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.

 

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Tabboulea Michele

Salad, Side, Snack

I’ve finally caught up on listening to all of Danny Pellegrino’s podcast in the last couple of weeks – not a paid endorsement, but it is perfection – and he has mentioned the importance of the Wicked movie moving into production ASAP with Lea Michele starring as Elphaba. It reminded me how desperately I needed this to happen, so I reached out and decided to push the point as hard as I could.

I’ve known Lea for years after meeting while sharing the starring role in Spring Awakening, opposite my ex-lover Jonathan Groff. You see, she and i were extremely busy chasing down roles and men respectively, so the producers allowed us to share the role if I became a Lea Michele drag impersonator and never spoke about.

NDA, shmemDA.

Anyway, given I had to develop a deep understanding of her psyche and perfect her mannerisms and vocal style, we became the best of friends. Even after I was kicked out of the cast in a blaze of scandal.

“You do a perfect Lea Michele impersonation, can’t you just play Elphaba and share your beautiful talents with the world?” she said as I sat her down to talk about the movie.

“Yes, obviously! But I feel it is the role you were born to play. I mean, my dear friend and OG Elphaba played your mum on Glee. And it would make Danny Pellegrino so happy,’ I pleaded.

I don’t know which part softened her but by the time I was serving up my Taboullea Michele, she vowed to Elphaba hers. Thank goodness!

 

 

While most people would argue that tabbouleh isn’t a meal, we aren’t most people. Plus – it is green people! How else do I convince her other than a big bowl of fresh, tasty salad that packs a delicious punch?

Enjoy!

 

 

Tabboulea Michele
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
⅓ cup fine burghul
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 shallots, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the burghul in a bowl with the zest and juice and leave to soften for about ten minutes.

While it is softening, combine everything in another bowl, then add the softened burghul and stir to combine.

Devour.

 

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Don’t stop believin’

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

She was just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world until she took the midnight train, found me willing to go anywhere … and I jumped on her coattails and vowed to make her a star.

Oh – FYI, I’m talking about Lea Michele.

Now I know – I KNOW – Journey are the reason that we all know to never give up on your dreams or to not stop believin’, if you will … but my dear friend Lea is the reason we started believing in the first place.

So what should I make to thank her for giving me something to believe in?

Image source: ABC Studios.

 

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Gregk Meatballouganis

Main, Party Food, Snack

Well do I have a gag of the season for you – and surprisingly that is neither what he or I said – I came clean to Greg about only reaching out in ‘88 to try and snatch the rights to his story that eventually lead to Breaking the Surface starring Mario Lopez. And not only that, he laughed, told me he always knew that and was just pleased to have my friendship once again.

After meeting at the University of Miami in the late ‘70s, I was immediately drawn to Greg’s talent on stage and in speedos and I made it my goal to get together and live out our twincest life. I was successful and for a beautiful couple of months, I was known around campus as Greg’s lubed anu … well, let’s just say people knew I was always ready for him to dive in.

As I mentioned, things got ugly when he found out I was mainly pushing him in to diving to make room for me to star on the stage. Thankfully three decades on, he appreciates the fact that it inadvertently motivated him to succeed in diving and as such, he should be thanking me for making him the success that he is.

Which I quickly told him I wouldn’t just appreciate, I required it before he got to eat anything.

He laughed it off as a joke though his thanks and praise seemed genuine enough that I opted against starting another feud and instead, enjoyed his company and reconnected. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, we got to fill our mouths with as many big, meaty balls as our hearts desired. In the form of my Gregk Meatballouganis.

 

 

Honouring both our love for ball play and his father’s Greek heritage, these big morsels are near perfection. Spicy, sweet and packing pockets of creamy feta, these lamb meatballs work well as a snack, in a yiros or – gasp – accompanying a big ol’ salad (what have I become).

Enjoy!

 

 

Gregk Meatballouganis
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup oregano leaves, roughly chopped
100g feta, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place everything in a large bowl and scrunch until it is well combined and thoroughly mixed.

Using meat hands, shape into golf ball-sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet until all the mixture is gone. Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until cooked through and crispy on the outside.

Allow to rest for five minutes before devouring, preferably covered in tzatziki.

 

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Diving in. Aaaaaaaalllllll in.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

After having a fucking great catch-up with me mate Liam last week, I got to thinking about the need to catch up with one of my dear friends that I used to, well, get intimate with, so to speak – the greatest diver in history, Greg Louganis.

Greg and I studied theatre together – and each other – at the University of Miami, where I pushed him to focus on his immense talent for diving. Mainly because he was really good at theatre and as such, I was threatened and wanted him distracted while I worked on snatching my EGOT.

Anywho he found out my plan, we broke up and didn’t speak until I reached out after the Seoul Olympics incident. And we’ve been the best of friends ever since.

What says you’re one of my best friends (and I hope you never find out I reached out to option your rights and star in the TV movie in place of Mario Lopez)?

Image source: Pascal Rondeau /Allsport.

 

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Kellyn Specktolmado Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Kellyn finally opted out of being Naviti strong and decided to take control with the rest of the women. Sadly for her, she underestimated Laurel’s bond with Wendell and Domenick, leaving her and Donathan stuck in the middle and completely unsure which side to align with. While they felt they had a better chance of beaten the women, the path to the end was unclear and as such, they stuck with the boys and booted Chelsea from the game. Or at least, I think he name was Chelsea?

Back at camp Kellyn was feeling the pain of losing her closest ally on top of her new alliance, so she approached Sebastian and tied to win him back and find a way forward. Meanwhile Laurel and Donathan reconvened the next day and weren’t sure whether they can trust Kellyn and Angela, since final seven is really the last chance to get rid of the boys without them playing an idol. Particularly since they had the chance to boot them last night and they didn’t take it. While Donathan was keen to make the jump, Laurel appeared to be undecided and that started to concern him. As such, he approached Kellyn to float the idea of an alliance and wrestling back control in the game.

My babe Probsty returned for what looked like a huge reward challenge where they would be paired up and required to roll spools through an obstacle and run to the end and catch it. They’d then add extra spools until one of the pairs dropped out. They all drew for the right to be captains to pick their partner, with Kellyn picking Sebastian, Wendell picking Dom and Donathan picking Laurel, leaving Angela out of the reward to deliver stuff to the community or going to Ghost Island. All the pairs seemed to be working well together with two spools however the third created some panic. By the time the fourth was added, it became extremely nerve racking with Donathan and Wendell narrowly avoiding disaster before adding the fifth and final spool. Sebastian and Kellyn were the first to drop followed closely by Laurel and Donathan, handing Wendell and Dom yet another victory. They quickly selected Laurel to join them delivering supplies and smashing some chicken wings and cake – much to Donathan’s chagrin … get ‘em Don – followed by booting Sebastian to Ghost Island.

Sebastian arrived at Ghost Island, excited to potential snatch an advantage and get himself off the boy’s coattails. He quickly won the chance to play, winning Sarah’s Steal a Vote that sent Michaela home in Game Changers and was misplayed by Kellyn when Michael was tragically booted early this season.

Wendell, Dom and Laurel arrived at the community, greeted by a sea of adorable school kids who were thrilled to see new supplies. All three quickly jumped in and started playing with the kids before sitting together for a feast, with Wendell glad they could pick Laurel to try and keep her loyal. Thankfully she took the time to acknowledge that she hoped to have them split the votes, allowing her to pick up the rest and sneak a win, which seemed to be her smartest option. Sadly for them, that is just what she is saying and she is more than ready to cause some drama and boot them out.

The next day Wendell tried to reassure Donathan that they were all good, with Donathan quickly pointing out that he’ll vote for Dom if he is on the jury. He then went further and said that he doesn’t see Wendell even making it to the end though, since Dom knows he is a threat. Wendell retaliated by saying that that would give Dom motivation to boot him. Speaking of whom, arrived to check in on how they were going before Don continued to scare them by saying he has no chance beating them so doesn’t know what to do. Sadly, that made Dom confident that he needs to slit his throat first. Not Don-Don!

Probtsy returned for this week’s immunity challenge where the castaways were required to race and retrieve planks to build a bridge and move to another set of planks which will form a ladder … up to a slide puzzle, which once solved will secure the victor immunity. Wendell got out to an early lead with the puzzle, followed closely by Sebastian. While they made it to the ladder well ahead, Dom and Laurel soon closed the gap. Wendell completed the ladder first, followed by Sebastian, Laurel and Domenick. While Wendell finished the puzzle first, he never called ‘Jeff’ to come check the puzzle giving Laurel the opportunity to sneak in and grab immunity. Which he was not thrilled about, though ultimately accepted the ruling.

When they arrived back at camp, Laurel started to feel guilty about potentially getting rid of Wendell since she snatched immunity. Which he clearly tried to play on. Meanwhile Wendell and Domenick were concerned about Donathan’s scrambling, though still though Kellyn was the bigger threat. Laurel and Don joined the conversation, with Donathan saying that he’d rather them tell him if they’re going to blindside. This pissed the boys off, who vowed to creep around and make him even more concerned. They then fiddled around with idols and bags in front of him, which he questioned and went into a panic right on cue. He then ran to Kellyn, giving them a chance to talk to Angela and Sebastian about getting him out. Wendell then threw Kellyn’s name back at out for good measure as they were leaving for tribal, leaving everyone hella confused.

At tribal council Michael still looked beautiful … sorry, Probst brought up challenge-gate at how they were all falling apart mentally. Dom then brought up the bag set-up and outed Donathan as being paranoid and tried to make him look bag. While they tried to go in, Donathan stood up for himself and said that he was pissed that since they’re meant to be working together, they shouldn’t be keeping secrets from him. Kellyn then started talking about being nervous, while the boys whispered amongst themselves leading to Donathan cutting her off and saying he is the only one that should be feeling nervous since the boys were whispering behind their backs. There were echoes of Keith’s stick to the plan moment – reverse the curse Keith! – leaving Donathan – who Dom refused to loop in, since he told Dom to not talk to him moments earlier – and Kellyn even more nervous about what was about to transpire. Once again no idols were played despite the madness, which was a good thing for the boys as the votes piled up on Kellyn and Donathan leaving them tied. While Dom and Wendell whispered about who to take out, they refused to divulge the information to Angela and Sebastian – big mistake – as they went to revote.

While Donathan grabbed his bag after the first vote featured his name, the boys opted to keep him around and sent Kellyn from the game. Much to both Donathan and Kellyn’s surprise. Thankfully Kellyn took her boot like a champ, just thrilled by having had the opportunity to play the game … and to have met her boyfie Bradles! On the flipside, I was thankful to hear her say that Naviti strong was the only option she had after her boyfriend slash scapegoat left the game and all the Malolo blood on her hands and she wasn’t just a mindless fool. With that assurance, I was glad to turn around and serve her up a big old Kellyn Specktolmado Salad.

 

 

The crisp saltiness of the speck, mixed with the sweet tomato and basil combination are a match made in heaven. Then when you add in the bocconcini and rocket, you’re in heaven. Heaven I tells you!

Enjoy!

 

 

Kellyn Specktolmado Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g speck, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
200g bocconcini, torn
100g rocket
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and cook the speck until crispy. Remove from the pan to drain on some kitchen towel.

Meanwhile combine everything else in a large bowl and toss to combine before adding the speck.


Serve immediately and devour.

 

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Chelsea Lamingtownsend

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Probsty boy dropped a bomb on the top ten announcing that they’d be competing for immunity in two groups with a winner and a trip to tribal council for each. At the first tribal council Jenna tried to play Donathan, though her shady behaviour made him nervous and he played his idol for himself, ensuring she was booted from the game. Meanwhile tribal council number two didn’t prove anymore successful, with Kellyn playing her extra vote to boot Laurel which tragically failed when Michael didn’t jump on board, sending him from the game.

Back at camp the two groups reconvened with Kellyn coming clean about playing the extra vote on Laurel, which Laurel was obvi not keen on. Though neither were the editors it seems as we quickly transitioned to Probst on the beach the next day for the reward challenge for a huge feast AND loved ones. With that, everyone started to breakdown before anyone even arrived on the beach – thought when Wendell’s dad arrived, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Nor my pants, given Wendell’s hungry jocks. Anyway, he was followed by Kellyn’s brother, Donathan’s Queen Aunt Patty – ugh, my heart is breaking. I love Donathan – Angela’s daughter – again, crying along with Probst – Chelsea’s sister – hang on, which one is the castaway? – Laurel’s brother, Sebastian’s booty-short baby sister and Domenick’s wife, who is an icon TBH.

Wendell was first across the pole – again, I wish – arriving at the balance beam first for the puzzle pieces. Sadly Laurel, Chelsea and Kellyn overtook him at the next obstacle and commenced digging their hole to slide under a log. Sadly for them Sebastian came out of nowhere and quickly slinked his twink build under and landed his sandbag on a podium just after Domenick arrived, securing the win. Given Sebastian isn’t an idiot or heartless, he selected second placer Dom to share the reward … followed by Wendell and Donathan. While the girls stood around glumly, Probst dropped another bomb on Sebastian saying that an advantage awaited someone on Ghost Island and he could either snatch it for himself, give it to one of his boys … or it will go to random draw for the girls. While Sebastian had no interest, Wendell jumped at the chance to snatch the advantage, pissing off the girls – particularly Kellyn – in the process.

At Ghost Island Wendell rationalised dropping his father like a newborn giraffe before discovering his advantage was to have a redo of the balance the ball on an ever-expanding pole challenge, like Malcolm in the Philippines. You know, the one that led to his first tragic loss? He also got to practice, so hopefully that makes perfect. Meanwhile out on the reward Domenick assured Donathan and Sebastian’s loved ones that they’d be going to the end together. Though that doesn’t seem to be something Donathan is interested in, given they’re both threats. Back at camp however, Kellyn was burning with fiery rage for Wendell dropping his dad for the reward. She then immediately pulled Chelsea, Laurel and Angela aside to form an alliance, pull in Donathan – because us gays always get along better with girls, right? Eyeroll – and take control and split up Domenick and Wendell. Which despite making Laurel extremely nervous, given their advantages, is super tempting … since they would crush her at final tribal.

With all that excitement out of the way, the final eight arrived to discover they’d be competing in the final immunity challenge from Philippines – swoon Malcolm and Denise … and Lisa – and that Wendell has the chance to reverse Malcolm’s curse. Kellyn quickly dropped out of the challenge, before Angela couldn’t even get it up in the second round, followed by Wendell who used his advantage to stay alive. Sadly it was all for nought, dropping again and losing the challenge. Sebastian dropped soon after the final round kicked off, followed by Laurel and Chelsea, leaving Donathan and Domenick to battle it out for immunity. The boys shook their way for a couple of extra minutes before Donathan dropped the ball and handed Domenick his second immunity win.

Everyone arrived back at camp to kick off the scrambling, with Domenick pulling Wendell aside to share that he kept the boys in line at reward before they locked in the vote for Chelsea. Meanwhile the girls connected by the fire to confirm aligning to break up the boys, with Angela confident she’d be able to pull in Donathan and take control. Which he was keen on. Sadly Laurel seemed open to the boys plan to take out Chelsea, though didn’t make Wendell feel confident and therefore, he planned to play his idol. Laurel and Donathan then joined together to lament the pain of being in the middle, with them both terrified of crossing people they trust just because they can’t be beaten for people they can’t trust to get them to the end. FYI – the latter is always the better option, because the other way is a guaranteed loss. But I’d probably suck and be overcautious if I were there too.

At tribal – gaaaah, MICHAEL?! – Kellyn quickly mentioned dropping two votes on Laurel at the last tribal, I assume to impress the jury. Sadly for her, Donathan stole her thunder announcing that Naviti are at breaking point and he and Laurel would be taking advantage of it … TONIGHT. This made the two factions look around with crazy eyes, denying their scrambling and trying to play innocent. Donathan continued to cause chaos, outing both the girls and boys for coming to them and trying to take control. While everyone on Naviti tried to deny the obvious scrambling, no one was being fooled by anything anyone else had to say. Channelling Tai-nerves-of-steel-Trang, Wendell opted out of playing his idol with his bravery rewarded – you missed your chance and handed he or Dom the game, guys – and him narrowly avoiding the boot while poor Chelsea banished to the jury. Which I can confirm is her name, after getting to meet her at Ponderosa … on account of her having less that five confessionals all season.

Anyway she took her boot like a champ and was an absolute delight while we reconnected. Turns out, I didn’t realise that Chelsea is one of my dear friends – we met whilst in cheerleading camp together – on account of her barely being on the show despite a brief immunity run. After realising our bond, I held her close, apologised for the producers shafting her and whipped her up a big batch of Chelsea Lamingtownsends.

 

 

The Australian – or Kiwi, TBH – classic is one of those baked treats that are perfect, sweet and delicious … but I always kind of forget exist in favour of something showier. Like the pizza curse that Survivor NZ couldn’t reverse, I feel like bequeathing Chelse with the confection kind of cursed her edit. Though thankfully, the light sponge, rich chocolate and shit tonne of coconut are so good, she didn’t seem to notice.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chelsea Lamingtownsend
Makes: 16.

Ingredients
125g butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon for the chocolate icing
1 cup raw caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 ¾ cups flour, sifted
1 tbsp baking powder
½ cup milk
3 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 cups desiccated coconut

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Cream the butter, raw caster sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer on medium for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Still running, add the eggs one at a time, allowing the mixture to come together before adding the next.

Remove from the mixer and fold through half the flour and baking powder until well combined, followed by half the milk until well combined. Lather, rinse and repeat until the batter is just combined. Pour into a lined lamington pan, smooth the top and place in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until just cooked through. Allow to cool in the pan for fifteen minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.

While it is working its way to chill, combine the icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl with half a cup of boiling water and the remaining butter, and stirring to form a smooth chocolatey liquid.

Cut the cake into 16 squares and place the coconut in a dish. Working one at a time, dip the cake in the chocolate icing using a fork until coated. Shake off the excess and dip into the coconut to coat. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to set for a couple of hours.

Then devour.

 

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