David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey was inspired by Sasha Velour by way of my girl Whitney, getting so emotional as he welcomed us back to the majestic islands of Fiji for the OG Survivor. Oh but while it is the 41st season, he warned us all to be ready – not because the winners are coming for you – as the game has evolved while in lockdown and is shorter but more dangerous than ever. The first change being that only one tribe won the first immunity challenge, with Yase and Ua attending back-to-back tribal councils with Abraham and Sara becoming the first and second boots of the new era.

We checked in with Ua the next day where the tribe was still recovering from tribal council. Brad was paranoid about how quickly JD switched things up and as such, worried he could no longer trust him. And then when he spotted JD and Ricard heading off to get water together, he obviously ran along the beach to beat them to the well and eavesdrop. After hearing them innocently speak about him for a bit, he darted back to camp where Shan was now more concerned by Brad as an ally rather than worried by JD now being calm. Shan took that information back to Ricard, with him admitting that he said nothing bad and assuring her it was all good. Oh and that Brad needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile at Luvu, Deshawn was growing tired as he desperately continued to try and start fire for the tribe. Eventually the iconic Naseer got sick of watching on, jumped in and got the fire started in no time at all. Immediately making the tribe love him, given they would probably die without him according to Sydney, the de facto proxy for the audience. Oh and we also learnt that grew up without electricity or running water in Sri Lanka but he was always happy and damn, I couldn’t love him more at this point.

We finally checked in on Yase where Tiffany was absolutely exhausted, sharing that she would give anything for even a cup of rice. Back at camp, Xander was busy trying to finish the shelter before he pointed out that Voce had been gone a long time to Liana. With that, they suggested they split up to try and find him, with Xander putting this time to use finding the ‘Beware’ advantage, which told him to accept the risks and do everything it says, or put it back and leave it for someone else. Obviously he took the risk and learnt that he had found one third of an idol which will only gain power if the same idol is found at both of the other camps. To activate it, he simply needs to say a weird phrase and wait for the other two to say theirs at the same immunity challenge and voila, they all get idols. Sadly for him, he won’t have a vote for the rest of the game unless the other two idols are found.

Knowing it is fairly dangerous, he pulled his closest allies Evvie and Voce aside to fill them in, with Voce nervous about now being down a vote. While Evvie was more concerned about Xander’s growing power and not wanting to go to the end with men and then have their game disregarded which always seems to happen on Survivor. With that, Evvie took that information back to their true allies, Tiffany and Liana, and damn Xander, you in danger girl.

The tribes joined up with Jeffrey over the ocean for the immunity challenge where someone would dive in and retrieve a key before bringing it back to two others who would race over a series of obstacles and then swim to the end where the other two people will unlock puzzle pieces, which they obviously use to solve. Oh and in addition to immunity for the first two tribes to finish, they will also get either a massive bundle of fishing gear or just enough fishing gear. 

Xander got Yase out to an early lead, though couldn’t retrieve his key on the first go giving Sydney time to take the lead for Luvu. Danny meanwhile made quick work of the obstacles for Luvu while Brad and Tiffany struggled on the balance beam. Eventually Brad made it to the end while Naseer continued to power Luvu ahead while Shan joined him in lapping Tiffany. While poor Liana waited for her turn on the obstacles for Yase, Luvu and Ua quickly worked through the puzzle before Tiffany finally made it to the end. Sadly for Yase, however, Liana couldn’t overcome the disadvantage as Erika powered through another puzzle and took out victory for Luvu while Ua took out second place, sending Yase back to tribal council.

As winners of the challenge, Luvu were given the power to send someone from Yase for a special journey, quickly sending Evvie before they learnt they could send someone from either of the remaining tribes, with Deshawn quickly volunteering to go.

Back at camp, Tiffany quickly apologised for costing the tribe so much time in the challenge though she was quietly confident that she would still be safe at tribal council, given she and the girls were planning on getting rid of Xander. Speaking of Xander, he and Voce were worried about the girls sticking together and saving Tiffany given there are no guarantees a swap will save the tribe from themselves. Knowing they were mildly screwed, Voce approached Liana to see if she would be willing to get rid of Tiffany with her quickly agreeing that after the challenge it makes sense. Sadly for him however, Liana took the information back to Tiffany and while she assured her she was safe, she was still nervous Tiffany would do something stupid and screw it up for them.

Meanwhile Evvie and Deshawn arrived on the same island as last week and they quickly bonded as they ventured to the top. Knowing Yase will be at a disadvantage come merge, Evvie got to work charming Deshawn so that they would have an ally moving forward. They then shared that there is no way they can risk their vote with tribal council coming up and as such, he can safely take the extra vote and know that they won’t screw him over if they work together moving forward.  We then learnt a bit more about Deshawn, who worked hard to overcome all obstacles to become a doctor before pivoting back to Evvie’s charm offensive. They started by explaining that they plan to boot Xander over Tiffany at the upcoming tribal council before explaining in detail how the idols work this season.

Evvie returned to camp with their vote intact – you’re welcome for the extra vote, Deshawn – and quickly explained that the rules of the journey were the same as last week. They then went for a walk to the well with the girls, quickly locking in the blindside on Xander before returning to the boys and assuring them that they will join them to get rid of Tiffany. While Evvie was chatting with the boys, Tiffany was suggesting they should get rid of Voce instead, given Xander may play his idol, given she just doesn’t want to believe the situation with the idols. While Evvie calmly tried to explain the situation to her, assuring her that they read the note and it is actually powerless, Tiffany’s paranoia started to get to them, given it will be difficult to navigate around, should they stay aligned with her.

At tribal council Tiffany spoke about how disappointed in herself she was in the challenge, admitting that in the moment, she wanted the world to swallow her up. Xander spoke about how raw and exhausting it is to live the Survivor experience. Voce likened it to being in surgery and implored the tribe to find the wound and save their lives. We then learnt that his drive comes from his hardworking mother. Liana admitted that where the ‘bleeding’ Voce was talking about varies from person to person and as such, they need to find who they trust. This inspired Tiffany to remind them that challenges aren’t the only part of Survivor and as such, they need to vote with loyalty in mind. Evvie spoke about the fact the tribes could switch tomorrow and as such, strength means nothing and that is why the decisions are tough. Xander agreed that there is so much unknown and as such, there could be no switch in which case, strength becomes that much more important.

With that the tribe voted and somehow Liana and Evvie bought into Tiffany’s fear, joining her to send Voce out of the game against all odds. As he wandered into Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I mean, I didn’t want any of the tribe to go, but it was still heartbreaking to lose my dear friend Voce so early. You see, we first met while working together as interns at the hospital that inspired Shonda Rhime’s to write Grey’s Anatomy and became the fastest of friends.

David is kind, wise, calm and most importantly, is a total babe and as such, I was absolutely shook to see him go so soon. But after catching up and splitting a David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake, everything seemed right with the world again.

I feel like I say it a lot, but Milk Bar is the greatest place on earth and every damn recipe is near perfection. Tragically, there isn’t any down under and as such, I need to try my best to recreate their cakes. And well, this one is pretty damn great! Earthy, sweet and oh so moist, this is the perfect way to mark a shocking early boot.

Enjoy!

David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake
Serves: 2 dear friends or 16 normal people.

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g raw caster sugar
60g muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
110g buttermilk
75g grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butterscotch chips
240g white chocolate
25g light corn syrup, warmed to soften
55g double cream, cold as possible
75g pumpkin puree
60g milk powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
55g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Dulce de Nick Lachey
⅓ cup milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Combine the 115g butter , 250g of the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and cream on medium speed for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and return to the mixer on low for a further minute before adding the eggs one at a time, allowing to mix for a further minute between each addition. Scrape down the side, crank to medium and beat for a further few minutes or until delicate and light.

Whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a jug and with the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture in until it is all in and just combined. Scrape down the sides once again and then beat on high for five minutes or until homogeneous and airy.

Combine 185g of flour with the baking baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Fold the mixture through the wet ingredients before returning to the stand mixer on low for a minute or two, or until it is just coming together. Remove and fold through the butterscotch chips.

Pour into the lined sheet pan, smooth out the top and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cake is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.

Reduce the oven to 120C.

While the cake gets chill, combine 150g of white chocolate and 25g of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 15-second bursts, stirring after each go until velvety and smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz while adding the corn syrup in a steady stream.

Once combined, add the heavy cream as the blender is still going until it comes together. It may look curdled for a bit, but it will come back together. Finally blend in the pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of salt and the remaining cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Combine the 40g of the milk powder, the cornstarch and the remaining flour, caster sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands – or a spatula if it is too hot – until it starts to come together into large clumps. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until dry and sandy.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and leave to cool slightly.

Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining milk powder and white chocolate for five minutes or until the clumps firm with the chocolate. Transfer to a baking sheet to set completely.

To assemble, cut the sheet cake into two 20cm circles and leave to the side. Using a 20cm cake ring lined with acetate, press the remaining cake crumbs into the base and soak with a third of the milk. Top with a third of the ganache, some crumbs followed by half of the dulce de leche.

Top with one of the discs of cake and repeat the process with the milk, ganache, crumb and ganache. Top with the remaining disc of cake, follow with the remaining milk and ganache before decorating with the remaining crumbs.

Cover, transfer to the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge, take out of the ring and acetate and leave to come to temperature for half an hour or so before devouring, joyously.


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Mat Profiterogers

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Phoebe and David were feeling isolated on new Mokuta, though the latter found some comfort in the form of his first idol of the season. Meanwhile his secret ally Mat was precariously sitting pretty in new Vakama, thanks in no small part to his second hidden immunity idol. Once again Vakama lost the immunity challenge and quickly firmed up a plan to get rid of Mat or his idol. And as such, Locky got to work rallying the troops. Not to be outdone, Mat tried to rally a counter attack, quickly pulling in John and seemingly piquing Harry, Shonee and Flick’s interest. It all came crashing down at tribal council however and sensing their hesitation, Mat played his idol for himself, sending zaddy John out of the game.

We opened at Mokuta where the tribe were loving their winning ways and despite some feuding, Lee was loving the fact their group was in tact. Even Tarzan, who had a morning ritual of going down the end of the beach each morning, stripping off and washing himself with sand. Which is both disturbing and hot all at once.

Meanwhile back at Vakama Shonee too was grooming with Brooke and Flick before convincing AK to give her a shower by the well. She then solidified her alliance with Locky and Brooke by paying the shower forward. And honestly, seeing her so happy and confident in her decision to lock in with that group makes me happy. On the flipside, Mat was not enjoying being on the bottom once again. This time without an idol, or Flick, Harry and Shonee to protect save him. With that, Mat decided to approach the bigger players to try and sow seeds of doubt and make everyone paranoid enough to start targeting each other, rather than him.

Now clothed, Tarzan was washing up with Sharn and Jacqui at Mokuta while Phoebe was just grateful to be on a winning tribe, given she is on the bottom and they have straight up tried to vote her out once before. As such, Phoebe went on a charm offensive, chatting with Zach, trying to garner sympathy from Lee and most importantly get David to trust her again and believe that he is her person. While David was seemingly in on burying the hatchet, he assured us that it is all for show and he has no intention to stick with her to the end. And will humiliate her on her way out. He then listed all his secret sub-alliances and hot damn, why are so many people trusting him?

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where each tribe would pit one castaway against another and swim against a current to snatch a flag, with the first to grab it winning a point and the first tribe to three winning an epic cake reward. Flick and Sharn were the first to do battle with both fighting hard against a ridiculously strong current. Both drifted back to starting buoy before trying again and once again coming up short. Leaving neither to score a point. Nick and AK were next up, and while AK was the first to make an attempt, he went absolutely nowhere. Nick desperately tried, looking far from graceful, but was successful and scored the first point for Mokuta. Bet they wish Shane was still in the game, no?

Mat and David were up next, with Mat absolutely destroying David and tying things up. Lee and Locky then faced off and were neck and neck until Locky was disqualified for trying to drown Lee. Much to Nick’s delight and Locky chagrin. Phoebe and Brooke nervously jumped in the water next, wondering how in the hell they will make it to the end. Brooke went hard out, ultimately tiring herself allowing Phoebe time to recharge, which was enough for her to power to the end and score reward for Mokuta.

Mokuta arrived at the Survivor cake shop – after Nick acknowledged his messy swimming style – where they learnt that this reward will be enjoyed one at a time and hot damn, this is going to be a mess. The tribe selected the order, with David suggesting Tarzan given he is the least strategic and is unlikely to lie. With Tarzan eating snacks, the rest of the tribe drew straws and despite feeling lucky, Nick drew the short straw and would go last. Tarzan admitted to not liking cake, so quickly had a look through the shop before grabbing a single donut and deciding that there is no clue. Moana was next and got distracted by the cakes, exiting empty handed. Phoebe was up next and wasn’t so calm, smashing food and hacking up cakes, desperate to find a clue. Which on the last one, she found, learning that an idol was hidden back at camp and then desperately tried to hide the clue. Which she did badly.

When she returned to the tribe, they clearly found her cover story shady but there was no time to call it out as David was up next. And he straight up destroyed the shop, biting into whole cakes, drowning himself in milk, tossing things on the ground and flipping over furniture. Everyone else was relatively tidy, except for Lee who motorboated the cakes, before Nick finally got his turn and literally ransacked the entire shack, desperate to find a clue without the fear of getting caught out given he was last.

Forgoing any and all camp action, Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would race to unpacked poles which they would stick into holes and build a staircase to get to the top of a tower, which they cross before releasing keys with more poles, using the keys to unlock a chest of puzzle pieces and wait for it, solve said puzzle. As is fast becoming habit, Mokuta got out to an early lead while Vakama was nipping at the heels, desperate to close the gap. Vakama did manage to overtake Mokuta, as David struggled to release their first key giving them a healthy lead when the tribes arrived at the puzzle. While AK and Harry tried to make the most of their lead, they proved no match for Nick and Sharn, who whipped through the puzzle and secured another massive come from behind victory, sending Vakama back to tribal council. Again.

The dejected tribe returned to camp, with Harry grateful that Nick’s epic puzzle skills deflected from the fact he and AK completely choked on the puzzle. He was hopeful that while they are heading to tribal council, he could use it to his advantage to solidify trust with the core alliance so that he can make a move later down the track. Mat went hunting for an idol, giving Harry the chance to make his move with Brooke, Flick and Locky, offering himself as the second person in the split vote situation, knowing that he will go home if Mat is successful. But ultimately prove his loyalty, which honestly, isn’t worth the risk. Speaking of Mat, he continued to hunt, knowing that there is no point trying to woo Harry or Shonee again and as such, decided to target Shonee and try and get Locky and AK on his side.

He pulled the boys aside and reminded them that they will have even less strength for challenges if they get rid of him and as such, they need to keep him and instead take out Shonee as she is weak – BOO – with the added bonus being that it weakens Harry’s game. Also keen to make a move was Flick, who finally got a confessional this season, who approached Mat. This was enough to make Shonee, Brooke and Locky nervous, with the trio floating the idea of getting rid of her instead. Which Brooke was super keen on, given she has a score to settle with her from season 1.

At tribal council Locky praised the tribe for being strong and identified their weakness with puzzles is letting them down. AK admitted that he and Harry choked at the challenge, which Mat took advantage of, talking of his regret in not stepping up to the puzzle himself. Talk turned to the athlete genocide spearheaded by Shonee, with Brooke reiterating that Abbey, Lydia and John are not required and they are killing the physical side. Mat then spoke about being on the outs again, and as such, highlighting how much stronger the tribe is for having him on it. Locky agreed that should Mat go, they will be fighting an uphill battle in challenges, but at the end of the day, numbers are what matters. Running out of angles, Mat suggested that often the bigger move is to keep someone in the game. This led to Harry talking about the importance of keeping targets in the game, but given how many allies Mat has on the other side, the benefit may not be worth it.

Mat spoke about the last two days, knowing that he is screwed, completely humbling, telling everyone that his gratitude for keeping him is the best way to gain loyalty. Flick then put her foot in it and agreed that Mat’s pitch is convincing and is making her question which way to vote. With that, Mat then started to point out another target, the sneaky Harry. Harry played up his loyalty before Brooke joined the fray and admitted that sooner rather than later, they will need to start picking each other off and Flick honestly looked like she was about to shit her pants with that statement. Mat gave one more pitch, encouraging everyone that this is the turning point in the game and as such, they need to make a move and think about winning the next challenge. Finally the tribe voted and despite his pleas, they stayed together and sent the football legend from the game.

Poor Mat was heartbroken to have been voted out, though was proud of the game that he had played and the fact he made it as far as he did with the size of the target he had on his back. While I was disappointed my fellow GC legend – because I’m from the Gold Coast – couldn’t make it work with our fellow GCer, I kept my chin up and was grateful that no matter what, Mat plays the game hard and that is always infinitely entertaining. Plus, it not working meant that Queen Shonee lived to fight another day, you know? With that, I toasted his legend of the game status – which I just bequeathed him – and fed him up a plate of Mat Profiterogers. Which, fun fact, I managed to rescue from the reward.

 

 

Perfectly puffed balls of choux, full to the brim – of freaking out – with aggressively vanillary custard and a thick layer of velvety ganache, these are the only way to eat your feelings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mat Profiterogers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g butter, chopped
¾ cup water
¾ cup plain flour, plus ⅓ cup for the custard
pinch salt
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks for the custard
1 ¾ cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
⅓ cup caster sugar
½ cup cream
250g milk chocolate

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and add the four eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until combined.

Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe balls of dough, 3cm apart, on lined baking sheets. Bake in for about 10 minutes or until pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole in each to release the steam and maintain optimal crispness.

To make the crème pâtissière, combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick before whisking in the flour, followed by the warmed milk. Return the custard to the pan and cook, stirring, over low heat for a further couple of minutes, or until nice and thick. Leave to cool.

Once everything is chill, pipe the custard inside each puff and place on a cooling rack.

Lastly heat the cream in another saucepan over low heat and when just about to boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until thick and smooth. Pour over each profiterole and leave to rest.

Then devour. Heartbroken to have missed the merge.

 

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Christoffee Waltz

Dessert, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCI: Call Me By Your Gold, Snack, Sweets

After catching up with Em, Reese, Gustavo, Tilda and Miloš for this year’s Oscar Gold celebration Call Me By Your Gold, I knew there was only one person I could invite over to finish things off – my dear friend Christoph Waltz.

You see with two people – Rachel Weisz and my love Mahershala – going for two for two like him, I knew there was no one better to have over.

While I’ve only know Chris for a decade, our bond is probably one of the relationships I’m most proud of. I was on the set of Inglourious Basterds visiting Brad and was immediately blown away by his talent, so forced him to hire me as his Oscar strategist.

Which may or may not be why he is two from two nominations.

Speaking of which, it is time to finally explore the last four categories. We feel Film Editing will go to Bohemian Rhapsody for the Live Aid sequence alone, though wouldn’t be shocked if BlackkKlansman surprises on its way to a string of wins. Poor Rach will be defeated in Best Supporting Actress by Regina King, though TBH I wouldn’t be shocked if she, Em and Ames are beaten by Marina De Tavira. Best Supporting Actor will see Mahershala follow in Chris’ shoes, as much as I desperately want to see Richard E. Grant take it out. We were both torn when it came to Best Picture, assuming it is a foregone conclusion that Roma will take this one however my gut says we’ll be witnessing some upsets, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Black Panther win.

Full disclosure, I’ve desperately tried to have Chris over for the last two Oscar Gold celebrations however I’ve never been able to master the Christoffee Waltz and have kicked him out. Not this year, however!

 

 

Finally, FINALLY, I’ve managed to master the art of toffee making and TBH, I am feeling super smug. Super sweet and so hard it could chip a mouth full of teeth, this is the perfect toffee for snackin’, garnishin’ or simply eatin’. I guess.

Enjoy!

 

 

Christoffee Waltz
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 cup caster sugar
¼ cup water

Method
Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Up the heat to medium and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 145C.

Immediately pour the piping hot syrup on a lined baking sheet and leave to set for ten minutes. Before cracking and devouring.

 

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Honey Boo Boocomb

Dessert, Sweets

It has been such a busy start to the year for me with Awards Season, Christmas, New Years and a new, sick puppy, that I haven’t had the time to stop, relax and see the world with childlike wonder like my dear friend Honey Boo Boo.

Or to congratulate her on slaying Dancing with the Stars Junior, Adam Rippon – who I must catch soon – be damned.

While I became Honey Boo Boo’s pageant mentor after she transitioned away from Toddlers & Tiaras, you could say this little spitfire was actually mentoring me all along.

It was such a treat to take some time out and gossip about DWTSJ and plot her next steps. I mean, Mama June could make a move to another Georgia reality TV show and join Kandi and the RHOA girls before Honey Boo Boo leads a Real Housechildren spin-off featuring Phaedra’s son Aiden, Kyla and Mo’s Portia, Ace Wells Tucker himself and Lisa and Ken’s non-Pandora child Max, all mentored by break-dancing champion Noel from RHONY.

I just decided said spin-off would be dance based to capitalise on Honey Boo Boo’s dance success.

In any event, she told me she was keen on the show – I guess I should call Andy who, fun fact, named his son after me – or maybe she just wanted to get her hands on the sweet, sweet Honey Boo Boocomb.

 

 

Honeycomb is the first and only thing that made me pay attention in science class. Do I know why we were whipping it up on a bunsen burner? No. Do I know how to make a perfectly aerated, melt-in-your-mouth honeycomb? Yes.

Thanks NSW Education – enjoy!

 

 

Honey Boo Boocomb
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups caster sugar
½ cup honey
⅓ cup water
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp bicarbonate soda

 

Method
Place everything but the bicarb – which I feel like was the reason we did this in science rather than home ec – in a large saucepan, and cook over low heat for ten minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Crank the temperature and bring to the boil and simmer without stirring for a further five minutes, or until it reaches 154C on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and allow to go still.

Working quickly, stir through the bicarb with a wooden spoon until it is foamy and puffed. Pour onto a lined baking sheet and leave to cool completely.

Snap and devour immediately, or throw it in some Violet Crumblchki.

 

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Kandi Cane Burruss

Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

The Grammys are so close that I can almost smell their breath – they believe in mints though, so I like it – and while I’m sad That Somebody That I Used to Gold is almost over, getting to see my dear friend Kandi Burruss sure does dull the pain.

Now I know what you’re thinking – how did you catch up with Kandi, since she is still in the Celebrity Big Brother house? Obviously the answer is time-travel, so let’s not focus on that, ok?

I’ve known Kandi for years after meeting in High School. While she was a star in front of the screen, as her dearest friend – and the OG Don Juan, I’ll have you know – I shone by designing all their outfits and choreographing their BET Teen Summit performance.

Yep – I was pretty much this Tina Knowles of Xscape. Don’t tell Mama Joyce.

Anyway now I feel like I should explain why exactly I’ve got Kandi running the odds for Best Alternative Music Album and Best New Artist. You see, I assumed another nameless artist had won a Grammy, turned up at their house and then, when trying to steal it from her bathroom, discovered she in fact had never won a Grammy.

That led to me jumping in the delorean and quickly back-tracking a couple of months to see my girl Kandi, who agrees that Beck will win Best Alternative Album and Dua Lipa will take out New Artist. I then awkwardly rummaged through my bag and discovered I was in the possession of some Kandi Cane Burruss, and pretended that the visit had been planned all along.

 

 

Even if she knew that my seasonal snack was inappropriate for the visit, she didn’t say because Kandi is literally the nicest person in the world and I am so damn lucky to have her as my friend. And I’m also lucky to have found a recipe for candy canes online, because there is nothing better than homemade.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kandi Cane Burruss
Serves: 2-12.

Ingredients
3 cups caster sugar
1 cup glucose syrup
¼ cup water
2 tsp peppermint extract
red gel food coloring, to taste
white gel food coloring, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 100C.

Place the sugar, glucose and water in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Crank to medium-high and bring to the boil, without stirring, and cook until it reaches 140-145C on a candy thermometer.

Remove from the pan immediately and let it settle before whisking in the peppermint extract. Divide the syrup between two lined baking sheets, add a few drops of each colouring to each half, stir until well combined and place in the oven to stay warm.

Working one at a time, pour the syrup on a lined piece of marble – I used a platter – and leave to sit until a skin has formed as it firms up. Spray a spatula with olive oil and knead the candy with the spatula as it cools. Once it is cool enough to handle, knead by hand using food-safe gloves – to protect from the molten hot syrup – and start stretching out the candy, bring the ends together and then twist the candy until it is homogeneous and shiny AF. Once it is cool and barely pliable, pull it into a 5cm wide strand, return to the baking tray and keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining colour.

This is where I got confused, so hang in there. Cut a 5cm length of each colour – return the rest to the oven – and press them together sideways. Twist and pull the candy to give the spiral pattern until it is about half a centimetre thick. Cut into 20cm lengths, curl into a hook and transfer to a third lined baking sheet to set. Repeat the process until done.

Once set, either devour in one sitting until you vom. Or you can wrap in cling and give them away as gifts. Because there is no way you’d make these any other time than Christmas time.

 

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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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Michello Williams Shots

Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Dessert, Drink

After spending time with Josh, Katie, Mezza-B, JVDB and Kerr, we’ve come, just like that, to the end of my Dawson’s Creek 20th Anniversary road. Though I guess, really, I should call it a creek, no? Given said anniversary of the premiere falls today and we’re balls deep in awards season, I knew that Mich was the perfect person to act as the jewel in our crown.

Plus – Michelle Williams is a damn saint and is hella iconic, so she is most deserving. I mean, her statement post-Wahlbergate and shout out to Anthony Rapp was perfection.

While I only met Michelle on the Dawson’s set, we quickly became the best of friends and have been each other’s emotional support ever since (even if her close bond with Busy sometimes gets in the way). Fun fact: as Jake and I were engaged at the time of Matilda’s christening and I’m her secret third godparent).

Her career has truly gone from strength to strength since leaving the Creek, raking in a Golden Globe and a quartet of Oscar nominations (… that really should bump up to five after her powerhouse performance, during two different filmings, in All The Money in the World). She kinda is like the millennial version of Meryl, TBH.

Of course she laughed off my lavish praise when we set down to celebrate her role as Queen Jen Lindley and her ongoing success, but deep down I know she appreciated me toasting her with a tray of Michello Williams Shots.

 

 

Since we are both – yes, BOTH – hella classy, I didn’t want my jello shots to be a technicolour monstrosity that burnt from your esophagus right to your soul. So instead of that, I went with a dignified sparkling, berry and chambord combination which truly gives you life. Consider this the Oscar version compared to the usual Golden Globe-esque jello shot.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michello Williams Shots
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
750ml bottle of sparkling, I went with Prosecco because Sonja Morgan is my low-key role-model
6 leaves Gelatine
¼ cup raw caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1 shot chambord
½ cup blueberries or raspberries, rinsed and drained

Method
Cut the gelatine into the top of a double boiler, cover with the sparkling and leave to sit for fifteen minutes, or until hella soft. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and simmer over a medium heat until the gelatin has completely melted. Whisk in the sugar and lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour the remaining sparkling into a bowl with the chambord and add the gelatin-sparkling mixture through a sieve.

Chuck a couple of berries in each shot glass – this could honestly fill 18-24. So just set any remaining liquid in a jelly mould or even a bowl – fill with jelly and transfer to the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

Once set, grab then out and devour, greedily.

 

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Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad

Pasta, Salad, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

It is hard to remember a time when Amy Adams wasn’t a critically acclaimed darling with five Academy Award nominations under her belt. But there was, and that time was ‘98 … a year before her screen debut in Drop Dead Gorgeous.

While Leslie Miller wasn’t an Oscar bait role, Ames’ performance was pitch perfect and I knew from the start that she was destined for greatness. As is often the case when I get that feeling, I immediately hitched my wagon to her and vowed to make her a big big fucking star.

Thankfully Amy never held my advice that Cruel Intentions 2 was a good idea against me, and listened to me when I suggested she co-star with my dear friend Ben in Junebug. You may have heard of it? It is the one that put her on the map, snagged her first Oscar nom … and first Oscar robbery at the hands of Rachel Weisz.

Everybody knows that Michelle Williams and Ames’ should have tied for Supporting Actress that year, but I’ve digressed.

Ames’ is super busy filming Sharp Objects and doing reshoots on Justice League, so I was so touched that she wanted to make the time to catch up and celebrate the movie that launched her career … and her words, our best friendship. Isn’t she a doll?!

Given cook-outs are the best thing about Fourth of July for non-Americans, I decided to continue you rolling with the rapidly revealing theme and whip up another (not so healthy) salad, this time in the form of my Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad.

 

 

Like Kirstie before her, I prefer my salads to be as un-salad-like as possible. Don’t be fooled by the capsicum, tomato and carrot, this pasta salad isn’t very healthy … but damn is it delicious!

Enjoy!

 

 

Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g macaroni, cooked, rinsed, and drained
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combined everything in a bowl.

Stir.

Devour.

 

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