Tina Turnovers

Baking, Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

We’ve crossed the halfway point of this year’s Grammy Gold celebration – Somebody That I Used to Gold – and no tea no shade to Gaga, ONJ or Trey Park, but I decided it was about time I enlisted one of my most iconic friends. And thankfully the one, the only Tina Turner was keen to roll down the river for a date.

While I haven’t know Tina as long as most of my celebrity friends, the moment we met in the late ‘80s forged an instant bond and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Though there really is no bond stronger than one built on thirsting over footy players while filming an ad.

I know I haven’t told you about said bond before, but she means so much to me that I wanted to wait sharing our love on this ‘ere patch of cyberspace until there was a special occasion. And there is no occasion specialer than an EGOT contributing award show.

After holding each other close and catching up on what we’ve been up to, Tina being Tina
interrupted our gabfest by saying, “hit me with the odds Ben. And put some stank on it.”

I mean, if that is not the mark of an icon, I don’t know what is. With that we agreed that Arctic Monkeys will take Best Rock Performance, that we’ve never heard of any of the metal performances, Greta Van Fleet feel like the best shot for Best Rock Song and Weezer should take Best Rock Album.

Did I half-arse the running of odds? Sure. But I really wanted to focus my attention on making my Tina Turnovers perfect for my dear friend.

 

 

Creamy, sweet and full of juicy, tart blueberries, these are the perfect snack for any occasion. And are super easy, so you’d be mad not to have a crack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tina Turnovers
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese, softened
¼ cup raw caster sugar
2 lemons, zested
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and quartered
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 egg, whisked
demerara sugar, for sprinklin’

Method
Preheat oven to 220°C.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Divide amongst the squares of pastry, dot with the blueberries and seal to form triangles.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately.

 

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Ellie Kemparmigana Rissoles

Hashbrown: The End, Main

After kicking off my celebration of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Hashbrown: The End –  catching up with Carol and Dylan, I realised that I needed to circle back to the point and celebrate the titular Kimmy. Aka my dear friend Ellie Kemper.

While I haven’t known Ellie as long as some of the other cast members – I met her in 2011 while visiting Melissa on the set of Bridesmaids – we quickly bonded over our passion for writing and became the best of friends.

Despite being a close personal friend of Tina, I shockingly didn’t organise the casting. It was such a delight to pick up the phone from Tina who was giddy to have found her Kimmy, only to discover it was my dearest friend.

I haven’t seen Ellie since the last Emmys – where I refused to believe the news that Kimmy’s end was nigh – so it was wonderful to spend some time together and absorb the fact that this delightful, quirky show is ending and the world will never be the same.

And our hearts will become a blackened void.

Though I guess that’s where my Ellie Kemparmigana Rissoles come into play.

 

 

Chargrilled eggplant topped with a juicy, braised rissole, covered in tomato sauce and cheese? You can’t go wrong, even for the staunchest of anti-eggplanters – the veggie only, obvs – like me.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ellie Kemparmigana Rissoles
Serves: 6-8, depending on the size of your eggplant.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1cm slices
1kg beef mince
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
1 tbsp basil, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups passata
½ cup – or more, obvi – mozzarella cheese, grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place the slices of eggplant on a lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, flipping once. Remove and drain on some kitchen towel.

Reduce oven to 180°C.

Combine the mince, oregano, basil, garlic and parmesan in a bowl and shape into 16 rissoles.

Place the eggplant slices in the bottom of a baking dish and top each with a rissole. Pour over the passata and sprinkle with the mozzarella. Transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cheese is golden and the rissoles cooked through.

Serve immediately with a big heaping of Gabriel Mash or on their own. Or with salad. I don’t mind, the most important thing is you devour.

 

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Carole Radtzikiwill

Condiment, Dip, Vegetarian

I’ve been feeling super rundown and sad after returning to work, so I reached out to my dear friend Carole Radziwill – or Radzi as Countess LuAnn and I call her – and thankfully she was free to drop by.

Obviously I met Carole and her late husband Anthony in the ‘90s when I interned at ABC to try and woo Anthony in the hope of marrying into the wider Kennedy family. While he only had eyes for Carole, I was immediately taken by her down to earth nature and the love they shared and bowed out with dignity for once.

Watching their love grow and becoming such dear friends was a true blessing, however the tragic way it came to a close was painful to watch and I am glad I was able to support Caz through the horrible period she lived through in ‘99.

Oh and fun fact: our closeness if what made Aviva accuse her of using a ghostwriter. Which she didn’t do as she is an award winning journalist, damnit.

Thankfully our life is a bit less traumatic now – Caz’s even more so after bowing out of RHONY and leaving Dorinda as my sole fave – so it was such a delight to just sit, gossip and on my part, try and convince her to return to The Housewives if I can convince Andy to get rid of The B.

While she didn’t appear open to it, she was thrilled to open her mouth and smash a vat of my Carole Radtzikiwill.

 

 

As a child, I hated the entire concept of tzatziki. I don’t know if it is the general vibe of dodgy 90s or my irrational rage against cucumber, but I couldn’t stomach it. Until I had a really good one and I fell in love. Fresh, zingy and packing a punch, it is beautiful on its own or perfect slathered on a yiro or souvlaki.

Enjoy!

 

 

Carole Radtzikiwill
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups greek yoghurt.
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Chuck everything in a bowl.

Stir, cover and chill for an hour.

Devour.

 

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Jonathan Dan Bennoodles

Main, That Is So Fetch Week

Hey, do you know what day it is? Of course you do! It’s October 3rd aka Mean Girls Day aka the entire reason for this year’s That’s So Fetch Week going public. I know you were probably hoping that Tina or Linds would be dropping by, but they have both already gone here … and Linds is still busy stopping that child trafficking ring. So following in Mands and Dan’s footsteps is none other than Aaron Samuels himself, Jonathan Bennett.

Aka the entire reason we have Mean Girls day.

As I alluded to yesterday, Dan Fran and I had a tragic break-up on the set of Mean Girls due by my infatuation for Jonathan which culminated in our torrid affair. Tragically it ended too – maybe because I am too much like Regina George – but Jono and I have been the best of friends ever since.

Hell, I even forgave him for writing the Mean Girls Cookbook without me, that is how close we are. Though considering he chose to go with an actual chef over someone that tries things he finds only and quadruples the garlic content and adds chilli, I really had no right being offended in the first place.

Giving how busy he has been successfully writing a cookbook and hosting a baking show, Jon and I haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like lately. I mean, as besties we Skype each day, particularly since I introduced him to his Amazing Race-r boyfie Jaymes, but there is nothing like the real thing of hanging out with your friends in the same room. Smashing some Jonathan Dan Bennoodles.

 

 

Once again proving my non-chef credentials, this dan dan was inspired by a couple of recipes I found online though hella simplified. And probably nothing like how it should taste. Rich, nutty, spicy and fresh, this baby will fill you with joy and put a fire in your belly. Given the heaping of chilli, obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jonathan Dan Bennoodles
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
500g pork mince
3 tbsp Chinese chilli oil
1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp shaoxing wine
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp raw caster sugar
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
400g udon noodles, cooked as per packet instructions
1 cup baby spinach
1 bok choy, quartered
1 shallot, sliced

Method
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat and cook the garlic and ginger for a minute. Add the mince and cook for a further couple of minutes before reducing the heat to medium and adding the chilli oil, spices, sauces, sugar, stock and peanut butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce reduces.

Cook the udon as per packet instructions and add a tablespoon of cooking water to the pan if it starts to get too thick. Add the baby spinach and bok choy to the pan, and cook until heated through before tossing through the noodles.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with shallots and devour. Because it’s October 3rd.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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.