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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El Diablo Cody

Drink, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XC: The Goldfather

The last year has been an exciting time for cinema – and I’m not just talking about the peach scene that I will never stop talking about from Call Me By Your Name – and it feels like there is an electricity in the air. Though maybe that has something to do with the fact I’m kicking off this year’s Oscar Gold celebration – The Goldfather, FYI – with the delightful Diablo Cody.

Despite the fact I’m yet to win a screenwriting Oscar, or well, even be credited as writing a screenplay, Diablo and I are essentially the same person. She studied media, I studied journalism in the same class as Sylvia Jeffreys. She got her start on blogs, I am the only person willing to publish my work. She quit her job to become a fulltime stripper, I am a fulltime, unpaid stipper (you say flasher, I say stripper).

On and on and on the similarities go. I mean, when I have a blog turn into a book – just let that marinate – I am two years off an Oscar.

Anyway, circling back – I met Diablo while working together at The Skyway Lounge and while I wasn’t able to parlay my appearance on the ameteur night into a paying gig, we became the best of friends. And I would argue that I played an integral part in pushing her to write the majesty that would become Juno and inspired the Meryl starring Ricki and The Flash.

Anywho, enough about D and my best friendship, which is what it is. You came here for the running of the Oscar odds and bi George, you’re going to get it, gurl … (sorry, I was possessed by Jonathan Van Ness).

Given she won an Oscar on her first attempt at a screenplay we’re obviously tackling the screenwriting portion of the show. There is no doubt in either of our minds that James Ivory deservedly has the Adapted Screenplay gong on lock for Call Me by Your Name because the movie truly does the book justice, captures all the long and removes the distractions … not including cutting out eating the peach which should have stayed put. My apologies to my dear friend Sorki, obvi.

The OG Screenplay category is where we ran into trouble. McDonogh took the Globe and BAFTA while Peele took the WAG and Critic’s Choice Award. While I’d love Gerwig to pull out a surprise victory, I feel like her best shot is as a director … so I settled on Jordan Peele. D, thankfully is tipping Gerwig to triumph and with it, give me the opportunity to pretend I was letting her have it. It being victory in the non-existent tipping competition.

As is oft the case, it was some thirsty work which made it super convenient when I sidled up to the bar and whipped us up a pair of my El Diablo Cody.

 

 

Like me, Diablo likes a devilishly good time and with it, a devilishly good drink. And well, as the name suggests, this baby fits the bill perfectly. Spicy and tart with a bit of a kick, its everything I like, TBH.

Enjoy!

 

 

El Diablo Cody
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
ice
2 shots tequila
4 shots ginger ale
1 tsp crème de cassis
1 lime wedge

Method
Combine ice and tequila in a highball.

Add the ginger ale and crème de cassis, and stir to combine.

Add a wedge of lime and down.

Lather, rinse and repeat.

 

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Nico Tortellini

Main, Pasta

Sorry for the delay with this week’s recipe, I am only just coming down from my wonderful week at a private villa with Nico. While it was only meant to be a friendly catch-up between friends, Nico is truly intoxicating … and like Joni Mitchell, I couldn’t help but drink a case of him.

As you know, I first met Neeks through Mich and Corbs on the set of the egregiously shortlived TBL, and while I’d love to say it were his brains and many talents that drew me to him, our sexual chemistry is what brought us together.

Thankfully it didn’t take long for me to see him as the kind, wise and talented individual that he is, and we became friends after being lovers. Which kinda flips Bolton’s rule, no?

Anyway … let’s get to the good stuff. I picked Nico up from the airport, it was hot and humid and we drove to a private villa not far from the scene of the cage-fighting accident with Miley that rendered Annelie out of action on here.

We swam, we laughed and we literally ticked all the boxes. It was, as you would expect, glorious.

When it came to nightfall, we were absolutely ravenous for something carby and glorious, that could easily be eaten off a body Samantha-in-SATC-style. Which meant I obviously went for a Nico Tortellini.

 

 

“It is so thoughtful,” he said as I brought it to the table.

“Creamy, hot and spicy, and packed full of sausage – it is everything this week has been.”

Enjoy!

 

 

Nico Tortellini
Serves: 4-6 … or 2 starved lovers on Valentine’s Day.

Ingredients
1 cup ricotta
½ cup emmental
½ cup grana padano
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg, lightly whisked
salt and pepper, to taste
60 gow gee wrappers
olive oil
6 spicy Italian sausages, excluding your lover’s
3 garlic cloves, minced
small handful mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1-2 cups baby spinach
300ml double cream
½ cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

Method
Combine the ricotta, emmental and grana padano cheeses in a bowl with the nutmeg, egg and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Grab your gow gee wrappers, a pastry brush and a half-filled mug of water. Spoon out a large teaspoon of mixture into the centre of each gow gee wrapper, lightly brush the edges with water and fold the pastry in half leaving you with a filled semicircle. Take the two edges and turn them into to each other and press together to form a large tortellini … because I love his large tortellini.

Once they’re all ready, get a big pot of salted water boiling over high heat. When bubbling as aggressively as your chemistry, add the pasta and cook for five minutes, or until they are all floating. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

While the pasta are cooking, heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and push meatball-sized pieces of meat out of the sausage and cook for a couple of minutes, or until they’re all cooked. Add the garlic and mushroom and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until the mushies are softening and the kitchen fragrant. Add the chilli, sundried tomatoes, spinach and double cream and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, stir through the parmesan and season well.

Return the tortellini to the pasta pan, pour over the sauce and toss until well covered. Serve immediately, in a bowl, on your sexy lover or both, the latter two after they’ve adequately cooled, ovbi.

Sprinkle with even more cheese – sausage’s best accompaniment – and devour.

 

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My love bomb, about to explode

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Ah, Nico. Nico. Nico, Nico, Nico. How I love thee, my dear Nico.

I’ve known Nico for close to ten years, after meeting on the set of The Beautiful Life through my friends Corbs and Mish. To say the deep sexual attraction was instant, is an understatement.

After the tragic felling of our mutual friend Milk on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I was feeling sooo emotional – am I right, Sash? – so called Nico to see if he wanted to reconnect.

“Oh Ben, I’d love to spend Valentine’s with you,” he giddily screamed into the phone.

“I’m on the next plane, I won’t need to pack much … I can’t wait.”

He then sent me this picture.

Well this should be a fun week, I guess …

Image source: Unknown.

 

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Pie Float Newton

Gravy, Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food

Oh how bittersweet it was to reconnect with moonface, during the most rare lunar occurance – the super blue blood moon – in our lifetimes. Apparently, anyway. While I can confirm he is doing far better than the media cares to report – he is not on death’s door, nor does he have a gambling prob – he is getting on in age.

And the fact he kept patting me on the back saying, “Ben, my boy.”

You’d think he’d learn, no?

“This is a once in a lifetime event.”

Only served as a reminder that he won’t be around forever. It also further proved the fact eldery people love to bash the media for lies, but also take their word as truth if it suits. I mean, is this super bloody blue balls moon really that rare? Please answer in the comments below.

Anyway, I’ve gone well off topic so will start to work my way back. I first met Bertie in the early ‘60s through my ex-boyfriend Graeme Kennedy, and we became the fastest of friends. While Grae and I didn’t last, my friendship with Bert did and I helped guide his career, from late night, to game shows, to midday and most importantly, morning programming.

So as is oft the case, you’re welcome.

While I couldn’t convince him to make yet another comeback, TV or otherwise, I could convince him to split an iconic Pie Float Newton to toast his contribution to Australian, nay, global culture.

 

 

Now I know these don’t look overly appetising, nor do they look moderately healthy, but daaaaamn are they good. I mean, pie and mash is perfect, pie and gravy is glorious, and pie with peas sings. How can you go wrong by combining them all … with sauce?

Not possible, so enjoy!

 

 

Pie Float Newton
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 individual beef pies – you could make a bigger version of Mini Beaf Arthur & Mushroom Pies or Pie-an Ziering without the blue cheese, or you know, go with Four’n’Twenty. I ain’t judging … much
olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups chicken stock
5 washed potatoes, diced
2 tbsp milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp flour
2 cups beef stock
tomato – aka tommie – sauce

Method
Cook the pies as per their recipe, or the packet instructions you bloody bludger, strewth cobber.

While that is happening, heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the shallots for a couple of minutes or so. Add the peas and stock, bring to the boil, reducing to low once rollicking and simmering for half an hour, or until the liquid is reduced. When there is about 1cm of stock left, mash the peas until semi-smooth.

Meanwhile place the potato in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for ten minutes, or until just cooked through. Drain and return to the pot with half the butter, milk, a whack of salt and pepper, and the parmesan. Mash until smooth.

And just to add to your cleaning, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once frothing, add the flour, whisk to combine and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and whisk in the stock before returning to the heat and bringing to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes or until it is your desired consistency. Season and remove from the heat.

To serve, layer a bed of mash on your plate, top with some peas, then the pie … then drown in gravy and squirt with some tommie sauce. Because apparently, that was critical to the floater.

Then devour … or shame eat. Though you shouldn’t feel shame for loving something so damn good.

 

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Once in a blue moon

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Good news – this week is reverting back to our regularly scheduled programming (aka, no more celebratory weeks until the Oscars).

That being said, programming may be back to normal however the lunar cycles are not, with a super rare, super blue blood moon arriving this Wednesday. Between that and the fact we just marked Australia Day – which should definitely be changed, FYI – I realised there was only one friend I could call to drop by.

Moon face himself, my dear friend Bert Newton.

What says I love you, you’re an icon (you look like Linda Evangelista, did you stone those tights yourself) and I’d love to celebrate you … still being alive?

Image source: Unknown, but highly likely TV Week.

 

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Tyramen Banks

America's Next Top Model, Main, Poultry, Soup

Oh my GOD – you would not believe the week I have had! I was quietly resting off a post-boozing-with-Cath hangover on Thursday morning, minding my own business, when I received a call from my dear friend Tyra Banks.

“Ben, just wanted to check when your recap of our premiere would go live?”

I stayed quiet, hoping she would think I wasn’t there.

“Ben … Ben … BEN?”

“Um, you see, I wasn’t actu … ”

“I was rooting for you. We were ALL rooting for you.

“Tyra, you never invited me out to set so I couldn’t …

“Stop talking. Ben, stop talking. Be quiet, be quiet … STOP. I have never yelled at a friend like this before. I know you have a time machine, I
know zthat isn’t an excuse. I want us to work together to become next level fierce.

“When I yell at a friend like this it is because I care … “

“Sorry Tyra, I’ve got another call coming through. It is Naomi, she wants to … “

“Ben,” she said as sweetly as possible. “I love you, you’re fierce, you make me smize, you pop. Maybe I should pop … on the next plane and we should reconnect and discuss making this all work.”

True to her word, my girl Tyra arrived on my doorstep the next day, held me in her arms, apologised for yelling at me. Given we’re such old dear friends – we met whilst supermodelling, obvi – and the fact I was pretty cold bringing up Naomi Campbell, I forgave her. And yeah, I guess you could say this is happening. ANTM is joining the ranks of Survivor, Australian Survivor, Drag Race and Survivor New Zealand, and getting the whole culinary condolence treatment … and our friendship is renewed.

That, I guess, is the soothing power of my Tyramen Banks.

 

 

Crazy hot with a little bit of sweetness, this baby is everything you want from a ramen. And is super easy to whip up, making it look like you’ve been planning it for ages. Because I was, Ty, I was.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyramen Banks

Serves: 2.
Ingredients

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp tamari
400g egg noodle
500g chicken breasts
1L chicken stock
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
½ cup bean sprouts
½ red capsicum, finely sliced
5 spring onions, sliced
1 fresh red chilli, sliced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Method
Combine the soy, tamari, minder ginger and chilli in a large bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and leave to marinate for about eight hours or so. Or while you’re at work, for example.

Preheat the oven to 180C and prep all the ingredients.

When you’re ready to go, place the chicken on a lined baking tray and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile bring two saucepans of water to the boil and cook the eggs until soft in one, and the ramen noodles per packet instructions in another.

And in a third saucepan, cook the chicken stock and sriracha over medium heat until piping hot.

To serve, place the noodles on the bottom of your bowl, pour over the chilli stock and top with bean sprouts, capsicum, spring onion and chilli. Slice the chicken on an angle and place over the top before breaking the eggs in half and adding them to the bowl.

Garnish with coriander and a wedge of lime. Squeeze said lime in the broth before devouring, and curing all that ails ya.

 

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Creamed John O’Hurleeks

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Side, Vegetarian

We’re rapidly approaching the pointy end of our 12 Days of Festivus celebrations *sighs whilst simultaneously taking a deep breath* after catching up with Jase, Heids, Barn, Liz, Wayne, Mike and Pat, so I thought it was high time to charge our final side dish on the Peterman account.

Yas bish, my dear friend John O’Hurley is today’s guest of honour.

While I didn’t meet John-John until he walked onto the Seinfeld set, our friendship was instantaneous. Sure sharing the same sense of humour helped that cause, it was our passion for talking like a game-show announcer that truly brought us together.

Now while that eventually lead to a massive falling out after he got the host role on To Tell The Truth – “Just tell me John, the truth, why did you go behind my fucking back,” I screamed before lunging at him and pulling him in a pool La La Land slash Dynasty style – we were brought back together by my dear friend Kelly Monaco who creamed him in the first season of Dancing with the Stars.

Just don’t tell him it was me that rigged the show in her favour.

In any event, I like to rub that loss in as often as possible – “Oh calm down Johnny, I’m just joking. I got over you snatching my game show!” – so always whip up some Creamed John O’Hurleeks whenever he is in town.

 

 

I feel it is kind of redundant to tease this baby given the majesty of the ingredients list, but let me just say, this side is perfection. It is also probably really bad for your cholesterol … but choose your choice, you do you boo, etc.

Enjoy!

 

 

Creamed John O’Hurleeks
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
4 leeks, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste

Method
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat until foamy. Add the leeks and cook for 15 minutes until softened and sweet. Add the stock, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Stir through the cream, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook for a further fifteen minutes, or until gloriously reduced. Serve immediately and then devour, greedily.

 

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.