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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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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A sickly sweet Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler waiting for fifth boot Steven Bradbury.

Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Monika Radulovic memorial Tower of Terror challenge returned to wreak havoc on poor tsunami survivor Sarah, after Casey dived out of the challenge quicker than Sarah dived off a balcony into the tsunami to save her life. Obviously the Champs took out victory, which they were allowed to share with someone from the other tribe and selected Zaddy John given how he supported Sarah through the trauma. Janine found a clue to an idol amongst the loot, however upon finding it learnt that said idol was only for a Contender to play at a Contender tribal council, and the corresponding Champion idol is in the same place on the Contenders beach. After Pia and Luke got tangled up in the immunity challenge, ultimately leading to the Champion’s loss. Back at camp things got heated with Steven tantrumming about Abbey for playing the game, calling her weak and making her cry. This led to everyone rallying around the AFL play before blindsiding him and sending his closest ally Nova from the game.

Leading to the best post-boot comment from Jonathan, noting that he once again skated through to victory. Fucking iconic.

Things were going downhill the next at Camp Champ where Nova’s Kitchen was tragically under new management and while Ross tried to impress everyone with his delivery service, nobody seems thrilled by his efforts. Though let’s be honest, he did do a killer job on cooking up a pair of shoes. Needless to say, he “is Nova it.”

We checked in with the Contenders where beautiful Shaun was feeling down, missing his son’s fifth birthday. And what I wouldn’t give to give him a hug. Thankfully, I guess, he found a good friend in Daisy, who helped him draw a birthday message on the sand while sharing stories of how much they miss their families. So you know today’s reward is going to be for some form of love, no? Before we get a chance to find out, Shaun discovered the Contenders equivalent of the hidden immunity idol Janine found the day before and despite it being of no use to him – yet – he felt good. Being a sweet, stunning man, he immediately decided to pass it off to one of the Champions, and hoped that it will get him in good should they meet up.

Back at Camp Champ Steven was still floating on shock after surviving tribal council at the expense of his closest ally. He decided that the most important thing was making friends, so started working on his social game. Which involved telling David that he was shocked at how bigger role the social game plays, leading to a thorough roasting from the model. Sadly David seemed to be getting a bit too confident in his position and honestly, that makes me so nervous. He decided that the one thing he needs to complete his top dog status is an idol and that Janine would be his key to getting one. Before he had a chance to confront her about the idol, she pulled him aside and filled him in on the stipulations, and together they formulated a plan to orchestrate a trade off at an upcoming challenge.

With that Jonathan was manifested for the reward challenge where they would face off in a game of football in the shadows, with two kickers stood on podiums awaiting the ball to kick a goal. It was for fish and chips, so everyone was positively thrilled however let’s be honest, three footballers vs. one makes it a no brainer for the Champs, right? Shaun, John, Matt and Andy faced off against E.T, Luke, David and Simon, and while Shaun was first to the ball, Simon scored the first point for the Champs. Baden, John, Sam and Sarah were then defeated by Steven, Janine, Ross and Abbey. David, Simon, E.T. and Pia went 3-0 against Shaun, John, Daisy and Matt. Shaun, Daisy, Sam and Hannah lost the next point, this time to Simon, Janine, Pia and Abbey but again, we’re the winners, watching Shaun and Simon wrestling with the former’s speedos getting plenty of airtime. Luke, David, Steven and Simon, finally lost a point to Andy, John, Shaun and Matt. More importantly David and Shaun had a little pow wow on their way off the course, telling each other about the idols and promising to trade them tomorrow. The Champions then won the final point and may I add, I predicted it.

The Champions were overwhelmed to discover a shack by the beach with a table fully laden with fish, chips, and if Jeff were here, all the fixings. Mid-gorge David discovered newspapers in the corner featuring them and their starring achievements, the highlights being David’s white speedos, the headline of Last Man Standing after Steven won the Gold medal and E.T. in his speedo with my love Tina Turner. We also learnt that Luke has a six week old daughter waiting for him back at home, who they tragically learnt had cystic fibrosis just before heading out to the island and I can’t stop crying.

We checked back in with the Contenders where Shaun was second guessing his mid-challenge chat with David, worried he won’t follow through. He spoke to Daisy and she assured him the risk was worth it. So why do I feel so nervous? Right on cue, that night we went back to Camp Champ where Janine told David she wanted to keep the idol in case of a swap – Queen – leading to David coming up with plan B, fashioning a fake idol and taking Janine’s note to help sell it is real. While it is a great plan, if it gets Shaun booted, I will riot. Plus David calling himself a golden God in celebration isn’t cute, despite being accurate.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where Shaun and David handed over their real and fake idols respectively. They then learnt that seven tribe members will be locked in cages, with the rest of the tribe racing through obstacles to rescue them … before releasing sandbags, solving a puzzle and then knocking the completed puzzle off the ledge with the sandbags. Matt and John got the Contenders out to a slight lead, which was quickly destroyed as the Champions picked up momentum with every person they collected. Eventually they all caught up at the puzzle where Baden and Andy made quick work of the puzzle, overtaking Ross and Abbey, giving Andy a huge advantage when it came to knocking the blocks back off. Try as Abbey might, she was no match for Andy who once again secured immunity for the Contenders.

The mood was ridiculously sombre back at camp, with the tribe sick of losing, none more so than E.T. who is sick of people blowing the lead he gives them. Time after time. David seemed to be the only one smiling, telling Janine about his successful fake for real idol trade before doubling down on the cocky speak, making me so damn nervous. The alliance then decided to split the vote, nervous that Steven has an idol despite their alliance having three in the first two weeks. David approached E.T. and Simon, telling them to vote for Steven. Well actually strong-armed, making Pia, Abbey and Janine nervous that E.T. and Simon will now try something to counteract the arrogance.

As you would expect E.T. was pissed and decided that they should approach Ross to try and get him to flip back to him, Simon and Steven and get rid of Pia. Sorry E.T, I now hope you fail. Which seems likely because Pia watched them try and recruit Ross. She then approached Janine and David to share her suspicion that Ross will flip, and tried to get them to stack all the votes on Steven instead of splitting and risking one of them – likely her – going home.

At tribal council E.T. reiterated that he is sick of the tribe choking mid-challenge while Steven, David and Luke whispered about the upcoming vote and who they planned to target. E.T. wasn’t thrilled about the talk, concerned that it meant he would be next on the chopping block. Ross then put his hand up and said that he deserves to go home after botching the challenge before Steven said that if the vote was based on the challenge, it would definitely mean that he, Simon and E.T. would be safe tonight. While he and David started to throw shade at each other, Pia spoke up and said that she believes there is a target on her back tonight. This lead to Steven saying she has been carried through the challenges, which she found frustrating and pointed out all the times that she has been better than others in the challenges. Talk then turned to who was in charge of the alliance, with them all agreeing that they have a voice and hope to move past the tension tomorrow. Steven then alluded to having an idol or Ross forgetting who to vote for, making Abbey, Pia, Janine, Luke and David extremely nervous as they headed off to vote.

Thankfully for Queen Pia, everyone held firm and poor Steven was iced from the tribe. I mean, couldn’t skate through. I mean, you’ll have an ice time at Ice World. Fuck – I’m going down an ad rabbit hole. Despite the minor shade I’ve been sending Steven’s way, I love him dearly, having met at Brisbane’s aforementioned Ice World. While he was learning to speed skate, I was training to become a figure skater. While I was banned from the sport after an epic on-ice tantrum after botching a triple axel – failing to land one – Steven took me under his wing and we became the best of friends, lovingly ribbing each other ever since. I mean, I wouldn’t make a Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler if I didn’t love the icon.

 

teven Bradbury about to inhale my Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler.

 

Thankfully I made something aggressively sweet to dull the pain of Australia’s Gold medalist turned walking verb’s boot. A sweet, sticky pool of berries, topped with spiced, fluffy donuts are the only thing to cheer up our fallen – no pun intended, but super glad it worked out this way – icon. Outside of a Snickers.

Enjoy!

 

teven Bradbury inhaling my Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler.

 

Steven Bradberry Doughnut Cobbler
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g blueberries
250g raspberries
200g granny smith apples, cored and diced
200g pears, cored and diced
1 cup muscovado sugar
⅓ cup almond meal
2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 fresh Shannen Doughertynuts, halved horizontally
Vanilla Ice Cream, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Combine the berries, apple, pear, sugar, meal and cinnamon in a large bowl and transfer into a baking dish, leaving a couple of centimetres from the top. Cover with foil and bake for half an hour, or until the apples and pears are tender. Arrange the doughnuts on top, to form an homage to a checkered roof.

Return to oven for 20 minutes or golden and crisp. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving, covered in mountains of Vanilla Ice Cream.

 

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Elizapple Jaloulson

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

Previously on Survivor the semi-newly formed Tiva tribe were divided down gender lines with the brochachos aligning leaving Gabby and Alison left out and aligned by default. Meanwhile over at Vuku Alec turned on Kara and the Goliaths to take out Natalia – or maybe it was the pizza curse – while Elizabeth and Carl continued to feud. Finally Jabeni continued their losing way allowing Mike and Nick to set the tone for the rest of the game, taking out Lyrsa and saving Angelina from herself. Though she still doesn’t have a jacket, so that’s a thing.

We opened up at Tiva where they were enjoying their morning coffee before they were interrupted by two speed boats bringing Jabeni and Vuku to move in. Yep people, we’ve got a merge. Carl quickly explained that the individual game requires people to play individually – thanks Carl – through he is jonesing to get rid of Elizabeth and down a beer, so that’s that. John too was thrilled to smash some food at the merge feast and reclaim his gains, while Alec died and went to beer heaven. John channeled Kellyn and was hoping to go Goliath strong, however was wanting to save his bestie Christian. Gabby decided to step her game up and surveyed the merge table and signs for an advantage, Carl, Angelina and Nick shared intel from their respective tribes, with Alec’s flip quickly outed. Much to Angelina’s chagrin.

Everyone started laying down for their food coma before Elizabeth suggested the tribe name Kalokalo, much to Carl’s rage. Leading to him slurring his way around the tribe begging them to get rid of her. Nick and Christian reconvened on a water run, thrilled to still be bros before Nick shared that Dan is rumoured to be the proud owner of an idol. Speaking of whom, Dan was reconvening with his girl Kara, sharing that he had found a second idol since they last cuddled and Kara was feeling super confident. Which isn’t ending well, right? Right on cue, Alec arrived for a Goliath reunion where they all gossiped about which David to take out first, with Angelina pushing for Christian and everyone else going for Elizabeth. Alec immediately took the plans back to Christian to commence a beautiful relationship and take over the game.

That night Elizabeth noticed Dan and Kara’s close bond as they chatted and let’s just say, it did not sit well with her.

The next day Mike was gagging for a soy latte while scoping out how best to move forward, locking in an alliance with Alison and Alec, and planning to bring Nick, Christian and Gabby in for a core alliance and TBH, I love it and want it to happen. Alec approached Gabby to gauge her support, with Mike and Nick joining them and it feels like it is happening. But then again, I thought Sandra, Aubry, Malcolm and Tony would actually align in Game Changers.

Not to be outdone, Elizabeth shared her Dan-Kara intel with Nick and Carl in an attempt to turn the tribe against them, despite the fact Carl hates her. She approached Alec to see if he’d be open to flipping and joining the Davids to take them out. Knowing it isn’t the best time for him to flip, he took the information back to Dan and Kara which caused Dan to completely freak out that someone would dare to target him. And the tantrum was not pretty.

My boy Jeff arrived for the first individual immunity challenge of the season where the tribe were required to swing a pendulum around a frame without knocking a statue over in the centre or losing momentum. You know, the one Tessa dominated in Australian Survivor last year. Poor Mike was the first one eliminated, followed quickly by Christian, Carl, Gabby and Kara. TBH it was way to hypnotic to watch closing so let’s just say it came down to Elizabeth and Alison, with Dr Alison following in Dr Tessa’s footsteps, taking out the challenge and snatching immunity.

Back at camp shit quickly hit the fan with Angelina continuing to argue Elizabeth isn’t a big enough threat and that the Goliaths should instead target Christian, unaware that most of the people she is talking to are aligned with him and she is coming across as too powerful. Dan was annoyed by her utilisation of military terminology and continued to seethe since Elizabeth wanted to get rid of him. Meanwhile Gabby was trying to encourage the Davids to come together and take control of their fates … by playing up how weak and terrible they are. Alec and Alison got together, concerned about voting out Christian since it burns all of their bridges. As such, they pulled in Dan and John to flip the vote back to Elizabeth. They then approached Angelina to talk about flipping the vote back which she was extremely open to. Well played girl, wait, no, she then complained to John and Alison about Dan and came across like she was throwing a tantrum because she didn’t get her way.

Despite her earlier plan not to share who they were planning to target, Angelina pulled Elizabeth aside and told her that the Goliaths were coming for her and while I appreciate wanting to win over the jury, I don’t see this ending well. Elizabeth briefly had a breakdown before returning to camp and try and rally the Davids to flip the vote, vowing to destroy them at tribal. Which seems … late?

At tribal council Alison was grateful to be immune, Christian spoke about factorials, Alec alluded to shifting alliances and Angelina continued to struggle at tribal council. Smelling blood in the water, Elizabeth used that moment to go in and out Angelina for letting her know about the fact she was voting her out. Everyone quickly jumped in and called out her early jury management, leading to all the Goliaths whispering amongst themselves and questioning her loyalty. Gabby broke down calling out Angelina for being angry that Elizabeth dared to try and save herself. Seeing the writing on the wall, Angelina whipped out the tears as the Goliaths continued to whisper and she saw the end of her game quickly approaching. Elizabeth continued to go in on Angelina, while Alec and Dan got up to whisper and lock in their plans, while Angelina reiterated that she is voting for Elizabeth and hot damn, she is looking forward to it.

Tragically for my girl Liz, everyone gladly followed suit – and side note, well played Gabby making Angelina look like a demon and slyly locking up Liz’s jury vote before booting her – and sent her out of the game. Thankfully, she was sent to become the Queen of the Jury and if you can’t win the game, that is the real title you want, no? Liz being the absolute saint that she is, my girl took her boot in her stride. Nay, she may have been down, but she pull herself up by her bootstraps, which I think is a country term but am too lazy to google – lemme know if i’m wrong, ok? Anywho, she is bubbling ball of joy and as such, we laughed, cried from so much laughing, then cried from overdoing it with the celebratory-commissatory Elizapple Jaloulson.

 

 

To quote the great Chris Klein, there is nothing better than warm apple pie. Or at least I think that was the take away from American Pie other than don’t stick your junk in an apple pie lest you want third degree burns and well deserved shame? Again anywho, way off track – hot, sticky apple and blueberry encased by flaky strips of pastry are probably a more iconic duo than the Mason-Dixon alliance. Better yet, the strips hopefully have enough sharp edges to ward off a horny Jason Biggs.

So enjoy!

 

 

Elizapple Jaloulson
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 granny smith apples, cored and sliced
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup muscovado sugar
2 sheets puff pastry, halved
¼ cup almond meal
milk, for brushin’
demerara sugar, for sprinklin’
Vanilla Ice Cream, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine apples, blueberry, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl and toss until well coated.

Place two pastry halves on a lined baking sheet and spread the almond meal over both, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Pile the filling on top of each, again leaving the border.

Gently fold each of the remaining halves in half lengthways and cut – along the folded side – on an angle to form geometric slits, stopping 1cm from the edges. Gently unfold and lay over the heaped fruit, crimping the edges to join.

Brush with milk, sprinkle with demerara and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Serve piping hot – safety first, obvi – with a generous dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

 

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Steve Biliss Balls

Uncategorized

Previously on Australian Survivor Benji continued to slither his way through the competition however taking out Mat and humiliating Sharn made him a target. Particularly with Shane, who reminded us not to fuck with Shane Gould. Shane and Sharn took their opportunity at reward, swinging Monika and Brian back to their side. Not to be outdone, Brian found an idol and then won himself individual immunity. Things got tense at tribal council as Shonee whipped out her vote steal and snatched away Sharn’s vote in the hope of getting her out. Sadly for her, Monika and Brian flipped on Benji and rendered her move useless, sending the self proclaimed king out of the camp.

Back at camp Sharn was shocked to still be in the game, pulling Monika and Steve in for a big hug and hot damn I am jealous. Full of joy, she was hopeful that Brian and Monika were back with them and she can make it to the end. Sadly for her however, Brian immediately caught up with Shonella to assure them that he just wanted to get out Benji and the four of them will stick together to get to the end.

The next day Sharn was still feeling zen to be back in the game while Steve further slipped into my heart, loving the lack of people around to interact with. They then marvelled at Shane  and how much of a tough icon she is, dominating at camp, kicking ass and providing Steve with life advice and I’m crying. I mean, Steve was giggling like a school when Shane called him a grumpy old man … which is what MISH BRIDGES says to him. He then went down a Mish rabbithole and please let this be a family visit episode. Anyway – I ship Steve and Shane and need a moment to feel my feels.

Shane meanwhile is glad that they’ve become close friends, but more importantly she wants to win and she is not going home without a title. She is thrilled to be leading the Champions alliance, however she isn’t happy that Brian and the girls used Shonee’s advantage to take a shot at Sharn. Nor is she happy about them flushing Brian’s ego. Shane then decided that she plans to split up Shonella to weaken Brian’s game, and debated the merits of Fenella or Shonee first.

Speaking of Shonella, they were watching Brian catch fish and skinny dip while they stroked his ego. No doubt much to Shane’s chagrin. Meanwhile Brian was worried about what Monika was thinking, given they both flipped on the girls and she seemed to be gravitating towards the Champions. Monika caught up with Shonella to assure them that she was still with them and Brian, while they all started to worry about Steve trying to find a bond with Monika. On day 40, which they all agreed was sketchy slash extremely obvious.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where everyone would balance an idol on the end of a seesaw, with the last idol standing winning immunity. Brian and Steve spoke about the pain in their glutes before Shane became the first one out, followed by Fenella and Sharn after seven minutes. Brian did his best tennis player impression, grunting his way through the pain while Steve stood like a sta … nope, Steve was next to drop leaving Brian, Shonee and Monika to battle it out. After twelve minutes Brian dropped, leaving the girls to stand still in a battle of wills before Monika dropped and Shonee was shocked to take out immunity. I mean, Shane may be over her but damn that reaction was gorg.

Oh and then Jonathan dropped dropped a bomb on everyone, telling them that instead of booting someone at tribal tonight, the person that gets the most votes becomes the Dead Man Walking. While it sounds hella ominous, it only strips the person of their vote at the next two tribal councils. And while yes, that sucks, they can still win immunity and participate in everything at camp, so if you’re smart, you could make it work.

Back at camp Sharn knew that the end game would come down to whichever side doesn’t get lumbered with the dead man walking. She and Shane went to get water and discuss who to target, agreeing that Fenella is the best bet as it instantly neutralises Shonella being a duo. Sharn approached Monika to talk about targeting Fenella, which she quickly agreed to before having a minor breakdown over how hard the game is getting. Sharn went to Steve and Shane to tell them all the good news, which seemed to arouse suspicion in Brian. And Shane, who really felt like she couldn’t trust Monika despite the fact she desperately needs her. With both Monika and Shane agreeing to take each other to the final three, despite neither believing it.

Brian pulled Shonella and Monika aside to discuss who they should target for dead man walking, with Brian pushing for Steve and the girls desperately wanting to take Shane’s vote. While Brian wasn’t convinced about targeting her, Fenella worked overtime pointing out how Shane is the better option. Brian then pulled Monika aside to point out how important it was to get rid of Steve’s vote, leading to her breaking down about how difficult the entire thing is.

At tribal council JoJo quickly filled the jury in on the final twist of the season before Sharn admitted to being shocked by it and Shane pragmatically said that she isn’t scared of the dead man walking going back to camp, since it is a straight up fact. Sharn quickly went in pointing out that people need to take advantage of the twist to neutralise some of the bigger threats. Monika sounded like she started to falter about flipping, leading to Sharn reminding her that fortune favours the brave. Shane admitted that the tribe is fractured and identified Shonella as a power couple, while Steve shared that they are a non-factor to him as other people are busy trying to work with them, so he can’t be bothered. Jonathan tried to hype up their power status, while power Monika grew more and more confused. Sharn continued to play hard to get her over to their side, while Shonee and Brian whispered to change their target to Steve. With that the tribe voted and Monika played it smart, sticking with her alliance and voting for Steve to become the dead man walking.

Which you know pissed Shane off and will hopefully give us the glorious reminder not to fuck with Shane Gould.

Back at camp, Steve was feeling pissed and served some killer facial expressions whilst going in on Monika. Reminding her that he, Sharn and Shane are the only ones working around camp and she is completely blinded by Brian. And though I love zaddy Steve, it was the best move for Monika TBH. Shane and Sharn pretended to be sympathetic to an emotional Monika, telling her she was played by Brian and they’d be willing to work with her moving forward.

The next day Shane and Sharn caught up to work through their pain, while Shonee was giddy about how everything fell out at tribal. And now that Brian and Monika are loyal, she is excited to no longer be playing the bottom. Which is probably the first time we’ve disagreed. Brian too was thrilled that Steve is the Dead Man Walking and to be in control. Sadly for both of them, Sharn was confident in her abilities to pull Monika back to their side and highlight how dangerous the Brionella trio are.

Monika arrived back at camp with treemail where they learnt that as part of being Dead Man Walking, Steve would be sent immediately to Exile Beach and wouldn’t return until the next immunity challenge. With one less person in camp, Sharn decided to corner Monika to commence pulling her back over to save her game. And most importantly, Sharn’s. Monika proved her skills as a master barrister playing on her ego and her insecurities to rebuild their relationship.

At the reward challenge the tribe were split in half to compete in an obstacle course for an Indian feast – Samosas, Saag Paneer or Mango Chicken, anyone? I think this reward is just my leftovers?! Anyway the teams would be required to send two people out in the ocean to use symbols to decode a puzzle which they would then use to open a lock … releasing balls which the remaining person will land on a trough. Shonella and Monika faced off against Brian, Sharn and Shane, with Monika using Shonee and Sharn’s time in the drink – Matt Chisholm forever – to get advice from Shane, who was having none of it. Shonee got her team out to a sizable lead until Monika found a new nemesis other than bellyflopping, drifting out to sea while Shane closed the gap and took a lead for the Champion trio like the graceful dolphin that she is. Brian shot his first balls before Monika even made it back to shore, oh wait no, he won reward for his team while she was still adrift.

At reward – which I can confirm, I made – Sharn and Shane were delighted to see the paint and cutlery. The girls toasted their success before Queen Shane asked Brian where he stood and what his thoughts were for the endgame. He admitted that he voted against Steve because like Shonella, he sees him as a threat leaving it open for Shane to start working on getting rid of Fenella instead of Steve, if they guarantee his safety moving forward. Brian however didn’t trust it, and told them that if Steve won immunity one of them will be going next. Which Shane shockingly opted out of commenting on.

Speaking of Steve, we checked in with him at Exile Beach where he endeavoured to see the positives and treat it like a holiday. He then looked through his photos and letters from home, and reflected on how great a relationship he has with Sharn and Shane. He then was fired up and hot damn am I thirsting for zaddy Steve.

Everyone reunited at the immunity challenge – with Steve the happiest we’ve seen him all game – where they would each be required to balance a ball on the end of an ever-extending pole while scaling obstacles, before using a ledge to drop it into a bucket. Steve, Fenella and Shane got out to an early lead, while Brian and Shonee languished at the back of the pack. Steve continued to extend his lead with his killer ball and pole workmanship, with Fenella and Brian desperately working the pole to try and close the gap. I mean, who can’t manage two metres of pole? Sadly zaddy Steve dropped his ball allowing Brian to catch-up, the boys were back and forth at the gutters until Brian, somehow, snatched victory.

Back at camp Shonella congratulated Brian on his victory, while Shane and Sharn simmered. Shonella, Brian and Monika then discussed plans for the upcoming tribal, with Brian suggestion they should split the votes between Steve and Sharn to safeguard against the idol. The underdogs went to get water with Steve sharing a haul of fruit his allies whilst trying to figure a way out of their mess. Shane Gould spoke about herself in the third person whilst trying to formulate a way to save her friends and break up the power structure. Shane decided Sharn should work to pull Monika over to their side and blindside Fenella during the split. Proving to be as wily as they say, Brian could see what they were planning and worked overtime to convince Monika to stick with him. Sharn however was a formidable foe, working her magic on Monika to swing back to the Champions.

Before heading out to tribal Steve joined the fray trying to sow some distrust in Brian’s mind, pointing out that if he goes Brian will become the biggest threat and as such he needs to adjust his game. Steve then spoke sports and while I was confused, I loved it all.

At tribal council Steve continued to let his zaddy flag fly, talking about the fact he may not have a vote but he still has a vote. Fenella deemed him a threat, leaving Steve to point out that he is yet to win a challenge while the likes of Brian, Sharn and Shonee have dominated. While Shonee admitted she felt her’s was a fluke, Steve told her that he believed she is a threat – motivational zaddy. Monika said that what makes a threat is different to everyone, while Steve went aggressive and said that this tribal is him or someone else and if it is him, he will work that jury to not reward anyone he doesn’t like/respect.

Shane then threw shade at Shonella for not being helpful around camp, suggesting everyone go out to Exile and see who really can survive. Brian countered that Shane has been carried through challenges, leaving Steve to rise to be the feminist-ageist icon that he is and defend her honour and tell him to treat her with some respect. He then said that Monika too has been carried, pissing her off and making me hella confused. With that, the tribe voted and surprisingly the vote split remained and were divided equally amongst Sharn, Fenella and Steve. On the revote, however, things didn’t go zaddy Steve’s way and he found himself becoming the latest member of the sausage-fest jury. Which is a movie I’d watch the shit out of. Anyway, as a close personal friend of The Biggest Loser franchise, I’ve been friends with Mish and Steve for years and was honoured to be on site to whip him up a batch of Steve Biliss Balls to dull the pain.

 

 

While they are healthy enough to keep Steve happy, these babies are totally delicious. Nutty and smooth, sweet and salty, I just can’t get enough of these balls in my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Steve Biliss Balls
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water for 5 mins
⅔ cup almond meal
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup 70% cocoa chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup desiccated coconut for rolling

Method
Drain the dates and place in the food processor with the almond meal, peanut butter, chia seeds and vanilla. Blitz until well combined. If the mixture is too crumbly, add some more peanut butter until it is just holding and sticky. Fold through the dark chocolate.

Shape the mixture into little balls, roll in coconut and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour.

Devour, giddily, knowing you’re loved. Like we all love The Commando.

 

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Rio Summers Fruit Tart

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Baking, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, the girls created avatars in the ANTM mobile game leading to Jeana being pissed about her lack of personality. Feeling the pressure, she then dived into Shanice and Khrystyana’s shoot, or so they thought, leading to some drama before Director X cleared things up at panel. Sadly it wasn’t enough to save her, with Khrystyana taking out best photo again and Jeana booted from the competition.

The top four returned to the house to celebrate Khrystyana’s 600th first call out, and for Kyla and Shanice, the demise of Jeana. Rio then shared a beautiful note that Jeana left her following her departure, though was thankful she was gone as her odds just got better. Khrystyana offered to have her join them in the other bedroom, though she didn’t want to give up her big bed and while I get it, ugh Rio. Tyra Mail arrived and warned the girls that it was throwback week and they’d have to recreate a past challenge, leading to a shit tonne of speculation and Rio and Shanice sharing their pride about how far they’ve come.

The next day the girls joined Ashley, Drew and Law to learn that they would be recreating the cycle 16 bubble runway of death. Stacey McKenzie returned to help the girls through the challenge before they dropped the bombshell that the eliminated queens – no quitters – would be returning to compete for a place in the new top four. The girls all reconnected, well except for Jeana and Rio as the latter was feeling frosty about her potential return, particularly if it is at the cost of her place. Law then told the girls that only the four best eliminated queens would temporarily move back into the house and compete to return after the shoot.

Rio struggled in the ball according to Jeana, though she did kill it so maybe she is an authority. All of the other girls seemed to struggle, even Queen Khrystyana, except for Christina, Kyla, Erin and Liberty. Erin took out victory in the challenge and was given a ticket back into the house, along with Liberty, Christina and Jeana much to the chagrin of Rio. Lol.

The potential returnees were feeling unloved back at the house, with Jeana really hurt by Rio icing her out as it triggered her memories of being bullied and isolated in school. Christina joined the OG top four from Rio mid-rant, before she vowed to raise hell if she is the one to be eliminated. Rio then took her rage next level, moving out of her beloved big bed and into the room with her fellow never-eliminees behind Jeana’s back. Seriously, Rio is losing it and it is scary but also glorious.

The models then arrived to recreate tarantula shoot from Cycle 3, posing with Eva who won that cycle and shot by former judge, all around babe and noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker. The final four were paired with one of the potential returnees, Erin with Khrystyana, Liberty and Kyla, and obviously the drama pairs of Christina and Shanice – who felt safer with the tarantula – and Rio and Jeana. Liberty didn’t love the spider, though loved the experience with Nige. Erin was terrified and Khrystyana was annoyed that that made her have to suffer through more time with the spider. Erin then pulled out all stops and posed with the spider on her face. Eva pulled Jeana aside to talk her through the shoot, pissing off Rio who felt the entire thing was fake. Jeana then went on to dominate the shoot while Rio couldn’t get out of her head and looked weak as hell. Shanice then struggled the entire shoot while Christina completely dominated.

The girls arrived at panel where Tyra warned them all that Eva looked fierce in all the photos and they had better hope they brought it. Christina and Shanice were up first with Christina’s photo receiving universal praise and Shanice getting read for filth, though she admitted she hated the entire thing and wasn’t surprised. Rio and Jeana were up next with Jeana praised for owning the shoot and coming back to slay, while they felt Rio was lost and just floating through the competition. Liberty was praised for looking rich, while was no competition for Kyla whose photo was gorgeous. Khrystyana had a rare stumble and while Erin’s photo looked terrible, she was praised for owning the runway.

Kyla received best photo – though it kind of felt like it was by default – followed by Khrystyana, leaving Shanice, who has grown throughout the competition, and Rio, who has plateaued. As such Shanice was given a reprieve, despite the weaker photo and poor Rio was eliminated from the competition. With that Tyra turned her attention to the eliminated girls, with Jeana earning her place back in the competition much to rage of Shanice, Kyla and Khrystyana.

Now like Jeana last week, I know I’ve been harsh on Rio and while I did scream at her and let her know just how disappointed I was by her attitude, this week kind of showed just how much the competition had gotten to them both. While Jeana had the chance to reflect after her brief elimination, Rio couldn’t process losing and highlighted how desperate she was for the title. She cried, I held her tight – did I mention I was conducting clinical trials in the hospital she received treatment at and motivated her to take up modelling? Because I did – and sweetened the deal of her loss with a big fat slice of Rio Summers Fruit Tart.

 

 

Sweet, fresh and a little bit tart, this is the perfect reflection of her narrative arc on the show. From beloved to reviled, she brought it every week and TBH, this is the kind of tart you’ll want to devour every damn week.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rio Summers Fruit Tart
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
150g cold unsalted butter, plus 115g at room temperature
250g flour
50g icing sugar
salt, to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
milk, optional (dependent on size of the egg, really)
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp spiced rum
¼ tsp almond extract
1 cup almond meal
3 peaches, sliced
1 cup blueberries

Method
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

To make the pastry, cut the cold butter into cubes and blitz in a food processor with the flour, icing sugar, a pinch of salt and vanilla. When resembling wet sand, add the egg and blitz until it just comes together to form a dough. You may need to add some milk if the egg is small, but you should be ok. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling and rest in the fridge for an hour.

Sprinkle some flour in a bench and roll the dough until it is roughly 3mm thick and press it into a 25cm loose bottom – yum – tart case. Trim off an any excess dough and return to the fridge for half an hour or so. When you’re ready, line with baking paper and fill with baking weights. Transfer to the oven and blind bake for ten minutes. Remove the baking weights and cook  for a further ten minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Leave the oven on while you beat the remaining butter and sugar in a stand mixer until it is so light it looks to be pulsating. Add the remaining two eggs, one at a time, followed by the rum and almond extract before removing from the stand mixer and folding through the almond meal. Smear into the tart case and smooth the top.

Press the peaches into the frangipane in any fashion you find aesthetically on point for you – dick and balls would look hella artistic, for instance – before pressing the blueberries around the gaps. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, our until the tart is golden and puffed and the blueberries are blistering.

Devour immediately with some ice cream. Sad model friend optional.

 

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Zac Efriands

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Side, Snack, Sweets

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

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

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

I am shook, still.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Zac Efriands
Makes: 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devour immediately.

 

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Jack McGraveyard

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

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

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

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

Or HERstory.

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

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

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

 

jack-mcgravyard-1

 

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

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

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

Enjoy!

 

jack-mcgravyard-2

 

Jack McGraveyard
Serves: 6-8.

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

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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