Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake

Baking, Cake, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water, Survivor: Winners at War, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Let’s not even play the cutesie game of acknowledging the previous two seasons of Survivor, because honestly, they ended up with a controversial victor and some real world ugliness dominating the end game. And this is the ultimate battle – Winners at War – and even the inclusion of Edge of Extinction can’t take away from the epic grandeur that is about to unfold before our very eyes. Speaking of unfolded, to begin the season we opened up with the original marooning, followed in quick succession by the current batch of contestants and their victorious maroonings and honestly, if the site of Ethan in Africa spliced with the zaddy riding the Fijian waves in a speed boat doesn’t flood your basement and make you want to cry because you’re so overwhelmed, you’re a terrible person.

I mean, it is fucking Ethan! Fun fact: he is the first person that made me feel ok to embrace my curls. Even funner fact: I now realise that that was me thinking he was hot and wanting to look like him.

But anyway, the ten men sped through the Fijian waters with Tony acknowledging his huge target, though looking around at his fellow victors, he himself was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the season, and his fellow competitors. Meanwhile in another part of the ocean, ten female winners were cruising on their own boat, with Parvati talking about being out of the loop for ten years while building her family, though she was ready to come back and destroy her competition. And honestly, I already have goosebumps. Ethan shared that he is just happy that he lived long enough to play Survivor again after beating cancer. Amber was thrilled to be back and hoped to win again, and more importantly looked forward to beating her husband again.

The men were the first to arrive on the tiny island in the middle of a reef where Probst was waiting to greet them. The women soon followed, with Sandra shocked to see Rob was also there playing against his wife, given she just spent 36 days on the Island of the Idols with her and never once thought to mention that he was playing again. As a newer winner, Wendell was overwhelmed to be facing off against legends, 13 years on Yul knows that the game has changed and Probst acknowledged how much the world has changed since Amber first played 20 years ago and hot damn, I am old. And hot damn, this is amazing.

Probst unveiled a bottle of champagne to toast everyone and 20 years of Survivor before shocking Natalie by splitting everyone into tribes and assuring them that the season is not men versus women. She started on the Sele tribe with Rob, Ethan, Parvati, Ben, Michele, Danni, Denise, her bestie Jeremy and Adam, while Tony, Wendell, Amber, Kim, Sophie, Nick, Sarah, Yul, Sandra and Tyson formed Dakal. Probst announced that this season would feature a currency called Fire Tokens. Each person would start with one and would need to will it to someone else when they are voted out to the Edge of Extinction. Vom. Adding to the excitement, he then said that this season would be a little bit different, in that the victor wouldn’t win $1 million, bu $2 million, to the joy of literally everyone.

Oh and then he surprised everyone by announcing that they would be kicking the season off with a challenge in the water, which isn’t a great idea after booze, but whatever. In pairs, they would race out to collect a ring and then drag the ring towards a coloured pole for their tribe. First to be touching the ring and their pole – my dream night, really – would score a point, with first to securing a flint, rice … AND immunity. Filling Denise with dread, given she has never missed a tribal council in her Survivor career.

First up were Tyson and Yul for Dakal facing off against Jeremy and Ethan for Dakal. Tyson quickly snatched the ring and headed to his pole while Jeremy and Ethan desperately tried to drag him away. Yul joined the fray however and quickly dragged them to their pole, scoring the first point for Dakal. The second round featured Natalie and Parvati versus Kim and Sarah, with Kim pulling hair and Natalie beasting her way against the current as Parvati desperately reach for the pole. Until Kim and Sarah overpowered them and scored the second point for Dakal. Rob and Ben faced off against Wendell and Tony, with the former duo proving too strong and scoring the first point for Sele. The next round featured Denise and Natalie facing off against Amber and Sarah, with Natalie and Amber clawing over the ring, while Sarah and Denise tousled in the water. Eventually the women came together and Mrs Mariano proved that managing four kids builds strength, dragging Natalie and Denise with Sarah to score the third point for Dakal and immunity.

Meaning Queen Sandra escapes being the first boot. Yas yas yas.

After being told that tribal council won’t be until day two, a dejected Sele headed off while a much more relieved Dakal arrived at their island. The tribe hugged and introduced themselves before Nick found a Fire Token menu, explaining what they can buy and how the currency works. And Nick was confident that mastering the currency will prove key to victory in the season. And given he is from a new season, he is used to it to his advantage. Please don’t tell me that is a winner’s quote.

The tribe quickly got to work building their shelter, with Wendell hoping to take a step back so that he isn’t stuck building again like his first season, rather than building relationships and hunting for idols. Meanwhile Sarah and Amber were catching up by the well, with Sarah expressing how shocked she was to see the All Stars’ victor given she and Rob have four kids sitting at home. Talk quickly turned to their kids and the women shared that they each made calendars for their kids to cross off every day until they are home. Tyson stumbled upon the scene and shared that he made a daisy chain for them to rip off a ring each day and hot damn, that is the sweetest. He then spoke about how much winning Survivor meant to him, because now he is able to spend more time with his kids and as such, coming out again is a huge deal. Back at camp Wendell called Sandra the queen, filling her with nerves as she knows that title puts the biggest target on her back. She spoke about her history with Tony and Sarah and how they all voted each other out, but my gut tells me this is all for show and they plan to stick together.

We checked in with Sele where they got to work building a shelter, while getting to know each other and slowly trying to figure out who to vote out the next day. Parvati and Jeremy bonded over their babies at home, with Parvati acknowledging how differently she will play the game as a married parent. Parvati continued to use kids to bond, chatting with Rob about his kids before Rob joined Ethan to check he was doing ok. Ethan shared how scary life after cancer can be, and as such, he is hoping returning to the game will take him back to the younger guy that was carefree and won the game. Denise and Adam went wandering to find the well and continued Denise’s terrible luck in Survivor, by getting lost. While they used the time to align, the rest of the tribe noticed that they had been gone for a ridiculously long time and as such, painted a target squarely on their backs.

We returned to Dakal where Tony was chatting to Yul, Nick and Wendell about playing a calmer game than before, knowing that it will only put a target on his back and see him get booted early again, like Game Changers. Speaking of big targets, Amber was feeling nervous about the pace of the game. While everyone was chatting and building the shelter, she wasn’t sure whether she should be out hunting for idols to save herself from the looming fear of she and her husband teaming up. On another part of the island Yul was casually asking Sophie to align and after assuring her that he didn’t view it casually, Yul spoke about the importance of the lesser connected people joining together to counter the larger poker alliance of Kim, Rob, Jeremy and Tyson, with Natalie and Amber roped in by association. Sophie and her nerd shield noticed themselves in the middle with Wendell and Nick, with Tyson, Kim and Amber closely aligned and the gritty Game Changers of Sarah, Tony and Sandra clearly aligned.

Speaking of alliances, over at Sele Rob approached Parvati about working together this season, rather than targeting each other like in Heroes vs. Villains. Knowing that they have the biggest targets on the island, and given Rob has few options, Parvati was all in and they quickly found people to join their old school crew. Speaking off old school, Danni and Ethan were chatting to Adam and Ben about everyone’s out of game connections, with Danni pointing out that Rob is clearly the most connected and as such, needs to go. Sadly for her, Ben went for a walk with Jeremy and Rob and told the latter that his name had been thrown out. In a matter of seconds Rob got the fact Danni was the one throwing his name out from Ben and as such approached Danni to hear it from her. Somehow the iconic Danni used it to her advantage, telling him the truth leading to Rob, Parvati, Danni and Ethan joining together to take on the newbies.

The next day Adam awoke terrified about tribal council as the rest of the tribe woke up and started to scramble. Danni and Denise caught up, Jeremy and Michele were plotting, Ben and Ethan chatted while the latter’s head spun about the speed of the game. Natalie and Jeremy, whom she avenged in San Juan del Sur, caught up by the shore, with Natalie suggesting that Adam should be voted out given he and Denise disappeared on day one. They took the idea to Ben, Ethan and Rob who all seemed open to the idea. Once again Ben took the information straight back to the person that was being targeted, filling Adam with even more nerves. Adam then suggested that Natalie and Jeremy were the most dangerous pair on the tribe and they should maybe focus on Rob and Amber too. Adam then got to work rallying the troops to split up Jeremy and Natalie, roping in Denise, Ethan and the old schoolers, with Rob and Parvati agreeing that it makes sense to split up the pairs ASAP.

Parvati joined Jeremy, Natalie, Danni and Ben to try and get someone to lock in a name, with everyone too scared to be the one to throw out a name. While Danni suggested Adam, everyone was too nervous to lock something in which made Parvati nervous that she is missing something and it is her. She then joined Rob by the shore and icons were in hysterics about the fact that they are sitting pretty and nobody seems to be targeting two of the biggest icons of the game. And the fact the rest of the tribe are heading out for tribal without any plans.

At tribal council Ethan spoke about how differently the pace of the game is from All Stars, which in itself was a step up from Africa. Rob agreed that the game is so different from Marquesas. Talk soon turned to the fact that Denise and Adam disappeared on day one, with Denise reiterating that they got lost before acknowledging that that doesn’t matter because perceptions are everything. Adam then jumped in to remind everyone that being nervous about people that met the day before is absurd given there is a married couple in the game and people that have been friends for decades. Probst asked Natalie whether she was nervous to follow in Nadiya’s footsteps and become the first boot, with her talking about using any excuse to vote someone out first. Parvati said that nobody should feel comfortable, but for some reason most people do. This made Jeremy nervous, though he was hopeful that tribal would show who he can trust. Ben and Michele meanwhile were just sitting there anxiously, overwhelmed by everything. Ethan admitted to being nervous, while Natalie agreed that being all winners put more pressure on them than ever before.

With that the tribe headed out to vote and it proved that Probst was prophetic as my love Natalie found herself following in Nadiya’s footsteps and becoming the first boot. Before he had even finished counting the votes, Natalie had her hair in the bun and was ready to fight, getting her torch snuffed, bequeathing her Fire Token to Jeremy – obviously – and jumping on a boat to head to the Edge of Extinction.

Sike, you know I stopped her before she jumped on the boat and pulled her into a bear hug. Well ever she stopped hitting me and screaming because I scared the shit out of each other. We collapsed in a heap laughing at how terrified she was before I casually suggested that maybe she and Nadiya just aren’t meant to compete in All Stars seasons. Obviously she objected and told me to stop saying silly things, because she is coming back with a vengeance and is going to slay the merge. Well, as soon as she is done fuelling up on her Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake.

 

 

This little Nigella number is quite possibly the best cake of all time, I knew it would be perfect for one of my favourite single-season winner’s arc. Revenge, redemption and bold play, calls for a punch of sticky peanut butter and the velvety smooth chocolate topping. Get thee to a kitchen now and praise the Queen. Well Queens – Natalie and Nigella.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake
Serves: 1 lonely twinnie, sitting on an island waiting for Godot, Telstra and/or company.

Ingredients
200g digestive biscuits
50g salted peanuts
100g dark chocolate chips
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
500g cream cheese
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
200g raw caster sugar
1 ½ cups sour cream
250g smooth peanut butter
100g milk chocolate chips
30g muscovado brown sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Chuck the digestives, peanuts, dark chocolate chips and butter in a food processor and blitz until a moist crumb forms and it is clumping together. Transfer to a springform tin and press into the bottom and half-way up the sides. Place the base in the fridge to chill while you get started on the filling.

In a clean food processor – aka, sorry you had to clean mid-bake – place the cream cheese, egg and yolks, caster sugar, half a cup of sour cream and the peanut butter and blitz until it forms a cohesive, creamy, caramelly colour. Pour oven the base, marveling as the beauty as it flows in.

Get a kettle boiling and a baking dish that will fit the cake tin out. Wrap the base and side of the springform with a double layer of clingfilm, followed by a double layer of foil to create a protective, waterproof barrier.

Once the kettle has boiled, place the cake in the baking dish and pour water into the dish so that it comes half-way up the side of the tin. Carefully transfer the waterbath and cake into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is set and dry.

Remove from the oven and combine the remaining sour cream, milk chocolate and muscovado sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking, until smooth and combined. Pour over the cake and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes, or until set.

Allow to cool completely before transferring to the fridge to set overnight. Then, devouring immediately.

 

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Paulnapple Wupside Downs Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Four and Three and Two and Done: A Farewell to Broad City, Snack, Sweets

After catching up with Abbi, Arturo, Hannibal and John, I am almost coming around to the idea that Broad City is coming to an end tomorrow, despite the fact it breaks my heart. Thankfully I am trying to focus on the positives, like Abbi doing Ilana at the co-op, Jaime becoming a citizen, Lincoln being Lincoln, Bevers literally being the worst and the discovery of Trey’s past as Kirk Steele. And damn did it make me fall even harder for my dear Paul W. Downs.

Like Abbi I started of hating Trey and episode by episode fell in love with him, which comes down to the comedic work and total charm of Paul.

While I didn’t meet him until Broad City, we fast became friends and I’m honoured that he came to me for advice on how to block the Kirk Steele scenes. While my infatuation made our friendship awkward for a brief period, I am thrilled that I was able to cool down and he never let it get in the way of our bond.

Paul being the absolute best, he arrived at my door with the inflatable pool toy and a visor and told me how grateful he was to be celebrating the show, and how much he wanted me … to have the props.

I mean, can you believe? He is a sweet angel. Just like my Paulnapple Wupside Downs Cake.

 

 

TBH I have always looked at this cake as kitsch krap, but somehow it defies my expectations and further proves that the ‘80s get a lot of unnecessary hate. A sweet and tart top, with melt in your mouth fluffy sponge, there is nothing better to while away an afternoon with a dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Paulnapple Wupside Downs Cake
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ cup muscovado sugar
8 canned pineapple rings, juice, reserving ½ cup for the cake
12 maraschino cherries
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup raw caster sugar
2 eggs

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and spray the base of a 23cm cake pan with cooking spray.

Combine ¼ of a cup of butter with the muscovado in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until combined and slightly darkened. Remove from heat and pour directly into the cake tin.

Arrange the pineapple rings in the caramel and dot the maraschino cherries as artfully as you desire. Set aside.

Meanwhile whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl, and cream the remaining butter and raw caster sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Agg one egg at a time, beat well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients and pineapple juice in thirds, alternating between each until it is well combined.

Spoon the batter over the fruit and gently smooth the top, being careful not to move or break the fruit. Transfer the cake to the oven to cook for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before flipping onto a serving plate … and devouring like it is Kirk Steele.

 

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Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Aubry and Joe were on the outs at Kama given the penchant of returning players to dominate in seasons with newbies. Unless of course they’re up against a trio of queens in the form of Danni, Sophie and Denise. At Manu Kelley and David were feeling a reprieve given Reem and Wendy callously tried to teach Keith to swim – and in turn help the tribe in challenges – moving the target on to them. As such, it was poor Reem that found herself becoming the first person voted out … and electing to go to the Island of Extinction.

We opened up with poor Reem who was bored and confused, unsure where she is and what she will have to do for her shot back into the game. No timeline and no instructions truly are the cruelest mindfuck and I already feel less angry about the twist. Though it was super hard watching Reem break down over how hard it was sitting isolated on a desolate island thinking about everything she left behind.

Meanwhile at Manu the tribe were laughing it up comparing their wrinkly hands before Wendy explained to Rick, and sadly David, about wanting to take out Kelley given she has had two shots. And she believes is the ringleader that has sent her to the bottom of the totem pole. While Kelley was befriended everyone else, Wendy’s words started to penetrate David and Rick as Wentworth’s power appeared to grow. Kelley was understanding of her position, given she spent most of Second Chances on the bottom – that Savage blindside though – and knew how dangerous it was to her game, so suggested the tribe went on a group idol hunt to mitigate the risk of Wendy finding one.

We jumped over to Kama where I shit you not, Ron was leading the tribe in some choreography which truly highlighted the need to get Alyssa Edwards on this show in full drag ASAP. Everyone was enjoying his high energy, except for zaddy Eric who was MIA and Aubry who wasn’t enjoying the kumbaya nature of a tribe that has not gone to tribal. But hold her drink, because she is about to approach the newbies one by one to find out how they feel about returning players which no one was interested in talking about. Proving the fact that they are totally screwed. Victoria, Ron and Julia swapped stories by the shore and realised that everyone has been told the same thing and as such, Victoria wants her out yesterday.

Over at Manu Kelley and Lauren were searching for an idol, while Rick and David speculated that the group hunt plan is the perfect may to hide the fact that idol-whisperer Kelley has one. They agreed that they were happy working with Kelley at the moment, but David knows that Kelley won’t let him get to the merge and as such, it isn’t the worst idea to join with Wendy who has zero allies and will be loyal. Wendy rejoined them to reiterate her pitch and point out her vote last week proved her loyalty to an ally, and with her gone, that is up for grabs.

Oh and Rick and David are all in and I kinda love it. And the fact that David is in the best position of the returnees, despite being the weakest.

Back at Kama Gavin and Eric commenced the idol hunting on their tribe, and damn, I got distracted by Eric. Zeric. Zadderic? Eraddy? Anyway this didn’t go unnoticed by Julie, who channeled Angelina and highlighted that men always find idols, while women don’t. While it was super confusing that she complained about not looking for idols instead of doing it, I do love that it was low-key pushing a women’s alliance with Victoria. I also love that she is as clueless about hunter-gatherer roles as I am.

Speaking of idols, Lauren was still searching over on Manu and followed in the footsteps of her heroes Wentworth and Parvati and found said idol. And proved that a guaranteed way to not find an idol is not looking for an idol.

My dear Probst returned to the fray for this week’s immunity challenge – a Game Changers classic – where the tribes were required to swim out to a cage, climb over it, release a big, fat snake, take it back to shore, release numbered tiles to solve a combination and release rings that they need to land on paddles to spell immunity. I think, I focused on snakes and rings. Given Keith wasn’t given enough time to learn to swim, Kama got out to a huge lead while Chris desperately tried to help him along. Keith also struggled with climbing as damn, Chris’ wet jocks look good. Despite it looking like it was going to be a blowout, Manu closed the gap as Keith rolled around in the sand. Both tribes were neck and neck as Joe and Keith tossed rings and sorry, distracted again. Despite a brief interlude of Keith showing that he couldn’t throw, Chris desperately tried to snatch victory to no avail, as Kama once again won immunity.

And Aubry reversed the curse. If that’s allowed without Ghost Island? I don’t know.

Back at camp the Kelley vs. Wendy war started to heat up, while Wardog – still a thing – suggested that Keith’s failure should be making him their number one target. He pushed that plan with Lauren, Kelley and Rick, which Kelley was not into as he is a threat to no one and Wendy is a threat to her, so needs to go. David too was disappointed, though because the plan to take out Kelley would have to be put on hold. Poor Chris also wasn’t loving the plan given he had apparently formed a close bond with him and didn’t want to lose his loyal idol.

Chris approached Rick to float the idea of getting rid of Kelley, which Rick was obviously thrilled about given that has been his goal the entire episode. He took the tea back to David, who was thrilled at how things were shaping up and to get the chance to get her before she gets him. They roped in Keith, who was obvi keen, before Wardog single handedly shut down the plan, convincing Chris that keeping Kelley would be the perfect meat shield should they get screwed by a swap. He then channeled Cirie and pointed out that keep goats around means it could take their spot, so they need to get him out before they realise he is an easy win. Kelley approached Chris and Wardog, and immediately knew something was up and rightly worried that she was about to be voted out.

At tribal council Wendy and Kelley admitted to being nervous after getting votes at the previous tribal council, as Kelley elaborated that being a returning player is a blessing and a curse. She then reiterated that she would be a perfect shield and is strong enough to help them win challenges, which is pretty much her only play. Probst shaded Keith’s challenge performance, with him obviously trying to point out good relationships mean more. But given they’re two-nil, I’d find it hard not to focus on strength since they’ll keep coming back and lose numbers – and potentially find themselves out – should they not think about it. Wardog was hopeful that a blindside may be coming, and after the vote, he will know whether he has placed his trust with the right people. David agreed a blindside is coming, which Keith agreed with because everyone ran the numbers and should be confident heading in to tribal.

Talk turned to ticking off the checklist of the Survivor experience, which blindsides are a part of while Wardog cautioned everyone that focus on a checklist rather than rational gameplay isn’t a great move. And just like that, I’m ok with calling him Wardog again. With that the tribe voted and they piled up on Keith who they either really did a number on convincing him he was safe, or was desperately playing for the camera as he walked out of the tribal council. And played for the back of the theatre as he deliberated over going to the Island of Extinction. Which, spoiler alert, he obviously does but not before a verbal beatdown from me telling him to cut the theatrics and a big bowl of Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding.

 

 

Sticky date pudding would have to be one of my favourite desserts. Light and fluffy yet rich and sticky, it melts in your mouth and fills you with joy. Add in some ice cream and well, consider my shorts creamed themselves.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
250g pitted dates, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
185g butter, softened
2 cups muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
300ml thickened cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and line the base of a 22cm cake pan.

Combine the dates and bicarb in a bowl with 1 ½ cups boiling water and leave to steep for half an hour.

Once the dates are foamy and glorious, cream 125g of the butter, 1 cup of the sugar and 2 tsp vanilla in a stand mixer on medium. Once it’s light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined before removing and folding through the date mixture, flour and baking powder.

Spoon in the pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to rest while you make the sauce.

Speaking of which, combine the remaining sugar, vanilla, butter and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sauce comes to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Invert pudding onto a serving plate and stab wildly with a skewer. Slowly pour over ½-1 cup of sauce, allowing it to soak in but not flow over the edge. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving, slathered in more sauce and a generous heap of Vanilla Ice Cream.

 

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Choc Berry Muffins

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Choc Berry Muffins
Serves: 6.

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

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

Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly.

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

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

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

 

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Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribe swap gave the Contenders a brief pause from their pagonging, well for some. As the new Contenders dominated leaving Benji and Robbie in power with their interloping Champs. Meanwhile over at the Champions Shane took control of the tribe with the Champion boys and the Contenders girls plus Brian pushing to get her. Sadly for Tegan and Shonee, she stuck with the boys and booted Tegan from the game. Thanks to another twist Tegan was given the opportunity to be saved from another boot by the other tribe, however with this time Benji and Robbie opting to send her from the game. For realsies.

We opened up with the Champions where Mat was surveying the land and found a massive beehive with Steve and Sam. Not wanting to leave it alone, they decided to try and smoke them out to get the honey giving me My Girl PTSD, because Thomas J will never be able to see without his glasses. Steve turned pyro and I got Firestarter PTSD, as the honeycomb eventually fell and the fire somehow didn’t burn out of control, leaving the Champions with a safe snack.

The next day Shonee was feeling left right out with four athletes and a genius, with no similarities to help her bond. I mean, they spoke about how long it too for wheels to be added to things and Queen Shonee was over it. Like, give me a shit tonne of Antiques Roadshow instead of suffering through this shit. Feeling like she should start contributing to the survival aspect of the tribe, she decided to try her hand at cooking, cleaning and doing things the others have done for a month. And the fact she has gotten away with that is why she is the queen, TBH. Particularly since Mat was all in on working with her.

Meanwhile over at the Contenders Heath and Fenella were feeling left out as Benji and Robbie continued to bond with the Champion girls, gloating about taking out Tegan. When really, they only added salt to her wounds technically. Fenella however was ropeable about their stupidity and hot damn it seems like the other side of Shonella is finally going to bring hell. Her new pal Heath meanwhile was confronting Robbie about how getting rid of Tegan was a good idea before hooking up with Fenella to bitch and try to find a way to get out of the mess of their making. Heath floated the idea of beating them at their own game, get the Champion girls and get rid of Robbie ASAP with Fenella decided that targeting Monika and her girl power to find an in. Fenella joined Mon and Sharn to talk about the possibility of doing a girls alliance as a way to find an in … in NUDE ROBBIE, BRB.

Sorry – all I can remember is Robbie getting his buns out and Fenella declaring game on molls. So yeah, episode of the season.

Sensing my desire slowly swinging to Robbie, JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would be required to use a rope to drag buckets full of sandbags, which two tribe members would use to knock blocks off a beam which the remaining two people will use to solve a word puzzle. Steve got the Champions out to an early lead while superwoman Lydia showed her first signs of challenge weakness, with Brian getting the second bucket back before Lydia got the Contenders first. Try as Robbie might, Shane and Mat only continued to extend the Champions lead while Benji and Heath finally closed the gap while lobbing their sacks until they found themselves stuck on one errant block. Sam and Shonee had a nice lead on the puzzle, leaving Sharn and Fenella to desperately try and come from behind. Sadly for them and thankfully for Shonee, Brian solved the puzzle from the viewing area and they just got their letters in before the Contenders, winning immunity and saving Shonee from certain doom.

The Contenders returned to camp with Benji once again talking about killing and being melodramatic about the process of voting someone out. Which is less than what I’d be like if I were out there. He and Robbie locked in a plan to get rid off Heath with the help of the Champion women, with Lydia and Monika quickly swearing allegiance. Sharn too locked in the plan with Benji, however his assurance that she was safe sounded shifty and me thinks she is going to do something about it. Heath was not happy about the possibility of going home, so when the Champion girls spoke about being in the minority he quickly assured them that he was on the outs and was more of a free agent than them. He then channeled Sandra and vowed to vote for anyone but him, before pulling in Fenella is another number as he can’t trust Lydia. Not to be outdone, Fenella approached Monika and Sharn to once again float the possibility of a women’s alliance and the three quickly locked in a vote against Robbie.

Given they are floating in the middle, Sharn and Monika went for a walk to discuss which pair would work out better for them. Unsure which would work out top their advantage. Robbie then checked in with Lydia, who told him that Heath was throwing his name out there filling him with rage. He then approached Heath to see what he thought, with Heath trying to get him to see sense and take out another Champion as they head into the merge and deciding that Monika would be the best option. Despite the fact Lydia is the biggest challenge threat and needs to go.

At tribal council Fenella was thankful for sitting in on the last tribal council and the intel they gained. Heath joined her in putting doubt in the Champion women’s mind, saying the cracks were obvious much to the smirks of Lydia. She tried to call him out but Heath straight up said that Mat and Steve – Lydia’s closest allies – were running the game and Sam was looking forward to working with the Champions come the merge. Benji and his rando accent tried to downplay the OG tribe connections, planning to grab whatever numbers he can to make it further in the game.

Lydia admitted to feeling nervous as the odd one out on the tribe, though played up how hard she and her fellow Champs worked to help the tribe. Without seeing that was playing up her status as a threat. Robbie tried to emphasise how close they had gotten, with Monika working the social game to try and make herself less of a target. Sharn was concerned that despite joining to kick out Tegan, the tribe may still be split and would turn on the Champs. Everyone alluded to trust without saying much before Robbie committed that this vote was about who he wanted to work the merge with and Sharn spoke about getting rid of threats come the merge, before Jonathan tried to paint the target on Lydia’s back given she is a beast. Robbie downplayed the importance of strength before Heath and Monika admitted that they are confident they’re in on the plan ala Keith Nale. Sadly like Heath, it backfired as he found himself following his ally Tegan out the door. Just before the merge.

Given Heath is an absolute sweetheart and despite the fact he got nude in episode two, I took him into my arms, well his legs at least – not in a suss way, he is super tall – told him how proud of his game I was, how proud his family would be and how much his friendship means to me. It was oddly platonic, which is unnerving I know, but Heath is a delight and I was heartbroken to see him go. With or without a nude scene. Anyway, the fact that that is so off brand for me makes me nervous so I whipped out a big fat Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins and took it all in my mouth at once.

 

 

While that is totally more on brand, I challenge you to do anything but when faced with these beauties. Caramelly and sticky, lightly spiced and full of nut – sorry – I can’t think of anything else I want to pack into my gob.

Enjoy!

 

 

Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
⅓ cup muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of allspice
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
⅓ cup molasses
⅓ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 ½ cup pitted dates, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180C and line an 8-hole Texan Muffin pan. Because Heath is a giant and you can’t give him a regular sized muffin.

Combine the flour, baking powder, muscovado sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt in a large bowl, and combine the milk, molasses, oil and eggs in another. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold through the walnuts and dates.

Divide your batter into the prepared holes – which wasn’t meant to sound suss, but Steve … I’m always prepared – and transfer to the oven to bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove to cool on a wire rack before devouring.

 

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Courtney Love Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my god – what a delight it was to see Courts again! I was anxiously waiting at the VIP exit of Brisbane Airport – the one where Schapelle left from! – and ran straight into her arms as soon as I saw her, breaking down in tears from either feuding with a washed up Gladiator or how desperately I missed her.

JK, obvi it was the latter. My feud gives me life.

Now as you know from my time-travel enabled date with Kurt, I’ve known Courtney for years when we were both huge in the Portland gay club scene where I was turning tricks at the time. She realised that I was destined for greatness – well, a different kind of greatness because no judgement – took me under her wing and vowed to make me a star.

While I kept on stumbling, Courts was never disappointed in me and always made me feel loved and appreciated. She truly is the sweetest person, which is why I’m honoured to have introduced her to Kurt.

Anyway I haven’t seen Courts since she toured Australia four years ago, so it was such a treat to see her, reconnect and see whether she believes that Nico and I will ultimately end up together. Well, if things don’t pan out with The Commando, obvi. And if she and Neeks enjoyed their time with Ru and Mish, obvi.

Given the deep love I have for dear Courts, I knew there was only one thing I could make that would do her and our friendship justice. A delicious Courtney Love Cake.

 

 

A traditional Sri Lankan celebration cake, the Love Cake is moist, spicy and sweet and is emblematic of all that is good in the world. Like my dear ride-or-die friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Courtney Love Cake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
350g raw unsalted cashews
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
4 eggs, separated, plus an additional 4 yolks
1 ½ cups semolina
⅓ cup honey
icing sugar, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 150°C and line a square cake tin with baking paper.

Blitz the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the rosewater and spices and blitz again until well combined.

Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, to the point where they appear to be pulsating. You know the look. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition before folding through the fragrant cashew mixture, semolina and honey.

Using a clean bowl, beat the egg whites in the stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into the semolina mixture, transfer to the cake tin and bake for an hour, or until firm and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Before carving, dusting in icing sugar and devouring. With your favourite friend.

 

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Chelsea Lamingtownsend

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

Previously on Survivor, Probsty boy dropped a bomb on the top ten announcing that they’d be competing for immunity in two groups with a winner and a trip to tribal council for each. At the first tribal council Jenna tried to play Donathan, though her shady behaviour made him nervous and he played his idol for himself, ensuring she was booted from the game. Meanwhile tribal council number two didn’t prove anymore successful, with Kellyn playing her extra vote to boot Laurel which tragically failed when Michael didn’t jump on board, sending him from the game.

Back at camp the two groups reconvened with Kellyn coming clean about playing the extra vote on Laurel, which Laurel was obvi not keen on. Though neither were the editors it seems as we quickly transitioned to Probst on the beach the next day for the reward challenge for a huge feast AND loved ones. With that, everyone started to breakdown before anyone even arrived on the beach – thought when Wendell’s dad arrived, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Nor my pants, given Wendell’s hungry jocks. Anyway, he was followed by Kellyn’s brother, Donathan’s Queen Aunt Patty – ugh, my heart is breaking. I love Donathan – Angela’s daughter – again, crying along with Probst – Chelsea’s sister – hang on, which one is the castaway? – Laurel’s brother, Sebastian’s booty-short baby sister and Domenick’s wife, who is an icon TBH.

Wendell was first across the pole – again, I wish – arriving at the balance beam first for the puzzle pieces. Sadly Laurel, Chelsea and Kellyn overtook him at the next obstacle and commenced digging their hole to slide under a log. Sadly for them Sebastian came out of nowhere and quickly slinked his twink build under and landed his sandbag on a podium just after Domenick arrived, securing the win. Given Sebastian isn’t an idiot or heartless, he selected second placer Dom to share the reward … followed by Wendell and Donathan. While the girls stood around glumly, Probst dropped another bomb on Sebastian saying that an advantage awaited someone on Ghost Island and he could either snatch it for himself, give it to one of his boys … or it will go to random draw for the girls. While Sebastian had no interest, Wendell jumped at the chance to snatch the advantage, pissing off the girls – particularly Kellyn – in the process.

At Ghost Island Wendell rationalised dropping his father like a newborn giraffe before discovering his advantage was to have a redo of the balance the ball on an ever-expanding pole challenge, like Malcolm in the Philippines. You know, the one that led to his first tragic loss? He also got to practice, so hopefully that makes perfect. Meanwhile out on the reward Domenick assured Donathan and Sebastian’s loved ones that they’d be going to the end together. Though that doesn’t seem to be something Donathan is interested in, given they’re both threats. Back at camp however, Kellyn was burning with fiery rage for Wendell dropping his dad for the reward. She then immediately pulled Chelsea, Laurel and Angela aside to form an alliance, pull in Donathan – because us gays always get along better with girls, right? Eyeroll – and take control and split up Domenick and Wendell. Which despite making Laurel extremely nervous, given their advantages, is super tempting … since they would crush her at final tribal.

With all that excitement out of the way, the final eight arrived to discover they’d be competing in the final immunity challenge from Philippines – swoon Malcolm and Denise … and Lisa – and that Wendell has the chance to reverse Malcolm’s curse. Kellyn quickly dropped out of the challenge, before Angela couldn’t even get it up in the second round, followed by Wendell who used his advantage to stay alive. Sadly it was all for nought, dropping again and losing the challenge. Sebastian dropped soon after the final round kicked off, followed by Laurel and Chelsea, leaving Donathan and Domenick to battle it out for immunity. The boys shook their way for a couple of extra minutes before Donathan dropped the ball and handed Domenick his second immunity win.

Everyone arrived back at camp to kick off the scrambling, with Domenick pulling Wendell aside to share that he kept the boys in line at reward before they locked in the vote for Chelsea. Meanwhile the girls connected by the fire to confirm aligning to break up the boys, with Angela confident she’d be able to pull in Donathan and take control. Which he was keen on. Sadly Laurel seemed open to the boys plan to take out Chelsea, though didn’t make Wendell feel confident and therefore, he planned to play his idol. Laurel and Donathan then joined together to lament the pain of being in the middle, with them both terrified of crossing people they trust just because they can’t be beaten for people they can’t trust to get them to the end. FYI – the latter is always the better option, because the other way is a guaranteed loss. But I’d probably suck and be overcautious if I were there too.

At tribal – gaaaah, MICHAEL?! – Kellyn quickly mentioned dropping two votes on Laurel at the last tribal, I assume to impress the jury. Sadly for her, Donathan stole her thunder announcing that Naviti are at breaking point and he and Laurel would be taking advantage of it … TONIGHT. This made the two factions look around with crazy eyes, denying their scrambling and trying to play innocent. Donathan continued to cause chaos, outing both the girls and boys for coming to them and trying to take control. While everyone on Naviti tried to deny the obvious scrambling, no one was being fooled by anything anyone else had to say. Channelling Tai-nerves-of-steel-Trang, Wendell opted out of playing his idol with his bravery rewarded – you missed your chance and handed he or Dom the game, guys – and him narrowly avoiding the boot while poor Chelsea banished to the jury. Which I can confirm is her name, after getting to meet her at Ponderosa … on account of her having less that five confessionals all season.

Anyway she took her boot like a champ and was an absolute delight while we reconnected. Turns out, I didn’t realise that Chelsea is one of my dear friends – we met whilst in cheerleading camp together – on account of her barely being on the show despite a brief immunity run. After realising our bond, I held her close, apologised for the producers shafting her and whipped her up a big batch of Chelsea Lamingtownsends.

 

 

The Australian – or Kiwi, TBH – classic is one of those baked treats that are perfect, sweet and delicious … but I always kind of forget exist in favour of something showier. Like the pizza curse that Survivor NZ couldn’t reverse, I feel like bequeathing Chelse with the confection kind of cursed her edit. Though thankfully, the light sponge, rich chocolate and shit tonne of coconut are so good, she didn’t seem to notice.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chelsea Lamingtownsend
Makes: 16.

Ingredients
125g butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon for the chocolate icing
1 cup raw caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 ¾ cups flour, sifted
1 tbsp baking powder
½ cup milk
3 ½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 cups desiccated coconut

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Cream the butter, raw caster sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer on medium for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Still running, add the eggs one at a time, allowing the mixture to come together before adding the next.

Remove from the mixer and fold through half the flour and baking powder until well combined, followed by half the milk until well combined. Lather, rinse and repeat until the batter is just combined. Pour into a lined lamington pan, smooth the top and place in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until just cooked through. Allow to cool in the pan for fifteen minutes or so before turning out on a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.

While it is working its way to chill, combine the icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl with half a cup of boiling water and the remaining butter, and stirring to form a smooth chocolatey liquid.

Cut the cake into 16 squares and place the coconut in a dish. Working one at a time, dip the cake in the chocolate icing using a fork until coated. Shake off the excess and dip into the coconut to coat. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to set for a couple of hours.

Then devour.

 

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Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After the debacle of catching up with my frenemy, the worst winner of Drag Race and – my honest opinion only – all around garbage person Tyra Sanchez, it was so nice to spend time with my kind friend Engelbert Humperdinck.

Kind, warm, funny, charming and best of all, kind and open with his fans … friend.

Unlike Tyra.

Anyway, I first met the Dinck and his – well, you know – back in the ‘60s when he was still getting his career off the ground. My dear friend Tom Jones’ manager was his former roommate and one night while we were out partying, we decided his name was holding him back. Ten minutes later Engelbert was born and Arnold was no more.

With that, I earned his complete and unequivocal trust, shaping his career ever since. Well until yesterday, when he tragically declined my offer to coach him to another Eurovision berth. Which no doubt would have been more successful.

While I was upset he didn’t trust me, I respect his wishes like a friend – unlike say, Tyra would – and we instead focused on reconnecting and havin’ a laff. Though that is kind of the go to reaction to splitting an Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake between two best friends.

 

 

Moist, sweet and perfectly spiced, hummingbird cake is like a carrot cake on crack. In all the right ways. Add in some cream cheese icing and my shorts are creamed, culinarily speaking obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup, muscovado sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
2 ripe bananas, mashed
450g crushed pineapple (in juice), drained with juice reserved
2 eggs, lightly whisked
¾ cup sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar mixture

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease 2 x 25cm cake tins.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, and spices in a large bowl. Fold through the muscovado sugar, coconut and walnuts. In another bowl, combine the banana, pineapple, eggs, oil and ⅓ of the pineapple juice. While stirring pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and continue to fold until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the lined tins, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, checking after half an hour. You want it golden brown on the outside and an inserted skewer to just come out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until it is light, fluffy and just combined. Don’t overbeat as the icing will become too soft.

To assemble, smear a third of the icing on top of one of the cakes. Top with the second cake, and smear the rest of the icing on top and around the edges. Press the remaining walnuts into the icing and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour or so, removing ten minutes before serving … and devouring.

 

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