Marquise au Chocky Gilbert

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 All Stars were abandoned on the shores of Fiji looking for revenge, redemption, a combination of the two, or simply to retain their crown in Shane and Jericho’s case. Though sadly for them, their second chance ended before it even began as the Olympian became the first boot and was followed out the door by the cookie monster. They were followed by Daisy, Michelle and Henry in quick succession before the tribes switched things up. After an attempt on her scalp, Shonee took revenge on Abbey, Lydia and John before Mat was bundled in on the deal, I assume solely because he too was an athlete. We then entered the darkest timeline and lost three OGs back-to-back-to-back with Queen Phoebe, fourth place robbed goddess Flick and Nick all just missing the merge. The latter because Jacqui hulked out in the immunity challenge and kept ruining it for the tribe.

We checked in with Mokuta the next morning where Zach was ritualistically carving Nick’s initials into a tree as Sharn reflected on turning on her close ally Nick. Even though it feels like she doesn’t have the right, though maybe I am just bitter. Completely jubilant however was David who had managed to take control of the switched tribe, had an idol that his allies know about – and more importantly, fear – and a secret idol that can keep him safe. Oh and he is going into the merge with a 7-5 advantage based on swap tribes, and an in with the OG Vakama tribe. Not wanting to rest on his laurels, David called an all tribe meeting to plot for the upcoming merge, convincing them to play up that he is on the outs so that he can try and get back in with Vakama, blindside them and fully take control. And drag Zach along for fun.

Forgoing any chatter from Vakama, the tribes joined Jonathan at the top of a hill where after Harry and Shonee processed the pain of losing their bestie Nick, the tribes were officially no more as the tribes merged. AK and Moana were thrilled to have finally been able to make the merge and become an eligible bachelor and bachelorette respectively. Moana was even more motivated to win the money for her family, while David was ready to destroy his competition.

On that note, Jonathan tasked them all with their first individual challenge for an advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge. All they would need to do is hold a clay pot tethered to a rope over a ledge with the last person standing taking out the prize. Almost immediately AK dropped his pot, followed closely by David who immediately started catching up with Brooke and AK. Harry soon dropped out, joining the catch-up while Shonee dropped and was all alone down the other end, silently willing her friends to return to her side. David continued to sell Mokuta’s prearranged lie before Tarzan and Brooke dropped from the challenge. After an hour, Jonathan grew tired and forced everyone down to one hand, leading to Sharn dropping out, followed by Moana, Locky and Zach, leaving Jacqui and Lee to battle it out. After another hour in the sun Jacqui showed her first sign of weakness, while David continued to reel Vakama in with his eyes. Oh and then out of nowhere Jacqui dropped, handing Lee an advantage. Which he won’t learn about until the immunity challenge.

The merge tribe arrived at their new camp – the former Mokuta – with Tarzan thrilled to finally make the merge, Shonee was thrilled to make it again – and be one step closer to some Gucci – and AK was just thrilled about the palatial digs at the new camp. Oh and the huge feast awaiting them by the shore. Locky was screaming, the tribe were grabbing at things, Moana was cracking the booze and Shonee was just thrilled to have cutlery again. After toasting to their successes, Sharn suggested the tribe name of Kalokalo which allegedly means star in Fijian. Everyone agreed, though I assume not because they cared per se and more because they were too interested in smashing the food and eyeing up the competition.

Kalokalo slowly migrated back to the shelter where everyone was mingling, with Brooke chatting to Brooke and Lee, though not that Moana has anything to worry about given she is the Godmother and is fully in control. And she was willing to paint Mokuta as a fractured tribe to stay there. She and Sharn told Brooke about Dave being on the outs, and the need to keep him happy to blindside him. Though really, her plan was to get revenge on Locky who spent the first two weeks of the game targeting her. And voted out her bestie Mat. With that, she pulled Dave aside to lock in the vote against Locky deep in the jungle, with him thrilled by the idea given getting rid of Locky is in his best interests.

Shonee meanwhile was nervous to be in the minority and as such, decided it was time to find two people that she can flip to their side and take control. She caught up with Brooke by the well, who agreed that Dave and Zach were their best hopes and as such, Shonee got to work reminding Zach how much he loves her. She told Brooke that an easy in with Zach is birds, given he has a passion for rescuing birds and has heaps of averies. With that she loves birds and Brooke too now loves birds, regaling him with tales about hand rearing birds and honestly, I can’t actually tell if she bred birds. David could see that they were desperately trying to flip him, glad that Zach too was playing along. As such, he pulled Locky aside to see how they can take control, with Locky spilling Vakama’s entire plan and assuring Dave that Shonee is confident that she will be able to flip back and keep them all safe. Later that night Vakama 2.0, Zach and David caught up to lock in their plan for the upcoming vote, eventually settling on Sharn as Locky wished for chaos, as that is where he does his best work.

Jonathan returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would each have to balance on see-saw and take blocks from a dish on one end and stack them on a tray on the other, with the first till nine winning immunity. Well not Lee, as his advantage was to remove a block and only go for eight. The tribe all stepped on to their platforms and while everyone struggled to find their feet, Shonee was like a statue and quickly stacked eight like it was nothing. Sadly she lost her stack though, forcing her to restart. Thankfully she also set off a chain reaction as everyone else lost their balance allowing her to start things up again and build her second tower at lightning speed before everyone followed the trend and dropped again. Ultimately Shonee quickly built her third tower like it was nothing, securing immunity like the freaking icon that she is.

Thanks pilates!

Back at camp the tribe celebrated Shonee’s athletic display of dominance, while the icon was just thrilled to know that there is no way that she is going home. Oh and she let us know that she is just great at balancing and hasn’t even done pilates in over a year. While Locky would have preferred to have won for himself, he was glad that immunity was at the very least in his alliance’s hands and as such, can target Sharn with the help of David and Zach and take control. He then got way to confident and hot damn – Locky, you in danger girl.

Almost like I manifested it, Moana pulled Sharn and Lee aside to lock in the vote for Locky and tee up Sharn to play the fool and pretend to slip that they are targeting AK. With that, she pulled AK aside to let him know that her alliance would be voting for him tonight. And given he has no reason not to trust her, took the information to David and Locky and reconfirmed that they were still on for voting out Sharn, nervous about going home himself should their plans fail. The only person more cocky than Locky at the moment was David, giddy to be in the swing vote position and safely in the majority no matter which side they select.

He caught Zach up on the plan and returned to play mind games with Vakama 2.0 but was proving to be so convincing, that Tarzan started to panic that he had actually flipped. This made him nervous enough to call Moana over and the duo approached him to stress the importance of the upcoming vote to prove their loyalties. Moana was nervous, Locky and Brooke were confident and while it feels obvious, it is so obvious that Locky will go, that maybe I am wrong?

At tribal council Harry spoke about the intricacies of navigating the first post-merge tribal council, before Jonathan threw shade at AK for not making it before. AK spoke about his surprise at how few people approached him after the immunity challenge and truly felt like nothing had changed and everyone was locked in their alliances. David spoke about someone potentially being blindsided, given everyone is keen to make a statement and take out a big player first. Locky admitted to feeling on the bottom as the former Vakama, though was hopeful to have found enough cracks to save them. Sharn spoke about splitting cracks and honestly I get distracted by such innuendo.

Harry continued to prove how dangerous he would be if he gets the chance to plead his case at tribal council, calmly outlining the importance of not only surviving but also impressing the jury enough to win. David agreed but pointed out that you need to get there, oft by making smart decisions, to even get to plead your case. He then spoke about Mayan sacrifice and it got real dark, real quick. Zach had a slip of the tongue, alluding to the vote coming down to old tribal lines. As he desperately tried to play the fool and bumble around who could be aligned, you could see him desperately wanting to crawl back into his avery.

Harry said that they’re at the point where some people haven’t had the chance to play the game yet and as such, looks forward to them showing what they are made off. Locky urged people to step up, while Moana slyly reminded him that she has. Tarzan spoke about the importance of loyalty, while his ally Moana preached the virtues of making the safe move. Locky interjected and told her that there is no way that he will vote for her in the end then. She tried to defend playing it safe, before Locky schooled her about the pre-merge not really counting, since they aren’t around to reward the big moves and as such, she needs to step up. Moana schooled him and asserted that a quiet game doesn’t mean it isn’t a good game. Sharn was confident, Locky was confident and shock horror, David was feeling confident. With that, the tribe voted and poor Locky discovered that his was misplaced as Mokuta 2.0 stuck together to send him out of the game and over to the jury.

Likely not to vote for Moana.

Oh dear, sweet, beautiful Locky – I hate to see him go, but hot damn watching him leave truly floods my basement. He entered Loser Lodge just as it upgraded to the Jury Villa, so I took him into my arms, realised I am devoid of upper body strength and got him to take me in his arms and spin me in a circle like a rom com.

“The King of the Jury needs his queen, and I am forever yours,” I whispered into his ear.

He giggled, maybe awkwardly, maybe a little nervous, I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that Locky is straight up the most interesting player of his archetype besides Malcolm. Good strategically, charming and likeable, athletic and built like a God, he is perfect for this game and could have taken out the season, had Dave and Moana not had control.

His eyes welled up with tears as I told him all this before he started giggling again, this time at the sight of my Marquise au Chocky Gilbert.

 

 

Velvety and smooth, sweet, rich and oh so delicious, the marquise au chocolat melts in your mouth. And is the perfect thing to distract from post boot pain, in bed with your love.

Enjoy!

 

 

Marquise au Chocky Gilbert
Serves: 2 lovers that can also be friends.

Ingredients
255g dark chocolate, cut into pieces
1 tbsp espresso, cooled
1 tbsp amaretto
100g raw caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
175g unsalted butter, melted
cocoa, for dustin’

Method
Line a loaf tin with cling.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the coffee and amaretto and place in the top of a double boiler – well, if you don’t have steamy, unbridled sexual tension with your mate – and cook, stirring until the chocolate has just melted and everything has come together.

Meanwhile combine the caster sugar in yolks in a bowl and whisk for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. You could do this in a stand mixture, but I like to watch Locky whisk shirtless and I got him to give me a hand. Fold through the chocolate and butter until well combined. Leave to cool.

Finally whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold through the combined chocolate mixture until it forms a homogenous, shiny mixture. Transfer to the lined tin, cover with cling until airtight and place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 12 hours.

Once set, turn out, cut into slices and serve, dusted lightly with cocoa. They devour, on plates, or Locky’s chest. I went with the latter option.

 

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Flix Egginton

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Phoebe tried to regain David’s trust in her after her minor faux pas. Which is infuriating since David is ignoring the fact he betrayed her on the Daisy vote. But anyway. While Phoebe found a clue to the hidden immunity idol, David snagged the idol out from under her nose, giving him two legit, and a fake one that he made. Meanwhile Vakama grew more and more desperate for a win, until Shonee won them reward – which snagged her some sunnies – and kicked off a mini-streak by snagging immunity. Back at camp David and Moana tried to pull numbers to take out Phoebe, while she and Nick rallied the troops to get rid of Moana. Firmly in the middle, Sharn wasn’t sure which duo to side with until David made her nervous at tribal and switched her vote to Moana. Since Nick played his second vote, that tied things up, however on the revote, Sharn flipped back to her allies and sent Phoebe from the game.

Back at camp David was feeling giddy to have humiliated Phoebe and to have found out that Sharn is a snake. She, David and Mo caught up with Sharn desperate to convince them that she was always on their side without telling them that she voted for Moana to cover her tracks for turning on Nick and Lee. While Moana wasn’t concerned and trusted her completely, David wasn’t convinced and with his confidence, he became a bit too arrogant. And sadly, I don’t see it coming back to bite him any time soon.

The next morning marked their 25th day in game and feeling, I don’t know, stupid, Nick decided to tell everyone that the extra vote came from him and that was what was in Pandora’s vote. He shared how sad he was to see Phoebe go and more importantly blow the second vote, since he is well and truly on the bottom. As such, he decided to charm the tribe, bonding with Jacqui while washing the clothes. With them continuing their chat while pegging their clothes, Sharn, Moana and David caught up by the well with Sharn desperate to convince David of her loyalty, asking what their next steps were and readily agreeing to get rid of Nick ASAP. Though I assume she did that since she realises that it is him or her going home next.

Over at Vakama the tribe celebrated the half-way mark with a swim on the reef and Flick was busy marvelling how well they were getting on, with the entire tribe aligned. She continued her positivity by talking about how great she felt in the tribe, and more importantly, was confident in her ability to make it to the end should she make the merge. And oh god, Flick, you’re in danger! Back at camp Flick and Brooke caught up, talking about how great it has been to reconnect and it felt secure, knowing how the other works. Sadly for Flick, Brooke admitted to us that she planned to strike first but knew to wait until the moment was right. Before that thread could unravel, Brooke shared that the person she trusts least in the tribe is Harry, given he is sneaky. And constantly hunting for idols. As such, she joined him in poking around the jungle and after assuring her that he already checked the area they were. Then almost immediately, he saw a yellow thread and pulled it, digging up the advantage to put a stop to one of the next two tribal councils after the votes are cast, cancelling the tribal council and leaving the votes a mystery.

My love Jonathan arrived for the immunity challenge where the tribes had to dig under a log, race over a bunch of obstacles, through a rope tunel and then shoot their nuts to break five tiles. Returning to form, Mokuta got out to a convincing early lead, getting their entire tribe under the log before Vakama even got their first. With only Brooke through for Vakama, Mokuta made it to their final obstacle and made it to the nut shooting portion of the challenge just as Vakama got past the log. Somehow they managed to close the gap, getting up to the tiles while Lee had only broken two. This allowed Locky to crack a tile and save it from being too humiliating as Zach and Lee slowly plugged away at the tiles before David stepped up and finally won immunity for Mokuta.

Back at camp the dejected Vakama spent a little bit of time lamenting their losses until Shonee reminded them that they did manage to close the gap, which should make them proud. And just like that, the tribe started to split up and try and find a plan for the tribal council. Flick suggested to Brooke that they stay OG Vakama strong and take out Harry and while Brooke said that she was keen, Brooke was out for blood and decided that now would be the right time to get rid of her. With that, Brooke approached Harry, Shonee and Locky to lock in the votes against Flick, with Harry and Shonee just happy to vote for anyone but them. That being said, Harry was pretty thrilled to be able to pull the plug on the tribal council of his choice. From the next two.

With that locked down, Brooke and Locky approached AK to gauge his interest in taking out Flick. And while he was scared to break up their alliance too early, he did seem somewhat agreeable while subtly reminding them that getting rid of Harry makes the most sense. And it is also the easiest move. Though that seemed to lock Brooke for Flick, given she doesn’t want to play it safe this time. While the lovebirds hung out, AK approached Shonee to let her know that she is safe at tribal council, but Harry is likely to get votes and to be aware, wanting to keep her open as an option at next tribal council. Shonee being Shonee, she took this information back to her closest ally and told him that they need to come up with a plan ASAP, otherwise he is going home.

Harry pulled Locky aside to find out whether the vote was still for Flick, letting Locky know that he had heard his name thrown around. Locky feigned ignorance, asking where the information came from and while Harry told him it came from Shonee, he didn’t give up the true culprit of AK. Meanwhile Brooke pulled Flick aside to let her know that their fake plan was to split the vote between Harry and Shonee, though assured us that all she cares for is revenge. Clearly unaware that should they go to tribal again, she and Locky could easily be booted by the three loners.

At tribal council Brooke admitted that they have all been dreading having to turn on each other, with AK agreeing that they all wished that this turned out to be the final six. Harry said that he still believes they made the right move to get rid of Mat and not make a move, though shared that he was nervous that tonight’s vote would fall along OG tribal lines. Brooke disagreed that that is how they would be voting, Shonee and Harry still felt super nervous. AK admitted that voting against them was one of the many plans he heard throughout the day, which lead to Harry reminding everyone that loyalty may get you to the end, but these four people have all played the exact same game and some diversity in their alliance could work, given they will need information and/or a point of difference at final tribal council.

AK agreed that working with them makes a lot of sense, while Flick joined the fray and said that she plans to stay loyal but would ultimately be voting in her best interests. Harry continued to fight hard, while Locky and Brooke countered that just because he has connections, doesn’t mean it would end up helping them. Brooke then spoke about the dilemma of voting out the wrong person and while she may risk not making the merge with her decision tonight, if she did, she would have better numbers. AK reminded everyone that he plays to win and he’d rather be voted out than not try. Then Harry said that he planned to make some ballsy moves and while it seemed like a threat, everyone lapped it up and shared that that attitude is exactly why they all returned.

With that the tribe voted and while Harry got up to play his advantage, AK put a stop to him, jumping up, whispering in his ear and assuring him that everyone voted Flick and not to do anything stupid. Because if they do, they will be the final five. Shonee cautioned him not to be stupid, but Harry ended up making the ballsiest move of all, holding on to the advantage and letting the votes play out. And luckily for him, that trust wasn’t misplaced as the tribe did join together to boot Flick and help Brooke get her revenge.

Look, I get it – I GET IT – Brooke got humiliated by Flick in her season and if I were her, I would have cut her too before giving her the chance to do it again. She made the right move for her, but that doesn’t make it any easier. And with that, as soon as I heard her walking into Loser Lodge, I barrelled to the door, flung it open and pulled her in for the biggest hug, holding back my tears.

My voice cracked as I started to shake and quietly told her how hard it was to see her go out so soon, and how worried I was for Queen Shonee, the last standing fourth-places robbed goddess. Flick being the sweet, upbeat icon that she is booped me on the nose and reminded me that everything is going to be ok, she was ok and honestly, she just wanted to hang with her fellow GC icon and smash a Flix Egginton or six.

 

 

Like my second favourite robbed goddess herself, these babies are super sweet and immediately make you fall in love with them. The crunch of the biscuit, the sticky caramel and the melted chocolate? It almost makes losing Flick worth it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Flix Egginton
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1¼ cups plain flour
¼ cup icing sugar
¼ firmly packed cup muscovado sugar
½ tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g raw caster sugar
½ cup thickened cream
40g salted butter
350g milk chocolate, melted

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To make the cookie, combine the flour, icing and muscovado sugars and salt in a bowl. Place the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixture and beat on medium until light and fluffy. Add the dry mix a little at a time until it is all done and and just coming together. Pour into a lined 23cm square baking tin and press to make a neat, flat base. Transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While it is getting as chill as Cynthia Bailey, place the caster sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, sans stirring, for five minutes, or until bubbly and amber. Stir in the salty butter and cream, and cook until it reaches 120C. Pour over the cookie base, tilting the pan until it is even. Leave to cool for an hour, or until set.

Lifting the caramel coated cookie from the pan and using a serrated knife, cut into 1cm thick batons. Dip them in some melted chocolate and transfer to a wire rack to set.

The devour, heartbroken that we’re down to our final fourth-place robbed goddess.

 

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Mat Profiterogers

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Phoebe and David were feeling isolated on new Mokuta, though the latter found some comfort in the form of his first idol of the season. Meanwhile his secret ally Mat was precariously sitting pretty in new Vakama, thanks in no small part to his second hidden immunity idol. Once again Vakama lost the immunity challenge and quickly firmed up a plan to get rid of Mat or his idol. And as such, Locky got to work rallying the troops. Not to be outdone, Mat tried to rally a counter attack, quickly pulling in John and seemingly piquing Harry, Shonee and Flick’s interest. It all came crashing down at tribal council however and sensing their hesitation, Mat played his idol for himself, sending zaddy John out of the game.

We opened at Mokuta where the tribe were loving their winning ways and despite some feuding, Lee was loving the fact their group was in tact. Even Tarzan, who had a morning ritual of going down the end of the beach each morning, stripping off and washing himself with sand. Which is both disturbing and hot all at once.

Meanwhile back at Vakama Shonee too was grooming with Brooke and Flick before convincing AK to give her a shower by the well. She then solidified her alliance with Locky and Brooke by paying the shower forward. And honestly, seeing her so happy and confident in her decision to lock in with that group makes me happy. On the flipside, Mat was not enjoying being on the bottom once again. This time without an idol, or Flick, Harry and Shonee to protect save him. With that, Mat decided to approach the bigger players to try and sow seeds of doubt and make everyone paranoid enough to start targeting each other, rather than him.

Now clothed, Tarzan was washing up with Sharn and Jacqui at Mokuta while Phoebe was just grateful to be on a winning tribe, given she is on the bottom and they have straight up tried to vote her out once before. As such, Phoebe went on a charm offensive, chatting with Zach, trying to garner sympathy from Lee and most importantly get David to trust her again and believe that he is her person. While David was seemingly in on burying the hatchet, he assured us that it is all for show and he has no intention to stick with her to the end. And will humiliate her on her way out. He then listed all his secret sub-alliances and hot damn, why are so many people trusting him?

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where each tribe would pit one castaway against another and swim against a current to snatch a flag, with the first to grab it winning a point and the first tribe to three winning an epic cake reward. Flick and Sharn were the first to do battle with both fighting hard against a ridiculously strong current. Both drifted back to starting buoy before trying again and once again coming up short. Leaving neither to score a point. Nick and AK were next up, and while AK was the first to make an attempt, he went absolutely nowhere. Nick desperately tried, looking far from graceful, but was successful and scored the first point for Mokuta. Bet they wish Shane was still in the game, no?

Mat and David were up next, with Mat absolutely destroying David and tying things up. Lee and Locky then faced off and were neck and neck until Locky was disqualified for trying to drown Lee. Much to Nick’s delight and Locky chagrin. Phoebe and Brooke nervously jumped in the water next, wondering how in the hell they will make it to the end. Brooke went hard out, ultimately tiring herself allowing Phoebe time to recharge, which was enough for her to power to the end and score reward for Mokuta.

Mokuta arrived at the Survivor cake shop – after Nick acknowledged his messy swimming style – where they learnt that this reward will be enjoyed one at a time and hot damn, this is going to be a mess. The tribe selected the order, with David suggesting Tarzan given he is the least strategic and is unlikely to lie. With Tarzan eating snacks, the rest of the tribe drew straws and despite feeling lucky, Nick drew the short straw and would go last. Tarzan admitted to not liking cake, so quickly had a look through the shop before grabbing a single donut and deciding that there is no clue. Moana was next and got distracted by the cakes, exiting empty handed. Phoebe was up next and wasn’t so calm, smashing food and hacking up cakes, desperate to find a clue. Which on the last one, she found, learning that an idol was hidden back at camp and then desperately tried to hide the clue. Which she did badly.

When she returned to the tribe, they clearly found her cover story shady but there was no time to call it out as David was up next. And he straight up destroyed the shop, biting into whole cakes, drowning himself in milk, tossing things on the ground and flipping over furniture. Everyone else was relatively tidy, except for Lee who motorboated the cakes, before Nick finally got his turn and literally ransacked the entire shack, desperate to find a clue without the fear of getting caught out given he was last.

Forgoing any and all camp action, Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would race to unpacked poles which they would stick into holes and build a staircase to get to the top of a tower, which they cross before releasing keys with more poles, using the keys to unlock a chest of puzzle pieces and wait for it, solve said puzzle. As is fast becoming habit, Mokuta got out to an early lead while Vakama was nipping at the heels, desperate to close the gap. Vakama did manage to overtake Mokuta, as David struggled to release their first key giving them a healthy lead when the tribes arrived at the puzzle. While AK and Harry tried to make the most of their lead, they proved no match for Nick and Sharn, who whipped through the puzzle and secured another massive come from behind victory, sending Vakama back to tribal council. Again.

The dejected tribe returned to camp, with Harry grateful that Nick’s epic puzzle skills deflected from the fact he and AK completely choked on the puzzle. He was hopeful that while they are heading to tribal council, he could use it to his advantage to solidify trust with the core alliance so that he can make a move later down the track. Mat went hunting for an idol, giving Harry the chance to make his move with Brooke, Flick and Locky, offering himself as the second person in the split vote situation, knowing that he will go home if Mat is successful. But ultimately prove his loyalty, which honestly, isn’t worth the risk. Speaking of Mat, he continued to hunt, knowing that there is no point trying to woo Harry or Shonee again and as such, decided to target Shonee and try and get Locky and AK on his side.

He pulled the boys aside and reminded them that they will have even less strength for challenges if they get rid of him and as such, they need to keep him and instead take out Shonee as she is weak – BOO – with the added bonus being that it weakens Harry’s game. Also keen to make a move was Flick, who finally got a confessional this season, who approached Mat. This was enough to make Shonee, Brooke and Locky nervous, with the trio floating the idea of getting rid of her instead. Which Brooke was super keen on, given she has a score to settle with her from season 1.

At tribal council Locky praised the tribe for being strong and identified their weakness with puzzles is letting them down. AK admitted that he and Harry choked at the challenge, which Mat took advantage of, talking of his regret in not stepping up to the puzzle himself. Talk turned to the athlete genocide spearheaded by Shonee, with Brooke reiterating that Abbey, Lydia and John are not required and they are killing the physical side. Mat then spoke about being on the outs again, and as such, highlighting how much stronger the tribe is for having him on it. Locky agreed that should Mat go, they will be fighting an uphill battle in challenges, but at the end of the day, numbers are what matters. Running out of angles, Mat suggested that often the bigger move is to keep someone in the game. This led to Harry talking about the importance of keeping targets in the game, but given how many allies Mat has on the other side, the benefit may not be worth it.

Mat spoke about the last two days, knowing that he is screwed, completely humbling, telling everyone that his gratitude for keeping him is the best way to gain loyalty. Flick then put her foot in it and agreed that Mat’s pitch is convincing and is making her question which way to vote. With that, Mat then started to point out another target, the sneaky Harry. Harry played up his loyalty before Brooke joined the fray and admitted that sooner rather than later, they will need to start picking each other off and Flick honestly looked like she was about to shit her pants with that statement. Mat gave one more pitch, encouraging everyone that this is the turning point in the game and as such, they need to make a move and think about winning the next challenge. Finally the tribe voted and despite his pleas, they stayed together and sent the football legend from the game.

Poor Mat was heartbroken to have been voted out, though was proud of the game that he had played and the fact he made it as far as he did with the size of the target he had on his back. While I was disappointed my fellow GC legend – because I’m from the Gold Coast – couldn’t make it work with our fellow GCer, I kept my chin up and was grateful that no matter what, Mat plays the game hard and that is always infinitely entertaining. Plus, it not working meant that Queen Shonee lived to fight another day, you know? With that, I toasted his legend of the game status – which I just bequeathed him – and fed him up a plate of Mat Profiterogers. Which, fun fact, I managed to rescue from the reward.

 

 

Perfectly puffed balls of choux, full to the brim – of freaking out – with aggressively vanillary custard and a thick layer of velvety ganache, these are the only way to eat your feelings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mat Profiterogers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g butter, chopped
¾ cup water
¾ cup plain flour, plus ⅓ cup for the custard
pinch salt
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks for the custard
1 ¾ cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
⅓ cup caster sugar
½ cup cream
250g milk chocolate

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and add the four eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until combined.

Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe balls of dough, 3cm apart, on lined baking sheets. Bake in for about 10 minutes or until pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole in each to release the steam and maintain optimal crispness.

To make the crème pâtissière, combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick before whisking in the flour, followed by the warmed milk. Return the custard to the pan and cook, stirring, over low heat for a further couple of minutes, or until nice and thick. Leave to cool.

Once everything is chill, pipe the custard inside each puff and place on a cooling rack.

Lastly heat the cream in another saucepan over low heat and when just about to boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until thick and smooth. Pour over each profiterole and leave to rest.

Then devour. Heartbroken to have missed the merge.

 

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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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Blondies

Baking, Dessert, Sweets

I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to see out such a triumphant week. I mean, my ex-turned-friend became an Oscar winner, Shonee slayed and was then saved and the OG version of Survivor debuted its all winners season. That is a lot to take in; overwhelming, exhilarating and inappropriately erotic, so it was wonderful to put icing on the cake in the form of my dear friends Blondie.

I first met Blondie in the ‘70s. They were getting there start at CBGBs – fun fact, both Bs stand for me; Ben and bareback. While they were rocking the stage, I was making my cash in the bathrooms, alleyways and near the dumpster, but it never deterred Debs, Chris and the boys for reaching out and making friends with me.

Was it a friendship based on pity, with them buying me dinner after their set? Sure. But I have zero dignity, and gladly played into their desire to help me. And thankfully it developed into a deep, loving, life long friendship.

We haven’t had the chance to catch-up as one big group lately, so it meant so much to me the Debbie tee-d up all our schedules to facilitate and reunite us as one big happy family.

As soon as they arrived at my door, I pulled them in for a big hug and broke into tears, overwhelmed by how much their love means to me. After crying, we turned things around with a lot of love and light, and a big ol’ batch of our – now weedless – Blondies.

 

 

Sweet and gooey, there is nothing better than anything in the brownie/blondie family. I mean, who doesn’t love eating cake batter? These puppies are as close as you can get without having to fear e-coli. Add in the caramelly goodness of white chocolate and the tart, tang of raspberries and I am well and truly in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blondies
Serves: 5-7 of the dearest friends, depending on the line-up.

Ingredients
¾ cup unsalted butter
1 ¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 ½ cups plain flour
150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
100g raspberries

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C.

Combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until just combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and whisk in the vanilla. Leave to cool slightly.

Whisk in the eggs and flour until just combined before folding in the white chocolate and raspberry.

Pour the batter into a lined square baking tin and transfer to the oven to back for 30 minutes, or until golden and set around the edge and the centre is just baked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

As soon as they are cold, slice, serve and devour. Greedily.

 

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Macatedamia Blanc-choc Cookie

Baking, Dessert, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCII: Gold Basketball, Sweets

Hollywood’s night of nights is tomorrow and as such, this year’s Oscar Gold celebration – Gold Basketball – must come to an end. After a rollercoaster week checking in with Quentin, Nat, Kobe, Di and Bret, I thought I would reach out with my dearest of dear friends, Cate Blanchett.

Because why not wrap up this year’s Oscar Gold with the woman that uttered the most famous line on Australian TV, “a packet of Tim Tams that never run out.”


Is that awkwardly shoehorned in? Sure. But isn’t it great to know that Australia’s Meryl Streep start in the best Australian commercial of the ‘90s. That I still quote every time I walk down the biscuit aisle?

Well anyway, fun fact, it isn’t just my favourite commercial. It is also my favourite co-starring moment with the iconic Ms Blanchett. Yes, I am the famed genie. Which is why I also quote the ad every time I am in the biscuit aisle, desperate to get somebody to recognise me.

Anyway, Cate was thrilled to catch-up and to finally make her debut on this patch of cyberspace. I mean, can you believe she described it as more meaningful than her turn in The Present. Aka her Broadway debut? What an angel!

Despite not being able to translate her Globes nod into an Oscar one, Cate was super keen to run the odds with me. She kicked things off by saying she is obviously backing How to Train Your Dragon 3 for Best Animated Feature and honestly, I stared blankly at her for a full ten  minutes before I realised that a) she must be in it and b) there must be two earlier ones in this alleged series.

Thankfully I laughed her off and told her that as the jewel in my crown, she had the top tier awards. And I don’t let people judge themselves. Though that last one was far less confidently, on account of not being sure whether she was actually in the movie or just a Dragon nut.

With the awkwardness out of the way, we agreed that Little Women will take out Best Costume Design, Bombshell will run away with Best Makeup and Hairstyling, 1917 is as good as any other for Best Cinematography and we find it hard to bet against Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for Production Design.

Then things got slightly more combative, as Cate back Laura Dern for Best Supporting Actress while I kept screaming that Margot can and will return the statuette to Australian hands for Bombshell. After she calmed me down, she agreed that our mutual friend Brad will snatch Best Supporting Actor and that Parasite should win Best Picture, but is unlikely to defeat 1917. Which is sad. I mean, Little Women should get it if they don’t give it to Parasite.

With the odds out of the way for another year, we sat back, she made us a couple of cuppas and then, since packets of Tim Tams do always run out, we smashed a Macatedamia Blanc-choc Cookie or two. 

 

 

Almost as quintessentially Australian as a Timmy, a white chocolate and macadamia cookie is arguably better than our chocolate treasure. Big chunks of sweet white chocolate work with the creamy crunch of the macadamia, to form the greatest flavour combination. And perfect afternoon snack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Macatedamia Blanc-choc Cookie
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
125g butter, at room temperature
¾ cup muscovado sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g white chocolate, roughly chopped
250g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until thick and creamy. Not juicy, despite what Roxxxy would have you believe. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat for a further minute, or until it just comes together.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the flour and baking powder. Again, when just together, fold through the chocolate and macadamias.

Using an ice cream scoop, dollop a 2 tablespoon blob of batter on a lined baking sheet, leaving an inch perimeter around. Repeat, going onto multiple sheets if needed, until the batter is gone.

Transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until set, puffed, golden and crisp. I know it feels like a lot of things to oversee, but you’ll be right, I promise.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Or devouring immediately while you work up the courage to ask for a plus one to the Oscars, ashamed that you haven’t won yet.

 

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Quentin Maraschino Cherries

Dessert, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCII: Gold Basketball, Sweets

I don’t want to bore you with the details of my time in exile, but I can confirm that there was one big name star that was reaching out to me each week in concern. And that was Academy Award winning multi-hyphenate Quentin Tarantino. As such, I knew he would be the perfect person to kick off this year’s Oscar Gold celebration. Particularly since he directed three of my friends – Margot, Brad and Leo – to nominations this year.

Quents and I have known each other since the ‘80s when we both guested in the same episode of The Golden Girls. Sensing each other’s talents, we were drawn to each other through the sea of Elvis-impersonating extras and became the fastest of friends.

The question has probably struck you – how have two talented writers, such as ourselves, never worked together? It is a combination of unbridled sexual tension – dat chin, yo – and the fact I prefer to act as his muse, rather than tip the balance of our current relationship.

Fun fact: I inspired the characters of Mia Wallace, The Bride, Elle Driver and Daisy Domergue. What can I say? I am a strong, independent woman.

As soon as I say Quentin, I collapsed in a heap, the emotion of seeing him, the director of my beloved Luke Perry’s final film, hitting me like a wave. He ran and scooped me up in his arms, carried me into his home and lay me next to him on the couch to discuss this year’s Oscar odds.

I may have been high on the smelling salts, but we kicked off talking about Best Director and without even thinking about the fact he was nominated, said that Bong Joon-ho would be robbed if he lost for Parasite. And Mendes likely beating him with 1917 may be deserving, but I’d still be heartbroken.

“I assume you’re fucking tipping me for Best Original Screenplay then,” he joked, bringing me back to earth.

“Yes, obvi. But that is a conversation for later in the week. You’ve got some other categories I’d like you to run with me!”

He agreed that Bong has International Film in the bag, despite Pedro being equally deserving for  Pain and Glory. He thinks Documentary Feature will go to American Factory, while I am all in for The Cave. We agreed that Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) should and will win Documentary Short, Film Editing will go to Ford v Ferrari as it is the most technical and Visual Effects should go to Avengers: Endgame but will likely get swept up in a 1917 sweep.

With the formalities out of the way, I acted weak again to distract from my earlier faux pas. And so that I could enjoy being hand fed Quentin Maraschino Cherries by their namesake.

 

 

Some people say that maraschinos are a garnish. A sticky sweet morsel of magic to heighten a cocktail or dessert. But to Quents and I, they’re not a snack. They’re the whole damn meal in and of themselves. And once you make your own, you’ll never go back.

Enjoy!

 

 

Quentin Maraschino Cherries
Serves: 2 talented friends with palpable sexual chemistry.

Ingredients
1kg sweet cherries, pitted
11 cups water
1 tbsp pickling salt
4 1/2  cups raw caster sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 tsp red food colouring
30ml almond extract

Method
Bring 8 cups of water and pickling salt to a boil in a large pot, and cook until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat to cool for about fifteen minutes. Stir in the sweet cherries, cover and leave to brine overnight.

The next morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, drain the cherries and rinse under cold water for a couple of minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile combine the remaining water, with the sugar, juice and zest of the lemon and food colouring in a large pot and cook, stirring, for five minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in cherries and almond extract, cover and leave another 24 hours.

The next day when Quentin questions whether the recipe really takes this long or whether you’re just using it as a ploy for sleepovers, pour cherries and juice into hot, sterilized jars and leave in a cool, dark place.

Or devour, instantly. You know the drill.

 

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Macaron Howard

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Snack, Sweets

The Emmys are but a day away and as such, Emmy Gold: Golden Family is coming to an end to allow enough time for me to get ready and sneak in to the auditorium. While it is always tragic to know that our awards season celebrations are coming to an end, having been able to spend time with Chris, Riz, Tat, Shelley and Matt are truly a gift.

And finishing with TV icon and multi-hyphenate Ron Howard is just icing on the bloody cake.

I first met Ron way back when we were starting out with our careers on the set of The Andy Griffith Show. While I was working as Andy Giffith’s stunt double, I was only a young lad – did I mention I suffer from Benjamin button disease? – so little Ronnie and I became the fastest of friends.

And that friendship spanned decades until Apollo 13, when my infamous feud with Tam Honks commenced. While I was cast out of his life for a few years – evil Tam’s doing, obvi – we were brought back together by Jess when Arrested Development was getting up. Thankfully, our friendship hasn’t had a set back since.

Given his status as a powerhouse actor, writer, director, model, I decided to run through the oft forgotten about critical categories of writing and directing. For Limited Series writing, I am backing When They See Us but wouldn’t be shocked to see Escape at Dannemora. Variety we both see Last Week Tonight with John Oliver taking it out again. Drama better go to anything but Game of Thrones with me thinking The Handmaid’s Tale may continue it’s hanging episode streak of wins while Ron thinks Killing Eve will come out victorious. Comedy is where we really struggled. It is always hard to bet against Veep, though Fleabag’s second season was near perfect … and I can see Russian Doll picking up a trophy here.

When it comes to Directing, we see The Late Show with Stephen Colbert taking it out given live shows are truly a feat. I think that this once again comes down to Escape at Dannemora and When They See Us, with Ron backing Ben Stiller for the former, while I think whoever doesn’t win writing will grab this and shut out Chernobyl. I hope The Handmaid’s Tale takes it for Drama, but wouldn’t be shocked to see Adam McKay snag it for Succession, just for being Adam McKay. While Bill Hader is universally beloved, I don’t see him winning Comedy directing given he is up against Daniel Palladino for the majestic Catskills episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which should not be beaten.

With that, I thanked Ron for finally agreeing to appear on this patch of cyberspace and his many years of friendship, handed over a plate of Macaron Howard as I headed out to the awards.

 

 

There is nothing better than a sweet, melt in your mouth macaron. Delicate and delicious, this baby packs a nice blueberry punch that truly fills you with joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Macaron Howard
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
75g almond meal
115g icing sugar
2 egg whites, at room temperature
55g raw caster sugar
a few drops blue food colouring
1 cup freeze-dried blueberries, finely crushed
60g butter, softened
1 ⅓ cup icing sugar
1 ½ tbsp double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Combine the almond meal and icing sugar in a bowl. Meanwhile place the egg whites and raw caster sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the food colouring and ¼ cup crushed blueberries and whisk until just combined. Fold through the dry mixture and transfer to a piping bag.

Line two baking sheets and pipe little macarons across the pans until the mixture is gone. Tap each on the bench a couple of times before transferring to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed, crisp and glorious. Remove to rest for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

While they’re getting hella chill, combine the remaining blueberry with the cup-measure of icing sugar. Meanwhile cream the butter on medium for five minutes, or until pale and fluffy before slowly adding the sugar and blueberry mix in two batches. Once just combined, add the cream and vanilla, and beat until fluffy.

Dollop the icing on the exposed side of a biscuit and sandwich with another. Repeat the process until done.

Devour, regally. Like TV royalty.

 

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Matthew Reeses Pieces

Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Snack, Sweets

With my dates with Christina, Riz, Tat and Shelley done and dusted, it means that the end of Emmy Gold: Golden Family is almost upon us. And while I know that is something truly tragic for you all, be grateful that you still have these last two dates, one of which is with the iconic Matthew Rhys.

I’ve known Matt for 20 years now, after meeting on the set of Titus. I was having a torrid affair with Alan Cumming at the time, and given the healthy amount of nudity I fast became a fan of his … work.

While we were never intimate ourselves, Matt has always been a strong ally and when he was cast as Kevin Walker he got me a job on Brothers & Sisters as an intimacy coach, so that his relationships would be sincere. What a doll!

Since he has been busy working with my sworn enemy Tam Honks, we haven’t seen each other recently but I thought it was appropriate to bury the hatchet this Emmy season as he is a current reigning champ. And obviously he was thrilled, knowing how painful our feud had been on Keri.

Given it was his category, we focused on Drama with both agreeing that my dear Pete Dink will once again snatch Outstanding Supporting Actor, despite Nikolaj really deserving to get some love too. If Billy Porter doesn’t succeed him in Outstanding Lead Actor, we’ve agreed to riot and think that Killing Eve should take out Outstanding Drama since the final season of Game of Thrones doesn’t actually deserve it.

With that we held each other tight as he apologised for working with Tam and assured me that he tried really hard not to befriend him. While that may seem inadequate, I was feeling zen – and hoping to score his plus one – so accepting the apology and smashed a bowl of Matthew Reeses Pieces.

 

 

Crunchy on the outside, smooth and nutty on the inside, these little copycat Reese’s are bloody delightful. Definitely copycat. Promise.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matthew Reeses Pieces
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
3 ½ cups raw caster sugar
2 cups muscovado sugar
1 cup milk
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1⁄4  tesp salt
1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp liquid glucose
a few drops orange, yellow and brown food colouring

Method
Combine 2 cups caster sugar, the muscovado sugar, milk, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring infrequently until it reaches 115C. Remove from the heat, add the peanut butter and leave to rest. Not stirring at all.

When the thermometer reads 45C add the vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is glossy.

Combine the remaining sugar with ½ a cup of water in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Crank to high and once boiling, quickly stir through the glucose and continue to cook until it reaches 115C. Remove from heat and leave to stand until it is no longer bubbly.

Pour the syrup into a large wet platter and cool until you can bear to touch it. Transfer to a bowl and knead with a wooden spoon, turning it back and forward until it is white and opaque. You can transfer to a bench and continue kneading by hand if that is easier until it is smooth. Form it into a ball and cover with a wet – but wrung – cloth and leave to cure for an hour or so.

Remove the cloth, split it into three and knead each with a few drops of food colouring to give each an orange, brown and yellow.

To assemble, melt the fondant one colour at a time and take a small piece of peanut penuche and dip into the liquid. Transfer to a lined baking sheet to dry, flipping after a few minutes. Repeat the process until you’ve got a bag of candies. That you definitely didn’t just buy.

 

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Luke Tokolate Banana Bread

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Abbey continued to roll with the Contenders boys, with their sights set directly on Luke. Knowing he was screwed, Luke searched high and low for an idol and while he couldn’t find one, instead he won a powerful advantage followed by the next immunity challenge. Abbey and the boys identified Pia as the next biggest threat and worked to get rid of her, while Pia worked Luke to see if they could move forward together. Luke played his advantage and senr Baden back to camp, leading to an epic game of whispers and posturing that led to Luke and Pia standing strong and blindsiding Abbey from the game.

Pia, Luke and Harry returned to camp with Baden shocked to hear Pia was still in the game, while Luke celebrated the fact that he pulled off one of the biggest moves ever. Pia joined him to congratulate him on putting on an epic show, thrilled that she was able to charm her way into him protecting her. On the flipside Harry wasn’t thrilled by the turn of events, knowing that he was made a fool of and as such, he could only double down on the fact he needed Luke to go.

The next day the top four sat by the shore and congratulated each other on making it this far, with Luke particularly excited to have broken his record by making day 47. He was also particularly shocked to have not been sent packing as soon as he landed on the beach, given he has played before and showed what he was made of. He then ran through his resume and it was hella heartwarming and honestly, I teared up a little. Even when he went wild in the water. Harry was still salty about the previous tribal council and knew that Luke wins if he makes it to the final tribal council, and as such, he needs to win the next immunity challenge to get rid of him ASAP. Harry also noted that Pia is the next biggest threat, hid behind a meatshield while dominating the game strategically.

Pia returned to camp with a box with a quiz and honestly I wasn’t sure what was happening until they voted for Luke and Baden to get burgers and I realised it was a de facto reward challenge. While Harry shaded Baden’s weak gameplay to us, Baden was proud of the game he played with the hand he was dealt and well and truly exceeded his expectations.

My love Jonathan returned for the second last immunity challenge of the season where the final four each had to try and keep their balls in the air. One by one they would drop a ball at the top of a maze and race to the bottom to catch it and keep the cycle going, slowly adding balls at regular intervals with the last person standing taking out immunity. Everyone worked slowly and methodically with their first ball, trying to get the rhythm of the maze and figure out how they will manage when four balls are in play. Everyone made it through the first and second balls, with the panic well and truly sitting in as they added in their third balls. Pia ultimately was the first to drop. The fourth ball then tragically claimed Luke, followed by Baden, handing Harry his first immunity win.

An exhausted Luke then started to break down and honestly, I have some horrible Kelley Wentworth flashbacks and my heart is broken.

Back at camp Harry doubled down on the fact that he needs to take out Luke if he wants to have any chance of winning. He then approached Baden to lock in their votes against Luke, thought tried to downplay how desperately he wants him out of the game. Baden wasn’t as convinced about who should go next, knowing he has no shot against Luke thought wanting to keep him around because he likes him the best. Luke and Baden then caught up and lamented about Harry’s win, with Luke heartbroken to have fumbled at the last moment and trying to find the perfect balance of convincing them to keep him around without being overbearing.

Luke proposed that he and Baden vote together, and Pia and Harry will vote together and then he will face off with Pia in a fire challenge to guarantee they’re both in the final three and have a better shot of beating Harry and getting to the end. While Baden seemed open to the idea, he admitted that he won’t be able to make a decision until tribal council. Uneasy Luke and Pia caught up with them proposing causing a tie between Luke and Baden, with Pia knowing that he would win and let’s be honest, she is guaranteed a place in the final two as both boys would take her. While Pia wasn’t sure which way to go, she knew that if she couldn’t win, she wants him to to better his family’s life. They then broke down and spoke about how much they mean to each other and honestly, I’m a fucking mess. After that emotional little interlude, Pia went for a walk to try and figure out which way is better for her game, knowing that she can beat both Harry and Baden but realising that neither of them will take her to the final tribal council.

At tribal council Harry continued to think the contrived toothpick thing was cute, while he gave the jury his best shit eating grin as they filed in. He spoke about the pride and happiness of securing himself immunity, and more importantly kept it from Luke. Luke spoke about how hard it was to let his game literally slip through his fingers. His voice started to break as he spoke about having only one option left, sharing that he will be voting Baden and hoping that Pia will join him and force them into a fire challenge. He then went one step further and said that he will take her to the final tribal council if that happens, though assured her that he won’t be annoyed if she voted him out too. She spoke about her current dilemma, not sure whether to play with her head or her heart, and not sure which one actually gives her the best chance of making it to the end. As an aside, keeping Luke gives her the best shot at making it to the end.

Baden admitted that he is not confident should it end in a fire challenge, given he has done minimal work with the flint. Harry tried to praise Luke’s pitch and tell him it makes sense, though tried to get into Pia’s head and tell her that a guaranteed place at the end isn’t better than having to rely on herself to get there. With that the tribe voted and Pia decided to trust in herself, joining the boys and sending Luke out of the game as this year’s fourth place robbed goddess of the season alongside Flick, Michelle and Shonee.

Through tears, I took him in my arms and reassured him that he should be proud of his performance and I’m so glad to once again whip him up some comfort

While I slept on the power of the people’s Champion during his first run – I was a Sarah fan and was always distracted by Locky’s nudity, so, yeah – he well and truly won me over on his second attempt. Which I guess is why he manages to make it deep, and I believe always will, when he plays Survivor. He is laid back, fun and dulls the pain of starving on an island. Like my Luke Tokolate Banana Bread would if Jonathan ever wanted to offer my services for a reward.

 

 

Sweet and warm, this baby may not solve all your problems – right Apu – but it does kind of feel like a culinary hug. Lightly spiced and dripping with sticky chocolate, this is what dreams are made of.

Enjoy!

 

 

Luke Tokolate Banana Bread
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
60g muscovado sugar
70ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
175g sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and chocolate in a bowl, and whisk together the muscovado, sunflower oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bananas in another. Fold the wet mixture through the dry until just combined.

Transfer to a lined baking dish and place in the oven to bake for an hour, covering with foil for the last 30 minutes. If an inserted skewer doesn’t come out clean, reduce heat to 150C and return to the oven, uncovered, for a further five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour, slathered in butter.

 

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