Michael Frozen Yergert

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Probsty dropped a bomb on the remaining castaways and split them in to two temporary tribes at the immunity challenge. Then took it a couple of steps further, telling them that one person from each group would win immunity and each group would attend tribal and vote someone out. Chelsea – I think that is her name, since she is a bit character – took out immunity, leaving Angela, Sebastian, Jenna and Donathan unsafe at the first tribal council, and Sebastian sticking with his fellow Navitians to boot his girlfriend Jenna and send her straight to the jury.

At least she made the jury though, I guess. And it means Sebastian doesn’t need to dump her.

After Jenna forwent the usual walk of shame and exited straight to the jury, the remaining five castaways entered for their tribal council. Laurel quickly pointed out that Jenna’s place on the jury sent a clear message that Naviti continues to play the same game, leaving she and Michael completely screwed. Though really, just Michael. Domenick was quick to agree that it was yet another random swap that screwed Malolo and, well, they’re hella cursed basically.

Kellyn tried to pretend that the easy move – to vote out Michael and Laurel – isn’t always the best move, despite lasting 29 days espousing that very mantra. She did admit that given Michael is the idol king, she is very, very scared. Wendell admitted that all eyes have been on Michael today – before Kellyn channeled me and gushed about his beauty – to see what he was planning before Domenick made the plea for his allies to stick with it as no one has seen any idols. Laurel was scared that she would be taken out like Libby as the secondary target, and the fact no one is calling her pretty. Wendell agreed he didn’t want the wrong person to be taken out before Dom and Wendell started whispering amongst themselves, spooking both Kellyn and Laurel. Though maybe it is an act for Kellyn’s sake?

Before we got a chance to find out that answer, Probsty sent them all off to vote with Kellyn pulling out her second vote, adding a sixth to the mix for their tribal. Tragically – or thankfully, I don’t know – it had no impact as a vote rolled in for every eligible player before finishing on a tie between Michael and Laurel. Tragically it was over before the Navitians even revoted, with Michael finally – tragically before his time and Australian Survivor / Survivor NZ nude scene – taken out of the game and sent to the jury. Though not until after his walk of shame, unlike poor Jenna.

Given Michael has been lucky to survive since the first swap, Michael was feeling disappointed when he arrived at Loser Lodge – after I left him sitting outside while I caught up with Jenna – but ultimately was happy with the game he played. Though given I was laying it on thick – and hitting on him as aggressively as I do whenever Luke Perry is around – he was feeling pretty good about himself, even before I whipped out Michael Frozen Yergert.

 

 

While this is a perfect, kid friendly snack for the youngest person to play the game … I quickly wanted to reframe the dessert for hot-cold play upon discovering he was a zaddy. Thankfully I did restrain myself from that, however it was only because they’re so damn delicious. Sweet and soothing, it is the perfect snack for getting rid of post-boot blues.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michael Frozen Yergert
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g frozen mango, thawed
2 cups natural yogurt, chilled
⅔ cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Method
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until it has all come together.

Transfer to a freezer container and/or ice block moulds and freeze.

Devour.

 

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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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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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Curry Fall

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

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, the girls were tasked with a horror themed shoot before Liz up and quit the competition due to all the drama mama, ignoring the fact she was kind of the instigator for 70% of it. The other 30% was being covered by Christina, who continued to rage against everyone for bullying her. In the end, poor Rhiyan followed Liz out the door while Coura was told to go beyond being pretty.

Don’t you love the inclusion of top model here, so we can talk about going beyond pretty and booty tooching?

Back at model manor, Khrystyana continued her reign of adorable giddy over her best photo at the last shoot. She was not alone with being giddy, as the girls rejoiced the silence now that Liz had exited stage left.

The next day Coura was worrying about Tyra’s words at the last panel. Thankfully Ashley interrupted the mope fest – much to Queen Khrystyana’s delight – to talk about the modelling industry opening up to all kinds of unconventional people. This struck a chord with Jeana who proud to rep bald people, Coura who felt masculine and Rio … who really should win the competition if my dear Khrystyana can’t.

Ashley then interrupted the proceedings – which is probs good since Sandra couldn’t relate as she is simply pretty – to introduce Patrick Starr and this week’s challenge. The models were paired up and given unconventional beauty products, and tasked with doing beauty hacks with them. Kyla and Jeana got chicken cutlets, Liberty and Erin got a hard boiled egg, Christina and Rio got tape, Khrystyana, Coura and Brendi K. got a razor and shaving cream, and Shanice and Sandra got condoms.

Rio and Christina taught everyone to contour with tape, Christina sounding like a bored robot in the process. Jeana and Kyla seemed great in the two seconds of their cutlet blender. Sandra and Shanice, sorry San-nasty, were glorious with their condom blender. Liberty and Erin were barely shown with their egg – wait for it – blender, and Coura bombed the shaving facial though Brendi K. and Khyrstyana’s personality probably saved them from being the worst. Coming as no surprise Sandra took out the win, much to Christina’s chagrin. Did you know people in the industry love her?

Surprisingly, this set Rio off who was furious that Sandra is pretty and doesn’t have to try as hard. Thankfully she is a delight, and did that in confessional and cooled down rather than attacking her for something she can’t contr … wait, sorry, shit started to go down at dinner. After toasting her sister’s graduation, she explained how she felt that she should have won the challenge … setting off an all in brawl. Sandra tried to explain that she has been bombing the photoshoots and this is her first time winning before everyone jumped in with their opinions. Thankfully Brendi K. allowed Sandra to eloquently explain her position … not that Rio gave any fucks about what she had to say.

The next day, Drew arrived at the mansion for this week’s photoshoot where they would be forming beauty sandwiches with two other girls. For winning the challenge, Sandra got to form a trio with Ashley Graham and selected Kyla to join her. This in turn pissed off her partner from the previous day, Shanice. Rio, Coura and Jeana were first up, where Coura continued her struggle streak. Khrystyana, Liberty and Brendi K. were next, which my queen once again owned. Christina, Erin and Shanice went next, with Christina spending the entire shoot putting all of her weight on poor Erin. Sandra and Kyla slayed it with Ashley, while Shanice heckled from the sidelines and Rio continued to stew in her rage.

At panel Rio was universally adored, stealing their image while Coura was read for absolute filth and Jeana was simply defeated by Rio. Shanice stood out in her image, while Erin was smooshed to death by Christina. Shanice then called Christina out for being lazy and ruining the picture, which she totally didn’t because she works out, ok? Khrystyana, Brendi K. and Liberty were the best overall picture, though Liberty was called out as boring. Sandra and Kyla were last to take the stage, receiving universal praise for their picture. Rightfully so.

Despite spending the week ranting, Rio managed to take out best photo over Khrystyana and Shanice, while Christina and Coura landed in the bottom two. Given the fact Christina is the only drama remaining, it should come as no surprise that the mellow Coura was cast out of the competition and into my loving arms.

Like Ty, I had such high hopes for Coura so was bitterly disappointed when she decided to follow the reality TV career of Pearl. There were many pleas for Coura to wake-up Pearl, Pearl, wake-up, but tragically it never did. Though I think it would have if someone offered her a Curry Fall.

 

 

Delightfully fragrant, hella spicy and packing a walloping punch, this curry is full of flavour and personality. Which … well, Coura is gone so I won’t say anything. She is sweet though!

Enjoy

 

 

Curry Fall
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced ginger
2 onions, finely diced
1kg sirloin steak, diced
5 tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp hot paprika
2 tsp hot curry powder
¼ cup tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
1L beef stock
2 chillies, sliced
¼ cup natural yoghurt
coriander, to taste
rice

Method
Heat the oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Once scorching hot, add the garlic, ginger and onions and sweat for five minutes or so. Add the beef and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, spices, tomato paste and a good whack of salt a pepper, and cook stirring for a minute.

Stir through the stock, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for half an hour, or until the liquid is starting to thicken. Remove from the heat, stir through the sliced chilli and yoghurt.

Serve immediately on a bed of rice, garnishing with the coriander before devouring, guilt and personality free.

 

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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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Beetrutina Wesley Tzatziki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Beetrutina Wesley Tzatziki
Serves: 4-8.

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

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

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

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

 

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Diana Yiros

Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack

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

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

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

“Hello, love child.”

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

I started to cry uncontrollably.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

diana-yiros-1

 

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

Yep, that is definitely it. Enjoy!

 

diana-yiros-2

 

Diana Yiros
Serves: 4.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 225°C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrap tightly and shove into your gob, to devour.

 

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