Abbearclaw Holmes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Dessert, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Mokuta were desperate to not go on a losing streak, thankfully breaking it their current mini-run by snatching victory for an ice cream reward. Sadly however, that was only a brief reprieve as they lost immunity. Heading back to tribal council, Nick tried to rally the troops to take out Henry while Abbey led the athletes to target Shonee. Nervous about losing strength, Lydia pulled Henry aside to advise him to play an idol if he has one, so off he went to make a fake. Unaware that Shonee had found the legit one. Henry tried to grab his fake in front of everyone at tribal, though Nick did not buy it and cautioned everyone that it was a ploy. It did make Shonee nervous enough to play hers, challenging him to do the same if it is real. Thankfully for her, he didn’t bother with his fake and as such, she negated five votes against herself and sent him from the game as the fifth boot.

The next day Zach was busy showing off his strength to the tribe, while Shonee lamented their losing ways. Begging the question, why are they losing if the athletes are as tough as they think they are. But back to Zach and his workout – guess who his biggest fan was? You guessed, team strong herself, Abbey!

Meanwhile over at Vakama the tribe were joyfully playing on the shore, with David still gladly leading the high school clique. Who had taken to squwaking – no joke – while the oldies of Mat, Tarzan, Moana and Jacqui were still feeling left out. Speaking of the minority alliance, Mat was giddily taunting Locky about the idol he had found and potential cracks in the alliance. Playing 4D chess, he even commenced pretending he would be open to working together, but Locky is so loyal, the poor thing couldn’t even entertain it.

Back at Mokuta our queen and savior Shonee was heartbroken to be stuck with a bunch of people that don’t want to be around them. She was particularly annoyed about the lame athlete alliance – preach – so got to work hustling, in the hopes of taking control and getting rid of the head of the athletes in Abbey. After quickly celebrating their win at the previous tribal, Shonee and Nick got to work wooing Sharn and Zach to their side. Shonee took Sharn to the scene of her triumphant idol find, with the icon reminding Sharn that once she is gone, Sharn is the next weakest and as such she needs to make a move ASAP. Sharn agreed and was keen to make a move, but only if Zach was willing to join them. Speaking of Zach, he was feeling on the outs and caught up with Harry about how they could take control. We then learnt from the form misogynist that he was reformed and keen to play a different, more social AF game. As such, he decided to join the little rascals and Sharn to overthrow the athletes.

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where each tribe was required to stack a series of blocks along a beam over a trip hazard – while tethered in pairs – to knock over a sign. With the victors scoring a huge Italian feast. Vakama appeared to have a slight lead, however when Jacqui and Moana looked to measure out the spacing, it annoyed Locky for slowing them down. As such Mokuta took the slightest of slight leads, until they knocked over a single block. Which was enough for Vakama to take back the lead. Which only extended when Mokuta knocked over four more. Vakama continued to pull ahead, until they realised they didn’t have enough to make it to the end. While both tribes fiddled with the spacing, mother nature opted to troll them both and the wind blew over multiple blocks from each tribe, leading to a flurry of rebuilding. Back and forth both tribs tried to knock them over before Vakama finally put us out of our misery and scored the reward.

Vakama sprinted to reward where they discovered not only did they score a huge Italian feast, but they also got a tonne of wine and a photo wall featuring everyone with their mums. AK kicked off the tears talking to his mum and damn, it was so sweet and god, do I like AK? Jacqui’s parents had their own tennis court which is super impressive, Tarzan surprised everyone with his sexy short hair and lack of beard, Mat fondly remembered his sweet, sweet mum, Moana was feeling guilty about being away from her mum, unable to help and give her joy and damn, I am crying. Nobody else had overly emotional stories and I don’t want to make jokes because it is so pure. Though Flick worked at Wendy’s and now I want a shake?

My love Jonathan returned for an immunity challenge where each tribe had to swim out to a pontoon in pairs, climb a ladder, jump into the water, run across a net and then release four balls, which the last tribe member would try to toss them in their sack.Mokuta got out to an early lead, in no small part thanks to our Queen Shonee, while Tarzan and Phoebe struggled big time for Vakama. Sharn and Nick started to extend their lead, until we were reminded that Nick is not the best swimmer – shouldn’t have booted Shane – before he and Sharn struggled to release their ball. With that Flick and Mat close the gap and then gave Vakama a huge lead. While David and Jacqui started to struggle, allowing Abbey and John to catch up, my nude king just couldn’t catch his breath leading to Vakama pulling away once again. Locky and Brooke made quick work of the final ball, giving AK a huge advantage, scoring all four baskets before Mokuta even scored their last ball.

Back at camp John was feeling terrible about letting the tribe down, with the athletes conveniently accepting his apology and ignoring the fact Shonee was a star performer. Abbey of course planned to stick with all the strong athletes, and as such, she decided that Shonee – star performer – was the one that needed to go. She pulled Sharn and John aside, with the trio agreeing to stick together and get rid of Shonee with the help of Lee and Lydia. But little did Abbey know, Sharn had zero interest in playing along or getting rid of Shonee and as such, wanted to get rid of Abbey and take away the athlete’s leader. Abbey approached Lee and Zach, with Lee all in however the latter had learnt his lesson from his first season and wanted to stop focusing on strength and as such, save Shonee. And all of a sudden, I find Zach very attractive.

Zach, Harry and Sharn caught up in the jungle, with Zach pointing out that John didn’t do a good job at any of the challenges this season and as such, why don’t they get rid of him instead. And completely shake the core of the majority. With the trio locked in to take out John, Zach pulled Shonee and Nick aside to get them on board. Sadly for all of them, Nick couldn’t see sense in snatching the majority and so instead, approached John to turn the entire tribe on Zach. And tying things up 4-4, rather than giving him and his allies a 5-3 advantage. Nick approached Lee about joining the plan to get rid of John and kind of rationalised his plan, explaining that since John has no solid relationships and therefore there will be no hurt feelings should a tribe swap appear on the horizon.

At tribal council Nick spoke about Henry playing fast and loose, while Harry added that with Henry gone, Shonee is the most in danger given she received votes at last tribal council. Shonee tried to see the glass half-full, encouraging everyone to stick together and reminded everyone that there are 9 people left in the tribe and since only four people that voted for her remain, her five could have the majority. While this was unfolding, Nick started to whisper to the rival alliance that Zach is targeting John and as such, they should join him in voting out Zach instead. Meanwhile John spoke about being nervous because he completely bombed the challenge while Zach alluded to switching up his game and focusing on the long term, rather than solely strength. Lydia spoke about wanting to work with people she can trust and think the same way she does – *coughs* athletes *coughs*. Shonee believed that all but one person is on the same page, before Zach and John nervously countered that there are at least two more that should be in danger.

Out of nowhere Jonathan interrupted proceedings to announce that instead of voting to boot someone from the game, this tribal council, the top two vote getters would be sent to exile beach where they will await their fate. This made Harry nervous to make a move, given someone could potentially come back from the game, while Abbey and Nick were both more than happy to stick with the plan. The reforming Zach admitted that he was feeling nervous, reminded of Tegan’s near boot in his season. With that the tribe voted and tragically the athletes banded together to send Shonee to exile, while the little rascals piled the votes on Zach and poor Zach was completely out of the loop and voted for John. Who safely stayed with his tribe as the other two departed for exile.

Zach and Shonee arrived at exile, with Shonee searching her brain to figure out the Fijian word for revenge so that they can name their teeny, tiny tribe. The two marvelled at how ugly their beach was, though Shonee did use the time to assure us that she can and will get revenge on all the athletes, plus Sharn for shits and giggles. The next morning however, she was back to being her zen self, loving being away from the buff people and leading Zach through her island beauty routine. And do I now ship them?

Meanwhile back at Mokuta, Lydia, Lee, John and Abbey were loving themselves and their muscles sick. Which was making Nick sick, given he desperately missed his closest ally Shonee. And he had nobody to blame but himself. Abbey pretended that she was glad Shonee wasn’t alone, before humble-bragging about her perfect voting record (this season) and the fact she has a solid alliance and is controlling her tribe. John then tried humour clothed and TBH, I don’t like it. We checked in with Vakama where talk way centred around soy milk and honestly, I am as bored by the discussion as Mat and his minions. Speaking of that crew, Mat was content with his allies and was glad to be sitting ok with people he trusts and David looking out for him.

And you know what all this talk means!

Jonathan met the tribes by the beach where Vakama learnt two people were voted out the night before and had been sent to exile. Jonathan then announced that like Zach and Shonee, everyone’s games are changing as the tribes are switching up. To a chorus of groans the tribes dropped their buffs before selecting new ones, with Harry, Mat, Flick, AK, Brooke, Locky, Abbey, Lydia and John forming new Vakama and David, Tarzan, Moana, Jacqui, Phoebe, Nick, Lee and Sharn making up Mokuta 2.0. The iconic duo were forced to put a stop to their beauty routine and were wheeled out to discover the switched up tribes. They then learnt that they weren’t in fact exiting the game and instead would each be joining the new tribes, with Shonee joining her nemeses on Vakama and Zach landed on Mokuta.

With the tribes locked, Jonathan announced that they would now be facing off for reward, which was essentially a tug of war challenge, with each tribe pulling in opposite directions until the can get to their end and grab a flag. With the first tribe to three scoring an advantage in the game … which is hidden in a Pandora’s Box, which they can open back at camp. And a grazing plate, which is iconic, like Queen Shonee. First up were Sharn, Phoebe and Moana against Flick, Abbey and Lydia. Despite Abbey and Lydia being straight up beasts, they were no match for new Mokuta, with Moana clawing her way to victory for her tribe. Lucky Abbey and Lydia are strong, right? Lol. Immediately they started to blame Flick, which is honestly just fucked.

The next round featured Jacqui, Moana, Nick and David facing off against Locky, Mat, Shonee and Flick. Instantly Abbey started coaching Shonee through the challenge which would be sweet if she didn’t just vote her out for being weak. At the end of the day, it became a battle of the anchors, with David and Locky fighting tooth and nail until David grabbed the flag and another point for Mokuta. Abbey and Lydia then went up for redemption against Phoebe and Moana, and tragically got it, scoring a point despite some aggressive play of Phoebe, queen. The fourth round featured Locky, AK and Harry facing off against David, Zach and Lee, with the latter trio of beasts making easy work of the point, grabbing the flag and snatching reward for their new tribe.

We followed new Vakama back to camp where Abbey was smarting to have lost the reward challenge, though was embracing the new tribe and trying to find a place for herself and stay safe in the 5-5 split of the old tribe. She and Lydia went for a walk, confident that they won’t be the obvious targets, despite being beasts aka an easy target for the rival OG tribe. Shonee meanwhile immediately went swimming with Flick and Brooke, quickly pledging her allegiance to them and vowing to get rid of the jerks who tried to vote her off. Meanwhile David felt like he hit the jackpot at the Mokuta tribe, a luxury beach and the majority numbers in the tribe. Not to mention the bountiful tasting plate. Given most of his allies ended up on the other tribe, David realised that Zach would be the key to safety, given he likely wants revenge. Before they could talk weights, the tribe opened up a clue which advised everyone to go hunting for one of two keys which could open up the box and release the advantage for one person.

With that, they were off and racing! The tribe searched high and low around the island, until Nick stumbled upon the key amongst a dead log. Quickly he pulled Phoebe aside to let her know that he found it to try and solidify an alliance with his season mate. She assured him that she would keep look out while he slyly headed in to camp to open the box and snatch the advantage. Which he did, just as Jacqui found the other key. With the clock running out, Nick grabbed the advantage and disappeared as Jacqui stumbled into camp to learn that she had been pipped. Everyone returned to camp, with Nick desperately trying to hide the fact he open the box before disappearing to learn that he had found an extra vote. Which never really ends well in OG flavour Survivor.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where the tribes each had to pull a cart through the sand, collecting huge puzzle pieces while two people from the other tribe actively work to slow the others down. Once they make it to the end, they would then solve the puzzle for victory. With that John and Mat go ready to slow down their rivals, while Moana and Jacqui were selected from the rival tribe. Vakama got out to an early lead as Jacqui and Moana desperately tried to slow them down and Mokuta struggled against Mat and John. Vakama got to the end with a large advantage, though sadly for them, they didn’t have Nick, who got the tribe to coordinate the colours as they got them off, so the puzzle would be easy. He confidently coached his tribe through the puzzle, quickly putting it together while Vakama looked at their pieces in confusion. Piece by piece Mokuta continued to close the gap, then pipped Vakama and finally, scored a massive come from behind victory. And a hero moment for Nick. Swoon.

Back at camp Abbey was angry to continue her losing streak, so immediately set her sights on Shonee, who played no part in the tribe losing the challenge. With that, she and Lydia complained about Shonee in the water before approaching AK, Locky, Brooke and Flick to join with them to get rid of Shonee and keep the tribe strong. While the logic is solid, given it keeps threats around to take the heat of her, eventually she is the weakest in the tribe, and at what point do they stop voting out the weak. Abbey and Lydia were confident that they had locked in the vote for Shonee as the tribe reconvened by the fire, and they then saw Shonee working her magic in front of their very eyes. Shonee charmed her way through the OG Vakama tribe members, while pointing out that Abbey was the leader of Mokuta and as such, they need to weaken Mokuta by getting rid of her instead. Locky, Brooke and Flick genuinely seemed locked to join Shonee, so Shonee approached Harry to get him up to speed – perfectly downplaying their alliance – while Harry then worked on AK.

Oh and then Shonee pulled in Mat, assuring him that they will control this tribe and then come merge, get revenge on Sharn.

Abbey and Lydia were none the wiser, happily sitting around the fire while Shonee and Locky confirmed their alliance. Before Shonee gave herself a quick sand facial to celebrate. She then went deep into the jungle with Flick and Brooke, with the girls assuring her that they are with her 100%. However Brooke grew anxious about getting rid of muscle mass as they headed off for tribal.

At tribal council AK spoke about how well everyone was getting along at camp, given all the grumps had been moved to the rival tribe. Lydia agreed that everyone was getting along, while Mat was a little more realistic, admitting to being nervous to find himself on a tribe with Lydia who he blindsided with Queen Shane. This time Lydia seemed to be more open to moving forward, conveniently when she has to let go of her grudge for her own safety. RIP Shane. Abbey pretended that she was thrilled to see Shonee stay in the game, as she is such a great girl. Thankfully this led to peak Shonee, where she spoke about Abbey needing to wait and see whether she would let bygones be bygones. And then spoke about loving her new tribe with lots of new friends.

Mat reiterated that Shonee was just voted out by people that are sitting on the tribe, so revenge is the obvious course of action. Harry diverted things to the future, talking about how pivotal this moment is to all of their games, as it sets the direction heading into the merge. Locky spoke about the importance of keeping the tribe strong, though was glorious coy about what strong means to him. Lydia then complained about being at her fourth tribal council in a row and as such, she is sick of it and wants to win. This bored the hell out of Shonee, who was fed up with hearing about the importance of strength. Out of nowhere Locky and Brooke whispered about being nervous before Lydia tried one last ditch effort to keep strength. With that the tribe voted and Locky did keep the tribe strong by joining with Shonee, Harry and Mat to blindside Abbey and send her from the game as the sixth boot.

As much as I loved Abbey in her first season, she crossed Shonee and as such, I was thrilled to see her go. Which I told her as soon as she walked into Loser Lodge. While she tried to explain that Shonee’s social prowess and likeability reminded her of Pia – meaning she was her biggest threat out there – I was having none of it. And as such, I told her that I’m not mad – despite totally being mad – just disappointed, then handed her a tray of warm, sweet Abbearclaw Holmes.

 

 

Given how much I loved the Queen that saved us from the horrors of an athlete alliance just last season – bye Steven, Nova, Susie and E.T.! – I wanted to make something special for her second, victorious go around. And there is no pastry/cookie better than a bear claw – crunchy, melt in your mouth and baking an aggressive almond crunch. These are victorious … and I guess Abs deserves them, despite crossing Shon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbearclaw Holmes
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 batch David Croissant dough
2 egg whites
1 ½ cup marzipan, cubed
1 ½ cup icing sugar
blanched almonds, to taste slash greed
milk, for brushin’
½ cup demerara sugar

Method
Make the croissant dough as per the instructions, all the way up to the part where you’re rolling, cutting and shaping.

To make the filling, combine the egg white and marzipan in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until cohesive and light. Reduce to low and slowly add the icing sugar, and once all combined, crank to medium and beat for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy.

To assemble, cut the dough into quarters and roll each portion into a 30cm square. Cut each into three equal strips and spread a couple of teaspoons of filling down the centre of each strip. Fold them in half to former filled, long strips and press the edges to close. Cut each strip into three, sealing each join and shape into a slight half moon as you transfer to a lined baking sheet.

Once the dough and filing is all gone, cut each strip four times, going half-way through the dough and split them slightly. Cover and leave to prove for an hour or so.

When they are puffy and beautiful – not like mine – press an almond into each gap on the claws. Brush with milk, sprinkle with the demerara and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and crispy.

Leave to cool slightly before devouring, wishing you had more social game.

 

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Sugared Alecmond Merlino

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

Previously on Survivor Kara, Alison and Alec were finally thinking about maybe flipping to the Davids. Sadly for them however the Davids had grown weary with the constant promise of being saved, none more so than Nick. This led to the Davids getting together, pooling their resources and sending poor Dan to the jury despite playing his hidden immunity idol which was nullified by Carl.

Back at camp Carl, Nick and Christian were thoroughly giddy by their alliance’s successful double advantage play – yay Nick for breaking the unsuccessful (in US) vote steal curse – leaving the Goliaths to awkwardly congratulate them on blindsiding everyone and taking control. A seething Angelina approached Alison, Alec and Kara to find out why they turned on her at tribal, with them admitting that they did it to continue to string the Davids along. Information that she immediately took back to Christian.

The next morning Nick and Davie got up early to see if they could find the re-hidden idol, with Nick finding it … wait, no. He just found a clue to go wandering in the middle of the night to find it at the far end of the beach near a fire.

Before we got conclusion to that little storyline, my man Jeffrey returned for this week’s reward challenge where the tribe would be split into teams and would race to cross a rope bridge over the water before throwing rungs at a salmon ladder like the laziest Oliver Queen. And TBH, it is only for a picnic and in the words of Shania, that don’t impress me much. Well, unless there is fried chicken in which case I’m all in. Alec, Alison, Christian and Gabby got out to an early lead since Alec is BAE when it comes to challenges. Sadly Alison struggled on the rope bridge, allowing Kara to overtake with Angelina almost lapping her. The team continued to pull away as Alec and the misfits continued to lag until Nick struggled with the rungs leaving Alec to do what he does best, dominating the challenge and snatching the win for his team.

Despite my prediction it would be lacklustre the picnic actually looked amazing, giving Alec the chance to work Gabby and Christian and somehow align. Which Gabby totally saw through, however was totally cool with. While hunting for, I assume, drinks, Alec discovered that on top of the picnic everyone received letters from home. Everyone broke away to read their letters and as is oft the case it was so sweet and pure I’m not even going to try being shady. But damn, Christian is galvanised from the experience.

Meanwhile back at camp the losers were licking their wounds with Nick, Kara and Angelina going fishing to try and have a feast of their own. Which they also failed at, leaving them only with a meagre supply of rice. I assume fueled by hunger, Carl checked in with Kara to see whether she’d be interested in turning on Alec at the next tribal council. Which surely is going to come back to vote him since he is getting way to confident in his place in the tribe. The victors returned to camp with Kara filling Alec in on the plan, which only made his gorging induced sickness worse. That night as the winners continued to nurse their bloated guts, Nick went for a walk down the beach to collect his idol while Alison continued to wander the island vomiting like the airport hotel scene of Drop Dead Gorgeous. Thankfully for him, it was a successful walk as he snatched the idol as the cacophony of vomiting covered for him.

Probsty returned for this week’s immunity challenge were the tribe would be required to balance on a narrow perch while holding handles behind their shoulders until only one remained. Wanting to mix things up Jeff offered people the opportunity to compete in the challenge or sit out and split a giant nachos – I assume Tony Nachos –  and devour beer and margs, which Nick, Angelina and Carl all jumped at while the rest stuck with the challenge. Moments in Mike and Davie dropped out of the challenge, leaving Alec, Kara, Alison, Gabby and Christian to fight it out. While Angelina was toasting to the future like a young Shane Gould, Alec was getting eaten by bugs and looking like a babe and out of nowhere, Kara dropped after half an hour. Over an hour later Alison stepped down from the challenge leaving Gabby and Christian to hold out against Alec, who vowed not to lose. There was talk about percentages, tears from Gabby and mind games from Alec before Gabby dropped out of the challenge after two and a half hours. After three hours Christian got board and asked to tell a story, which took over an hour and a half, leading to him talking constantly to drive Alec to insanity and drop out of the challenge. Which worked after five hours and a half hours, handing Christian immunity and postponing tribal council by a day because it took too damn long.

Alec was feeling incredibly vulnerable the next day, wondering how in the hell he was going to save himself. He then broke down knowing he is going and can’t save himself and damn I love him. Meanwhile Carl was locking in said vote for Alec, going through the tribe and confirming their vote. This in turn frustrated Gabby who was concerned about Carl telling Kara – Alec’s closest ally – about the vote, leading to Gabby confronting him and breaking down about how bossy he is towards her. Meanwhile back by the ocean Alec was trying to convince Alison to push for a different target, floating Carl as the best person to take out given he is upsetting people at camp. The Goliaths spread the plan like wildfire, agreeing it was their best hope. Alec then approached Christian to see if he would be willing to join them, which the latter felt was a good idea since the longer Alec is around the longer the target is off his back.

At tribal council Probst praised Christian and Alec on their epic battle in the immunity challenge before Christian showed a moment of delusion, saying he was pushed to stick at it since he will only have one shot to play the game. Alec joined in the challenge talk, saying he got dizzy and just lost focus. Nick, Angelina and Carl were happy with their choice to sit out of the challenge while Alec and Kara threw shade saying you only sit out if you feel safe, which Carl tried to downplay since he never won a reward. Alison wasn’t buying Angelina’s plan to sit out, leading to Angelina spilling the tea about Alec and Kara throwing votes at her last tribal just to save face with the Davids. Talk turned to how in the hell Alec can save himself, with him trying valiantly to save himself by offering his services as a meatshield. Which, yes Alec, yes.

With that the tribe voted and poor Alec’s please fell on deaf ears as he found himself out of the game and joining the jury, aka Elizabeth’s Harem of Hunks. My heart broke for Alec – particularly now after he said fuck it to the NDA – who was sad to be out of the game and desperately wanted to play again. That being said, he took his boot with absolute class and I was so glad I could bring a little (pre-Kara) sweetness back into his world in the form of some Sugared Alecmond Merlino.

 

 

Now I know sugared almonds get a bad rap, but who doesn’t love an almond covered in sweet, sweet sugary goodness? Monsters, that’s who! Oh and obviously this recipe is adapted because who in the hell can actually just make these unless they are Willy Wonka?

So enjoy!

 

 

Sugared Alecmond Merlino
Serves: 6-12. Maybe?

Ingredients
3 cups raw caster sugar
1 cups water
2 tsp liquid glucose
a few drops blue food colouring
1 cup whole blanched almonds

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

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

Remove the cloth and knead it again with a few drops of food colouring to give a light pastel hue.

To coat the almonds melt the fondant and dip the – completely dry and peeled – almonds in the fondant one by one, tapping to remove any excess. Place on greaseproof paper and leave to rest for five minutes before flipping and leaving to dry completely.

Once dry and crisp, devour.

 

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Grantbola

Baking, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Hollywood. I mean, my relationships with the A-list of it inspired this patch of cyberspace … but sometimes it is nice just to hang out with a fellow Australian. And by that, Kiwi we adopted as our own after they became a success.

I first met Granty while working together on Blue Heelers in the ‘90s. You see, I created and wrote for the show, inspired by my experiences in the town of Mt Thomas in the ‘80s. Crime was so rife – 99% of them committed by me – that I knew it would make Aussie TV gold, and a legend was born.

But back to Grant. Grant walked in to audition and I instantly knew that he was the Wayne I had dreamed about and the rest, as I oft say, is history.

Grant was so grateful to me for giving him his big break that he pledged undying allegiance to me and begged me to guide his career. Given he worked on True Blood with Anna and Al, Ugly Betty with Alan Dale, I think you’d agree that my influence truly helped.

No shade to his talent though, obvi.

It was such a delight to hang out together, laugh about the good ol’ days with Sacky, McCune and Johnny Woods, reflect on the tragedy that was the latter seasons of True Blood – minus Skarsy’s peen shot – and devour some nourishing Grantbola for the day ahead.

 

 

Did I not mention we’re both morning people and work out together? We’re sickeningly cute bestos. Inspired by Sarah Wilson’s coconut-nut granola but made infinitely better thanks to the inclusion of fruits and other things you can’t eat after quitting sugar, this is the only granola you want in your life.

Enjoy!

 

 

Grantbola
Serves: 12-ish. Maybe? A soft maybe. I’m not sure, let’s call a shit-tonne and be done.

Ingredients
¼ cup coconut oil
3 cups coconut flakes
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
½ cup macadamias, roughly chopped
2 cups rolled oats
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
½ cup apple puree
½ cup craisins

Method
Preheat oven to 120°C.

Combine everything but the craisins in a large bowl until everything is coated and combined.

Spread across two lined baking sheets and cook for 10 minutes, toss, and cook for a further 10 or so, or until golden. Remove, toss through the craisins and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, devouring daily with yoghurt, fresh berries and, if you want to upset Sarah further, some Mahersharaspberry Coulis.

 

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Viola Halvis

Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XC: The Goldfather

Once again, I’ve reached the end of my Oscar Gold celebrations and no tea no shade to Diablo, Henry, Kathryn, Brad or Mahershala, I’ve well and truly saved the best to last – current reigning Best Supporting Actress, Viola Davis.

And that is not just because we’ve been the best of friends for 17 years. She is the only Black Actor to win the Triple Crown of Acting, and that makes her long overdue for some coverage on this ‘ere patch of cyberspace.

I first met Viola on the set of Kate & Leopold when dropping by to visit Megs (Megs, Megs) and Liev, and while she only had a bit part I knew she was destined for greatness. As such, I sidled up to her at the craft services table and promptly hitched my wagon to her, to achieve greatness by association.

While I also wasn’t able to convince her to bring me along as a date, she did have a surprise up her sleeve … she convinced one of our mutual friends to take me (let’s call her Beryl Strap)!

Anyway, I could talk about her being the only good thing about Fences, slaying in How to Get Away with Murder and realistically should have a couple of Oscars under her belt by now, that isn’t what you came for. You came to hear our opinions on who will snag the female acting gongs.

While we both agree that my dear friend Allison Janney will succeed her as Best Supporting Actress for I, Tonya, I desperately wish for a tie between her and fellow TV star Laurie Metcalf who was beautiful in Lady Bird. What is becoming a tradition in this year’s acting categories, we both feel Frances McDormand is a sure thing for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, I feel like fellow Gold Coaster Margot Robbie gave the better performance in  I, Tonya and am desperately hoping for an upset.

Like my date with Mahersh, I started to feel down thinking about Margot likely not snagging a win for Karl and Susan. That led to the requirement for something sickly sweet and totally delightful, like my Viola Halvis.

 

 

While there are so many forms of halva, this is obviously the best. Rich and nutty, delicate and floral, all wrapped up in a sickly sweet package, it is the perfect way to honour the ninetieth Oscars and Faye and Warren’s inevitable mis-crowning.

To The Goldfather, enjoy!

 

 

Viola Halvis
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
250g walnuts
250g blanched almonds
¼ cup sesame seeds
500g pitted dates
1 tbsp rosewater
icing sugar, to dust

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the nuts and sesame seeds on a large baking sheet and bake for ten minutes or so, or until toasted and fragrant. Remove and allow to cool.

Place the cooled nuts in a food processor with the dates and rosewater and blitz for about five minutes, or until completely combined.

Pour the mixture into a lined small baking sheet and transfer to the freezer to set for an hour or so. Then remove and cut into squares, dust with icing sugar and devour.

 

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Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XC: The Goldfather, Snack, Street Food

From the hilarious highs of my date with Diabs to the soulful melancholy of the songs I discussed with myself on my way to visiting Henry Mancini, this year’s Oscar Gold celebration, the Goldfather is off to a killer start. If I do say so myself. Which I just did.

There has been a lot of talk about the diversity of directors in the last few years – and some killer shade from Natalie Portman at the Globes this year – so I decided to mark the Academy getting it right this year, by inviting my dear friend and only female to ever take Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow, to drop by, celebrate and of course, run the odds.

I first met Kath in the early ‘90s while I was a part of Keanu Reeves’ entourage. He was – and TBH still is – being a total babe in Point Break, and she was slaying behind the camera. Fun fact: I inspired her to commision the rewrite which led to Johnny Utah cracking the case because of a butt. Because Keanu could crack my case anyday.

But I’ve digressed. We became the best of friends, I chose her in the split from Jim Cameron (though still secretly stayed friends with him on the DL) and she eventually took home an Oscar.

Anyway, the Best Director is arguably one of the most up in the air heading into the Oscars. While Guillermo del Toro has taken all of the precursors, I could make a case for anyone but Paul Thomas Anderson. And not just because like Jennifer Lawrence and my three year old niece, I hated it. I feel like Christopher Nolan was lucky to snag his first overdue nomination, so rule him out and like OG Screenplay, I am left to decide between Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig. Sooooooo, shit. I am hella confused, but I’m picking Greta Gerwig as the surprise victor (sorry for jinxing you Greta). Oh and Kath thinks Guillermo won’t be beaten, Greta will take the screenplay and Get Out will get Jord Best Picture. Everyone’s a winner it seems … and someone clearly ignored the memo that she only got to talk about directors.

Given it is a highly contentious slash contended category, Kath and I were positively famished by the end of our discussions. Which was so convenient, since I had whipped up a shit tonne of my Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos.

 

 

If I learnt anything from Austin Powers – and let’s be honest, I learnt a shit tonne from it – it was the moles are bad. However this quick – and highly anglicised – version is near perfection. Hot, spicy and little bit sweet, a squeeze of lime and this baby truly sings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken thighs, diced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chilli
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped almonds
800g can chopped tomatoes
2 chipotle chillis, dripping in adobo sauce and roughly chopped
2 cups chicken stock
100g dark dark chocolate, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
12 corn tortillas
queso fresco, coriander and lime, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sweat for about five minutes or until just becoming translucent. Add the thighs, cumin, chilli and cinnamon, and cook for a further ten minutes, or until the chicken in cooked through. Add the raisins, almonds, tomatoes, chillis and chicken stock, and bring to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low and simmer for about half an hour. Stir through the chocolate, season and cook for a couple of minutes more.

To serve, heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over high heat for a minute or so. Dollop on the mole, sprinkle with cheese and coriander, and devour with a big whack of fresh lime juice.

 

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Nannaimurphy Bar

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After a glorious week attending the powerful Golden Globeswith future President Winf- on a table in the front row – and spending time with Eugene, Cath, Em and Dan honouring the triumphant return of Schitt’s Creek, we’ve tragically come to the end of the celebration. And I am so thankful it is with the perennially delightful and delightfully snarky Annie Murphy.

Despite appearing with my friends Mish and Corbs in the TBL pilot, I didn’t connect with Ans until she appeared in an episode of Blue Mountain State. I was part of Denise Richards’ entourage of the time but was quickly taken by her spunky attitude and became the best of friends.

When it came time for Eug and Dan to cast the show, I immediately got Annie on the phone and said – in my best Moira voice – “you simply just have to audition, my dear. It is the role you were born to play!”

I think it goes without saying that I was completely right. Though really, that goes without saying as I’m always right. Just ask my husband!

Like the four that came before her, it was such a treat to get some qual time with my girl – plotting potential ways I could join the cast, laughing about TBL and smashing a tray of my Nannaimurphy Bars.

 

 

A little bit custard, a bit choc and co(conut) – this Canadian classic is near perfection. Sweet, earthy and velvety smooth, I would smear it all over my body if Allez-Vous said it would work.

Enjoy!

 

 

Nannaimurphy Bar
Makes: 16 squares.

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons for the topping
⅓ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 ¾ cups Lauren Graham Cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
¼ cup almonds, finely choppedThis Hour Has 22 Minutes
¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
¼ cup double cream
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla
150g milk chocolate

Method
Bring a small saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Place half the butter, the cocoa and muscovado sugar in a large heatproof bowl and heat over the bubbling water until the butter has melted and the mixture is nice and smooth. Obviously if you have a double boiler, use that, bit I’ve never seen one. So, yeah.

Remove from the heat and fold through the graham crackers, coconut, almonds and walnuts until well combined. Press into a lined square baking dish until firmly packet and smooth. Transfer to the fridge to chill while you work on the filling.

Place the remaining butter – sans the 2 tbsp, obvi – in the bowl of a stand mixer with the cream, custard powder, vanilla and icing sugar, and beat on medium until smooth and fluffy. Dare I say it, hella fluffy even. Smooth it over the base and return to the fridge to set.

Get the old poor-man’s double boiler going again – after cleaning it, of course – and melt the chocolate and butter together until well combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about five minutes before pouring over the slice.

Return to the fridge and chill for a couple of hours.

When it is good to go, slice with a warmed knife and promptly devour.

 

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Speidy Nuts Swedberg

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Side, Snack, Tapas

Let’s be honest, there are only four stars of Seinfeld so not every day of our Festivus celebrations can be filled with the iconic portrayers of TV’s erstwhile George, Kramer, Elaine and Jerry. That being said, the character of Susan and her death by out-of-date envelopes is truly iconic and more than earns Heidi Swedberg a trip to Brisbane to help my par-tay.

Plus, as is always the case, she is one of my dearest friends.

I first met Heid in the late ‘80s when she guested on an episode of Matlock. I was Andy Griffith’s stand-in – as we were both older gentleman, at heart – so spent a lot of time with the bit-players. The bond with Heidi was semi-instant and we kept in contact in the years that followed.

When Jase reached out about finding someone to play his love interest on the show, I thought she would be perfect for the role and would fit in well with the cast. While I was completely wrong about the last part, her death storyline was both hilarious and a cautionary tale for those, like me, that hoard Christmas cards year-on-year for later use.

While Heidi up on a life in Hollywood, she was thrilled to come out of hiding to celebrate Susan and Festivus. On the strict proviso that it was a date with only me, and that I’d be serving up my delightful Speidi Swedberg nuts.

 

 

Sweet, festively spiced and packing a little heat, these little babies are the perfect accompaniment for a festive date. Or for getting rid of the taste of rotten envelope glue.

Enjoy!

 

 

Speidi Swedberg Nuts
Serves: 1. 6-8 in a pinch.

Ingredients
500g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias and almonds
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
salt, to taste
1 cup craisins

Method
Place a large frying pan over medium heat and line a large baking sheet.

Chuck the nuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds in the pan and toss with a wooden spoon for about five minutes. Add the spices and toss to coat. Then add the oil, sugar and rosemary, toss to coat and cook until golden and fragrant.

Transfer them to the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and leave to to cool completely. Toss through the craisins and decant into bowls to serve immediately or a sterilised jar.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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