Luke Tokolate Banana Bread

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Abbey continued to roll with the Contenders boys, with their sights set directly on Luke. Knowing he was screwed, Luke searched high and low for an idol and while he couldn’t find one, instead he won a powerful advantage followed by the next immunity challenge. Abbey and the boys identified Pia as the next biggest threat and worked to get rid of her, while Pia worked Luke to see if they could move forward together. Luke played his advantage and senr Baden back to camp, leading to an epic game of whispers and posturing that led to Luke and Pia standing strong and blindsiding Abbey from the game.

Pia, Luke and Harry returned to camp with Baden shocked to hear Pia was still in the game, while Luke celebrated the fact that he pulled off one of the biggest moves ever. Pia joined him to congratulate him on putting on an epic show, thrilled that she was able to charm her way into him protecting her. On the flipside Harry wasn’t thrilled by the turn of events, knowing that he was made a fool of and as such, he could only double down on the fact he needed Luke to go.

The next day the top four sat by the shore and congratulated each other on making it this far, with Luke particularly excited to have broken his record by making day 47. He was also particularly shocked to have not been sent packing as soon as he landed on the beach, given he has played before and showed what he was made of. He then ran through his resume and it was hella heartwarming and honestly, I teared up a little. Even when he went wild in the water. Harry was still salty about the previous tribal council and knew that Luke wins if he makes it to the final tribal council, and as such, he needs to win the next immunity challenge to get rid of him ASAP. Harry also noted that Pia is the next biggest threat, hid behind a meatshield while dominating the game strategically.

Pia returned to camp with a box with a quiz and honestly I wasn’t sure what was happening until they voted for Luke and Baden to get burgers and I realised it was a de facto reward challenge. While Harry shaded Baden’s weak gameplay to us, Baden was proud of the game he played with the hand he was dealt and well and truly exceeded his expectations.

My love Jonathan returned for the second last immunity challenge of the season where the final four each had to try and keep their balls in the air. One by one they would drop a ball at the top of a maze and race to the bottom to catch it and keep the cycle going, slowly adding balls at regular intervals with the last person standing taking out immunity. Everyone worked slowly and methodically with their first ball, trying to get the rhythm of the maze and figure out how they will manage when four balls are in play. Everyone made it through the first and second balls, with the panic well and truly sitting in as they added in their third balls. Pia ultimately was the first to drop. The fourth ball then tragically claimed Luke, followed by Baden, handing Harry his first immunity win.

An exhausted Luke then started to break down and honestly, I have some horrible Kelley Wentworth flashbacks and my heart is broken.

Back at camp Harry doubled down on the fact that he needs to take out Luke if he wants to have any chance of winning. He then approached Baden to lock in their votes against Luke, thought tried to downplay how desperately he wants him out of the game. Baden wasn’t as convinced about who should go next, knowing he has no shot against Luke thought wanting to keep him around because he likes him the best. Luke and Baden then caught up and lamented about Harry’s win, with Luke heartbroken to have fumbled at the last moment and trying to find the perfect balance of convincing them to keep him around without being overbearing.

Luke proposed that he and Baden vote together, and Pia and Harry will vote together and then he will face off with Pia in a fire challenge to guarantee they’re both in the final three and have a better shot of beating Harry and getting to the end. While Baden seemed open to the idea, he admitted that he won’t be able to make a decision until tribal council. Uneasy Luke and Pia caught up with them proposing causing a tie between Luke and Baden, with Pia knowing that he would win and let’s be honest, she is guaranteed a place in the final two as both boys would take her. While Pia wasn’t sure which way to go, she knew that if she couldn’t win, she wants him to to better his family’s life. They then broke down and spoke about how much they mean to each other and honestly, I’m a fucking mess. After that emotional little interlude, Pia went for a walk to try and figure out which way is better for her game, knowing that she can beat both Harry and Baden but realising that neither of them will take her to the final tribal council.

At tribal council Harry continued to think the contrived toothpick thing was cute, while he gave the jury his best shit eating grin as they filed in. He spoke about the pride and happiness of securing himself immunity, and more importantly kept it from Luke. Luke spoke about how hard it was to let his game literally slip through his fingers. His voice started to break as he spoke about having only one option left, sharing that he will be voting Baden and hoping that Pia will join him and force them into a fire challenge. He then went one step further and said that he will take her to the final tribal council if that happens, though assured her that he won’t be annoyed if she voted him out too. She spoke about her current dilemma, not sure whether to play with her head or her heart, and not sure which one actually gives her the best chance of making it to the end. As an aside, keeping Luke gives her the best shot at making it to the end.

Baden admitted that he is not confident should it end in a fire challenge, given he has done minimal work with the flint. Harry tried to praise Luke’s pitch and tell him it makes sense, though tried to get into Pia’s head and tell her that a guaranteed place at the end isn’t better than having to rely on herself to get there. With that the tribe voted and Pia decided to trust in herself, joining the boys and sending Luke out of the game as this year’s fourth place robbed goddess of the season alongside Flick, Michelle and Shonee.

Through tears, I took him in my arms and reassured him that he should be proud of his performance and I’m so glad to once again whip him up some comfort

While I slept on the power of the people’s Champion during his first run – I was a Sarah fan and was always distracted by Locky’s nudity, so, yeah – he well and truly won me over on his second attempt. Which I guess is why he manages to make it deep, and I believe always will, when he plays Survivor. He is laid back, fun and dulls the pain of starving on an island. Like my Luke Tokolate Banana Bread would if Jonathan ever wanted to offer my services for a reward.

 

 

Sweet and warm, this baby may not solve all your problems – right Apu – but it does kind of feel like a culinary hug. Lightly spiced and dripping with sticky chocolate, this is what dreams are made of.

Enjoy!

 

 

Luke Tokolate Banana Bread
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
60g muscovado sugar
70ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
175g sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and chocolate in a bowl, and whisk together the muscovado, sunflower oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bananas in another. Fold the wet mixture through the dry until just combined.

Transfer to a lined baking dish and place in the oven to bake for an hour, covering with foil for the last 30 minutes. If an inserted skewer doesn’t come out clean, reduce heat to 150C and return to the oven, uncovered, for a further five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour, slathered in butter.

 

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Simon Black and White Cookie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champions continued to extend their lead after getting Daisy to burn yet another idol while Zaddy John was sent to join my harem in the Jury Villa. Jonathan then dropped a bomb at the next tribal council and announced that the next two people voted out would be sent to Exile Island before battling each other for the chance to return to the game, with that Daisy was then voted out to spend a miserable night in the rain. The next day Abbey started to crave a big move for her resume and after Pia secured immunity, joined Harry, Baden and Luke to blindside Simon from the game. Well, temporarily, as he destroyed Daisy in the challenge and sent her to Jury Villa and rejoined the game.

The tribe returned to camp with the same final seven as the day before, with Abbey awkwardly hugging Simon and the silent King finding his voice, talking to us about his rage at being voted out. Instead of finding allies, he decided that an idol would be his best shot so went searching, digging up much of the island and leading to – probably – the deforestation of 90% of Fiji.

The next day Abbey was feeling nervous about her place in the game, knowing Simon would be upset with her and concerned that JaQueen and Pia won’t ever forgive her. Which is a fair judgement, given Pia and JaQueen were seething about her lies and bitching about her by the shore.

Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to balance a platform using a rope and move back and forth up the length of the course collecting letters to spell immunity on said platform. While everyone raced out to start, Baden stayed behind to reorder his blocks. That didn’t seem to slow him down however as he joined Pia, Luke and Abbey at the front of the pack, while poor Simon sat in last. The four continued to power ahead, with Abbey and Luke firmly fighting for first while their platforms slowly swayed. Pia was the first to drop her stack, followed by Baden who was sympathetic to Pia’s loss. Abbey dropped her stack on the last block, allowing Luke to place his last block and slowly make his way back to the start to secure immunity, with Simon now breathing down his neck and Abbey cheering him on. Thankfully he held firm, maintained his stack and snatched immunity, while JaQueen admitted that she was just hoping to pull a Bradbury.

Back at camp Simon recommenced digging up the entire island while Abbey was just thrilled that anyone but Simon took out immunity. She checked in with Harry, Baden and Luke to lock in their latest vote for Simon to guarantee he doesn’t go on an immunity run. Luke and Abbey went for a private chat while Pia and JaQueen sat nearby and saltily speculated what the new duo could be up to. Sick of speculating, they approached them leaving Luke to straight up ask them to join them in getting rid of Simon. Again.

While they sat there strategising JaQueen started to realise that Abbey was the bigger threat and as such, she and Pia went hunting for numbers. JaQueen approached Simon who quickly fell in line, while Pia once again used her acting skills to improvise and pulled Harry aside with JaQueen and played into his desire to make a big, bold move. They outlined that while none of them can win against Luke he is immune and as such, taking out Abbey would be the next biggest move to impress the jury. While Harry agreed that getting rid of Abbey is a logical choice, he was lucky enough to have countless options and just needed to decide whether teaming up with JaQueen and Pia was in his best interests.

At tribal council Janine spoke about the feeling of deja vu heading into tonight’s tribal council, while Abbey tried to downplay the fact that nothing has changed since the previous vote. Despite the fact her flip was outed and her two closest allies aren’t on board with her anymore. She then pushed for everyone to band together and get rid of Simon again, which led Simon to finding his voice and congratulating Luke, Harry, Baden and Abbey for outwitting him. JaQueen admitted that she too felt blindsided and was paranoid that she would be next, leaving Abbey to assure them that she would have said something if it really would have impacted them.

Harry spoke about the uncertainty of moves at tribal council leading to major, continued change while Pia hoped the flip didn’t leave her on the outs. Simon returned to talk the only thing he has left, the fact that he can be a loyal number, while Harry spoke about everyone’s paths to the end intersecting in different ways. Pia agreed with him and mentioned that that means things will shift a lot more frequently, before JaQueen and Abbey mentioned that they would be voting with their head tonight and honestly I have no idea what it happening.

With that the tribe voted and for the second time in a row, silent Simon was booted from the game. The reason Simon barely appeared in any episodes this season is because all of his confessionals were him talking about how excited he was to get booted, see his dear fellow Brisbanite – not a good episode for Queenslanders, no? – and smash some Simon Black and White Cookies together.

 

 

These classic New York biscuits are a favourite of my husband, who first got Simon to try one when we were travelling to NYC together. Soft and fluffy, almost cake like biscuits, smothered in a thick choc v. sugar crust, they truly are a magical creation. Like Simon, which you would know if he or Sam actually appeared this season.

Enjoy!

 

 

Simon Black and White Cookie
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter plus 2 tsp for the icing, at room temperature
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups icing sugar mixture
30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt in a bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a jug.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

To making the dough, cream the butter and caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium for about ten minutes, or until pale, creamy and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low and working slowly and carefully to avoid the kitchen looking like a crime scene, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in thirds, stirring until just combined.

Place heaped large golf-ball sized dollops on lined baking sheets, allowing plenty of space for spreading. Press them down to flatten a little and transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine the icing butter remaining butter and vanilla in a heatproof bowl with a tablespoon of water. Place over a double boiler and stir until combined and soft. Spread the icing over half of each cookie before adding the chocolate to the bowl and heating until combined. Spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each biscuit and leave to set for five minutes.

Then devour, chattily, like Simon is in real life.

 

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Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Snack

And now, the end of The Gold Wing is here and I thought it best to once again go back in time and celebrate with someone that has faced their final curtain – Toto that into My Way, would you? – my dear friend Aaron Spelling.

As you know, I’ve long been a friend of the Spelling Dynasty and my catch-up with Loni – who played Candy in Tori’s hit show So Notorious – reminded me that Aaron has a couple of Emmys to his name, despite creating some of the most iconic TV shows of our time.

I used my time in the purring delorean to finalise my tips for the best series gongs, settling on an ASP clean sweep as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel takes Comedy, The Handmaid’s Tale goes back-to-back for Drama and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is honoured for Limited Series. I found things more difficult for Talk and Sketch Series, eventually decided Variety Talk would go to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and At Home with Amy Sedaris will/should surprise for Variety Sketch.

Oh and I obviously am backing RuPaul’s Drag Race but that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

By the time I arrived at the epic Spelling Compound, I was so overjoyed to see Aaron one last time that I didn’t want to let him go. I desperately danced around filling him in on what I had been up to, lest I set off a butterfly effect, eventually shoving Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies into our mouths to avoid any issues.

 

 

Inspired by a delicious Nigella classic, these babies are decadent, rich and a little bit healthy – yay spelt! – so you can devour them without feeling to guilty. And while that is a total lie, just buy it … because they are worth it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies
Serves: 2 nostalgic friends, or 6-8 normal people.

Ingredients
150g peanut butter chips
125g dark chocolate
125g spelt flour
25g cocoa
½ tsp bicarb soda
pinch of kosher salt
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g muscovado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, still cold

Method
Chuck the peanut butter chips in the freezer and preheat the oven to 160°C.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl and leave to cool a little, and combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in another bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled chocolate until well combined before adding the cold egg. Scrape down the sides, reduce speed to low and carefully add in the dry ingredients, avoiding a mushroom cloud of flour at all costs. Remove from the stand and fold through the peanut butter chips until combined.

Dollop a tablespoon of dough on a lined baking sheet, leaving a large rim for spread, until full. Place the remaining dough in the fridge while you transfer the baking sheet to the oven for ten minutes and bake until just set. Leave to rest on the warm pan for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Repeat the process until the batter is done, and then devour.

 

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Dave Lipain Au Chocolavic

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, 18 castaways were abandoned in the lakes of Thailand. After being divided into tribes by Jose, she tragically found herself becoming the first boot from the game. Khangkhaw dominated the early section of the game with Karla and Franky following Jose out of the game, with Kaysha the only person heading out the door … or Khangkhaw. The tribe swap left Matt & Josh screwed on new Chani while Dylan had a new lease on life, wait, no Matt and Dave went to school together and Matt found himself safe, while Dylan was sent home.

Oh and Liam was booted from new Khangkhaw and JT medequit, though they don’t play into the narrative much.

The tribes merged and Lisa immediately stepped out of the shadows playing an extra vote to ensure Arun’s departure before flipping the game and taking out Brad. She then dictated the boots of Renee and Eve before flipping on Matt, executing a perfect 3-2-1 to send him from the game. While Tess and Adam tried to turn things around, Lisa maintained control sending Adam from the game leaving Tess to have to pull out an immunity run to make it to final tribal, leading to Tara orchestrating her own boot, blindsiding Tess one final time.

Back at camp Tess apologised for trying to take out Dave whilst also complaining about being perennially blindsided. Lisa felt guilty about lying to Tara throughout the game after she ended her own game so Lisa could make it to the end. Dave then questioned what happens at final tribal, begging the question … has he seen the show before?

The final three awoke the next morning to discover the final three breakfast before reminiscing about all that they’ve achieved. Lisa was shocked about how hard the game was and was proud to have made it to the end as a superfan … though feared how she will be perceived by the jury. Tess too was feeling proud, though mainly because if it is a popularity contest it is her game to lose. Dave was thrilled to have survived the Chani losing streak and planned to avoid mentioning the fact he and Matt are friends, knowing it would make his feat far less impressive.

Right on cue we then pivoted out of the game and over to the Jury Villa where Matt pulled Adam aside to admit that he and Dave are old school friends. Word quickly spread throughout the jury and just like that, Matt ended one of his oldest and dearest friends’ game.

With that we arrived at tribal council where the jury all scrubbed up and looked ready to attack. Hopefully not Lisa, obvi. Speaking of who, she kicked off the opening statements by talking about how she managed to downplay her super fandom and overcome her lack of physicality by making strong relationships and echoing Queen SDT’s strategy. She admitted to lying, though said it was in the name of the game and to do it to them before they did it to her. Continuing to tick off all the bases, she apologised to Renee and Matt for blindsiding them and spoke about how she promised her family that she would do whatever she could to win. Then there were tears and she told them, essentially, that she would be the best winner for their season. Crown. Her. Now.

Tess was up next and tried to summon emotions by talking about how honest and righteous she is, positioning herself as the counterpoint to Lisa. The downtrodden underdog, who was at times pretty nasty, unless you were a Lisa. TBH, I started to tune out because she was proud of not playing the game and that is not something I can get behind. Though the emotion about her family was really sweet, so, I guess she can come second if she has to?

Dave wrapped things up going down the Denise Stapley route, touting how often he went to tribal council. Though unlike her, was proud of how many votes her amassed throughout the season. He then talked up how much of a hustler he was throughout the game, expertly pivoting away from the votes to the point he could hang onto his idol. He then gave props to his friend Arun for protecting him early in the game, however conveniently kept quiet about his relationship with Matt. Obviously he did apologise though before going for the sympathy, talking about his rough upbringing and committing to donate money slash pay off his parents mortgage if he wins. Poor naive Dave doesn’t know what is about to hit him, does he?

The power turned to the jury with Arun kicking things off in a positive tone asking Tess if she really had no idea about the game – she didn’t – before shading Dave by asking how he managed to survive after Matt’s boot – hustlin’, obvi – much to the delight of the jury. Brad was up next and admitted that everyone knows that Dave and Matt are friends, questioning all the lies that Dave had told in the pursuit of selling his game. Dave tried to pretend that he had planned to reveal the relationship when Matt stepped up to talk, though did make the valid point that he saved Matt at the start of the game and if that paid dividends, power to him.

Renee stepped up as the bitter juror, listing why she wasn’t voting for Dave and asking if he was cool with this. She then praised Tess’ honesty before asking Lisa who, if anyone, she thinks will vote for her to win. She then slayed her, answering that she has learnt not to name names around Renee so wasn’t going to bother giving her any. While I thought Eve would come in all nice, she asked Lisa if her family would be proud of her which she answered with an emphatic yes. Wait, no, Eve is actually being nice and congratulated her on a game well played. She was also chill when Dave gave a non-answer about his odds of survival should Matt have not been in the game.

Adam was up next, professing his undying love for Tess … and even Lisa, before asking them the same question – would they rather an advantage of a best friend in the competition or three extra plates in a challenge? They both said friend, which I felt was surprising for Lisa until she explained it would be futile since she is balls at challenges. Dave’s mate Matt was next and kicked things off by apologising for completely blowing up his game, saying he just respected everyone too much. He then asked for a rationalisation about voting him out, which kinda feels like it was a vindictive – justified – move. Seeing the writing on the wall, Dave said that the only reason he turned on him was because he lied to him about the idol.

Rounding things out was Tara who asked everyone what they gained from the experience, with Tess proud of her personal growth and Dave once again trying to apologise and say that he learnt to live with his decisions. Queen Lisa knocked the question out of the park, saying it inspired her to travel and gave her the confidence to step out of her comfort zone and not write things off because they don’t seem likely or realistic.

With that the jury stepped up to vote, Matty Chis whipped them back to Auckland and seamlessly walked out into the auditorium where the scrubbed up castaways awaited their fates. After briefly checking in with booted castaways, he finally got down to crowning a winner with the votes rolling in 3-3 between  … well, not Dave who finished the season in third place.

While most people would be extremely salty about their friend completely destroying their chance at winning $250K, Dave seemingly took his loss in his stride. Though maybe he could just smell the of Dave Lipain Au Chocolavic wafting out of the Jury Villa.

 

 

I honestly don’t think their could be a better dish to make up for someone losing a stack of money. I mean, the butter goodness of croissants, crossed with the sweet, glory of chocolate. That is the perfect duo for drying tears.

Enjoy!

 

 

Dave Lipain Au Chocolavic
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
1 batch David Croissants dough
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
sea salt flakes, to sprinkle

Method
Prep the dough as her Dave’s (Cross’) recipe and when you’re almost ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190°C.

Roll out the pastry to form a 30cm x 30cm square of dough, cut it in half to form 2 rectangles and then cut each into quarters. Place a line of chocolate close to the two longest edges and roll the dough towards the centre to meet. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, seam down, and repeat until done. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove for 20 minutes, or until slightly puffed.

Whisk together the egg and milk and brush each croissant before adding a sprinkle of salt flakes and transferring to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden, crisp and risen.

Devour immediately.

 

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Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XC: The Goldfather, Snack, Street Food

From the hilarious highs of my date with Diabs to the soulful melancholy of the songs I discussed with myself on my way to visiting Henry Mancini, this year’s Oscar Gold celebration, the Goldfather is off to a killer start. If I do say so myself. Which I just did.

There has been a lot of talk about the diversity of directors in the last few years – and some killer shade from Natalie Portman at the Globes this year – so I decided to mark the Academy getting it right this year, by inviting my dear friend and only female to ever take Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow, to drop by, celebrate and of course, run the odds.

I first met Kath in the early ‘90s while I was a part of Keanu Reeves’ entourage. He was – and TBH still is – being a total babe in Point Break, and she was slaying behind the camera. Fun fact: I inspired her to commision the rewrite which led to Johnny Utah cracking the case because of a butt. Because Keanu could crack my case anyday.

But I’ve digressed. We became the best of friends, I chose her in the split from Jim Cameron (though still secretly stayed friends with him on the DL) and she eventually took home an Oscar.

Anyway, the Best Director is arguably one of the most up in the air heading into the Oscars. While Guillermo del Toro has taken all of the precursors, I could make a case for anyone but Paul Thomas Anderson. And not just because like Jennifer Lawrence and my three year old niece, I hated it. I feel like Christopher Nolan was lucky to snag his first overdue nomination, so rule him out and like OG Screenplay, I am left to decide between Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig. Sooooooo, shit. I am hella confused, but I’m picking Greta Gerwig as the surprise victor (sorry for jinxing you Greta). Oh and Kath thinks Guillermo won’t be beaten, Greta will take the screenplay and Get Out will get Jord Best Picture. Everyone’s a winner it seems … and someone clearly ignored the memo that she only got to talk about directors.

Given it is a highly contentious slash contended category, Kath and I were positively famished by the end of our discussions. Which was so convenient, since I had whipped up a shit tonne of my Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos.

 

 

If I learnt anything from Austin Powers – and let’s be honest, I learnt a shit tonne from it – it was the moles are bad. However this quick – and highly anglicised – version is near perfection. Hot, spicy and little bit sweet, a squeeze of lime and this baby truly sings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chickthryn Bigemole Tacos
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken thighs, diced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chilli
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped almonds
800g can chopped tomatoes
2 chipotle chillis, dripping in adobo sauce and roughly chopped
2 cups chicken stock
100g dark dark chocolate, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
12 corn tortillas
queso fresco, coriander and lime, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sweat for about five minutes or until just becoming translucent. Add the thighs, cumin, chilli and cinnamon, and cook for a further ten minutes, or until the chicken in cooked through. Add the raisins, almonds, tomatoes, chillis and chicken stock, and bring to the boil. Once rollicking, reduce heat to low and simmer for about half an hour. Stir through the chocolate, season and cook for a couple of minutes more.

To serve, heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over high heat for a minute or so. Dollop on the mole, sprinkle with cheese and coriander, and devour with a big whack of fresh lime juice.

 

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Jerry Festillervus Cake

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

We nearing the end of our 12 days of Festivus celebrations – after, wait for it, catching up with Jase, Heid, Barn, Liz, Wayne, Mike, Pat, John, J-Lou and Estelle – and as such, it is time to unleash the one-two Jerry punch. Since Seiny is obvi atop the Festivus pole, that means today is all about the king and creator of Festivus, my dear friend Jerry Stiller.

I’ve known Jez the longest of the Seinfeld bunch, having met in the early ‘50s.

You see I was working in a bridal shop in flushing … sorry, wrong show. I was working at a diner in Midtown and Jez came in with a nice young lady for a cup of coffee after he agent was rude to her. The young lady, his beautiful future wife Anne Meara  and it goes without saying that my service played a huge role in their eventual relationship.

I was the Best Man of Honour at their wedding in ‘54, am godfather to little Ben – who was named after, obviously – and was integral in getting the role of Frank recast because I knew that it truly was the role Jez was born to play.

I am ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t seen much of Jez since Anne passed away in 2015, so it was so wonderful to see him doing so, so well. There was a lot of laughter, plenty of tears and even a few grievances aired – his, most notably, was how little we see of each other – as we sat down to devour a traditional, hallowed Jerry Festillervus Cake.

 

 

While the TV Festivus dinner never featured the Festivus cake, this delight is a tradition of the real celebration. A light, moist chocolate cake, slathered in sweet chocolate buttercream and dotted with M&M’s? Sign me up … and yourselves.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jerry Festillervus Cake
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
200g raw caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
3 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
275ml sour cream
200g dark chocolate, chopped
300g icing sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
M&M’s

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cream the caster sugar with 175g of unsalted butter and 2 tsp of the vanilla until light and fluffy. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb and cocoa. And then … in a third bowl, whisk the eggs and 150ml of the sour cream. Add the second and third bowls, alternating in thirds, until it is all combined.

Pour the batter into a 30 x 30cm cake tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

To make this icing, melt the remaining butter and chocolate in a medium bowl in a microwave until just melted and easily combined. Sieve in the icing sugar and stir through the golden syrup and remaining sour cream and vanilla until just combined. Ice the cake immediately, smoothing the edges half-assedly as you go.

Spell ‘Happy Festivus’ with M&M’s as best as your skills will take you … before carving up and devouring. Like a monster.

 

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Yule Log Kwon

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Sweets

This year Christmas decided it didn’t want to play ball with our scheduling, so instead of leaving you hanging for a couple of days I decided to do a couple of throwback slash additional 12 Days of Survivor Christmas recipes to fill the gap. And no that isn’t a reference to them being zaddies.

But then again, it’s not not a reference to them being zaddies.

Despite kind of disappearing from the Survivor world after his dominant – even without the God idol – performance in Cook Islands, I can never imagine a yuletide without my dear friend Yul Kwon.

You see, I first met my dear friend Yul while he was attending Yale Law School. As is oft the case, I was running a scam – different to the Vice Chancellor one Hiz caught me out on – Yul figured it out and I returned to priz to find my ciggies and barter my way to greatness slash escaping priz.

Given he was such a babe and was so damn nice, I couldn’t help but stay in contact with him and guilt him into helping me become a better person. While you can question his success, I did love how hard he tried and so recruited him for Survivor to say thanks.

While Ozzy gets a lot of credit for his Cook Islands performance and the triumph of the Aitu 4, Yul is the glue that held everything together and successfully kept them in the game and carried them to success. I was in Los Angeles for his pre-Christmas victory and we were both desperate for something celebratory AND festive, which led to the birth of my famed Yule Log Kwon.

 

 

Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s take on the holiday classic, there is no better way to celebratory the holidays than with a thick, fat, nutty yule log. Which sounds a lot like I’m talking about scat … but I’m not, because this is delicious.

Enjoy!

It’s not scat.

 

 

Yule Log Kwon
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 eggs, consciously uncoupled
150g muscovado sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract, plus 1 tbsp for the buttercream
½ cup hazelnuts, peeled, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
200g dark chocolate, chopped
250g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
225g butter, at room temperature

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Uncouple the eggs into two separate bowls – the whites into a large, clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer and the yolks in a medium bowl. In should also be clean, FYI. Whisk the whites at medium speed, until they’re forming thick peaks. Sprinkle in about a third of the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks are holding.

Now focus on the yolk bowl, whisking in the cocoa, vanilla and remaining sugar until it forms a moussy consistency. Lighten the yolk mixture with a couple of dollops of egg whites before folding the rest through in thirds, followed by the hazelnuts, making sure to retain as much air as possible.

Transfer to a lined swiss roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for about five minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

While things are chilling, melt the chocolate in the microwave and set aside before beating the icing sugar, butter and tablespoon of vanilla in a stand mixer on medium, or until pale and fluffy. Fold through the cooled chocolate until smooth.

To assemble, place the sheet of cake on lined, flat surface and trim the edges. Smear a thin layer of icing over the top of the cake – all the way to the edges – before rolling tightly along the longer side. Cut the ends on an angle to make it look more loggy and place the off-cuts on the side, setting with some additional icing. Generously ice the complete log, covering all the surfaces, before scratching in some wood marks using a skewer or fork. Make sure you don’t forget the rings at the end.

Dust with a light flurry of icing sugar before devouring.

 

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Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Pie, Snack, Sweets

Oh how my heart is heavy! I mean, yes, I am heartbroken that our Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations are coming to a close today … but my agony has more to do with that fact I’m whipping out the time machine to celebrate with Brittany Murphy just prior to her death.

And fuck do I miss my Brit.

We first met on the set of Clueless where Amy Heckerling said, and I quote, “we need Brit to look less pretty, more dirty and disheveled … so Ben, can we model pre-makeover Tai on you?”

While that one comment set off a feud with Ames that lasted until a few years ago – when I embraced my homeless-toddler looks – I took Brit under her wing and gave her the typical teen movie make-under. Fun fact: she could be a farmer in those clothes was a line inspired by the fight with Amy, as I staunchly defended my sexy-farmer look.

Anyway, Brits felt for my pain and we quickly bonded. Soon after I introduced her to Allison and helped her make her Broadway in A View from the Bridge, before convincing them both to join Drop Dead Gorgeous.

I still can’t believe that she has been gone for almost eight years now, and not a day goes by where I don’t miss the ability to pick up the phone and have a gossip and a laugh. Thankfully though, my invention of time travel allows me to involve her in the celebrations, pre-posthumously.

I’ve been racking my brain about when exactly to catch-up to avoid making too many changes to the timeline, and the only time that really makes sense is to drop by in 2009 aka the 10th anniversary of the movie. But tragically that also means it is five months before her death.

When I arrived in her late noughties Hollywood home, I ran into her arms and held her so hard I thought I may break her. While I wanted to scream at her to get out of the house and that girl, you in danger … I knew I couldn’t, filling the entire catch-up with a melancholic tone for me.

Thankfully my supreme acting talent didn’t let it show, as we joked and caught up on what we’d been doing recently over a Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie.

 

 

While it may not fit with the whole cook-out theme I had going to celebrate DDG and Fourth of July, there is nothing more American than a Mississippi Mud Pie. A crunchy (sop it up with a) biscuit crust, delicate cake, velvety chocolate custard and freshly whipped cream? You really can’t go wrong.

Happy Fourth of July ya’ll, now enjoy, ya here?

 

 

Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
Crust
500g chocolate biscuits, crushed
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
Cake
¼ cup unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
¼ cup strong coffee, cooled
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 cup muscovado sugar
Pu-dang
¾ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup dark cocoa powder
¼ cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate
(Ben de La)Creme
1 cup double cream
3 tbsp raw caster sugar

Method
Preheat oven 120°C.

Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a pie dish and press all the way up the edge. Transfer to the freezer and chill for half an hour. Transfer straight into the oven and bake for ten minutes, or until dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Crank the oven to 180°C.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt via double-boiler. In a different bowl, combine the espresso powder, coffee, salt and vanilla, and allow to rest. Meanwhile, place the yolks and ½ a cup of sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until combined and doubled in volume. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the side and add the coffee mixture, and beat until just combined.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites until they foam. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Combine a cup of the stiff peaks by folding through the chocolate. Add the remaining whites and fold through until combined. Pour into the crust, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until set but still a bit jiggly in the middle, caliente style.

No, you can’t call me fucking jiggly.

Allow to cool on a rack for an hour, before transferring to the fridge for a few hours.

While that is chilling, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt and yolk in a medium saucepan before slowing whisking through the milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Boil for a minute before transferring to a bowl. Add the butter, vanilla and chocolate, whisking until combined. Allow to stand for half an hour before pressing some cling to the surface and chilling for a few hours. Once chilled, stir the pudding before transferring to the pie on top of the cake. Return to the fridge and chill.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream and caster sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop over the pie and spread to coat. Chill for half an hour before serving, generously, and devouring.

 

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