Is The Fonz about to fly over the island?

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Survivor, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, TV, TV Recap

Despite whining about it at each of my pre-season catch-ups, Edge of Extinction is upon us and I am still excited. I mean, One World sucked but it produced one of the best winners of all time. So surely there will be a silver lining?

The concept of people voted out and getting to make it to the end lessens the stakes. But let’s not forget that Lil made for an entertaining end game and gave Queen SDT her first victory. Plus – I totally would have lived for Tina Wesson to somehow make it to the end in Blood vs. Water and snatch her second victory.

Basically, what I’m saying is. Don’t hate the player – Survivor, in this case – hate the game. Aka endless twists to avoid changing location. In any event, I’ve had to change my Ponderosa cooking plans and will instead be cooking on a camp stove somewhere between the sign offering Island of Extinction and the island itself.

Which is what my disappointment stems from, because booted contestants with hope are always so. Hopeful.

Who will be joining me as the first boot slash potential winner? Check back Sunday!

Image source: Monty Brinton / CBS.

 

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Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto

Main, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water

I know I have been a bit of a Debbie Downer when it comes to the twist of the upcoming season of Survivor but I am still excited because, well, it is Survivor. And for every One World or Redemption Island, there is a China or Heroes vs. Villians, which is something I am eternally grateful for. Plus – One World gave us Kim and Redemption Island gave us Russell’s pimpled, ingrown-haired armpits.

But I’ve been waylaid – I am here to celebrate one of my favourite Sole Survivors slash two-time The Amazing Race contestant and the cherry on top of San Juan Del Sur’s twinnie bookends, my girl Natalie Anderson.

Like Bob before her, I didn’t meet Nat until after her first reality TV stint – I am a close, personal friend of the Beekman’s – however the friendship quickly blossomed. And I played a critical role in getting her a spot on San Juan Del Sur and her well deserved win.

While people tire of the constant bartering and handing out rewards as treats, San Juan Del Sur is an unpredictable season and Natalie’s arc from wounded surviving Twinnie to vengeful powerplayer after Jeremy’s boot is one of the greats.

Add to that a beautiful idol play, a masterful ‘accidental’ blindside to save Keith and dragging him along as a meatshield to guarantee a path to the end puts her in my top ten favourite winners. And more than worthy of a hearty Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto whenever she damn wants!

 

 

There is nothing quite as comforting and glorious as a risotto. I don’t know if it is the creamy rice or the liquor, but it always fills me with joy when I’m feeling blue. Add in mushies and bacon, and I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 ⅓ cups arborio rice
250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
200g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup shredded parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring the stock to a simmer over low heat and heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Once nice and foamy, add the leek and garlic and sweat for five minutes. Add the bacon and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the kitchen is fragrant and glorious.

Add the rice to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to get translucent around the edges. Working a ladleful at a time, add the stock to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, waiting until the stock has been absorbed before adding the next.

Once all the stock has been used up, add the mushrooms, spinach and thyme, and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir through the parmesan and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, slathered in more cheese and then devour.

 

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Bobcorn Chicken Crowley

Main, Poultry, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Gabon

We’re less than two weeks away from someone joining the Francesca Hogi Memorial First Boot Club – well technically, who knows with extinction in play – and as such it is high time to corral another Sole Survivor to drop by and celebrate.

Side note: can you believe I am one victor away from completing the winner’s circle? Well, two given Brian Heidik shoots puppies and will never appear here.

Anyway, given that our best shot is for this season to be an epic disaster that manages to be entertaining, I thought it was finally time to catch up with my dear friend Bob Crowley. Aka victor of one of the most chaotic and beautifully entertaining seasons of all time, Gabon.

While I didn’t know Bob until after his win, we became the best of friends as soon as Sugar introduced us. Some may say it was his out of the box buff wearing that saw him snatch my heart, and well, they are totally right. And that is why we’ve never fought a day after our beautiful friendship.

Despite being one vote away from being bested by Susie, Bob’s win is one of the greatest possible outcomes for a season as insane as Gabon. I mean, it would be like Angelina winning David vs. Goliath. Sure Matty dominated physically, the onions were nasty and Sugar controlled the game, Bob managed to find his footing against all odds, made a stunning fake idol and leveraged Sugar’s emotions to get to the end.

And if that isn’t worthy of a bowl of Bobcorn Chicken Crowley, I don’t know what is.

 

 

You know I love me some fried chicken slash take-away copycats, so this baby pretty much has it all. Spicy, crunchy itty-bitty pieces of chicken – the perfect way to feel like you’ve eaten less, while getting optimal batter to meat quantity. Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bobcorn Chicken Crowley
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
⅔ tsp salt
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp basil
⅓ tsp oregano
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp white pepper
500g chicken breast, cut into popcorn sized chunks
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Combine the flour through white pepper in a large bowl and place the buttermilk in another. Toss the chicken through the buttermilk, then in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly.

Bring 1 inch deep oil to heat – around 180°C – in a large pot. Once shimmering with heat, add the chicken a handful of pieces at a time – size, not literally with your hands since the oil – and fry for about five minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain slightly and repeat the process until done.

Devour immediately. With or without your fave sauce.

 

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Choc Berry Muffins

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

It has been an extremely busy week celebrating this year’s Grammys with my annual Grammy Gold parties, but as usual, I always push through. Or get by with a little help from my friends, so to speak. And Somebody That I Used to Gold would have been nothing without the love and support of my dear friends Lady Gaga, ONJ, Trey, Tina, Kandi and today, the late, great Chuck Berry.

Given I already had the delorean out to visit Kandi, I decided I should take it out for another spin and seeing Chuck again was high on my list of priorities.

I met Chuck in the ‘40s while studying to become beauticians at the Poro College of Cosmetology. While I wasn’t very good, my boy Chuck was a bloody star and so I quickly helped him rise in the industry. Until I heard his dulcet tones and realised that making him a singing star would be far more beneficial to my bank account.

While in the car, I started pondering about the major Grammy categories that I still needed to run the odds for. Obviously I am backing This is America for Song of the Year, however my gut – or indigestion – is telling me that movies are going to dominate the other two, With Black Panther snagging Album of the Year and Shallow getting Record of the Year, though This is America truly deserves the double.

With that out of the way, I arrived back in the ‘80s to help celebrate his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and boy was it an absolute thing of beauty. His kind, talented soul, and my Choc Berry Muffins, obvi.

 

 

Tart berries and gooey chocolate are quite possibly my favourite flavour combination. Add them into some pillowy cake, and I am in heaven. Heaven I tells, ya! Like my dear friend Chuck, may he rest in peace.

Enjoy!

 

 

Choc Berry Muffins
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarb of soda
2 tsp baking powder
75g raw caster sugar
200ml buttermilk
1 egg
100g blueberries
100g raspberries
200g milk chocolate, cut into rough chunks

Method
Preheat oven to 160C and line a six-hole Texan muffin pan.

Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and egg with the melted butter. Fold together with a wooden spoon until just combined before folding through the berries and chocolate.

Divide the batter between the holes and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until risen cooked through and golden.

Allow to cool slightly, though making sure they’re still warm enough for the chocolate to be gooey. When you devour.

 

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Kandi Cane Burruss

Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

The Grammys are so close that I can almost smell their breath – they believe in mints though, so I like it – and while I’m sad That Somebody That I Used to Gold is almost over, getting to see my dear friend Kandi Burruss sure does dull the pain.

Now I know what you’re thinking – how did you catch up with Kandi, since she is still in the Celebrity Big Brother house? Obviously the answer is time-travel, so let’s not focus on that, ok?

I’ve known Kandi for years after meeting in High School. While she was a star in front of the screen, as her dearest friend – and the OG Don Juan, I’ll have you know – I shone by designing all their outfits and choreographing their BET Teen Summit performance.

Yep – I was pretty much this Tina Knowles of Xscape. Don’t tell Mama Joyce.

Anyway now I feel like I should explain why exactly I’ve got Kandi running the odds for Best Alternative Music Album and Best New Artist. You see, I assumed another nameless artist had won a Grammy, turned up at their house and then, when trying to steal it from her bathroom, discovered she in fact had never won a Grammy.

That led to me jumping in the delorean and quickly back-tracking a couple of months to see my girl Kandi, who agrees that Beck will win Best Alternative Album and Dua Lipa will take out New Artist. I then awkwardly rummaged through my bag and discovered I was in the possession of some Kandi Cane Burruss, and pretended that the visit had been planned all along.

 

 

Even if she knew that my seasonal snack was inappropriate for the visit, she didn’t say because Kandi is literally the nicest person in the world and I am so damn lucky to have her as my friend. And I’m also lucky to have found a recipe for candy canes online, because there is nothing better than homemade.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kandi Cane Burruss
Serves: 2-12.

Ingredients
3 cups caster sugar
1 cup glucose syrup
¼ cup water
2 tsp peppermint extract
red gel food coloring, to taste
white gel food coloring, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 100C.

Place the sugar, glucose and water in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Crank to medium-high and bring to the boil, without stirring, and cook until it reaches 140-145C on a candy thermometer.

Remove from the pan immediately and let it settle before whisking in the peppermint extract. Divide the syrup between two lined baking sheets, add a few drops of each colouring to each half, stir until well combined and place in the oven to stay warm.

Working one at a time, pour the syrup on a lined piece of marble – I used a platter – and leave to sit until a skin has formed as it firms up. Spray a spatula with olive oil and knead the candy with the spatula as it cools. Once it is cool enough to handle, knead by hand using food-safe gloves – to protect from the molten hot syrup – and start stretching out the candy, bring the ends together and then twist the candy until it is homogeneous and shiny AF. Once it is cool and barely pliable, pull it into a 5cm wide strand, return to the baking tray and keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining colour.

This is where I got confused, so hang in there. Cut a 5cm length of each colour – return the rest to the oven – and press them together sideways. Twist and pull the candy to give the spiral pattern until it is about half a centimetre thick. Cut into 20cm lengths, curl into a hook and transfer to a third lined baking sheet to set. Repeat the process until done.

Once set, either devour in one sitting until you vom. Or you can wrap in cling and give them away as gifts. Because there is no way you’d make these any other time than Christmas time.

 

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