Tim Tam Minchin

Baking, Dessert, Sweets

Now I know most of my visits are all about the well publicised scandals of which I have been an integral part of but PR-ed my way out of or joyous reunions with my fellow busy celebrities, but Tim and I have issues.

Are they insurmountable? No. But his aggressive poetry about alternative medicine is something I find abhorrent, given the stringent level of research that goes into those products to get them past the TGA. But what would I know, I’m just a doctor or lawyer … or professor. I grift a lot.

In any event, while Tim and I differ on that one point, I enjoy all the other things that he is super opinionated / writes protest songs about, like I would write a porn-parody one. I mean, from getting nude on Californication to writing a Roald Dahl musical because he knew it would make me happy, to straight up calling our country homophobes, I love him and Tim would do anything to defend me, my lack of honour and our lifetime of friendship.

As soon as we locked eyes at Brisbane airport, everything else went silent and all I could see was Tim. We both commenced a slow-mo run – which reminds me, I need to see the Baywatch crew soon – and took each other in our arms. He apologised for upsetting me, I apologised for selling the raw footage of his nude scenes from Californication on my website literallyallthenudesIhavefound.com

After that we laughed, we cried, we promised to never turn on each other and then smashed a packet of Tim Tam Minchins. That may or may not run out.

 

 

Yes ma’fuckers, I have found a way to both google Tim Tam copycat recipes and then find the best and perfect it. Super sweet, crunchy in the middle, velvety on the centre and covered in smooth chocolate, there is nothing better than a Tim Tam. Outside of a homemade Tim Tam.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tim Tam Minchin
Serves: 2 bestos. Or 12ish, you decide.

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg
50g dutch cocoa powder
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp milo
200g milk chocolate
1 tbsp copha

Method
Place half the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the raw caster sugar and best for five minutes or so, or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until it is homogenous. Fold through all but a tablespoon of cocoa and the flour and salt, then return to the mixer for a minute or so or until incorporated and the colour is even. Form into a disc, wrap in cling and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 180C.

When the dough is chill, roll out into a 5mm thin rectangle and cut into an even number of Tim Tam sized rectangles. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp and glorious. Leave to cook on the tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

While they’re cooling, cream the remaining butter with the remaining cocoa, icing sugar and milo until soft and fluffy. To make the coating, combine the chocolate and copha in the top bowl of a double boiler and stir until smooth.

To assemble, place a teaspoon or so of filling on the base of half the biscuits and sandwich with the base of another. Coat with the chocolate spread and transfer to the wire rack to set. If you can wait before devouring them.

 

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Simon Black and White Cookie

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champions continued to extend their lead after getting Daisy to burn yet another idol while Zaddy John was sent to join my harem in the Jury Villa. Jonathan then dropped a bomb at the next tribal council and announced that the next two people voted out would be sent to Exile Island before battling each other for the chance to return to the game, with that Daisy was then voted out to spend a miserable night in the rain. The next day Abbey started to crave a big move for her resume and after Pia secured immunity, joined Harry, Baden and Luke to blindside Simon from the game. Well, temporarily, as he destroyed Daisy in the challenge and sent her to Jury Villa and rejoined the game.

The tribe returned to camp with the same final seven as the day before, with Abbey awkwardly hugging Simon and the silent King finding his voice, talking to us about his rage at being voted out. Instead of finding allies, he decided that an idol would be his best shot so went searching, digging up much of the island and leading to – probably – the deforestation of 90% of Fiji.

The next day Abbey was feeling nervous about her place in the game, knowing Simon would be upset with her and concerned that JaQueen and Pia won’t ever forgive her. Which is a fair judgement, given Pia and JaQueen were seething about her lies and bitching about her by the shore.

Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to balance a platform using a rope and move back and forth up the length of the course collecting letters to spell immunity on said platform. While everyone raced out to start, Baden stayed behind to reorder his blocks. That didn’t seem to slow him down however as he joined Pia, Luke and Abbey at the front of the pack, while poor Simon sat in last. The four continued to power ahead, with Abbey and Luke firmly fighting for first while their platforms slowly swayed. Pia was the first to drop her stack, followed by Baden who was sympathetic to Pia’s loss. Abbey dropped her stack on the last block, allowing Luke to place his last block and slowly make his way back to the start to secure immunity, with Simon now breathing down his neck and Abbey cheering him on. Thankfully he held firm, maintained his stack and snatched immunity, while JaQueen admitted that she was just hoping to pull a Bradbury.

Back at camp Simon recommenced digging up the entire island while Abbey was just thrilled that anyone but Simon took out immunity. She checked in with Harry, Baden and Luke to lock in their latest vote for Simon to guarantee he doesn’t go on an immunity run. Luke and Abbey went for a private chat while Pia and JaQueen sat nearby and saltily speculated what the new duo could be up to. Sick of speculating, they approached them leaving Luke to straight up ask them to join them in getting rid of Simon. Again.

While they sat there strategising JaQueen started to realise that Abbey was the bigger threat and as such, she and Pia went hunting for numbers. JaQueen approached Simon who quickly fell in line, while Pia once again used her acting skills to improvise and pulled Harry aside with JaQueen and played into his desire to make a big, bold move. They outlined that while none of them can win against Luke he is immune and as such, taking out Abbey would be the next biggest move to impress the jury. While Harry agreed that getting rid of Abbey is a logical choice, he was lucky enough to have countless options and just needed to decide whether teaming up with JaQueen and Pia was in his best interests.

At tribal council Janine spoke about the feeling of deja vu heading into tonight’s tribal council, while Abbey tried to downplay the fact that nothing has changed since the previous vote. Despite the fact her flip was outed and her two closest allies aren’t on board with her anymore. She then pushed for everyone to band together and get rid of Simon again, which led Simon to finding his voice and congratulating Luke, Harry, Baden and Abbey for outwitting him. JaQueen admitted that she too felt blindsided and was paranoid that she would be next, leaving Abbey to assure them that she would have said something if it really would have impacted them.

Harry spoke about the uncertainty of moves at tribal council leading to major, continued change while Pia hoped the flip didn’t leave her on the outs. Simon returned to talk the only thing he has left, the fact that he can be a loyal number, while Harry spoke about everyone’s paths to the end intersecting in different ways. Pia agreed with him and mentioned that that means things will shift a lot more frequently, before JaQueen and Abbey mentioned that they would be voting with their head tonight and honestly I have no idea what it happening.

With that the tribe voted and for the second time in a row, silent Simon was booted from the game. The reason Simon barely appeared in any episodes this season is because all of his confessionals were him talking about how excited he was to get booted, see his dear fellow Brisbanite – not a good episode for Queenslanders, no? – and smash some Simon Black and White Cookies together.

 

 

These classic New York biscuits are a favourite of my husband, who first got Simon to try one when we were travelling to NYC together. Soft and fluffy, almost cake like biscuits, smothered in a thick choc v. sugar crust, they truly are a magical creation. Like Simon, which you would know if he or Sam actually appeared this season.

Enjoy!

 

 

Simon Black and White Cookie
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter plus 2 tsp for the icing, at room temperature
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups icing sugar mixture
30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt in a bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a jug.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

To making the dough, cream the butter and caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium for about ten minutes, or until pale, creamy and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low and working slowly and carefully to avoid the kitchen looking like a crime scene, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in thirds, stirring until just combined.

Place heaped large golf-ball sized dollops on lined baking sheets, allowing plenty of space for spreading. Press them down to flatten a little and transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine the icing butter remaining butter and vanilla in a heatproof bowl with a tablespoon of water. Place over a double boiler and stir until combined and soft. Spread the icing over half of each cookie before adding the chocolate to the bowl and heating until combined. Spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each biscuit and leave to set for five minutes.

Then devour, chattily, like Simon is in real life.

 

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Cookara & Kayream Ice Cream

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

Forgoing any fallout from tribal council – and any previously on from me outside the fact Davie finished sixth, Alison finished fifth and my puppy is cute and distracting – we arrived at the final immunity challenge where the tribe would need to add balls into a contraption using one arm with the last person to drop snatching immunity. Before getting an explainer – of the oft repeated challenge that JT and Jeremy won on their way to victory – Angelina was studying the contraption, despite it just being the balls dropping at alternating sides. In any event this is too boring to give a play-by-play, so Angelina was the first to drop after going to three balls, followed closely by Mike before Kara suffered the painful Wentworth style heartbreak of losing final immunity as trying to drop the fourth ball. And Nick secured his hat trick of immunity wins, shocked that he took it out and guaranteeing himself a shot in the final three. Slash that a David will make it to the end.

Back at camp Angelina was thrilled by Nick’s victory, since it is a win for her and she will be dragged to the end. Mike however pulled Nick aside first, explaining that he is the easiest person to beat, Kara then worked to convince him that while she is likeable, she hasn’t played a great game and Angelina focused on the fact she is dislikeable. Not wanting to upset anyone, Nick called everyone together and explained that he would take Angelina to the end as he views Kara and Mike as the bigger threats. With that Mike and Kara got to work practising fire, with Kara appearing to be the more successful of the two while Mike eventually got there despite his extreme anxiety.

At tribal council Nick spoke about how happy he was to have a place in the final three, while everyone gave some low-key pitches before he confirmed that he would be dragging Angelina to the end. Tragically without her even having to beg for it. With that Mike and Kara sat down to make fire, Kara excited and Mike overcome with sheer terror. Kara quickly got flame, though it quickly went out. Mike eventually got a spark and the flame managed to hold as he desperately tried to build a structure to maintain a fire. Kara got another flame, which once again went out. This happened again before Mike’s fire continued to grow, it burnt through the rope and he managed to earn his place in the final three and sending poor Kara to the jury.

Despite the tragic way she exited the game – fire should only be a tie breaking, in my opinion – Kara took exiting the game without ever receiving a single vote in stride. I mean, that is a sign the thing is flawed right? She was never targeted and while it may weed out a goat going to the end, I feel like she had a genuine shot and winning and deflecting the target from herself is more a reason as to why she didn’t receive votes. Obviously I went on this rant to her and she was super thankful about it, but no doubt she was thrilled when I wheeled out a couple of bowls of Cookara & Kayream Ice Cream and shut the hell up.

 

 

Cookies and cream is arguably one of the most universally beloved ice creams, and I would argue that this quick and easy no-churn version is near perfection. Sweet ripples of velvety ice cream, layered with crunchy biscuits? I can’t. Too much.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cookara & Kayream Ice Cream
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
600ml double cream
375g condensed milk
3 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup Oreos or other generic, less murdery chocolate cookies, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the double cream, condensed milk and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on low until soft peaks form.

Remove from the mixer, fold through the Oreos, transfer to a container and freeze overnight.

The next day, remove it from the freezer and devour.

 

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Benjami Drops Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Benjami Drops Wilson
Serves: 6-12.

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

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

Preheat oven to 160°C.

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

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

 

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Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Lena Wafers

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Lena Wafers
Serves: 6.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

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

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

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

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

Once set, devour.

 

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Josh Hickfory Shortbreads

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, two tribes were abandoned in the wild of Thailand with one flourishing – well, except for Dylan – and the other floundering. Like Dylan. Thankfully for both him and Chani, Host Matt decided to mix things up and switch the tribes meaning High School besties Dave and Matt were reunited on new Chani, as were Arun and Josh who aligned at The Outpost. Sadly we didn’t see much of those coming into play as Khangkhaw lost immunity – despite Tess throwing herself into it, amirite (I know it was reward, JK Kimora) – and poor Liam was felled by a mis-played idol and my pizza curse.

Back at camp Eve shared their extremely creative plan with the idol, by playing the idol on herself as they decided she was most vulnerable. Next level game-play, no? Watch your back Cirie Fields because we’ve got a new idol whisperer. Anyway Brad was actually feeling grateful as had she played it correctly, he would have been out on his arse. But she didn’t and so now the tribal council not only got rid of a Chani but it also solidified the alliance between he, Tess, Tara and Lisa.

The next day we checked in with new Chani where Dylan was making the most of his emancipation from Khangkhaw by chatting to Renee, while Josh and Matt looked glorious stand-up raft-fishing. While Dylan was trying to make inroads with the Chani’s, the boys decided to lock the vote in on Dylan … without realising he is kind of the swing vote. While Josh’s confidence seemed to signal a blindside, he shared his cancer journey with us and how watching the first season got him through treatment and getting on the show was a goal. I’m not crying, you’re crying – he is perfect and I now want him to win.

Back at new Khangkhaw Eve was thrilled to have gotten rid of the idol while JT rightly wished that it hadn’t been misplayed and instead they had a fighting chance in their new tribe. Tess was thrilled with the new tribe dynamic, as it brought her and Brad closer to Tara and Lisa by having two new Dylan’s to ostracise. To continue the smug, Brad questioned Eve’s strategy in sticking by JT when it was clearly between the two of them for the next boot … however he pulled it back in surmising that Lisa is the most likely person for them to pull over and as such, he knows to keep her close. Meanwhile on Chani, Dylan was no longer spending as much time alone instead trying to bond with Arun and Dave about snatching the numbers and, I assume, be their hero bay-ba. That scheming didn’t go unnoticed with Adam who continued to swing between loveable zaddy with the good hair and nasty bully. Sadly for Dylan, Arun and Dave weren’t trusting Dylan though appreciate that it is time for them to take out one of the big boys with his help before taking him out.

Matty Chis arrived for the reward challenge where the tribes would be required to swing out to a raft and untie planks which they use to build a bridge back to shore before completing a puzzle. Given it is for a shit tonne of pizza everyone is thrilled … begging the question,  DON’T THEY KNOW THEY ARE CURSED?! Brad and Eve got out to an early lead for Khangkhaw however the Chani boys quickly closed the gap and arrived back at the pontoon just in front. Sadly for Khangkhaw Dylan and Dave made quick work of the planks and extended their lead and had the puzzle done and secured victory moments after JT and Lisa started the puzzle.

As Chani exited to feast on pizza, Adam shared that Brad told them not to lose the next immunity challenge which between that foreshadowing and the curse, you know they’re going to do. Before we could explore that any further the tribe smashed the food, moaned and made guttural noises. If they won’t so gross about the entire thing, I probs would have been aroused TBH. Breaking from the burps and laboured breathing, Dylan shared how relieved he was that Liam left the game last week as it showed the Chani members that he’s been working on that he is their only hope for survival in the next few tribal councils.

Things were far less jovial back at Khangkhaw where they instead sat down to some peanut butter sandwiches, much to Brad’s heartache. And JT’s heartache at Brad’s heartache which makes I’m kind of here for. Before I could see where their love affair went, treemail arrived and the two tribes were tasked with sending someone to The Outpost. Tara was selected for Khangkhaw while queen Renee was sent from Chani, thanks to Arun’s killer riggery.

Tara and Renee met Matt to discover they’d be competing in a memory challenge for the opportunity to loot the opposite camp. Both women lasted six rounds before seven proved unlucky for Tara, handing Renee the chance to be this season’s queen of looting, similar to the iconic and GOAT Sandra Diaz-Twine. Renee, Tara and a flood of Tara’s tears immediately went to Khangkhaw and shared that Renee would be taking two of their items. Going straight into Queen SDT mode, she snatched their tarp off the shelter and took all of their coffee. While Khangkhaw were glad not to lose Tara it seemed Brad would have rathered her go if it meant he got to keep his coffee. Meanwhile over at Chani the boys were thrilled to see Renee return to camp with their stolen loot and immediately put the fire on for a coffee, while Adam and Josh wandered away to plot about getting rid of Dylan. Or at the very least, blocking him swaying over the Khangkhaw. Sadly it brought back mean Adam and that makes my boner sad. Josh then shared his intel from Brad at the challenge that Khangkhaw had flushed the idol and used that as their in with the OG Chanis.

He quickly approached Dave about splitting the vote between Dylan and Renee as his back-up, which sadly backfired on Josh as everyone loves Renee. As they bloody should. Obviously Dave took the information back to Renee and Arun, with the queen quickly pointing out that the boys were not thinking strategically and this is their chance to even the playing field … by throwing the challenge. And while I normally hate that, the fact that queen Renee suggested it and is planning a major power move, I will look the other way.

With that Matt arrived to lord over said immunity challenge where the tribes were required to spell immunity using blocks … on a disc suspended by ropes held by the rest of tribe. Which is the perfect challenge for even just one person to throw, though sadly Chani got out to an early lead. Thankfully they mastered dropping on the second last letter, leaving Brad the chance to … nope, Khangkhaw dropped too (for their second time). Again Chani took out the lead, again Renee, Dave and Arun managed to topple the blocks just before victory leaving Eve the chance to secure immunity for Khangkhaw.

Chani returned to camp with Dave feeling bad about throwing the challenge, though not enough to be thrilled about his opportunity to shake up the game. Both Josh and Matt appeared salty about the loss, though seemed none the wiser about throwing the challenge and instead locking in a plan to take out Dylan. They then approached Dylan and the three of them locked in Dylan’s choice – that he had no plan on honouring – in taking out Arun. Adam tried to smear Dylan to Dave, Arun and Renee however that appeared to be all for nought. Adding another layer of intrigue, Josh and Arun joined together to discuss tribal with Josh quickly spilling Dylan’s fake plan and hoping their Outpost alliance would hold. This was enough for Arun to suggest Matt gets the boot instead, however Dave desperately tried to deflect that since they were best friends in high school.

Dave and Arun then started to get nervous about making a moving, since that will automatically put a target on their backs for the remainder of the game. Thankfully Queen Renee was on the scene and made quick work allaying their fears and explaining that Dylan is screwed without them and has no other options. And since they threw the challenge to get rid of one of the top dogs, they need to take out one of the top dogs. Not to be outdone on the control side, Dylan went to Matt and played up his loyalty and gushed about being the swing vote which left me hella confused.

At tribal council Matt quickly got to work rubbing salt in Renee and the boys wounds about their loss and questioning whether anyone threw the challenge. While Dylan deflected the question, Matt wasn’t buying it and tried to push Renee to admit it. Which since she is the queen, she didn’t budge. They discussed the politics between the tribes with Josh talking about trusting the OG Chani while Dave laughed at the thought of them trusting each other. Contestant Matt they channeled Kellyn and tried to push Khangkhaw strong while on the flipside, OG Chani pretended to play defeated. Meanwhile poor Josh continued to be trusting and earnest and I dreading the thought of him being the victim when he is so damn sweet. Host Matt gave everyone the chance to give a last minute pitch which they all denied, leading to the tribe voting and – as expected – poor Josh finding himself the victim of a crushing blindside.

There is no way to dance around the fact that Josh was feeling hella salty by the time he arrived into my arms back at camp, angry that he was betrayed and handed a pass. While I felt sorry seeing such a sweet guy blindsided, it was delicious to watch – which I obvi didn’t tell him. Almost as delicious, say, as my Josh Hickfory Shortbreads.

 

 

Was I aware that hickory was a nut and anything more than a flavour? No. Do I feel stupid? Extremely so. Does that take away from how glorious these babies taste? Never.

Enjoy!

 

 

Josh Hickfory Shortbreads
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup raw caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
2 cups flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
⅔ cup hickory nuts – you could use walnuts, but I have a nut guy. Well, two – roughly chopped

Method
Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and zest in a stand mixer on medium for about five minutes, or until so fluffy it is pulsating. Fold through the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts until just wet, before transferring to the mixer to combine for five minutes. Shape the dough into a long log, wrap in cling and transfer to the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

About half an hour before you want to bake, preheat oven to 160ºC. and line a couple of baking sheets.

Slice the dough into ½ centimetre discs and place on the baking sheets leaving a couple of centimetres between them. Transfer to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until just golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before devouring. Or not. No judgement.

 

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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.

 

lauren-graham-crackers-1

 

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!

 

lauren-graham-crackers-2

 

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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