Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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

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

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

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

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

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

 

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Pumpkim Richartta Rolls

Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Given the troubles Kimmy has had the last couple of years, it was such a joy to catch up with her and see for myself how well she is doing. Particularly because I feel responsible for leading her down the path she is on.

Of course, my sweet, sweet Kimmy doesn’t see it that way.

I sadly haven’t seen much of Kim since the tragic passing of her dear ex and my beloved friend Monty. As soon as we saw each other, we ran into the other’s’ arms and sobbed for her loss before spending the afternoon reminiscing about the good times with Monty and how proud of her she would be.

While Andy Cohen would be extremely disappointed with my inability to convince her to return to the housewives full time – I still think she needs time to heal – he (and Rinna) would be happy that I was able to get her to accept the infamous bunny for Hucksley’s first birthday.

After achieving the near impossible, I decided to push my luck and talk to her about the sequel-reboot of Witch Mountain … which she just LOVED, though I sadly can’t talk about it due to Disney’s hella watertight confidentiality agreements (the slut pigs).

Given how much ground we had to cover, we needed something light, hearty and soothing – that I could also sneak a drink in a mug with – to give us sustinance. No doubt you know where this is going – given it is our simplest pun yet and isn’t shoehorned in at all – we shared my famed Pumpkim Richartta Rolls.

 

 

A little bit spicy, soothingly sweet and the earthy combination of pumpkin and the ricotta work to create a delightful vegetarian alternative to sausage rolls that doesn’t include spinach.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkim Richartta Rolls
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
500g butternut pumpkin, diced and roasted
500g ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs , lightly whisked
½ – 1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano, plus extra to garnish
1 tbsp plain flour
¼ cup grated parmesan
3 sheets puff pastry
salt and pepper, to taste
milk, to glaze

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the pumpkin, ricotta, garlic, eggs, breadcrumbs, cumin, oregano, flour and parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz until smooth(ish) and combined. Add more breadcrumbs if it is too wet.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, place a long strip of the mixture in the middle of each pastry half and roll over to enclose.

Cut each in half, transfer to a lined baking sheet and brush with milk before sprinkling with some extra oregano. Place in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes, or until golden and crispy. Then, obviously, devour like, again, a slut pig.

 

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Sierra Dawn-Hummus

Condiment, Dip, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Brad, Sierra, Tai and Troyzan were feeling helpless as kween Cirie kept her mafia in line. Thankfully for them, Andrea decided that she needed to take out Zeke – aka one of their own – before he got the chance to flip the tables on them, sending him out of the game as the fourth juror.

We opened up after tribal, as we usually do, with Tai and Brad confused about what happened to save him. Tai doubly so, since his alliance had all voted for him rather than Zeke.

Michaela was feeling uneasy about how quickly their new majority had turned on each other, though Cirie was able to reassure her and push forward with splitting up the Sierra-Brad pair to ensure nobody flips on her.

Speaking of Sierra, she was feeling like she had nothing to lose and approached Sarah to find a way in which concerningly involved her sharing the fact she owned a legacy advantage and that she would give it to Sarah if she were to be voted out. I mean, why tell her she would get it if she booted you … that is damn tempting!

Speaking of temptations, Probsty appeared for the reward challenge where they competed for a good old fashioned, U S of A BBQ – obvi, with all the fixin’s – and LOVE. Yep, it is the loved one’s visit!

Breaking down before her partner even came out to be creeped on by Sierra – but damn, she right – Sarah’s man was here and provided an update on how her son was going. Keeping with the crying theme, Andrea’s mum arrived and told a story of Andrea’s deceased sister who had encouraged her to apply.

Thankfully Aubry and her sister were just adorkable and didn’t make me cry.

Sierra’s dad made his second loved one’s appearance talking about the high level of competition this season, despite having zero intell on what had actually gone down. Michaela and her mum were completely adorable and went a long ways to humanise her to her tribemates.

Troyzan was concerned that his brother wouldn’t RSVP yes to the invite, though obvi he did. Making chickens everywhere jealous, Tai’s partner Mark was here and shock of all shocks was a total daddy. And I hate the term daddy.

Rounding out the visits, the swellest, runner-up to ever exist, the neat lady herself MONICA f*^%#@)g CULPEPPER appeared to remind us about how much the Culpepper’s are couple goals and Cirie’s recently graduated son … who I was expecting to be the King of loved ones, HB. As sweet as the son was, I live for Cirie treating HB like an employee to conserve energy.

With that, the tribe was split into three teams to compete in an aquatic obstacle course before digging a gap under a log to climb under before untangling some knots to release keys that open a chest of bags to knock down a tower.

Brad, Andrea and Aubry got out to an early lead, which never really dissipated securing my girl Monnie with some more screen time, isn’t that neat? Obviously Probst gave them the chance to share their reward, which they gave to the obvious choices of Cirie and Sarah. I mean, they both need to see and/or hear about their sons. Brad and Mon quickly got to work hosting the BBQ and running strategy, I assume after decorating the table and being adorbs.

Back and camp Michaela was feeling sore – maybe or maybe not because she quick a wooden crate after losing – about not being chosen, talking to Tai about how much she wanted to see her mum. Up from the beach, Sierra and Troyzan reaffirmed their allegiance to each other and plotted to use Michaela’s anger to flip her to them, Tai and Brad.

Not mucking about, Probst returned for the immunity challenge where they had to balance on a narrow perch whilst holding a buoy between two sticks. Yep – poles, balls … we’re in for some good cum-entary.  Aubry and Sierra quickly dropped out, followed by Andrea, Sierra, Cirie and Troyzan. Sadly, no ball dropping jokes or mentions of keeping your pole firm to work the balls.

Nothing – I’ve had it!

After a long struggle, Michaela finally dropped leaving us with a battle between Tai and Brad, with the latter taking out their first ever individual immunity victory ever. I assume, because that is totally something my neat lady Monica, would do. Hashtag, what would Monica do.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Brad on his victory, despite the fact it ruined the majority’s plan to boot him. They quickly flipped the plan to Sierra, with Tai and Michaela secretly playing the middle weighing up whether to target Sierra with the majority or Andrea with the current minority.

Aubry and Sarah went for a walk to discuss getting rid of Sierra, with Sarah confirming my earlier concerns for the legacy advantage discussion and saying that she wants to get rid of her, without her realising she is involved to ensure she gets the legacy advantage. NEVER tell anyone you have an advantage if you’re desperate.

Sarah then shared this news with Michaela, potentially swinging her back to their side.

At tribal council Andrea spoke about the loved ones visit and how she was concerned that she had to leave people out, which Aubry agreed with. Probst threw some shade at Culpepper’s first big win of his Survivor career, Sierra tried to throw Andrea under the bus as the threat, who in turn turned the attention on the underdogs, who could sneak by and take the win.

Sarah was confident in the majority but elusively questioned whether the deck had been reshuffled … again. Michaela agreed that “we” is always changing in Survivor, spooking Andrea. Sierra and Andrea then acknowledged that it was one or the other, as they headed to vote.

After a lot of we talk in the confessionals, Sierra found out she was not a part of the Trump-esque piss-play as she was booted from the game. Despite not covering her tracks as well as she could have, Sarah acted shocked enough for Sierra to will her the legacy advantage … though looked to spook Andrea in the process.

My dear barrell racing queen took her exit in her stride, despite the obvious disappointment. While I found Sierra dragging the hateful morons to the end of Worlds Apart completely awful, Joegel convinced me she was ok and we’ve been friends ever since.

Given that she has been relatively dominant this season, I felt I needed to make my shade up to her so whipped up a delightfully charming Sierra Dawn-Hummus.

 

 

I’m not the biggest fan of hummus, but throw in some some pumpkin and i’m on that like white on rice … or more easily to understand, a fat kid on cake. Sweet, earthy and spicy, this is the perfect dip to work through the pain of a second career boot.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sierra Dawn-Hummus
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
half a butternut pumpkin, seeded and cut into 1-2cm dice
olive oil
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic, peeled
zest and juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking tray with a good lug of olive oil and bake for about half an hour, or until golden and caramelised.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blitz with the remaining ingredients until smooth. Season and quickly blitz again and serve with a sprinkling of cumin … before devouring.

 

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Hannah Shapiravioli

Main, Pasta, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the jury convened to berate, question and congratulate the final three before casting their votes, none of which went to our co-runner-up and my future lover Kengel or my dear friend Hannah Shapiro.

While Hannah wasn’t rewarded with any votes by the jury, I was firmly buying everything she was selling during final tribal council. Yes, Adam was successful in convincing the jury that her moves were simply blunders … but they were only blunders in respect to her game.

She made it to final tribal and took risks – like leaving David in until the final four and trusting Kengel to turn on him – eliminated people that she thought would be final three fodder and convinced people to risk their game – Adam included – to save her.

So while she wasn’t able to secure any votes, she played an underrated game and I couldn’t be more proud to call her my dearest friend.

I’ve known Han for a few years now, after meeting in college while studying Professor Dawson’s Survivor course – the student became the master, it seems. After graduating I put her in touch with some comedy contacts I met through my besties Tina and Amy, and she has had the honour of working with Second City, Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade.

Anyway, while she was disappointed to not take out the title – or any votes – I was able to turn her around with a quick pep talk and a generous serving of my Hannah Shapiravioli.

 

hannah-shapiravioli-1

 

It is time for your favourite part, where I liken her game to the dish!

But in all seriousness, Hannah was a soft, gentle soul, that was packed with a punch – deep down – and was able to take over the game without noticing.

Plus – who doesn’t love pumpkin, spinach and ricotta? Enjoy!

 

hannah-shapiravioli-2

 

Hannah Shapiravioli
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
600g butternut pumpkin, diced
lug of olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
60g pancetta, cut into thin strips
800g tinned chopped tomatoes
½ cup basil, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme
⅓ cup verjuice
1 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
500g fresh ricotta
250g frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
60 gow gee wrappers

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet with a lug of oil, toss to coat and bake for about half an hour, or until golden, sweet and soft. Remove and leave to rest while you get to work on the sauce.

Heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan and sweat the garlic for a minute or two. Add the pancetta and fry for a further five minutes. Add in the tomatoes, herbs, verjuice, sugar and a generous whack of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat while you get er’rything sorted.

Get a large pot of salted water on the boil and combine the ricotta and spinach in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Lay out half the gow gee wrappers and divide the cooled pumpkin amongst the pastry, and divide the cheesy spinach on top of the pumpkin.

Brush the dough with water and top with a second wrapper, sealing each parcel to ensure no air is trapped.

When they’re all done, place all the ravioli in the boiling water and cook until they have risen to the top. It should be no more than ten minutes. Drain and add the ravioli to the sauce and return to a low heat for five minutes.

Serve immediately and cover generously with parmesan. Devour, obviously.

 

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