Sarinnamon Tillcake

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Luke’s completely original, not stolen spy shack finally played dividends with him catching Tessa plotting against Jericho with Ziggy. Luke then rallied his troops – minus Michelle who was too friendly with Tessa – to take out the latter in the most divided tribal council of the season. I know Jonathan just said that, but four different people received votes and there were nine left … it was madness.

Back at camp everyone was kind of confused as to what happened at tribal before Michelle quickly exploded and proved the point, hell hath no fury like a person scorned. She went in for Luke, questioned their terrible timing and was ultimately thrilled that she won’t have to feel guilty when cutting them from the game.

The next day everyone was enjoying a meal together, even Michelle who was still well pissed. Luke congratulated himself, Jericho, Sarah and Michelle on clawing back the numbers after merging with a 4-8 deficit, though admitted that their is a lot of work to do to fix the crack in their alliance. While Sarah and Jericho calmly tried to explain the last tribal to Michelle, she really wasn’t having a bar of it and vowed to play an individual game.

Meanwhile Locky came to the realisation that Ziggy voted for him at the last tribal council, though was smart enough to also realise that it is a death sentence for any of the OG Samatauns to join the Asagans. He then approached Ziggy and Pete to join together for the next two tribal councils to chip away at the Asaga alliance. They quickly caught Tara up before each getting to work pulling Michelle over to their side.

JoJo arrived to oversee the reward challenge where Michelle let him know that she was completely blindsided at the last tribal. The challenge involved the tribe being split into two teams of four for a game of charades … for a beach picnic involving KFC. I would just like to say, Dirty Bird is my favourite of all fast foods so this would make me cream my shorts if I were out there. The purple team of Pete, Michelle, Jericho and Tara got out to a 3-0 lead, before Locky, Luke, Sarah and Ziggy pulled off an epic comeback and secured reward for their team.

The victors arrived at their KFC feast, which was decidedly lacking chips and Hot’n’Spicy. Ziggy described the entire thing as heaven in her mouth – which let me tell you will be ironic one day – before Sarah decided to get things strategic, rationalising that they were arguably the biggest threats in the game. The four decided to share who they each think needs to go next, with the Samataus listing Jericho and the Asagans going for Pete. After a back and forth trying to find some common ground, Sarah suggested getting rid of her new nemesis Michelle and while everyone was on board, though it makes me feel extremely nervous for my girl Sarah’s safety.

The victors returned back to camp where Ziggy quickly let us know that the #PopcornChickenAlliance was completely fake before heading off to fill Tara in on what happened at the reward. They decided to take the information that Sarah and Luke were willing to get rid of her to Michelle, which obviously worked a treat as Ziggy, followed by Ziggy, Locky and Pete spilled the tea and solidified Sarah as Michelle’s target forevermore. Sadly though Jericho wandered around in the bushes – eavesdropping on the conversation sans a spy shack – spooking him, Luke and Sarah, who apparently desperately needs to pull out her first immunity win.

Right on cue lil’ JoJo arrived for the immunity challenge, a log rolling battle royale which you would assume Tara would be a shoo-in for given her barrel racing experience. Sarah and Luke were first up, with Luke taking out the win over the model. Ziggy defeated Pete, Locky defeated Michelle and Jericho proving me wrong by defeating Tara. In the second round, Luke defied odds to beat Jericho before Locky made easy work of Ziggy. In the final, Locky finally took out an individual immunity after a hard fought battle against Luke.

Things deteriorated quickly when Asatoa returned to camp, with the Samatau four plus Michelle locking in their vote for Sarah. Despite this Ziggy was starting to get paranoid about Asaga turning on her, before talking to Jericho about who they were planning to target which he assumed was Michelle. Luke and Jericho however then approached Michelle to see if there was a chance for them to realign. Everyone but Tara and Sarah met up in the jungle to talk about getting rid of Sarah, leading Sarah to then talk to Locky about join her with Tara, Luke and Jericho to get rid of Michelle. That five then locked in the vote for Michelle before they headed off to tribal leaving me extremely confused about who is actually locked in with who.

Once there things started to get messier, with Michelle talking about being blindsided by the previous tribal council and how her alliance was over. Sarah calmly tried to explain herself, however Michelle was still acting emotionally and wasn’t interested in hearing about it. Sarah and Michelle were both feeling nervous before Jericho spoke about leaving a cat to drown, horrifying everyone as they headed out to vote. The votes rolled in for Sarah and Michelle before Ziggy played her idol for herself, rather than Michelle much to Pete’s chagrin. Tragically and yet altogether thankfully it wasn’t necessary, as the votes piled up on Sarah and sent her from the game and into my loving arms at the jury villa.

I’ve known Sez for years after being her modelling coaching – I’m Australia’s Miss J – leading to her first stint on reality TV opposite me dearest friend from anger management, Naomi Campbell. While I tried to put in a good word for Sarah, Naom and I got into an insanely brutal brawl before I could help which ultimately allowed Sarah to win her over on her lonesome, making me insanely proud in the process. While she was gutted to be out of the game, she was impressed with how she played and giddily devoured my Sarinnamon Tillcake.

 

 

There is something about cinnamon I can just never go past, and this cake is the perfect example of why. Sweet and spicy, cinnamon truly can make even the most basic of teacakes sing. And I should know, as I’m a basic bitch.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sarinnamon Tillcake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
125g butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tbsp extra for toppin’ and some more extra for greasin’
1 cup raw caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for toppin’
⅔ cup milk
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour, plus extra for greasin’
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C, and grease and flour a bundt tin.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium for two minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Lightly whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla together in a jug, and the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in half the flour. When just combined, add half the milk … and when that is combined, add the remaining flour and the remaining milk.

Pour the batter into the tin, flatten the top and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden, puffed and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool in the pan for five-ten minutes before removing.

Meanwhile quickly melt the topping butter and combine the topping sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Lightly brush the bundt with butter and coat with the cinnamon sugar. Transfer to a cake stand and devour, while still warm.

 

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Zac Efriands

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Side, Snack, Sweets

Holy hell, am I emotionally spent from my time with my friend come ex come *spoiler alert* friend again, Zachary David Alexander Efron. So as you know, my dear friend Corbin Bleu came up with a foolproof three-point plan to facilitate a reconciliation between Zac and I, but I never shared what it was … and it will blow your mind with its intricacy.

1. Call Zac on the phone and tell him I want to have him over to talk about where we left things.
2. Apologise for any of the nastiness I caused (minimal, but sure).
3. Listen to his feelings and accept that maybe he is hurt, vowing to move on if you’re both willing to forgive.

Seriously – have you ever read such a wild plan? And more importantly, would you ever, in a million years, think that it would work?

I am shook, still.

I first met Zac in 2004 while visiting my then boyfriends Jesse McCartney and Ryan Kwanten – I was in a polyamorous phase – and my dear friend Merrin Dungey on the set of Summerland, and we quickly bonded over our love of theatre and surfing. As I oft do, I knew that he was destined for greatness, dropped Jess and vowed to make him a star.

Two years later, I made good on said promise when I cast him in High School Musical. The rest, as they say, is history … but I assume you’d like to know that part of that history involved him thanking me with two years of passionate kissing and tender love-making.

Then tragedy struck when he opted to star in a Nicholas Sparks adaptation. I was livid, we broke it off immediately and we haven’t spoken since. (Despite the best efforts of my dear Sethy Roges).

While it was quite awkward to start, my constant run-ins with the law and multiple Hollywood feuds have seemingly given me the ability to deliver an apology that appears genuine and he forgave me for all that I’d done. He also apologised, but for nothing specific. While I found that odd, a quick Google search supports his claim that he never dragged me through the tabloids.

With that as proof, I kindly forgave him for all the pain that he caused and we caught each other up on life and laughed about the good old days … of my famed Zac Efriands.

 

 

Tart, earthy and sickeningly sweet, these delicate beauties are the perfect thing to facilitate meaningful reconciliation and solve all your problems. Take that, banana bread!

Enjoy!

 

 

Zac Efriands
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
200g icing sugar
⅓ cup flour
1 ⅔ cups almond meal
3 lemons, zested and juiced
200g unsalted butter, melted
6 egg whites
2 tbsp poppy seeds
¾ cup raw caster sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease a 12-hole friand pan.

Sift the icing sugar, flour and almond meal into a mixing bowl. Slowly incorporate the zest, melted butter, egg whites and poppy seeds, until just combined.

Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until puffed, golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for five minutes, before turning out and cooling completely.

When you’re almost ready to serve, combine the lemon juice and raw caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes or until slightly thickened.

Prick the friands – ahhhh, the memories with Zac – and poor over the sweet tangy liquid, filling up the friands – again, memories.

Devour immediately.

 

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Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Pie, Snack, Sweets

Oh how my heart is heavy! I mean, yes, I am heartbroken that our Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations are coming to a close today … but my agony has more to do with that fact I’m whipping out the time machine to celebrate with Brittany Murphy just prior to her death.

And fuck do I miss my Brit.

We first met on the set of Clueless where Amy Heckerling said, and I quote, “we need Brit to look less pretty, more dirty and disheveled … so Ben, can we model pre-makeover Tai on you?”

While that one comment set off a feud with Ames that lasted until a few years ago – when I embraced my homeless-toddler looks – I took Brit under her wing and gave her the typical teen movie make-under. Fun fact: she could be a farmer in those clothes was a line inspired by the fight with Amy, as I staunchly defended my sexy-farmer look.

Anyway, Brits felt for my pain and we quickly bonded. Soon after I introduced her to Allison and helped her make her Broadway in A View from the Bridge, before convincing them both to join Drop Dead Gorgeous.

I still can’t believe that she has been gone for almost eight years now, and not a day goes by where I don’t miss the ability to pick up the phone and have a gossip and a laugh. Thankfully though, my invention of time travel allows me to involve her in the celebrations, pre-posthumously.

I’ve been racking my brain about when exactly to catch-up to avoid making too many changes to the timeline, and the only time that really makes sense is to drop by in 2009 aka the 10th anniversary of the movie. But tragically that also means it is five months before her death.

When I arrived in her late noughties Hollywood home, I ran into her arms and held her so hard I thought I may break her. While I wanted to scream at her to get out of the house and that girl, you in danger … I knew I couldn’t, filling the entire catch-up with a melancholic tone for me.

Thankfully my supreme acting talent didn’t let it show, as we joked and caught up on what we’d been doing recently over a Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie.

 

 

While it may not fit with the whole cook-out theme I had going to celebrate DDG and Fourth of July, there is nothing more American than a Mississippi Mud Pie. A crunchy (sop it up with a) biscuit crust, delicate cake, velvety chocolate custard and freshly whipped cream? You really can’t go wrong.

Happy Fourth of July ya’ll, now enjoy, ya here?

 

 

Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
Crust
500g chocolate biscuits, crushed
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
Cake
¼ cup unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
¼ cup strong coffee, cooled
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 cup muscovado sugar
Pu-dang
¾ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup dark cocoa powder
¼ cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate
(Ben de La)Creme
1 cup double cream
3 tbsp raw caster sugar

Method
Preheat oven 120°C.

Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a pie dish and press all the way up the edge. Transfer to the freezer and chill for half an hour. Transfer straight into the oven and bake for ten minutes, or until dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Crank the oven to 180°C.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt via double-boiler. In a different bowl, combine the espresso powder, coffee, salt and vanilla, and allow to rest. Meanwhile, place the yolks and ½ a cup of sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until combined and doubled in volume. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the side and add the coffee mixture, and beat until just combined.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites until they foam. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Combine a cup of the stiff peaks by folding through the chocolate. Add the remaining whites and fold through until combined. Pour into the crust, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until set but still a bit jiggly in the middle, caliente style.

No, you can’t call me fucking jiggly.

Allow to cool on a rack for an hour, before transferring to the fridge for a few hours.

While that is chilling, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt and yolk in a medium saucepan before slowing whisking through the milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Boil for a minute before transferring to a bowl. Add the butter, vanilla and chocolate, whisking until combined. Allow to stand for half an hour before pressing some cling to the surface and chilling for a few hours. Once chilled, stir the pudding before transferring to the pie on top of the cake. Return to the fridge and chill.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream and caster sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop over the pie and spread to coat. Chill for half an hour before serving, generously, and devouring.

 

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Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Good news – we finally have a cast member that doesn’t link into my torrid love life. I mean sure, I did sleep with Willa Holland’s current co-star Stephen Amell years ago … but I didn’t meet her through him, so technically I’m home free.

You see I met Willa through my dear friend Lisa Kudrow – who I am so overdue to see that it scares me – when Willa guested on an episode of the majestic and underrated series The Comeback.

It would shock nobody to know that my attitude inspired her characterisation of Valerie Cherish.

I was taken by her talent and she was the only person I could think of to replace my cousin-in-law Shailene when they wanted to beef up the role of Caitlin. I also put her forward for the role of Thea Queen on Arrow … not that I’m saying she should be grateful to me for her career.

But she probably should be … a little, at least.

As she has been super – get it? – busy with her role in the Arrow-verse shows, I haven’t been able to spend much meaningful time with Wills in the last few years but thankfully our friendship is so beautiful that our bond never changes.

Plus, if it did, I’d just withhold my Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake until she loves me again … because that is what you do with your family during the holiday!

 

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Combining the velvety sweet charm of one Caitlin Cooper and the brooding darkness and depth of Thea Queen, this cake is the perfect hybrid of my dear friend’s roles.

Enjoy!

 

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Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake
Serves: 10-12.

Ingredients
200g hazelnuts, peeled and roasted
250g good dark chocolate, chopped
185g unsalted butter, cubed
40g cocoa powder, sifted
30ml strong, freshly brewed coffee
30ml amaretto
6 eggs, at room temperature
275g caster sugar
ice cream, cream or fresh berries, to serve
Nutella, to drizzle on top

Method
Preheat oven to 160ºC and grease/line a springform tin.

Chuck the hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz until it it is finely ground and just starting to turn to a paste. Set aside.

Combine the chocolate, butter and cocoa in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until just melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the coffee and amaretto. Set aside.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until just combined. Fold through the chocolate, followed by the hazelnuts and pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Once cooled, serve with a dollop of ice cream and drizzled with nutella … because we can’t get enough hazelnut!

 

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Tate Doughnutvans

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Party Food, Snack, Sweets

So as I’ve kind of alluded to, Tate and I kind of have a frenemy-ish relationship. Don’t get me wrong – I love him to absolute pieces, however we are very similar, and at times dramatic, which means our relationship experiences the highest highs and most violently aggressive lows.

Actually, our relationship inspired Jimmy and Julie’s on The O.C.

We first met when Tate made his TV debut guesting on Family Ties – I was dating Michael J. Fox at the time and took pity on Tate for not being as talented as my man. Whilst having breakfast in bed with Michael the day of the taping, I turned to him and said “that young Tate character could really succeed with the right kind of tutelage.”

Mike agreed, I took Tate under my wing and become his acting and attitude coach, and the rest, as they say, is history.

After co-starring together in the hit movies All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 and Hercules – I was all three of the fates – we had our first bitter feud, when his turn as Hercules went to his head … and surprisingly he didn’t enjoy my berating him to get him back under my control?

Thankfully when I suggested we put an end to the drama and work together on The O.C. he was kind enough to accept my olive branch and we’ve been snarkily (possibly insincerely) close ever since.

Surprisingly Tate has been enjoying quite a bit of success lately – what with him being a SAG Award winner for Argo, a role in the last reboot of 24 and a bit part in current awards season contender Manchester by the Sea – and we therefore haven’t been able to see much of each other.

But knowing Tate as well as I do, I was able to pull him away from his no-doubt fruitless Oscar campaigning with the allure of his favourite treat – Tate Doughnutvans.

 

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Now I know that I oft talk about my fear of and aversion to frying … but I make an exception for these babies to ensure they comply with their Jewish heritage.

Fluffy, spicy and sweet, these are so delicately delicious that you can’t help but put aside your differences to down a few with your favourite frenemy.

Enjoy!

 

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Tate Doughnutvans
Serves: 1. No judgement.

Ingredients
14g dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup raw caster sugar, plus more for rolling
3 cups flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon, plus more for rolling
pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp salt
vegetable oil
1 cup jam, I went raspberry but how good is blueberry, you know?

Method
Combine yeast, warm water and a teaspoon of sugar – that is not listed in the above ingredients – in a jug. Stir and set aside to get all foamy for about ten minutes … you’ll know when they are ready.

Place the flour in a bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the centre. By hand – with the dough hook of the mixer – mix in the eggs, yeast foam liquid, sugar, butter, spices and salt. Place the hook in the mixer, crank it to medium and knead for about ten minutes.

Remove the dough from the mixer to a large oiled bowl, cover in cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled.

Once it has proven itself, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until about half a centimetre thick. Cut into small round and place on a lined baking sheet. Once all the dough is used, cover in cling and leave to prove for another half an hour.

While proving – again – heat some vegetable oil in a wide shallow pot over medium heat until it reaches 190°C. Carefully add a few discs into the pot at a time – and you know I mean careful as I hate frying and this is only to continue in the hanukkah spirit – and fry for half a minute to a minute, each side, until golden and puffed.

Transfer to greaseproof paper, roll in cinnamon sugar – not necessary, but highly recommended – and leave to rest on a wire rack. Repeat until done.

Once cooled, place the jam in a piping bag fitted with a thin nozzle. Penetrate each puff and fill with your sweet nectar. Then devour.

 

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Rachel Bilsonta Hats

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

You can’t celebrate the 12 Days of Chrismukkah without my dear friend, the pocket-rocket portrayer of the gloriously rage-filled Summer Roberts … Rachel Bilson.

Deep breath – what a freaking (long/terrible) sentence, amirite?

I first met Rach – and spotted her talent – in early 2003 on the set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I was part of SMG’s entourage at the time but was taken in by Rachel’s spunk. As soon as I saw her perform, I knew that she was the only person that could play the role of Summer and do just to her season 1 catch-phrase “ew.”

While we had a brief falling out after I tried to set her trailer on fire after she began dating Adam Brody (I had fantasised about us becoming a twincesty couple), she understood my complete lack of logic/basis in reality and forgave me within a week.

The girl, it needs to be said, is a damn saint.

(Her sweet, forgiving nature is the only way I could forgive her for marrying Hayden Christensen, who broke my heart on the set of Life as a House when he wouldn’t play sweet dixie with my behind… but that is another story for another time. Plus I worked that line into Hart of Dixie, so how could I stay mad?).

I haven’t been able to see much of Rachel since Hart of Dixie was egregiously axed – which is actually about my life as a small town Alabama doctor falling for a myriad of similar looking men – given how busy she is with my dear god-daughter Briar Rose Christensen, so it was such a treat to be able to reconnect over some festively appropriate Rachel Bilsonta Hats!

 

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Sweet, delicious, kind-healthy (yay whole strawberry!) and completely kitsch, these little babies are the perfect festive bake for those dreaded office Christmas morning teas.

Or as a gift for people you actually like. Like the Bilson-Christensens – enjoy!

 

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Rachel Bilsonta Hats
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
¼ cup valrhona cocoa
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp allspice
1 cup buttermilk
200g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp red food colouring
Icing
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
120g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
strawberries, tops sliced off

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C and line muffin muffin pans with paper cases – quantity will depend on the size you want, but I can make 8 Texans.

Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk the wet ingredients in a large jug until combined.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir through the wet ingredients until just combined. Then stir through the food colouring. You can use a stand mixer – like I do, because I’m lazy – but just remember that the best muffins are the ones that are barely mixed, so just do it on the lowest setting and only for as long as it needs.

Divide the mixture among your pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While they are getting chill, combine the icing ingredients – sans strawbs – in a stand mixer and beat until smooth and fluffy.

To assemble, smear each cupcake generously with icing, top with an upturned strawberry and top said strawberry with a dollop of icing. Ta dah – bilsonta hats!

Devour.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Eve Plumb Pudding

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my goodness – I didn’t realise losing Florence Henderson would be this hard.

As one of my first loves, I always knew my heart would break but given we were never able to launch a spin-off of her Retirement Living cooking show – which would have looked suspiciously like Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party – I’m distraught that I couldn’t help add a final jewel in the crown of her TV legacy.

But alas, this isn’t all about our dearly departed Florence …  and that is in no small part, thanks to the beautiful, caring support of my dear friend Eve Plumb, who helped me work through my grief.

As you know, Annelie and I connected with The Bradys via Mo and were cast as the worse versions of cousin Oliver. While we were wiped from the show’s history, we remained close with the kids – particularly Evie.

Like her character on the Bunch – oh, have I never mentioned we all called it the Bunch on set? ‘Cause we did – Eves was always the most down to earth (albeit a little jealous) member of the cast, and she took me under her wing and tried to help me through my multiple addictions and countless scandals throughout the years.

Fun fact: I am the one who got her into painting … which I took up when in rehab with my gal pal, Caz Fish.

I hadn’t seen Evie since her appearance in the Emmy Award winning production Grease: Live and was looking forward to toasting to her success and was on the phone to her when we heard about dear Flo’s passing.

It completely knocked me, I broke down and Evie knew that she was the only one that would be able to help me snap out of it – we actually inspired that scene in Moonstruck – and process my grief.

Of course, Eves was right about helping me, though making and devouring my Eve Plumb Pudding – as you probably guessed on Monday – should also take some of the credit, given its proven therapeutic benefits when it comes to helping process grief. In addition to being delicious.

(Talking about our sodden appearance on Sally Jessy also lifted our spirits, obviously … but that isn’t necessary to this story).

 

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I used to make this pud on set – which is pieced together from my grandmother’s handwritten par-recipe – every year to celebrate filming the last episode before our break and it was everything you want from Christmas and more – fruity, rich and ready to stuff you up … it sounds like everything I want in a man.

Enjoy!

 

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Eve Plumb Pudding
Serves: 2 mourners.

Ingredients
400g raisins
300g currants
150g sultanas
100g prunes, roughly chopped
100g dates, roughly chopped
250ml spiced rum
250g butter, at room temperature, plus extra to grease
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
Brandy custard, to serve

Method
This takes some planning ahead, ok? So I apologise, but place the fruit in a large bowl with the rum and leave to steep overnight to a day – the longer the better, you want that fruit completely written off.

Grease a two litre capacity pudding basin with extra, soft butter and line the base with a circle of non-stick paper. Leave aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale, fluffy and creamy. Add vanilla and each egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and fold through the pulsating-ly fluffy egg, butter and sugar mix. Fold through the boozed up fruits and pour the batter into the prepared pudding basin.

Now for the fun – lol – place an upturned saucer – or something low and heatproof that fits – in the base of a large saucepan. Half fill the pot with kettle-boiled water and simmer over low heat.

While that is getting bubbly, cut a large square of non-stick paper and an equally sized square of foil. Fold them together, pleating at the middle to secure and place over the lid of the basin, foil side up. Press it down tightly and secure with kitchen twine like a poorly wrapped christmas present.

Lower the basin until the non-chalantly bubbling water – adding more if the tide is not high. Cover the pot as securely as possible and steam for 4 hours, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Check on the pot throughout cooking and top with more boiling water as required – use your judgement.

Remove from the basin, allow to rest for about half an hour and turn out.

Top with warmed brandy custard … which reminds me, I need to make a call.

Obviously you can devour while I’m on the phone – maybe check back over the weekend?

 

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Jane Cakeghoulski

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Halloween, Party Food, Side, Snack, Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

Can you believe we’re at the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah crescendo already?! It feels like only yesterday that we were hanging out with Tracy, Judah, Scott and Jack – particularly Jack, since it was yesterday.

While we’ve managed to go the week without Teens and Al, we couldn’t celebrate a spooky soiree without the true Queen of 30 Rock, my dear friend, the supremely talented and future EGOT Jane Krakowski.

And by true Queen … would you cross Jenna Maroney?

I first met Jane in the 80s while co-starring in the original Broadway production of Starlight Express until my nemesis ALW cut my part – Spread, the loosest caboose – due to my pornographic interpretation of the roll. It was a rough time in my life, having my inevitable first Tony ripped from my hands and I never would have gotten through it without Jane’s love and support.

Given her egregious snubbing at this year’s Emmys, I really wanted to make our time together special enough to pay back her kindness … and there is nothing more special than a batch of my Jane Cakeghoulski.

 

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Again, cake decoration is far from strong point … but that doesn’t matter when the cake is this good. Which is all thanks to Nigella Lawson, since I converted her Chocolate Guinness Cake into cupcakes because what represents the blackness of death better than a dense, guinness cake? And what is better at making the whiteness of a ghost stand out.

Enjoy – you’ll never forget them!

 

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Jane Cakeghoulski
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
250ml guinness
250g unsalted butter
75g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
140ml sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2½ tsp bicarb soda
250g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double cream
black icing and / or chocolate button eyes, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the guinness and butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the cocoa and sugar and remove from the heat.

Whisk the sour cream, eggs and vanilla in a jug and then whisk into the slightly cooled mix, before whisk in the flour and bicarb.

Pour the batter – which is pretty runny, so don’t be alarmed – into 12 lined Texan muffin tins. You could also use normal muffin tins but then you’ll end up with huge muffin tops – which wouldn’t be the worst thing, they are all that. Place in the oven and bake for about half an hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove to a rack to cool completely.

While it is getting hella cool, beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer until smooth. Add in the sieved icing sugar and double cream, and beat for a further minute.

Dollop the ghastly ghost icing on the blackened cakes, decorate with spooky faces … and then devour.

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

 

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Jack McGraveyard

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Halloween, Side, Snack, Sweets, Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

As you would have picked up by now, I have long been a support and inspiration to Teens over the years. None more so than when creating / fleshing out the life and times of one Kenneth Parcell aka my dear Jack McBrayer’s opus.

I first met Jack in the late 90s while he was attending the University of Evansville where I was lecturing in Theatre Administration. Shockingly, this was the one time I was actually qualified to teach what I was hired to do.

Jack always had an overabundance of talent, so I took him under my wing and mentored him to greatness. More importantly, since this is the one job I haven’t been run out of due to a scandalo, we have always remained close. After he graduated, I quickly convinced him to take up improv, got him a job at Second City and the rest, as they say, is history.

Or HERstory.

When Teens was developing 30 Rock, she was having trouble coming up with the Kenneth character so I regaled her with tales of my dear Jack and she developed the role with him in mind.

Obviously the whole Kenneth as an immortal being thing was inspired by my own apparent immortality – she thinks my time-travel is actually a sign of my own immortality – and the character of Hazel was based on my own horrid ways.

Jack has been busy lately, what with also starring in a modern Disney icon Wreck-It Ralph and its upcoming sequel, so we haven’t had much time to catch-up. Thankfully he was eager to clear his schedule for the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah and to split a big ole Jack McGraveyard.

 

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Full disclosure – let’s pretend you haven’t noticed before, ok – presentation / themed edible situations are not my forte … but when they taste this good, you should just look past that.

With a brownie base as black as a lost soul, littered with walnut brains and rotten (cranberry) flesh and topped with a cream cheese grass, this is a graveyard that will make you happy.

Plus, Trump has a tombstone … that counts for something, right?

Enjoy!

 

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Jack McGraveyard
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
225g dark chocolate
225g butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup fresh coffee
200g raw caster sugar
3 large eggs, whisked
150g almond meal
100g walnuts, chopped
100g craisins, chopped
½ cup icing sugar
1 tsp milk
black food colouring
4 oval biscuits
250g cream cheese
1 tbsp double dream
green food colouring
extra 100g chocolate, melted, for decorating – I used a combination

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together. Remove from the heat, mix in the vanilla, coffee and sugar, and allow to cool slightly.

Once it has had time to chill, beat in the eggs, almond meal, walnuts and craisins. Transfer to a lined, square baking tin and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until set but still a little gooey. Allow to cool completely.

While the brownies are cooling, combine half the icing sugar and milk in a small bowl with a drop of black food icing to make your tombstone lacquer. Dip the oval biscuits in and allow to set on a lined baking sheet, repeating a couple of times to build up the layers – clearly it was too hot for it to set properly in my house.

Meanwhile beat the cream cheese, remaining icing sugar and double cream in a stand mixture until smooth. Add in enough green colouring to turn it into grass, or slime, whatever you’d rather. I also added black, because spooky.

By now the brownie should be adequately chilled so flip it over onto a serving plate, and dig out space for four graves. Ice around the graves, chuck in the tombstones and return the dug-out dirt to create freshly buried mounds.

Drizzle with melted chocolate, adorn your tombstones and devour. Edible glitter and other kitsch decorative things are highly encouraged – this isn’t a low-rent cemetery!

 

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Kristie Belette

Australian Survivor, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Say what you will about Kristie’s game, her journey from a paranoid Abi-Maria-lite meltdown on day two, to Samoan sea-witch that laid low to dodge the vote at twenty tribal councils is an impressive feat.

I mean sure, a game littered with big moves is far more exciting for the audience at home – amirite Ciera? – but Kristie was playing with a group largely dominated by castaways like Lee who had barely seen the show and labelled anyone that was actually playing a snake and immediately turned on them. Her only real option was to ride it out being underestimated for as long as should could before making the moves she needed to end up in the Final Two.

And given that she ended up in the Final Two, you’ve got to give her credit despite the large amount of luck involved in her game.

Plus, what she did with her slot in the finals was fascinating to watch. As Lee fumbled and was unsure of what to do, Kristie put her 16 years of watching the show to good use and took responsibility for her game and was assertive and eloquent in explaining why she played the best game given the cards she was dealt.

And thankfully the jury – minus El, obviously – rewarded her for the effort as she was crowned Sole Survivor.

Obviously I have been friends with Kristie for a couple of years, after meeting at an occult convention and eventually starting a wildly unsuccessful witches coven. But maybe that is because I was serving us ritualistic Kristie Belettes which are far more fitting as a victory dessert, rather than an offering to the gods.

 

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Like island living, this dessert is the perfect, rustic treat to serve to someone who would need to acclimate back into real life. You can pretty much make this using any combination of fruit you like or switching out the nuts but there is something I love about the earthy pecans, working with the sweet apple and tart blueberry.

It almost feels, triumphant – enjoy!

 

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Kristie Belette
Serves: 1 Sole Survivor, or 6-8 normal peeps.

Ingredients
½ cup pecans, lightly toasted
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp raw caster sugar for dough, ¼ cup for fruit mixture, plus more for dusting
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups blueberries
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 tbsp cornflour
1½ tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp milk

Method
Blitz pecans in a food processor to make a coarse meal. Add in the flour, 2 tsp sugar, salt and cinnamon and blitz briefly to mix. Then add butter and you guessed it, blitz again until it resembles wet sand. Kinda like Aganoa after the wave washed out their camp on night one?

Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add in some ice cold water – a tablespoon at a time – and mix until it just comes together. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

While the oven is adding some heat to your life, combine the blueberries, apple, cornflour, lemon juice and ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.

Roll out the dough between two layers of baking paper until it is about a half a centimetre thick disc. Transfer to a lined baking sheet – or you know, flip one of the baking sheets you used to roll the dough over onto said sheet – mound the blueberry-apple mixture in the centre of the dough, leaving a 5cm edge which you then fold over in a rustic fashion, to ensure Kristie isn’t too uncomfortable by the high class of my baking after just escaping the jungle.

Brush said rustic fold with milk, sprinkle with sugar and bake until it is browned and crisp, with a molten berry centre aka 40 minutes. And I say browned, rather than golden because I clearly burnt this. What are you gonna do when you’re sipping mai tais while baking every other day in paradise?

Allow to cool slightly and devour. If it is warm, devour with ice cream – why not, she is our winner after all?

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.