Michelle Ragougan

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the All Stars were immediately thrown into some brutal challenges, the first of which featured a clue to a hidden immunity idol hidden at tribal council. And while Henry was lucky to grab it unnoticed, it was only valid for three tribal councils. When his tribe won the next two immunity challenges, he handed it off to Mat to cause some chaos at tribal council. Mat and the leader of his rival alliance, David decided to come together to help protect each other, and for David, to get revenge on one of his allies. Brooke then found an idol hidden at camp, completely throwing their plans into chaos. Until they gave an Oscar winning turn at tribal council and Mat correctly played him idol on Jacqui, before David begged Brooke to play hers on him and poor Daisy was gobsmacked to be booted from the game third.

In time to do exit press for her first season.

We checked in with Vakama the next day where the excitement of the previous tribal council was a thing of the past, and instead, Jacqui was showing off her killer physique. I mean, she looks like what Teresa Gudice wishes she looked like in a bodybuilding comp. Back at the shelter Mat was still processing his emotions from the epic tribal council, still shocked that the plan worked and that David didn’t backstab them. On the flipside the wounded majority alliance were feeling super nervous, unsure how Mat found out the votes would pile up on Jacqui and as such, speculated that there is a rat in their midst. Locky approached Mat to see if he could get any intel from him about the mole and while Mat dutifully told him that it was an educated guess, Locky did not buy it.

Speaking of the mole, David was on cloud nine – flushing both the idols, solidifying his secret alliance with Mat and getting his revenge on Daisy. Which I’m not really sure was needed, but since it was spectacular, I will let it slide. That being said, David was nervous and knew that he needed to keep his story straight and make sure nobody compares stories and realises he is a mole.

Meanwhile over at Mokuta Nick was busy knighting Lee for his spaghetti arms, while Henry was quietly sulking the corner since he is left right out on the bottom of the tribe. He regrouped and decided to approach Nick, bonding by the water well and hoping to form an alliance. Sadly for Henry, Nick learnt from his first season and was happy to sit quietly and wait for the chance to strike and as such, cannot align with Henry. Though obviously he pledged his loyalty to Henry and planned to ice him ASAP.

My love Jonathan graced us with his presence for the reward challenge where one at a time, someone from each tribe would face off on either side of a chest and try to push it and therefore their rival, off the edge of a dock. With the winning tribe getting some piping hot fish and chips. Oh, but before that AK threw Henry straight under the bus and announced that Mat played an idol at the previous tribal council THAT WAS GIVEN TO HIM BY HENRY AT THE LAST IMMUNITY CHALLENGE. I mean, I didn’t love him in Season 2, but AK is a deadset messy legend and I live. Henry was first to face off against Mat, allowing plenty of time for people to make jokes about them being idol buddies. Despite looking like an easy win for Mat, Henry stood his ground and clawed back the lead … until Mat overpowered him and sent him into the water.

Next round Jacqui chose to avenge Zach’s shitty views, however was sadly pushed straight into the water. But damn I love her. Lydia was up next, with AK challenging as Locky reminded him that Lydia is strong as shit. Direct quote. Despite being strong as shit and putting up a hell of a fight, AK dominated and scored another point for Vakama. Net up were Tarzan and Harry and hot damn, Tarzan is a beast and I live, easily winning the point. Though sadly not giving Harry a kiss like the last challenge. Just some hella sass on his way to winning the reward for his tribe.

The victorious Vakama were thrilled about the prospect of smashing their fish and chips, until they discovered they had actually won fishing gear and some potatoes, oil and salt to make chips once they catch the fish. With everyone trying to pretend they weren’t bitterly disappointed, they used the time to hunt for a clue or idol amongst their spoils to make the win moderately worth it. Mat then flipped the crate and found the idol hidden inside it in front of the entire tribe, leaving the majority furious and Mat, well, he was left smiling with a big, shit-eating grin.

As the majority went fishing to calm their nerves, Mat pulled Moana aside to let her know about his secret alliance with and growing trust in Dave. Finally finding her missing spark, Moana was thrilled about the turn of events and was happy to make a deal with the devil if it gets her further. And keeps Mat and David as the biggest threats. I mean, does Moana need a nemesis like Russell to keep her fire burning? Whatever it is, I love her again.

Later that night Dave was feeling nervous about his growing alliance with Mat, so slinked away into the night to make a fake hidden immunity idol. Well eventually, after hours and hours trying to cut a gem off their tackle box. Side note: aren’t all tackle (boxes) a gem?

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge which required the tribes to hold barrels over tiles with a rope, with people allowed to step out of the challenge and hand their barrel over BUT as soon as a single tile breaks, the tribe loses. Meanwhile the iconic Shonee sat out of the challenge, directly on top of an immunity idol clue and please don’t let her follow Michaela’s lead and miss it. David and Lee had a Zoolander approved model off in the first five minutes before Michelle dropped out of the challenge and handed her barrel off to Zach. After half an hour Zach passed a barrel off to Henry, by way of Lydia, while Sharn struggled to hold on. Out of nowhere Phoebe passed her barrel off to Locky before Lee took over Sharn’s barrel. After more than an hour and 15 minutes, and some desperate back and forths, Zaddy John dropped one of his two barrels and handed victory to Vakama. And Shonee exited her seat without noticing the idol clue.

Back at camp Michelle was feeling nervous about being the first one to drop out of the challenge, particularly since her tribe was made up of three-four professional athletes, depending on where you stand with washed-up Gladiators. Lee pulled Michelle aside, with her reminding him that she is on the bottom and as such will vote for anyone other than her. She echoed that sentiment to Sharn, John and Zach. Though she could tell that nobody was actually interested in saving her. Meanwhile Abbey was using the loss as motivation to keep the tribe strong, dejectedly tell everyone that they need to start winning challenges – after just coming off a winning streak – and get rid of Michelle. Not to be outdone, Lydia too was rallying the troops to get rid of the weakest.

Thankfully Henry knows that brute strength is not how you win Survivor and as such, decided that Sharn is the smarter vote given how persuasive she can be. Unless in front of a Survivor jury against Shane, obvi. Henry pulled Zach aside, with the latter quickly agreeing to getting rid of Sharn instead. He then approached a receptive John and Michelle, before making his way to Nick. Who was not thrilled by the turn of events, and as such, wanted to flip the vote on Henry. For trying to flip the vote on Sharn. With that Nick approached his little rascals, with both Harry and Shonee keen to change things up and get rid of the threat. Nick approached Lydia, Abbey and Lee to try and get them to see sense and get rid of the very sketchy Henry. However, sadly, that made Abbey nervous about Nick being shifty. Though not enough to get rid of him, since he is still stronger than Michelle.

At tribal council John struggled to stick his torch in the slot – I have one ready for him, though – before talking about their loss at the challenge and how people dropping out impacted them. Zach was surprisingly diplomatic before Michelle went all in, reminding everyone that after Lee bombed the first challenge they agreed that losing a challenge wouldn’t be punished in a boot. Sharn agreed that challenges will always cater to different types, before Michelle commenced pleading to the athlete mentality and quoting football. Lydia agreed that they do need a good mix of skills, though didn’t seem to convince Queen Michelle who reminded everyone that loyalty is just as important. Particularly if a tribe swap is imminent. John and Henry agreed loyalty and numbers are critical to making it further, before Abbey agreed it is important but, yeah nah, she cares more about strength.

Which obviously annoyed Michelle.

Nick joined the fray to remind everyone of the importance of forming a cohesive, harmonious group. Shocking nobody, Zach was focused on strength before Harry countered that his vote is solely based on forming solid alliances, while Shonee was just glad to finally be asked a question at tribal council. Michelle again reminded everyone the importance of trust before Henry gave her the kiss of death, saying he is confident that the votes are going to go his way. With that, the tribe voted and tragically, Queen Michelle was felled.

I knew that we would lose one eventually, but I am so heartbroken to see one of our Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses exit the game. Though I guess at least Mish kept things semi-consistent by becoming the fourth boot. Which is the only positive thing I could come up with as I sobbed into her arms as she entered Loser Lodge.

Remember when Michelle completely destroyed Ben at tribal council in Season 2?


That is how I choose to remember Michelle. Not as the woman that was felled by the strength first mentality which comes from the brutal challenges of Australian Survivor. Lucky my Nigella inspired Michelle Ragougan is hella comforting, because I truly needed it.

 

 

Sweet, salty and covered in a silky melting of cheese, the ragu is the perfect hearty little meal to whip up when you’re down. Add in a little bit of chilli to Nigella’s classic, and you’ve got perfection. No offence Nige.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michelle Ragougan
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
200g pancetta, diced
500g lamb mince
⅓ cup marsala
salt and pepper, to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g green lentils
200ml beef stock. You could use chicken, but the bird and land combo makes me anxious. Like the thought of Flick and Shonee carrying the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess flag alone
125g red leicester cheese, grated

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the pancetta and cook for a further five minutes before adding the lamb mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned.

Crank the heat to high and add the marsala and a good whack of pepper – and salt, if ya like it salty – stir while it bubbles like crazy before adding the tomatoes, lentils and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour, or until the sauce has thickened up.

Serve immediately, cover in a generous heap of cheese and devour. Knowing that eating you feelings is the only appropriate way to work through your pain.

 

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Rizsole Ahmed

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Main, Snack

While Christina has been TV royalty for close to three decades, I decide that this year’s Emmy Gold celebration – Golden Family – should focus on both the old guard and the young upstarts that have shone so brightly in the last few years. Like me boy, rapper, actor and zaddy Riz Ahmed.

After a decade working hard and building a resume of fantastic roles, Riz’s career skyrocketed a couple of years back with the one-two-three punch of Nightcrawler, The Night Of and Girls, the latter of which took him to the Emmys, the former of said latter of which led him to this date.

While you may have only known Riz for a few years, I first met him way back when we studied at Oxford together. He was a shy, gorgeous man who immediately caught my eye. The feelings weren’t reciprocated, so I tried to take the high road and instead become his friend.

At first we bonded over our mutual passion for rap – I was a founding member of Swet Shop Boys, until I was kicked out for diva behaviour – before I ultimately decided he needed to pursue acting seriously.

And given he starred in a superhero with Queen Michelle Williams, I think you will agree that he has made it.

Speaking of Michelle, my bookie is chasing me up to lock in my bets so I got to work at the task at hand and got Riz to run the limited series odds with me. Obvi we’re both backing Mish to take out Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie though part of my thinks he was just too scared to say that Patty Arquette has it on lock. We truly agreed that Jharrel Jerome will win Outstanding Actor, though wouldn’t mind if he ties with Jared Harris.

The supporting category is where we started to differ, with him thinking zaddy Stellan will take Actor while I started screaming that it is Ben Whishaw’s time. For Supporting Actress he went with Patty Clarks, while I said this is where Patty Arquette deserves to win. I mean, I have never so equally despised and pitied a character in all my life. We came back together to agree that When They See Us will win best limited series, while aren’t sure but are betting on Deadwood taking out TV movie.

With that we sat down, toasted to his ongoing success to try and snag an invite if he has one and smashed a Rizsole Ahmed or two.

 

 

Spicy and hot, these babies are the perfect way to toast the red hot career of this beautiful man. The earthy lamb, a hint of spice and lemon work together to form a flavour combination that you just can’t beat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rizsole Ahmed
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
⅓ cup feta, mashed
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Moroccan seasoning
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon, zested and juiced
handful parsley, roughly chopped
handful mint, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine everything in a bowl and scrunch together with your hand until well combined. Split into 8, form into patties and place on a lined baking sheet.

Bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Serve immediately with yoghurt and some Larissa Oleynik to really make it sing.

 

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Lamby Slidaris

Lamby Slidaris

Burgers, Main, Tapas

What a way to kick off my triumphant return to this anthropological study slash international fashion lifestyle brand!

Ames arrived in full Ronnie Vino look and attitude, dancing her way through my door and into my arms, before launching into a rapid fire greeting as she poured us glasses of wine I swiped from a hotel minibar and left at her house.

“Ben! Thank god you agreed to come back, I was worried about you after your tragic loss but always knew that coming back to you fans would help you heal.

“And to return with a date with me? What an honour!”

But truly the honour is all mine. As you know, I first met Amy through her brother Dave – Annelie and I were department store elves with him. It was this point I invented twerking, which I taught to Miley. Eventually he took us back to Raleigh where we immediately fell in love with the broader Sedari clan, none more than dear Amy.

And that, my friends, was the beginning of our beautiful friendship.

Amy’s career has deservedly gone from strength to strength over the years, and while she didn’t hook me and Justin Theroux up after his split from Jen-An and is yet to cast me on At Home, nothing will ever come between us. I mean, at the very least, we will always have Lamby Slidaris.

 

Amy Sedaris preparing to devour a delightful Lamby Slidaris

 

Inspired by her Greek heritage, though not necessarily Lou Sedaris – or Loudaris, as I’ve tried to turn into his nickname – approved, these little babies are melt in your mouth perfection. The earthy lamb, salt haloumi and the sweet, sweet hit of beetroot work together for a tops tapas treat.

Enjoy!

 

Amy Sedaris smashing a delightful Lamby Slidaris

 

Lamby Slidaris
Serves: 2-6.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano, roughly chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp mint, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper, to taste
100-200g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into
10 Briocher Bünsberg in slider form
¼ – ½ cup Beetrootina Wesley Tzatziki

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine the mince, garlic, oregano, chilli, mint, cumin and coriander in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch until well combined, divide into 10 little patties and flatten on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Spread the halloumi slices on a second lined baking sheet and pop them in the oven for the last 5-10 minutes, or until starting to crisp on the outside.

To assemble your sliders, split the buns – my favourite pastime – lather with beetroot tzatziki, top with the pattie and cheese, and close before smashing. Greedily. Immediately.

 

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Lamber Tarkich

Baking, Main, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Survivor: The Australian Outback

I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I mean, we just exited the latest Survivor Dark Ages with the killer albeit horribly named David vs. Goliath, and we’re entering a season named Edge of Extinction. Which without spoiling, actually screw it you need to be warned – features the return of Redemption Island instead with worse rules and a new name.

Will I still watch it and likely love it like a good superfan? Sure. But I am concerned about what it means for Survivor movie forward. The one thing giving me hope is that a season that ends with every person voted out on the jury and the first boot winning, could give us Gabon levels of insanity. Which is literally the best case.

Anyway as I am wont to do, I’m assembling some of my favourite winners – or at least the remaining winners – to help countdown to the new season. And likely do some sort of ritual to steer it towards Gabon.

As you know I am a dear friend of Romber and even introduced them and tee-ed up their alliance which led to love, The Amazing Race, marriage and four daughters. It also makes me responsible for All Stars so either you’re welcome or I apologise, depending on your views on the season.

I’ve known Amber since the filming of Australian Outback after trekking to find the set in search of Probst. While my unintended meddling screwed over Kucha far more than it did Ogakor, I did kinda screw over Amber’s game by wooing Colby – who I must catch soon – and turning him against Jerri – who I also must catch soon – setting up her downfall, she soon moved past the pain after introducing her and Rob.

While we haven’t had an official cast reveal yet, we do know that Aubry will be returning – hopefully with an edit this time – alongside second chancers Kelley and Joe, and Family Guy writer David who I assume was emboldened by Mike White’s success last season. Given the twist seems tailor made for the likes of Joe to finally succeed, I am hoping it backfires and either Kelley or Aubry rank highest amongst the returnees. Amber obviously is hoping that Kelley will snatch victory and complete her Brkich narrative, albeit over three seasons.

It was as robust conversation as it could be without being able to spoil the rest of the cast, however it was a delight to catch-up, talk smack about Rob continuously spoiling the switch and merge tribe colours with his Instagram posts and smash a big ol’ Lamber Tarkich.

 

 

Based on a number I saw whilst browsing Taste.com.au, this tart is a delicious, quick meal to throw together during the week. Not that I don’t believe Amber isn’t worth effort, because she dominated All Stars and played Rob to perfection (… and still ended up married) so don’t at me. Sometimes simply is best, packed with spice and fresh flavours, it will have you salivating from the moment it goes into the oven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lamber Tarkich
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
500g lamb mince
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 red chillies, sliced
¼ cup pine nuts
1 lemon, zested and juiced
small handful mint, roughly chopped
10 sheets filo pastry
50g butter, melted
1 cup Sierra Dawn-Hummus
2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
½ tsp sumac
1 red onion, diced
small handful flat-leaf parsley
100g feta, crumbled

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the tomato paste and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the mince, spices and chillies, and cook for five minutes before stirring in the pine nuts, lemon and mint, and removing from the heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Brush each sheet of filo with butter -bar the top one – and stack on each other. Fold the edges inward to form a rough rectangular shape and place on a lined baking sheet. Stab the base with a fork and transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To assemble, smear the centre with Hummus and top with the lamb mixture. Combine the tomato, sumac, onion, parsley and feta in a bowl and sprinkle over the top. Place in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and warm.

Devour.

 

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Tandoorhea Perlman

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Main, Snack

We’re hurtling towards the end of this year’s Emmy Gold celebration, The Gold Wing, and I knew that after catching up with Gaz, Marg, Av and Ram, that Rhea Perlman was the perfect person to help me round out the acting categories. I mean, she has four Emmys and is a TV legend. What more could you want?

As you probably are expecting, I first met Rhea on the set of Cheers when I was visiting my friend Kirstie Alley. Given Rhe was an absolute laugh riot, I gravitated towards her and we slowly became the best of friends.

In the decades since, she has continued to dominate the small screen and brought boundless joy into my life. And the lives of anyone with a TV. Or those that have seen her egregiously Oscar snubbed turn in Matilda.

Anyway, I catch-up with the De Vito-Perlman’s on the reg, however it has taken me this long to convince one of them to drop by on the record. Which I assume is on account of Danson’s nom and me telling her that her refusal would bring him bad karma in his category?

Thankfully it wasn’t awkward when I arrived at their mansion and we quickly caught up and got to work running the odds. Obviously I am still on the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, so forced her to agree that Rachel Brosnahan is guaranteed the Lead Actress win, despite agreeing Pamela Adlon and Issa Rae are both worthy victors. When it came to her former category of Supporting Actor we deviated, with her backing Zazie Beetz for Atlanta and me going with Betty Gilpin for GLOW. With that out of the way, we went out to their lanai and smashed a shit tonne of my Tandoorhea Pearlman.

 

 

Packed full of spice, these little koftas are the perfect way to heat up a boring school-night meal and fill you full of joy. Like sweet Rhea does with all that she … does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tandoorhea Perlman
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
2 tbsp tandoori paste
2 tbsp natural yogurt
2 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minces
1 lime, zested and juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
salad, Michael Flatley Bread and Raita Mitchell, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Chuck everything – but the salad, Michael and Radha, obvi – in a large bowl and scrunch until well combined.

Shape into koftas and place on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with salad, bread and raita.

 

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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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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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Jenna Moussaka

Main, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands

Guys – it is less than two weeks until my girl Sandra returns for her third crown … or to at least block Tony and JT from equaling her record.

Not that I don’t have faith in her ability to snatch the crown again. Can you tell I’m excited for Survivor and Sandy’s return?

Given that my girl is an underrated goddess, despite her perfect game record, I felt it best to honour her third attempt by holding court with another underrated victor, my dear friend Jenna Morasca.

Like Sandy, I would defend Jen and her gameplay to the ends of the earth. Sure she ended Rob C’s hope of ever winning the game and feuded with a deaf person but she also stripped for peanut butter – who wouldn’t TBH – went on an immunity run and even gave away immunity without it sending her home.

Plus, she was sassy as fuck, gives a good sound bite and was probably the best appointed winner to make it far in All Stars hadn’t had to quit to be with her mother.

I first met Jen way back when we were both attending University of Pittsburgh studying zoology – I was going through a weird Brendan Fraser/George of the Jungle phase and thought that a knowledge of animals could help.

Given our sassy attitude and good looks we were immediately drawn to one another and became the best of friends. I was her Heidi before Heidi existed, basically. After my many run-ins with Burnett, I kept our friendship quiet as she auditioned which I would argue got her cast meaning I played an integral part in her victory.

We are such busy little bees that we haven’t been able to see as much of each other as we like, so it was such a treat to sit down, gab about the upcoming season and dreams for her eventual return.

Speaking of dreams, my Jenna Moussaka is most definitely one.

 

jenna-moussaka-1

 

Spicy, rich and creamy – this little baby is the ultimate comfort food. Plus, eggplant makes it healthy, so you barely have to feel guilty about the cheesy goodness clogging up your arteries.

Enjoy!

 

jenna-moussaka-2

 

Jenna Moussaka
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
a generous lug of olive oil
3 eggplants, cut into half centimetre discs
2 red capsicums, cored and halved
500g beef mince
500g lamb mince
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g tinned tomatoes
100g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
3 cups milk
120g parmesan, roughly grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

Place the eggplant discs on a wire rack, over a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about half an hour, or until crisp, charred and drying out. Add the capsicum for the last ten minutes to blister their skins.

Reduce oven to 160°C.

While they are cooking, heat a lug of oil in a large pan and cook the mince over medium heat, or until browned. Add the spices, oregano, onion and garlic and cook for a further few minutes. Meanwhile diced up the charred capsicum and add to the pan with the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about fifteen minutes. Season and allow to rest.

To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once foaming, add in the flour and cook until lightly browned and not resembling either butter or flour. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk until all combined. Return to the heat and cook for a minute or two, or until thickened. Remove from the heat, season and leave to rest.

To assemble, place a third of the meat mixture on the base of a large baking dish. Top with a third of the dried, charred eggplant and repeat the process until both are all gone. Pour over the bechamel, top with the cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly on top. Remove and allow to rest for five minutes before devouring.

 

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Pidavid Wright

Bread, Main, Party Food, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Hannah made what appeared to be a boneheaded move by booting Bret in fifth place, rather than David. But maybe it wasn’t, or it was. Let’s continue …

Back at camp Adam, quite rightly, was shocked by Hannah and Kengel’s loyalty to David.

Wanting a redux of their first tribal aftermath, Hannah and Adam went to discuss the vote with Hannah actually making a logical argument that she couldn’t lose David and upset Ken and leave herself a path to final tribal. Oh and Adam was far more eager to listen to her explanation this time, despite disagreeing with her.

Wanting to burn through the final boot, Jeff arrived for this season’s final immunity challenge which required the castaways to guide plates through a vertical maze using a long, hard pole, before stacking the most plates on the top of the maze at the end of 30 minutes.

Oh and of course the maze wobbles.

Ken took the lead in stacking the most bowls, with Adam simply trying to outlast Ken and hope that his plates would all drop. Which they did. Sadly Adam’s plates quickly followed, as did Hannah and David as everyone started again.

Hannah and Ken then took the lead, while Adam tried to wait them out again, which sadly didn’t work and the pair finished the half hour tied. Kengel and Hannah then had a five minute tiebreaker where Kengel took out an early lead and never looked back, securing final immunity.

Again, how babin’ did Ken look getting that necklace? And more importantly … who can believe Hannah almost won final immunity?

Back at camp David gloated about Ken’s loyalty, while Hannah and Adam joined together to plot how they could convince Ken to turn on David, despite said loyalty. Hannah then went to work on swaying Ken, explaining to him that the jury don’t respect them and that leaving David in the game would simply confirm that, in their eyes.

With them busy, David told Adam that the easiest way for him to move forward was to campaign against Hannah. Thankfully Adam pulled on his big-boy pants and told David that if he wasn’t booted that night, Adam loses anyway, so why not try and make a move.

We then arrived at tribal where Jeff reminded us of all of Hannah’s foibles – including her glorious seventeen hour vote at the first tribal – to congratulate her on coming so close to winning final immunity. Adam then tried to explain how big of a threat David is, to which David agreed. Ken then brought up loyalty, Adam brought up the need to make a smart decision to win for your family with which Ken agreed.

Proving his superiority over Australian Survivor’s single father stud, Ken made the best possible move he could – for everyone … bar David – and as he sent David out of the game as the final member of the jury.

I met Dave while working as a screenwriter for Malcolm in the Middle and quickly rode his coattails over to Family Guy before being fired amidst scandal and inevitably inspired the character of Roger on American Dad! Dave being Dave kept in touch and tried to help me sort my life out, more than earning his comforting Pidavid Wright.

 

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The pide is the culinary version of David’s Survivor experience – it started out with a soft, delicate dough that made way for a fiery, dominant filling which leaves you salivating and wanting more, despite not winning.

That is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?

 

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Pidavid Wright
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 cup milk, warmed to 30C
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cups flour
lug of olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g minced lamb
6 roma tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sumac
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
¼ cup tahini
1 lemon, juiced
⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 eggs
handful of feta

Method
Combine yeast, milk, sugar, salt and vegetable oil in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead on medium for about ten minutes, or until smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and allow to prove for an hour. Knock back the dough, split into four, cover again and leave to prove for a further hour or so.

While the dough is proving, get to work on the filling by heating a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the garlic for a few minutes. Add the lamb and brown for a few minutes, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon as you go.

Add the tomatoes and spices and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the tahini, lemon juice, pine nuts and parsley. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.

Once the dough has proven itself, roll each piece into an oval shape. Fill each with some filling, leaving a couple of centimetre border around the edges. Pinch the ends together to form a boat shape and bring up the edges. Top with a cracked egg and some crumbled feta, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

Leave to rest for five minutes and devour. I slather it with natural yoghurt but that is just how I roll, you know? You do you.

 

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