Kent Nelsonion Rings

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara and Anneliese were voted out of Samatau and were saved by the game’s first twist, switching tribes instead. As there must be balance, Ben and Henry volunteered to switch from Asaga, leaving the Jac of Jacry all alone. After losing immunity, Luke then finally claimed the upper hand, pulling in the new Asagans and booting my dear Queen Jacqui.

Returning to camp, Luke was feeling hella confident after blindsiding Jacry and taking control of Asaga … which feels more like pride cometh before the fall. Michelle was also thrilled, as was Tara who pointed that each of the original tribes were eight and eight, making me feel like she isn’t all Asaga strong. Poor Kent on the other hand, was feeling on the outs and was desperately trying to keep his feelings in check.

We returned to Asaga the next day where Anneliese and Tara were feeling up, surviving against all odds. Sarah then pointed out a rainbow and made my heart swell. On the other end of the mood spectrum, Kent was still feeling pretty crummy though hoped that being underestimated could help him dodge yet another vote. Anneliese, Tara, Sarah and Michelle then gossiped about Kent, with the latter saying that Odette and Kent were behaving like the children she nannies. Though she DGAF that he is against her, since she is playing harder. Do I have a Jacs replacement already?

Over at Samatau, Ziggy was fanging for a swim while we finally heard from Bern? Ben, who said that as the youngest, he was missing being doted on by his parents though was glad to be on Samatau, where people were respecting him. We were then treated to Jarrad trying to woo him over, which my gut is saying is going to end up like Ziggy flipping to Tara and Locky. Ben agreed to get rid of Henry to get further, though I reiterate, the conversation seemed more about seeing if Ben knew about an idol rather than aligning.

On the Henry note, he was feeling extremely confident in his charm, and the majority he left back at Asaga … which was destroyed at the last tribal council. Shit is gonna be awkward in a few minutes!

As expected, JoJo arrived for reward where my little Henny arrived to discover that his girl was booted at the last tribal council, leaving Luke and Tara with the biggest shit-eating grins imaginable. He tried to act like it didn’t hurt, but you could tell it really did. Locky then spoke about how good it was to see both Tara and Anneliese, which started painting the target back on their backs. Jonathan then explained the rules for an ice-cream reward, where the tribes had to push a cart of puzzles up a course before building a palm tree.

Kent was inexplicably removed from the challenge for medical reasons, before Ziggy and Locky completely dominated Luke and Jericho to get Samatau out to a huge lead. Ben being Ben, he then struggled with some knots before the combination of Henry, AK, Ben and Tessa tried to maintain their lead with Anneliese, Sarah, Odette and Jericho on their tails. Close to the end, Samatau discovered they had made some mistakes, allowing Asaga to claim a come from behind victory. Which is obvi my favourite kind.

Arriving at their ice cream reward, Jericho seemed to cream his shorts while the rest of the tribe were feeling pretty damn good. Just not cream in your shorts good, you know. He then devoured a shit tonne of ice cream before pointing out his lactose intolerance. They then started throwing hella shade at AK – which I can always get behind – before Anneliese stubbled upon a clue which led her to another, which she got sprung trying to find.

Before we could see if Anneliese had just screwed herself, we returned to Samatau where Henny was smarting over Jacqui’s boot while the OG Samatauns were thrilled – or angry, I don’t know – to discover Tara and Anneliese survived. While Henry was shook, Ben tried to use it to his advantage by pointing out to AK that he has no options left without Jacqui.

Back at reward, Anneliese was still removing husks from the palm pretending that she was looking for firewood where she finally found the clue without anyone noticing. It instructed her that the idol was hidden at the next immunity challenge, as such, she decided it was important to share the clue with someone to run cover, choosing Naomi Campbell’s mate Sarah. Thankfully Sarah was thrilled with the news, as she could use said news to extricate from her newly formed alliance of Luke and Jericho … filling me with equal parts hope and pride.

Things were still not looking up for Henry on Samatau where he spoke to Locky about how he was royally screwed without Jacs. He obviously then decided that creating his own beach-drawn game would be the best way to ingratiate himself with the tribe, which won over Ziggy and made Ben look like an absolute moron. That being said, Tessa and AK knew that his likability was a problem for their games and because of that, he needs to go ASAP.

Anneliese and Sarah awoke on day 24 to plot how best to snatch the idol at the upcoming immunity. Given the fact Anneliese is becoming the puzzle queen, she couldn’t actually snatch it for herself and instead handed over the clue and responsibility to Sarah to snatch.

On that note, JoJo returned for said immunity challenge where Jericho gloated about the previous reward before Henry pointed out that he and Ben were on the outs and in desperate need of a win. The challenge involved the tribes transporting disc along a rope challenge before releasing them, pushing them up a ramp, into a barrel and then up a shoot – where the idol was hidden – to release the puzzle pieces. As seems to be the case, Samatau got out to an early led with Ben – shockingly – turning in a strong performance, while poor Sarah was left to untangle the discs for Asaga solo. Will Sarah even make it to the idol before Samatau finish? It isn’t looking good.

Samatau continued to extend their lead, getting the puzzle pieces before Sarah – finally joined by Jericho – had even finished the first obstacle. Anneliese then paces the course, desperate to snatch the idol while Samatau snatched immunity. After successfully taking the idol, Anneliese joined her tribe before Henry handed an idol clue over to Jericho out of nowhere making me hopeful that he planted a fake idol where he found the old one and I forgot. Did that happen and we’re about to see Luke or Jericho humiliated? Please.

The defeated Asaga returned to camp, trying to make themselves feel better about their loss. While everyone was upset, Luke was loving it since he was in control … which feels like he is being set up for a fall. Anneliese and Sarah disappeared to discuss their alliance, with Sarah continuing her strong gameplay by confirming she Anneliese’s idol is hers alone and she wanted to work with her as best as she could.

Sensing he is next to go, Kent opened up his strategy shop down the beach hoping to lure people over to discuss options with him. After an awkwardly long period of sitting lazily at the end of the beach, Tara approached Kent to see if he was open to getting rid of Michelle which is what he was hoping anyway. Tara then approached Anneliese to get rid of Michelle, which the latter wasn’t keen on given the fact Sarah wouldn’t be keen on it. Tara then approached Luke about keeping strength, with Luke suggesting Odette – who is the strongest woman left in the game – instead of Kent.

Michelle, Anneliese and Sarah discussed the upcoming vote by the fire, where Michelle started to drink the overconfidence kool aid which appears to have rubbed Sarah the wrong way. She then approached Kent to discuss the fact he and Odette were next to go, which he countered that the options were actually Michelle and Kent. Given that Sarah is aligned with Michelle, she tried to sway the vote to Luke or Jericho instead to lock in a majority and take control.

They arrived at tribal council where JLP was quick to rub in the fact they completely bombed the immunity challenge, with Jericho and Luke  explaining the loss in an extremely basic manner. Michelle spoke about how difficult the challenge was, before Anneliese admitted that they are kinda screwed given the fact that Samatau was stacked with athletic members. Michelle then raised some eyebrows talking about getting rid of threats and keeping people she can trust, rather than strength. Odette, Jericho and Luke debated which was the right option, before Michelle and Kent were outed as causing most of the disharmony in the tribe. After talking about not really getting on, Kent offended Michelle by pointing she doesn’t contribute much at camp. She then challenged him to point out how he does any better, which he struggled with. Sarah then spoke about the fact there is a clear majority, though those on bottom should be working hard to claim back the majority. Despite signalling that she was on the precipice of flipping, Sarah stuck with current majority to take out my speedo loving daddy Kent.

Since he is the Chief Financial Officer of a Government Department, I have long known to keep my dear friend Kent on my good side. How do I do that, you ask? By whipping up a big batch of my Kent Nelsonion Rings.

 

 

Despite the fact it is bleedingly obvious that you can’t go past fried food when looking for comfort, I figure I should do my best to sell you on these babies. Though the crisp batter, sweet, melting onion and whack of salt kinda do that for me, no?

Enjoy!

 

 

Kent Nelsonion Rings
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 large onions
125ml milk
1 egg
70g flour
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp muscovado sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
oil, for fryin’

Method
Slice the onions into 1cm wide rings and heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat until 180°C.

Whisk the wet and dry ingredients together, separately – aka wet together, dry together – before whisking them all together.

Dip the onions in the batter and fry a few pieces at a time for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to some kitchen towel and repeat the process until the onion is all gone.

Season with salt and pepper and devour, in a melancholic yet accepting manner.

 

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Tom Paterscone

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

After a rough final tribal council, particularly for our third place finisher Barb, my dear friend Tom sadly wasn’t rewarded for his physical dominance landing as the runner-up. While it was kind of expected after the Avi love fest, I was shocked – and of course angry slash out for vengeance – to learn that he only mustered one vote.

Consider yourselves officially out of my little black book, Lee and Mike.

While Avi’s social game took him over the line, Tom played the game on the back foot from day one and needed to work harder to survive day after day. He had a brief period of luck post-swap, before ending up back on the bottom – swoon – at the merge.

He then won challenge after challenge, buying him enough time to build the relationships that took him through to the final three.

Sadly though, the jury couldn’t see that – or did, and didn’t think it was worthy – with only Jak voting for him to win. Which is tragic, but it at least gave him the runner-up title outright.

He arrived in loser lodge where I completely flipped out because of his loss. After about an hour or so, he managed to calm me down enough – with clothes on, most shockingly – to whip him up a batch of my delicious Tom Paterscones.

 

 

I love me some bacon. I also love chilli and live for cheese, throw it in a scone, slather it in butter and you’re in for a dreamy treat. Almost as dreamy as the babe-town that is Tom.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tom Paterscone
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
125g chilled butter, cubed
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced and fried
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
200g aged cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
200ml milk, plus extra to glaze

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour until it resembles wet sand. Stir in the bacon, spring onion, chilli, tomato and ¾ of the cheese.

Whisk the eggs with the milk and combine with the flour mixture using a cutting motion, with a round bladed knife until a soft dough forms. Turn into onto the bench and knead until it just comes together, ensure not to overwork it.

Roll out the dough until it is 2-3cm thick, cut into rounds and place on a baking sheet. Brush with milk, sprinkle with leftover cheese and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffed.

Devour, slathered in butter.

 

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Michaela Bradshortcake

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously – slash a minute ago – on Survivor, it became exceedingly more obvious that Sarah was sliding her way to victory, despite Cirie’s killer display. While everyone was against Brad for the entire episode, Andrea stuck her neck out one time too many and found herself sent to the jury.

We arrived back at camp where Aubry apologised to Brad for being the only person remaining that voted for him last tribal. She then acknowledged the elephant in the room, that if you align with her you end up voted out … or near death. She then broke down about having had such a rollercoaster day what with winning immunity and being blindsided, before winning Tai’s affection back and making Cirie wary of Tai’s social game.

Probst quickly returned for the second immunity challenge of the episode, the Darrah Johnson-Shane Powers memorial pour-water-in-the-hole-to-float-a-key-high-enough-to-retrieve-it. Don’t blame me for the title, I was experiencing PTSD by proxy for Cirie.

Michaela got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Troyzan, Aubry and Brad, who made quick work using the key to unlock their puzzle pieces. Given how confusing the puzzle was, Sarah, Tai and Cirie all caught up before Brad found a hole that he couldn’t fill. Michaela thought she had it, which she didn’t before kicking the puzzle … giving enough time for Brad to fill that hole and snatch immunity.

Brad then celebrated and / or through a tantrum, almost channelling Mr. This-Is-My-Island, Troyzan.

Back at camp the Troyzan and Tai were feeling uncomfortable, since the target was immune … despite both of them being in possession of an idol, or two if you’re Tai. Tai approached Aubry about needing to make some moves if they are going to make it to the end, both agreeing that Sarah is currently the one to beat.

Aubry then told Cirie, who went straight back to Sarah who refused to believe that Aubry was telling the truth. Wanting to solidify her loyalty, Sarah decided to give up the extra vote advantage to Cirie. Cirie, being the crafty kween that she is, debating the merits on hanging on to it, or playing it despite the fact Sarah didn’t want to, to protect Sarah from herself and Tai.

Cirie then clued Michaela in on what was happening, with both of them agreeing that Cirie needed to use Sarah’s vote steal to steal Sarah’s own vote to take out Tai … by lulling him into a false sense of security to not play an idol by saying she is doing it to save him. This is some next level inception bullshit right here and if she pulls it off, she is the first in line to Sandra’s throne in the line of procession.

Giving future players a masterclass on how to manipulate people, Cirie pulled Tai aside and played him like a fiddle. I mean, the voice quivering, the panic, the concern?! I love Cirie.

We then arrived at tribal council where Sarah spoke about the mad scrambling that occurred post challenge. Cirie and Brad agreed that everyone was lying to someone and that they need to cut through that, to which Michaela disagreed. Tai then acknowledged that he always gives people the benefit of the doubt and that it could lead to his downfall.

Troyzan sounded like he’s been hurt one too many times in the game, which after being schooled by Kim I assume he has. Michaela then brought up the ‘we’ again before we headed off to vote … but wait, Cirie pulled out the vote steal! Sadly for her, she didn’t read the fine print saying that it could not be transferred.

She was then chastised by Probst and Sarah, for outing the fact she was going to make a huge move but actually couldn’t. And as has become the tradition of Game Changers, Sarah then whispered something in Tai’s ear, before Cirie pulled Sarah aside to tell her she was trying to use it to save her, which Michaela jumped up to agree with. Troyzan then tried to eavesdrop, earning the wrath of Michaela who did not have time for his shit.

Aubry then joined the fray and things started to calm down and everyone returned to their seats … until Sarah got back up to  talk to Tai, with Cirie whispering in the other ear. Cirie then went to Michaela, while Tai went back to talking to Sarah … before the latter decided to just use the advantage, take Tai’s vote and get this over with.

Despite snatching Tai’s vote, Sarah didn’t join Aubry and Michaela in voting out Tai, instead joining Brad and Troyzan to blindside Michaela. While it wasn’t as exciting as her previous exit, the tribal build up was even more exciting and she ended with you do you, boo … which is amazing.

Make no mistake, Michaela is a total sass queen … but she was feeling a little bit salty, having been booted from Survivor twice in the space of a few months. That being said, it is hard to stay salty when you fill up on my Michaela Bradshortcake!

 

 

I know that the doll/TV show firmly pushes for the strawberry version of these delights, I have a strong aversion to the feel of them on my tongue and therefore avoid them at most costs. I mean, I’ll eat them but they are not my first through fifth choice.

Plus, how do you go wrong with apple, walnut and cinnamon? Exactly, you can’t – enjoy!

 

 

Michaela Bradshortcake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
3-4 apples, cored and finely diced
juice of a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raw caster sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
kosher salt
85g cold unsalted butter
1 ½ cup double cream
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 egg

Method
Combine the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and ¼ cup raw caster sugar to combine. Cover and allow to steep for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter through the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand. Add 1 cup cream and walnuts, and stir with a fork until it just starts to come together.

Form the dough into large lime-sized balls and press to flatten on a lined baking tray, repeating the process until done.

Whisk the egg, brush each biscuit/scone and bake until golden brown, or about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for half an hour.

When ready to serve, whip the remaining cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Half the biscuit and top with some apple and cream. Close the biscuit … and because I really like to load up on the toppings, add some more apple, cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

Then devour, obviously.

 

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Elton Johnnycakes

Breakfast, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Golden Little Pill, Snack

I know what you’re thinking – did hell freeze over? While technically, the answer is no (as far as we can tell), both Elts and I felt that with Trump’s election, the impossible and stupid is now possible and so our feuding should come to an end.

Despite my pledge to always be his staunchest of rivals.

We started a renewed correspondence back in mid-December to throw shade at the vile pig that was elected as the President of the United States. After a few weeks of back and forth rage, we realised that despite our tumultuous past it was time to unite for the greater good of the world – it is amazing what a mutual enemy does for one’s friendships!

(Yes, I’m now going for a Nobel Peace Prize too – FYI … in lieu of the Oscar he made me lose in the ‘90s).

Wanting to sort out our issues before we both changed our mind – and given the fact he has his own Oscars celebration – I decided to mark our renewed friendship by including him in our Grammy Gold celebrations, rather than wait (or rub salt in the wounds) for Oscar Gold.

While it was obviously, extremely awkward for a good twenty minutes or so as we both circled each other hurling back-handed compliments, until I softened and mentioned his spawn, softening his heart and allowing us to truly connect like in the good old days.

Well, almost – he hadn’t had a post-flight colonic. Which reminds me, he obvs wrote Benny and the Jets about me during happier times.

Not to let that dampen the mood, I quickly whipped up a batch of my Elton Johnnycakes – for the first time post feud – which was our go to post-coitus (or colonic) snack.

 

elton-johnnycakes-1

 

Pancakes are good and all, but how can you go past a option that is thicker, juicer and packed full of a different flavour. Gah – I think I missed Elts in our time apart, don’t tell anyone.

Enjoy!

 

elton-johnnycakes-2

 

Elton Johnnycakes
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g polenta
100g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
300ml milk
30g butter, melted

Method
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together the milk and eggs in a jug. Stirring constantly, whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until some and combined. Finally, whisk in the butter.

Meanwhile heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt a small lug of butter and when foamy, add in a ¼ cup of batter into the pan. After a minute or so, flip over the cake and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a plate.

Repeat until done and devour in bed, alone or with a dear friend (in the ‘70s obvs, not now).

 

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Adamper Garcia

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack

While Adam was a little bit offended that I called him a diva earlier in (which kind of proves my point, no?), there is nothing more unifying than joint anger. And thankfully we were both enraged and disheartened to find out that neither of us had won – let alone been nominated for – Australian of the Year.

I mean, sure neither of us are scientists that have made massive contributions to society, but Coyote Ugly is a modern classic and this blog is giving the under-connected a glimpse at life on the A-list. I don’t think the Australian of the Year committee are fully appreciating our value.

Anyway, we are both insanely offended, which meant the committee distracted Ads from my shade and we were able to celebrate ourselves – because evidently no one else was – and our country – who evidently hates us – like it were the good old days.

Not that I’m bitter though, or anything.

Ads and I haven’t seen each other in about a year, after he had to pull out of the stage production of Singin’ in the Rain due to a leg injury. I took over the role – at his request FYI, this isn’t a Showgirls situation – and our friendship had to play out over Skype only, while talking smack about our annoying co-stars.

After quickly reconnecting – sadly not physically, now that he is married – I got to work whipping up something delicious for our catch up. Given my love of his pillowy buns and the need to make something horrifically Australian, I just couldn’t go past a simple, classic Adamper Garcia.

 

adamper-garcia-1

 

Make no mistake, damper may be simply but it is insane delicious … though maybe that has a lot to do with the fact that they are essentially a giant scone. Doughy and salty, it is the perfect thing to sop up some butter and honey or golden syrup.

So yes Latrice, damper is essentially a biscuit – enjoy!

 

adamper-garcia-2

 

Adamper Garcia
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
3 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
100g butter, chilled, cubed
¾ cup water

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl together. Add the cubed butter and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles wet sand / breadcrumbs – Adam and I made it look like a culinary version of Ghost and it was amazing.

Pour in the water and use a knife to cut across the mixture until it is all combined, adding extra if it appears dry.

Bring the dough together with your hands and shape into a large cob-esque loaf. Place on a lined baking sheet, cut a deep cross into the dough and bake in the oven for half an hour, or until golden and cooked through.

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly, before slathering in butter and your chosen condiments and devouring.

 

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Bret LaBao Buns

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Previously on Survivor, we opened the finale with Jay’s killer blindside. Or maybe it wasn’t, I’m still not sure if we were meant to know that the idol was fake and I can’t be bothered rewatching yet.

Not wanting to dwell on the last tribal too much, we arrived at the next immunity involving swimming, traversing a ball through some obstacles, hard poles – yay – and a puzzle, which terrified David on account of his questionable swimming ability.

Ken got out to an early lead thanks to his exquisite ball play, his wet torso glistening beautifully in the sun.  As he lay me down on the sand and leant gently beside me and ki … sorry, tangent.

Sadly Ken wasn’t kissing me, now was he as good with those hard poles – he’ll learn, I have faith – with Bret overtaking him and snatching the lead. Despite Bret’s lead, the rest of the castaways caught up allowing Ken to snatch individual immunity with one of Jeff’s favourite phrases to say to the millennials, “not a participation trophy.

Can we just pause here to enjoy how pretty Ken looks whenever Jeff gives him immunity?

The tribe arrived back at camp where Adam got Bret to run interference for him while he scoured the island for the hidden immunity idol. With Adam away, David went to Hannah and Ken to reconfirm their final three alliance and the plan to boot Adam.

Sadly for David, Adam was successful in finding the actual hidden immunity idol, at least I think … right now.

With Adam busy celebrating his find, David and Ken pulled Bret aside to get him to join the plan to boot Adam. Bret then went to Adam to let him know David and Ken’s plan, while Adam shared his idol secret with Bret and then shared his news with Hannah who announced that she was in control of the outcome at the next tribal council.

Which generally doesn’t bode well for the person that said that.

Vinegar, sorry Vinaka, arrived at tribal and discussed the hunt for the idols, before Bret – this time – sparred with David about their threat status’, statuses, stati?

Whatever the plural of status, Hannah did control the outcome of the tribal and made the worst possible move – at least from the viewers’ perspective – sending Bret out of the game in fifth place as the ninth juror.

Obviously I know Bret, given my love of beer, Boston, bars, bars in Boston and picking up cops who are trying to arrest me for drunk and disorderly behaviour after drinking too much beer in bars in Boston.

The love affair was brief but we remained friends ever since (and I will cherish splitting Ben & Jerry’s after sleeping together through Peter Pan Live!), meaning I knew there was only one thing I could make to dull his post boot pain – Bret LaBao Buns. Emphasis on buns, that foxy minx.

 

bret-labao-buns-1

 

I love pork buns more than life itself. I also love bao buns and David Chang (and The Bun Mobile as well), but i’ve always been scared to try making them at home myself (until Cumberbitch) … but the Momofuku recipe is easy and put my mind at ease.

So yes, this is not my recipe … but I put enough love into it to make Bret happy.

Enjoy!

 

bret-labao-buns-2

 

Bret LaBao Buns
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
hoisin sauce, to serve
sliced shallot, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Steamed buns
7g dry yeast
⅔ cup water, at room temperature
1 cup bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of baking soda
30ml vegetable shortening

Pickled cucumbers
2 thick, juicy lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin disks
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Pork
1.5kg slab skinless pork belly
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar

Method
To start, place the pork belly into a roasting pan. Combine the salt and sugar and rub all over the meat, erotically if you want but that is a bit weird. Cover in cling and allow to rest overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 225°C and discard any juices – or discharges if you will. Once the oven is piping hot, place the pork in the oven, fat side up and cook for an hour, basting with the rendering fat throughout.

While that is getting as hot as Bret, my husband and I were while Walken sang his heart out, combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat, and mix on the lowest speed possible, just above a stir, for 8–10 minutes. Once it has formed a nice, not-too-sticky ball, turn it out into a lightly lubricated bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and leave to prove in a warm, dry place for an hour or so.

Reduce the pork to 110°C and leave to cook for a further hour and a half, by which point it is tender, pillowy and glorious. Once that is done, remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and allow to rest.

Get back to the buns by punching back the dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half, and half again and then each piece into three. Roll them into balls, cover in cling and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, prep the cucumbers by combining them in a small mixing bowl with the sugar and salt. Toss to coat and leave to rest – feel free to adjust the sugar and salt levels, to taste.

Then cut out 12 generous squares of baking paper and coat a chopstick in some shortening. When the balls are fully engorged, take them in your hand – and left turn – and flatten them into a long oval shape. Place the chopstick in the middle and fold over to make the bao bun, pulling the chopstick out the end to make the flaps nice and moist and place on the baking paper.

Yes – that sentence was deliberate.

Cover with cling and leave the buns to rest for half an hour.

While taking the final chance to prove themselves, cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices.

When the buns have proven themselves, get a large pot with a steamer on the stove and bring just enough water to the boil. Working a couple at a time, place the buns in the steamer, cover and steam, for ten minutes or until puffed and beautiful.

To build the bun, place one on your plate, slather with hoisin, top with the pickles and a few slices of pork belly. Top with shallots and sriracha, and devour.

 

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Eve Plumb Pudding

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my goodness – I didn’t realise losing Florence Henderson would be this hard.

As one of my first loves, I always knew my heart would break but given we were never able to launch a spin-off of her Retirement Living cooking show – which would have looked suspiciously like Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party – I’m distraught that I couldn’t help add a final jewel in the crown of her TV legacy.

But alas, this isn’t all about our dearly departed Florence …  and that is in no small part, thanks to the beautiful, caring support of my dear friend Eve Plumb, who helped me work through my grief.

As you know, Annelie and I connected with The Bradys via Mo and were cast as the worse versions of cousin Oliver. While we were wiped from the show’s history, we remained close with the kids – particularly Evie.

Like her character on the Bunch – oh, have I never mentioned we all called it the Bunch on set? ‘Cause we did – Eves was always the most down to earth (albeit a little jealous) member of the cast, and she took me under her wing and tried to help me through my multiple addictions and countless scandals throughout the years.

Fun fact: I am the one who got her into painting … which I took up when in rehab with my gal pal, Caz Fish.

I hadn’t seen Evie since her appearance in the Emmy Award winning production Grease: Live and was looking forward to toasting to her success and was on the phone to her when we heard about dear Flo’s passing.

It completely knocked me, I broke down and Evie knew that she was the only one that would be able to help me snap out of it – we actually inspired that scene in Moonstruck – and process my grief.

Of course, Eves was right about helping me, though making and devouring my Eve Plumb Pudding – as you probably guessed on Monday – should also take some of the credit, given its proven therapeutic benefits when it comes to helping process grief. In addition to being delicious.

(Talking about our sodden appearance on Sally Jessy also lifted our spirits, obviously … but that isn’t necessary to this story).

 

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I used to make this pud on set – which is pieced together from my grandmother’s handwritten par-recipe – every year to celebrate filming the last episode before our break and it was everything you want from Christmas and more – fruity, rich and ready to stuff you up … it sounds like everything I want in a man.

Enjoy!

 

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Eve Plumb Pudding
Serves: 2 mourners.

Ingredients
400g raisins
300g currants
150g sultanas
100g prunes, roughly chopped
100g dates, roughly chopped
250ml spiced rum
250g butter, at room temperature, plus extra to grease
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
Brandy custard, to serve

Method
This takes some planning ahead, ok? So I apologise, but place the fruit in a large bowl with the rum and leave to steep overnight to a day – the longer the better, you want that fruit completely written off.

Grease a two litre capacity pudding basin with extra, soft butter and line the base with a circle of non-stick paper. Leave aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale, fluffy and creamy. Add vanilla and each egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and fold through the pulsating-ly fluffy egg, butter and sugar mix. Fold through the boozed up fruits and pour the batter into the prepared pudding basin.

Now for the fun – lol – place an upturned saucer – or something low and heatproof that fits – in the base of a large saucepan. Half fill the pot with kettle-boiled water and simmer over low heat.

While that is getting bubbly, cut a large square of non-stick paper and an equally sized square of foil. Fold them together, pleating at the middle to secure and place over the lid of the basin, foil side up. Press it down tightly and secure with kitchen twine like a poorly wrapped christmas present.

Lower the basin until the non-chalantly bubbling water – adding more if the tide is not high. Cover the pot as securely as possible and steam for 4 hours, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Check on the pot throughout cooking and top with more boiling water as required – use your judgement.

Remove from the basin, allow to rest for about half an hour and turn out.

Top with warmed brandy custard … which reminds me, I need to make a call.

Obviously you can devour while I’m on the phone – maybe check back over the weekend?

 

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Lauren Graham Crackers

Baking, Oy with the turkeys already!, Side, Snack, Sweets

I honestly cannot believe I am sitting down to write about catching up with Lauren Graham in this context. I mean, a Gilmore Girls reunion has long been my dream but after the short lived wonder that was Bunheads, I feared that ASP wouldn’t be able to bequeath the only TV revival I ever wanted.

Outside of Golden Girls, obviously.

Don’t get me wrong, such a positive and hopeful person like me always dreamed that it would one day happen … I just thought Lauren and I would be catching up to celebrate the seminal movie Because I Said So’s tenth anniversary, before experiencing this wonder.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that 2016 has been absolute balls, but not in a good way, but (the horrifically named) Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is something we can all take some time to be thankful for, which really makes it’s release so convenient for me and my Thanksgiving plans.

As you know, Annelie and I used to work as gophers on the set of the OG series until we were blacklisted for not letting go off our adopted triplets amnesia storyline – which *spoiler alert* was left unused in the revival.

While you may have assumed that is how we met and fell in love with Loz, we actually connected on the set of Caroline in the City whilst part of Lea Thompson’s entourage – our story inspired the teen movie, Heathers. Seeing a star on the rise, we jumped to join Loz’s far less angry clique and guided her to greatness.

Loz has been so busy in recent years, what with keeping Kleenex afloat via Parenthood – which to confess, I couldn’t watch as it just felt like she was cheating on Rory, Richard and Emily – so it has been a while since we’ve been able to take the time to get together and celebrate everything that makes our friendship as beautiful as it is.

Thankfully not a thing has changed in our time apart, Loz is still such a beautiful soul and she is still more than willing to spill some secrets to her best friend – I know the final four words guys! – over a batch of her favourites, my Lauren Graham Crackers.

 

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I know what you’re thinking – oy, with the grahams? / they shoot bloggers, don’t they? – but bare with me, graham crackers are insanely delicious … and festively appropriate given they are the basis of all the best cheesecake / pie crusts.

Thankfully Loz and I don’t need to be too fancy to celebrate Thanksgiving, our friendship and the GG reunion is more than enough.

But to reiterate, these are delicious as is – enjoy!

 

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Lauren Graham Crackers
Makes: 30-40.

Ingredients
60g unsalted butter
115g muscovado sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
250g wholemeal flour

Method
Beat the butter and sugar using a stand mixer for about five minutes, or until pale and creamy. Still beating, slowly add in the egg, honey and milk, allowing the mix to come together before adding the next. Remove from the stand and fold through the baking powder, salt and flour, until it comes together as a smooth dough. Form into a disc, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove the dough from the fridge and split it in two, returning one to the fridge while you work on the other. Between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the dough until it is super thin – 2-3mm max – cut it into graham shaped rectangles, dot with the thick end of a skewer and transfer to a baking tray.

Repeat the process with the second piece of dough.

Transfer both trays to the oven and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven, split the biscuits into pieces and transfer to a cooling rack.

Then devour.

 

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Coffee El Scrowlands

Australian Survivor, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 Australians were marooned in Samoa where 21 had been voted out leading to what could be the most biege final three in Survivor history.

Thankfully I wasn’t allowed to dwell on this for very long, as we opened up on day 54 where El, Lee and Kristie were already on the way to the final immunity challenge where the producers finally did something right, and brought back fallen comrades.

While I normally love this segment – that Probsty cut from OG Survivor – this just served as another reminder of the wonderful people we could have had sitting in the final three. I mean, Des was hilariously misguided, as was Bianca, Evan never got to tell the cast about his secret career as a drama teacher, Pete … well he would have been a worse option, Barry was loveable, Tegan trained Becks, Rohan rocks a speedo and Kat is just fucking amazing.

Hell, even Andrew would have been more interesting.

Then we went through the darkest timeline where we were reminded that Craig, Phoebe, Conner and Kate were booted back-to-back-to-back-to-back, breaking more hearts than Rohan’s skimpy instagrams.

We obvs recapped the jury but given the fact I am hoping they will provide us with some entertainment later we’ll skip them, ok?

We arrived at the edge of a cliff – sadly not for a suicide pact resulting in Flick getting the title by default – for the most epically staged Hands on a Hard Idol of all time. And that includes watching Mama Kim dominate in Africa.

Before they got around to gripping the pole, JLP pulled out one final twist and whipped out the Final Three’s family. There were tears and proof that El is not the least eloquent person alive, Kristie is the only person left that knows who Richard Hatch is and Lee had major back surgery.

After getting some love, JoJo sent the Final Three over to the edge of the cliff where the tribe had to perch on small, stiff poles and grip an even thicker, harder pole – so yeah, it is completely in my element.

Sadly for the family members, it isn’t a great spectator sport – kind of like cricket, to be honest – and to make matters worse, it went for over 6 hours before El couldn’t go any further and had to be carried away, Bodyguard style (almost) by JLP.

Swoon.

With El out of the way, Kristie got to work making a deal. And by that, point blank told him to give her the challenge and cried … until he did stumble off, either from fatigue or mateship. Let’s be honest, mateship. After winning her first individual challenge, Kristie then appeared to finally snap before Lee apologised to El for ruining their shot at being Australia’s Romber.

Forgoing any form of scrambling, we then arrived at tribal council where the jury were in absolute shock and disbelief to see that Kristie had actually won the final immunity challenge. JoJo gave Lee a rundown of why he and El wouldn’t be voting tonight, before they both had an opportunity to make their case to Kristie. Obviously she gave El – who was actually playing the game – the boot, sending her into my loving arms at loser lodge.

Once again, yeah I’ve been hard on my beaut, mate El – we met in the army where she dobbed in my lewd behaviour, getting me dishonorably discharged – for making this season quite boring … but sometimes the best games are boring to watch (see: One World) and I quickly worked on forgiving her as she arrived for a commiserations cuppa and my favourite, an El Coffee Scrowland.

 

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El and I discovered this recipe on Sweet Perfection Cakes after lamenting the brutal way that – I want to say Arnott’s – removed these beauties from the shelves and ruined lives and the 90s arvo cuppa of Blend 43 my mum and I would share while waiting for my siblings to get home from school.

Yes – I snuck coffee at five, thus being so short. It really does stunt growth, yo.

Despite the fact I’ve tried to tinker with this to make it my own, it is perfection and takes you back to the joys of childhood. Arnotts, bring back my scrolls! And in the meantime, bake these – enjoy!

 

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Coffee El Scrowlands
Makes: 48.
Ingredients
3 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
225g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
¼ cup small dried black currants
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
375g white chocolate
few drops of red food colouring (the OG recipe called for oil colouring, but I used the generic water based and it worked a treat)

Method
Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and spices on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and mix in the egg on low speed. Remove from mixer, fold in the flour and baking powder and return to mixer on low speed until combined. The removal and folding is solely because when I don’t, I flour bomb my own kitchen.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the currants. Roll into a disc, wrap in cling and leave to rest for 30 minutes in fridge and preheat the oven to 160C.

Cut the dough into thirds and roll out between two sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Cut into mug sized(-ish) rounds and place on a lined cookie sheet. Repeat the process until all the dough is gone.

Using a spiral egg whisk, press into the top of each biscuit to give the scroll design. Obviously I did not have a spiral whisk so tried my best to be handy. D- for execution, B+ for effort – stay off my back, ok?

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool on the trays for a couple of minutes before loosening and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While they are cooling, melt your chocolate – double boiler, microwave, I don’t mind, do what you think it right – until smooth. Stir through a few drops of food colouring and dollop on to the centre of the biscuits when cooled.

Leave to set. Devour.

 

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