Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top five were put through their sped-up paces in a timed, yes timed, Fugly Ball. To rub salt in Krystal’s Snatch Game-sized wound, the second category even featured an appearance by Charity Shop Sue who lent them some of her charity shop wears to turn their looks. Vanity’s first look wasn’t loved while Scarlett’s last two were deemed way too boring. On the flipside, Kitty was living her best life from start to finish and was finally reward with her first victory of the season. Vanity and Scarlett meanwhile were forced to lip sync, with the latter sadly going home. Screaming like Bimini in Beastenders (which aired after this was filmed, so no hate).

Backstage Kitty was literally shitting her pants with excitement, proudly strutting back in while Vanity screamed about the fact she got rid of Scarlett. Kitty meanwhile was shocked that Scarlett wasn’t going to be in the top while Krystal was proud about how damn killer Vanity was in the lip sync. Kitty pulled focused back to herself, thrilled to no longer get shade for not having a badge and ready to get another. She then asked who they think will be the next to go, with Kitty suggesting Vanity should start packing her bags though she rightly pointed out that she can definitely turn a lip sync and save herself, should she bottom again. Which Ella told her didn’t scare her because she has two badges and no bottoms, and girl, be careful, Ru doesn’t care about track records anymore. Just call my love Bimini.

The next day the dolls celebrated the fact that they are officially the top four of the season, thanks to the fact they dumped three in the last two weeks. Ella admitted that she was surprised she didn’t win last week, though was tolerating the fact it went to Kitty. After Krystal pulled a me and reminded everyone how young she is, Ru dropped by and surprisingly didn’t murder her. Instead, she tasked the dolls with starring in Ru’s low budget sci-fi blockbuster Bra Wars: The Fempire Claps Back. And given Kitty is the current reigning Miss Fugly, she was able to assign the roles to her sisters.

With that, Ru disappeared and the girls gathered round to read through the script with Vanity thrilled to show some diversity. Ella and Kitty meanwhile vied for the role of Brabara-ella, which Kitty obviously snapped up for herself. Krystal was debating between Darth Shader and Baby Yolo while Vanity desperately wanted the latter. Kitty then dropped the bomb that she was debating between being casting the dolls in safe roles or being shady. Instead though, she decided to open a casting agency and got the dolls to audition for her. Ella was obviously great, Krystal was a bit of a mess until she started doing accents while Vanity had zero accent game. As such, Darth Shader went to Ella with She-3P-Ho to be played by Krystal and Baby Yolo went to Vanity.

The queens quickly split up to run their lines and get ready, with Ella thrilled to be doing her day job though knew that that meant she would really have to bring it because the judges will be harder on her. Vanity meanwhile was terrified upon discovering she is just a head while Krystal was worried about getting her lines down as she has dyslexia. While Kitty and Ella were praising her on the other side of the room given she was essentially born to be a drag queen and they are confident she will do well.

Our thesbians joined Michelle on set to film the first scene with Kitty just hoping they do better than the commercials where nobody won. From the start Vanity struggled … to stick her head in the baby carrier. Kitty meanwhile struggled to get the line, ‘space nut milk’ which was delightful and hilarious. Poor Vanity was in her head until Michelle encouraged her to give more and ugh, I really hope it’s a fake-out edit and she is great. Ella meanwhile couldn’t hear or breathe, flubbing her lines and starting to get in her head and well, now I hope this is the fake-out edit. Krystal too struggled to get her lines down with Michelle stepping in and talking her through her concerns, telling her to take a breath and relax. Begging the question, whatever happened to Michelle Visage-berg?

Elimination Day arrived with the dolls sharing how difficult filming was before Krystal reminded them that half of them will be in the bottom and as such, they really need to bring it on the runway. As they split up to get ready, Kitty shared how safe she feels with the dolls while Ella opened up about feeling terrified about walking down the street in drag. She spoke about a few weeks earlier when somebody threatened to beat them up on their street, leading to the girls opening up about how they have been conditioned to not do PDAs and their traumas of people behaving badly towards them in drag.

Ru, Graham and Michelle were joined by zaddy Russell Tovey on the judges panel as the queens walked the Scenes Stealers Runway. Krystal was in a stunning black and white Cruella inspired number with a gorgeous red coat. Ella was the sluttiest Oompah Loompah known to man, Vanity gave us stunning BAPs realness while Kitty was gorgeously demented as Kate Winslet’s entry scene in Titanic. And well, it was iconic from start to finish. I mean, she dropped the necklace and Michelle questioned whether Jack could fit on her wood. Perfection all round.

We then watched the premiere of Bra Wars and gurl, there were fake-out edits galore because the foursome killed it. Kitty was demented and charming, Krystal was hilarious, Vanity was gloriously OTT and Ella was a campy delight.

The judges loved Krystal’s willingness to listen in the challenge with Michelle praising her growth while filming. And obviously they felt her look on the runway was perfection. Michelle pointed out that Ella started off nervous in filming but ultimately killed it, while the judges lived for her killer Wonka look. Vanity was praised for throwing everything at the wall in the role and making it a moment. And again, they lived for her runway despite the fact Michelle wanted more diversity from her. Rounding things out, Kitty received universal praise from start to finish, giving it her all and injecting all the comedy she could. In the challenge and on the runway.

Backstage the dolls toasted to their killer performance in the challenge with Kitty ready to hook up with Russell. As was Ella. And Vanity. Krystal meanwhile felt uncomfortable watching her performance, worried that while she got good critiques, she will likely be in the bottom. The dolls spoke about who would be lip syncing with everyone agreeing that Vanity and Krystal will be in the bottom, including Vanity and Krystal. Ella pointed out that Vanity has given a few similar runways but Vanity was still proud of how she performed. Ella and Kitty then started debating which one of them will take out victory and while Krystal felt it was rude, she wasn’t bothered because it was very obvious they did the best.

Given the judges were feeling all the love, Ru announced that instead of a bottom two this week, the top two would instead lip sync for the win – yay, finally its a good surprise to reward them for slaying! Well, after sending Vanity and Krystal to safety and making Kitty and Ella’s eyes bug out of their heads for shits and giggles. As such, Kitty and Ella were beckoned to the front of stage and forced to battle for victory to Girls Aloud’s Something New. And damn, did they fight! Ella was popping and dropping, selling sex all over the stage while Kitty was a damn fucking star. She hit every lyric, was camp and ridiculous, giving us everything we could want and more. And then Ella did a series of splits before humping the ground. And then Kitty rocked some death drops. And well, it was all perfect and I can totally understand why Ru gave them a double win. 

Because. They. Slayed.

Backstage the dolls were thrilled to have all survived the challenge and ready to continue slaying as the top four. Kitty and Ella admitted that they were shocked as the other dolls got called safe, though were glad to have a pleasant surprise. Ella rightly directed the dolls to their track records, pointing out that she has three wins to their 2-2-1, though Kitty did argue that her sash should count for something. Kitty then posed nude for Ella to draw her and damn, this is the Titanic I would have loved.

Note to self, is there a gay porn parody of Titanic? Because I need it.

The next day Ella was still feeling Kool Aid man with herself now that she has three badges, while Vanity pointed out that while she only has one badge she is killing it. Kitty joked that she plans to get to the end by winning challenges, while Vanity told her that she will always win a lip sync while Ella knows she will get to the end based on talent. As poor Krystal admitted that she is feeling a bit under the weather.

The dolls then had a clothed orgy which was interrupted by Ru who arrived to task the dolls with a roast for this week’s Maxi Challenge, where they roast themselves and the panel including guest judge Kathy Burke. Oh and they will be performing in front of their eliminated sisters, meaning they’re fair game for a reading too. And because Ella has the most wins, she is allowed to decide the order. As the dolls sat down to kiki, Krystal admitted that she is shitting herself while Kitty is ready to slay, while Ella is nervous about writing jokes and Vanity is ready to read herself and the colour orange.

Kitty asked the girls how hard they are going to go in during the roast, with her encouraging everyone to go hard because at the end of the day, they need to make people laugh. Oh and Krystal is ready to go in on Ru because she is always a good sport. Which you know is going to backfire. Ella asked the girls where they would like to go in the run before admitting to us that she plans to put the worst first so she can go second and slay, followed by the next worst and then close the show with a stronger person. Which is convenient since Krystal wanted to get it over with, Vanity requested a middle slot and Kitty wanted to open or close. As such, she decreed the order as Krystal, herself, Vanity and Kitty, which didn’t go unnoticed by the latter.

The dolls split up to start working on their sets with Kitty taking the role of cracking herself up, while Vanity admitted that she was struggling to go in on the judges as she only likes to tear herself down. Ella meanwhile was ready to lean into her dad jokes, which she finds hilarious and oh god, is she in danger?! Kitty turned everyone’s attention to the fact this challenge is what gets them to the final with her admitting that she will be destroying everyone because she is hungry for the win.

As they split up to beat their mugs, Vanity and Ella bonded over their childhoods with the former talking about how confident she was as a kid. Ella admitted that she had a very supportive upbringing, however dance school made her try and act more masculine. She then shared that Ella is how she taps into her feminine side and makes up for lost time. Vanity admitted that her femininity gets clocked all the time but she is grateful that her parents instilled confidence in her and were so supportive and ugh, I love them.

Meanwhile Kitty was loving how gorgeous she was looking.

But before we could explore her charming confidence, we headed to the mainstage where Ru, Michelle, Alan, Kathy, Anubis, Elektra, Victoria, Veronica, Charity, River, Choriza and Scarlett were waiting with bated breath for the roast. Krystal opened The Pearly Gates Roast by going in on Charity in a cute, charming way. She then made a tonne of age jokes that went over well before opening up about being a virgin, and then explaining what a virgin is to Michelle which should have been an easy laugh but was NOT. Krystal then made more age jokes at Veronica’s expense which opened up the audience roasting her as Veronica started heckling with Ru quickly jumping on the bandwagon.

Ella was charming and hilarious from start to finish, reading Anubis with glee and calling Veronica a threat to society. It was brutal, polished and damn, I love her. IT. WAS. PERFECTION. I mean, is this the best roast on Drag Race ever? Yes. The answer is yes. Scone or scone, the debate continues! Talk about being typecast?! They were stupid but so funny and charming. Poor Vanity never really stood a chance following Ella’s performance, though her read about her fellow sisters being the white supremes was great. Kitty completed Ella’s nefariously brilliant plan by also knocking it out of the park – she was self-deprecating, upbeat and hilarious. And brutal. So damn brutal.

On the Oh My Goddess Runway Krystal was stunning as a sun-crowned dream, golden and perfect. Ella was a frosty, icy delight in a constellation bodysuit. Vanity wore The Bodyguard version of Krystal’s look, Cleopatra and Queen of the Damned rolled into one. While Kitty was a flowing, Greek goddess in the most Kitty way possible. Krystal received praise for starting out strong and being charming, though read for sticking to age and whore jokes. And obviously, they loved her runway. Ella rightly received universal praise for literally everything this week, because there is no way she is damn losing this challenge. On the flipside Vanity was read for not going hard enough though both her looks were beloved. And then Kitty too received universal praise for killing the roast, despite being so reliant on her notes. And again, they loved her opera diva does Hercules look.

As the dolls untucked backstage they all agreed that Ella clearly has her fourth win in the bag as they toasted to making it to the top four. Kitty was thrilled by her feedback while Vanity and Krystal were proud for pushing through despite being so nervous and outside of their comfort zones. Their kiki was interrupted by a siren where we got a message from Ella’s boyfriend and more importantly, their gorgeous, angel pupper, who is now my lovely prince. Kitty’s parents were sweet and more importantly, their dogs are great and not interested. Krystal’s mum looks my age, so that is that and now I feel super old. Then Vanity’s sweet husband came on the screen and ahh, I ship them, he is so damn cute. Oh and then Ella told them all that they are family now too and argh, it is so lovely and sweet and I love it.

Obviously Ella took out a very well-earned, fourth victory with Kitty joining her to battle for the crown next week. That left a fired up Krystal and Vanity to lip sync for the final place to Dua Lipa’s Hallucinate. And damn, they were ready to earn their spot in the finale. Vanity was her usual killer self while Krystal was flicking her hair and serving the judges everything. There were synchronised splits, they hit every lyric and ugh, they proved why they made it to the top four. Though obviously, somebody had to go and poor Vanity’s luck finally ran out as Krystal went through to the finale.

Backstage, sweet Vanity was so thrilled to see me and to celebrate making it to the top four. I mean, yeah it sucks to know that you made it so close to the end, but that, as they say, what friends are for. You see, Vanity and I have been dear friends for years – I painted my bedroom orange when I was ten and she wore a couple of orange looks on the runway – so knowing that she had the love and support of one her closest was more than a win to her.

We laughed, we cried and then frankly, we got to work smashing the recipe of the season in the form of the gorgeously talented and stunning Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice.

Velvety smooth custard, the crunch of the pastry and the punchy flavours of baklava combine to form the greatest of desserts. Sweet, earthy and honestly, stunning, there is no better way to honour such a talented queen.

Enjoy!

Baklava Vanillaty Milan Slice
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
⅓ cup pistachio kernels
⅓ cup walnuts
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, just thawed
20g butter, melted
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups raw caster sugar
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup cornflour
6 egg yolks
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp honey
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp rosewater

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 10x20cm loaf pan, and lined the sides with baking paper, leaving an overhang. Finely chop the pistachio and walnuts and place them in a bowl.

Place the pastry on a baking sheet and brush with the butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon, followed by half of the nut mixture. Then a drizzle of the rest of the butter. Place in the oven and bake for five minutes. Remove from the oven, stab with a skewer and top with a second baking sheet to keep flat. Return to the oven to break for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.

While things get as chill as Cynthia Bailey post-wedding, stir the cream, vanilla, ¾ cup sugar and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer before removing from the heat. Then combine the cornflour with the egg yolks and remaining milk in a jug. Whisk the two together and return the saucepan to a low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes or until nice and thick.

Cut each piece of pastry in half and place a rectangle, nut side down, into the loaf tin. Top with custard mixture, followed by pastry, custard, another slice of pastry, the rest of the custard and finishing with the pastry. Cover and pop in the fridge to set overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, combine the lemon juice and zest in a saucepan with the honey, cloves, cinnamon and ⅓ cup water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves before cranking to high and simmering for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Strain and allow it to cool.

To serve, decant the slice, carve, sprinkle with the remaining nuts and drizzle with the lukewarm syrup. Then, devour.


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Butter Flicken Pielmateer

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pie, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways Mad Max-ed their way into the outback before being divided by smarts and strength. While the Brawns were victorious in the first immunity challenge and the iconic Phil tragically became the first boot, they soon settled for a string of rewards as Janelle, Gavin and Benny were booted from the game. Eventually the Brains returned to tribal council where Mitch found himself booted before Cara sacrificed herself for George. But, gag of the season, found herself saved by a twist sending her to join the Brawns.

This appeared to give them a run of luck as Joey soon followed before a switch gave both tribes a Brawn majority. Against all odds, the Brains took control as Cara accidentally voted Daini out before Shannon was ousted by her nemesis Simon. Georgia and Rachel soon followed due to a vengeful George before Dani decided that blindsiding Simon was urgent as he was sent from the game with two idols in his pocket.

After the tribes merged to become Fire – rather than Beauty, which is still a sore point – where Queen Kez was idolled from the game, thanks to George telling the Brains who to play it for. While Chelsea was on medical leave, Baden and Hayley were booted to Redemption Rock before Hayley won her way back to camp and Baden became the King of the Jury. Poor Chelsea was then officially medevaced, unable to join the jury, before Gerald, Laura, Emmett and Andrew were booted from the game and joined the jury. Aka Laura’s Angels.

Flick got lucky and picked an urn that stopped her from getting the boot, meaning we were officially out of non-elimination episodes. With that Dani was the next to go before George and Cara turned on Wai and after Flick played her hidden immunity idol, was booted from the game. Which brings us to the last episode where Flick won immunity and somehow Hayley convinced Cara and George to turn on each other so that she can beat Flick in the final immunity challenge, meaning she would take the other one to the final two. And given George was the most likely to listen to her Hail Mary, Cara was the lucky one to join the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess Club.

The final three awoke on day 47 with Flick thrilled to make the final three, particularly as the last Brawn standing. She was proud of the social game she played, attributing it to her longevity in the game. She reflected on how tough the game has been mentally, particularly after she tragically lost her mum.

On the walk to the final immunity challenge we checked in with George, who came into the game running it like a political campaign and was thrilled to execute it perfectly. He reiterated that luck didn’t play into him making it to the final three, but instead his determination and perfect planning to overcome all the obstacles. One of those being the fact he isn’t physical, but watch out, because he is going to win the final one.

Last up was Hayley who was giddy to make it to the end as a superfan, though knew both her competitors are not to be underestimated. While George was sneaky and tactical, Flick was a beast. Hayley’s secret weapon is the fact that she is the perfect mix of both and like the other two, she is ready to claim victory.

Speaking of the final immunity challenge, the tribe joined Jonathan where they discovered three cages of horror amongst the ruins of the outback. Each of them would have to stand on narrow pegs within a cage and hold on to spikes on a roof which would lower throughout the challenge until only one was left standing. But before we got to the challenge, Jonathan made us all cry as he wheeled out their families! First up were Hayley’s boyfriend and bestie, followed by George’s mum and sister – who were adorable – and Flick’s boyfriend and best friend, who made her feel safe enough to break down over the loss of her mother and ugh, you know I am absolutely sobbing.

Damn you Jonathan and your glorious guns.

With the warm and fuzzy moment of the episode out of the way, the loved ones were sent to the bench as the final three jumped on their pegs and settled in for hours of torture. After half an hour, shit well and truly got real as Jonathan lowered the roof slightly and all three immediately hunched over and started to feel the burn. After an hour, talk turned to why the final three were still fighting with Flick and George sticking it out for their families while Hayley was just a beast that wanted to do it to prove that she can. After two hours the roofs dropped forcing them into squats.

All three were still fighting as the sun went down and the challenge ticked over to three and a half hours long. Poor George started to dance on the pegs, holding on for another hour before dropping out and leaving the girls to fight it out for immunity. Both Hayley and Flick were like statues as Jonathan dropped the spikes for the last time after five hours, which immediately got both of them struggling. Hayley tried to stay zen while Flick was vocalising and breathing through the pain, holding back tears as she tried to hold on for her place in the game. As her best friend willed her on, Flick openly sobbed through the pain before finding a second wind as Hayley started to shake. Eventually though, Flick asked Jonathan to help her out of the cage, as a shocked Hayley took out final immunity.

After a brief moment congratulating each other on fighting so hard, the final three headed off to tribal council where Hayley praised George and Flick’s determination in the challenge, but was ultimately grateful that as a pain researcher, she knew exactly how to work through it. Eventually talk turned to who Hayley wanted to sit next to in the end, admitted that both Flick and George have played great games and as such, she is still unsure. Hearing this, Flick reminded Hayley that George has played a dominant game and as such, could easily convince the jury that he deserves the crown.

On the flipside, George went simple and pointed out that Flick has a bunch of votes already locked in in the Brawns and as such, Hayley has the best chance if she is there in the end with him. While Flick disputed that she doesn’t believe any of the votes are locked in, George simply asked Queen Hayley to sit opposite her King. Flick fought back tears meanwhile as she asked her to reward her for fighting hard and pushing through, though knew that ultimately Hayley needed to make the decision that is best for her.

With that, Hayley voted and as expected, Flick was booted from the game and became the final member of the jury. Despite the horrible feeling of being cut so close to the end, Flick took her boot in her stride and took me into her arms for a big hug. As you know, I’m a big part of the Big Wave community and as such, was Flick’s first coach in the sport. And while I knew she would be feeling down, I also knew that a delicious Butter Flicken Pielmateer would be the perfect thing to mark a game well played.

Like Michaelia Cash, I love curry – it’s my favourite fe-ood. I also passionately love pies, so it should come as absolutely no shock that I believe a butter chicken pie is where it’s at. Lightly spiced, sweet and creamy in a delicious flaky shell? Perfection.

Enjoy!

Butter Flicken Pielmateer
Serves: 4-8, depending on hunger.

Ingredients
1 batch Dusty Ray Butters Chicken
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C and get to work making your Dusty Ray Butters Chicken.

Once the oven is hot and your filling is good to go, start by cutting each sheet of shortcrust pastry in quarters and press into 8 individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture amongst the dishes and smooth the tops. Cut the puff pastry into quarters and press into the top of the pies, crimping the edges to seal. Pierce a hole in the top, brush with the whisked egg and transfer to a baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp. Remove and sprinkle with some turmeric and cumin, and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Then devour, sad to have lost our chill Queen.


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Paulerewors Smulders

Main, Party Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa we were introduced to the Island of Secrets which seems to be the love child of a threesome between Exile Island, Ghost Island and Survivor NZ’s The Outpost. While we’re yet to know which parent it takes after most, the first visit offered three competitors to take a reward for their tribe or a clue to the hidden immunity with Cobus and Paul opting to serve themselves while one of my top three crushes, Rocco took a flint for his tribe. And stole said clue when Paul had dropped trou. Rocco’s only downside appeared to be his desire to form an all male alliance – surprisingly a boner killer for me – on Laumei, with Mike my only hope for ending the plan. On Ta’alo we met the instantly iconic Tania who is bae, except to literally everyone on her tribe who she was driving completely nuts. Over at Sa’ula Paul tried to use his hidden immunity idol clue to further their tribe, though it did sweet FA when they didn’t have fire to keep them warm and sustained ahead of the immunity. Which they promptly lost, zaddy Nathan was injured and a shy Lee-Anne became the first boot.

Back at camp Seipei was thrilled to have survived tribal by the skin of her teeth and was fired up to use her powers of persuasion to get further. And keep the tribe together. The next day we dropped by Ta’alo where Cobus was sharing his immunity idol clue with Jacques, and the two of them went hunting around the well before the tribe awoke. Cobus was terrified that he would be an idiot that had the clue but couldn’t find the idol, before Jacques promptly found the idol, pocketed it in secret and made pocket zaddy Cobua look stupid. We ventured back to Sa’ula where Nicole continued to win her tribe over, cooking them breakfast and working hard. She and Paul then went for a walk to figure out who would be in the top of their five person alliance, with Paul wanting to lock in a three with Nicole and Steffi, though Nicole was more interested in focusing on Seipei and worrying about the rest when they need it. Nathan was still smarting over his injury, and while Rob vowed to carry him all the way if required, Nathan wanted to be independent like one Ms. Kelly Clarkson.

Meanwhile over at Laumei the tribe were complaining about the cold, while Mike was confident that Laetitia would be the first boot. Though given Geoffrey and Rocco are close to her and want to keep her safe, I am hopeful. The boys got together in the ocean and discussed Laetitia being the obvious target however Mike was concerned that Rocco was more interested in taking out Mmaba, which made Mike interested in getting out Rocco first. With that, he approached Rose, Geoffrey and Mmaba about forming a strong four, which they were all thrilled to agree to.

We returned to Ta’alo where Cobus was working his way up into my heart, though was sadly getting sick of Tania’s constant focus on strategy as it was doing his head in. Felix and Jacques caught up to bitch about Tania’s attitude, before branching out and realising that everyone wants her out. To make matters worse, she stole Felix’s dry spot in the shelter and refused to get out. They then had a blow-up about the pitch before she tried to play the hero and move to a different spot, which did nothing but drive everyone mad.

My boy Nico returned for this week’s reward and immunity challenge, with only one tribe coming out victorious. To secure victory one person from each tribe would be tethered to a tower and required to collect pieces to form a tower made out of balls and discs. The winner would get the option of fishing gear or chickens in addition to immunity, while the losers would return the next day to battle it out for the second immunity. Oh and second place gets the booby prize. Rocco – looking great in lycra – got out to an early lead for Laumei, with Jacques close behind for Ta’alo while poor Steffi was on struggle street for . Jacques dropped, followed by Rocco … and then Steffi, resetting the entire challenge. Eventually Rocco and his lycra buns took out victory, followed by Jacques and Ta’alo, handing Sa’ula another loss. Nico then gave Laumei another advantage of selecting who goes to the island of secrets, sending Rob and temporarily breaking up his romance with Nathan.

When Rob arrived at the island of secrets he was disappointed as it meant that he was epically failing at blending in. He then discovered a table with three boxes, offering him the chance to select to send someone to the island of secrets at a later date with the risk of his vote at the next tribal council. Given he is in a strong alliance, he gave zero fucks about risking his vote … so rolled the dice and lost his vote at the upcoming tribal council.

Meanwhile Laumei were thrilled to welcome the chickens into their camp, giddily naming them lunch and dinner. Giving me whiplash, we pivoted over to Ta’alo where they too were joking about what to eat for dinner before Dante stripped down to his speedos and proved that he is the ultimate snack. He then grabbed the spear, caught a gaggle of fish and served everyone sushi. Though sadly not on his naked body, Samantha Jones style. We then checked in with Sa’ula and let’s just say, the mood was not great. Steffi apologise for losing the challenge and then went and cried by the shore by herself. Wait, no, she went and found her pals and cried in their arms and it turned out far more heartwarming than expected. The next day their moods were slowly turning around, waiting for Rob’s return and trying to get their head in the game for the immunity challenge. Nathan was rocking a South African flag speedo and well, he and Dante are winning at life, so neither needs to worry.

The tribes arrived at the site of the immunity challenge where Nico explained that working in pairs, each tribe will run out into the ocean and battle to grab a ring and get it back to their pole before the other. Needing one hand on the ring and the other on their pole to secure victory. I’m not even going to say it because I feel the cast is making me to thirsty, so you’re welcome for me not making a comment and about the rings and poles. Until then. First up were Rob and Paul facing off against Dante and Felix, with the boys are writhing around with the ring until Dante slapped his pole and took out victory. Next up Cobus and Tania battled Nathan and Seipei, with Nathan not letting his injury hold him back by quickly grabbing the ring … until queen Tania and Cobus managed to pull them over for an explosive finish. Steffi and Nicole made quick work of Meryl and Ting Ting before Felix and Dante went out to face off against Paul and Rob, while Nathan was pulled from the challenge by medical. Despite getting out to an early lead, Rob was caught up by Felix and Dante, giving them enough room to slide the ring over to their pole and take out immunity, sending Sa’ula back to tribal council.

Back at camp Paul started to worry about following through on a Seipei vote, given Nathan is falling apart. Before they could discuss it, Rob filled them in on what happened at the Island of Secrets before Paul explained that they decided he could wear the idol tonight so that he can feel safe. Steffi and Nicole went to fetch water to discuss getting rid of Nathan to try and keep the tribe as strong as possible, despite liking him. They then discussed how good Seipei performed at the last tribal council and instead of being intimidated by her ability to talk her way out of situations, they viewed it as a strength and damn I need the three of them to align and run the game. Despite Nicole feeling like Steffi could be too devious to trust long term. Apparently, because she then floated her earlier discussion with Paul about forming a final three alliance and seemed to be on board with her again.

To make things more interesting, Paul arrived and was decidedly more non committal about said alliance which did make both the girls distrustful. He then tried to make them swear not to turn on him, which was quite hypocritical. Paul then tagged out with Rob to see how he felt about getting rid of Nathan, leading to Rob approaching Nathan to see how he was feeling and they both started to break down about him potentially leaving. Nathan then asked him to make sure that he is voted out tonight, because he doesn’t want to be an albatross around Rob’s neck. They then cried, hugged and went wandering through the jungle in lycra and I ship them. So hard.

At tribal council Rob spoke about the island of secrets and said he was upfront about his experience because he trusts them all implicitly. Steffi spoke about feeling down and starving, and hoped that they can use the humility to regroup. Paul argued it was more important to be confident going into challenges, rather than being defeated. Nathan addressed his injury and how humiliating it is before talk turned to trust, with he, Steffi and Rob talking about the need to find people you can trust, while Paul argued they need to focus on strength at the moment instead. This made Nicole, Steffi, Rob and Nathan start to get nervous and whisper, while Seipei agreed that they need to stay completely strong but danced around whether that was based around physical strength. Talk returned to Nathan’s injury with him pushing to be voted out before Nico interrupted him and told him that they medics are happy he can continue in the game, asking him to look at what else he brings to the tribe other than his foot. And I love Nico for shipping Nathrob too. Paul then danced around his plans for the endgame, which all but sealed his fate as the tribe locked in the vote against him and sent him packing as the second boot.

Poor Paul was shocked and heartbroken to find himself booted by his fellow amigos, but honestly, after wearing that teen cosplay, it was the right decision. Which I told him as he walked into my arms in Ponderosa. I mean, why hide your silverfox ways dressing like a High School douche? In any event, I looked past his fashion faux pas and focused on what I love most – sausage! In the form of a Paulerewors Smulders.

 

 

There is nothing more South African than a long, juicy, coiled boerewors. Packing so much flavour it will take your breath away, this sausage is the perfect thing to fill your mouth. Or a big, warm bun. (Lucky I found a recipe online here, as Samoa didn’t have a South African butcher close by).

Enjoy!

 

 

Paulerewors Smulders
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1kg brisket, minced
500g pork shoulder, minced
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp salt
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground pepper
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
¼ cup malt vinegar
sausage casing

Method
Place the freshly minced meat in a large bowl with the spices and vinegar and mix until well combined.

Rinse and prepare the sausage casing as per the packet instructions. Thread onto the end of our sausage stuffing attachment – assuming you’re using a Kitchenaid like the dignified people you are – leaving about 10cm hanging off the end. Tie a knot in the end of the casing.

Turn the stuffer on – swoon – and load the casing as per the machine’s instructions, coiling into shape on a plate as you go until all the mixture has filled the casing and you’re left with a gloriously large coil. Insert two skewers through the centre to form an X to hold the sausage in place. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours to allow the flavours to adequately meld.

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180C.

Transfer the sausage to a lined baking sheet, brush with some olive oil and baking for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve immediately and devour greedily with your zaddy friends.

 

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Sosatie-Anne van Renen

Main, Party Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa wait, no, I’ve only dreamt about being alone in a tropical fantasy with Nico. We haven’t done this before. Deep in the South Pacific, Nico was was looking bae as he was about to dump 21 new castaways on the islands of Samoa. First up we met the Sa’ula tribe’s Nathan who was also a total babe and who was totally keen to play into his banging looks and pretend to be a dumb jock. Which I am here for if he is in on the joke, and preferably, is wearing a legit jock. On the Laumei tribe, typical first boot bait Laetitia was concerned about being an early target due to her age. Congratulations Laetitia, you’re immediately my favourite. Meanwhile the Ta’alo tribe was home to Jacques the superfan, who had a man bun but did not appear to be a total douche, making me wonder, maybe I actually can pull off a man bun if I can commit beyond the Rizzo phase my hair will go through?

Jacques’ tribemate Felix wasn’t feeling confident in their collective physicality and was concerned about their challenge prowess, despite them having a guy who’s guns and thighs were so built I would happily suffocate under them. Sorry, this is too much … but damn they have cast some banging men. On the flipside Geoffrey could see that the cast was stacked, but hoped to be able to navigate through them all given they look like the have throbbing … egos. Beauty Queen Nicole was clean to shed off the shine and get dirty, while Lee-Anne was confident her pageant past will help out her social game, Mike was interested to see just how rugged he will become, Steffi looked forward to winning and Rob was fearful about his passion to trust way too easily.

Oh and did I mention there is now an Island of Secrets which sounds like Ghost Island and New Zealand’s The Outpost had a child?

Finally the tribes arrived on shore to meet Nico where Ting Ting immediately won my heart by putting everyone into their stereotypical boxes of hotties and notties. Rob was feeling confident in Sa’ula’s prospects given they’re all built, which immediately makes me fear for their chances while Cobus was confident he will be able to dominate his tribe despite diplomatically saying how much he loves them all on site. Durao was happy to be on a tribe with the hulk, aka Rocco who was concerned that given he is so built he will be targeted as soon as the merge hits. And Laetitia was channelling Lisa, thrilled to tick off an item on the bucket list and with a full heart for the people sharing the mat with her. She is an icon and I stan her. Paul too was thrilled to be on a tribe with buff dudes, though was concerned that his age might put his on the outside straight away.

Not wasting any time, Nico asked each tribe to select a leader prior to the first reward challenge, with Paul, Rocco and Cobus immediately identified. Being a messy bitch, Nico then asked the three thrown under the bus upon taking the leadership mantle to identify their tribe’s weakest member with Paul giving Sa’ula’s title to Seipei, Rocco branding Laumei’s as Laetitia – because she’ll take the least offence – and Cobus giving the mantle to Jacques on Ta’alo. Nico then complicated things further by sending the leaders off to the Island of Secrets for the first day, while the weakest members were given the hero roll in the reward challenge, guiding their blindfolded tribemates to a bounty of supplies.

Given that he isn’t an idiot, Jacques noticed that there was a single item at the end of the course and realised it must be an advantage so sent Felix and Ting Ting to fetch it for him while everyone else focused on supplies. Given everyone is winners and losers, I will just focus on the fact that their weren’t really enough crotch smacks on the obstacles.

We quickly checked in with the zaddies of the Island of Secrets where they discovered a note which informed them to find a coloured station for each tribe offering them with a choice between flint or a clue to the hidden immunity idol back at camp. Rocco opted for the flint, while Cobus and Paul decided it was more important to focus on their own safety and went for the clue. Wait, no, Paul planned to find a tribe idol which you know is going to end terribly. After Paul stripped down, Rocco searched through his pants to read the clue giving him both rewards and damn, I love him.

Over at Ta’alo Ting Ting was thrilled to be playing the game, while Jacques wanted to do introductions. Tania though had no interest, desperate to get some water instead. We also but a name to the fine face that is Dante, who loves the ocean as much as I love the site of him. Meanwhile back at the well Tania was fast becoming my favourite, berating Jacques for getting married before 30 and then awkwardly hung around as Meryl casually dropped the fact she got married at 22. Oh and she is a proud rock climber slash stoner, and is the self-appointed strongest woman in the game. And yes, she is my favourite. Jacques quickly disappeared to learn that his advantage turned out to an extra vote that was only valid for the first tribal council after the merge.

We dropped by Sa’ula where they were all introducing themselves and Seipei was proving to be the icon of the tribe, explaining the pronunciation of her name as see it, you pay for it. Sadly her confidence was starting to wear on her tribemates as she directed them in building their shelter. While she and Lee-Anne were lugging supplies around, Nathan, Rob, Nicole and Steffi used the opportunity to form a tight alliance. We then learnt that Lea-Anne and Nicole had prior beef with each other as Nicole beat Lee-Anne in the Mrs South Africa pageant two years ago, and that she was out for blood now that she is the current reigning. Nicole wasn’t feeling as badly though, given that she was a winner. Oh and Steffi too is a beauty queen too. Lee-Anne and Seipei watched the four bond and despite the fact it should worry her, Lee-Anne wasn’t concerned about their obvious closeness on day one.

Finally we ventured over to Laumei where the tribe appeared to be getting on quite well, celebrating their wins and laughing about the absurdity of camp life. Geoffrey and Laetitia went to get water for the tribe, with the iconic Laetitia quickly checking for an idol without him noticing.

Back at Ta’alo Tania proved to be South Africa’s Debbie, working on fire and quickly annoying Felix, Ting Ting and Jacques giving that she doesn’t actually deliver on her promises. That night she continued to list an elaborate resume and background, including a bank-robber father. The next day Tania was confident about her mature brain, pulling the girls in to form an alliance as she has no interest in vote out women as she needs to further womankind. lInstantly Tania reneged on that deal, pulling Ting Ting aside to point out Meryl as their weakest and potentially icing her out and going with the strong boys that Tania is confident will want to align with her. Which obviously made Ting Ting nervous as you literally can’t predict what she will do. Before we could learn anything further, Cobus arrived to the delight of his tribe – until they discovered he didn’t come bearing a flint – as he covered the fact he took an advantage. Sensing a psychic link, Tania pulled Cobus aside to assure him that they will be allies if he can pull in Dante. And giving Dante is wearing speedos, I really need to pull … well, you know. Despite Tania’s intensity being a boner killer for Cobus and Dante. But those read jocks? No boners killed here.

Paul returned to Sa’ula and immediately shared the clue for the hidden immunity idol and suggested it be used to further their tribe when needed. Which Seipei loved, given it shows he isn’t the most cut-throat competitor. Rob, Nicole and Nathan pulled Paul aside to assure him that he is part of their alliance with Steffi. The tribe were busy hunting for the idol, with Lee-Anne feeling insecure as Nicole ultimately snatched the idol. The alliance of four and Paul were thrilled to have discovered the idol, however were annoyed that Lee-Anne was around and they couldn’t keep it a secret. They then handed it over to Paul for safe keeping, which is quite possibly the worst decision. But whatevs.

Rocco arrived at the Laumei tribe and immediately threw Cobus and Paul under the bus, pulling out his rock-hard flint and letting everyone know that the others selected a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Rocco continued to be swoon worthy, saying he loves Laetitia because that is his mum’s name and then asked everyone what they’d like him to help out with. He then followed Mike and Durao to collect supplies and float the idea of an all male alliance before sharing the  clue to the hidden immunity idol with him, which immediately makes me question him. Just like Mike, who knows all male alliances suck. Rocco then approached Geoffrey who was more keen on an alliance, not caring who the other members are as long as they’re in the majority. Mike and Geoffrey then caught up in the ocean, with Mike airing his concerns about aligning with Rocco since her wants a four with Rose, Mmaba and Geoffrey given it has the potential to be more stable. Sadly Geoffrey feels left right out in Mike’s alliance and would prefer to be with Rocco, which TBH is totally my vibe too.

Nico finally returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would start by disassembling a puzzle on a pontoon in the ocean and bringing the pieces to shore over obstacles, including a fuck-off-tall a-frame, before solving the puzzle on the beach. More importantly Dante was wearing speedos, so he is currently my favourite. Laumei got out to an early lead, with Ta’alo close behind while the physically stacked Sa’ula bringing up the rear. Ta’alo arrived to build the puzzle well ahead of the other tribes, while poor Laetitia struggled to cross the balance beam, sending Laumei into last place. Eventually all three tribes arrived at the puzzle stations, while Nathan appeared to have injured his ankle. The puzzle proved extremely difficult, as the tribes continued to work for over an hour and a half before Ta’alo finally put us out of our misery and took out the first immunity before Durao secured the second one for Laumei, sending the stacked Sa’ula to the first tribal council of the season.

Rob carried an injured Nathan back into camp, assuring him that he is not going to be targeted and he is still not the weakest person on the tribe. The tribe then handed off the idol to Nathan as a sign of good faith, filling Seipei with dread given she and Lee-Anne are clearly on the outs. She approached Nathan to assure him that she wants to stay in the game and will do what it takes. Steffi and Lee-Anne caught up by the well, with the latter throwing Seipei under the bus and suggesting Nathan as an option because of his injury. Lee-Anne then mentioned that she wanted to go to the final three with Steffi and Nicole given their shared pageant history, though Steffi questioned her as to why it took her until day three to actually talk to her and damn, Steffi is good. Real good. We then learnt that Paul was doing some teenager cosplay as he caught up with Nicole and Rob to debate the merits of keeping Lee-Anne or Seipei, with Nicole scared that she can’t trust her. Lee-Anne approached them to explain why she hasn’t spoken to them, as she was busy babysitting Seipei the first few days. Steffi broke things up and pulled Nicole, Rob and Paul to talk to Seipei about why they should target Lee-Anne rather than balls terrible attempt at modern streetwear. While Steffi didn’t like Seipei’s bossy, chatty approach, Nicole still wasn’t sure whether she could trust Lee-Anne. Lee-Anne was laying it on thick, breaking down talking about how much she looks up to her and that she will be loyal to the end. Which Nicole agreed with, neglecting to mention the ‘loyal to the end’ part.

At tribal council Nicole was quick to point out how much the bonds are already meaning to her, while Steffi pointed out that Lee-Anne has been struggling to bond with people which made her feel nervous. Lee-Anne sold it as adapting to her current situation, while Steffi, Rob and Nathan started whispering to each other about turning on Lee-Anne as she spoke about her struggles. Nico called out Nathan, who defended himself by saying it is just such a difficult decision. The whispering continued as Seipei spoke about the importance of diversifying their options, Rob admitted to being confused about the vote given everything has changed by the whispering.

Lee-Anne wanted to know what she did wrong, Steffi felt everyone needs to fight for their life at tribal and stay strong to avoid coming back, Nicole and Nathan admitted to being confused about the vote ahead before Nico opened the floor for everyone to discuss who to take out. Steffi laughed as no one spoke up, Seipei pointed out that she wanted to have these discussions back at camp before Nathan assured everyone that his vote hasn’t changed. Lee-Anne tried to convince everyone that she should stay as she lifts everyone up and wants to get to know everyone before Rob cut her off and just requested to vote. And vote they did. For Lee-Anne, who was heartbroken to find herself becoming the first boot.

While Lee-Anne was gutted to become the first boot, she was thrilled to hold the distinction of being the first South African castaway to join the party that is this here patch of cyberspace. Conveniently she is also a dear friend of mine, after we met on the pageant circuit. She hired me to coach her after her first Mrs. South Africa competition and under my tutelage, she finally snagged the crown. In no small part thanks to a diet of solely Sosatie-Anne van Renen.

 

 

Did I mention that this season is full of South African delicacies? Well it is. And thanks to this sweet number, I am well on my way to becoming a fan of the cuisine. Rich, tasty lamb, sweet apricots and a kick of spice are the perfect way to welcome Survivor SA to the fam.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sosatie-Anne van Renen
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 cup apricot jam
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 lime, juiced and zested with extra wedges to serve
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
4 whole cloves
1 tsp ground chilli
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes
24 dried apricots
2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
mint sprigs, to serve

Method
Combine the jam, vinegar, lime zest and juice, garlic, ginger, coriander, cloves, chilli, allspice, cumin and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss through the lamb and transfer to the fridge to marinate for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once almost ready to assemble, place the apricots in boiling water to plump up for half an hour and then drain completely.

Now to assemble, thread the lamb on a skewer, followed by apricots and onions, alternating until the skewer is full. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and repeat the process until done. Place the skewers in the oven and bake for half an hour, brushing with marinade every five minutes or so, and cook until golden and glorious.

Devour with a good squeeze of lime and some mint leaves.

 

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Tate Doughnutvans

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

So as I’ve kind of alluded to, Tate and I kind of have a frenemy-ish relationship. Don’t get me wrong – I love him to absolute pieces, however we are very similar, and at times dramatic, which means our relationship experiences the highest highs and most violently aggressive lows.

Actually, our relationship inspired Jimmy and Julie’s on The O.C.

We first met when Tate made his TV debut guesting on Family Ties – I was dating Michael J. Fox at the time and took pity on Tate for not being as talented as my man. Whilst having breakfast in bed with Michael the day of the taping, I turned to him and said “that young Tate character could really succeed with the right kind of tutelage.”

Mike agreed, I took Tate under my wing and become his acting and attitude coach, and the rest, as they say, is history.

After co-starring together in the hit movies All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 and Hercules – I was all three of the fates – we had our first bitter feud, when his turn as Hercules went to his head … and surprisingly he didn’t enjoy my berating him to get him back under my control?

Thankfully when I suggested we put an end to the drama and work together on The O.C. he was kind enough to accept my olive branch and we’ve been snarkily (possibly insincerely) close ever since.

Surprisingly Tate has been enjoying quite a bit of success lately – what with him being a SAG Award winner for Argo, a role in the last reboot of 24 and a bit part in current awards season contender Manchester by the Sea – and we therefore haven’t been able to see much of each other.

But knowing Tate as well as I do, I was able to pull him away from his no-doubt fruitless Oscar campaigning with the allure of his favourite treat – Tate Doughnutvans.

 

tate-doughnutvans-1

 

Now I know that I oft talk about my fear of and aversion to frying … but I make an exception for these babies to ensure they comply with their Jewish heritage.

Fluffy, spicy and sweet, these are so delicately delicious that you can’t help but put aside your differences to down a few with your favourite frenemy.

Enjoy!

 

tate-doughnutvans-2

 

Tate Doughnutvans
Serves: 1. No judgement.

Ingredients
14g dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup raw caster sugar, plus more for rolling
3 cups flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon, plus more for rolling
pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp salt
vegetable oil
1 cup jam, I went raspberry but how good is blueberry, you know?

Method
Combine yeast, warm water and a teaspoon of sugar – that is not listed in the above ingredients – in a jug. Stir and set aside to get all foamy for about ten minutes … you’ll know when they are ready.

Place the flour in a bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the centre. By hand – with the dough hook of the mixer – mix in the eggs, yeast foam liquid, sugar, butter, spices and salt. Place the hook in the mixer, crank it to medium and knead for about ten minutes.

Remove the dough from the mixer to a large oiled bowl, cover in cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours, or until doubled.

Once it has proven itself, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until about half a centimetre thick. Cut into small round and place on a lined baking sheet. Once all the dough is used, cover in cling and leave to prove for another half an hour.

While proving – again – heat some vegetable oil in a wide shallow pot over medium heat until it reaches 190°C. Carefully add a few discs into the pot at a time – and you know I mean careful as I hate frying and this is only to continue in the hanukkah spirit – and fry for half a minute to a minute, each side, until golden and puffed.

Transfer to greaseproof paper, roll in cinnamon sugar – not necessary, but highly recommended – and leave to rest on a wire rack. Repeat until done.

Once cooled, place the jam in a piping bag fitted with a thin nozzle. Penetrate each puff and fill with your sweet nectar. Then 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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Eve Plumb Pudding

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my goodness – I didn’t realise losing Florence Henderson would be this hard.

As one of my first loves, I always knew my heart would break but given we were never able to launch a spin-off of her Retirement Living cooking show – which would have looked suspiciously like Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party – I’m distraught that I couldn’t help add a final jewel in the crown of her TV legacy.

But alas, this isn’t all about our dearly departed Florence …  and that is in no small part, thanks to the beautiful, caring support of my dear friend Eve Plumb, who helped me work through my grief.

As you know, Annelie and I connected with The Bradys via Mo and were cast as the worse versions of cousin Oliver. While we were wiped from the show’s history, we remained close with the kids – particularly Evie.

Like her character on the Bunch – oh, have I never mentioned we all called it the Bunch on set? ‘Cause we did – Eves was always the most down to earth (albeit a little jealous) member of the cast, and she took me under her wing and tried to help me through my multiple addictions and countless scandals throughout the years.

Fun fact: I am the one who got her into painting … which I took up when in rehab with my gal pal, Caz Fish.

I hadn’t seen Evie since her appearance in the Emmy Award winning production Grease: Live and was looking forward to toasting to her success and was on the phone to her when we heard about dear Flo’s passing.

It completely knocked me, I broke down and Evie knew that she was the only one that would be able to help me snap out of it – we actually inspired that scene in Moonstruck – and process my grief.

Of course, Eves was right about helping me, though making and devouring my Eve Plumb Pudding – as you probably guessed on Monday – should also take some of the credit, given its proven therapeutic benefits when it comes to helping process grief. In addition to being delicious.

(Talking about our sodden appearance on Sally Jessy also lifted our spirits, obviously … but that isn’t necessary to this story).

 

eve-plumb-pudding-1

 

I used to make this pud on set – which is pieced together from my grandmother’s handwritten par-recipe – every year to celebrate filming the last episode before our break and it was everything you want from Christmas and more – fruity, rich and ready to stuff you up … it sounds like everything I want in a man.

Enjoy!

 

eve-plumb-pudding-2

 

Eve Plumb Pudding
Serves: 2 mourners.

Ingredients
400g raisins
300g currants
150g sultanas
100g prunes, roughly chopped
100g dates, roughly chopped
250ml spiced rum
250g butter, at room temperature, plus extra to grease
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
Brandy custard, to serve

Method
This takes some planning ahead, ok? So I apologise, but place the fruit in a large bowl with the rum and leave to steep overnight to a day – the longer the better, you want that fruit completely written off.

Grease a two litre capacity pudding basin with extra, soft butter and line the base with a circle of non-stick paper. Leave aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale, fluffy and creamy. Add vanilla and each egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and fold through the pulsating-ly fluffy egg, butter and sugar mix. Fold through the boozed up fruits and pour the batter into the prepared pudding basin.

Now for the fun – lol – place an upturned saucer – or something low and heatproof that fits – in the base of a large saucepan. Half fill the pot with kettle-boiled water and simmer over low heat.

While that is getting bubbly, cut a large square of non-stick paper and an equally sized square of foil. Fold them together, pleating at the middle to secure and place over the lid of the basin, foil side up. Press it down tightly and secure with kitchen twine like a poorly wrapped christmas present.

Lower the basin until the non-chalantly bubbling water – adding more if the tide is not high. Cover the pot as securely as possible and steam for 4 hours, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Check on the pot throughout cooking and top with more boiling water as required – use your judgement.

Remove from the basin, allow to rest for about half an hour and turn out.

Top with warmed brandy custard … which reminds me, I need to make a call.

Obviously you can devour while I’m on the phone – maybe check back over the weekend?

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Hickory Clinton Smoked Ribs

Amer-she-can Week, Main

There are no prizes for people that guessed HRC – my fave triple-barrel – is the culmination of Amer-she-can Week. I mean, it was a week celebrating her historic nomination AND independence day after all.

But I was here on official duties – and again, no prizes if you guessed … because I’m too selfish/ a hoarder and wouldn’t give them out if I had any – I’m taking over from Nigella the wonder dog as HRC’s campaign manager AND, wait for it, will be appointed her Chief of Staff after she wins the election in November.

Now don’t worry, Nige and I haven’t fallen out – Annelie is still suffering from her cage-fight induced amnesia and despite excelling in her studies in medicine to cure her ailment, Nigella feels she is needed at home to offer Annelie more support and kindly shoulder tapped me to take over the campaign.

Hizza, Annelie and I have long been friends, having met in Yale in the ‘70s. Annelie was helping me run a scam while I worked as the Executive Vice Dean Chancellor – Hizza knew something odd was up, discovered the scam and got us sent to prison.

While you would think that going back to prison would be the worst, I knew that we’d spend our lives in and out of jail and had prepared for my return by stashing cigarettes around all prisons I had attending thus far, to use as a bartering tool if and when I returned – yes people, I am the person that inspired the character of Vee in OITNB.

Fun fact, I also faked my death by getting run over during an escape too. THIS IS NOT MY REAL NAME.

Anyway, back to Hiz.

We fully expected to go to priz again, so were more impressed by the fact that we were brought down by someone smarter than us and sought her out upon our releases. She was kind enough to take pity on those two junkie grifters she caught all those years before.

Seriously – wouldn’t my life make a killer movie on Lifetime?

Anyway, HRC saw our intelligence shine through our oft scummy behaviour and called upon us to assist in vetting and selecting most of Billy’s high-level positions, running her Senate campaign in the early noughties and acting as unofficial advisors during her time as Secretary of State.

Since we’ve been busy – what with her campaigning and me experiencing resurgent fame – it has been hard to be able to have a physical catch up. Thankfully when I got the call to replace Nigella, I quickly cleared my schedule and am ready to focus on the campaign.

But don’t worry guys, I’ll be able to keep up this anthropological endeavour thanks to time-travel!

Anywho, HRC has this renewed energy after finally securing the nomination and we spent our cook-up plotting the best way to bring down Trump – other than simply letting his mouth end his chances, obviously – and her preferred look for the sequel Clinton White House.

Remember, I’m also her interior designer.

So given the breadth of important topics we had to cover, I needed to make something hearty enough to fuel our beautiful minds and my Hickory Clinton Smoked Ribs are the only thing worthy of the honour.

 

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While yes HRC had requested an international take on the celebratory week, I had to go with something all American for the next POTUS!

Smoky, sweet and a just damn delicious, the pork just falls of this slow-cooked ribs and into your salivating mouth. Seriously, these are amazing and smoking liquid is my new favourite thing.

You get smoked flavouring, you get smoked flavouring – EVERYONE GETS SMOKED FLAVOURING.

Anyway, happy Fourth of July / Amer-she-can Week – you’ll be seeing me whispering in HRC’s ear for the next few months like a hybrid of Gary and Amy. Enjoy!

 

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Hickory Clinton Smoked Ribs
Serves: 4-6, dependent on sides and greed.

Ingredients
2 long racks of pork belly ribs
2 tbsp hickory smoking liquid
100ml orange juice, freshly squeezed
5-10 rosemary stalks

Dry rub
2 tbsp ground fennel seeds
5 cloves, ground
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
5 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper, to season

BBQ sauce
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp hot sauce
¼ cup molasses
3 tbsp apple juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp hickory smoking liquid

Method
Get out your glorious ribs and baste them on either sides with the smoking liquid, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Combine all the ingredients for the dry rub, remove the ribs from the fridge and rub the spices into the ribs – again on both sides. Spread some rosemary on the base of a large baking tray that will just fit the ribs and pour over the orange juice and any of the remaining hickory smoke you used the basting. Yes, it seems like a lot but I want the smoke to really hit me. Plus … it seems stronger before the cooking.

Anyway, cover the baking tray tightly with a couple of layers of foil – really tightly –  and bake in the oven for about 4 hours. You’ll know they are done when you try and lift the rack and they start to fall apart and make you salivate.

While the ribs are making your kitchen smell amazing, get to work on the BBQ sauce – which is super difficult – by combining all of the ingredients in a measuring jug.

When your ribs are done, remove from the oven and turn on the grill. Baste the ribs, liberally, with some barbecue sauce and grill – watching the entire time to avoid setting off the fire alarm and getting a massive fine – for about ten minutes or until they are brown, caramelly and sticky.

Devour with chips and slaw and any extra barbecue sauce.

 

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