Bill Skolsbård

Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Between Michael on Survivor and my ongoing obsession with Kameron Michaels on Drag Race, you’d be forgiven for thinking I had reached peak thirstiness. But I haven’t, dear reader, I haven’t. Well, technically hadn’t, until my dearest Billy Skars dropped by to catch up.

While I will always hold Alexander up on a pedestal as my number one Skars, there is something about Bill that fills my heart with joy. And well, make blood rush to other places.

But anyway, I first met Bill through Al – after he stopped seeing me as a creepy stalker – a few years ago and I instantly knew he had that certain something Stellan, Al and Gustaf all had, so I vowed to make him a star. I got him a job with Kiz, Az and Cazza on Anna Karenina and followed it up with my husband and my family movie, The Divergent Series: Allegiant with our cousins Shailene Woodley and Ashley Judd.

I then spoke to Finn and got him the job on It … and the rest, as I oft say when I can’t think of anything to add, is history.

After Bill and I caught up and then caught up, we were positively famished so it was super convenient I had a big fresh batch of my Bill Skolsbård hidden away by the bed.

 

 

Fresh, warm, spicy and pillowy dough, jam packed with sweet, creamy custard, these babies are the perfect thing for an afternoon snack … after an afternoon delight. And they’ll definitely make your stomach see skyrockets in flight. Boom.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Bill Skolsbård
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 ⅔ cups milk, plus ½ a cup for the custard
60g unsalted butter
7g yeast
½ cup raw caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp for the custard
4 cups plain flour
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 yolks, plus one whole egg, whisked, for brushin’
½ cup cream
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut

Method
Combine the not-for-custard milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until it has just melted and combined. Remove from the heat and stir through the yeast and caster sugar and leave to foam for ten minutes or so. While things are getting frothy, combine the flour and spice in the bowl of a stand mixer before slowly combining the liquid. After it reaches peak froth, obvi. Knead using a dough hook on medium for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Once doubled, knock the dough back down to size like an emotionally abusive parent and divide the dough into quarters. Roll each into logs, cut them into 4, shape each into rounds and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Cover and leave to prove for a further halfies.

While the buns are rising – as opposed to making me rise – preheat the oven to 180°C and start work on the custard. Combine the remaining milk in a saucepan with the cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat straight away. Meanwhile whisk the yolks, cornflour and vanilla in a clean, dry bowl before slowly whisking in the warmed dairy until smooth and combined. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat and cook, stirring, until starting to thicken. Transfer to a bowl via a sieve, cover directly on the surface with cling and chill until ready for bakin’.

Do as I do and press into each bun to make a deep indentation. Fill said hole with the fresh, creamy custard. Brush the exposed buns with the egg to glaze and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes or so, or until golden and risen. You may need to rotate / swap the trays throughout baking if you’re without a fan force. But is anyone these days? Please let me know in the comments.

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for ten minutes or so before combining the icing sugar with a tablespoon of water to form a paste. Brush each bun with the glaze and sprinkle with the coconut. Leave to set for ten minutes or so before annihilating. Sorry, I mean devouring.

 

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Hulk Hogies

Baking, Bread

Given my passion for men in tight clothes or lycra, men holding each other in a homoerotic fashion and my undying love or sports, it should come as no shock that I am highly involved in the wrestling industry. And as such, am a dear friend of Hulk Hogan.

I’ve been trying to get Hulk out to visit since this anthropological patch of cyberspace began, but our busy schedules have always been working against us. Thankfully that all changed this week.

“Ben, my little hulkamaniac. I’ve got this weekend clear, you free to catch-up and hulk smash some food.”

While I feared he was succumbing to the ravages of old age, I was pleased to discover he was only referencing the release of Infinity War and making a hulk joke rather than confusing his catch-phrases with that of the big green guy.

Anywho, I’ve known Hulk forever and was closely involved with making him the star he is today. You see, I spent months lusting after him at the gym and eventual grew to notice he had other talents. Like his talent for clothed wrestling. I called the Brisco Brothers – who I worked with to bring the sex appeal to wrestling – and got him a spot at Hiro Matsuda’s gym. Bada bing, bada boom – he became and star, and us, the best of friends.

For years and years we’ve been catching up, plotting how to reinvigorate his career – damn, that is this week’s theme, no? – and share a deliciously carby cheat meal together. As such, I knew I couldn’t go past devouring some Hulk Hogies together on our date.

 

 

You know I have a passion for smashing warm buns against my face, but this would have to be one of my favourites. Well, when it comes to food at the very least. Soft and pillowy, this babies are the perfect bun for all occasions. And you know I mean all.

Enjoy!

 

 

Hulk Hogies
Makes: 8.

Ingredients
7g active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm (30-40C) water
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
4 cups flour
1 1 /2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Method
Mix the yeast in a jug with half the water and sugar and leave to foam in a warm place for five to ten minutes.

Combine the flour, remaining sugar and salt in the bowl a stand mixer and slowly stir through the foamy mixture, remaining water and vegetable oil until everything is wet. Pop the dough hook into the mixer and knead for five minutes or so, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover and leave to prove for an hour or so, or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape them in an oval and place on a lined baking sheet, leaving room for them to grow. Using scissors, cut a gash in the top of each roll before covering and allowing to prove for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 200C.

Once puffed, transfer the buns to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove to wire racks to cool slightly before slicing and devouring.

 

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Marcia Hot Cross Buns

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack, Sweets

With Easter just around the corner, I started thinking about all the wonderful back-from-the-dead – or brink of – performances to ever grace the small screen and it reminded me how long it had been since I caught up with my dear friend Marcia Cross.

While much has been made about it in the media, I was not not the inspiration for the role of Kimberly Shaw in Melrose Place. I was just brought in to coach Marcia to peak craziness. We worked together day and night for months, and that close working relationship quickly developed into a deep and beautiful friendship that no questionable casting choices – I see you Quantico – will ever destroy.

Marcia and I are such wonderful friends, but since we’re both so successful and busy it makes it hard to maintain the day-to-day aspects of friendship, so it was such a treat to make the time to hang out and toast to the future.

Despite the fact she only has Quantico keeping her busy compared to the multiple pies I have my hands in. Not that I’m bitter.

Anyway, easter is the time for miracles etc. so Marsh and I made it work, plotted a return to the A-list – for both of us – and devoured in a shit tonne of Marcia Hot Cross Buns, as is the style of the season.

 

 

Spicy, soft and packing a punch – not to measure a shit tonne of delicious fruits – these make the perfection that is Hot Cross Buns even better.

Not convinced? Make them for yourself … and enjoy!

 

 

Marcia Hot Cross Buns
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
14g dried yeast
1 ¼ cups milk, warmed
¼ cup muscovado sugar
4 cups flour, plus ¼ cup for crossin’
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
¼ cup butter
½ cup sultanas
½ cup raisins
1 cup craisins
2 eggs
½ tsp baking powder

Method
Combine the yeast, milk and muscovado sugar in a jug and set aside in a warm, dry place until it is foamy and glorious.

Meanwhile combine the flour, spices and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and rub through the butter with your fingertips until it resembles dirty sand. Add the fruits, eggs and foamy yeast mixture, and knead in a stand mixer for five to ten minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover and allow to prove for an hour or so, or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Knock the dough back, shape into 12 balls and place on a lined baking sheet, leaving 5cm apart. Cover with some cling and allow to prove for another half an hour.

Combine the extra flour with the baking powder and ¼ cup of water. Spoon crosses over the buns and transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 150°C, rotate the pan and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before serving, slathered in a shit tonne of butter.

 

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Jacob Dipwin

Bread, Condiment, Dip, Party Food, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, thirty-five seasons of bad decisions culminated in a new island chain popping up in Fiji known as (the) Ghost Island(s). Twenty new Americans were marooned on the island, challenged with one task … reverse the curse of these epic fails. Oh … and the usual battle each other until only three are left to fight for the chance to become the sole Survivor. After forming two tribes, Naviti and Malolo, they competed in a reward challenge. Well, until leader Chris from the Naviti tribe felt they were going to lose, making the Malolo tribe rich by Survivor standards. Tragically that didn’t translate to victory in the immunity challenge, after which Jacob saved himself by becoming the first inhabitant of Ghost Island and Gonzalez made a speedy exit from the game.

Over at Naviti, Dom was staying awake and creepily watched over his tribe as they slept. Feeling paranoid and on the outs, he used his alone time to search for idols which he miraculously did. Well he thinks, since he couldn’t read the note in the middle of the night. The next day however, he discovered it was authentic. In fact, it was authentically the idol that Andrea was blindsided with in Caramoan.

Feeling a little bit more secure, Dom used the time to get to know Morgan, Sea Bass and Bradley, while they discussed Ghost Island and how best to play it. Morgan excused herself to find the legacy advantage that Jacob willed to her during his stay on the aforementioned island.

Speaking of which, Jacob was using his solo time to do some arts and crafts to fashion a hidden immunity idol that he could use to bluff his way through the next tribal council, should he attend. He returned to camp where Donathan looked adorably happy to see him, and he was shocked to discover that Gonzalez had become the first boot. He then got to work sharing news of his (fake) idol with the tribe. Obviously no one believed his story that he lost the note that accompanied said idol on Ghost Island, with Brendan and Jenna leading the charge to take him out ASAP. Stephanie however, bless her, decided that him knowingly being on the bottom provided her with the opportunity to add him to her brood of reliant allies.

Over at Naviti Dom was showing the tribe his power snatch – no joke – and used his new found safety to continue forming bonds. Further still, he decided to pull Chris aside to clear the air and wipe the slate clean between them. Chris asked if he had found the idol, which he quickly bought. Wanting to solidify their keep your enemies closer alliance, Dominic made a fake idol, hid it with his real note and showed it to Chris. Surprisingly Chris did not buy it, though I think was more concerned about him lying about not having it earlier more so than realising it is fake.

Wanting to keep things moving, Jiffy Pop returned for the second immunity challenge of the season where they would be required to race through some watersport obstacles, release some balls and shoot them into a basket. Sounds fun, no? In addition, the victors would win a tonne of comfort items, which I assume Wendell has already fashioned for his tribe from reeds and grass as he is the best.

Once again, Naviti got off to an early lead and continued to extend it bit by bit. To the point where poor James was left to struggle to release Malolo’s finally batch of buoys, while Naviti started shoots their hoops. Donathan was beckoned back to at least try to release the balls for his tribe and after a motivational pep talk from Probst, pulled it out and got Malolo back into the challenge. Tragically though it wasn’t enough, as Naviti continued to shoot their baskets and secure immunity before Malolo even got one. After his heroic moment, Naviti opted to send Donathan to experience Ghost Island … which is good, since his defeatist attitude could have bitten him and he is too cute.

At Ghost Island, Donathan smashed the second urn to discover there would be no chance for him to win an advantage today. He then shared about his upbringing and being an outcast as an out gay man in the south, though he was proud for people to see his performance in the challenge and living alone on Ghost Island.

Meanwhile over at Malolo, James was quick to own the fact he blew the challenge for everyone and hoped that people would be able to look past it. Stephanie, Brendan and Michael discussed the merits of voting out Jacob or James, ultimately deciding to throw votes on the latter to protect against Jacob’s potential idol. Wanting to play the game, Stephanie approached Jacob about mixing things up, with Jacob throwing out Michael as potential boot to protect against a potential tribe swap. Jacob was confident that he had found an allie, so then spilled all the tea to Stephanie – the idol was fake, he found a legacy advantage and gifted it to Morgan. So now, Stephanie is all powerful and while he trusts her and that is good for her, being the only other person to know about the legacy advantage would be good for her.

Stephanie then floated the Jacob alliance with Jenna, who was open to the idea if that is what she wants but would rather keep strength, rather than booting Michael. Meanwhile Jacob approached Laurel and James who seemed open to taking out the beautiful people, while Michael, Brendan and Libby noticed all the talk and started to get anxious before heading off for tribal.

Once there Jacob received his torch and then got confused about which show he was on, lip syncing for his life to Probst’s introduction. James quickly took the chance to own his challenge loss again before Jacob continued to talk about his advantage he was trying to pass off as an idol. While James didn’t love the information imbalance – like Jiff, I loved the phrase – he was glad it was his tribe that held the knowledge and not Navitit. Jacob still believed his tribe where the greatest, earning an eye roll from Michael, before they started to talk about the shifting alliances.

Jacob, unwittingly or not, spoke about feeling like the tribe could have conspired before he returned to camp to make him feel good and blindside him, which appeared to make Stephanie feel guilty. Meanwhile Brendan said he wasn’t feeling safe despite being BUILT, and Michael just wanted to reverse the curse that is fast becoming their tribe. As the votes rolled in, Jacob elected not to play his fake idol … and tragically found himself becoming the second boot.

While Jacob was completely bummed to be out of the game so soon, as a super fan he was thrilled to be living out his dream of having me whip up a commiseratory meal. Seeing me, obviously, perked him right up. Though maybe it was the sight of the Jacob Dipwin.

 

 

There is no way that any cob would ever be perceived as terrible, so this is no shade to the others. But hands down, this is the best you will ever eat. Creamy, rich and tangy, this is the perfect way to sop up your post boot pain.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jacob Dipwin
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
300ml sour cream
500g frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed of all moisture
1 packet French Onion Soup Mix
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
1 cob, hollowed out
1 breadstick, sliced

Method
Put the cream cheese, sour cream, spinach, soup mix and tasty cheese in a large saucepan over low heat and cook until thick and juicysludgey.

While that is cooking, hollow out the cob and slice the breadstick.

Pour the dip into the hollowed cob, scatter the chunks of bread around it and devour, greedily. Thankful no socks were harmed in the making of this cob.

 

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Chicktina Big McDonald

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, Tyra and Co celebrated pride. Well, except for Liberty who was struggling with the culture shock since she is used to the bias against gay people in her community. Christina continued to create drama and Brendi K was overwhelmed by the thought of representing her community. The models posed with Drag Race royalty – Manila, Katya and Valentina – where Khrystyana slayed, and Kyla and Liberty bombed, with Liberty ultimately sent back to her small-minded community. Hopeful to change minds.

The models returned from panel where Erin contemplated slipping Khrystyana a little something to bring her back in line with the other girls. JK, Kimora – Erin is a saint and would never do that. Kyla reflected on the humbling experience of landing in the bottom two before she accidentally bumped into Brendi K, setting off some mild rage before stewing in her sadness. Thankfully Christina was on hand to give some solid advice about Brendi maybe just stopping being poor and not being offended by the judges critiques.

It is hella meaningful, since Christina is so good with human interaction.

Erin, Rio and Jeana took time out by the spa to talk about their lives, their choices and how people view their modelling dreams. Erin then broke down about her ex, who she left while he was dying from cancer … WHICH IS WAY TOO HEAVY FOR A MODELLING SHOW.

Tyra Mail arrived the day announcing that this week, everyone would be getting manicures. Thankfully Tyra arrived to offer some clarity … no, nope, no clarity. She just wanted a manicure and to spill some tea. Once again Christina proved adept with human interaction, sharing that she was trying to open up to the girls and form bonds. Then she shared a sad story about her dad’s heart stopping, being put into an induced coma and the fact he should have died. To reiterate, TOO DAMN HEAVY FOR TOP MODEL. Give me a booty tooch while smizing.

Ty-Ty continued to act as Oprah with Kyla sharing her nerves about being in the bottom, Sandra and Erin spoke about never wanting to be a part of a nude shoot and Khrystyana spoke about being molested. Once again and I know I sound like a broken record, THIS IS WAY TOO HEAVY FOR A MODELLING SHOW. Won’t someone bring Tiffany back to get yelled at? Thankfully for Sandra and Erin, Tyra wasn’t going to make them face their fears instead this week’s raw shoot is actually just make-up free … while being cradled by the hands of the other models.

Christina seemed to be in her head throughout the shoot, Brendi K felt the process was cathartic, Kyla put the judge’s’ advice into action and Khrystyana’s soul was captured by Tyra. While we didn’t really see much, it seemed like literally everyone nailed it.

The next day, the models met Drew and Director X to film videos standing up to bullying with the winning one forming part of a National Crime Prevention Council campaign. The models split into three groups, with Brendi K electing to work with sworn nemesis Christina and Shanice as the referee, while Erin, Rio and Jeana, and Khrystyana, Kyla and Sandra were the less dysfunctional groups. Stacey McKenzie arrived to provide advice to the girls while filming the commercial, with Christina wasting no time to bringing up her experiences being bullied in the house. Obviously without naming names.

We were then treated to a screaming montage while the models filmed their videos, and once again, it was way too emotional to actually throw any shade at. All the videos were powerful, well maybe not Christina, Shanice and Brendi K’s, with Kyla, Sandra and Khrystyana’s ultimately taking out victory.

At panel, Kyla received universal praise, as did Sandra, and Shanice … and Brendi K. Khrystyana shared her experience being molested, and explained it fed her release in the photo which was perfection. Hold up, literally everyone was beautiful and their photos received universal praise. Well except for Erin, whose face was completely covered by her hair and Christina who once again argued with the judges, making Tyra question whether she is in the competition to learn or get attention. For the first time in Top Model history, Brendi K, Jeana, Khrystyana, Kyla, Rio, Sandra and Shanice tied for best photo, really putting salt on the wounds of Erin and Christina who really had it driven home to them, that their photos were balls. Despite arguably having the worst photo – wait no, Tyra said it was definitely worse – Erin was saved, while Christina was eliminated because of her bad attitude and the fact she isn’t willing to learn.


Make no mistake, Christina continued to rail against the judges and her fellow models by the time she met up with me backstage, and despite being a lifelong friend … all I could do to shut her up, was smack a Chicktina Big McDonald into her gob.

 

 

The Chicken Big Mac has been a hallowed thing popping up on Aussie Maccas menus for the last year or so. Essentially, it is our McRib. And this little number is as close as you can get, when they aren’t trying to lure your into stores. Crispy chicken, the tang of mac sauce, pickles, cheese and iceberg? I damn near creamed my shorts just thinking about it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicktina Big McDonald
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
1 egg
1 cup water
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp French dressing
1 tbsp sweet gherkin relish
1 onion, finely minced – ½ for the sauce, ½ for the burgers
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder, plus a pinch for the patties
8 slices American cheese
pickles, thinly sliced
4 sesame seed Kirsten Bunst
iceberg lettuce, chopped

Method
Place the chicken mince in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Divide into eight patties and place in the fridge to set for at least an hour. While you’re refrigerating things, combine the sauce ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

Beat the egg and stir with the water in a large, shallow bowl and combine the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder and a pinch of garlic powder in a second bowl.

Grab the patties out of the fridge and coat each with the flour mixture, remove and dredge each filet in the egg mixture, before coating in the flour mix again. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for an hour.

Remove and repeat the flour and dredging process again and leave to rest for about ten minutes.

Heat a generous lug of oil in a large frying pan, I mean crazy generous but not enough to technically consider it shallow frying as you know it scares me. Cook the patties for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until light brown and crispy.

Combine the mayo, French dressing, sweet gherkin relish, half the onion, white vinegar, sugar, smoked paprika and garlic powder in a small bowl with a good season, stir and place in the fridge to chill.

To assemble, cut each bun in three and place the base on a plate. Smear generously with special sauce, top with a pinch of the reserved chopped onion, add the lettuce, top with a slice of cheese and a chicken pattie, followed by the middle of the bun. Then smear with more sauce, top with onion, lettuce, a few pickle slices, cheese – because I believe it needs two slices – a chicken pattie and the top of the bun.

Smoosh as thinly as you can and devour, greedily.

 

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Baked Camemburt Bacharach

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Goldenade, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, Vegetarian

I can’t believe that we’re already up to the second day of this year’s famed Grammy Gold celebration, Goldenade. No sooner had I returned the delorean to the garage after visiting Whits did my boy Burt Bacharach start knocking on my door. And after the pain of seeing my dearly departed Whit, what my world needed now (aka then) was love, sweet love.

Burt and I known each other for years and years after meeting in – and I think this is a record for this patch of cyberspace –  the nursery of the hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Not to be confused with the hospital in Ebbing, Missouri. It’s near these billboards that inspired a movie … but anyway.

We’ve known each other from birth and after legal emancipating myself from my parents – they didn’t let me have ice cream one night – I moved to New York with the Bacharachs and as repayment, became Burt’s manager.

As I’m sure you would agree, he got quite a good deal.

Since I really like to put my guests through their paces AND the fact I stopped caring about Jazz again as soon as La La Land finished, I decided to run the odds for R&B with Burty. Cause when you think Burt, you think R&B. Anyway, we think this category will fall to a combination of Childish Gambino, Kehlani and Bruno Mars. Kehlani will take Best R&B Performance, Childish Gambino will take Best Traditional R&B Performance, R&B Song and Urban Contemporary Album, while Bruno Mars will take out Best R&B Album.

While there wasn’t much discussion or arguing about who the winners would be, we both felt extremely smug and like we worked hard … so I headed off to whip us up a Baked Camemburt Bacharach.

 

 

Deliciously goopy and with a punch of garlic and a whack of herbs, this little number is the perfect snack when you want to impress your guests whilst putting in the least amount of effort possible. I mean, stab, stuff, bake … and that is it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Baked Camemburt Bacharach
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
200g camembert in a wooden box
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
a sprig of rosemary
1 tbsp honey
1 ciabatta, thinly sliced and toasted

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove the camembert from the box and packaging. Line the box with some foil and a small piece of baking paper before returning it to the wooden box.

Cut a few slits over the top of the camembert and stuff with sliced garlic, thyme and rosemary. Drizzle with honey, scrunch the foil to close and place in the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until it is puffed and gooey.

Remove from the oven, open the foil and serve immediately … to devour with the toasted ciabatta.

 

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Ryan Ulrich Bread

Bread, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the final four outlasted Katrina, Simone, Patrick, Alan, Rourk, Ali, Jessica, Desi, Cole, JP, Joe, Lauren, Ashley and Mike before discovering Probst has one final twist up his sleeve. Along with winning a record-equalling fourth immunity, Chrissy was given the advantage of selecting one person to take with her to the final three, leaving the other two to battle it out in a fire making challenge. While it was Chrissy’s advantage, there is no doubt it was more advantageous to Ben who defeated Devon and sent him out of the game as the final boot.

The final three got up to watch the sunset together and to celebrate their achievements. We then got to experience the montage where all of the finalists speak about why they deserve to win, with Ryan proud to live up to the hustler name and be the last one standing. Chrissy was proud to overcome throwing up at the first challenge to being the last woman standing and living her dream. We then got some heroic music as Ben spoke about being good with battles as an ex-marine, begging the question – is this a misdirect from the deserving Chrissy win or flagging that Ben, in fact, will win.

We then cut straight to final tribal where the jurors filed in one by one before Probst opened up the new final tribal council format – introduced last season – where the jurors all debate how the finalists outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the rest.

Desi kicked off the outwitting portion by congratulating Chrissy on kicking ass in challenges and Ben for conveniently finding 1000 idols and then asked whether Ryan did something, or whether he was dragged because he was beatable. Ashley joined in the fun asking why Ryan never bothered forming a relationship with her. He then said the plan was to work her through Devon and pull strings from behind. Joe, Lauren and JP then joined the fray to get some confirmation about it.

Joe then went IN on Ben, asking why he failed so hard at the social game and focused on causing chaos. Ben defended himself, saying he has struggled in social interactions since returning from service. Sensing the fact Ben may be swinging some sympathy votes, Chrissy jumped in to highlight her superior social game and that she made personal connections with everyone, whilst also being loyal. Things then got hella dark as she listed Joe’s personal fear of marriage because his parents’ didn’t work out. I mean, could memory, but damn, this tribal is getting dark yo.

Cole then asked why Ben painted a target on his back after he kept stealing food, which kind of seems obvious … but then again, he is pretty so whatevs. Cole was willing to forgive Ben if he just admitted he was using it to get him out, leading to Ryan arguing that he was friends with Cole so therefore more deserving of his vote. Ashley jumped in to defend Chrissy and point out that the boys spoke about sharing themselves with jurors, while Chrissy asked about them. It then devolved into a he said she said between Ryan and Chrissy leading to Desi and Lauren jumping in to tell them to play nice and be proud that they made it there, rather than bashing each other.

Dreamy Cole then kicked off the outplay portion of the roundtable by congratulating Chrissy’s challenge prowess, Ben’s ability to find and play idols – feels repetitive, no? – and complained about Ryan not doing anything. He tried to defend himself for not contributing around camp, pissing everyone off as not camping is not a good enough excuse for not trying. Joe jumped in to save him and told him to focus on his advantages instead. Ashley again brought up the female dominance in immunity challenges, allowing Chrissy to talk about how great she played. Joe then anointed her the Queen, upsetting me that he clearly ignored my dear SDT. The good one, not the shit one.

Ben then spoke about finding idols and being saved by Chrissy’s advantage, begging the question – what can he say to convince them he played a decent game. Desi did raise a good point however in saying that if the others had used their time wisely, they could have avoided him finding idols and therefore, he deserves credit for their epic fail.

The outlast portion gave Ryan the chance to say that all he had to survive was his social game. He then tried to go the Stapley route and said he went to most of the tribal councils and survived thanks to his social game. Mike then interjected to ask if he learnt anything while playing the game. He then went off on a tangent about being reminded of the importance of family and being introspective, which was a compelling enough statement to get Devon to cast a vote for him to win and land him in third place.

While he was disappointed not to take out the victory – or second place – he was just so excited to have not only played the game but also make it all the way to the very end. Plus – how can you be said when eating bread? Particularly one as delicious as my Ryan Ulrich Bread.

 

 

I am sure every toddler would disagree with me, but there is nothing better than a freshly baked rye bread. A little bit earthy, a little bit sweet and completely soothing, all you need is a slather of butter.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ryan Ulrich Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 cup lukewarm water (Off topic but why is it lukewarm. Was Luke not a very warm person, but he wasn’t cold?)
2 tbsp treacle
7g dried yeast
2 cups rye flour
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method
Combine the water, treacle and yeast in a small jug, and leave in a warm place for ten minutes or until frothing. But not in an aroused way.

Combine the flours and salt in another large bowl, leaving a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture and oil into well while stirring until it comes together. Transfer to a stand mixer and knead with a dough hook on medium for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a large greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm, dry place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Punch back the dough until it has returned to its normal size. Shape into a large ball and place on a lined baking tray and cut a 1cm deep cross into the top of the bread. Return to the warm, dry place and leave to prove for a further hour, or until doubled again.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Chuck it in the oven for ten minutes before reducing the temperature to 180°C and baking for a further 20-25 minutes or until crusty on the outside and it sounds hollow on the inside.

Serve warm with butter and a dickload of treacle. Cause that is damn perfection.

For devouring, obvi.

 

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Devon Pinto Beans on Toast

Breakfast, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the four of the final five’s complacency lead to Ben finding yet another idol. Despite Chrissy’s best attempts to use her dead super idol to her advantage and play it as an idol to stop him searching. Yes, it was too little too late, but thankfully for Devon he felt Ben was too confident for someone that was about to be voted out, and threw a vote on Mike to save himself and send Mike to the jury.

The final four returned to camp, once again shocked by Ben’s latest idol play and Devon receiving his first vote. Ben then checked in with Ryan to see whether he and his series of idols broke another record. While semi-gloating that night, he was feeling decidedly less confident the next day given idols are dead. Though Probst did say that the final four would bring about another twist, so who knows.

Chrissy for one was extremely nervous about the twist as if all goes according to plan and one of their three win immunity, she wins a million dollars and Ben goes home in fourth.

Given she said immunity three times, Probst appeared for the final immunity challenge of the season which features the victor also getting said twist. The challenge seemed simple with the castaways required to spell our heroes, healers and hustlers on a wobbly platform. Looks were deceiving however as Chrissy quickly dropped her first batch of letters, as did Devon. Ryan and Ben got out to an early lead, while Chrissy and Devon continued to bumble around. Public enemy number one Ben then overtook Ryan and placed his final letters and locked in the platform, thinking he had immunity. Tragically for him, one of the letters was upside down and he lost most of his blocks as he unlocked the structure to fix it. That lead to Ryan, Chrissy and Devon all following suit and dropping all their blocks. The panic started to set in with Ben dropping again, followed by Ryan, Chrissy, Devon, Ryan and Devon. It came down to Ben and Chrissy who were neck and neck before Ben dropped again, giving Chrissy enough time to finish the puzzle and snatch her record-equalling fourth immunity challenge.

They returned to camp where Ben was feeling completely defeated, knowing he was a dead man walking. Ryan and Chrissy spoke about them potentially being millionaires soon while Ben spoke to Chrissy about the possibility of taking him to the end. While she told him she would think about it, she knew it may cost her the game. Little did he know that Chrissy’s advantage was actually a disadvantage, which gave her the opportunity to pick one person to take to the end and leave the other two to compete in a fire challenge for the final spot. Which bodes well for Ben and not good for Devon, as Chrissy thinks he will be better at making fire than Ryan.

Chrissy took the information to Devon and Ryan so that they would be across it and Devon could use the time to practice making fire. While Ryan was thrilled his ineptitude secured his place in the final three, there was an overwhelming sense of doom as Devon went down to the beach to practice making fire and immediately broke the flint.

Things didn’t go that much better for Devon at tribal council where after Ryan joined Chrissy as a member of the final three, Ben was shocked to learn he had yet another life and made quick work of the fire while Devon struggled to even get a spark, sending him out of the game as the final juror.

As heartbroken as he and his enormous torso were to exit the game on day 38 by an unprecedented twist, he quickly brushed it off as just part of the game. I screamed and threatened to sue for what felt like six hours before calming my farm and getting down to whipping up some Devon Pinto Beans on Toast for the morning after making Devs feel better.

 

 

While they oft have smack talked about them as the musical fruit, beans are fucking delicious and wholly nutritious … which is super convenient if you just spent 38 starving on an island and backed it up with a very late night.

Enjoy!

 

 

Devon Pinto Beans on Toast
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tomato, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and cut into half-moon discs
400g can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ tsp smoked paprika
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices sourdough, toasted
parmesan, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a medium skillet until nice and hot. Reduce heat to low, add the onions and garlic, and sweat until soft and sweet. Add the tomato, beans and a lug of water and cook for two minutes, or until almost completely reduced. Add the paprika and a whack of salt and pepper, stir and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately on freshly toasted sourdough, top with some parmesan and devour thinking this is why I’m a morning person.

 

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