cheese (but that is less smutty, unless … ).
lug of olive oil
1 onion, peeled and blitzed in a food processor
3 cloves garlic, blitzed in the aforementioned food processor with the onion
pinch of salt
150g fresh hot red chilli peppers, tips removed
150g capsicum, cored, deseeded and roughly chopped
1kg jam sugar
600ml cider vinegar
Heat a small lug of olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat and cook the onion, garlic and salt for about ten minutes, or until fragrant, sweet and soft.
Place the chilli and capsicum in the food processor and blitz until they are finely chopped into delicate flecks. Or fleeks. This is totes on fleek – you girls keep me young!
Combine the sugar and vinegar in a large saucepan over low heat and cook, sans stirring, until dissolved. Add in the chillis, onion and garlic and stir to combine.
Turn the heat up to medium-high, bring to the boil and cook for about ten minutes with minimal stirring – less is better, but I won’t judge.
Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool for half an hour, in which time sterilise some jars.
After the half hour the jam should have started to thicken and be suspending the flecks throughout the mixture. Decant into the jars, seal tightly and allow to cool.
Refrigerate after opening.