I’m also f-*&ing Matt Damon

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I had an extremely hectic weekend, quickly dropping by the Berkshires – visiting Dorind, obvi – before getting an extremely patient and thorough lesson in how to play chess by my seven year old nephew. Obviously I was exhausted by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, so I lay by the pool drinking Jimosas and watched movie trailers.

Don’t worry, I’m about to get to the point.

I was wondering how The Meg differed from Jaws III before I was distracted by the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph 2 and realised I had about twenty missed calls from Sarah Silverman over the past fortnight.

Thankfully she bought how busy I claimed to be and accepted my invite to drop by and catch-up later this week. What do I make for one of my dearest friends that happen to be a Disney princess?

Image source: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.

 

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.

Joy Beharsagna

Main, Pasta

It was actually my dear friend Joy that reached out to me about dropping by for this week’s date. She had noticed that I dropped off the face of the earth but the google alert featuring my name, rehab, prison and scandal hadn’t pinged, so she was extremely concerned about my welfare.

When I turned my phone back on after a ten minute digital detox, I discovered one to two frantic voice-to-texts that read, ‘Bern. Place chamomile me has been as chew grits kiss. Lava Jay’. After an hour abusing Siri, I deduced that it was Joy and decided to pick up the phone and see what was up.

Her concern for me was up, obvi, and that is why I love her.

I’ve known Joy for years after meeting on the set of Manhattan Murder Mystery in ‘92. I delivering Diane her daily filming steak when I literally bumped into her, in a rom-com fashion. We bantered about the accident, our acerbic wits instantly bonded us and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I put her name forward as a potential co-host of The View when Babs refused to hire me in drag as Angela Merkin.

She and I spent the afternoon chatting, laughing and taking a little time to enjoy the view, before sitting down to smash a big old Joy Beharsagna … and watch Australian Survivor, obvi. Honestly, did you really think I was going to make anything else?

 

 

Obviously this is Queen Joy’s famous recipe with the name smooshed into hers. But when I’m making my triumphant comeback to cyberspace, why should I get creative when Joy has already created something of perfection. Sweet and spicy sausage, a whack of herbs and the majesty of ricotta – if you haven’t tried Joy’s lasagna, you’re not living.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Joy Beharsagna
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
375g fresh lasagna sheets … or Alan Pastarkin, if you dare
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
750g Italian sausage, removed from skins
olive oil
800g crushed tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups passata
¼ cup oregano, roughly chopped
½ cup basil, roughly chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp pepper
500g ricotta cheese
1 ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
500g mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion over low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before bringing the heat up to medium, adding the sausage and cooking, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 10 or so.

Once the meat is no longer pink, add the tomatoes, passata, paste oregano, basil, salt and pepper and cook for twenty minutes or so.

While the sauce is simmering, combine the ricotta, a cup of parmesan, mozzarella, egg, parsley and a good whack of salt and pepper.

To assemble, spread a third of the mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish. Layer a couple of sheets of pasta over the top and spread over half the cheese sauce. Top with another third of the meat, some pasta and a the remaining cheese sauce. Pour over the remaining sauce, top with some parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until bubbly and crisp.

Devour. Preferably with Karlic Lagerbread.

 

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.

You know what, so what, who cares

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Hello *coughs* is this thing on?

As you may have noticed, I’ve taken a little unplanned hiatus (which I totally plan to wipe from memory by posting the multitude of documented-yet-unposted catch-ups in the coming weeks, after which will make this post slash me look completely cray) but I needed a little time for self-care, in the spirit of vegan and shellfish lover Queen Sonja T Morgan.

Oh and for once, self-care isn’t referring to feverish masturbation.

To apologise, I’ll offer you this vague explanation which may or may not include a Type-A aortic dissection (not me), a cold, graduation (not me), moving house, rehab, the flu, aortic arch and valve replacement surgery (I feels for others ok, shut up), prison and not appearing on Australian Survivor (which given my love of Locky last year, is probs a good decision in the post me too world. Particularly for CBS, hey Les?).

So basically, I needed to take a break – or at the very least a nap – and to work through my stress and anxiety.

Lucky for you, I am back and while I didn’t give you a heads up about needing said break, in the words of this week’s iconic guest, you know what, so what, who cares? Yes, my dearest friend Joy Behar is dropping by to help me get my groove back. Which I will use as inspiration to go back in time to write How Stella Got Her Groove Back and snag me my first Oscar, but that is a story for another time.

Any guesses what I’m making Queen Behar?

Image source: The View / ABC.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

Diving in. Aaaaaaaalllllll in.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

After having a fucking great catch-up with me mate Liam last week, I got to thinking about the need to catch up with one of my dear friends that I used to, well, get intimate with, so to speak – the greatest diver in history, Greg Louganis.

Greg and I studied theatre together – and each other – at the University of Miami, where I pushed him to focus on his immense talent for diving. Mainly because he was really good at theatre and as such, I was threatened and wanted him distracted while I worked on snatching my EGOT.

Anywho he found out my plan, we broke up and didn’t speak until I reached out after the Seoul Olympics incident. And we’ve been the best of friends ever since.

What says you’re one of my best friends (and I hope you never find out I reached out to option your rights and star in the TV movie in place of Mario Lopez)?

Image source: Pascal Rondeau /Allsport.

 

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.

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.

 

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, Tumblr and Google+.

El Diablo Cody

Drink, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XC: The Goldfather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

El Diablo Cody
Serves: 1.

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

Method
Combine ice and tequila in a highball.

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

Add a wedge of lime and down.

Lather, rinse and repeat.

 

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, Tumblr and Google+.

Pie Float Newton

Gravy, Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food

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

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

You’d think he’d learn, no?

“This is a once in a lifetime event.”

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Not possible, so enjoy!

 

 

Pie Float Newton
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

Once in a blue moon

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

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

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

Moon face himself, my dear friend Bert Newton.

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

Image source: Unknown, but highly likely TV Week.

 

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.

Halifax Danair Levy

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Main, Side, Snack

While my boy Eug plays a wonderful straight man, Cath is the Queen and Ems plays the voice of the audience to absolute perfection, my boy Dan is the true heart and soul of Schitt’s Creek. Though maybe I am biased as he based the character on his oldest friend – me!

As you know – though may struggle to comprehend because of the multiple timelines inplace – I have been friends with his dad and the wider Levy family for decades. Dan, Sarah – who I tragically couldn’t fit in due to another celebration happening next week (you won’t want to wait, promise) – and I grew up together like three peas in a pod. On the assumption that three peas can fit in one pod, obvi.

It was difficult to stay in contact with my constant disappearance to rehab, other countries or being on the lam, but Dan – bless his cotton socks – always tracked me down and we enjoyed a wonderful friendship as pen pals when we couldn’t be together.

Was there an undeniable sexual chemistry? Sure. Did we act on it? Shockingly no … at least on my part. Is that because we look like we could pass as brothers with our stubble, thick brows and militant feyness? Potentially, though that is another drawcard

That being said, I am glad we’re yet to complicate our relationship by going down that route as he truly is one of my dearest friends. He is sweet, smart as a whip, funny as hell and created one of the best sitcoms on TV. And that has nothing to do with me wanting a part on the series. Not even when I got him cast opposite my girl Teens.

Anyway, Dan was thrilled to be able to make the trip down under – not to my down under – and toast to another fantastic season. And that was before he saw me whipping out my version of the Nova Scotian classic, Halifax Danair Levy.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing that fills me with more joy that seeing a big piece of meat slide into a warm, fresh bun, covered heartily with a tonne of special sauce … and filled with tomato, onion and lettuce. Where did you think I was going with that?

Anyway, enjoy sickos!

 

 

Halifax Danair Levy
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1kg beef mince
5 garlic cloves, minced, four for the meat, one for the sauce
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
370ml evaporated milk
2-3 tbsp raw caster sugar, to taste
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 onion, diced, plunged in iced water and drained
2 tomatoes, diced
8 Pita Andre Breads

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.


Place the mince, four cloves of garlic, herbs, spices and egg in a large bowl, and scrunch with your hands until well combined. Shape like a large meatloaf, place on a lined baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Leave to stand for twenty minutes.

While your meat is doing its thang, combine the evaporated milk, remaining garlic and sugar in a small bowl. Gradual whisk in the vinegar until combined and just starting to thicken.

Slice the meat into thin – 3mm-ish – slices. Toast the pita on either side of a warmed skillet and fill with meat, donair sauce, onions and tomatoes … and then devour, messily.

 

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.