A delicious Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl waiting for our sixth boot.

Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Breakfast, Main, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the poor Champions weren’t really living up to their name, nailing the reward challenges and bombing the immunity challenges. This sent them to three of the first four tribal councils, and while the athletes alliance took early control of the tribe, Queens Janine and Pia, along with David and Luke masterfully played to Abbey and Ross’ sensibilities and flipped them, taking control and sending Susie and Nova out of the game. Janine and Shaun found idols on their respective beaches however they sadly were only good for the other tribe. Janine shared the intel with David who asked to take her note, made a fake idol and traded it with Shaun’s real one, giving him and his two allies idols and poor, beautiful land mermaid Shaun with none. Once again the Champions lost immunity and despite David’s overconfidence grating on his tribe – allies and enemies alike – he managed to convince everyone to get rid of Steven.

We dropped in on the Contenders the next day where John was flooding my basement in a speedo, playing cricket – handling a bat and ball with imense skill – twerking (kinda) and being fucking hot. And that is before he got nude again and oh god, I can’t take it – I love him.

Back at the Champions tribe Ross too was being a total cutie, running around in the shore entertaining the tribe – I think trying to fish – showering by the well and receiving offers to sleep with Janine. Since she loves his smile, which is the oldest line in the book. He continued to make everyone laugh with his positive attitude, and that is before literally burning Steven’s spirit out of his jocks. Not as jovial are poor E.T. and someone called Simon we’re yet to hear from, fetching food and trying to prove their worth while seething about David’s control over the tribe given he is a babe. As attractive as he is, why am I still more turned on by John? Swoon.

But back to E.T. and Simon, they vowed not to give up and to get in with the other Champs to try and find a way out of their predicament. E.T. then went fishing with Ross and oh shit, I hope that isn’t all that he has planned. We then got a little break with superfan icon Queen Pia, who is so proud of everything that she has achieved in the game so far, despite missing her family. She also outlined her women’s alliance within her larger majority and oh damn, I didn’t think I could love her any more than I do now.

Over at the Contenders tribe Shaun was looking beautiful, even while getting his eyebrows plucked by a random girl who I think is Casey but has been too buried by the edit. Sadly poor beautiful Shaun was so proud of his perfect idol trade out and I worry that is going to come back and bite him. Because he and John need to get together.

Jonathan arrived for the first reward challenge of the week – where David’s nips were looking great – with the tribes playing tug-o-war, with the first tribe to three securing burgers. However not a Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger, which is really a pivot. The first round saw David, Luke and Abbey face off against Shaun, Matt and Sarah, with the Champions taking the first point. Harry, Hannah and Sam were then defeated by Pia, Janine and E.T. before Shaun, Harry, Sarah and Sam got their first point on the board, crushing E.T. Janine, David and Janine. Harry, John, Matt and Shaun – who looked so damn good – evened things up with a hard fought battle against David, Ross, Simon and Luke. It came down to Shaun versus Ross and TBH, I am worried for poor Ross’ health and I hope he is ok. Wait, no, Shaun tripped and Ross won the reward and seeing him lifted over his tribe’s shoulders is honestly the most pure thing I’ve ever witnessed. To make things even more heartwarming, Jonathan allowed them to invite a Contender to join them selecting Baden … who was allowed to select a friend to go with him, rewarding Shaun for his killer effort. Oh and THEN they got beers too.

The Champions arrived at camp, giddy at the site of the burger supplies – and all the fixin’s – except for David who was worried that his lies were all about to come crashing down. Baden was completely adorable, cheering for the Champions and then trying to explain to Ross what he studies … and dare I say it, a new ship is born. Luke then quietly seethed about Shaun getting fed and potentially leading his tribe to victory at the next immunity challenge. Back at the Contenders the tribe were lamenting their loss and missing out on yet another reward, though were thankful that Baden rewarded Shaun for his efforts. Knowing that he will be an asset in the immunity challenge.

We returned to the Champions tribe where Shaun continued to unwittingly terrify David, with the latter deciding to double down on his lies by saying the idol is the only reason that he is still in the game and Steven is out. Poor Shaun truly believed his idol is real, and I am so concerned about his safety. Wait, no, maybe David should be nervous, given Abbey noticed him buddying up to Shaun and thought that maybe he should go sooner rather than later. With Queen Pia backing it up and ready to strike while his ego is at its biggest.

Seriously? Queens.

The tribes arrived to meet Jonathan on a beach where the Tower of Terror was making a return, meaning Casey is about to tap out of the challenge in three, two … wait, what? She is competing as one of the two members standing on a plank over the edge of the tower, with three people tasked with holding each of them up one-by-one with the last tribe to have someone perched atop the tower winning. Harry and Sarah kicked things off for the Contenders, keeping Casey and Baden on top of the tower while David and E.T. were busy keeping Pia and Simon up. Sarah was the first to trade out, giving her rope to Shaun while Harry soon followed, trading out to Daisy who soon gave it to Zaddy John, who tragically found boardshorts. Meanwhile at the top of the tower Casey was trying to get to know everyone, chatting away to Baden and Pia while once again, Simon’s voice was completely ignored.

David then swapped out with Abbey while poor Zaddy John struggled with his rope. Abbey passed off to Luke before Zaddy John couldn’t hold out any longer, dropping poor Baden into the drink. Who was super happy about it, despite the reminder that Kiwi Jeff has moved on to another show while Survivor NZ has been cancelled. Anyway E.T. finally handed his rope off to Janine, who quickly passed it out to Ross leaving the Champions on their last legs, while Shaun still had Matt to support him. Back at the top of the tower Casey was being iconic, asking Pia and Simon whether David actually played an idol at the previous tribal council, outing his lies and making things awks for the Champions. Shaun finally passed off to Matt before Ross dropped Simon in the water mid chat, leaving Matt and Luke to battle it out to keep Casey and Pia up top to gossip. Despite almost dropping, Luke dug deep and pulled Pia up before ultimately dropping handing the Contenders yet another immunity. Though Matt didn’t make himself any friends over at the Champions with his arrogant celebrations.

Back at camp the Champions were well and truly over losing yet another challenge, though did rally around to give each other a hug and congratulating them on trying so hard. Everyone started to feel bad for poor E.T. and Simon, except for David who thought it was hilarious. David then wandered around chatting to his allies, locking in their votes for E.T. and making jokes about him going home. Get it? E.T. going home.

Sadly for him E.T. wasn’t going to take his exit lying down, approaching Abbey to see whether she would be willing to switch back to him and Simon to get rid of anyone else. She then sat with Pia, upset to have to vote out one of the two delightful men that are on the outs before talking to David who tried to keep her calm and then pivoted to suggesting they get rid of Pia instead. This spooked the girls who spoke about turning on David, with Pia not wanting to take a strike at him unless she was guaranteed at him going home. And given how damn confident he is heading off to tribal, he really should be worried.

At the aforementioned tribal David and Abbey were lamenting how strong they were all feeling going into the challenge however still ended up here. E.T. spoke about being on the chopping block, leading to Jonathan pointing out that David said they’d be having a fresh start after booting Steven, making him feel like a liar. E.T. then gave his last pitch to the tribe, highlighting how bloody lovely he is and how he wants to have the chance to prove his leadership to the tribe by giving them the direction in the immunity challenges. David agreeing challenge contribution is important, how given they’ve been losing with E.T. here, it clearly isn’t making a difference and as such, he needs to focus on other things. Jonathan got shady, asking Ross and Abbey whether they’re going to be good foot soldiers and vote out either Simon and E.T. leading to Abbey breaking down about how much both men mean to her.

Simon then got his first monologue, pointing out that he is strong in challenges and would love the opportunity to be a foot soldier for the alliance. Janine then spoke about their alliance being stronger than the athletes because theirs wasn’t thrown together in a rush. Janine than admitted that she trusts people to different extents, while Ross agreed that there would definitely be smaller groups within their alliance while Jonathan finally for David to utter the phrase ‘do as you’re told’ as they headed off to vote. Where poor E.T. was given his marching orders, or escape, if you will.

As you may know, I am quite a big deal in the rugby league community – my dad played three, yes three, first grade games for the Roosters and I am the marketing genius who suggested bringing out Tina for a series of ads with Zaddy E.T. running around in a speedo. Given it was the ‘80s, I never acted on my feelings for E.T. but during the shoot he took my breath away and I did what every closeted kid did, befriended him and became his biggest supporter. While there was a period of a few years when I stopped talking to him as he started Escape – I hate seafood and fishing bores me – we reconnected and have been the best of friends ever since. E.T. was thrilled to see me working away in loser lodge, ran into my arms and gave me the biggest, warmest hug I can remember. He then noticed a purple stain on his shirt and honestly, the smile that appeared over his face was too pure for this world as he realised I had whipped him up a delicious Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl.

 

Andrew Ettinghausen demolishing his Australian Survivor sixth boot Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl

 

While I generally subscribe to the Ron Swanson, all the bacon and eggs breakfast school of thought, I will give E.T. a pass – footy pun, mate – and let him have an acai bowl. I mean, it is delicious after all, despite being healthy, and he is such a sweet, sweet man. Like an acai bowl.

Enjoy!

 

Andrew Ettinghausen demolishing his Australian Survivor sixth boot Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl

 

Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
200g acai berry puree
2 bananas, frozen
½ cup Greek yoghurt
berries, bananas, coconut etc. to garnish

Method
Chuck the puree, bananas and yoghurt in a high powdered blender and blitz until completely smooth.

Pour into a bowl, top with whatever fruit/berries you desire and devour. Smugly, knowing you’re being super healthy.

 

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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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Ryan Cosling and Avocado Salad

Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldy Bird, Salad, Side, Snack

Hey Girl, you didn’t think there was anyone I’d rather kick off this (new) year’s Golden Globe celebrations with than my dear friend Ryan Gosling, did you? I mean between the fact we’ve known each other for decades after co-starring on The Mickey Mouse Club – obvi I was a mouseketeer – and that he won his globe after five noms, he is best place to help me run the odds this year.

Normally I like to show you the other sides of my celebrity friends however when it comes to Ry, what you see is what you get. He is an absolute babe-town slash sweetheart, is a loyal friend and is just thoroughly delightful.

I mean, he was so worried about how I would take him getting with Eva and starting a family – we dated in the early noughts – so he took me on a friend vacay where we watched her movies with a critical eye until I softened enough to her and he was sure that I wouldn’t feel slighted by the relationship.

While I obviously flew off the handle when I realised talking smack about Eva’s performance in the classic film Urban Legends: Final Cut – the film’s only weakness IMO – wasn’t foreplay, we quickly won me back by having personally edited the locker scene from Crazy, Stupid, Love and his Blue Valentine nude scene in a 14 hour loop to help calm me down.

That sort of thoughtful gesture is even enough to curb my penchant for holding grudges. As such, we’ve been the best of friends for life.

When I arrived in L.A. I made my way straight over to his home to catch-up. He threw his arms around me – swoon – and told me how desperately he missed me slash how happy it made him to be helping me make my second triumphant return to the interwebs.

As I am wont to do, we laughed, we cried and we talk smack about our frenemies before getting down to running the odds. Given how much I love him, I decided to cover all the motion picture acting nominations with him. For Supporting Actor we agreed that my boy Mahershala is likely to snatch a globe to make up for his snubbery for Moonlight and Supporting Actress will go to Regina King. The leading performances are where we started to disagree, with Ry thinking Christian Bale will take Comedy and Musical while I think Robert Redford will take a surprise victory. For Comedy and Musical Actress, he believes it is Olivia Colman’s to lose, while my gut tells me Crazy Rich Asians will take a win and Constance Wu feels like their best shot. For Drama, he thinks Bradley Cooper will win here – I obvi am Rami all the way, er’ryday – and Lady Gaga will continue A Star is Born’s streak, while I can not move past Glenn Close.

Because she is Glenn Close damnit.

Given he is such a delight, things didn’t get very heated so I didn’t need to cook up anything hearty to ground us – like roast gosling, for instance. Instead, we feasted on a fresh and delightful Ryan Cosling and Avocado Salad.

 

 

I know that I normally push extremely hard in favour of the ‘you don’t win friends with salad rule,’ but this is so good I have to make an exception. Packing a tonne of flavour and healthy enough to make you smugly think that you’re keeping your new year’s resolutions, it is near perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ryan Cosling and Avocado Salad
Serves: 2

Ingredients
¼ cup greek yoghurt
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 baby cos, washed, dried and leaves removed
1 avocados, peeled, stoned and sliced
handful of mint leaves

Method
Combine the yoghurt, lime juice and zest, maple syrup, dill and a good whack of salt and pepper in a jug.

Layer the cos on a platter, topped with the avocado slices and a sprinkle of mint.

Drizzle over the dressing.

Devour.

 

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Madonna Kebab

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Main, Street Food

After tipping over the halfway point of my Grammy Gold celebration, Goldenade … and just getting back from visiting another deceased friend in the form of Tom – after Whits and the thankfully still alive Burt – I knew I needed to see someone that made me feel all shiny and new. And no one makes me feel like that, quite like my girl Madonna.

Yes ladies and gentleman – I am friends with the icon that is Madonna. Dare I say it, I am actually the person that made her who she is today. And that is not an overstatement in the slightest.

I first met Madge when she was a bit player in bands in the late ‘70s before inspiring her to drop her last name and head off on a solo career. Badda bing, badda boom, ‘83 rolled around and her debut album was released … thanks to me.

I then co-wrote all the songs on Like a Virgin, inspired her to parlay her music career into an acting one and most importantly, gave her the idea for – not to mention 90% of the poses – her hit book Sex. Fun fact: I have the only copy of outtakes which even I deemed too explicit for publication. But damn, Vanilla sure could ice me, baby …

Anyway, Madge was thrilled to drop by and celebrate the Grammys – on the proviso that her superfan and my fellow friend Michelle Visage came nowhere near her – and run the odds on this year’s pop performances.

She agreed – albeit begrudgingly – that Ed Sheeran will win Best Solo Pop Performance (because everyone loves white bread), Despacito will take out Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Seth MacFarlane will snag Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album over Bob Dylan and Ke$ha will snag her first Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Such exhausting and necessary work required something that packed enough energy, comfort and booze-sopping ability, so I quickly hauled-arse to the kitchen and whipped up a delightful Madonna Kebab.

 

 

Rich, spicy and fresh, there is nothing better than a kebab to fill your heart with joy. Or song even, I guess. Add in some fresh salad and a slather of natural yoghurt and I feel like life is no longer a mystery, as like a prayer, this kebab can take you there.

Enjoy!

 

 

Madonna Kebab
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
500g lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
sea salt and pepper, to taste
8 Pita Andre Bread
iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
Greek yoghurt, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mince in a large bowl with the garlic, spices, and salt and pepper, and scrunch together in your hands until smooth. Shape into 24 meatballs and place on a lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Toast pitas, split in half – and those halves open – and fill with lettuce, onion and capsicum, top with a couple of meatballs, slather in Greek yoghurt before devouring, greedily.

 

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Mark Herlaaroumi Fries

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Locky and Tarzan had a post-challenge twist while Tara and Tessa faced off, I assumed to become the dominant T lady of the tribe. At Asaga, Jacry were controlling the tribe and plotted to throw the challenge, to get rid of Sam. Despite Henny’s best efforts, they ended up winning immunity, sending Samatu back to tribal where Tessa dug her hole so deep, I’m still shocked Kate was booted.

Samatau returned to camp where Tessa was completely shocked to still be alive in the game, thought was thankful slash confused to Tarzan, who saved her despite her aggressive performance at tribal. While she apologise to the tribe for her harsh words, she was sorry not soz and gave me serious Kat Dumont vibes and I am LIVING for it. Tara on the other hand, was not living for it.

The next day Jericho awoke confused as to what day it was before Luke spoke about how skinny he was, desperate for some luxury and or food. Wanting to cut Lukey’s grass, Sam tried to bond with Jericho, who spoke about his religion and the fact his Christian morals are not something he brought with him.

Over at Samatau Tessa was still shocked to still be in the game, with Tarzan confessing to her and Locky that he felt she deserved to stay and said she owed him nothing, seemingly genuinely, showing he is far more shrewd than people seem to believe. On the flipside – geddit? – Tara was still seething about the blow up, though approached Tessa by the shore to clear the air, knowing that she may need her one day soon. While it shows she is more aware than people give her credit for, Tessa was not buying it.

Not wanting to rehash the post drama any longer, JoJo arrived to lord over the reward challenge where he would release a shit tonne of coconuts into the ocean, where the tribes would have to race and collect them, ferry them back to the beach, collecting two tribe members along the way and shoot them at three targets. Given the fact it was for tea, coffee and spices, it was a serious challenge.

Both tribes strategised hard pre-game before Kent tried to win me over in his dickies. While Mark got out to an early lead for Asaga, Ziggy’s water polo skills shone, making extremely quick work of tossing the coconuts. Sadly Locky wasn’t great at balancing on the board, while fauxgi Henry’s balance allowed Asaga to overtake and pull away. Thankfully for my babe Locky, Samatau managed to close the gap while Asaga were getting their eye in and took out reward.

Back at camp, Samatu were on a high anticipating all the flavour to come. Wanting to put some icing on the cake that is their victory, Tarzan went out searching for fish when he stumbled across an option a temptation for cookies and firewood. While he battled with the weight of the dilemma, we checked in with Asaga where Luke was feeling guilty for losing the challenge where Jericho stumbled upon the same dilemma while searching for firewood. While his nips were on point, his reasoning was not, electing to take the secret food which is never a good option when it can so easily be found out, given the other tribe will obviously have the same option.

On the flipside, Tarzan continued to show his aptitude for the game, bringing firewood back to camp, showing them the note and pointing out what he gave up. Well played Tarzan, good luck navigating out of that Jericho. While his plan seemed ok in theory – using the cookies to build alliances – I don’t see it ending well offering Henry some cookies, and not Jacqui.

Over at Samatau, Tessa was still stressed out about being on the bottom of the alliance and approached Locky and Ziggy about saving her, which they felt wasn’t an option. Out of nowhere, Tarzan appeared to throw out the fact they need to target the weakest player, which is Anneliese, rather than Tessa. While they still weren’t receptive, Tessa knew that pushing it wasn’t a good idea and instead went idol hunting.

Jericho continued to act obnoxious about his cookie haul at Asaga, pulling Henry aside under the cover of darkness before enjoying a second round in the bushes with Luke. While he seemingly got away with the sneakiness, he did bury the jar in his shirt which you just know is going to be discovered. Hopefully.

Lil JoJo returned to the screens for the immunity challenge, where I’m hoping that Samatau can end their losing streak … and Locky can end his now two episode clothing streak, streaking and showing us his end. The challenge involved the tribes splitting into two teams, one finalising an obstacle course while the others ran the course without touching the ground. Samatau got out to an early lead with a rolling technique over the makeshift net obstacle. They then took a leaf out of the Parvati walking on two poles book, carrying each member across while balancing on only one. While Asaga caught up carrying the sandbags over the ladder, Samatau managed to close the gap just before Henry secured the third straight immunity for Asaga.

Tessa was not feeling confident arriving back at camp, so immediately darted off to search for an idol while the mega alliance of eight plus Tarzan reconfirmed that she was next to go. While she was having zero luck finding the idol, Tarzan went searching for it himself and quickly came up with the goods. He then approached Locky to let him know that he would join them in voting Tessa, making sure that they didn’t have a backup boot for a split vote. Locky found the exchange a bit awkward, though I’m not sure if he found it awkward enough for me to feel secure.

Continuing to work hard for Tessa, Tarzan approached AK and showed he and Tessa that he had the idol and wanted to take out one of the bigwigs of the alliance. Aka nude angel, Locky. After passing the idol straight on to Tessa, she got extremely emotional and grateful while Tarzan continued to work on AK to join them.

They arrived at tribal council where Jonathan was quick to point out that Ziggy and AK let the team down, before rubbing salt in Tessa’s bottom-of-the-alliance wounds. While Tessa pointed out that the mega-majority would eventually have to turn on themselves, Locky was quick to deflect the fact that he is in charge. Tessa once again gave an aggressive tribal council performance, while Jarrad kind of bumbled through the questions. Tara pointed out that Tessa chastised her for playing the game but is now imploring people to do the same, Anneliese felt Tessa and Tarzan wouldn’t be loyal to her if she flipped, Tarzan spoke about being loyal which Locky disagreed with, while AK tried to avoid giving away which way he would go, before hinting that Tessa may knock someone out that is not expecting it.

While it got a very smug reaction from Peter and Anneliese, their smiles quickly turned to frowns when Tessa pulled out the idol. The votes rolled in for Tessa, before Locky was startled to receive a vote … which thankfully was the only one he received, as the tribe rightfully split the votes between Tessa and Tarzan, sending the latter from the game like Rohan last year who gave up his idol to save Phoebe, only to get the boot.

While I love Tarzan, that is well played AK. As a lime farmer, Tarzan and I have been dear friends for years on account of the fact I used to be heir to the greatest fruit dynasty of Porpoise Spit inspiration, Tweed Heads.

I wasn’t sure how to feel to see Tarzan at loser lodge – I was disappointed in him for giving his idol to Tessa, thankful Locky lives to get nude another day, sad that he couldn’t work with my wet dream to go all the end … but ultimately thankful to smash some Mark Herlaaroumi Fries.

 

 

Fries are amazing, as is halloumi. Fries made out of halloumi? Well, that is a more of a wet dream than Locky.

Enjoy!

Oh, and the sauce is yoghurt, so don’t panic.

 

 

Mark Herlaaroumi Fries
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
½ cup Greek yoghurt
1 lemon, zested, then cut into wedges for serving
1 tbsp harissa
¼ cup mint leave, cut
75g plain flour
500g halloumi, cut into fries
olive oil

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the yoghurt, zest, harissa and half the mint in a bowl. Stir to combine, cover and place in the fridge to cool.

Place the flour in a bowl, toss through the halloumi and place on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a dish, top with fresh mint and serve with the harissa yoghurt and lemon wedges. Devour, dripping in sauce.

 

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Beetrutina Wesley Tzatziki

Condiment, Dip, Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

There is no easy way to bring this up so I’m just going to spew it out – I saw my girl Rutina Wesley at Nelsan Ellis’ funeral and we were so overwhelmed by our shared grief, that we vowed to catch-up and to help each other work through our pain.

You see Nels, Ruts and I attended Juilliard around the same time – I was in Group 35 – and became a close trio of friends, so the last few weeks have been really hard as we’ve been coming to terms with the loss of such a kind soul like Nels.

I arrived at the airport super early and paced around the arrivals gate anxiously, as I waited for Rutina to arrive. As soon as I laid eyes on her, I started to cry tears of relief and ran into her arms and didn’t let go for what felt like an eternity.

We headed back to my place – in an extremely coordinated Schapelle Corby fashion, obvi – and spent the last few days sitting around, holding hands and talking through our feelings and all the good things Nels would be wanting for us.

While we became dear friends at Juilliard, it was working together on True Blood that truly cemented our friendship. Al had come onto me for help assemble the cast and while I questioned the inclusion of my friend Anna as Sooookaaaahh, like Al, I knew that only Rutina could play the role of Tara – and Nels, Lafayette.

I was also extremely vocal about (other, better) Al’s need to be constantly naked, however that only paid-off in the season six finale.

Anyway – Rutina has been super busy since True Blood, with a short stint on Arrow and the lead role in Oprah’s Queen Sugar, so I know that Nels will be watching over her and cheering on her success. As I’m sure he was watching over me as I whipped up my Beetrutina Wesley Tzatziki.

 

 

The earthy roast beetroot and kick of garlic, live together in perfect harmony with the tang of the yoghurt and fresh herbs, to create a more-ish variation on tzatziki you can’t go past.

Enjoy!

 

 

Beetrutina Wesley Tzatziki
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
1 large beetroot, roasted and peeled
½ Lebanese cucumber
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
juice of a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Turkish bread, to serve

Method
Grate the beetroot and cucumber into a sieve and press to drain off the liquid.

Transfer to a bowl, add the garlic, yoghurt, herbs, lemon juice and olive oil and stir well to combine.

Transfer to a dish and devour with a tonne of Turkish bread.

 

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Diana Yiros

Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack

I know bad things always come in three, but there was something in the way that 2016 stalked its way through killing so many of my friends that I feared George, Carrie and Debs wouldn’t be the final ones to find themselves in a coffin.

Or an urn shaped like a prozac. Fuck I miss you Caz.

Anyway, I arrived in LAX for the Caz and Debs final double act – Meryl’s singing was spectacular and nothing at all like Florence Foster Jenkins / Mamma Mia – and hurriedly got on my phone, fearing that Diana probably succumbed to her death at the hands of the murderous year.

“Hello, love child.”

“Oh no, my dear sweet Tracee – mummy’s gone, isn’t she? She dead, sweetie?”

I started to cry uncontrollably.

“Ben? Dear Ben, is that you? It’s Diana, why are you acting all upside down?”

“WHAT?! Di, you didn’t die? The cruel mistress of 2016 didn’t take you off to the endless love?”

I started to cry uncontrollably, again. This time from relief.

“No baby love, thankfully I’ve kept hanging on. I figure one legend needs to survive the year to watch over Betty White.”

With such wisdom, I knew Diana had survived for a greater purpose and after sobbing into the phone for a further twenty minutes when I realised I wouldn’t be able to use my inheritance to pay off my massive gambling debt, I invited myself over to cook her up something fresh and healthy to start her new year on the right track.

Obviously that meant stuffing her with a big fat Diana Yiros.

 

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It should not come as a shock that I love any meal that is phallocentric but there is something about a yiros that makes it extra special. Maybe it is the juicy meat, slathered in creamy tzatziki oozing out of the end?

Yep, that is definitely it. Enjoy!

 

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Diana Yiros
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 fresh (or store bought, I guess) pita breads
juice and zest of a lemon
1 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
pinch of dried chilli flakes, salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 4 for the marinade and 1 for the tzatziki
500g chicken thighs
4 potatoes
½ cup Greek yoghurt
125g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded, grated and drained
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 225°C.

Combine the lemon zest and all but 1 tbsp of juice (that is for the tzatziki), oregano, chilli, salt, pepper, olive oil and four of the garlic cloves in a large bowl. Stir to combine, add the thighs and mix again to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for half an hour or so.

While they thighs are getting juiced, wash (if needed) the potatoes and cut into long, thick battens. Place on a lined baking sheet, toss in a lug of olive oil and place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, or until  you’ve got golden, crisp chips. Flip once halfway through to ensure an even brown.

While the thighs are finishing off marinating, combine the yoghurt, feta, cucumber, remaining garlic and reserved lemon juice in a bowl and blitz with a stick blender. Season to taste, cover and whack in the fridge.

This is probs a good time to prepare the tomato, red onion and parsley if you didn’t do that up front. Just saying.

Anyway, heat a large skillet over high heat and quickly cook the pitas on either side and transfer to a plate. When the pan is nice and hot, reduce to a medium-low heat and add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes, turning once. Remove from the pan to rest for five minutes and shred into small pieces.

To make your yiro, smear some tzatziki on your pita, top with some chips, tomato, onion and parsley, followed by some chicken and another slather of tzatziki (and feta, if you have any left over).

Wrap tightly and shove into your gob, to devour.

 

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