Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

Baking, Side, Snack, Sweets, Thankgiving for being a friend

Despite the fact my girl Betts is the only surviving Golden Girl, I applied yesterday’s logic with Rue – that she’d be upset if I disappeared after catching-up with Bea and Estelle – so decided to stick around in ‘87 to see out this year’s thanksgiving. Well, technically that year’s thanksgiving. But in lieu of this year’s.

Fuck – time travel can be a confusing bitch, no?

I’ve known Bet for years and years, after meeting on the set of Match Game in ‘63. Side note: based on how much fun we had, I suggested Ru do a version on Drag Race … and Snatch Game was born. You’re welcome.

While Betty and I talk on the phone every other day in the present day – I got super paranoid about a Golden curse in 2010/11 after Rue passed away a year after Bea, and she a year after Stell – we weren’t able to see as much of each other as we liked in the ‘80s. I mean, between my various crimes, scams and love affairs and her hit show, we were lucky to catch up once a month.

I rolled up on the lot for the fourth day in a row – talk about deja vu – as Betty raced into my arms for a hug.

“My dear Ben. I’ve missed you! It will be so wonderful to have my turn marking Thanksgiving with you.

“I’ve been so happy all day … Bea wanted to kill me!”

She burst out laughing while a fear gripped me … before I realised it wasn’t the present and she has outlasted the curse thus far. We gossiped and laughed as we drove back to her house. Both thankful, most of all, for each other’s company. And, obviously, my festively approved Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie.

 

 

Yes, cookie. In the singular – this was our first foray into the majesty of the skillet cookie. And dare I say it, we nailed it. Perfect spiced dough combined with the sticky sweet chocolate and pumpkin, and the earthiness of the nuts join together for a perfectly festive dessert.

I mean, how can you not be thankful for nuts in your mouth?

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
½ small butternut pumpkin, cut into a 1cm dice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
150g unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup firmly packed muscovado sugar
¼ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp bicarb soda, sifted
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups white chocolate chips
⅔ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking sheet with a lug of water and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Toss to combine, transfer the tray to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and sweet. Allow to cool while you get to work on the cookie.

Combine the butter and sugars in a 20cm, ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, or until the butter has just melted and everything combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk the egg and vanilla into the mixture before folding in the flour, bicarb soda, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg until just combined. Fold through the pumpkin, chocolate and walnuts, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool for half an hour before serving just warm with ice cream.

 

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Turkey Roulade McLanahan

Main, Poultry, Thankgiving for being a friend

After spending the last couple of days in ‘87 catching up with Bea and Estelle, I wasn’t sure if I should hang around for my date with Rue or go visit her in ‘05 when she was appearing in Wicked. Despite the fact it would likely have lead me to landing a part in the hit musical – and probs my first Tony – I decided to stick with the past.

Mainly to avoid a feud due to me exiting the time period without a word. Though it’s not like it would have lasted long, given how close we were.

I first met Rue on the set of Maude in the ‘70s. I, of course, was there as part of Bea’s entourage but I was fast taken by the delightful Eddi-Rue. We were both thrice divorced by the time we met and it was just such a comfort to have someone to talk to that had been through the same thing.

Rue always felt like the glue that held the girls together, given her warm, loving nature and I am so thankful to be able to experience it firsthand once more.

“My sweet darlin’ Ben, I do say, how I’ve missed you!”

I ran into her arms and held back my tears for her unexpected death in 2010.

“Now my sweet boy. Bea and Stell told me I’m in for a real treat for dinner … like how the men feel when going on a date with that Blanche!”

We laughed long and hard well into the night, talking about all the things we were thankful for – divorce being a big one for us three-timers – before sitting down to a big ol’ orgy of meat in the form of my Turkey Roulade McLanahan.

 

 

Given I was cooking in someone else’s kitchen … in the ‘80s, I couldn’t go around whipping up a big roast. That of course doesn’t take away from the fact this is a show stopper. The crispy pancetta crust keeps the turkey nice and moist. Particularly when you stuff it full of more meat and a good whack of herbs.

Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Roulade McLanahan
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 small bunch of sage, roughly chopped
4 pork sausages, casings removed
1 carrot, grated
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup craisins
a small handful of spinach, roughly chopped
freshly grated pepper
800g turkey breast fillets, flatten to 2cm thick with a mallet or rolling pin
200g thinly sliced pancetta

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the sage, sausage, carrot, garlic, parmesan, craisins and spinach in a bowl with a good whack of pepper.

Arrange the pancetta on a sheet of baking paper, slightly overlapping. Line the flattened breasts along one of the long edges, pressing closely or overlapping to form a clean piece of meat. Form the stuffing into a long sausage and place it along the centre of the meat. Using the baking paper as a guide, tightly roll the turkey over to form a long roll, with the pancetta sealing the turkey meat. Tie with a couple of pieces of kitchen twine to secure, transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until crisp on the outside and beautifully cooked on the inside.

Allow to stand for five minutes or so before carving, serving and, most importantly, devouring.

 

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Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty

Side, Snack, Thankgiving for being a friend, Vegetarian

I know it is hard to pinpoint a more tragic death, particularly when it comes to your friends, but my dear, beautiful Estelle Getty’s was truly heartbreaking. I mean, I miss Bea and Rue just as much, but knowing that she truly suffered in her final years and couldn’t remember how wonderful she and The Golden Girls were will always break my heart.

After Bea and I circled back to the lot after catching-up yesterday it took all my strength not to break down in tears knowing what would happen in a couple of decades. We ran into each other’s arms and held each other close, silently acknowledging the deep love of our friendship.

“Pussycat!” Oh FYI, she used her pet name for me – pussycat – as her term of endearment for Dorothy on the show.

“Pussycat, I’ve missed you! How have you been? Why don’t you come visit me more? Are you well? Can I get you a part on the show? Do you want a snack?”

I’d known Estelle for a couple of years by 1987, having met while she starred in the Torch Song Trilogy which was written about me by my ex-Harves. Our bond was instant and while we never got to spend as much time with each other as we’d like, it always felt like only days between visits.

We drove to her L.A. home, laughing and catching up, despite the fact I knew exactly what she had and would be up to next. It was heartbreaking yet at the same time so wonderful to be able to spend time with her while she was still at her best. The only that made the date every better was chowing down on some Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty.

 

 

Potato bake is the side dish of champions. Be it normal or sweet, there is nothing better than perfectly roasted potatoes covered in dickloads of cheese and a punch of herbs.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet Potato Estelle Galetty
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
5 shallots, thinly sliced
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
a small stalk of rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
⅔ cup freshly grated parmesan
200g goat’s cheese

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the potato, shallots and a lug of olive oil in a bowl with the thyme, rosemary, nutmeg and chilli. Toast to coat.

Smear – yes, smear – a lug of olive oil on the base and edges of a small baking dish.

Layer the potato on the base of the dish, slightly overlapping, moving from the outside in, until covered. Sprinkle over a quarter of each of the cheeses, followed by another layer … and a quarter of the cheeses and more potato until it is all gone. Finishing, obvi, with the cheese on top.

Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, covering with foil after half an hour if the top is getting to crispy.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes. Then devour, ferociously.

 

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BeaBQ Arthur Corn Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Thankgiving for being a friend

While The Golden Girls were one of the best sitcom ensembles ever assembled, the heart and soul of the show was my dear friend and comedy icon Bea Arthur. At the very least, she was the de facto lead given she was what brought Sophia into the mix.

Though speaking of Soph, she was the soul … and so were Rose and Blanche. Fuck.

In any event, my dear friend Bea is the first girl I’m checking in on … given the controversial meeting we had last time I ventured back in time. I mean, sure, she doesn’t know it since that date occurs in ‘89 and I’ve opted to visit during Thanksgiving ‘87. But I know, and guilt is a pretty big motivator.

Bea was thrilled to see me as I pulled up to the studio in the delorean.

“Quick Ben, quick. Fucking get out of here – we don’t need Betty to spot us and want to third wheel our friendship.”

“I’m fucking trying Bea, I’m  driving as fast as I fucking can,” I screamed, not wanting to hurt my friend Bet, or upset Bea by being sympathetic.

I sped through the Hills, down past Carney’s on sunset and eventually landed at her home in Brentwood – which will eventually become a Golden Girls museum, depending on how her will turns out following my next journey back in time – to reconnect, discuss a potential sequel to Mame – which you all know, does NOT eventuate – and devour a festively appropriate BeaBQ Arthur Corn Salad.

 

 

Fresh and zingy are not words that are oft thrown around when it comes to discussing dinner on turkey day. Though I can promise, it is more than worth it. The fresh, charred corn works perfectly with the zing of the tomato and lime, and the sweet delight that is basil.

Praise be … I mean, give thanks. Aka enjoy!

 

 

BeaBQ Arthur Corn Salad
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 corn cobs, de-husked and scorched over the flame of a stove
olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½ red capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
a small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine everything in a bowl.

Toss.

Devour.

 

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The golden age of giving thanks

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Thankgiving for being a friend

While it feels like only a couple of days since we finished up celebrating Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday – because it was – we’re doubling down in honour of Thanksgiving.

Yep – we’re throwing a party and inviting everyone we (care to) know. And they will see, the biggest gift will be from me and the place-card attached will say … I give thanks for being a friend.

That’s right, I’m pulling the time machine out of storage – again in Bea’s case – packing up my resort wear and travelling down the road and back again to celebrate Thanksgiving on the lanai with The Golden Girls.

Controversially, cheesecake is not included. Though I promise, it is a Thanksgiving not to be missed.

I mean, it’s THE Golden Girls for f&^ksakes.

Image source: The Golden Girls / NBC.

 

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Winona Spyders

Dessert, Snack, Stranger Feasts, Sweets

Given the fact she is the reason we’re holding this entire Stranger Things slash Halloween celebration, Stranger Feasts, it should come as no surprise that I’m wrapping things up with a date with my dear, dear friend Winona Ryder. Nevermind the fact that Joyce’s love for her son is the heart and soul for the entire show.

It feels like only yesterday that I caught up with Shan, Mil, Gats, Cal, Noah and Finn. Well, it was yesterday for Finn, but you get what I meant!

And by that, I meant to shamelessly cross promote.

I’ve known Winona forever, after we met on the set of Beetlejuice with my other dear friends Alec and Geens. As I was her stunt double slash stand-in we were inseparable on set and thankfully that developed into the closest, dearest friendship of our lives.

Given how long we’ve both been in Hollywood, we have a shit tonne of mutual friends – Leo, Kirsten, Claire, Pete, Al, Brit, Whoopi, Jeff, Simon and Retta, but to shamelessly name drop a few – so it was great to catch-up on all the gossip and throw some shade at their lesser career trajectories.

I mean, not even our biggest scandal could hold us down.

As you would all know, Winona was arrested for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. What you may not know but surely would have guessed by now, I too was caught up in the arrest … and may have been the cause of the entire thing (I wanted a new wardrobe, sue me). And our flimsy ‘method acting’ excuse.

In any event my nemesis Mark Geragos – aka half of the inspiration behind Piper Perabo’s horrid Notorious – did not help the case and Wins completed her community service with me by her side. Despite the fact I wasn’t even convicted thanks to my lawyer John someone? He said something about being shocked that referencing a glove not fitting getting his two worst clients off, but I digress.

I haven’t seen Wins in the last few months, so I am thrilled that she picked up the phone and asked for my promotional skill. Slash to help her celebrate Halloween slash her birthday. Given how many slashes were involved, I knew there was only one thing I could whip up – a big batch of (Chang’s) Winona Spyders.

 

 

While these are quite possibly the most basic thing you could ever make, they are also one of the most delicious. I mean, peanut butter and chocolate. Does it get any better? Yes, yes it does – crunchy noodles.

Enjoy!

 

 

Winona Spyders
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
400g milk chocolate
200g Chang’s Fried Noodles

Method
Place the peanut butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave until combined.

Fold through the noodles.

Spoon a tablespoon (or two) of the mixture into muffin cases and place on a baking sheet. Once done, place in the fridge and chill until set.

Then devour, greedily.

Happy Halloween!

 

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Jeffrey Tamburito

Cinco de Cuatro Celebration, Main, Snack

I know what you’re thinking – what the fuck are you doing back for Cinco de Cuatro when today is Cinco de Mayo, you fool? A) that is super aggressive, let’s keep it pleasant and b) I simply can not have a Mexican food celebration honouring Arrested Development without the Bluth patriarch himself, Jeffrey Tambor.

I mean sure, I’ve totally dissed and dismissed my boy – well Lucille’s boy, both of them – Tony Hale … but we caught up last year and he is ok with it. He wanted to give his onscreen family, particularly his sibs Will, Porsh and Jase, a chance to be featured on this historical record of my celebrity friendships.

Anyway, back to Jeff – we’ve been friends for decades after meeting through my dear, dear, dearly departed friend Larry Sanders. I was completely taken by his talent in Lazza’s show and when he came in to audition for Arrested Development, I knew he just had to play George and Oscar.

After it was tragically axed prior to him snagging an Emmy, I made it my personal mission to snag him the gold. When I started developing a little show for Amazon called Transparent, I suggested he audition and help support the T of my community.

At first he thought I asked him to audition for season five of Community in an attempt to keep it on the t-eev, and while he agreed, he was even more excited to find out it was Transparent and his casting would help boost visibility for a less privileged part of my actual community. Now I know that it is fucked up to have a cisgender man playing a trans woman, but Jeffrey knows that and is working hard to make it up to the trans community by advocating that he be the last.

Given that season four should be released in the next few months, I was far less political in our discussions and instead focused on getting myself some spoilers / convincing him to find me a nice juicy role in the inevitable season five. Obviously that required me to sweeten him up, which in turn obviously meant I had to serve up a big old Jeffrey Tamburito.

 

 

There is no better way to honour the legitimate holiday that is Cinco de Mayo than a big, fat, spicy burrito. Hot, fresh and altogether soothing, is there anything more you need me to say to get some pork on your fork?

Enjoy!

 

 

Jeffrey Tamburito
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1kg pork shoulder
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 onions, quartered
5 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of oregano
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
200g chipotles chillis in adobo sauce, blitzed to a pulp
400g can of chopped tomatoes
1L chicken stock
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 shallots, finely sliced
1 red capsicum, diced
400g can of kidney beans, drained
juice and zest of lime
1 onion, diced
small handful of coriander, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
3 cups rice, rinsed thoroughly
6 cups water
12 large tortillas
Guacamole, grated cheese, lettuce, sour cream, sriracha and any other beloved accompaniments, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Heat a lug of oil in a dutch oven, season the pork and seal on both sides until golden. Remove from the pan, add the carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano 2 tsps of the cumin and the smoked paprika and toss around with the meat for a minute or two, or until fragrant. Add the chillis, tinned tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover and transfer to the oven and cook for three-four hours, or until the meat is falling apart.

While the meat is cooking, combine the tomatoes in a bowl with the shallots, capsicum, kidney beans, lime juice and a lug of olive oil. Stir well, season and refrigerate until needed.

Then get the rice ready by heating yet another lug of olive oil in a large pan and frying the onion for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the coriander, the remaining cumin and turmeric and cook for a further minute before stirring through the rice. Cover with water, give a good whack of seasoning and cook, uncovered, over low heat for about twenty minutes.

Once everything is done, remove the meat from the oven and shred meat between two forks like a basic white girl says she is for a wedding and return to the pan on the stove top. Crank the heat up and simmer in the sauce for ten minutes or so, or until thickened and delicious.

To serve, heat a tortilla is a dry frying pan. Transfer to a bench, layer with your desired salad, the bean salsa, condiments and cheese and finally the pulled pork. Fold the tortilla over to enclose, seal the ends and roll to create a fat cylinder. Wrap in foil and transfer to the aforementioned frying pan to cook for a minute or so either side.

Before, obviously, devouring.

 

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Benoffee Affleck Pie

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Sweets

Even with us both currently sober – my birthday led to an arrest and court-ordered AA, what of it? – my cheeky B-squared reunion with Benny Affleck was completely off the chain!

Seriously … how is that possible? Is this old age? Is drinking not, shudder, required for a good time? Actually, don’t answer that … I’d rather not know.

Anyway … I obviously met Benny – and Matt – while attending Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in the 80s. I, again obviously, immediately spotted their talents and quickly moulded them into the writer/director/actors that you know and love day.

Unless you’re Jimmy Kimmel / Matt Damon … but that isn’t a prob for my boy Benny.

As I mentioned, I’ve tried to keep my distance with Benny for the last year or so given the scandalo with nannies … on account of my past work as a nanny and off the charts sex-appeal.

Thankfully his reunion with Jen means that I can up my profile and celebrate his Gone Girl – and pitch Tina Fey’s Tyler Perry sequel, Girl I thought you were goneBatman vs. Superman nudity and enquire about the prospect of Justice League shower scenes.

With that, I needed something to sweeten the deal and cut through my thirst, so settled on our favourite Benoffee Affleck Pie.

 

 

Be warned, this is insanely sweet. And I mean, insanely sweet – which is great to counter thirst, FYI – but make no mistake, banoffee is always a win. Plus, the banana means it’s healthy and the cream kind of cuts through the caramel.

You can’t go past that – enjoy!

 

 

Benoffee Affleck Pie
Serves: 2 Boston boys … 8-12.

Ingredients
200g muscovado sugar
200g butter, plus 75g for the crust
2 x 400g can condensed milk
200g butternut crunch biscuits … or digestives or something of that ilk, but butternut crunch are amazing, crushed
4 bananas, sliced on the diagonal
400ml double cream, whipped until soft peaks form

Method
Start by making the toffee by combining the sugar and 200g of butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until combined and the sugar dissolves. Slowly stir in the condensed milk and bring to the boil, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens, gets darker and smells like caramel. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

While that is cooling, blitz the biscuits in a food processor and melt the remaining butter. Combine, press into a pie dish and transfer to the freezer for fifteen minutes or so to kinda-sorta-semi-set.

Reserve about a quarter of a cup of caramel. Add half of the bananas to the remaining mixture, quickly stir and pour into the pie dish.

Whip the cream, and pour/layer on top of the caramel banana mixture. Arrange the remaining banana on top … and then drizzle over more caramel. Because why not?

Devour.

 

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Argo fuck yourself

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I feel like I was a bit of a dippy downer last week, in processing my grief about Phil’s death and my rapid ageing.

As such, I decided that my 30s should be a more positive decade and that I should kick off the catch-ups of my 30-somethings on a happier note – hanging with my dear Ben Affleck celebrating his reunion with Jenny Garns.

Given the fact I was in my 20s and was a one-time nanny, I thought it best to stay away and save him the temptation, so we haven’t caught up in a few years.

What says I’m thankful we’re free to catch-up, now that I’m over the hill?

Image source: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

 

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.

Leonardo DiCapsicum & Feta Dip

Condiment, Dip, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVII: Gold with the Wind, Party Food, Side, Snack

Once again we’ve come to the end of another glorious Oscar Gold celebration in honour of tomorrow’s big day. Quickly on that note – I know I normally give you live behind the scenes coverage as I walk the red carpet, try and bribe the PWC auditors/steal their briefcase, reconnect with my many ex-lovers and script doctor the hosts efforts … but Jimmy banned me from doing it this year.

Something about my inflamatory way of behaving putting me perilously close from being banned from the Academy for life.

While I am pissed, the show must go on as Hollywood needs me. Plus, you guys need to know tips for your last minute bets.

Now for the moment we’ve been waiting decades for … I was finally able to welcome my dear friend Leo DiCaps to the Oscar Gold party. While it is tragic we will no longer have sad Leo memes at every couple of Oscars, I was ecstatic to be there – live tweeting, thank you Jim – to witness Leo finally snatch the statue after years in the Oscars’ bridesmaid wilderness.

I first met Leo on the set of his first film Critters 3 where we became fast friends of the mutual disappointment we felt for our co-stars. It was on that set that I decided to take him under my wing and help him reach the heights of fame.

I think it is no coincidence that he received his first unsuccessful Oscar nom less than two years later. Leo – and the wider world – you’re welcome.

Being a newly minted Best Actor winner, Leo and I giddily got to work discussing the odds for both the male categories. He agreed that Casey Affleck’s melancholic beauty in Manchester by the Sea deserves the glory … but it extremely concerned that Julia Robert’s will be loving her life again with Denzel pipping him at the post for a loud performance.

To be honest, if anyone is pipping Casey, it should be Viggo … but anyway.

Over in Best Supporting it is essentially a one horse race with there being no way in hell anyone is beating Mahershala Ali. Though I said that about Trump’s Presidency, so who knows?

Given that we both have suits to fit into tomorrow – as Leo asked me to attend as his date – I quickly whipped up a fresh Leonardo DiCapsicum & Feta Dip to mark the first anniversary of him breaking his Oscars drought.

 

leonardo-dicapsicum-feta-dip-1

 

Creamy, tart and completely delicious. This dip is super easy to make and even easier to eat.

Enjoy!

 

leonardo-dicapsicum-feta-dip-2

 

Leonardo DiCapsicum & Feta Dip
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 red capsicums, halved, deseeded, chargrilled and peeled
2 garlic cloves, roasted and thinly sliced
1–2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
250g feta
1 shallot, finely chopped
pinch of chilli flakes
pinch of smoked paprika
salt and black pepper, to taste
crusty baguette, Turkish bread or crackers, to serve

Method
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor.

Blitz.

Devour.

 

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.