Bill Skolsbård

Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Between Michael on Survivor and my ongoing obsession with Kameron Michaels on Drag Race, you’d be forgiven for thinking I had reached peak thirstiness. But I haven’t, dear reader, I haven’t. Well, technically hadn’t, until my dearest Billy Skars dropped by to catch up.

While I will always hold Alexander up on a pedestal as my number one Skars, there is something about Bill that fills my heart with joy. And well, make blood rush to other places.

But anyway, I first met Bill through Al – after he stopped seeing me as a creepy stalker – a few years ago and I instantly knew he had that certain something Stellan, Al and Gustaf all had, so I vowed to make him a star. I got him a job with Kiz, Az and Cazza on Anna Karenina and followed it up with my husband and my family movie, The Divergent Series: Allegiant with our cousins Shailene Woodley and Ashley Judd.

I then spoke to Finn and got him the job on It … and the rest, as I oft say when I can’t think of anything to add, is history.

After Bill and I caught up and then caught up, we were positively famished so it was super convenient I had a big fresh batch of my Bill Skolsbård hidden away by the bed.

 

 

Fresh, warm, spicy and pillowy dough, jam packed with sweet, creamy custard, these babies are the perfect thing for an afternoon snack … after an afternoon delight. And they’ll definitely make your stomach see skyrockets in flight. Boom.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Bill Skolsbård
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 ⅔ cups milk, plus ½ a cup for the custard
60g unsalted butter
7g yeast
½ cup raw caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp for the custard
4 cups plain flour
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 yolks, plus one whole egg, whisked, for brushin’
½ cup cream
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut

Method
Combine the not-for-custard milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until it has just melted and combined. Remove from the heat and stir through the yeast and caster sugar and leave to foam for ten minutes or so. While things are getting frothy, combine the flour and spice in the bowl of a stand mixer before slowly combining the liquid. After it reaches peak froth, obvi. Knead using a dough hook on medium for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Once doubled, knock the dough back down to size like an emotionally abusive parent and divide the dough into quarters. Roll each into logs, cut them into 4, shape each into rounds and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Cover and leave to prove for a further halfies.

While the buns are rising – as opposed to making me rise – preheat the oven to 180°C and start work on the custard. Combine the remaining milk in a saucepan with the cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat straight away. Meanwhile whisk the yolks, cornflour and vanilla in a clean, dry bowl before slowly whisking in the warmed dairy until smooth and combined. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat and cook, stirring, until starting to thicken. Transfer to a bowl via a sieve, cover directly on the surface with cling and chill until ready for bakin’.

Do as I do and press into each bun to make a deep indentation. Fill said hole with the fresh, creamy custard. Brush the exposed buns with the egg to glaze and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes or so, or until golden and risen. You may need to rotate / swap the trays throughout baking if you’re without a fan force. But is anyone these days? Please let me know in the comments.

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for ten minutes or so before combining the icing sugar with a tablespoon of water to form a paste. Brush each bun with the glaze and sprinkle with the coconut. Leave to set for ten minutes or so before annihilating. Sorry, I mean devouring.

 

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Hulk Hogies

Baking, Bread

Given my passion for men in tight clothes or lycra, men holding each other in a homoerotic fashion and my undying love or sports, it should come as no shock that I am highly involved in the wrestling industry. And as such, am a dear friend of Hulk Hogan.

I’ve been trying to get Hulk out to visit since this anthropological patch of cyberspace began, but our busy schedules have always been working against us. Thankfully that all changed this week.

“Ben, my little hulkamaniac. I’ve got this weekend clear, you free to catch-up and hulk smash some food.”

While I feared he was succumbing to the ravages of old age, I was pleased to discover he was only referencing the release of Infinity War and making a hulk joke rather than confusing his catch-phrases with that of the big green guy.

Anywho, I’ve known Hulk forever and was closely involved with making him the star he is today. You see, I spent months lusting after him at the gym and eventual grew to notice he had other talents. Like his talent for clothed wrestling. I called the Brisco Brothers – who I worked with to bring the sex appeal to wrestling – and got him a spot at Hiro Matsuda’s gym. Bada bing, bada boom – he became and star, and us, the best of friends.

For years and years we’ve been catching up, plotting how to reinvigorate his career – damn, that is this week’s theme, no? – and share a deliciously carby cheat meal together. As such, I knew I couldn’t go past devouring some Hulk Hogies together on our date.

 

 

You know I have a passion for smashing warm buns against my face, but this would have to be one of my favourites. Well, when it comes to food at the very least. Soft and pillowy, this babies are the perfect bun for all occasions. And you know I mean all.

Enjoy!

 

 

Hulk Hogies
Makes: 8.

Ingredients
7g active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm (30-40C) water
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
4 cups flour
1 1 /2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Method
Mix the yeast in a jug with half the water and sugar and leave to foam in a warm place for five to ten minutes.

Combine the flour, remaining sugar and salt in the bowl a stand mixer and slowly stir through the foamy mixture, remaining water and vegetable oil until everything is wet. Pop the dough hook into the mixer and knead for five minutes or so, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover and leave to prove for an hour or so, or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape them in an oval and place on a lined baking sheet, leaving room for them to grow. Using scissors, cut a gash in the top of each roll before covering and allowing to prove for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Once puffed, transfer the buns to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove to wire racks to cool slightly before slicing and devouring.

 

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Marcia Hot Cross Buns

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack, Sweets

With Easter just around the corner, I started thinking about all the wonderful back-from-the-dead – or brink of – performances to ever grace the small screen and it reminded me how long it had been since I caught up with my dear friend Marcia Cross.

While much has been made about it in the media, I was not not the inspiration for the role of Kimberly Shaw in Melrose Place. I was just brought in to coach Marcia to peak craziness. We worked together day and night for months, and that close working relationship quickly developed into a deep and beautiful friendship that no questionable casting choices – I see you Quantico – will ever destroy.

Marcia and I are such wonderful friends, but since we’re both so successful and busy it makes it hard to maintain the day-to-day aspects of friendship, so it was such a treat to make the time to hang out and toast to the future.

Despite the fact she only has Quantico keeping her busy compared to the multiple pies I have my hands in. Not that I’m bitter.

Anyway, easter is the time for miracles etc. so Marsh and I made it work, plotted a return to the A-list – for both of us – and devoured in a shit tonne of Marcia Hot Cross Buns, as is the style of the season.

 

 

Spicy, soft and packing a punch – not to measure a shit tonne of delicious fruits – these make the perfection that is Hot Cross Buns even better.

Not convinced? Make them for yourself … and enjoy!

 

 

Marcia Hot Cross Buns
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
14g dried yeast
1 ¼ cups milk, warmed
¼ cup muscovado sugar
4 cups flour, plus ¼ cup for crossin’
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
¼ cup butter
½ cup sultanas
½ cup raisins
1 cup craisins
2 eggs
½ tsp baking powder

Method
Combine the yeast, milk and muscovado sugar in a jug and set aside in a warm, dry place until it is foamy and glorious.

Meanwhile combine the flour, spices and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and rub through the butter with your fingertips until it resembles dirty sand. Add the fruits, eggs and foamy yeast mixture, and knead in a stand mixer for five to ten minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover and allow to prove for an hour or so, or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Knock the dough back, shape into 12 balls and place on a lined baking sheet, leaving 5cm apart. Cover with some cling and allow to prove for another half an hour.

Combine the extra flour with the baking powder and ¼ cup of water. Spoon crosses over the buns and transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 150°C, rotate the pan and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before serving, slathered in a shit tonne of butter.

 

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Jacob Dipwin

Bread, Condiment, Dip, Party Food, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, thirty-five seasons of bad decisions culminated in a new island chain popping up in Fiji known as (the) Ghost Island(s). Twenty new Americans were marooned on the island, challenged with one task … reverse the curse of these epic fails. Oh … and the usual battle each other until only three are left to fight for the chance to become the sole Survivor. After forming two tribes, Naviti and Malolo, they competed in a reward challenge. Well, until leader Chris from the Naviti tribe felt they were going to lose, making the Malolo tribe rich by Survivor standards. Tragically that didn’t translate to victory in the immunity challenge, after which Jacob saved himself by becoming the first inhabitant of Ghost Island and Gonzalez made a speedy exit from the game.

Over at Naviti, Dom was staying awake and creepily watched over his tribe as they slept. Feeling paranoid and on the outs, he used his alone time to search for idols which he miraculously did. Well he thinks, since he couldn’t read the note in the middle of the night. The next day however, he discovered it was authentic. In fact, it was authentically the idol that Andrea was blindsided with in Caramoan.

Feeling a little bit more secure, Dom used the time to get to know Morgan, Sea Bass and Bradley, while they discussed Ghost Island and how best to play it. Morgan excused herself to find the legacy advantage that Jacob willed to her during his stay on the aforementioned island.

Speaking of which, Jacob was using his solo time to do some arts and crafts to fashion a hidden immunity idol that he could use to bluff his way through the next tribal council, should he attend. He returned to camp where Donathan looked adorably happy to see him, and he was shocked to discover that Gonzalez had become the first boot. He then got to work sharing news of his (fake) idol with the tribe. Obviously no one believed his story that he lost the note that accompanied said idol on Ghost Island, with Brendan and Jenna leading the charge to take him out ASAP. Stephanie however, bless her, decided that him knowingly being on the bottom provided her with the opportunity to add him to her brood of reliant allies.

Over at Naviti Dom was showing the tribe his power snatch – no joke – and used his new found safety to continue forming bonds. Further still, he decided to pull Chris aside to clear the air and wipe the slate clean between them. Chris asked if he had found the idol, which he quickly bought. Wanting to solidify their keep your enemies closer alliance, Dominic made a fake idol, hid it with his real note and showed it to Chris. Surprisingly Chris did not buy it, though I think was more concerned about him lying about not having it earlier more so than realising it is fake.

Wanting to keep things moving, Jiffy Pop returned for the second immunity challenge of the season where they would be required to race through some watersport obstacles, release some balls and shoot them into a basket. Sounds fun, no? In addition, the victors would win a tonne of comfort items, which I assume Wendell has already fashioned for his tribe from reeds and grass as he is the best.

Once again, Naviti got off to an early lead and continued to extend it bit by bit. To the point where poor James was left to struggle to release Malolo’s finally batch of buoys, while Naviti started shoots their hoops. Donathan was beckoned back to at least try to release the balls for his tribe and after a motivational pep talk from Probst, pulled it out and got Malolo back into the challenge. Tragically though it wasn’t enough, as Naviti continued to shoot their baskets and secure immunity before Malolo even got one. After his heroic moment, Naviti opted to send Donathan to experience Ghost Island … which is good, since his defeatist attitude could have bitten him and he is too cute.

At Ghost Island, Donathan smashed the second urn to discover there would be no chance for him to win an advantage today. He then shared about his upbringing and being an outcast as an out gay man in the south, though he was proud for people to see his performance in the challenge and living alone on Ghost Island.

Meanwhile over at Malolo, James was quick to own the fact he blew the challenge for everyone and hoped that people would be able to look past it. Stephanie, Brendan and Michael discussed the merits of voting out Jacob or James, ultimately deciding to throw votes on the latter to protect against Jacob’s potential idol. Wanting to play the game, Stephanie approached Jacob about mixing things up, with Jacob throwing out Michael as potential boot to protect against a potential tribe swap. Jacob was confident that he had found an allie, so then spilled all the tea to Stephanie – the idol was fake, he found a legacy advantage and gifted it to Morgan. So now, Stephanie is all powerful and while he trusts her and that is good for her, being the only other person to know about the legacy advantage would be good for her.

Stephanie then floated the Jacob alliance with Jenna, who was open to the idea if that is what she wants but would rather keep strength, rather than booting Michael. Meanwhile Jacob approached Laurel and James who seemed open to taking out the beautiful people, while Michael, Brendan and Libby noticed all the talk and started to get anxious before heading off for tribal.

Once there Jacob received his torch and then got confused about which show he was on, lip syncing for his life to Probst’s introduction. James quickly took the chance to own his challenge loss again before Jacob continued to talk about his advantage he was trying to pass off as an idol. While James didn’t love the information imbalance – like Jiff, I loved the phrase – he was glad it was his tribe that held the knowledge and not Navitit. Jacob still believed his tribe where the greatest, earning an eye roll from Michael, before they started to talk about the shifting alliances.

Jacob, unwittingly or not, spoke about feeling like the tribe could have conspired before he returned to camp to make him feel good and blindside him, which appeared to make Stephanie feel guilty. Meanwhile Brendan said he wasn’t feeling safe despite being BUILT, and Michael just wanted to reverse the curse that is fast becoming their tribe. As the votes rolled in, Jacob elected not to play his fake idol … and tragically found himself becoming the second boot.

While Jacob was completely bummed to be out of the game so soon, as a super fan he was thrilled to be living out his dream of having me whip up a commiseratory meal. Seeing me, obviously, perked him right up. Though maybe it was the sight of the Jacob Dipwin.

 

 

There is no way that any cob would ever be perceived as terrible, so this is no shade to the others. But hands down, this is the best you will ever eat. Creamy, rich and tangy, this is the perfect way to sop up your post boot pain.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jacob Dipwin
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
300ml sour cream
500g frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed of all moisture
1 packet French Onion Soup Mix
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
1 cob, hollowed out
1 breadstick, sliced

Method
Put the cream cheese, sour cream, spinach, soup mix and tasty cheese in a large saucepan over low heat and cook until thick and juicysludgey.

While that is cooking, hollow out the cob and slice the breadstick.

Pour the dip into the hollowed cob, scatter the chunks of bread around it and devour, greedily. Thankful no socks were harmed in the making of this cob.

 

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Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger

Bread, Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the final three battled it out in front of the jury to explain why they outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the rest. While Ryan tried his darndest to explain how dominant his social game was, the jury didn’t buy it and he landed in third place with only Devon’s vote.

Chrissy, of course, dominated her speech about outlasting everyone else – seamlessly weaving from talking about being an underdog, kicking ass in challenges, making genuine connections and playing a solid game that was both heroic and didn’t leave a trail of destruction like Ben.

She then spoke about mother’s being the ultimate heroes, always putting people first and being the heroes, healers and hustlers of their families … and that she would be the ultimate ambassador for their season. Despite the fact she completely nailed the final tribal speech and played an extremely strong game, she only managed to secure Ashley and Mike’s votes and finished in second place.

You could argue that without her so called advantage on day 38, Chrissy would have been crowned the sole survivor and be a million dollars richer. Whatever the case, that didn’t happen and she was stuck in the finals with Ben, who was able to convince them that being an underdog was enough to secure him the victory.

In any event, Chrissy played a killer game and truly did dominate the game from day one and was more than worthy of a delicious Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger.

 

 

A little bit sweet, a shit tonne of spice and the juiciest pork and crispiest skin work together to create a killer burg. And that is before you even add Slawren Rimmer to the mix, which truly elevates it to greatness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
750g pork belly, skin scored in a 1cm-wide crosshatch
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
125g palm sugar, shaved
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 red chilies, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 Kirsten Bunst
Coolaioli, to serve
Slawren Rimmer, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Place pork belly on a rack over a roasting pan and pour 1L freshly boiled water over the skin to open up the hatch. Combine the pepper, chilli, salt and oil in a bowl and rub into the freshly opened skin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours, or until tender. Once it is cooked through, crank the temp to 240°C and cook for a further ten minutes or so, or until the skin is very crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the pork is resting, chuck the palm sugar and ⅛ cup water in a medium heavy-based saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rapidly boil and cook, with minimal stirring because I can’t judge, for about five-ten minutes, or until it just starts to caramelise. Remove from the heat and whisk, carefully because it is hot as balls and will splatter, in the juice and fish sauce, chillis, ginger, garlic and zest. Set aside to cool.

Cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices. Split and toast the buns, smear each half with aioli, place a small mound of slaw on top, add a couple of slices of pork, drizzle with some chilli caramel and devour.

 

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Ryan Ulrich Bread

Bread, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the final four outlasted Katrina, Simone, Patrick, Alan, Rourk, Ali, Jessica, Desi, Cole, JP, Joe, Lauren, Ashley and Mike before discovering Probst has one final twist up his sleeve. Along with winning a record-equalling fourth immunity, Chrissy was given the advantage of selecting one person to take with her to the final three, leaving the other two to battle it out in a fire making challenge. While it was Chrissy’s advantage, there is no doubt it was more advantageous to Ben who defeated Devon and sent him out of the game as the final boot.

The final three got up to watch the sunset together and to celebrate their achievements. We then got to experience the montage where all of the finalists speak about why they deserve to win, with Ryan proud to live up to the hustler name and be the last one standing. Chrissy was proud to overcome throwing up at the first challenge to being the last woman standing and living her dream. We then got some heroic music as Ben spoke about being good with battles as an ex-marine, begging the question – is this a misdirect from the deserving Chrissy win or flagging that Ben, in fact, will win.

We then cut straight to final tribal where the jurors filed in one by one before Probst opened up the new final tribal council format – introduced last season – where the jurors all debate how the finalists outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the rest.

Desi kicked off the outwitting portion by congratulating Chrissy on kicking ass in challenges and Ben for conveniently finding 1000 idols and then asked whether Ryan did something, or whether he was dragged because he was beatable. Ashley joined in the fun asking why Ryan never bothered forming a relationship with her. He then said the plan was to work her through Devon and pull strings from behind. Joe, Lauren and JP then joined the fray to get some confirmation about it.

Joe then went IN on Ben, asking why he failed so hard at the social game and focused on causing chaos. Ben defended himself, saying he has struggled in social interactions since returning from service. Sensing the fact Ben may be swinging some sympathy votes, Chrissy jumped in to highlight her superior social game and that she made personal connections with everyone, whilst also being loyal. Things then got hella dark as she listed Joe’s personal fear of marriage because his parents’ didn’t work out. I mean, could memory, but damn, this tribal is getting dark yo.

Cole then asked why Ben painted a target on his back after he kept stealing food, which kind of seems obvious … but then again, he is pretty so whatevs. Cole was willing to forgive Ben if he just admitted he was using it to get him out, leading to Ryan arguing that he was friends with Cole so therefore more deserving of his vote. Ashley jumped in to defend Chrissy and point out that the boys spoke about sharing themselves with jurors, while Chrissy asked about them. It then devolved into a he said she said between Ryan and Chrissy leading to Desi and Lauren jumping in to tell them to play nice and be proud that they made it there, rather than bashing each other.

Dreamy Cole then kicked off the outplay portion of the roundtable by congratulating Chrissy’s challenge prowess, Ben’s ability to find and play idols – feels repetitive, no? – and complained about Ryan not doing anything. He tried to defend himself for not contributing around camp, pissing everyone off as not camping is not a good enough excuse for not trying. Joe jumped in to save him and told him to focus on his advantages instead. Ashley again brought up the female dominance in immunity challenges, allowing Chrissy to talk about how great she played. Joe then anointed her the Queen, upsetting me that he clearly ignored my dear SDT. The good one, not the shit one.

Ben then spoke about finding idols and being saved by Chrissy’s advantage, begging the question – what can he say to convince them he played a decent game. Desi did raise a good point however in saying that if the others had used their time wisely, they could have avoided him finding idols and therefore, he deserves credit for their epic fail.

The outlast portion gave Ryan the chance to say that all he had to survive was his social game. He then tried to go the Stapley route and said he went to most of the tribal councils and survived thanks to his social game. Mike then interjected to ask if he learnt anything while playing the game. He then went off on a tangent about being reminded of the importance of family and being introspective, which was a compelling enough statement to get Devon to cast a vote for him to win and land him in third place.

While he was disappointed not to take out the victory – or second place – he was just so excited to have not only played the game but also make it all the way to the very end. Plus – how can you be said when eating bread? Particularly one as delicious as my Ryan Ulrich Bread.

 

 

I am sure every toddler would disagree with me, but there is nothing better than a freshly baked rye bread. A little bit earthy, a little bit sweet and completely soothing, all you need is a slather of butter.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ryan Ulrich Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 cup lukewarm water (Off topic but why is it lukewarm. Was Luke not a very warm person, but he wasn’t cold?)
2 tbsp treacle
7g dried yeast
2 cups rye flour
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method
Combine the water, treacle and yeast in a small jug, and leave in a warm place for ten minutes or until frothing. But not in an aroused way.

Combine the flours and salt in another large bowl, leaving a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture and oil into well while stirring until it comes together. Transfer to a stand mixer and knead with a dough hook on medium for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a large greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm, dry place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Punch back the dough until it has returned to its normal size. Shape into a large ball and place on a lined baking tray and cut a 1cm deep cross into the top of the bread. Return to the warm, dry place and leave to prove for a further hour, or until doubled again.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Chuck it in the oven for ten minutes before reducing the temperature to 180°C and baking for a further 20-25 minutes or until crusty on the outside and it sounds hollow on the inside.

Serve warm with butter and a dickload of treacle. Cause that is damn perfection.

For devouring, obvi.

 

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Mikey Zahalsky Bread

Bread, Main, Pizza, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, 18 strangers were stranded in the middle of Fiji and were arbitrarily split up into tribes of six – either heroes, healers or hustlers. That being said, Chrissy the heroic actuary is doing God’s work. Ryan kicked off his game with a secret advantage, which required him to pass it on to someone attending the first tribal. He gave the idol to Chrissy and set off an alliance that has carried them to the final five with their other ally Devon.

Speaking of Devon, he was gifted a disadvantage of not voting at the first post-swap tribal, Lauren had to hold onto a vote to play it at a later tribal and Mike, bless, burnt half of her idol in the tribal council fire, rendering it useless and Ben idolling her out of the game. He then played an idol at the next tribal council as well, sending Ashley out of the game as the sixth member of the jury.

The mood was somber back at camp after the latest #BenBomb with Mike grateful for being saved and Ben quickly disappearing to find another idol. Since the other four were confident he won’t be able to find another one and instead focussed on one of them winning immunity, you know that he will in fact find another idol. How they can stand around talking about where he went while concerned about him finding another idol, rather than trailing him like Andrea did with Malcolm is beyond me and completely absurd?

The next day Ben was feeling totes emosh about not finding an idol and given up on his sleep when out of nowhere and completely not rigged, he finally found another idol guaranteeing him a place in the final four.

The rest of the tribe awoke while Ben casually lazed about the shelter and Devon got a fire going, which feels like foreshadowing. Chrissy decided that it was time to bury the hatchet with Ben, though unbeknownst to him it was directly into his back. She then floated the idea of taking the best players to the end if he wins the next immunity challenge, while she gave him no assurance she would take him if the shoe were on the other foot.

Ben then guaranteed Chrissy would be the next one out … and you know what that means, Probst arrived for said reward/immunity challenge. The final five were required to swim out and climb up a crate step and jump off to release some keys, then cross a balance beam and collect some more keys and swim to a platform to unlock and complete a puzzle. Devon and Ryan – somehow – got out to an early lead before the balance beam made quick work of leveling the playing field. Mike and Devon arrived at the puzzle first, though Chrissy was first to release the puzzle. Challenge beast Chrissy continued her dominance – shock – taking out immunity and scoring herself comfort food and cheesecake, which she loves, because obviously. It is the food of mums and gays.

Wanting to stir shit up, Probst allowed her to pick to people to share in the feast with Chrissy taking Mike and Devon. The three of them had a quick look for a clue to the final idol before Chrissy made a toast to the three of them making the final four with Ryan. While it could have been a dangerous decision, Ryan had no interest in strategising while on babysitting. Back at reward, Mike decided they should hide Chrissy’s dead super idol and pretend that they found it on reward to get Ben to stop looking … for the idol he already found.

Chrissy then told Ben about her idol and told him to stop wasting his energy searching, filling she and Ryan with confidence and Ben with joy that he longer needs to pretend to look for the idol. He then got to work identifying who to take out with the real idol, deeming Ryan to be zero threat and debating who was best to take out out of Devon and Mike. Ben made one flaw however and didn’t strategise which made Devon nervous that against all odds, Ben had an advantage up his sleeve, and debated the merits of putting a vote on Mike just in case.

At tribal council, everyone but Ben spoke about how he was public enemy number one. Chrissy then spoke about how it was too hard to babysit Ben at all times, before Mike briefly spoke about their collective complacency before Chrissy brought out her fake idol as a show of power. Ben continued his defeatist attitude before trying to smear Chrissy’s game for gloating and tugging on the juror’s heartstrings as he spoke about how much he wanted to win.

As the votes were about to be tallied, Chrissy decided against playing her fake idol before Ben pulled out his real idol, much to the delight of the jury and the terror of the final five. Devon looked like he was about to throw up, making it extremely lucky that he put a vote on Mike leading to a 1-1 tie between him and Mike. The remaining three then revoted with Ben gloating to Devon that his fate was in Chrissy and Ryan’s hand, though thankfully for the walking torso his trust was well placed and Mike became the seventh juror.

While Mike was super disappointed in himself for not throwing a vote on Devon to save himself, he was proud of the way he played the game and was thrilled to see me waiting for him in Ponderosa with a big ol’ Mikey Zahalsky Bread.

 

 

I am only new to the monkey bread kind of scene but I’d argue that this is already one of the best. I mean, take all the gloriously comforting things you’d put on a pizza, and making it into a cheesy mess of dough? There is nothing better.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mikey Zahalsky Bread
Serves: 1-8.

Ingredients
1 cup grated mozzarella
¼ cup grated Parmesan
50g cold unsalted butter, grated
4 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
¼ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
non-stick  oil spray
Pizsa Zsa Gabor dough
1 cup passata
200g sliced pepperoni

Method
Combine the cheeses, butter, shallot, garlic, parsley, oregano and chilli flakes in a medium bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Spray a bundt tin with non-stick oil and roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls. Line the base with a couple of pieces, dot with passata, pepperoni and some of the cheese mixture. Continue the process, adding more balls and topping until they’re all gone, topping with any leftover cheese. Transfer to a warm place and allow to prove for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Transfer the bundt into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until puffed, golden and brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes before turning out of the pan and devouring.

 

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Smashley Avolan

Bread, Breakfast, Main, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the alliance that Ben spent two weeks pretending not to be a part of contemplated getting rid of him for realsies. Thankfully for him though he had an idol in his pocket, some chaos at tribal council and Mike around to throw half of Lauren’s idol in the fire. Ben played his idol while Lauren could not, sending her out of the game with Ben’s sole vote.

Things were rather solemn as Solewa returned to tribal, shocked by the fact that Ben pulled off the ultimate idol play, topping even Wentworth’s brutal slayage of Savage back in Cambodia. Ben then meandered off to get some water – I assume to toast his success – before Chrissy, Ryan and Mike confirmed with Devon that he and Ashley had no idea what was happening. They then locked him in as the next to go, which you know, means that he is safe this episode.

Ben returned from his drink to Devon heckling him about voting out the wrong person as he was going to make sure he doesn’t win immunity, despite the fact Lauren has won more challenges than him.

Early the next morning, Ben woke up to make a fire slash use the alone time to search high and low for his rehidden idol. Sadly for him, Chrissy and Mike woke up while he was gone and realised what he was up to. Though, they didn’t act on it, so who knows? I guess not everyone can be Caramoan Andrea to Malcolm and babysit them until they give up?

My lover Probsty arrived for the reward challenge, where the final six were separated into pairs and required to walk through an obstacle course to untether themselves from a rope before tossing three rings onto big, hard sticks. Given it was for an overnight getaway to a private resort it was, as Jiffy says, worth playing for. Coming as no surprise, Ben and Ashley got out to an early lead, followed closely by Devon and Chrissy while Mike and Ryan languished behind. Chrissy and Devon found a good rhythm, overtaking Ben and Ashley and securing reward. Obviously Jeff gave them the opportunity to pick one person to take on reward with them. They picked their mutual friend Ryan much to the chagrin of Ashley who was ropeable to be left out … and was conveniently left back at camp with the other half of the tribe.

She continued to seethe back at camp where Mike suggested they all take five minutes to rant before moving on. He then used his allotted rant time to paint a target on Ryan and Devon, saying he was concerned that the latter is trying to woo the former back to his side. Ben interrupted his rant to find out who he was targeting at the next tribal, with the silence letting him know that he was his target. Mike then went for a walk, allowing Ben the opportunity to talk to Ashley, clear the air and find an in. That being said, she shut him down pretty firmly and he resigned himself to finding the idol, which Mike assured us wouldn’t happen. So …

Over at the reward, Chrissy, Devon and Ryan got to work feasting before Devon kicked off the scheming, reaffirming that Ben needs to go first while Mike is also too much of a loose cannon to leave around. Chrissy then floated themselves as a potential final three, which the other two jumped at. After locking in their new alliance, Chrissy continued her favourite pastime and painted a target on the last remaining female, Ashley, deeming her to be more of a threat than Ben. Though I’m not sure why, other than the fact that she called her out at tribal. While that makes sense for Chrissy’s game, how is she going to sell that to Devon and Ryan?

Probst returned to the scene for an epic immunity challenge where the castaways were required to run a huge-ass obstacle course before untying sandbags before using said sandbag to toss into their basket and release a ladder. They then had to get another wall, toss it into a forked gap … and release another ladder. It obviously finished off with a big ol’ puzzle. Everyone was kind of neck and neck the entire way, which is kind of surprising given it looked insanely tiring. Given the puzzle was too hard to tell where people were placing, the long story short is that Chrissy took out victory and secured her place in the final five.


Back at camp Ben was feeling sore about losing the immunity challenge, disappearing to search for an idol while the remaining five hung out to re-confirm that they were going to take out Ben. They then moved the conversation to the water, worrying about him finding an idol WHILE HE WAS OPENLY SEARCHING FOR THE IDOL. Ashley then disappeared, allowing Chrissy to throw out the idea of getting rid of Ashley instead of Ben, to flush out Ben’s potential that nobody was guarding against and eliminating her final challenge threat. As expected Ben then found a clue to the idol while all alone, telling him it was hidden on the underside of the shelter. Everyone was casually chatting by the fire while Ben lounged around under the shelter, laying in wait for an opportunity to snatch the idol.

At tribal Ben spoke about being the odd man out before Probsty cut him off to throw some shade at Ashley not being selected for the reward, stoking Chrissy and Ashley’s simmering rage. Ryan and Mike spoke about their final three plans before Chrissy pointed out that making such a deal sends the message to them, that you think they are beatable which is terrible jury management. Ben then spoke about being a lone wolf before Mike appears to have put his foot in it, pointing out that Ben is good at playing the game and he wouldn’t be surprised if he got his way at tribal, making Ashley paranoid as she hasn’t heard of any plan Ben has come up with.

After some back and forth Devon locked in the fact that Ben was going home tonight, leading to him pulling out the idol and saying that that isn’t actually happening. Chrissy didn’t appreciate his gloating, while everyone else was kind of just dumbfounded. Ben then asked Ashley and Devon if they wanted to go back to camp tonight, which Ashley agreed to and was instructed to take out Mike. Devon however wasn’t so sure Ben would play his idol, leading to Ben playing it early and everyone else to panic as they headed off to vote. Despite agreeing to take out Mike, Ben joined with the rest of the tribe to take out Ashley and send her to my loving arms in Ponderosa.

While Ash was weeeeellllll pissed after her blindside, the love of her dear friend slash ex-swim coach was able to bring her back to normal. As you know, I’m a big deal in the swim scene – hey Kat and Lisa! – and became a dear friend of Ash while coaching her and getting her into the lifeguard biz. She may have calmed down after I explained how well she had done, she wasn’t able to come back to normal until she attacked some Smashley Avolan.

 

 

Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than a good smashed avo … and I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but this is pretty damn perfect. Though I am a millennial and value avo more than owning a home, so who knows if I’m actually correct. That being said, lemon, chilli and feta – need I say more?

Enjoy!

 

 

Smashley Avolan
Serves: 2 bitter Betty’s on the jury.

Ingredients
4 slices of fresh sourdough
1-2 avocados
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
100g feta (but realistically closer to 200g)

Method
Toast the bread to taste.

Smash the avo with a dash of lemon juice, chilli, and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Generously heap on the toast, crumble with feta and devour, with extra lemon juice as required.

 

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Tyson Apostollen

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Sweets

While Yul most definitely has the most festive name in Survivor history, my dear friend slash Survivor three-peat Tyson is the most festive person to play the game.

I mean, sure, he had an epic three season arc going from cocky douche, to bumbling babe to dominant champion, but he also had a three season ascension in zaddiness which was decidedly festive.

Yes, I only learnt the word zaddie last Thursday.

From his nude Tocantins tribal twink look, to his animalistic Samoan swimmers to his lovely bunch of Caramoan coconuts, Tyson made me feel things that lay dormant inside for year.

Oh what a lovely ma’ fuckin’ bunch of coconuts.

I first met Tys back in the mid-00s while researching Utah as part of my work writing the little known musical The Book Of Mormon, the hit TV show Big Love AND getting into the cycling world as part of an elaborate scheme to bring down Lance Armstrong. My third least favourite Lance.

While I’m not normally keen on the site of male cyclists in lycra – mainly because they only sit around cafes leaving their ball-sweat on the chairs … which in retrospect, should be my jam – I had a soft spot for Tyson and we fell into a passionate love affair.

Like most of my passionate love affairs, ours fizzled out quite quickly – maybe it would have been different if he listed me as his loved one in Tocantins – we remained close friends. Mainly because he was such a babe and it is super hard for me to find friends that have as much sass as I do, so I have to hold on to them when I find them.

But anyway, we celebrated a Christmas together in Utah during our brief romance and he fell in love with my sweet dough. I mean, all freaking Christmas, his face was buried in it, ravenous. But I guess, who can pass up a Tyson Apostollen.

 

 

Inspired by culinary queen Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar stollen, this baby is delicious enough to convert even the most staunchest of anti-marzipan-ers. Fruity and dense with pockets of gooey sweetness, did I just describe myself. Who knows!? Eat up!

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyson Apostollen
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 egg yolk
¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp glucose
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7g active dry yeast
5 ½ cup flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ¼ cup warm water
145g butter, cubed, plus extra 115g melted for coating
1 cup raisins
¾ cup craisins
½ cup currants
¼ cup candied lemon
3 tbsp bourbon
250g marzipan, broken into chunks
oil, for brushing
icing sugar, to coat

Method
Whisk the egg yolk, sugar, glucose, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl until fluffy and thick, or about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the warm water and stir by hand with the dough hook for a minute or so. And by that, holding the dough hook like a wooden spoon. You get it? Anyway, add the yolk mixer, pop the hook in the mixer and knead on medium for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and lump free. Add the cubed butter, piece by piece, allowing the dough to come together after each addition.

Reduce speed to low and add in the mixed fruit, kneading for an additional minute or until combined. Brush a clean large bowl with a flavourless oil, transfer the dough to said bowl, cover with some cling and leave to prove for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Punch back the dough and dot with the marzipan before lightly knead throughout. You could also split the dough in two, roll them out, smear with marzipan and roll up, but I find dotting it throughout haphazardly makes it more cray, like Tys. If you do dot, then split it into two and transfer to a lined baking sheet, shaping like a turkish-bread-esque loaf.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Once cool, brush with the melted butter and press into the icing sugar to seal. Dis is both good – dis real good – and fresh.

Then devour, greedily.

 

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