Choc Berry Muffins

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

It has been an extremely busy week celebrating this year’s Grammys with my annual Grammy Gold parties, but as usual, I always push through. Or get by with a little help from my friends, so to speak. And Somebody That I Used to Gold would have been nothing without the love and support of my dear friends Lady Gaga, ONJ, Trey, Tina, Kandi and today, the late, great Chuck Berry.

Given I already had the delorean out to visit Kandi, I decided I should take it out for another spin and seeing Chuck again was high on my list of priorities.

I met Chuck in the ‘40s while studying to become beauticians at the Poro College of Cosmetology. While I wasn’t very good, my boy Chuck was a bloody star and so I quickly helped him rise in the industry. Until I heard his dulcet tones and realised that making him a singing star would be far more beneficial to my bank account.

While in the car, I started pondering about the major Grammy categories that I still needed to run the odds for. Obviously I am backing This is America for Song of the Year, however my gut – or indigestion – is telling me that movies are going to dominate the other two, With Black Panther snagging Album of the Year and Shallow getting Record of the Year, though This is America truly deserves the double.

With that out of the way, I arrived back in the ‘80s to help celebrate his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and boy was it an absolute thing of beauty. His kind, talented soul, and my Choc Berry Muffins, obvi.

 

 

Tart berries and gooey chocolate are quite possibly my favourite flavour combination. Add them into some pillowy cake, and I am in heaven. Heaven I tells, ya! Like my dear friend Chuck, may he rest in peace.

Enjoy!

 

 

Choc Berry Muffins
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarb of soda
2 tsp baking powder
75g raw caster sugar
200ml buttermilk
1 egg
100g blueberries
100g raspberries
200g milk chocolate, cut into rough chunks

Method
Preheat oven to 160C and line a six-hole Texan muffin pan.

Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and egg with the melted butter. Fold together with a wooden spoon until just combined before folding through the berries and chocolate.

Divide the batter between the holes and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until risen cooked through and golden.

Allow to cool slightly, though making sure they’re still warm enough for the chocolate to be gooey. When you devour.

 

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Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Tom Crumpetty

Breakfast, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Snack, Vegetarian

After kicking this year’s Grammy Gold – Goldenade for those playing at home – off on an emotionally draining note with Whits, followed by a soul affirming date with my boy Burt, I was starting to feel disoriented. Almost like I was in an emotional free fall, which led to me calling my dear friend Tom Petty and begging him to come over to celebrate the Grammys.

Then I remembered that he tragically passed away but a few months ago and I truly felt like I was freeeeeeeeeeee. Free fallin’. I reversed the delorean out of the garage and this time set a course for earlier last year, to see him one last time and honour his legacy in the way that he deserves.

Since I obviously couldn’t take to him about this year’s nominees, lest I spoil his death, I ran the odds for the Rock/Alternative categories alone. I was obviously feeling misty while heading back because I opted to mark Best Rock Performance down for Leonard Cohen over the Foo Fighters. Metal Performance I closed my eyes and pointed at Code Orange, Best Rock Song I think will go to Metallica while Best Rock Album will go to Queens of the Stone Age … and Alternative Album should obviously go to Arcade Fire.

With that out of the way I charted my course back to last year to hang with Tom, and by George was it not the most delightful thing I’ve experienced in years. Tom and I have known each other for years, meeting when he was putting together the first line-up of the Heartbreakers. While he egregiously snubbed my audition for the bassist, the decade of stalking and torment eventually led to friendship and we’ve been the best of since the mid-80s.

I may or may not have bequeathed him a little song I wrote called free fallin’.

Anyway, Tommy was thrilled to see me and we laughed, fondly reminisce about our friendship and I was finally able to get the closure I desperately wanted after his death. In turn, he got to smash a batch of my Tom Crumpetty, so he was hella chuffed.

 

 

Light, fluffy and springy, there is nothing better than a freshly cooked crumpet. Even the ones that don’t exactly look the part. I mean, I tried my best but I just couldn’t be bothered greasing the crumpet rings and therefore, we got some jagged little edges like it were last year’s celebration. In any event, however, they taste delicious.

So enjoy!

 

 

Tom Crumpetty
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
3 cups milk
¼ cup butter, plus extra for cooking
2 tsp raw caster sugar
7g dried yeast
3 cups plain flour
sea salt, to taste
1 tsp bicarb soda

Method
Combine the milk and butter in a saucepan over a low heat until butter melts. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 40°C.

Meanwhile combine the sugar and yeast in a small jug and slowly whisk through a cup of  the cooling milk and butter mixture. Cover and allow to get foamy for 5 minutes or so.

Combine the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and slowly whisk through the yeast mixture, followed by the remaining warm milk until smooth and combined. Cover and leave to prove in a warm place for a couple of hours.

Once risen, whisk the bicarb with 50ml warm water and beat into the batter. Cover, return to its warm place and prove for a further half hour.

Heat a frying pan over low heat and melt a little bit of butter. Add crumpet rings and fill ⅔ way up with batter. Cook until the mixture is hella bubbly and a skin forms on top, about five minutes, before removing the rings, flipping and cooking for a further minute. Remove and keep warm, and repeat the process until all the batter is done.

Then, obvi, devour slathered in more butter and honey.

 

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Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

Baking, Side, Snack, Sweets, Thankgiving for being a friend

Despite the fact my girl Betts is the only surviving Golden Girl, I applied yesterday’s logic with Rue – that she’d be upset if I disappeared after catching-up with Bea and Estelle – so decided to stick around in ‘87 to see out this year’s thanksgiving. Well, technically that year’s thanksgiving. But in lieu of this year’s.

Fuck – time travel can be a confusing bitch, no?

I’ve known Bet for years and years, after meeting on the set of Match Game in ‘63. Side note: based on how much fun we had, I suggested Ru do a version on Drag Race … and Snatch Game was born. You’re welcome.

While Betty and I talk on the phone every other day in the present day – I got super paranoid about a Golden curse in 2010/11 after Rue passed away a year after Bea, and she a year after Stell – we weren’t able to see as much of each other as we liked in the ‘80s. I mean, between my various crimes, scams and love affairs and her hit show, we were lucky to catch up once a month.

I rolled up on the lot for the fourth day in a row – talk about deja vu – as Betty raced into my arms for a hug.

“My dear Ben. I’ve missed you! It will be so wonderful to have my turn marking Thanksgiving with you.

“I’ve been so happy all day … Bea wanted to kill me!”

She burst out laughing while a fear gripped me … before I realised it wasn’t the present and she has outlasted the curse thus far. We gossiped and laughed as we drove back to her house. Both thankful, most of all, for each other’s company. And, obviously, my festively approved Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie.

 

 

Yes, cookie. In the singular – this was our first foray into the majesty of the skillet cookie. And dare I say it, we nailed it. Perfect spiced dough combined with the sticky sweet chocolate and pumpkin, and the earthiness of the nuts join together for a perfectly festive dessert.

I mean, how can you not be thankful for nuts in your mouth?

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
½ small butternut pumpkin, cut into a 1cm dice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
150g unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup firmly packed muscovado sugar
¼ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp bicarb soda, sifted
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups white chocolate chips
⅔ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking sheet with a lug of water and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Toss to combine, transfer the tray to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and sweet. Allow to cool while you get to work on the cookie.

Combine the butter and sugars in a 20cm, ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, or until the butter has just melted and everything combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk the egg and vanilla into the mixture before folding in the flour, bicarb soda, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg until just combined. Fold through the pumpkin, chocolate and walnuts, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool for half an hour before serving just warm with ice cream.

 

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Bananarama Bread

Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to reconnect with my girls, Sara, Keren and Siobhan – aka Bananarama. Late last year I started receiving voicemails from all of the girls individually, asking to drop by and talk.

“Hey Ben, it’s Sar! Give me a call, I’d love to reconnect. Don’t make me Bobby D for you!”

“Ben – its Kez. I hear its been a Cruel Summer in Brisbane, call me back we need to talk.”

By the time Sio-b-han called to confess her guilt of love in the first degree, I knew what they were playing at and was equal parts excited and terrified. As you should already know, Siobhan returned to the group earlier this year and as the other founding member of Bananarama, I knew they’d be desperate to get me back.

I attended St. George’s School for Girls with Sez and Kez, and we became the fastest of friends. Sara and I then met Siobhan while studying fashion journalism and the band was quickly formed. Fun fact: I convinced them to name the band after my passion for penis … which ultimately led to me leaving the group.

Oh, I should clarify – I convinced them to name it Bananarama without explaining that it was also a festival I held in the West Village in the late 50s / early 60s.

The truth got me kicked out of the group in the early 80s for lying to them – they loved it, thus keeping it, but the betrayal cut deep – and we didn’t speak until 1987 when they wrote the hit song Love in the First Degree as an apology. While our friendship was renewed, I couldn’t rejoin the group as Maggie Thatch had banned me from the U.K.

While we’ve stayed in contact throughout the years, we haven’t seen each other in close to a decade. I guess there was always a part of me that knew that they’d want to reform but due to the nodules I shared with Julie Andrews, I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to sing again.

After holding each other for what felt like hours, we quickly caught up on life and laughed the night away. Sure the girls were disappointed that I couldn’t bring myself to rejoin the band – they don’t have to know I’m a bee’s dick away from convincing Celine Dion to start a duo – they were just thrilled to see me and share a delicious Bananarama Bread.

 

 

Like Apu and Mandula, I am a firm, firm believer that banana bread solves all of life’s problems. Throw in some walnuts and chocolate? Well I guess you’re in for a damn delightful treat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bananarama Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
4 very ripe bananas
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
150ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
150g raw caster sugar
¼ cup fresh espresso, cooled
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarb soda
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ roughly chopped milk chocolate

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a loaf tin.

Mash the bananas in the bowl of an electric mixer with the vanilla and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low while adding the oil. Add the eggs one by one, still mixing, before adding the sugar and coffee.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the flour and bicarb and quickly stir with the paddle until the mixture binds. Return to the mixer and stir on medium for a minute. Remove again, fold through the walnuts and chocolate, and pour into the loaf tin.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden, risen and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for fifteen minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely … if you can wait.

If not, just devour.

 

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Michelle Sherbert

Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Previously on Survivor, Adam screwed Taylor – sadly not in the way Figgy did – while David shared information about his idol with Zeke while Jay orchestrated a vicious blindside on our Queen Michaela … and surprisingly lived to tell the tale.

We opened back up at Ikabula where Jay was very pleased to be alive and with himself, while Hannah  felt like a damned fool last night – which coincidentally is how America currently feels too.

Seriously Michaela then President Trump … heartbreak.

A boat then pulled up at Ikabula and Takali – sadly not the pirates from Captain Phillips – and whisked them over to Vanua to merge into the new Vinaka tribe.

Vinaka, not vinegar.

The new tribe quickly sat down to the traditional merge feast where Jay started to work on his cockiness as he ran through his numbers, while Bret saw those dang – sorry dahng – whippa snahppers coming together and felt it was better to go back his old – literally – tribe.

Meanwhile Adam went walkabout and found arguably the worst advantage known to Survivor, where he can steal a reward after it is won. Surprisingly he was excited by that, when it is clearly the most poisoned of chalices.

Twas the night after merge, when all through the tribe, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse … well except for Taylor who decided to pilfer the leftovers from the merge feast – because he is good with mason jars – and eat them in the middle of the night. Given he isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, he was caught by not one but two people – Bret and Adam.

Oh, we also learnt that stupidity is contagious as Adam freely offered up the fact he found the shittiest advantage to Taylor and that he wanted to blindside his closest alliance, Jay and boot Will. FYI, Taylor is still looking to get revenge on Adam for the Figgy vote.

The next day the olds joined together for what I assume they would describe as a chinwag, and share all that they know about the kids to find an appropriate target. Obviously King Zeke, the 90 year old in a millennial body was involved – bless.

Shocking absolutely no one, probably not even Adam, Taylor ran straight to Jay – with Zeke watching – to tell him about Adam’s plan reiterating that they should not tell Will. Taylor then ran straight to Will and told him everything he told Jay not to tell, scaring the poor child half to death as he shared how much he need immunity.

As if summoned like Beetlejuice, my dear Jiffy-Pop manifested for one of my favourite challenges – When it Rains it Pour – won by the great Teresa Cooper, Shi-Ann in All Stars (leading to its best episode) – and the great Parvati Shallow … twice.

Thankfully if you closed your eyes, the tribe made it sound like a porno as they moaned their way through the challenge until young Will took out immunity, much to Jessica chagrin.

Let’s also pause to remember how pretty Kengel looked while he had the load – of water – dumped over him.

Back at camp the kids got to work scrambling, with Will and Jay looking to take out Adam, which spooked Michelle, who thought it was a bad idea. Zeke then went to Adam and told him what he saw earlier and that Adam was now a target. Zeke and Adam then went to the old men brigade and tried to turn them on … to booting Taylor, which again didn’t seem like a great idea to them.

As Adam started to freak out, Hannah – who you’ll remember had a panic attack while watching a challenge – tried to calm him down so that they could find a way to save him, while Zeke started to get frustrated and toyed with the idea of booting Adam.

So obviously that meant it was time for tribal council where Jeff opened by checking in with everyone’s level of hunger and Hannah tried to cut my grass by saying she wanted wanted to eat Jeff before they played coy and cast their votes where Taylor’s revenge plan failed – shock – and Michelle found her way out of the game … as the first member of the jury heading to Ponderosa.

While Michelle and I may not seem to have a lot in common, with her being a missionary recruiter and me recruiting men to do in missionary, but we’ve been friends for about five years, brought to together by a mutual passion for dragons.

Have I mentioned I am the inspiration for Khaleesi?

Anyway, I knew Michelle would be sad to be voted out and continue in the great Millennials vs. Gen X tradition to boot only females – well, excluding Paul – and the only cure for vagicide related pain is Michelle Sherbert.

 

michelle-sherbert-1

 

With sexism / white male privilege prevailing in the election as well as this season, we really needed the sweetness to overcome the bitter taste in our collective mouths. Obviously I forgot the fact that sherbert had a bitterness … thankfully a nice one.

Enjoy!

 

michelle-sherbert-2

 

Michelle Sherbert
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
1 tsp citric acid
1 tsp bicarb soda
2 tbsp icing sugar
2-3 tbsp jelly crystals

Method
Combine ingredients. Devour.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.