Jose Tikka Maasdama

Main, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor N … o wait a minute, Survivor NZ is one-upping Australian Survivor and has ditched Knee-coo-argh-goo-arua and has headed to a new location in the form of Thailand – yes, pronounced Thailand. While that makes me mildly misty for Brian Heidik’s porno past – he is a garbage person though, I know that – Tanya Vance’s illness and Shi-Ann’s robbery with the fake merge, I am mostly thrilled to have an inland location and thirsty after the Kiwi camera angles. Sigh, Lee and those up-short confessionals – swoon.

Anyway 18 Kiwi castaways boated their way through the Thai waterways – JT, Josh and Adam being particularly babin,’ and Tess speaking for all of us (or maybe just me) shocked by the fact tigers are in Thailand – before meeting Matt on a tiny remote island in the middle of a lake. Despite assuming they had already been split into tribes, the castaways arrived on shore en masse with Renee already terrified by the youth and physicality of her competitors. Though what everyone should really be worried about is the fact that Dave and Matt are High School best friends and in all likelihood will be a strong pair.

After Matt gave the laundry list of changes for the season – hidden immunity idols are a yes, redemption island is a no – Kaysha said she was ready to play, Jose shared she would love the money and Liam felt they would be more cutthroat. Putting that theory to the test, Matt announced that they would be kicking things off differently this year with everyone competing in an individual reward challenge for the, psych, he didn’t tell us … but they pick the tribes, no? Anyway, the challenge kicked off with Jose, Franky, Matt, Renee, Josh, Eve, Kaysha, Arun and JT dominating 20 knots and moving on to the second, now shirtless, round. Josh is still my fave, though Matt is coming through. Anyway, they swam out to a platform in the leak to find another bag of tiles, with Arun, Matt and Jose the lucky three to find tiles despite Franky’s dominance. The final three then swam back into shore before literally ordering tiles from 1-100. Despite being neck and neck with Matt’s glistening torso, Jose took out victory only to discover her victory won her – and Matt, who she selected for coming second – the opportunity to select her tribe. Jose selected Arun, Eve, Dave, Franky, Liam, Renee, JT – who was thrilled to be picked late – to form Chani, with Karla rounding it out as the only remaining female. Matt asked Tara, Josh – swoon – Tess, Brad, Kaysha – shocked she wasn’t first selected – Adam, Lisa forming the Khangkhaw tribe with Dylan completing the tribe by default.

Arriving at the island Chani’s spirits were up, until they discovered the food supplies were scarce and then opted to drink water without caring about whether they needed to boil it. Jose took on a leadership role by default, suggesting they clear a path to limit the risk of snakes and get to work building a fire and shelter closer to the shore. Despite admitting that selecting the tribe kind of made it obvious for her to take the lead on the tribe, Eve warned us that it could easily come back to bite her. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw, Tess and Adam were overwhelmed harsh location while Josh and Brad made quick work of putting together a shelter.

Despite being on the island less than an hour, Karla slashed her hand with a machete and almost bleeding out which made her feel even worse, already feeling on the outs of the tribe. While people were distracted by the drama, JT noticed Arun looking for clues to the hidden immunity idols and decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and forming an alliance. While Liam felt nobody was worrying about playing the game yet, JT followed up his two-person alliance by pulling in Eve and Dave, and Dave rounding out the majority with Franky.

Tara decided to play up the mum-card, despite Barb killing the competition last year with that exact strategy. While she was out sorting the bathroom amenities for her new kids, superfan queen Lisa shared that she was also going to play the mum card and pretend she just wanted to make her kids proud. While she wanted to downplay her passion for the game, she took Tess under her wing and gave her a list of dos and don’ts in the game. While Lisa felt it was all a rouse and didn’t buy it, Tess was hoping the lack of knowledge would allow her to dominate without making herself a threat. Soooo, Tess will eventually blindside Lisa, no? Back at Chani, Arun was hoping to avoid being seen as a leader, leaving Dave and Jose to focus on building fire. That was contrasted with Khangkhaw who decided it was a good idea to soak some rice overnight so they’ll have some mildly moist rice ahead of the next challenge, hopeful it would be enough to get the jump on their competition. Jose was concerned about the target she painted on her back, though was proud of winning the challenge and felt she had selected a strong tribe that would keep her safe. Sadly for her, Franky was sick of her running her mouth which is an easy excuse to get rid of someone early.

The tribes arrived at a muddy field to meet Matt for the first tribal reward of the season for tools and a flint to help sort the fire sitch and make their live easier. The challenge would involve pairs running out into the mud, finding a bag and touching their mat with it … before the other tribe’s pair snatch it. Jose and Renee made quick work winning the first round over Lisa and Tara. Matt and Adam evened things up thanks to the dominant blocking of Adam over Dave and Arun … I think. It was sexy mud wrestling and my thirst is real. Tess and Kaysha owned Franky and Karla, leaving Josh and Brad to battle it out against Liam and JT for the win. Once again, the dirty shirtless men were writhing and hugging before Brad made a break and secured victory for Khangkhaw. Matt then wished Adam happy birthday, his flowing locks look glorious in the mud and damn, everything was right in the world.

Particularly knowing the God filled himself with botox to keep his fellow castaways guessing.

Back at camp Khangkhaw made quick work getting fire thanks to Tara’s passion for pyromania, while poor Chani struggled to make fire with sticks rubbing salt in their wounds. Chani decided to follow Khangkhaw’s lead and cook some rice in the sun to try and turn things around for themselves. Thankfully the winning ways of Khangkhaw ran into a problem as they loaded their fire with rocks to aid cooking … only for them to start exploding everywhere and almost killing the tribe. With that, Dylan extinguished the flames and they were back at square one. Adam felt people were yet to pick up on the fact he was avoiding work as much as possible, while Dylan and Kaysha went hunting for rocks, idols and building an alliance with them, Tara, Lisa and Adam. Slay queens. Khangkhaw then sat down to Adam’s birthday dinner of actually cooked rice, sang him happy birthday and it was fucking delightful. Poor Chani then tried to eat their sun-rice and started to feel even worse about themselves.

Matt returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would be required to use long, hard poles to build a staircase and then run through an obstacle course, unlock puzzle pieces and complete said puzzle. Khangkhaw got out to an early lead while Jose started barking at her tribemates, though somehow they caught up which I assume says the strategy works. Matt then dominated the key maze, giving Khangkhaw back the lead from Franky allowing Dylan and Lisa to secure immunity for their tribe.

After their second loss, Jose proclaimed the strategy to blindly follow her worked well, despite the loss which immediately made me nervous since that isn’t really having any results. On the flipside, Franky was nervous about the vote after letting the tribe down. She went to get water with Renee and Dave, with them deciding they need to keep the tribe strong at this stage, though unsure what exactly that meant. While Franky identified Karla as an option and she felt like she was on the bottom, it didn’t really feel like it as they arrived at their iconic cave tribal council.

Eve felt disappointed to be at tribal council, while Renee felt that they were no weaker than their opponents despite their track record. Franky was nervous after blowing the competition, Dave thought the suffering was bringing everyone together. Renee and JT thought you should never feel safe in the game, Franky downplayed her scheming, Liam thought there had been no scheming, Jose felt they were outliers for being positive and not plotting while Karla was nervous and felt that no one should feel blindsided since everyone should be feeling nervous at their first tribal. That however was completely false as the votes rolled in for her and Jose, with Jose finding herself becoming the first boot to her and Karla’s utter disbelief.

While Jose was feeling her feels when she arrived back at loser lodge, she was thrilled to see me – her mentor and friend from Blenheim – there with a warm, slightly patronising smile. Given her dominance in the challenges, she was surprised to find herself becoming the first boot … until I reminded her that Ulong did it to Jolanda in Palau and we can always channel my pettiness into sabotaging them. Tragically she still wished her tribe well, though I suspect it had a lot to do with my Jose Tikka Maasdama.

 

 

Given she was kicked in the guts, I knew she would need something to give her back her spice … and let’s be honest, a Tikka Masala is the best way to do it. A little bit of heat and a shit tonne of spice, I had Jose back in top form in a matter of mouthfuls. Which is meant to sound less sexually aggressive than it does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jose Tikka Maasdama
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp garam masala
salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup natural yogurt
600g lamb, diced
vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
800g can diced tomatoes
1 cup double cream

Method
Combine half the garam masala with a good whack of salt and pepper, the cumin, coriander, chilli, lemon zest and juice and natural yoghurt in a bowl. Add the lamb and toss to coat before covering and placing in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.

Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. When starting to soften, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute before stirring in the tomatoes and remaining garam masala. Once bubbling, add the lamb and marinating liquid. Stir to combine and bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering for fifteen minutes.

Once the lamb is cooked through, add the cream and stir to combine and heat through. Serve immediately with rice, poppadoms and all the fixins’ … which Jose will never hear as the first boot.

Don’t be sad though. Devour!

 

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Bradley Chilakleiheges

Main, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the latest iteration of Malolo continued to challenge Ulong for the title of worst tribe ever, much to Jacob’s chagrin I assume. After losing let another immunity challenge, Michael and James found themselves on the bottom of Malolo 3.0 with the babin’ baby turning on his ally James to save himself and sending him from the game, though that firmly left Michael on the bottom of the tribe.

And oh how I’d bottom for Michael.

Malolo awoke to another day of misery on their cursed turf with Michael in desperate need of some comfort after turning on his idol. Instead of turning to me for a cuddle or something, he went searching for another idol to get him further. While Angela tried to keep an eye on him, it seems neither she nor Des learnt anything from Ben last season as they let him continue until he found an idol. Ozzy’s iconic fucking stick to be specific. Can you believe how amazing it must feel to have two of the three most iconic immunity idol (related) things in one season?

Michael then shove the stick in his pants and it instantly made me hope he could do some damage with it. To me.

The tribes reconvened for Malolo’s next loss, this time for reward. Each tribe member would be required to hold a hope to balance a platform on which they’d be required to do a block-puzzle spelling reward. What is at stake? Steak and kebabs for first, kebabs for second and a member of Malolo banished to Ghost Island for losing. Naviti and Yanuya got out to an early lead, until Naviti dropped their entire stack and had to start again. Yanuya then dropped and Malolo for the first time ever, wait no, they dropped to. Naviti once again took the, followed by Yanuya while Malolo bickered amongst themselves. Ultimately Donathan secured victory for Naviti, despite Bradley yelling at him while he balanced the final block. Yanuya, obviously, came in second – I came in first after Chris’ nip slip … I’m thirsty today apparently, sorry – and Naviti decided to send Kellyn back to Ghost Island to maintain the mystery. Much to Kellyn’s pain.

Now making her second trip to Ghost Island, Kellyn was feeling a little bit calmer about the experience and once again had the chance to gamble for a prize. This time Kellyn had a two in three chance in taking out an advantage, so went for it and ultimately secured herself an extra vote in the form of Sarah’s Game Changers vote steal which she used to vote out Michaela ironically, since it was at Michaela’s feet for an entire challenge. While it is only an extra vote this time, that is hopefully enough to take Kellyn to the next level.

Back at Naviti the tribe were thrilled to win another challenge and get to enjoy a barbecue. Well four of them were thrilled, Bradley was busy failing in his attempts to not be a dick and barked and clapped at Donathan to do things. This pissed everyone off, including his ally Chelsea who looked set to blindside Bradley with the other three, if they lose the next challenge. Which I hope doesn’t happen because we haven’t had a delicious villain since Abi-Maria, let’s be honest.

Meanwhile over at Yanuya, the tribe was happy with their second place feast and continued to live in harmony without the oppressive rule of Bradley. They then sung Wendell’s girlfriend happy birthday and settled in for a post-lunch nap, while King Wendell went searching for an idol. He then found a clue directing him to the idol, which he quickly found. And to make the entire situation even better, said idol is the immunity necklace in Micronesia that Erik gave up to Natalie before she, Parvati, Cirie and Amanda voted him straight out. That, my friends, completes the trio of most iconic immunities in Survivor history. I don’t want to oversell the situation, but between this and the fucking stick this is the best episode ever.

Back at Malolo Angela, Des and Michael grew tired of living at the cursed camp, picking through scraps to get a tiny amount of food. Delirious from starvation, Des then led the tribe in burning the tribe flag and anything that mentioned the M word in the hope of reversing the latest cursed.

The tribes reconvened with Kellyn at the latest immunity challenge to inform Probst that they focused on reversing the curse and filled them in on the sacrificial burning. Whether it works though is yet to be seen, given how physical the challenge is. Each tribe member would swim out to a wall one by one, climb over and jump into the water to collect rings which they will use to throw on a hard rod at the end. Yanuya got out to an early lead followed closely by Naviti … until Michael dominated – swoon – Dom and took them into second place. Chris and Wendell were adept at landing rings on their rods and maintained their lead while Donathan took Naviti back into second place … until Michael got involved and caught things up. Yanuya ultimately took out victory while Michael and Donathan battled for second place with Michael finally securing immunity, breaking the curse and sending Bradley and his punching bags to tribal council.

Nobody but Bradley and his mini-mouth seemed all that bothered to be going to tribal council. While Domenick apologised for being responsible for the loss, everyone made quick work of letting him off the hook … except for Bradley who flagged his coffee reason as a potential reason for sucking. Domenick was tempted to keep him around as a goat, but couldn’t figure out whether or not he could justify it. Despite the vibe I was picking up, Bradley was confident an OG Malolo would be going home, selecting Libby as his number one target. Thankfully Chelsea took that information back to Libby and spearheaded the campaign to get rid of Bradley. She then joined Domenick to discuss their options, unsure who is the least trustworthy slash friendly. Here’s an idea, talk to Donathan and Libby and get them to join you in a lie that Bradley was idolled out of the game and hide their alliance from everyone? But anyway.

At tribal council Jeff was quick to bring up the battle between OG Naviti and Malolo, which Domenick tried to deflect in the most ambiguous way possible. While Donathan and Libby admitting to being nervous, Bradley highlighted just how little self-awareness he had while talking about how cohesive and friendly the tribe are. Donathan wasn’t buying it, bringing up that he and Libby betrayed Domenick and he is concerned that may backfire on them. Libby spoke about it being a decision to be loyal to her alliance while Bradley jumped in to offer a counter-point to her opinion. Probst then asked Chel … no Bradley still wanted to talk about how non-argumentative he is. Domenick and Chelsea then ominously spoke about people being likeable, Libby spoke about wanting the vote to solidify an alliance moving into the merge and Bradley looked as bored as Camilla at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

As the votes rolled in Bradley’s mood went from disinterested to shock and ultimately to gritted-teeth rage thinly veiled as admiration as he became the seventh person booted from the game. While I didn’t want him to succeed at the game, which I told him as he entered Loser Lodge as the final pre-boot player, I truly will miss how complex a villain he made. Plus, I have some of the self-awareness he lacks and can tell that he came across exactly how I would if I ever accepted the begging of LaPaglia and Probst to join a cast.

Anyway, I berated him, then hugged him and then thanked him for bringing some good villainy back to the game, rather than the Hantz-esque trope that keeps getting repeated. We laughed, we cried, we lamented him needing to find a nice girl – like Kellyn, for instance – and then got down to smashing some Bradley Chilakleiheges.

 

 

While chilaquiles aren’t overly fancy, they are insanely delicious. Tortillas cooked until tender in salsa, slathered with cheese. Do you need me to say more? Well I added chicken, so yeah, if you wanted more … you got it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bradley Chilakleiheges
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 chicken breast, roughly chopped
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle chillis in adobo, roughly chopped
800g crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups Tortea Leoni Chips
100g queso fresco
coriander leaves, to garnish

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken for a couple of minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until softened.  Stir through the chilli, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce to low and simmer for about fifteen minutes or until thickened. Season to taste.

Stir through the Tortea Leoni Chips and cook for a minute before serving, covered in queso fresco and coriander. And devouring.

 

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Indian Shants

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, TV Recap

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, Tyra brought all the girls back – well except for quitters Liz and Brendi K – to compete for the chance to return to the competition. Yes – all the girls … minus those two. I’m talking Maggie, Ivana, Rhiyan, Coura, Liberty, Christina, Sandra, Erin and even Jeana returned to take the place of one of the girls. Rio slowly unravelled throughout the entire episode, taking a horrible photo and finding herself out of the competition and replaced by her friend turned foe Jeana.

We arrived back at the model house where it was time for Kyla, Shanice and Khrystyana to celebrate arriving in the true final four. I assume, not really caring which of the demon twins was joining them. While they were a solidified, friendly unit, they had interest in Jeana and her attitudes return. Given she vowed to be savage upon her return, I still don’t blame them. Shanice then shared that she let herself down last week and had kind of just given up, though was galvanised to work through the final challenges and make something of herself and do her family proud. Khrystyana then spoke about how much she loves and needs her mother, how proud she wanted to make her and damnit, girl – I’m crying! She then couldn’t share that she had been molested as a child and broke down and damn, I can’t.

The next day the models were summoned to a carnival, or so they thought … it was actually a shoot for Pantene. The girls were given four different products – a foam, moisturising conditioner, a speedy miracle and a volumising conditioner for Jeana’s human hair wigs – and tasked with styling and directing their own shoot. Jeana then selected a wig that looked exactly like Khrystyana’s hair, before styling her make-up the same way and using the same props. But she is sweet yo, and is too busy to notice. Kyla slayed her ethereal shoot, as did an adorably bossy Khrystyana, Shanice relied on props similar to the queens Michelle hates that rely on their body and Jeana, well, thought she did well but kinds just looked dead.

The top four were then tasked with selecting their best photo where Kyla struggled as she couldn’t sell the product to herself and felt like she failed. They then delivered their photos to the client, where they were all praised … except for Kyla, who Pantene had wished selected a photo with the feather. Ultimately Khrystyana continued her dominance, winning the challenge and given a secret reward to share with the girl of her choosing. She chose Kyla, FYI.

Back at the house Jeana continued her reign of terror, laying into Kyla for talking like a baby while lamenting her confusion about the point of the challenge. Thankfully the editors are shady as hell and cut to Khrystyana talking about how proud she is off her dominance and how desperately she wants to stop Jeana from getting any further. Even Shanice complaining about her psoraiacis being more difficult than Jeana donning a wig, looked tame compared to Jeana being a demon.

The next day the girls were surprised by the arrival of Kyla and Khrystyana’s mothers. While the former immediately put her mother to work making beds and cleaning the house, Khrystyana took her mother aside to finally share with her about her molestation. Her mother was sweet and fiercely protective and it was all beautiful.

After the mother’s disappeared, the final for four arrived at their editorial shoot for the week promoting the same products from earlier. Better yet, the winning shot would ultimately form part of their prize and become a campaign for Pantene. Backstage Khrystyana was feeling confident until she noticed that once again Jeana had selected the same hair colour as her again. And based off the side-eye Jeana kept throwing, it was completely deliberate and she is the absolute worst.

Khrystyana went first and absolutely slayed the shoot – and vowed to outshine Jeana, which duh, she will – until Jeana walked over and played mind games while mimicking her entire shoot like a deranged psycho. Kyla was up next and powered through her long neck, and completely embodied the Pantene personality and looked beautiful. Shanice finally got her makeover look and looked stunning. That in turn gave her confidence and she looked great albeit terrified. Thankfully wicked Jeana struggled through the shoot, desperate to bring sex to the shoot rather than the everywoman look of Pantene. She however loved it, making me uber excited for her second fall.

At panel Shanice quickly got to work thirsting over guest judge Philipp Plein before Tyra dropped the bomb that he joined the panel to help select which girls would go on to become the final three and walk in his runway as the final challenge. While Shanice looked beautiful in her shot, the judges couldn’t agree whether it was a good or bad photo. Jeana was universally despised and was read for being way too sexy. Well except for Philipp Plein who just came off as thirsty. Kyla absolutely slayed and looked like a box for hair dye, while Khrystyana looked sexy though was able to overcome it because of the innocence she brought to it. Ultimately, Kyla took out best photo, followed by Khrystyana leaving Shanice and Jeana to fight for the last slot in the final runway. Thank f- Tyra handed the final photo to Shanice, eliminating Jeana from the competition again …

Oh, wait! Nope. Philipp Plein’s boner save Jeana yet again, earning her a free ticket to the final show. Though obviously she will get a fourth place finish, right? RIGHT.

Conveniently I was watching the episode with the current reigning top model and my dear friend India Gants, so you don’t have to go without a recipe. You’re welcome. India was a stand out last season with her down-to-earth personality, kindness and ability to take insane pictures. As such, she and I are backing a win by Khrystyana next week … though wouldn’t discount Kyla taking it out after slaying Pantene. Jeana is dead in the water, obvi, and Shanice is a winner just by making the top three. It was exhausting catching-up, running the odds and plotting the next in her career, so it was lucky I had a big vat of Indian Shants ready to go.

 

 

Spicy, hot and completely soothing, this rich curry is the best – and dare I say it, only – way to eat shanks. The meat crumbles, the curry burns and the raita cures all that ails ya’ – perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Indian Shants
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
4 lamb shanks
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves
3 dried chillies
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 cinnamon quills
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp hot curry powder
400g crushed tomatoes
400ml coconut milk
500ml chicken stock
rice, Joe Manngo Chutney, fresh coriander and yoghurt or raita, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Place a dutch oven over medium high heat with a good lug of oil. Once nice and hawt, season the shanks to taste and seal the meat for about five minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to rest.

Reduce heat to low and cook the onion for a couple of minutes, or until just starting to get translucent.  Add the cloves, chillies, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, cumin, coriander and curry powder and cook for a minute to release the flavours. Stir through the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk and stock, and bring to the boil. Once rollicking, add the shanks, add water until they are just covered – you may not need any – cover and place in the oven to simmer for two hours.

Once your entire house smells glorious, remove from the oven and transfer the shanks to a plate and keep warm. Place the dutch oven over a medium heat on the stove and cook until the sauce has reduced.

Serve the shanks immediately on a bed of rice, slathered generously in sauce, yoghurt/raita, chutney and coriander.

Devour.

 

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Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XC: The Goldfather, Snack, Street Food

From the hilarious highs of my date with Diabs to the soulful melancholy of the songs I discussed with myself on my way to visiting Henry Mancini, this year’s Oscar Gold celebration, the Goldfather is off to a killer start. If I do say so myself. Which I just did.

There has been a lot of talk about the diversity of directors in the last few years – and some killer shade from Natalie Portman at the Globes this year – so I decided to mark the Academy getting it right this year, by inviting my dear friend and only female to ever take Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow, to drop by, celebrate and of course, run the odds.

I first met Kath in the early ‘90s while I was a part of Keanu Reeves’ entourage. He was – and TBH still is – being a total babe in Point Break, and she was slaying behind the camera. Fun fact: I inspired her to commision the rewrite which led to Johnny Utah cracking the case because of a butt. Because Keanu could crack my case anyday.

But I’ve digressed. We became the best of friends, I chose her in the split from Jim Cameron (though still secretly stayed friends with him on the DL) and she eventually took home an Oscar.

Anyway, the Best Director is arguably one of the most up in the air heading into the Oscars. While Guillermo del Toro has taken all of the precursors, I could make a case for anyone but Paul Thomas Anderson. And not just because like Jennifer Lawrence and my three year old niece, I hated it. I feel like Christopher Nolan was lucky to snag his first overdue nomination, so rule him out and like OG Screenplay, I am left to decide between Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig. Sooooooo, shit. I am hella confused, but I’m picking Greta Gerwig as the surprise victor (sorry for jinxing you Greta). Oh and Kath thinks Guillermo won’t be beaten, Greta will take the screenplay and Get Out will get Jord Best Picture. Everyone’s a winner it seems … and someone clearly ignored the memo that she only got to talk about directors.

Given it is a highly contentious slash contended category, Kath and I were positively famished by the end of our discussions. Which was so convenient, since I had whipped up a shit tonne of my Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos.

 

 

If I learnt anything from Austin Powers – and let’s be honest, I learnt a shit tonne from it – it was the moles are bad. However this quick – and highly anglicised – version is near perfection. Hot, spicy and little bit sweet, a squeeze of lime and this baby truly sings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken thighs, diced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chilli
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped almonds
800g can chopped tomatoes
2 chipotle chillis, dripping in adobo sauce and roughly chopped
2 cups chicken stock
100g dark dark chocolate, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
12 corn tortillas
queso fresco, coriander and lime, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sweat for about five minutes or until just becoming translucent. Add the thighs, cumin, chilli and cinnamon, and cook for a further ten minutes, or until the chicken in cooked through. Add the raisins, almonds, tomatoes, chillis and chicken stock, and bring to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low and simmer for about half an hour. Stir through the chocolate, season and cook for a couple of minutes more.

To serve, heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over high heat for a minute or so. Dollop on the mole, sprinkle with cheese and coriander, and devour with a big whack of fresh lime juice.

 

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Katie Holmades

Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, Vegetarian

After kicking our celebration of Dawson’s Creek’s 20th anniversary with my dear friend Joshua Jackson, aka the erstwhile Pacey Witter, I knew I had to follow-up with a date with Pacey’s endgame *spoiler alert from fifteen years ago* Katie Holmes.

While Katie and I have had our ups and downs throughout the years, her finally emancipating herself – with Suri’s help, obviously – from Tom Cruise reaffirmed our bond. Fun fact: I was one of the few people to know about her relationship with Jamie Foxx.

Don’t get it twisted though, our relationship started out extremely strong on the set of the Creek. She was just starting out and my boy Ang called me after directing her in The Ice Storm to see if I would teach her the ways of TV and mentor her career.

Another fun fact: I taught her the importance of an asymmetrical smile.

Given how busy I am, Katie and I haven’t been able to hang out as often as we’d like so she was thrilled to accept my invitation. Plus it is a new year so both of us are feeling the crappy mantras about new us-es and decided it was time to deal with any and all of our leftover Cruise-related issues.

He most definitely wasn’t an ex of mine or anything and we didn’t have any Scientological related issues, obvi. Because neither of those things would ever happen. Ever. Right?

It was an emotional catch-up, honouring her greatest work, working through our feelings and devouring a big batch of Katie Holmades.

 

 

Full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of dolmades but Katie loves them AND these ones are good enough to win me over. Spicy and packed full of a herby, lemon punch, they are the perfect snack for working through trauma whilst celebrating milestones.

Enjoy!

 

 

Katie Holmades
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
½ cup long-grain rice, rinsed
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ tsp cumin
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
small handful mint, roughly chopped
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
100g feta, mashed
40 vine leaves
½ cup olive oil

Method
Cook the rice in boiling salted water for about ten minutes, or until almost cooked. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and leave to drain and cool for about ten minutes.

Transfer the rice to a medium bowl and add the spices, herbs, tomatoes, garlic, lemon zest and feta in a bowl, stirring well to combine.

To assemble, place 2 heaped teaspoons of rice mixture in centre of a leaf, fold in the sides and roll to close. Place upright in a saucepan and repeat the process until all done and the dolmades are tightly packed.

Combine the lemon juice with the olive oil, pour over the dolmades and cook over low heat for an hour, or until leaves are tender. Cool to room temperature before transferring them to the fridge to chill completely overnight.

Devour cold, greedily. Preferably as part of a Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate, Nick Iadanzipasto Platter or a Charcucirie Fields Board.

 

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Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson

Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas

After dabbling with television in the form of Rachel Bloom yesterday, I opted to swing on over to discuss cinema with my dearest school chum Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Despite taking out Best Supporting Actor at the Globes last year for his terrifying performance in Nocturnal Animals, he was egregiously snubbed of an Oscar nom. Said snub, dare I say it, was part of the inspiration behind holding a Golden Globe Gold celebration.

I first met Az in 2010 on the set of Kick-Ass – he was fresh off the success of Nowhere Boy and I was looking to make the jump from Nicolas Cage’s entourage. You could say it was fate, however I would call it Serendipity … which led me to travel back in time to write the hit rom-com Serendipity.

We became the fastest of friends and I, of course, vowed to make him a star. Together we jumped from Kick-Ass to co-starring with Glenn Close, working with Oliver Stone and culminated by playing the Marvel-Marvel version of Quicksilver. He rightly views his success in the biz as my handiwork, so was thrilled to take the time out for my inaugural Golden Globe celebration and reconnect.

Given he won just last year, I was hoping Az would have some intel on which males were taking out the gongs this year. Either he does have intel and I am way off base, or more than likely he has no idea and my finger is still on the pulse. He believes that Chris Plummer will be an upset to take over his Supporting Actor crown, while I’m backing Willem. For comedy, I say James Franco and he says Daniel Kaluuya – because Get Out is somehow a Comedy or Musical – and for Drama – mawma – I say Timothée Chalamet for no other reason than wanting to spend the summer in Italy eating peaches, and Az is going with Gary Oldman. We did agree with Best Picture – Drama though, and by that, we agreed that it should come down to Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri … which means it will go to Dunkirk.

One thing we could emphatically decide AND agree on is that my Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson are completely off the hook. In a good way, obvi.

 

 

It is hard to pick my one true passion in life, but if I had to narrow it down, big balls and a cheesy meat are high on the list. Particularly when together. The creamy, delicate risotto works perfectly with the cheesy, meaty punch of the filling to create a ball that would make Jenna Maroney faint.

Enjoy!

 

 

Aaroncini Taylor-Johnson
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
¼ cup unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, heated over low heat while you work … or not, no judgement
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, 1 whisked for the risotto and the other two whisked together for coating
500g beef mince
400g can chopped italian tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
small handful of parsley, chopped
small handful of basil, chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
100g mozzarella, grated
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 – 1½ cup breadcrumbs
olive oil, to cook

Method
Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan until foamy and fragrant. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the rice. Cook, stirring, for about five minutes, or until starting to become translucent. Add the stock half a cup at a time, stirring constantly, adding the next cup whenever the stock has just been absorbed.

Remove from the heat, stir through ⅓ cup parmesan and season to taste. Once cooled slightly, stir through the egg and transfer to a lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

While the risotto is cooling, brown the meat in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. You could add a lug of oil, but I found the fat released in cooking was more than adequate. When the meat is almost completely browned, add the tomatoes, peas, parsley, basil and chilli, and simmer until most of the liquid has gone. Remove from the heat and stir through the remaining parmesan and the mozzarella, season lightly, and remove from heat to cool slightly.

To assemble, divide the risotto into 8 equal parts – I like big balls, you know – and take ⅔ of that ⅛ – just reread that because it does make sense, despite not feeling like it – in wet hand and press the mixture together to remove any air-bubbles. Flatten to a pattie and press a hole in the middle. Fill said hole with the meat mixture and cover with the remaining ⅓ of the ⅛ of rice. Press tightly to push out any excess air, shape into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until your eight-balls are done and transfer said balls to the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the flour in a bowl, the breadcrumbs in another and whisk the milk with the remaining two eggs in a third. Roll the balls in the flour, shake off excess and coat in the egg wash before rolling in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a lined baking sheet – or return to the one it just came off if you’re lazy – and repeat the process until all your balls are thoroughly coated. And that innuendo wasn’t even intentional.

Spray with some olive oil to coat and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, or until resembling golden globes. Then devour, being careful not to burn your mouth off.

 

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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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Pico de Vincent Gallo

Condiment, Dip, Sauce, Side

The pain of losing Locky from Australian Survivor combined with a date with one of my more controversial friends got me feeling all misty for my wild, artsy and extremely controversial youth. With that, I picked up the phone and begged Vincent Gallo to end his self-imposed exile and reconnect.

Obviously, he said yes and hopped on the next plane for Brisbane.

While we haven’t seen much of each other in the last few years – Chris Rock and I had a huge fight on the set of 2 Days in Paris and Vin refused to leave with me – we’ve be the closest of friends for the past couple of decades after meeting on the set of Buffalo ‘66.

I was working as Angelica Houston’s stand-in, Mickey Rourke’s dialect coach and Christina Ricci’s personal assistant at the time, but found more than enough time to make things work with Vin. The affair was torrid and passionate, and shockingly somehow survived our break-up to become the best of friends.

Given our past, he reached out to me in the early noughties and asked me to complete the infamous scene in The Brown Bunny due to my insane abilitiessimilarities with Chloë Sevigny. I mean, talk about doppelgangers!

It was such a treat to get him out of his exile and to reconnect whilst discussing a crossover sequel to The Brown Bunny and Buffalo ‘66. I mean, sure, he had no interest in doing my project, but at least we got to yack it up like we did in the good old days with some Pico de Vincent Gallo.

 

 

Now I know that most people wouldn’t consider pico de gallo a meal but Vin and I are not like most people, so gladly down it at any and all opportunities. I mean, fresh, zingy and packing a punch – how can you go wrong?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pico de Vincent Gallo
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
6 ripe tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, diced
4 shallots, sliced
1 red chilli, sliced
small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 limes, juiced
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the tomatoes, onion, shallots, chilli, coriander and garlic in a large bowl.

Toss through the lime juice, a lug of olive oil and season to taste.

Devour … or you know, serve with a taco or something.

 

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.