Marquise au Chocky Gilbert

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 All Stars were abandoned on the shores of Fiji looking for revenge, redemption, a combination of the two, or simply to retain their crown in Shane and Jericho’s case. Though sadly for them, their second chance ended before it even began as the Olympian became the first boot and was followed out the door by the cookie monster. They were followed by Daisy, Michelle and Henry in quick succession before the tribes switched things up. After an attempt on her scalp, Shonee took revenge on Abbey, Lydia and John before Mat was bundled in on the deal, I assume solely because he too was an athlete. We then entered the darkest timeline and lost three OGs back-to-back-to-back with Queen Phoebe, fourth place robbed goddess Flick and Nick all just missing the merge. The latter because Jacqui hulked out in the immunity challenge and kept ruining it for the tribe.

We checked in with Mokuta the next morning where Zach was ritualistically carving Nick’s initials into a tree as Sharn reflected on turning on her close ally Nick. Even though it feels like she doesn’t have the right, though maybe I am just bitter. Completely jubilant however was David who had managed to take control of the switched tribe, had an idol that his allies know about – and more importantly, fear – and a secret idol that can keep him safe. Oh and he is going into the merge with a 7-5 advantage based on swap tribes, and an in with the OG Vakama tribe. Not wanting to rest on his laurels, David called an all tribe meeting to plot for the upcoming merge, convincing them to play up that he is on the outs so that he can try and get back in with Vakama, blindside them and fully take control. And drag Zach along for fun.

Forgoing any chatter from Vakama, the tribes joined Jonathan at the top of a hill where after Harry and Shonee processed the pain of losing their bestie Nick, the tribes were officially no more as the tribes merged. AK and Moana were thrilled to have finally been able to make the merge and become an eligible bachelor and bachelorette respectively. Moana was even more motivated to win the money for her family, while David was ready to destroy his competition.

On that note, Jonathan tasked them all with their first individual challenge for an advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge. All they would need to do is hold a clay pot tethered to a rope over a ledge with the last person standing taking out the prize. Almost immediately AK dropped his pot, followed closely by David who immediately started catching up with Brooke and AK. Harry soon dropped out, joining the catch-up while Shonee dropped and was all alone down the other end, silently willing her friends to return to her side. David continued to sell Mokuta’s prearranged lie before Tarzan and Brooke dropped from the challenge. After an hour, Jonathan grew tired and forced everyone down to one hand, leading to Sharn dropping out, followed by Moana, Locky and Zach, leaving Jacqui and Lee to battle it out. After another hour in the sun Jacqui showed her first sign of weakness, while David continued to reel Vakama in with his eyes. Oh and then out of nowhere Jacqui dropped, handing Lee an advantage. Which he won’t learn about until the immunity challenge.

The merge tribe arrived at their new camp – the former Mokuta – with Tarzan thrilled to finally make the merge, Shonee was thrilled to make it again – and be one step closer to some Gucci – and AK was just thrilled about the palatial digs at the new camp. Oh and the huge feast awaiting them by the shore. Locky was screaming, the tribe were grabbing at things, Moana was cracking the booze and Shonee was just thrilled to have cutlery again. After toasting to their successes, Sharn suggested the tribe name of Kalokalo which allegedly means star in Fijian. Everyone agreed, though I assume not because they cared per se and more because they were too interested in smashing the food and eyeing up the competition.

Kalokalo slowly migrated back to the shelter where everyone was mingling, with Brooke chatting to Brooke and Lee, though not that Moana has anything to worry about given she is the Godmother and is fully in control. And she was willing to paint Mokuta as a fractured tribe to stay there. She and Sharn told Brooke about Dave being on the outs, and the need to keep him happy to blindside him. Though really, her plan was to get revenge on Locky who spent the first two weeks of the game targeting her. And voted out her bestie Mat. With that, she pulled Dave aside to lock in the vote against Locky deep in the jungle, with him thrilled by the idea given getting rid of Locky is in his best interests.

Shonee meanwhile was nervous to be in the minority and as such, decided it was time to find two people that she can flip to their side and take control. She caught up with Brooke by the well, who agreed that Dave and Zach were their best hopes and as such, Shonee got to work reminding Zach how much he loves her. She told Brooke that an easy in with Zach is birds, given he has a passion for rescuing birds and has heaps of averies. With that she loves birds and Brooke too now loves birds, regaling him with tales about hand rearing birds and honestly, I can’t actually tell if she bred birds. David could see that they were desperately trying to flip him, glad that Zach too was playing along. As such, he pulled Locky aside to see how they can take control, with Locky spilling Vakama’s entire plan and assuring Dave that Shonee is confident that she will be able to flip back and keep them all safe. Later that night Vakama 2.0, Zach and David caught up to lock in their plan for the upcoming vote, eventually settling on Sharn as Locky wished for chaos, as that is where he does his best work.

Jonathan returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would each have to balance on see-saw and take blocks from a dish on one end and stack them on a tray on the other, with the first till nine winning immunity. Well not Lee, as his advantage was to remove a block and only go for eight. The tribe all stepped on to their platforms and while everyone struggled to find their feet, Shonee was like a statue and quickly stacked eight like it was nothing. Sadly she lost her stack though, forcing her to restart. Thankfully she also set off a chain reaction as everyone else lost their balance allowing her to start things up again and build her second tower at lightning speed before everyone followed the trend and dropped again. Ultimately Shonee quickly built her third tower like it was nothing, securing immunity like the freaking icon that she is.

Thanks pilates!

Back at camp the tribe celebrated Shonee’s athletic display of dominance, while the icon was just thrilled to know that there is no way that she is going home. Oh and she let us know that she is just great at balancing and hasn’t even done pilates in over a year. While Locky would have preferred to have won for himself, he was glad that immunity was at the very least in his alliance’s hands and as such, can target Sharn with the help of David and Zach and take control. He then got way to confident and hot damn – Locky, you in danger girl.

Almost like I manifested it, Moana pulled Sharn and Lee aside to lock in the vote for Locky and tee up Sharn to play the fool and pretend to slip that they are targeting AK. With that, she pulled AK aside to let him know that her alliance would be voting for him tonight. And given he has no reason not to trust her, took the information to David and Locky and reconfirmed that they were still on for voting out Sharn, nervous about going home himself should their plans fail. The only person more cocky than Locky at the moment was David, giddy to be in the swing vote position and safely in the majority no matter which side they select.

He caught Zach up on the plan and returned to play mind games with Vakama 2.0 but was proving to be so convincing, that Tarzan started to panic that he had actually flipped. This made him nervous enough to call Moana over and the duo approached him to stress the importance of the upcoming vote to prove their loyalties. Moana was nervous, Locky and Brooke were confident and while it feels obvious, it is so obvious that Locky will go, that maybe I am wrong?

At tribal council Harry spoke about the intricacies of navigating the first post-merge tribal council, before Jonathan threw shade at AK for not making it before. AK spoke about his surprise at how few people approached him after the immunity challenge and truly felt like nothing had changed and everyone was locked in their alliances. David spoke about someone potentially being blindsided, given everyone is keen to make a statement and take out a big player first. Locky admitted to feeling on the bottom as the former Vakama, though was hopeful to have found enough cracks to save them. Sharn spoke about splitting cracks and honestly I get distracted by such innuendo.

Harry continued to prove how dangerous he would be if he gets the chance to plead his case at tribal council, calmly outlining the importance of not only surviving but also impressing the jury enough to win. David agreed but pointed out that you need to get there, oft by making smart decisions, to even get to plead your case. He then spoke about Mayan sacrifice and it got real dark, real quick. Zach had a slip of the tongue, alluding to the vote coming down to old tribal lines. As he desperately tried to play the fool and bumble around who could be aligned, you could see him desperately wanting to crawl back into his avery.

Harry said that they’re at the point where some people haven’t had the chance to play the game yet and as such, looks forward to them showing what they are made off. Locky urged people to step up, while Moana slyly reminded him that she has. Tarzan spoke about the importance of loyalty, while his ally Moana preached the virtues of making the safe move. Locky interjected and told her that there is no way that he will vote for her in the end then. She tried to defend playing it safe, before Locky schooled her about the pre-merge not really counting, since they aren’t around to reward the big moves and as such, she needs to step up. Moana schooled him and asserted that a quiet game doesn’t mean it isn’t a good game. Sharn was confident, Locky was confident and shock horror, David was feeling confident. With that, the tribe voted and poor Locky discovered that his was misplaced as Mokuta 2.0 stuck together to send him out of the game and over to the jury.

Likely not to vote for Moana.

Oh dear, sweet, beautiful Locky – I hate to see him go, but hot damn watching him leave truly floods my basement. He entered Loser Lodge just as it upgraded to the Jury Villa, so I took him into my arms, realised I am devoid of upper body strength and got him to take me in his arms and spin me in a circle like a rom com.

“The King of the Jury needs his queen, and I am forever yours,” I whispered into his ear.

He giggled, maybe awkwardly, maybe a little nervous, I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that Locky is straight up the most interesting player of his archetype besides Malcolm. Good strategically, charming and likeable, athletic and built like a God, he is perfect for this game and could have taken out the season, had Dave and Moana not had control.

His eyes welled up with tears as I told him all this before he started giggling again, this time at the sight of my Marquise au Chocky Gilbert.

 

 

Velvety and smooth, sweet, rich and oh so delicious, the marquise au chocolat melts in your mouth. And is the perfect thing to distract from post boot pain, in bed with your love.

Enjoy!

 

 

Marquise au Chocky Gilbert
Serves: 2 lovers that can also be friends.

Ingredients
255g dark chocolate, cut into pieces
1 tbsp espresso, cooled
1 tbsp amaretto
100g raw caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
175g unsalted butter, melted
cocoa, for dustin’

Method
Line a loaf tin with cling.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the coffee and amaretto and place in the top of a double boiler – well, if you don’t have steamy, unbridled sexual tension with your mate – and cook, stirring until the chocolate has just melted and everything has come together.

Meanwhile combine the caster sugar in yolks in a bowl and whisk for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. You could do this in a stand mixture, but I like to watch Locky whisk shirtless and I got him to give me a hand. Fold through the chocolate and butter until well combined. Leave to cool.

Finally whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold through the combined chocolate mixture until it forms a homogenous, shiny mixture. Transfer to the lined tin, cover with cling until airtight and place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 12 hours.

Once set, turn out, cut into slices and serve, dusted lightly with cocoa. They devour, on plates, or Locky’s chest. I went with the latter option.

 

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Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake

Baking, Cake, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water, Survivor: Winners at War, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Let’s not even play the cutesie game of acknowledging the previous two seasons of Survivor, because honestly, they ended up with a controversial victor and some real world ugliness dominating the end game. And this is the ultimate battle – Winners at War – and even the inclusion of Edge of Extinction can’t take away from the epic grandeur that is about to unfold before our very eyes. Speaking of unfolded, to begin the season we opened up with the original marooning, followed in quick succession by the current batch of contestants and their victorious maroonings and honestly, if the site of Ethan in Africa spliced with the zaddy riding the Fijian waves in a speed boat doesn’t flood your basement and make you want to cry because you’re so overwhelmed, you’re a terrible person.

I mean, it is fucking Ethan! Fun fact: he is the first person that made me feel ok to embrace my curls. Even funner fact: I now realise that that was me thinking he was hot and wanting to look like him.

But anyway, the ten men sped through the Fijian waters with Tony acknowledging his huge target, though looking around at his fellow victors, he himself was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the season, and his fellow competitors. Meanwhile in another part of the ocean, ten female winners were cruising on their own boat, with Parvati talking about being out of the loop for ten years while building her family, though she was ready to come back and destroy her competition. And honestly, I already have goosebumps. Ethan shared that he is just happy that he lived long enough to play Survivor again after beating cancer. Amber was thrilled to be back and hoped to win again, and more importantly looked forward to beating her husband again.

The men were the first to arrive on the tiny island in the middle of a reef where Probst was waiting to greet them. The women soon followed, with Sandra shocked to see Rob was also there playing against his wife, given she just spent 36 days on the Island of the Idols with her and never once thought to mention that he was playing again. As a newer winner, Wendell was overwhelmed to be facing off against legends, 13 years on Yul knows that the game has changed and Probst acknowledged how much the world has changed since Amber first played 20 years ago and hot damn, I am old. And hot damn, this is amazing.

Probst unveiled a bottle of champagne to toast everyone and 20 years of Survivor before shocking Natalie by splitting everyone into tribes and assuring them that the season is not men versus women. She started on the Sele tribe with Rob, Ethan, Parvati, Ben, Michele, Danni, Denise, her bestie Jeremy and Adam, while Tony, Wendell, Amber, Kim, Sophie, Nick, Sarah, Yul, Sandra and Tyson formed Dakal. Probst announced that this season would feature a currency called Fire Tokens. Each person would start with one and would need to will it to someone else when they are voted out to the Edge of Extinction. Vom. Adding to the excitement, he then said that this season would be a little bit different, in that the victor wouldn’t win $1 million, bu $2 million, to the joy of literally everyone.

Oh and then he surprised everyone by announcing that they would be kicking the season off with a challenge in the water, which isn’t a great idea after booze, but whatever. In pairs, they would race out to collect a ring and then drag the ring towards a coloured pole for their tribe. First to be touching the ring and their pole – my dream night, really – would score a point, with first to securing a flint, rice … AND immunity. Filling Denise with dread, given she has never missed a tribal council in her Survivor career.

First up were Tyson and Yul for Dakal facing off against Jeremy and Ethan for Dakal. Tyson quickly snatched the ring and headed to his pole while Jeremy and Ethan desperately tried to drag him away. Yul joined the fray however and quickly dragged them to their pole, scoring the first point for Dakal. The second round featured Natalie and Parvati versus Kim and Sarah, with Kim pulling hair and Natalie beasting her way against the current as Parvati desperately reach for the pole. Until Kim and Sarah overpowered them and scored the second point for Dakal. Rob and Ben faced off against Wendell and Tony, with the former duo proving too strong and scoring the first point for Sele. The next round featured Denise and Natalie facing off against Amber and Sarah, with Natalie and Amber clawing over the ring, while Sarah and Denise tousled in the water. Eventually the women came together and Mrs Mariano proved that managing four kids builds strength, dragging Natalie and Denise with Sarah to score the third point for Dakal and immunity.

Meaning Queen Sandra escapes being the first boot. Yas yas yas.

After being told that tribal council won’t be until day two, a dejected Sele headed off while a much more relieved Dakal arrived at their island. The tribe hugged and introduced themselves before Nick found a Fire Token menu, explaining what they can buy and how the currency works. And Nick was confident that mastering the currency will prove key to victory in the season. And given he is from a new season, he is used to it to his advantage. Please don’t tell me that is a winner’s quote.

The tribe quickly got to work building their shelter, with Wendell hoping to take a step back so that he isn’t stuck building again like his first season, rather than building relationships and hunting for idols. Meanwhile Sarah and Amber were catching up by the well, with Sarah expressing how shocked she was to see the All Stars’ victor given she and Rob have four kids sitting at home. Talk quickly turned to their kids and the women shared that they each made calendars for their kids to cross off every day until they are home. Tyson stumbled upon the scene and shared that he made a daisy chain for them to rip off a ring each day and hot damn, that is the sweetest. He then spoke about how much winning Survivor meant to him, because now he is able to spend more time with his kids and as such, coming out again is a huge deal. Back at camp Wendell called Sandra the queen, filling her with nerves as she knows that title puts the biggest target on her back. She spoke about her history with Tony and Sarah and how they all voted each other out, but my gut tells me this is all for show and they plan to stick together.

We checked in with Sele where they got to work building a shelter, while getting to know each other and slowly trying to figure out who to vote out the next day. Parvati and Jeremy bonded over their babies at home, with Parvati acknowledging how differently she will play the game as a married parent. Parvati continued to use kids to bond, chatting with Rob about his kids before Rob joined Ethan to check he was doing ok. Ethan shared how scary life after cancer can be, and as such, he is hoping returning to the game will take him back to the younger guy that was carefree and won the game. Denise and Adam went wandering to find the well and continued Denise’s terrible luck in Survivor, by getting lost. While they used the time to align, the rest of the tribe noticed that they had been gone for a ridiculously long time and as such, painted a target squarely on their backs.

We returned to Dakal where Tony was chatting to Yul, Nick and Wendell about playing a calmer game than before, knowing that it will only put a target on his back and see him get booted early again, like Game Changers. Speaking of big targets, Amber was feeling nervous about the pace of the game. While everyone was chatting and building the shelter, she wasn’t sure whether she should be out hunting for idols to save herself from the looming fear of she and her husband teaming up. On another part of the island Yul was casually asking Sophie to align and after assuring her that he didn’t view it casually, Yul spoke about the importance of the lesser connected people joining together to counter the larger poker alliance of Kim, Rob, Jeremy and Tyson, with Natalie and Amber roped in by association. Sophie and her nerd shield noticed themselves in the middle with Wendell and Nick, with Tyson, Kim and Amber closely aligned and the gritty Game Changers of Sarah, Tony and Sandra clearly aligned.

Speaking of alliances, over at Sele Rob approached Parvati about working together this season, rather than targeting each other like in Heroes vs. Villains. Knowing that they have the biggest targets on the island, and given Rob has few options, Parvati was all in and they quickly found people to join their old school crew. Speaking off old school, Danni and Ethan were chatting to Adam and Ben about everyone’s out of game connections, with Danni pointing out that Rob is clearly the most connected and as such, needs to go. Sadly for her, Ben went for a walk with Jeremy and Rob and told the latter that his name had been thrown out. In a matter of seconds Rob got the fact Danni was the one throwing his name out from Ben and as such approached Danni to hear it from her. Somehow the iconic Danni used it to her advantage, telling him the truth leading to Rob, Parvati, Danni and Ethan joining together to take on the newbies.

The next day Adam awoke terrified about tribal council as the rest of the tribe woke up and started to scramble. Danni and Denise caught up, Jeremy and Michele were plotting, Ben and Ethan chatted while the latter’s head spun about the speed of the game. Natalie and Jeremy, whom she avenged in San Juan del Sur, caught up by the shore, with Natalie suggesting that Adam should be voted out given he and Denise disappeared on day one. They took the idea to Ben, Ethan and Rob who all seemed open to the idea. Once again Ben took the information straight back to the person that was being targeted, filling Adam with even more nerves. Adam then suggested that Natalie and Jeremy were the most dangerous pair on the tribe and they should maybe focus on Rob and Amber too. Adam then got to work rallying the troops to split up Jeremy and Natalie, roping in Denise, Ethan and the old schoolers, with Rob and Parvati agreeing that it makes sense to split up the pairs ASAP.

Parvati joined Jeremy, Natalie, Danni and Ben to try and get someone to lock in a name, with everyone too scared to be the one to throw out a name. While Danni suggested Adam, everyone was too nervous to lock something in which made Parvati nervous that she is missing something and it is her. She then joined Rob by the shore and icons were in hysterics about the fact that they are sitting pretty and nobody seems to be targeting two of the biggest icons of the game. And the fact the rest of the tribe are heading out for tribal without any plans.

At tribal council Ethan spoke about how differently the pace of the game is from All Stars, which in itself was a step up from Africa. Rob agreed that the game is so different from Marquesas. Talk soon turned to the fact that Denise and Adam disappeared on day one, with Denise reiterating that they got lost before acknowledging that that doesn’t matter because perceptions are everything. Adam then jumped in to remind everyone that being nervous about people that met the day before is absurd given there is a married couple in the game and people that have been friends for decades. Probst asked Natalie whether she was nervous to follow in Nadiya’s footsteps and become the first boot, with her talking about using any excuse to vote someone out first. Parvati said that nobody should feel comfortable, but for some reason most people do. This made Jeremy nervous, though he was hopeful that tribal would show who he can trust. Ben and Michele meanwhile were just sitting there anxiously, overwhelmed by everything. Ethan admitted to being nervous, while Natalie agreed that being all winners put more pressure on them than ever before.

With that the tribe headed out to vote and it proved that Probst was prophetic as my love Natalie found herself following in Nadiya’s footsteps and becoming the first boot. Before he had even finished counting the votes, Natalie had her hair in the bun and was ready to fight, getting her torch snuffed, bequeathing her Fire Token to Jeremy – obviously – and jumping on a boat to head to the Edge of Extinction.

Sike, you know I stopped her before she jumped on the boat and pulled her into a bear hug. Well ever she stopped hitting me and screaming because I scared the shit out of each other. We collapsed in a heap laughing at how terrified she was before I casually suggested that maybe she and Nadiya just aren’t meant to compete in All Stars seasons. Obviously she objected and told me to stop saying silly things, because she is coming back with a vengeance and is going to slay the merge. Well, as soon as she is done fuelling up on her Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake.

 

 

This little Nigella number is quite possibly the best cake of all time, I knew it would be perfect for one of my favourite single-season winner’s arc. Revenge, redemption and bold play, calls for a punch of sticky peanut butter and the velvety smooth chocolate topping. Get thee to a kitchen now and praise the Queen. Well Queens – Natalie and Nigella.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake
Serves: 1 lonely twinnie, sitting on an island waiting for Godot, Telstra and/or company.

Ingredients
200g digestive biscuits
50g salted peanuts
100g dark chocolate chips
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
500g cream cheese
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
200g raw caster sugar
1 ½ cups sour cream
250g smooth peanut butter
100g milk chocolate chips
30g muscovado brown sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Chuck the digestives, peanuts, dark chocolate chips and butter in a food processor and blitz until a moist crumb forms and it is clumping together. Transfer to a springform tin and press into the bottom and half-way up the sides. Place the base in the fridge to chill while you get started on the filling.

In a clean food processor – aka, sorry you had to clean mid-bake – place the cream cheese, egg and yolks, caster sugar, half a cup of sour cream and the peanut butter and blitz until it forms a cohesive, creamy, caramelly colour. Pour oven the base, marveling as the beauty as it flows in.

Get a kettle boiling and a baking dish that will fit the cake tin out. Wrap the base and side of the springform with a double layer of clingfilm, followed by a double layer of foil to create a protective, waterproof barrier.

Once the kettle has boiled, place the cake in the baking dish and pour water into the dish so that it comes half-way up the side of the tin. Carefully transfer the waterbath and cake into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is set and dry.

Remove from the oven and combine the remaining sour cream, milk chocolate and muscovado sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking, until smooth and combined. Pour over the cake and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes, or until set.

Allow to cool completely before transferring to the fridge to set overnight. Then, devouring immediately.

 

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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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