Steve Biliss Balls

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Previously on Australian Survivor Benji continued to slither his way through the competition however taking out Mat and humiliating Sharn made him a target. Particularly with Shane, who reminded us not to fuck with Shane Gould. Shane and Sharn took their opportunity at reward, swinging Monika and Brian back to their side. Not to be outdone, Brian found an idol and then won himself individual immunity. Things got tense at tribal council as Shonee whipped out her vote steal and snatched away Sharn’s vote in the hope of getting her out. Sadly for her, Monika and Brian flipped on Benji and rendered her move useless, sending the self proclaimed king out of the camp.

Back at camp Sharn was shocked to still be in the game, pulling Monika and Steve in for a big hug and hot damn I am jealous. Full of joy, she was hopeful that Brian and Monika were back with them and she can make it to the end. Sadly for her however, Brian immediately caught up with Shonella to assure them that he just wanted to get out Benji and the four of them will stick together to get to the end.

The next day Sharn was still feeling zen to be back in the game while Steve further slipped into my heart, loving the lack of people around to interact with. They then marvelled at Shane  and how much of a tough icon she is, dominating at camp, kicking ass and providing Steve with life advice and I’m crying. I mean, Steve was giggling like a school when Shane called him a grumpy old man … which is what MISH BRIDGES says to him. He then went down a Mish rabbithole and please let this be a family visit episode. Anyway – I ship Steve and Shane and need a moment to feel my feels.

Shane meanwhile is glad that they’ve become close friends, but more importantly she wants to win and she is not going home without a title. She is thrilled to be leading the Champions alliance, however she isn’t happy that Brian and the girls used Shonee’s advantage to take a shot at Sharn. Nor is she happy about them flushing Brian’s ego. Shane then decided that she plans to split up Shonella to weaken Brian’s game, and debated the merits of Fenella or Shonee first.

Speaking of Shonella, they were watching Brian catch fish and skinny dip while they stroked his ego. No doubt much to Shane’s chagrin. Meanwhile Brian was worried about what Monika was thinking, given they both flipped on the girls and she seemed to be gravitating towards the Champions. Monika caught up with Shonella to assure them that she was still with them and Brian, while they all started to worry about Steve trying to find a bond with Monika. On day 40, which they all agreed was sketchy slash extremely obvious.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where everyone would balance an idol on the end of a seesaw, with the last idol standing winning immunity. Brian and Steve spoke about the pain in their glutes before Shane became the first one out, followed by Fenella and Sharn after seven minutes. Brian did his best tennis player impression, grunting his way through the pain while Steve stood like a sta … nope, Steve was next to drop leaving Brian, Shonee and Monika to battle it out. After twelve minutes Brian dropped, leaving the girls to stand still in a battle of wills before Monika dropped and Shonee was shocked to take out immunity. I mean, Shane may be over her but damn that reaction was gorg.

Oh and then Jonathan dropped dropped a bomb on everyone, telling them that instead of booting someone at tribal tonight, the person that gets the most votes becomes the Dead Man Walking. While it sounds hella ominous, it only strips the person of their vote at the next two tribal councils. And while yes, that sucks, they can still win immunity and participate in everything at camp, so if you’re smart, you could make it work.

Back at camp Sharn knew that the end game would come down to whichever side doesn’t get lumbered with the dead man walking. She and Shane went to get water and discuss who to target, agreeing that Fenella is the best bet as it instantly neutralises Shonella being a duo. Sharn approached Monika to talk about targeting Fenella, which she quickly agreed to before having a minor breakdown over how hard the game is getting. Sharn went to Steve and Shane to tell them all the good news, which seemed to arouse suspicion in Brian. And Shane, who really felt like she couldn’t trust Monika despite the fact she desperately needs her. With both Monika and Shane agreeing to take each other to the final three, despite neither believing it.

Brian pulled Shonella and Monika aside to discuss who they should target for dead man walking, with Brian pushing for Steve and the girls desperately wanting to take Shane’s vote. While Brian wasn’t convinced about targeting her, Fenella worked overtime pointing out how Shane is the better option. Brian then pulled Monika aside to point out how important it was to get rid of Steve’s vote, leading to her breaking down about how difficult the entire thing is.

At tribal council JoJo quickly filled the jury in on the final twist of the season before Sharn admitted to being shocked by it and Shane pragmatically said that she isn’t scared of the dead man walking going back to camp, since it is a straight up fact. Sharn quickly went in pointing out that people need to take advantage of the twist to neutralise some of the bigger threats. Monika sounded like she started to falter about flipping, leading to Sharn reminding her that fortune favours the brave. Shane admitted that the tribe is fractured and identified Shonella as a power couple, while Steve shared that they are a non-factor to him as other people are busy trying to work with them, so he can’t be bothered. Jonathan tried to hype up their power status, while power Monika grew more and more confused. Sharn continued to play hard to get her over to their side, while Shonee and Brian whispered to change their target to Steve. With that the tribe voted and Monika played it smart, sticking with her alliance and voting for Steve to become the dead man walking.

Which you know pissed Shane off and will hopefully give us the glorious reminder not to fuck with Shane Gould.

Back at camp, Steve was feeling pissed and served some killer facial expressions whilst going in on Monika. Reminding her that he, Sharn and Shane are the only ones working around camp and she is completely blinded by Brian. And though I love zaddy Steve, it was the best move for Monika TBH. Shane and Sharn pretended to be sympathetic to an emotional Monika, telling her she was played by Brian and they’d be willing to work with her moving forward.

The next day Shane and Sharn caught up to work through their pain, while Shonee was giddy about how everything fell out at tribal. And now that Brian and Monika are loyal, she is excited to no longer be playing the bottom. Which is probably the first time we’ve disagreed. Brian too was thrilled that Steve is the Dead Man Walking and to be in control. Sadly for both of them, Sharn was confident in her abilities to pull Monika back to their side and highlight how dangerous the Brionella trio are.

Monika arrived back at camp with treemail where they learnt that as part of being Dead Man Walking, Steve would be sent immediately to Exile Beach and wouldn’t return until the next immunity challenge. With one less person in camp, Sharn decided to corner Monika to commence pulling her back over to save her game. And most importantly, Sharn’s. Monika proved her skills as a master barrister playing on her ego and her insecurities to rebuild their relationship.

At the reward challenge the tribe were split in half to compete in an obstacle course for an Indian feast – Samosas, Saag Paneer or Mango Chicken, anyone? I think this reward is just my leftovers?! Anyway the teams would be required to send two people out in the ocean to use symbols to decode a puzzle which they would then use to open a lock … releasing balls which the remaining person will land on a trough. Shonella and Monika faced off against Brian, Sharn and Shane, with Monika using Shonee and Sharn’s time in the drink – Matt Chisholm forever – to get advice from Shane, who was having none of it. Shonee got her team out to a sizable lead until Monika found a new nemesis other than bellyflopping, drifting out to sea while Shane closed the gap and took a lead for the Champion trio like the graceful dolphin that she is. Brian shot his first balls before Monika even made it back to shore, oh wait no, he won reward for his team while she was still adrift.

At reward – which I can confirm, I made – Sharn and Shane were delighted to see the paint and cutlery. The girls toasted their success before Queen Shane asked Brian where he stood and what his thoughts were for the endgame. He admitted that he voted against Steve because like Shonella, he sees him as a threat leaving it open for Shane to start working on getting rid of Fenella instead of Steve, if they guarantee his safety moving forward. Brian however didn’t trust it, and told them that if Steve won immunity one of them will be going next. Which Shane shockingly opted out of commenting on.

Speaking of Steve, we checked in with him at Exile Beach where he endeavoured to see the positives and treat it like a holiday. He then looked through his photos and letters from home, and reflected on how great a relationship he has with Sharn and Shane. He then was fired up and hot damn am I thirsting for zaddy Steve.

Everyone reunited at the immunity challenge – with Steve the happiest we’ve seen him all game – where they would each be required to balance a ball on the end of an ever-extending pole while scaling obstacles, before using a ledge to drop it into a bucket. Steve, Fenella and Shane got out to an early lead, while Brian and Shonee languished at the back of the pack. Steve continued to extend his lead with his killer ball and pole workmanship, with Fenella and Brian desperately working the pole to try and close the gap. I mean, who can’t manage two metres of pole? Sadly zaddy Steve dropped his ball allowing Brian to catch-up, the boys were back and forth at the gutters until Brian, somehow, snatched victory.

Back at camp Shonella congratulated Brian on his victory, while Shane and Sharn simmered. Shonella, Brian and Monika then discussed plans for the upcoming tribal, with Brian suggestion they should split the votes between Steve and Sharn to safeguard against the idol. The underdogs went to get water with Steve sharing a haul of fruit his allies whilst trying to figure a way out of their mess. Shane Gould spoke about herself in the third person whilst trying to formulate a way to save her friends and break up the power structure. Shane decided Sharn should work to pull Monika over to their side and blindside Fenella during the split. Proving to be as wily as they say, Brian could see what they were planning and worked overtime to convince Monika to stick with him. Sharn however was a formidable foe, working her magic on Monika to swing back to the Champions.

Before heading out to tribal Steve joined the fray trying to sow some distrust in Brian’s mind, pointing out that if he goes Brian will become the biggest threat and as such he needs to adjust his game. Steve then spoke sports and while I was confused, I loved it all.

At tribal council Steve continued to let his zaddy flag fly, talking about the fact he may not have a vote but he still has a vote. Fenella deemed him a threat, leaving Steve to point out that he is yet to win a challenge while the likes of Brian, Sharn and Shonee have dominated. While Shonee admitted she felt her’s was a fluke, Steve told her that he believed she is a threat – motivational zaddy. Monika said that what makes a threat is different to everyone, while Steve went aggressive and said that this tribal is him or someone else and if it is him, he will work that jury to not reward anyone he doesn’t like/respect.

Shane then threw shade at Shonella for not being helpful around camp, suggesting everyone go out to Exile and see who really can survive. Brian countered that Shane has been carried through challenges, leaving Steve to rise to be the feminist-ageist icon that he is and defend her honour and tell him to treat her with some respect. He then said that Monika too has been carried, pissing her off and making me hella confused. With that, the tribe voted and surprisingly the vote split remained and were divided equally amongst Sharn, Fenella and Steve. On the revote, however, things didn’t go zaddy Steve’s way and he found himself becoming the latest member of the sausage-fest jury. Which is a movie I’d watch the shit out of. Anyway, as a close personal friend of The Biggest Loser franchise, I’ve been friends with Mish and Steve for years and was honoured to be on site to whip him up a batch of Steve Biliss Balls to dull the pain.

 

 

While they are healthy enough to keep Steve happy, these babies are totally delicious. Nutty and smooth, sweet and salty, I just can’t get enough of these balls in my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Steve Biliss Balls
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water for 5 mins
⅔ cup almond meal
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup 70% cocoa chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup desiccated coconut for rolling

Method
Drain the dates and place in the food processor with the almond meal, peanut butter, chia seeds and vanilla. Blitz until well combined. If the mixture is too crumbly, add some more peanut butter until it is just holding and sticky. Fold through the dark chocolate.

Shape the mixture into little balls, roll in coconut and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour.

Devour, giddily, knowing you’re loved. Like we all love The Commando.

 

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Pizza is after, but what will be the main event

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I don’t really know where to start when talking about how dear Kelly Ripa is to me.

And not just because she is one of the most powerful people in the media, is a total sweetheart and one half of the adorable Ripa-Consuelos’. She is also a laugh riot and she brings me unending joy.

Though when you’ve been friends for as long as we have – I met her through Susan Lucci on the set of All My Children – that is to be expected. Particularly since we’ve rarely fought.

What do I make that is sweet enough for America’s sweetheart?

Image source: Broad City / Comedy Central.

 

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Rob Pastramianon Rye

Main, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: Redemption Island

There is less than a week until Survivor makes it hopefully-triumphant return to our screens with David vs. Goliath … after a couple of, how do I say, lacklustre seasons. But I have high hopes! I mean, Mike White is great, Elizabeth Olson is an icon and Natalie seems to be a dominant force of nature. And if they made the final three, I could die happy.

But not everything always goes your way, and someone that knows that better than anyone else is my dear friend Rob Mariano.

While he gets a lot of hate for only winning on his fourth attempt to very impressionable competition, you can’t deny the man is a legend of the game. And plus, Russell bombed on his fourth attempt, so it isn’t a guaranteed win.

I’ve been friends with Rob for years, after falling in love with him in Marquesas. I found my in with him through Vecepia, we became best buds and I even introduced him to Amber in preparation for All Stars. And given how that worked out for them, it should come as no surprise that our friendship has never faltered after that.

While he is yet to spoil whether there is a tribe expansion and the merge colour via his adorable daughters’ pre-season celebration pics, he was very excited to spoil how delicious my Rob Pastramianon Rye is.

 

 

If you ever have the opportunity to go and have a legit pastrami on rye at Katz’s, run don’t walk. And well, if you don’t, just make this and know that while it is great … Katz’s is better. No shade to my fresh Pastrami Malek, nutty Swiss Cheese and crunchy pickles.

I promise, you’ll enjoy it. So enjoy!

 

 

Rob Pastramianon Rye
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 slices Ryan Ulrich Bread
1 tbsp seeded mustard
2 dill pickles, sliced
4-6 slices Pastrami Malek, warmed in a frying pan
4 slices Swiss cheese

Method
Toast the rye and smear with seeded mustard.

Top with pickles, pastrami and swiss cheese.

Devour, greedily.

 

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Franks’n Beans

Breakfast, Main

Oh my – where do I start with my dear sweet Frances Bean?! As you know, I am a dear friend of her parents Kurt and Courtney and as such, have always taken a protective older brother role in her life.

Oh and FYI, I am her third godparent with Michael Stipe and Drew Barrymore for my exemplary morals, though that never seems to make the news, does it?

I always tried to look out for Frances growing up, as I have long known – thanks to LVP, no less – that the crown is heavy and as the Princess of a grunge empire, her crown was pretty heavy and I always wanted her to know that I had her back and support her unconditionally.

To the point where I followed her to Bard College to make sure she was ok slash see if I could ride her coattails. Shockingly, I had a rare moment of self reflection and realised that riding coattails was exploitative, so I left school and let her soar.

And soar she did..

It was such a delight to see her again, give her and hug and reiterate to her how proud I am in the awkward way your mum does. Thankfully she didn’t think it was too weird and we spent the afternoon catching up and laughing about our past … over a big vat of Franks’n Beans.

 

 

Sticky and sweet, earthy and a little bit spicy, this little baby was our go to meal at college. Like a combination of a childhood hug and nostalgia, it is everything you could want while reminiscing about the good old days.

Enjoy!

 

Franks’n Beans
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
6 rashers streaky smoked bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 tbsp chilli powder
⅓ cup ketchup
⅔ cup bbq sauce
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
4 cups vegetable stock
800g canned navy beans, you could try dried but TBH it is too hard
salt and pepper, to taste
6 skinless hot dogs, thickly sliced

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and cook the bacon, onion and garlic for about five minutes, or until fragrant and glorious. Add the capsicum and chilli, and cook for a further minute.

Stir through the ketchup, barbecue sauce, muscovado sugar, dijon, worcestershire, stock and beans with a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered and semi-stirring, for about an hour, or until the liquid is thick and glorious.

Add the hot dogs and cook for a further five minutes before serving generously on fresh toast.

And devouring.

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Rock and Roll royalty

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Spending time with my dear friend Courtney Love last month and watching Ru snatch an Emmy for the season Courts guested on reminded me that I desperately needed to catch-up with my dear friend Frances Bean.

As a close friend of Courts, Ru and her dad – I was just out of shot with Courts in the above photo – I’ve known Frances for her entire life, and watching her grow up truly is the thing I’m proudest of.

I mean, her courage, grace, kind nature and passion for cooking; she is just the best.

So what do I make that is worthy of my favourite surrogate sister?

Image source: Unknown.

 

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Benjami Drops Wilson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Previously on Australian Survivor Shonee purchased a jar of lollies and a vote steal at the merge auction, while Benji remained the only person left with an idol after winning immunity at the last channel. I mean, Sharn found a hidden immunity at said challenge, however crapped it out and lead to Benji flushing it out, While she tried to play it on Mat who was getting blindsided by Benji’s insurgence, he managed to take her down and forced her to play it on herself. That of course led to the successful blindside of Mat, leaving Benji to return to camp with a ropeable Sharn, Steve and Shane.

Back at camp things were hella tense and while Benji, Brian, Shonella and Monika were thrilled, zaddy Steve held Shane and Sharn close and comforted them over their loss. Benji then gloated about being the new godfather while Steve and Sharn were in tears, making me hopefully for his downfall after serving his chaos purpose. Thankfully Benji’s hardcore play stoked a fire in Shane and she vowed to channel Russ-hole and sabotage the fire and bring an end to the game. The next day Queen Shonee noted that there was a post blindside shift and while she was worried about it, Queen Shane reminded us not to fuck with Shane Gould and hot damn I need that final two to happen right now.

Everyone tried to pull together, congratulating each other on making it as far as they have until it got hella awkward as Steve and Sharn awoke and Benji tried to be pleasant with them. Sharn then shared about how torn she was, to be screwed by Benji and feeling so alone despite being a strong as shit woman. Albeit, stuck on the bottom. She decided that getting Brian and Monika back on board was her only chance for survival, so approach Grubs to return to the Champion strong mentality and get rid of Benji. While he was awkwardly trying to dance around, she played the bottom perfectly and assured him that Mat’s blindside doesn’t impact on their relationship, and she is willing to use her past with Benji to benefit him and Monika. Sadly Brian saw right through the attempt and vowed not to buy her pledge. Brian took the intel back to the Mighty Ducks alliance and Benji’s ego continued to grow, pushing for loyalty and taking out his ex-ally Sharn.

My boy JoJo and the belly-flop structure of Monika’s nightmare returned for the reward challenge where the tribe would be split in half and race to jump off a tower, grab a ball a shoot as basket, with the first to three snatch fried chicken, chips and softies and DAMN it is worth it, no. Benji and Shane were team captains, with Benji snagging a team of Steve, Fenella, and Shonee leaving Shane to take Brian, Sharn and Monika. Tragically Shane lost the first point to Fenella, despite being a boss. Next up were Benji and Bellyflopika who pencilled dived her way to safety while Benji scored a second point for his team. Brian peed from the platform before battling Steve – and maybe a UTI – who didn’t bellyflop his way to the end, unlike Brian who punched it to the end and got the other team on the board. Lucky he unloaded, right? Shonee and Sharn were next, with Sharn tragically slaying Queen Shonee and tying things up. Shane and Fenella returned to play for victory with Shane nudging the ball out in front and snatching victory like a boss, leaving Fenella desperate for some swimming lessons and Steve in awe of her mad skillz.

Benji and the losers returned to camp with Shonella just glad to get a double portion of rice, while Steve quietly sat and observed what was happening. Benji went for a walk with Shonee, where she shared her vote-steal secret with him, hoping to use it to go from Indian to Chief which is problematic but I feel like it wasn’t meant to be malicious. Meanwhile at the reward, fried chicken proved to be the great equaliser, bringing Brian and Monika back into the Sharn and Shane fold. Shane knew it was her shot and used the time to find a way to undermine the Benji alliance, while Sharn completely missed an idol clue in the ice bucket at the reward. The four agreed to put the previous tribal behind them and to instead focus on taking out the biggest threat in Benji, with Sharn floating a blindside at the upcoming tribal. Shane and Sharn continued to downplay their betrayal to try and bring everyone back together, with them hopeful about succeeding … despite Shane not trusting Brian. Not to be outdone, he made a song and dance about searching for an idol clue, only to casually find an idol at the reward without anyone noticing.

Forgoing any camp action, JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where the tribe were required to bounce a ball on a disc while standing on a box, with Queen Shon hopeful Mat’s departure could even things up for everyone. Tragically Shonee and Monika were out almost instantaneously, before Fenella dropped her ball and joined them. They were then joined by Sharn, leaving Shane and the boys to battle it out for ten minutes. Tragically Queen Shane was next to fall, leaving Brian to try and distract Steve and talk about who is more skilled with balls. Spoiler alert: I am. After an hour, JoJo transitioned them to one hand with Benji dropping, followed closely by zaddy Steve, handing Brian with his first immunity.

Back at camp Benji was feeling super confident about his place in the game, which Sharn pulled Brian and Monika aside to lock in a vote against Benji. Despite Sharn not trusting Brian. The remaining Contenders caught up by the shore, with Benji admitting to feeling nervous about the upcoming vote. He then approached Monika to share that the Contenders were planning to use Shonee’s vote steal and that they would be tying things up if she didn’t jump. Zaddy Steve then got in on the act with Monika filling him in on the plan as they tried to figure out a way to possibly save Sharn. Steve and Sharn caught up, with our two twin-esque heroes struggling to find a way to save her and get to the end. Sharn in particular, struggling with the idea of going out.

The Mighty Ducks alliance were catching up over coconut as Sharn and a sneaky Brian loitered around trying to find some intel. Knowing that Brian is the key to their success, Shonee and Benji pulled Brian aside with Benji saying that Sharn was planning to vote him out … DESPITE THE FACT HE IS IMMUNE. Shonee was obviously ropeable, knowing Benji’s stupidity likely cost them another blindside as they madly tried to pretends she was planning to take him out in the future.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to remind Sharn of her idol fuck-up at the last tribal council, with Sharn admitting Benji rattled her and cost Mat his game. Benji admitted he only told her to play it for herself to avoid his Mat blindside being ruined. Steve spoke about being heartbroken by the vote, while Benji and Brian gloated about how great a move it was. While Mat was pissed in the jury. Shane gave him kudos for the gameplay but admitted she was pissed … and then sabotaged the tribe but destroying the fire and being an absolute Queen. Reminder: don’t fuck with Shane Gould.

Sharn too was hurt by Benji’s move, Benji tried to downplay the situation as a group move and Shonee explained that had Mat not been destroyed, she and her allies would have been left to wonder who would be next. Sharn spoke about feeling nervous and needing to stay honest, while Benji spoke about finding people to trust and accepting deception is part of the game. Monika spoke about trusting her gut and relying on how she felt when talking to her allies, while Steve shared that it is all about faith and that having faith in people can save you. Before they headed off to vote Shonee played her vote steal, snatching Sharn’s and using it to vote for Sharn … twice. Tragically all it did was tie things up, much to Shonee’s frustration. Though thankfully it lead to the downfall of Benji, ending an epic albeit at times frustrating arc as zaddy Steve giggled like a bae.

Now I KNOW i have given Benji a lot of shit but bitch stole my place on the cast and I am hella jealous. I mean, we are both called Ben, have Sideshow Bob hair and a penchant for flaming out, so I assume that is the only reason I wasn’t there. That being said, he managed to keep this season interesting and without his wild, villainous, oft-nude ride, we’d be pretty bored. Which is what I said as I apologised for yelling at him over some Benjami Drops Wilson.

 

 

A little bit sour and a little bit sweet, these are the perfect food to honour his sneaky, glorious game. On top of that, they’re fucking delicious. Like the rise of villain Queen Shane “don’t-fuck-with-me” Gould.

Enjoy!

 

 

Benjami Drops Wilson
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
zest of a lemon
2 ⅓ cups flour
⅔ cup raspberry jam

Method
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for about ten minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg and zest and beat until just combined. Add the flour, fold through, and then beat for a further minute or so, or until the dough comes together. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls, place on a lined baking sheet and flatten to form small discs. Repeat the process until all the dough is gone. Make an indent in each disc, fill with a small dollop of jam and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

When lightly golden, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to finish off. Or just devour, whatever you’d rather.

 

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Mat Rojersey Caramels

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Mat continued to dominate and started to chip away at Benji’s ego. Not to be outdone, Benji wooed Sam to try and take a shot at Mat and finally take control of an episode let alone the game. He and Sam went to work lining up the numbers … only for Mat to dominant in a killer immunity challenge and saving himself. Meanwhile things went from bad to worse for Sam as his plan was exposed and well and truly backfired as he found himself becoming the second member of the jury. Complete with a sympathy hug from little JoJo.

We returned to camp where the newly clean Brian decided to spread the love, relocating in the shelter to be closer to his new friends Shonella. Knowing that Shonella = Life and getting in with them will either be good for the game, or just make you a kween. Well, not as far as Mat or Shane are concerned however, as they grew tired of his comedy routine and spent the evening throwing him daggers and plotting his downfall.

The next day Brian continued his comedy, rocking a snorkel mask to avoid the smoke from the fire, earning the ire of Mat, Steve and Shane. Meanwhile Benji and Shonee were catching-up to find a way to go from being a power-bottom, to a power-top … begging the question, what is wrong with being vers? Anyway – Shonee decided that in order to take out Mat, they would need to pull in Brian so off they went to get things sorted. Benji approached Mat to clear the air from the previous tribal and thank him for saving him at the last tribal. Mat too was feeling paranoid, so thought that in order to move forward he needed to take out the shifty Brian and pulling in Benji would unite him and the outstanding Contenders.

We were also reminded about Mat’s idol, meaning she is going down this episode, no?

Benji and Sharn went into the jungle for a pow-wow, with Sharn immediately assuring him that his Contenders are safe and that she wants to get rid of Brian ASAP. Sharn went for a walk, giddy with her growing power, only to discover a clue for a hidden immunity idol at the next challenge. Kween. Kween Sharn. While Sharn was missing, Benji got to work telling Brian that Mat was targeting him and Monika that Mat asked him to spy on her. Sadly for him, Brian wasn’t buying shit. Well, until he mentioned that Sharn was on board and he and Monika immediately jumped on board and King Brian vowed to take control.

My boy Jonathan returned to the screen for the immunity challenge where the tribe was required to dig under a log, with six moving on to solve a puzzle … with the top three playing Survivor snooker for immunity. Steve and Benji were first through to the second round followed by Mat, Shonee, Brian and Shane, who pulled a come from behind win and killed Sharn’s chance at an idol. Well, unless she is daring. Anyway, Brian, Shonee and Benji moved on to the final stage, and hot damn I need Shonee to snatch immunity just for being a saint. The final round was neck and neck, between the boys and not Shonee, with Benji – UGGGGHHHHH – snatching immunity. Not to be outdone, Sharn was a boss grabbed the hidden immunity idol. Well, boss … until she dropped it in front of the entire tribe.

Back at camp Sharn was forced to attempt some slapstick comedy to deflect from the fact her idol was outed as she crapped it out in front of the tribe. Mat however, was thrilled by the turn of events as it managed to deflect from his idol. Mat, Sharn and Shane got together to lock in the vote for Brian before Mat approached Monika to secure her loyalty, with he vowing that she can act and keep the blindside up. Though sadly for him, Brian doesn’t seem to be her target. Shonella and Benji also agreed to take out Brian to his face, but Benji was itching to finally take a shot at Mat and take control of the game.

The Contender trio caught up to discuss whether Brian and Monika could be trusted, with the duo wandering upon them and vowing their undying loyalty. With the power going to his head, Benji decided that now would be the ultimate time to flush Sharn’s idol. He approached his secret ally and told her that playing her idol would be the best case scenario, to get the target off her back and gain some trust back. Sadly for him, Mat interrupted their pow-wow … though not before making her nervous enough to consider flushing her idol to save herself and not Mat.

Steve also made a Brianside joke, and damn, purple zaddy is life.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to point out that Mat and his alliance were dominating the game, kinda making him nervous about his place in the game, concerned about how information can travel and how it could bite him. Benji gave a vague explanation about taking out threats, Monika shaded Sharn for her shitty/ing idol find. Brian speculated about the remaining idols left in the game, Mat shaded Russ-hole – rightly – for being overconfident and underestimating his opponents. Monika spoke – AGAIN – about idols placing a target on your back, low-key pushing for her to play the idol and flush it out with the blindside. She then spoke – AGAIN again – saying this vote, for her, is an easy won, Fenella spoke about following the numbers – which Sam and Robbie didn’t buy – while Benji was hopeful that he was trusting in the right people tonight. This appeared to make Mat nervous, with him issuing a veiled threat about being the next out if you make a play and miss.

With that, the tribe voted and Sharn opted to play her not so hidden immunity idol ON MAT leave Benji in utter shock, desperate and shitting himself like Sharn’s idol at the challenge. The votes then rolled in – like Benji’s waves of regret – wait no, Benji told her not to play it on Mat and instead told her to play it for herself to avoid going to a revote. She then played it for herself, confusedly so, as Steve anxiously watched Mat and the votes rolled him, sending him from the game to become the third juror.

Given Mat is arguably one of the nicest people to walk the planet, it was really hard to watch him be so blinded by his confidence and NOT to play his idol, when Sharn’s attempt to play her’s clearly highlighted that something was afoot. Thank being said, it was also really easy to watch his boot because the tribal council was lit and Benji convincing her to revoke her idol play and direct it to herself was masterful, despite me wanting him out next thanks to Shane’s wrath.

Anyway – MAT. I’ve known Mat for years, thanks to my long association with football. I mean, my dad played three – yes THREE – first grade games for the Roosters, I swindled the old lady in the neighbouring corporate box at Seagulls to hand over all of her soft drinks and have the thighs of a front rower. As I was saying, I took Mat and I became friends and because I loved him so, I introduced him to Chloe and hot damn did Jeans West fit best. Given how grateful they were, we’ve been the best of friends ever since and catch-up fortnightly to be besties and smash a shit tonne of Mat Rojersey Caramels.

 

 

Are Jersey Caramels something I used to tease my co-worker for eating because they are old people snacks? Sure. But TBH, they are also freaking delicious. Sweet and chewy, this edited version of the most basic recipe I could find on Taste.com is the perfect way to get rid of the bitter taste of a killer blindside.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mat Rojersey Caramels
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp glucose syrup
3 tbsp golden syrup
125g butter, roughly chopped
200g white chocolate, finely chopped
icing sugar, for kneading
500g fondant
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Combine the half of all the condensed milk, sugar, glucose, golden syrup and butter in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar and butter have melted. Up the heat and bring to a simmer, while stirring constantly, for five minutes, or until the mixture has started to thicken. Remove from the heat and fold through half the chocolate, and pour into a lined square baking pan. Smooth the top and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the icing sugar on a clean, dry working surface and knead the fondant until smooth and malleable. Add the vanilla and continue kneading until smooth and well combined. Roll the fondant and carefully lay over the caramel, pressing to join.

Repeat the caramel process with the remaining ingredients and spoon over the fondant. Smooth the top and leave to set for half an hour, before covering with cling and placing in the fridge to set overnight.

Remove and cut into cubes before devouring. Or, you know, just bite off junks. No judgement.

 

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Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Snack

And now, the end of The Gold Wing is here and I thought it best to once again go back in time and celebrate with someone that has faced their final curtain – Toto that into My Way, would you? – my dear friend Aaron Spelling.

As you know, I’ve long been a friend of the Spelling Dynasty and my catch-up with Loni – who played Candy in Tori’s hit show So Notorious – reminded me that Aaron has a couple of Emmys to his name, despite creating some of the most iconic TV shows of our time.

I used my time in the purring delorean to finalise my tips for the best series gongs, settling on an ASP clean sweep as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel takes Comedy, The Handmaid’s Tale goes back-to-back for Drama and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is honoured for Limited Series. I found things more difficult for Talk and Sketch Series, eventually decided Variety Talk would go to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and At Home with Amy Sedaris will/should surprise for Variety Sketch.

Oh and I obviously am backing RuPaul’s Drag Race but that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

By the time I arrived at the epic Spelling Compound, I was so overjoyed to see Aaron one last time that I didn’t want to let him go. I desperately danced around filling him in on what I had been up to, lest I set off a butterfly effect, eventually shoving Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies into our mouths to avoid any issues.

 

 

Inspired by a delicious Nigella classic, these babies are decadent, rich and a little bit healthy – yay spelt! – so you can devour them without feeling to guilty. And while that is a total lie, just buy it … because they are worth it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies
Serves: 2 nostalgic friends, or 6-8 normal people.

Ingredients
150g peanut butter chips
125g dark chocolate
125g spelt flour
25g cocoa
½ tsp bicarb soda
pinch of kosher salt
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g muscovado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, still cold

Method
Chuck the peanut butter chips in the freezer and preheat the oven to 160°C.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl and leave to cool a little, and combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in another bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled chocolate until well combined before adding the cold egg. Scrape down the sides, reduce speed to low and carefully add in the dry ingredients, avoiding a mushroom cloud of flour at all costs. Remove from the stand and fold through the peanut butter chips until combined.

Dollop a tablespoon of dough on a lined baking sheet, leaving a large rim for spread, until full. Place the remaining dough in the fridge while you transfer the baking sheet to the oven for ten minutes and bake until just set. Leave to rest on the warm pan for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Repeat the process until the batter is done, and then devour.

 

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Lena Wafers

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Sweets

It is the second last day of this year’s Emmy Gold celebration The Gold Wing, can you believe? And something something segue Gaz, Marg, Ava, Rami and Rhea something, I am thrilled to catch-up with my dear friend and semi-freshly minted Emmy winner Lena Waithe.

Given she won her Emmy with my (problematic) friend Aziz for the beautiful Thanksgiving episode of Master of None, it should come as no surprise that he is the reason we became friends.

I was visiting the set during season 1 and Lena and I got to talking about our coming out experiences, and Aziz suggested that they write it into the second season. So you’re welcome, because that episode was perfection and he and Lena truly deserved that Emmy and I can’t even begrudge them for not including me in the writing process.

Since her victory, Len’s career has absolutely exploded and while it means we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, I’m so proud of her. And it makes our fleeting dates even more special. As a fellow writer, I knew that she would be best placed to go through the writing categories with me. Obviously she agreed that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s auteur Amy Sherman-Palladino would snag it for Comedy. Continuing our agreeance, we both backed Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Killing Eve, Steve Martin and Martin Short for their Netflix special and William Bridges and Charlie Brooker will snag it for USS Callister.

With the formalities out of the way, we toasted her success and got to work demolishing a big batch of Lena Wafers.

 

 

Not your childhood’s technicolour crosshatched biscuits, these wafers may not look as perfect but damn they are delicious. Light, sweet and delightfully crisp, they are the only thing worthy of honouring my girl Lena.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lena Wafers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g raw caster sugar
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of kosher salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for a couple of minutes, or until it is light and fluffy. Still going, add the egg, vanilla and milk and continue beating until just combined.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl before folding through the wet ingredients. Cover and transfer to the fridge for half an hour.

When you’re ready to bake, place teaspoon sized bowls on lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of space for spread. Flatten each ball to form a thin disc and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once set, devour.

 

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Tandoorhea Perlman

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Tandoorhea Perlman
Serves: 4.

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

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

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

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

Devour with salad, bread and raita.

 

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