Courtney Love Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my god – what a delight it was to see Courts again! I was anxiously waiting at the VIP exit of Brisbane Airport – the one where Schapelle left from! – and ran straight into her arms as soon as I saw her, breaking down in tears from either feuding with a washed up Gladiator or how desperately I missed her.

JK, obvi it was the latter. My feud gives me life.

Now as you know from my time-travel enabled date with Kurt, I’ve known Courtney for years when we were both huge in the Portland gay club scene where I was turning tricks at the time. She realised that I was destined for greatness – well, a different kind of greatness because no judgement – took me under her wing and vowed to make me a star.

While I kept on stumbling, Courts was never disappointed in me and always made me feel loved and appreciated. She truly is the sweetest person, which is why I’m honoured to have introduced her to Kurt.

Anyway I haven’t seen Courts since she toured Australia four years ago, so it was such a treat to see her, reconnect and see whether she believes that Nico and I will ultimately end up together. Well, if things don’t pan out with The Commando, obvi. And if she and Neeks enjoyed their time with Ru and Mish, obvi.

Given the deep love I have for dear Courts, I knew there was only one thing I could make that would do her and our friendship justice. A delicious Courtney Love Cake.

 

 

A traditional Sri Lankan celebration cake, the Love Cake is moist, spicy and sweet and is emblematic of all that is good in the world. Like my dear ride-or-die friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Courtney Love Cake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
350g raw unsalted cashews
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
4 eggs, separated, plus an additional 4 yolks
1 ½ cups semolina
⅓ cup honey
icing sugar, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 150°C and line a square cake tin with baking paper.

Blitz the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the rosewater and spices and blitz again until well combined.

Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, to the point where they appear to be pulsating. You know the look. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition before folding through the fragrant cashew mixture, semolina and honey.

Using a clean bowl, beat the egg whites in the stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into the semolina mixture, transfer to the cake tin and bake for an hour, or until firm and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Before carving, dusting in icing sugar and devouring. With your favourite friend.

 

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Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Matty boy took us all the way back to when they were marooning 18 Kiwi castaways on an island half way between Thailand and Myanmar where Dave saw Matt one of his best mates from school. Chani went on a losing streak, seeing Jose, Karla and Frankie exit the game back to back to back, the latter because she got too paranoid about Eve owning the hidden immunity idol. Last week Arun and Josh formed an alliance at the Outpost before Khangkhaw threw the challenge and – gag of the season – kept Dylan and booted Kaysha from the game … without looping Tara or Lisa in.

As such you just know a swap is afoot, no?

Back at Khangkhaw Dylan was still trying to process the fact he was still in the game and awkwardly tried to find anyone to talk to. On the flipside Matt was thrilled that his plan when off without a hitch because as much as he liked Kaysha, he knew she was more threatening and therefore needed to go. Sassy Dylan gave everyone a chance to verbalise any of their issues with him after tribal, with Tara offended that he threw her name out there while also being frustrated by being left out of the vote. Sooooo … hopeful she is feeling nice and scorned just ahead of that swap.

Chani awoke the next day, still appearing blissed out after avoiding tribal. Liam in particular is riding high, pottering around camp and making it feel more like home. Eve too enjoyed the time off, though was still worried about the fact everyone knows about her idol and that target could definitely come back to hurt her. Meanwhile Tess and Tara were enjoying fishing while Brad and Zadam chatted about Dylan being an outsider while the poor guy sat by himself and wished for that swap knowing he’ll be booted without one.

As such Matty Chis re-appeared for the reward challenge where Chani were shocked to see that Kaysha was booted before Matty finally acknowledged the horrific vagicide … AND THE FACT IT IS TIME FOR A TRIBE SWAP! What a damn surprise?! While it was telegraphed for the first fifteen minutes, let’s focus on the fact the had to body paint their way to divide into their tribes and that may get us some male skin. Wait, no – no one did an Ozzy. Anyway, new Khangkhaw was made up of Eve, Tess, Lisa, JT, Liam, Brad and Tara while Renee was the sole female on Chani with Dylan, Dave, Matt, Josh, Adam and Arun. Which Josh and Arun were thrilled about since they made an alliance on the outpost and Matt and Dave since they were best friends in school.

Anyway, we’ve got a reward to deal with which saw two members of each tribe forced to hold a pole on a platform, then get spun around as someone else grabs a rope off the base and runs it back to the start. They each then have to walk over a balance beam – dizzy as hell – and then join their tribe in getting between two points without touching the ground. Like the iconic time Sierra Dawn-Thomas lead her team to victory in Worlds Apart via barrel rolling. Given it was for comfort, peanut butter and flour though, it is well worth it.

Liam and Dave were neck and neck spinning Tess and Matt around super fast, so fast in fact, that the pole snapped right off Tess’s disc and flung her into the ground and appeared to break her neck. As is oft the case in Survivor NZ, the medics were called and while she looked concussed, paralysed and her buff flew clear off her head when she rag-dolled, she was given the all clear and allowed to continue. Sadly the same could not be said for the disc portion of the challenge, with it axed and the tribes minus Tess and Adam forced to work on the second portion of the challenge. While new Chani got out to an early lead Khangkhaw closed the gap and snatched victory for their tribe, giving Tess a pillow to lay her concussed head on.

We followed new Khangkhaw back to camp where Chani were thrilled to see what island luxury looks like, and JT excited to idol out one of the OGs. The knock to Tess’ head seemed to make her kinder to outsiders, telling Eve, JT and Liam that she was thrilled to have them in her life. On the flipside, Liam was hella nervous despite being the most useful and least threatening member of the ex-Chanis. Though given Eve left the damn idol back at Chani, maybe he is right to feel nervous. Meanwhile new Chani arrived at their camp where literally only Dylan seemed excited, since he is now the swing vote and their appears to be more food. Dave ran away from his tribe to snatch Eve’s idol before anyone noticed, before Josh shard how nervous he was despite having multiple connections and being physical. Arun being Arun offered to grab everyone water, before Dylan latched straight on to him, spilled the tea and all but signed his life over to Chani.

Matt Chis that cheeky devil called Eve away from camp to see a medic despite feeling fine … because he was dropping her idol off thanks to Dave. And by dropping off, giving her the option to gift it to someone back at new Chani or keep it for herself. Which she obviously kept for herself because she isn’t stupid.

New Chani sang Dave happy birthday before he and Matt found themselves a quiet spot to reconnect, which isn’t as good as it sounds. Instead of the fan-fic running through my head, Matt spilled all the Khangkhaw tea to Dave and then shared that he thinks he saw JT grab the idol at the challenge. Which he didn’t, but well played Matt. Meanwhile Brad was feeling confident in his place in the tribe, thinking he’d easily be able to get Tara and Lisa back on side. Well, until the ex-Chani members wanted to hear the post-tribal goss which only highlighted the fact they were left right out. As such, Brad pulled Lisa aside to make sure they were still tight and then locked in JT as the boot, should they lose the next challenge. Tara and Tess then caught up with Tara deciding it was important to stick together, despite not really trusting them. Lisa pulled Liam aside to see if he was ok, sensing he was upset about the tribe swap. They then bonded by the fire and had a chat, though it didn’t appear to touch on gameplay. But I ship the shit out of them.

The first immunity challenge as new tribes rolled around where Khangkhaw spoke about their glorious camp, while poor Chani could only counter that their camp was flat. That says it all, really. Anyway, two at a time people swam out to a suspended cage to release fish traps holding puzzle pieces. Chani got out to a huge lead thanks to Adam and Matt which Arun and Dave maintained despite Lisa and Liam’s best attempts. Brad and Tara continued to close the gap for Khangkhaw, though they were no match for Renee and Josh handing Dylan a handy lead on the puzzle over JT. Which he put to good use as her secured immunity for Chani and TBH, saved himself from certain doom.

We followed Chani back to camp with Dylan thrilled to have secured victory for the tribe, pissing off Adam who felt it was a lucky victory and it all came down to the lead they gave him. Side note: just fuck already, because the tension is making Dylan the good guy. The sexual tension was cut by the speculation about who would get the boot with Arun hoping for a big Khangkhaw name, with them agreeing that it depends on whether they’re playing a long game or a short game. And that booting Brad would mean certain doom for them.

Back at Khangkhaw Liam was concerned about their survival while JT tried to make inroads with Lisa. Brad and Tess and hooked up to look in a plan, concerned that JT has an idol – thanks to Matt’s bad intel. Liam started scrambling, approaching Brad to see if there are any cracks in the alliance before Brad hinted that they think JT has an idol, and as such Liam or Eve are in danger. Liam briefly considered flipping to Khangkhaw  but was too damn kind, so instead headed back to JT and Eve to share that they know about the idol giving them the idea to pretend JT does have the idol and attract the votes to Eve or Liam to give them a better chance of playing it correctly. As a back-up Eve and Liam approached Tess, who also didn’t give anything away making them unsure of who to play the idol on.

At tribal council Matt quickly got everyone to admit that despite becoming a new tribe, they were still split right down the middle. Tara defended themselves by saying that while they wouldn’t like that, when you don’t know them you can only base your decisions on numbers. JT tried to pretend he was lying about not having an idol which Tess and Brad fell for hook, line and sinker, before Lisa threw out a reference to being honourable to distract from her killer game thus far and JT said that he has always done what he said he would at tribal. Which TBH, is way to vague to save himself just before they headed off to vote. Thankfully for him though, Eve opted to play her idol for herself and his bluffing worked as poor, sweet Liam was voted from the game.

Given he is such a positive, delight, Liam wasn’t too annoyed to be the first victim of the swap – maybe he was proud to end the vagicide? – and instead focused on the fact he stayed true to himself the entire game and managed to make some wonderful friends. He was so damn nice and chill, it made me feel even worse when I pulled out my Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza and explained he was only booted because of my culinary curse.

 

 

Despite my pizza curse claiming its latest victim, it is hard to hold an ongoing grudge when they taste this good (or are as chill and kind as Liam). The spicy satay, the earthy gloriousness of broccoli and cashew and the sweetness of capsicum and onion … there is nothing more to say than dis good. Dis, real good.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
2 chicken breasts, diced
½ – 1 cup satay sauce
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
1 onion, sliced
½ red capsicum, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
a small handful of snow peas, top, tailed and cut into 1cm slices
⅓ cup cashews, roughly chopped
mozzarella, to taste … though you’d be mad not to drown it

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place a frying pan over medium heat and cook the chicken for a couple of minutes, or until starting to brown. Add the satay sauce and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until cooked through and the sauce has started to thicken.

Smear passata over the bases and sprinkle with the herbs. Heap on the onion, capsicum, chicken, broccoli, snowpeas and cashews, and drown with mozzarella.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, wallowing in the sadness that pizza is now my Reality TV kiss of death. My sincere apologies Steph, Brendan, Steph and Karla.

 

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Grantbola

Baking, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Hollywood. I mean, my relationships with the A-list of it inspired this patch of cyberspace … but sometimes it is nice just to hang out with a fellow Australian. And by that, Kiwi we adopted as our own after they became a success.

I first met Granty while working together on Blue Heelers in the ‘90s. You see, I created and wrote for the show, inspired by my experiences in the town of Mt Thomas in the ‘80s. Crime was so rife – 99% of them committed by me – that I knew it would make Aussie TV gold, and a legend was born.

But back to Grant. Grant walked in to audition and I instantly knew that he was the Wayne I had dreamed about and the rest, as I oft say, is history.

Grant was so grateful to me for giving him his big break that he pledged undying allegiance to me and begged me to guide his career. Given he worked on True Blood with Anna and Al, Ugly Betty with Alan Dale, I think you’d agree that my influence truly helped.

No shade to his talent though, obvi.

It was such a delight to hang out together, laugh about the good ol’ days with Sacky, McCune and Johnny Woods, reflect on the tragedy that was the latter seasons of True Blood – minus Skarsy’s peen shot – and devour some nourishing Grantbola for the day ahead.

 

 

Did I not mention we’re both morning people and work out together? We’re sickeningly cute bestos. Inspired by Sarah Wilson’s coconut-nut granola but made infinitely better thanks to the inclusion of fruits and other things you can’t eat after quitting sugar, this is the only granola you want in your life.

Enjoy!

 

 

Grantbola
Serves: 12-ish. Maybe? A soft maybe. I’m not sure, let’s call a shit-tonne and be done.

Ingredients
¼ cup coconut oil
3 cups coconut flakes
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
½ cup macadamias, roughly chopped
2 cups rolled oats
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
½ cup apple puree
½ cup craisins

Method
Preheat oven to 120°C.

Combine everything but the craisins in a large bowl until everything is coated and combined.

Spread across two lined baking sheets and cook for 10 minutes, toss, and cook for a further 10 or so, or until golden. Remove, toss through the craisins and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, devouring daily with yoghurt, fresh berries and, if you want to upset Sarah further, some Mahersharaspberry Coulis.

 

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Speidy Nuts Swedberg

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Side, Snack, Tapas

Let’s be honest, there are only four stars of Seinfeld so not every day of our Festivus celebrations can be filled with the iconic portrayers of TV’s erstwhile George, Kramer, Elaine and Jerry. That being said, the character of Susan and her death by out-of-date envelopes is truly iconic and more than earns Heidi Swedberg a trip to Brisbane to help my par-tay.

Plus, as is always the case, she is one of my dearest friends.

I first met Heid in the late ‘80s when she guested on an episode of Matlock. I was Andy Griffith’s stand-in – as we were both older gentleman, at heart – so spent a lot of time with the bit-players. The bond with Heidi was semi-instant and we kept in contact in the years that followed.

When Jase reached out about finding someone to play his love interest on the show, I thought she would be perfect for the role and would fit in well with the cast. While I was completely wrong about the last part, her death storyline was both hilarious and a cautionary tale for those, like me, that hoard Christmas cards year-on-year for later use.

While Heidi up on a life in Hollywood, she was thrilled to come out of hiding to celebrate Susan and Festivus. On the strict proviso that it was a date with only me, and that I’d be serving up my delightful Speidi Swedberg nuts.

 

 

Sweet, festively spiced and packing a little heat, these little babies are the perfect accompaniment for a festive date. Or for getting rid of the taste of rotten envelope glue.

Enjoy!

 

 

Speidi Swedberg Nuts
Serves: 1. 6-8 in a pinch.

Ingredients
500g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias and almonds
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
salt, to taste
1 cup craisins

Method
Place a large frying pan over medium heat and line a large baking sheet.

Chuck the nuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds in the pan and toss with a wooden spoon for about five minutes. Add the spices and toss to coat. Then add the oil, sugar and rosemary, toss to coat and cook until golden and fragrant.

Transfer them to the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and leave to to cool completely. Toss through the craisins and decant into bowls to serve immediately or a sterilised jar.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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Massamanda Peet Curry

Main, Poultry

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but for the second week running I’ve put an end to one of my most vicious and longest running feuds with Amanda Peet. I also can’t believe I’m saying this, but it turns out Mandy never actually did anything wrong and we’ve been feuding for five decades for no reason.

Well actually, not even five decades. Just the one.

You see, our feud started in 1966 after I was Harvey Weinstein-ed out of our joint company, Peet’s coffee after we time travelled back to build our empire. Only it never actually happened and *gasp* Peet’s Coffee has absolutely nothing to do with Mandy or I.

While time travel exists and Annelie and I most definitely invented it, gloated about it to Michael J. Fox and had our lives turned into the Back to the Future series, time travel had nothing to do with this saga.

I should have first been tipped off to the fact that it wasn’t time-travel related, is because Mandy and I were catching up for coffee at Peet’s Coffee near Haight-Ashbury fifteen years ago joking about the company being hers and how we should fight them for ownership. I then had a dickload of mushrooms and dropped some acid, before hallucinating our entire journey back to the sixties. I probably should have also been tipped off by the fact my memories looked like the Yellow Submarine and Annelie and I had vowed to never time travel with anyone else, which is a promise would never break. It also explains why Mandy spoke about her concerns for my mental health in the press and her fear that her ‘best friend’ was losing his mind.

Given the absurdity of what she was saying, I wasn’t quick to believe her but gurl, knowing me so well, had receipts. She pulled the Peet’s security footage and played me my entire breakdown and hallucinated feud, before pulling me in close and crying, telling me how much she has missed me.

We spent the afternoon laughing and crying – she said Dave had actually wanted to cast me as a gender flipped Khaleesi, given how beautiful Jon Snow and my babies would look – as we plotted the perfect end to our feud, making her the face of Peet’s Coffee. Which sounds like the most perfect marketing move for them, though that could be the Massamanda Peet Curry.

 

 

Warming, spicy and full of kick, this curry ticks all the boxes and leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled. Plus – it is the perfect thing to represent the fiery rage of our one-sided feud, and the hearty, nutty nature of our love.

Enjoy!

 

 

Massamanda Peet Curry
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
coconut oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
a chunk of ginger, grated
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 red chillies, sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of ground cardamom
3 bay leaves
⅓ cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped plus extra to garnish
500g chicken thighs, roughly diced
1 cup chicken stock
400ml can coconut milk
2 potatoes, roughly diced
1 capsicum, thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a lug or large dollop – depending on your current temperature – of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion for a couple of minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, tamarind, chillies and lemongrass and cook for a further minute, or until nice and fragrant. Add the dry spices, bay leaves and cashews and cook for a further minute.

Add the chicken to the deliciously stanky pan, and lightly brown before slowly adding the stock while stirring until well combined before adding in the coconut milk. Add the potatoes, capsicum and tomato, bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered for about half an hour or so.

Remove from the heat and stir through the fish sauce, palm sugar and a whack of salt and pepper. Serve immediately with rice, preferably of the coconut variety, topped with coriander and/or extra cashews. Then devour, of course.

 

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