Bobcorn Chicken Crowley

Main, Poultry, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Gabon

We’re less than two weeks away from someone joining the Francesca Hogi Memorial First Boot Club – well technically, who knows with extinction in play – and as such it is high time to corral another Sole Survivor to drop by and celebrate.

Side note: can you believe I am one victor away from completing the winner’s circle? Well, two given Brian Heidik shoots puppies and will never appear here.

Anyway, given that our best shot is for this season to be an epic disaster that manages to be entertaining, I thought it was finally time to catch up with my dear friend Bob Crowley. Aka victor of one of the most chaotic and beautifully entertaining seasons of all time, Gabon.

While I didn’t know Bob until after his win, we became the best of friends as soon as Sugar introduced us. Some may say it was his out of the box buff wearing that saw him snatch my heart, and well, they are totally right. And that is why we’ve never fought a day after our beautiful friendship.

Despite being one vote away from being bested by Susie, Bob’s win is one of the greatest possible outcomes for a season as insane as Gabon. I mean, it would be like Angelina winning David vs. Goliath. Sure Matty dominated physically, the onions were nasty and Sugar controlled the game, Bob managed to find his footing against all odds, made a stunning fake idol and leveraged Sugar’s emotions to get to the end.

And if that isn’t worthy of a bowl of Bobcorn Chicken Crowley, I don’t know what is.

 

 

You know I love me some fried chicken slash take-away copycats, so this baby pretty much has it all. Spicy, crunchy itty-bitty pieces of chicken – the perfect way to feel like you’ve eaten less, while getting optimal batter to meat quantity. Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bobcorn Chicken Crowley
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
⅔ tsp salt
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp basil
⅓ tsp oregano
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp white pepper
500g chicken breast, cut into popcorn sized chunks
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Combine the flour through white pepper in a large bowl and place the buttermilk in another. Toss the chicken through the buttermilk, then in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly.

Bring 1 inch deep oil to heat – around 180°C – in a large pot. Once shimmering with heat, add the chicken a handful of pieces at a time – size, not literally with your hands since the oil – and fry for about five minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain slightly and repeat the process until done.

Devour immediately. With or without your fave sauce.

 

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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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Lemon Chrisotta Daughertynuts

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Vanuatu - Islands of Fire, Sweets

Another week, another painful wait for a cast announcement. I mean, since the season has already been filmed – not to mention my ability to time travel – I’m totally all over the cast of Edge of Extinction, I feel bad that you’re not in the know. And I can’t give you my sassy hot takes.

I will tease the fact there are three guys, all of whom I love, that I can not tell apart.

A lack of cast however will still not deter me from counting down – and trying to push through my concerns slash the general negative sentiment – to the upcoming season however, so I called my dear friend Chris Daugherty to drop by.

And hot damn, I just realised that this year’s countdown features dates with victors from controversial or low-rated seasons?!

Anyway despite an apparent dislike for Vanuatu as a whole, it is up there with one of the best turnarounds by a winner. Chris went from potentially being the first boot to find himself the last man standing at the final seven before joining with three other outcasts to take control of the game, slaying his biggest threats and taking out victory.

While I was rooting for Eliza when it aired – who I really need to catch one day soon – since she was young and scrappy and I was a teen, there is no denying that Chris deserved victory after overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.

With that, I finally told him that I was proud of the game he played, asked him to help me figure out a way to identify the three identical strangers of Edge of Extinction and smashed a few Lemon Chrisotta Daughertynuts.

 

 

You know how much I love a creamy filled bun, and these babies sure don’t disappoint. Pillowy dough, tart lemony cheese and a sweet and sour crust? I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lemon Chrisotta Daughertynuts
Serves: 24.

Ingredients
750g flour
150g raw caster sugar, plus ¼ cup for filling
7g dried yeast
1 cup lukewarm milk
⅓ cup buttermilk
3 eggs, at room temperature
30g melted butter, plus extra to coat the ‘nuts
250g ricotta
3 lemons
1 cup caster sugar

Method
Combine flour, 150g raw caster sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, stir in the milk, buttermilk, 2 eggs, and 30g of melted butter. Attach the hook and knead for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for two hours.

When proving is half an hour from being done, blitz the ricotta with the remaining egg and the juice and zest of two lemons. Chill in a bowl until you’re ready to go.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Knock back the dough, turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll to 3mm thick. Cut into 24 rounds and place a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the centre of each. Fold to enclose, roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat until done, cover and leave to prove for a further hour. Once puffed, transfer to the oven to bake for 10 minutes.

While they’re baking, combine the regular caster sugar with the zest of the remaining lemon.

While the doughnuts are still hot, dip in the butter and toss through the lemon sugar. Then devour.

 

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Kelly LeBrockoli Salad

Salad, Side, Snack

I’m not going to waste your time listing all the reasons why Kelly LeBrock is so dear to me, it should go without saying. The woman is a saint; she is kind, funny, so sweet and always open to my hairbrained schemes to return her to greatness.

Thankfully with Kath’s BIL and SIL taking all the attention in Sydney/Dubbo – don’t mention it to The Ferg, who I really must catch up with one day soon – she had a low key arrival in Brisbane, which TBH was so nice for a change. I mean, it truly is exhausting being hounded by the paparazzi all day every day like Kell and I are used to.

Given how busy I’ve been lately – aren’t I always? – I haven’t seen as much of Kelly as I would like, and as such, I feel like you haven’t seen as much of Kell as you deserve. For that, I am sorry as I know a world without Kelly gracing the big screen and winning Oscars is not a world that I want to live in.

I apologised to Kelly for letting her down and she laughed about how happy she was and how I shouldn’t let the guilt eat at me. But it had, so I verbally-spammed her with so many different ways that we could bring her back to the A-list, including a stint on The Good Place as Janet’s mother – which links with Weird Science, obvi – competing on Survivor or joining a Housewives franchise and/or co-starring with Meryl, since her movies instantly are fast-tracked to Oscar Gold.

It was a lot to take in, so thankfully I had a big bowl of Kelly LeBrockoli Salad for her to eat while digesting my plans.

 

 

Crunchy and creamy, fresh and tart, this salad in the perfect thing to bring a bit of life to a boring mid-week meal over summer.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kelly LeBrockoli Salad
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 broccoli heads, cut into small florets
1 lemon, juiced
4 slices pancetta, diced and fried|
4 shallots, sliced
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped and toasted
½ cup craisins
⅓ cup parmesan, grated
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Rinse the broccoli florets and place in a bowl of cold water with the juice of the lemon and leave to sit for fifteen minutes. Drain and shake dry, though don’t be too pedantic about it.

Toss everything together in a bowl until well combined slash coated. Devour.

 

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Amanda Seyfried Brie

Party Food, Side, Snack, That Is So Fetch Week

I had had a dream that Lindsay Lohan would be able to drop by as a surprise first That Is So Fetch Week, Mean Girls Day celebration but then she started attacking Syrian woman in Moscow – on transit here, no less – and I thought mamma mia, I can’t have her here right now so quickly booked a private jet for Amanda Seyfried and brought her visit up a day.

Mand and I first met through the divine Susan Lucci. Suze was completely in awe of her talent, gave me a call and said, “Ben my dear. I’ve found another ingenue that you just have to meet and shape her career so that she can become a star.”

Obviously I take Susan’s opinion very seriously, so I jumped on the very next plane to the All My Children set to see for myself.

Immediately, I was taken by her talent and I grabbed my rolodex of hate because I hate the phone, not my friends obvi. Oh and yeah, I coined the term, but whatevs – to see if there was anything my friends were doing that would be suitable.

Tina doll, aren’t you writing that movie about bullying?” I naively said, implying that Mean Girls would just be a story of my life, rather than an iconic film.

“I’ve met this girl and I feel she could add some depth to the bimbo girl I told you about from school.”

With that, Mands snatched the role of Karen and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I don’t even mind that she has co-starred with Meryl twice while I am yet to make it into one of her movies.

Given how busy she has been with Mamma Mia 2 and raising her young girl, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like. But thankfully our friendship is one that you can slip straight back into like no time has passed at all. Though how could things be awkward when you’ve got a plate of Amanda Seyfried Brie sitting in front of you.

 

 

Hot and gooey on the inside, golden and crisp on the outside, these fried portions of cheese prove that sometimes, somehow, you can improve on perfection. So like hang in there, you know? Maybe I should be a motivational speaker too …

Enjoy!

 

 

Amanda Seyfried Brie
Serves: 4

Ingredients
250g brie
1 egg, whisked
1 tbsp buttermilk
2 cups breadcrumbs
flour, salt and pepper, to taste
2-4 cups vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Cut the brie into wedges. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together in a small bowl, place the breadcrumbs in a second and a heap of flour in the third with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Coat the brie in flour, dip it in the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined plate and leave to set for fifteen minutes or so … before re-dipping in the egg and breadcrumbs. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour.

When you’re ready to go, heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and when nice and hot, cook a few pieces at a time for a minute or so, flipping once, or until golden brown.

Devour immediately with Chillijamin McKenzie, being careful of the molten cheese.

 

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Blu Cancheese Dressing

Condiment, Dip

Today marks our fourth anniversary on the interwebs and I feel like I’ve taken to quoting Jonathan Van Ness more and more frequently but … can you believe? Anyway, given it is a birthday that means I needed to organise a little party, so I decided to reach out to my girl Blu Cantrell and asked her to hit me up style and help celebrate.

Which she obviously said yes to, otherwise this would be a total waste of a post, no?

I’ve known Blu for years after meeting while auditioning Puff’s back-up singers for him in the mid ‘90s. I was completely blown away by her talent and told Diddy that he’d be mad not to take her on, whilst secretly working to make her a star.

Fast forward a few years, Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!) became a hit, earned her two Grammy noms and once again, I succeeded. Maybe my lot in life is to elevate people to fame rather than snag an EGOT of my own while winning America’s Next Top Model after losing weight on Survivor in full Drag?

JK, I deserve an EGOT.

As you can imagine, Blu was honoured to be selected to drop by for our anniversary celebrations. And while some people would argue that she is a left-field choice, she has had a rough couple of years and as a dear, sweet friend, I wanted her to feel special.

We laughed, we cried, we reconnected, and most importantly, came up with a way to thrust us both firmly into the spotlight. Though that, my non-famous friends, is a story for another time. While you wait, why not whip up some Blu Cancheese Dressing and see if you come up with the same idea we did whilst gulping it down?

 

 

Smooth, creamy and packing a hell of a punch of pungent blue cheese, this dressing is truly the best. Well, to accompany Buffalec Baldwin Chicken Meatball Poppers or any form of buffalo flavoured things.

Buffalo as in chilli wings, not the animal. We’re not Jessica Simpson, though she is a dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blu Cancheese Dressing
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the blue cheese, garlic, sour cream, mayo and buttermilk in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Decant and down.

 

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Boanana Hope Pancakes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Breakfast, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders continued their losing streak with Paige leading the charge, while the Champions continue to flourish under the leadership of Queen Moana. After lapping up some pies and pints at reward, the Champions dominated in the immunity challenge while Paige was telling them about how everyone hates her, rather than attempting to win the challenge. Luckily for her though, Jenna’s injury proved too much for the tribe to overlook as they joined together to boot Miss Congeniality.

Things were looking zen at the Champions the next day as Lydia and Steve did some tai chi, Brian dried his foul jocks and Shane swam laps, rather than feeding the chickens. Feeling that she isn’t well placed on the tribe, she used the time to fashion the plan to hunt for an idol to assure herself some protection. She also spoke about hating fame and living an interesting life, and TBH she is a kooky iicon and I love her.

Meanwhile over at Camp Contender, the tribe reminisced about the tribal council and how angry Jenna appeared on her way out. Anita particularly was feeling upset, given like Red, she likes to protect her girls. They then spotted a rainbow and everyone felt positive. Well, everyone but Paige who Anita was still seething about her attempts to spill secrets to the Champions. Zach too was feeling pissed about their lack of reward wins, so decide to share his misogyny and wish for a dishwashing challenge so their girls could stand a chance. I mean, a month of F45 isn’t enough for his white male privilege.

Back at the Champions Queen Moana was feeling sick and was struggling to keep any food or drink down, concerning everyone in the tribe. Her BFF Mat pulled her aside to give her a pep talk and try and distract her from the thoughts of home that are lingering to make her misery worse.

My boy Jonathan returned for a cheeky battle-esque reward to allow Robbie the opportunity for another schooling from Mat. How will this episode’s schooling for bacon and egg rolls and iced coffee work? Each tribe will put one person up to balance on a barrel over the water holding a rope between them and their opponent. The last person standing wins a point for their tribe. Mat and Robbie put their rivalry on show first, with Mat quickly coming out victorious again. Zach faced off against Steve to show the girls how it is done, with Steve finally putting the git in his place pulling him straight into the water. Which pissed Zach off, leading to him splashing the girls on his tribe in a fit of anger. Poor Shonee was schooled by Lydia, Sam beat Benji, and Zach continued to flip out on the shore, yelling at everyone on his tribe. Thankfully Fenella proved adept at something other than washing up, quickly beating Sharn. Heath continued the comeback schooling Brian, before Monika beat Anita and pissed Zach off again before Shane rubbed salt in the wounds destroying Tegan. Sadly we missed out on a complete meltdown as Paige fell to Moana and handed them reward.

Robbie was legit crying before Jonathan interrupted with an extra reward, with the Contenders allowed to pick two people from the Champions to battle it out for an individual big breakfast reward. Mat and Steve were selected to compete, with Mat ultimately taking out victory. Not to rest on his laurels, Jonathan added another twist allowing Mat to select a Contender to join him. Not wanting to give the males any strength, he selected Paige to stir the pot and keep her on the bottom of the tribe. As they all headed back to reward and/or camp, Shane showed the Contenders that she was definitely on the bottom, searching for an idol on the sit out bench in their full view.

On Mat and Paige’s private reward, he quickly got to work asking her about the Contenders tribe dynamics. She then outlined all of her plans, told him how everyone on the tribe was aligned and TBH, just totally screwed herself and the tribe. Meanwhile back at the Champions camp the tribe smashed their rolls before Brian set up a game of ten pin bowls using the empty iced coffee bottles, much to everyone’s delight. With everyone distracted, Shane went for a wander to try and find an idol. And while everyone laughed about the fact she was once again on the hunt in their full view. This time she actually found something, as everyone applauded and congratulated her on the hunt finally paying off. Actually find the idol made her nervous however, and she tried to play it off as just a clue. Though given the threats from Brian and Lydia that she will be the next to go, I don’t see the idol lasting long.

Meanwhile Paige returned to the Contenders tribe and was thrilled by her newfound popularity as everyone wanted to find out about the dynamic of the Champions. Given he isn’t trying to kill his own game, she had nothing to share … which succeeded in making everyone nervous about what happened on that reward that she isn’t sharing with them.

Back at the Champions tribe Sharn appeared to have lost her mind, doing a demonic Lord of the Rings tribal dance. Before we got answers about her sanity, Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge which required two people from each tribe to be locked into a cage and pushed through an obstacle course before releasing the tribe members and breaking three suspended glass balls. The Contenders got out to an early lead with their caged Anita, while the Champions struggled with Monika and getting over a large wall. The Contenders continued to pull away, getting to the end of the course before the Champions had even managed to get Shane and Jackie over the aforementioned wall. The Contenders made quick work of Tegan and released both her and Anita, while the Champions flailed with their caged Lydia. Heath and Zach each knocked out a ball before Brian tried to pull things back. It was all for nought though, as Robbie finally had a hero moment and secure victory for the tribe.

We also got a close up of Benji’s nip and hot damn if I’m not moister than an oyster.

The Champions got to scrambling as soon as they arrived back at camp, with Sharn quickly ID-ing Jackie or Shane as the next to go. Throwing a spanner in the works, Moana continued to feel sick and seemed ready to give up. Though thankfully Mat appeared to turn her around. Jackie realised that she would be a target given the fact she struggled in the challenge, deciding that taking out Moana would be her best option. Shane joined Moana in the shelter to share that she heard she wanted to quit, given she feels terrible. Moana discredited her intel and shared that Shane needs to find her idol, if she hadn’t already. Meanwhile Jackie and Monika continued to scheme against Moana, though dangerously close to being within earshot. Sam checked in with Lydia, who was wanting to vote based on weight to strength ratio – aka split the votes on Jackie and Shane to flush the idol and blindside Jackie.

At tribal council Mat brought up the weight to strength ratio, which Steve agreed was their major issue in the immunity challenge. Jackie spoke about having strengths other than hauling herself through obstacles, though felt she was definitely improving as the game went on. Shane too was on the defensive, quickly reminded everyone that there is more to the game than strength. Sam called out Shane’s idol hunting ways and the fact it finally paid dividends, and told her that she needs to play the idol if she wanted to survive. Jonathan addressed Moana’s ailing health before Moana and Sharn quickly jumped in to say that there is no way they would be writing her name down that night. Mat went one further and said Mo at 50% was better than some other tribe members, which while savage, was kinda true.

Monika headed off to vote before Moana interrupted proceeding and asked Jonathan to call off the vote and let her check out – aka quit – rather than cause any drama for the tribe. She spoke about how she wasn’t getting batter and was letting her team down. Sharn and Mat jumped in and tried to talk her out of it, assuring her that she is better to let tribal council play out rather than quitting. While she had completely given up, Moana decided to trust her allies would respect her wishes and trusted in them all to vote. While Lydia and Sam loudly voted for Shane – actually, Sam trolled her and that is iconic – the rest of the tribe joined together to send Moana out of the game and into my loving arms to recuperate.

After making her way to Loser Lodge, Mo’s illness got to her and she collapsed in my arms leading to the heroic moment where I carried her across the room singing Whitney Houston’s cover of the Dolly classic, I Will Always Love You. While she didn’t say that I was her hero, she didn’t not say it either. Well … until she saw the shit tonne of Boanana Hope Pancakes I had waiting to heal her.

 

 

Was Moana happy that I draped bacon on her pancakes, given her staunch vegetarianism which led to her finding an idol? Hell no. But she was hungry enough to eat around it. Like Jack Johnson probably sang in the hit song I forget, banana pancakes are probably the best kind of pancakes. Moist, sweet and perfect for nursing you back to health.

Enjoy!

 

 

Boanana Hope Pancakes
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
200g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
⅓ cup muscovado sugar
2 eggs, whisked
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ⅓ cups buttermilk
3 tbsp melted butter, plus extra for fryin’
8 rashers streaky bacon … relax not for Mo, guys
maple syrup, to serve

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl, stirring well to combine. Make a well in the centre and slowly stir through the eggs, banana, buttermilk and butter until smooth.

Heat a small knob of butter in a frying pan over medium heat and cook until foaming. Add ⅔ cup of batter into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, or until bubbles form on the surface. Flip and cook further a further minute, or until cooked through. Discard/devour the first one – because they are always the worst, no? – and repeat until done.

While you’re cooking the pancakes, fry the bacon in a second pan until crisp.

Divide the pancakes between the plates, top with the bacon if you’re like me and like all the bacon, drizzle with maple syrup and devour.

 

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Rachel Bilsonta Hats

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

You can’t celebrate the 12 Days of Chrismukkah without my dear friend, the pocket-rocket portrayer of the gloriously rage-filled Summer Roberts … Rachel Bilson.

Deep breath – what a freaking (long/terrible) sentence, amirite?

I first met Rach – and spotted her talent – in early 2003 on the set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I was part of SMG’s entourage at the time but was taken in by Rachel’s spunk. As soon as I saw her perform, I knew that she was the only person that could play the role of Summer and do just to her season 1 catch-phrase “ew.”

While we had a brief falling out after I tried to set her trailer on fire after she began dating Adam Brody (I had fantasised about us becoming a twincesty couple), she understood my complete lack of logic/basis in reality and forgave me within a week.

The girl, it needs to be said, is a damn saint.

(Her sweet, forgiving nature is the only way I could forgive her for marrying Hayden Christensen, who broke my heart on the set of Life as a House when he wouldn’t play sweet dixie with my behind… but that is another story for another time. Plus I worked that line into Hart of Dixie, so how could I stay mad?).

I haven’t been able to see much of Rachel since Hart of Dixie was egregiously axed – which is actually about my life as a small town Alabama doctor falling for a myriad of similar looking men – given how busy she is with my dear god-daughter Briar Rose Christensen, so it was such a treat to be able to reconnect over some festively appropriate Rachel Bilsonta Hats!

 

rachel-bilsonta-hats-1

 

Sweet, delicious, kind-healthy (yay whole strawberry!) and completely kitsch, these little babies are the perfect festive bake for those dreaded office Christmas morning teas.

Or as a gift for people you actually like. Like the Bilson-Christensens – enjoy!

 

rachel-bilsonta-hats-2

 

Rachel Bilsonta Hats
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
¼ cup valrhona cocoa
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp allspice
1 cup buttermilk
200g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp red food colouring
Icing
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
120g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
strawberries, tops sliced off

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C and line muffin muffin pans with paper cases – quantity will depend on the size you want, but I can make 8 Texans.

Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk the wet ingredients in a large jug until combined.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir through the wet ingredients until just combined. Then stir through the food colouring. You can use a stand mixer – like I do, because I’m lazy – but just remember that the best muffins are the ones that are barely mixed, so just do it on the lowest setting and only for as long as it needs.

Divide the mixture among your pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While they are getting chill, combine the icing ingredients – sans strawbs – in a stand mixer and beat until smooth and fluffy.

To assemble, smear each cupcake generously with icing, top with an upturned strawberry and top said strawberry with a dollop of icing. Ta dah – bilsonta hats!

Devour.

 

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Bluebarry Lea Muffins

Australian Survivor, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Previously on Survivor dear, sweet #gastrointestinaldistress sufferer / hunger striker Pete quit the game, saving an ailing Aganoa from themselves. Then after a back and forth of which Aganoa would be the next to go, they won immunity and escaped the double tribal, tribal swap which sent Conner to Vavau and Nick to Saanapu with very hurt feelings.

Thankfully they were each able to throw someone under the bus with them and taking Sam and Tegan respectively.

Yep – believe the hype, this was one of the biggest episodes of Survivor I’ve ever seen. The worst part is I was so blackout drunk trying to woo the crew, that I completely forgot it was a non-elimination ep and tried to madly recap the episode for no reason.

Embarrassing.

Anyway, we opened back back at Vavau and Saanapu where the swap victims acclimatised to their new tribes. While I understand the bitterness, the other option was getting booted … so if it was me (Jon Jon, call me for 2017), i’d just be happy to get another chance rather than going home.

I mean, a second chance changed a legacy for Wentworth!

Meanwhile back with the former reigning losers Aganoa, the clouds rolled in ominously but they woke up on day 13 with triumphant music, confusing the crap outta me. Then I saw Lee, thanked God for Father’s Day (#daddy) and understood the creative choice.

Ok Lee, you’re wearing me down and will soon join my all female dream finale, OK?

Back on Vavau the shade was heavy and that is ignoring the clouds, Jennah-Louise and Craig were thrilled to be free of Nick and his tricks. While poor Sam was feeling screwed, rightfully but not in the right way, you know?

Over on his former home, Flick struggled to enunciate the word “new” before the English teacher nick arrived to spew some understandable vitriol and use some biblical references.

Do not make me Tyra you Nick. No.

Then Brooke happening and worked her way back into my heart and Nick out of Tegan’s. Or vice versa, to be honest there are a lot of brunette females and I’m struggling to tell them apart between lecherous glances at the men.

Bring back my Lee.

After Nick found a crack and Barry had a meaningful confessional, Jon Jon returned to the screen for a classic immunity challenge building rods and penetrating things before getting the fire going. BRING ON SMUTTY PROBST PUNS!

Saanapu first on their pole. Vavau now working their pole.

Hello heaven, I live here.

After having a good crack at it, stretching it further and further Vavau and Sannapu’s long sticks won out in penetrating the wall before and Saanapu were able to secure immunity after getting their wood out.

Then Aganoa had an amazing come from behind win – seriously this challenge wrote itself – sending Vavau to their first legit tribal council.

They returned back to camp and immediately got back to work scrambling amongst old tribal lines, with Kate leading the charge to get some screen time while acting as the runner between old Saanapu and OG Vavau.

Then Conner happened and Barry and Craig found their way on the block before a blistering tribal council where Barry announced his arrival to the game, Kate ominously announced she had made her way into the majority and Barry found his way to loser lodge as the fifth boot as soon as he started to play.

Obviously I knew Baz from my rugby days where we played on the field together until my lewd acts forced me to play solely off field. Thankfully Baz never held that against and took me under his wing – which spoiler alert, is a lot nicer than being under Kate’s.

The least I could do, was whip him up a batch of my Bluebarry Lea Muffins to dull the pain of his loss.

 

bluebarry-lea-muffins-1

 

Sweet, tart and hot when fresh, these fluffy delights are everything that Baz loved about me back in the day. Enjoy!

Who will join us tomorrow?

 

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Bluebarry Lea Muffins
Makes: 12 small, 6 Texan.

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter,
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarb of soda
2 tsp baking powder
75g caster sugar
pinch of salt
200ml buttermilk
1 large egg
zest of one lemon
200g blueberries

Method
Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cases.

Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside to cool.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together the buttermilk, egg, zest and melted butter in another.

Using a wooden spoon, add the wet ingredients to the dry and lightly together until just combined. Like me, the mixture fucking hates to be overworked.

Fold in the blueberries, with minimal effort and spoon the mixture amongst the muffin cases.

Chuck them in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or golden, firm and standing tall.

Obvs penetrate them with a skewer to see if it comes out clean. Just let that wording marinate a little. Beautiful, no?

 

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