Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the battle between Champions and Contenders reached its crescendo as the two tribes merged with six OGs apiece, thanks to some impressive work from David and Luke to survive a mega-minority after the swap. After the merge Daisy snatched victory at the first reward challenge, and with it an idol, while Shaun took out immunity which gave the former Contenders the upper hand at the first tribal council. Sadly for them, David once again proved to be the master and convinced the tribe to target Andy and get rid of him as an easy vote before the jury commences. While Shaun didn’t like giving up the potential numbers advantage, there was nothing he could do to convince the Contenders it was a bad idea. After being made to feel nervous at tribal, Daisy played her idol just in case as Andy was booted unanimously. And then got one thing right, finally, by dropping the bombshell that Dave has an idol. Even though he didn’t think it was true, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The next day we checked in with the tribe as Zaddy John was growing more and more annoyed by David’s peacocking around camp. I assume because he isn’t stripping off enough, which John, PREACH. The tribe then critiqued the model’s island looks, with most people reading him for filth thanks to his penchant for a bare chest and copious amounts of accessories. Though his passion for going to challenges at least shirtless is something I am grateful for, so I won’t shade him too much. Plus, his confidence is kind of endearing as he assumes that once again Andy’s attempt at playing the game and blowing (accidentally) up his idol secret will be a fail. Which sadly, I don’t agree with.

Meanwhile Luke was thrilled to still be in the game and somehow have the numbers advantage back after getting everyone to turn on Andy. He and his dear ally Janine were discussing how she expected to go before leaving for the game, with him sharing how much he respected her given she is so open to pushing herself. They then spoke about their tough upbringings and she told him how much she respected him and WHY AM I CRYING. They are honestly a duo I ship hard and I hate that Luke annoyed me so much in his first season. That being said Janine knows that a good social game is key for her and as such, being warm and engaging is her way to deflect from the target on her back. Though I choose to believe her love for Luke is as pure – or impure – as mine for John.

Luke and Baden then caught up to discuss their potential alliance, with Baden sharing that his plan is to ride the middle and use his bond with Luke to keep abreast of what is going on. They then spoke about the importance of getting rid of Shaun and/or Simon as soon as possible, before Shaun sauntered upon the scene just as they were bitching about him. Thankfully for him Baden has no intention of getting rid of another Contender, so planned to use the information to get rid of a Champion ASAP. Baden caught up with Daisy and Shaun who were concerned about his role as a double agent, though were grateful that he could spill the tea and help them find a way to take out David next. Shaun then attempted to dabble in some comedy, joking about David being slimy and while they kinda fell flat he is super pretty, so whatevs.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would hold themselves up between two poles on ever decreasing footholds … FOR A BRAND NEW CAR. Everyone survived the first stage of the challenge before poor Shaun became the first person out. He was followed by Daisy and Baden in quick succession. The rest transitioned to the skinniest perch, which immediately claimed Zaddy John, Luke, Pia and Harry, before Janine excused herself after an hour leaving Simon, Abbey and David to battle it out for a car they could easily buy themselves. At 75 minutes Simon stepped out of the challenge, with Abbey and Dave fighting it out for another 25 minutes before Jonathan grew tired, told them they could no longer use their hands which proved to be Dave’s undoing, handing Abbey the car. Not to rest on his laurels, Jonathan told Abbey that the boot was complete with a picnic and as such she could invite two people to join her, with the earnest AFL player selecting Dave for trying hard and John for being sweet.

At the picnic Dave gritted his teeth through the disappointment at losing the car, having to tolerate smashing the abundance of food under a waterfall in Fiji. The trio got to celebrating their luck, with Abbey happy to reward Dave’s hard work and form a bond with John. Who was looking forward to getting to know her, which instantly made me jealous. Growing tired of the bonding David decided to bring up the game, suggesting the three of them would be a solid alliance that could control their way to the end game. And while David didn’t want to go to the end with them, he’d be happy to be dragged by them. Sadly for him John had zero desire to work with him, sick of how hard Dave is playing and knowing full well that he needs to go. Abbey then turned the conversation to who should go next, with him placing the target on Shaun’s back and while the logic is solid, his aggressive gameplay irked her too.

Back at camp Shaun was understanding of Abbey taking Dave on reward, given she is so sweet. Instead of dwelling he searched for an idol and stumbled upon a mandarin tree. He was then sprung by Janine and the two of them tried to shake fruit free, while the two discussed how critical it is to get rid of Dave ASAP. Which JaQueen was all in on, vowing to blindside him at the very next chance she gets.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge which is the full blown water torture event, with everyone submerged under a grate in rising water with the last person to remain under the grate snatching victory. Almost instantly a terrified Daisy and Abbey dropped out of the challenge as the sun started to set and the rest of the competitors started to freeze. As the water covered everyone’s eyes Baden dropped out, followed by Harry, Pia, Harry and Janine, leaving Shaun, Luke, David and Simon to battle it out in the dark. After a brief struggle – which sounds like a death notice – Luke was the next to go, followed by silent Simon leaving the battling babes to hold on for dear life. With Shaun dropping out after being fully submerged, leaving a nearly drowned David to secure immunity,

Oh and then Jonathan dropped the bomb that instead of going back to camp, the tribe would be heading to a lit clearing straight outside tribal council.

The tribe frantically scrambled to identify a target, with the Champions plus Harry immediately excusing themselves to confirm that they would once again split the vote on Daisy and Shaun. Meanwhile Shaun rallied the Contenders and shared that he would be voting for Luke, since David isn’t an option and nobody can possibly beat him at the end. And while everyone agreed, they know Luke is too likeable to get anyone to flip on him at this point in the game. Shaun and Daisy then approached Simon and Abbey to see how they were feeling about things, with Shaun making the pitch to get rid of Luke … as he approached the group and stopped everyone in their tracks. Harry too added some drama, running to John with Pia, JaQueen and Daisy, to float the idea of getting rid of the biggest threat aka Luke. Simon then joined the group as the weighed up who is the bigger threat out of Shaun and Luke. While Pia was open to the flip, she was once again worried about an idol being in play.

The tribe finally arrived at tribal council where David admitted that the previous hour was complete and utter bedlam as everyone tried to draw a line in the sand once and for all. Pia shared that everyone has finally realised that it is well and truly and individual game, while Luke started to whisper to anyone near him to reconfirm the vote against Shaun. David tried to redirect the focus back to Shaun and his strength, while Shaun then pointed out that relying on immunities isn’t enough and as such, Luke and his strategic gameplay is far more threatening and is far harder to get rid of. David tried to sell his immunity victory as one for all of his allies, while JaQueen admitted that the minimal time to scramble has really complicated their games and forced people to ignore a lot of glaring issues with their plans. She then straddled the centre pointing out that getting rid of a challenge threat is something that needs to occur when you have the chance.

Shaun pointed out that getting rid of him is a shitty move and not something that would help build your resume for the jury, while someone like Luke who will beat all of them is a smarter, game-building move. JaQueen tried to reiterate that they need to get rid of strength, with Harry pointing out that they will have other chances and getting rid of Luke makes oh so much sense. John then joined the fray to remind everyone that when Shaun goes, the next strongest will become the biggest threat and as such, those people need to think carefully about how they frame their votes. With that the tribe voted and tragically the stallion himself Shaun was booted from the game.

In any normal season Shaun would be the number one person I lust after between his penchant for speedos and being gorgeous. And while I love John, I assured Shaun that he is my solid number two and I only held back on my love for him thanks to my relationship with his partner Megsy – aka Megan Gale, who I really need to catch-up with soon. Fun fact, I am godfather to their eldest. While Shaun and I were heartbroken to see him eliminated this early, we were grateful that he landed in the fourth best place – behind winner, runner-up and fourth-place robbed goddess – as the King of the Jury. I mean, how reassured are you that such a calm, nice person is setting the tone for this year’s jury. I mean, it almost makes me feel as good as filling my gob with Shaun Cheese & Hampscones.

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

There are not many ways you improve on something as wholesome and perfect as Shaun, sorry scone, but adding ham and cheese is definitely one of them. Salty ham, sharp cheddar and a kick of capsicum work together to make these babies even more perfect … er.

Enjoy!

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
100g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
200g ham, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
½ green capsicum, finely diced
2 cups vintage cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and whisk in the chilli flakes. Add the butter and press together with your fingertips until it comes together and resembles moist sand. How much do you love the word moist? Fold through the ham, shallots, garlic, capsicum and ¾ of the cheese into that moist mix with a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour in the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until the dough has just come together.

Portion the dough into 8-12 even mounds and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush with excess buttermilk and a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and glorious.

Spread the fluffy little buns, slather with copious amounts of butter and devour, as the sweet butter melts and drips all over you.

Maybe Shaun is my number one?

 

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The iconic Margot Robbie waiting to smash a Pistachimargot Macarobbie

Pistachimargot Macarobbie

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my god, you have no idea how good it is to reunite with a fellow hometown hero slash celebrity friend like Margot Robbie. I mean, the girl is a bonafide global star, but the fact that she still has time for her dear friends like me, on the Goldie, is one of my favourite things about her.

While Margot was actually my friend’s little sister’s friend, we got to hanging out in the kitchen on sleepovers eating vegemite toast – as good Australian’s do – and planning our ascesion to Hollywood royalty.

We were both dominating the high school drama game with our talent and je ne sais quoi, but knew we were destined for greatness. I know my Hollywood staying power dates back to the ‘20s, however I had to assume a new identity after my thirteenth deportation. It truly was the lucky one, since I met Margs.

Given I was still trying to find a way to return to Hollywood, I suggested Margot takes over Australia instead. That led to Neighbours, which led to a Logie which always leads to a role opposite my dear friend Leo in a film by my friend Marty. Then came Allison, an Oscar nomination and no doubt that Margot was even more of a Gold Coast legend than me.

Sadly Margot and I haven’t seen each other since her Byron wedding – the first time I went back after Annelie and Miley had the cage-fight accident – but truly beautiful friendships can always pick back up as if no time has past.

We laughed, we gossiped about Quentin’s tenth and final movie – she thinks she can get him to drop the restraining order and give me a role – and most importantly smashed a pick batch of Pistachimargot Macarobbie.

 

The iconic Margot Robbie smashing a Pistachimargot Macarobbie

 

Sweet like Margot, nutty like me, these little babies are essentially the culinary equivalent of a best friend bracelet and you, my friends, can finally get in on the action. And you should, because we are cool and the macarons are delicious.

Enjoy!

 

The iconic Margot Robbie smashing a Pistachimargot Macarobbie

 

Pistachimargot Macarobbie
Serves: 2 besties.

Ingredients
¾ cup almond meal
½ cup pistachio meal
1 ½ cups icing sugar
4 egg whites
¼ cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup finely chopped pistachios
3 drops green food colouring
100g white chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp double cream

Method
Sift almond and pistachio meals together with the icing sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Place the whites in a clean, dry electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat until dissolved. Then add food colouring and beat until just combined. Remove from the mixer and gently fold through the meals until just combined, thick and glossy.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe into 4cm rounds on lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and tap on the bench to remove air bubbles. Leave to set for an hour.

Preheat oven to 130°C.

Place the cookies in the oven, one tray at a time, and back for twenty minutes, or until the tops are firm. Remove to cool on the tray on wire racks.

While they’re cooking, place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for a minute, or until the chocolate has melted. Stir to combine and transfer to the fridge for ten minutes, or until thick yet spreadable.

Spoon mixture into a large snaplock bag. Snip 1cm from 1 corner of bag. Pipe 4cm rounds of mixture onto prepared trays, 4cm apart. Sprinkle each macaron with pistachio. Tap trays on bench to remove air bubbles. Set aside for 1 hour.

To assemble, place a small dollop of icing on the flat side of a cookie and sandwich with another. Repeat the process until done and leave to set for an hour or so. Or just devour, I don’t mind.

 

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Mike White Chocolate Mud Cake

Baking, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Sweets, TV Recap

After toughing it out on a Fijian Island for 39 days without a jacket, begging for idols and scaling the largest cliff face on the planet to snatch an idol to embarrass one of the final jurors, the heroic Angelina’s claim for the title were completely ignored by the jury, despite having a passion for negotiation and persuasion. With that it came down to Hollywood heavyweight Mike White and public defender Nick, with the former toppled by the latter fulfilling the destiny of the season’s theme.

Given the fact that Mike comes from the entertainment industry and is the most well-known celebrity to ever join the cast – and as such has a lot of easy targets to paint on him in a game where any excuse to vote someone out is valid – he never should have made the merge, let alone the final three and be a couple of votes away from winning.

But that is how well my dear friend Mike played.

Obviously I first met Mike while working together on Dawson’s Creek and we quickly bonded over our sardonic wit. As is often the case, I vowed to make him a star however plot twist, when he decided to partner with Jack Black – who I was feuding with at the time – we went our separate ways and I had to watch him succeed without me.

Well until footage of me having a meltdown at work leaked – by me – on the internet, and he reached out to see if I was ok and whether he could base a television show about me. I am passionate about being a muse, so gladly gave him my blessing and Amy Jellicoe slash Enlightened were born and our friendship renewed. You’re welcome.

Anyway Mike’s charm and killer gut instincts that allowed his to wait until just the right moment to make a move played a huge roll in him getting to the end and almost snatching the title of Sole Survivor. And while he was disappointed not to win, he was thrilled to see me in Ponderosa waiting to cheer him up with a big, heavy Mike White Chocolate Mud Cake.

 

 

Obviously this is ridiculously, sickeningly sweet, as mud cake is want to do, but damn is it good. Dense, moist and melt in the mouth, there is nothing better to distract from losing $900k after 39 days on an island.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mike White Chocolate Mud Cake
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
700g white chocolate, roughly chopped
350g unsalted butter, chopped
2 ½ cups raw caster sugar
1 ½ cups milk
2 ⅔ cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
½ cup cream

Method
Preheat oven to 140°C.

Combine 200g of the chocolate in a large saucepan with the butter, sugar and milk, and stir over low heat until smooth and combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool slightly. Whisk in the flour, vanilla and eggs, and stir until just combined.

Pour into a lined cake tin and bake for 2 hours, though start checking from 1 ½ hours and stop once an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about half an hour, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan and transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until smooth. Transfer to the fridge to cool for half an hour, stirring a couple of times.

To assemble, flip the cake upside down, slather with ganache and devour.

 

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Chocolate Crackelly Ripa

Dessert, Snack

Gaaaaaah, it was such a joy to be able to have my celebrity Fame Hungry superfan and dear friend Kelly Ripa over. I mean, the look of joy on her face from the moment she stepped off the plane to when she sat down for her requisite – and now signature – food-smeared face photo is something that will stay with me for all of time.

Knowing that I was making such a dear friend so happy was but icing on the cake of a wonderful date.

As you know, I met through Kell when visiting Susan Lucci on the set of All My Children and we instantly hit it off with our joie de vivre and wicked senses of humour. And despite her sweeping Mark off his feet at the time I was desperate to woo the zaddy for myself, we have always remained the best of friends.

And as an aside, she is beautiful and perfect and she and Mark make the best couple, so screw you jealous trolls!

Anyway – I was casually dating Regis Philbin in the early ‘00s when Kathie Lee Gifford quit Live! and reminded him about their chemistry during her previous appearances. The rest, as they say, is history. Oh, and you’re welcome America.

But back to the date, while she didn’t give any any spoilers from the upcoming season of Riverdale or think my All My Children reboot would work, we still had a lovely time. Though how could you not when you’re surrounded by mounds of Chocolate Crackelly Ripa.

 

 

Given these bake-sale staples are so well known that the recipe is pretty much open source at this point, credit where credit is due so thank you Kellogg’s! Crunchy, sweet and oh so moreish, there is nothing I’d rather make to honour my girl Kell!

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Crackelly Ripa
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
4 cups rice bubbles
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
250g copha, melted
¼ cup cocoa

Method
Chuck everything in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Portion in to patty cases.

Set in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Devour.

 

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Benjami Drops Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Benjami Drops Wilson
Serves: 6-12.

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

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

Preheat oven to 160°C.

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

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

 

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Mat Rojersey Caramels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Mat Rojersey Caramels
Serves: 6-12.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Lena Wafers

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Lena Wafers
Serves: 6.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

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

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

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

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

Once set, devour.

 

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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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