Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

Baking, Side, Snack, Sweets, Thankgiving for being a friend

Despite the fact my girl Betts is the only surviving Golden Girl, I applied yesterday’s logic with Rue – that she’d be upset if I disappeared after catching-up with Bea and Estelle – so decided to stick around in ‘87 to see out this year’s thanksgiving. Well, technically that year’s thanksgiving. But in lieu of this year’s.

Fuck – time travel can be a confusing bitch, no?

I’ve known Bet for years and years, after meeting on the set of Match Game in ‘63. Side note: based on how much fun we had, I suggested Ru do a version on Drag Race … and Snatch Game was born. You’re welcome.

While Betty and I talk on the phone every other day in the present day – I got super paranoid about a Golden curse in 2010/11 after Rue passed away a year after Bea, and she a year after Stell – we weren’t able to see as much of each other as we liked in the ‘80s. I mean, between my various crimes, scams and love affairs and her hit show, we were lucky to catch up once a month.

I rolled up on the lot for the fourth day in a row – talk about deja vu – as Betty raced into my arms for a hug.

“My dear Ben. I’ve missed you! It will be so wonderful to have my turn marking Thanksgiving with you.

“I’ve been so happy all day … Bea wanted to kill me!”

She burst out laughing while a fear gripped me … before I realised it wasn’t the present and she has outlasted the curse thus far. We gossiped and laughed as we drove back to her house. Both thankful, most of all, for each other’s company. And, obviously, my festively approved Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie.

 

 

Yes, cookie. In the singular – this was our first foray into the majesty of the skillet cookie. And dare I say it, we nailed it. Perfect spiced dough combined with the sticky sweet chocolate and pumpkin, and the earthiness of the nuts join together for a perfectly festive dessert.

I mean, how can you not be thankful for nuts in your mouth?

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
½ small butternut pumpkin, cut into a 1cm dice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
150g unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup firmly packed muscovado sugar
¼ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup plain flour, sifted
½ tsp bicarb soda, sifted
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups white chocolate chips
⅔ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking sheet with a lug of water and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Toss to combine, transfer the tray to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and sweet. Allow to cool while you get to work on the cookie.

Combine the butter and sugars in a 20cm, ovenproof skillet and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, or until the butter has just melted and everything combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk the egg and vanilla into the mixture before folding in the flour, bicarb soda, remaining cinnamon and nutmeg until just combined. Fold through the pumpkin, chocolate and walnuts, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool for half an hour before serving just warm with ice cream.

 

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Beef Julia Sawallington

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main

Just when you thought this week couldn’t get any more celebratory – I mean, celebrating Jen and Jane is a pretty killer start, no? – today also marks our 500th celebrity catch-up. Yes … five freaking hundred. And my dear friend Julia Sawalha is more than worthy of helping my mark this milestone.

While I only met Jules when she came in to audition for Ab Fab, I knew that she was destined for great things. One day on set she casually mentioned that she was up for the role of Lydia Bennett – in the good not Knightley version of P&P – and as a fan of the work, and a famed period acting and dialect coach, I offered up my services to help her snag the role slash steal the show.

Which I think you could agree, I was more than successful at that.

As seems to be a running theme of growing older, Jules and I aren’t able to catch-up as often as we like so she was thrilled to not only take the time out to honour Ab Fab … but also become our 500th date in the process.

“Ben, I don’t know if I’m worthy of being a milestone date. I mean, I’m no Skarsy, Solange, Meg, Kanye, CeCe – no, I am better than a Survivor that didn’t make the jury – Mischa, Nat Imbrugs, Lin Manuel. Let’s not talk about Purple Ben from this season of Australian Survivor.

“In any event, I’m somewhat worthy of your honour but would like some reassurance,” she coyly admitted.

“You’re a talented actress, one of my dearest friends and owned two iconic series! In addition, you’re beautiful, you’re a model. You look like Linda Evangelista … “

Half way through quoting the now iconic Aja, she accepted the honour and we got to work reconnecting, celebrating and chowing down on a big fat piece of meat. In the form of my Beef Julia Sawallington.

 

 

There is nothing I love more than a big piece of meat. Well, unless it is wrapped in a nice, puffy dough. That is something I’ll never be able to go past. Like Jules or the good version of P&P.

Enjoy!

 

 

Beef Julia Sawallington
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg fillet of beef , trimmed
olive oil
unsalted butter
a few sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
100g pate
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Bring a frying pan to heat over a high … heat while you rub the beef fillet with salt, pepper and a good ol’ lug of olive oil. Add another lug to the pan with a knob of butter and a sprig of rosemary, and sear the beef for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from the pan to rest while we get to work on the rest.

Add the onion and garlic to the still hot pan and sweat for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms with another knob of butter, rosemary and thyme, reduce heat to low and cook for about twenty minutes, or until they’re nice and soft. Remove from the heat, stir through the pate and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 210°C.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bench and the second next to it with a two centimetre overlap. Press them together, smear the pate/mushroom mixture over the middle, top with the fillet and roll and/or fold the pastry to enclose.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked and blushing like a whore in church. Aka Kiwi hero slash Australian drunk Barnaby Joyce.

Rest for 5 minutes before serving in with gravy and mash. Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Jane Porrocks Pies

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main, Party Food, Pie, Side, Snack

I honestly wasn’t sure how I’d top the delight of catching up with my dear friend Jen, nor am I sure why it has taken us so long to celebrate Ab Fab. In any event, I am filled with joy knowing that my dear friends are finally getting their moment in the sun that is this anthropological endeavour. None more so than the divine, bubbly, little voice herself, Jane Horrocks.

Now Babs – as her closest friends slash anyone that has read her Wikipedia entry know is her real name – and I have been the dearest of friends for close to three decades, after meeting during casting of The Witches.

In his golden years, Roald had asked me to oversee the production of all adaptations of his work, starting with The Witches. As soon as Jane walked in to the audition, I know that she was the only person that could play Susan … and is oft the case, vowed to make her a star.

When Jen mentioned transitioning Ab Fab into a show, she asked me to help assemble a killer cast, the likes of which had never been seen. I knew that Jane would be absolutely perfect for the role of Bubble and immediately drafted a contract and offered the role without Jen ever seeing her.

While she was annoyed by my underhanded tactic, her rage quickly dissipated after laying witness to Babs’ talent. I mean, she was almost nommed for an Oscar, for christsakes!

Given how busy I’ve been, I regret to admit that we haven’t seen as much of each other as we’d usually like. That being said, our friendship is so dear that it is always as though no time as past between our dates.

After a long hug we got to work drinking, laughing and reconnecting … and toasting to Ab Fab’s success with a big batch of Jane Porrocks Pies.

 

 

As British as tea, scones or the Queen – not Sandra, soz – pork pies are not just delicious, they’re comforting … and, dare I say it, life affirming. They just aren’t particularly healthy.

But who really minds about that? Enjoy!

 

 

Jane Porrocks Pies
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
500g Cumberland sausages, skins removed
200g streaky bacon, diced
⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp sage, roughly chopped
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
sesame seeds, to top

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the sausage, bacon, breadcrumbs, sage, nutmeg and a good whack of pepper in a large bowl, scrunching until well combined.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 even squares and line 18 holes of (two) muffin pans with pastry. Divide the mixture evenly between the holes and tightly packing it in … you know I love that. Fold any extra pastry over the mound of meat, brush with some egg and top each with the remaining squares of pastry. Fold it in on itself – obvi in a decorative fashion – cut a small hole in the top of each, brush with egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-40 mins, or until golden and brown and cooked through.

Serve immediately, hot, slathered in caramelised onions.

 

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Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza

Main, Pizza, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, new-Yawa remained undefeated after the swap while at Levu, Joe proved that finding idols truly is a bald man’s game. Things however weren’t so peachey at Soko with Chrissy and Ryan having to decide between keeping JP and Ali, sending the latter out of the game

Back at camp Chrissy was quick to make JP feel comfortable after tribal, and was thrilled to be closer with each of the boys than they are with each other. We checked in with Yawa the next day to learn that Cole was feeling confident that should they merge, they were five strong. That, of course, was quickly disputed by Ben who rightfully was concerned by the closeness of Cole and Jess. Rounding out the catch-ups, Ashley spoke about how broken, starved and divided Levu is. So … final three of Chrissy, Ashley and Ben/Ryan/Cole/Devon, yeah?

Probst quickly arrived for the reward challenge, much to the excitement of the hungry Levu tribe. Though it wasn’t actually a challenge, it’s the merge – what a surprise!? After dropping buffs – sadly, not JP’s trou again – and getting swanky new purple ones, Probsty informed the starved castaways that instead of the merge feast, they’d be going to Queen Sandra’s fave – Outback Steakhouse.

The castaways toasted making the merge – YAS, they’re all dateable – downed steaks, and drank up which brought down Joe’s defenses and allowed Chrissy and Ben to quickly deduce that he has an idol, painting a larger target on his back. Jessica also emerged from her shell, hitting on the waiter’s thunder from downunder.

Back at camp, the new Solewa tribe got to work improving or building – who knows whether it is a new camp – their shelter, while Cole searched for a clue which was hidden in the wad of nails he was using. Bless him. Jessica and Desi got reacquainted, while Ryan and Devon caught up and floated the idea of a hustler-heroes alliance to take out the healers. The boys looped Lauren in on the plan, who wasn’t so keen on the plan giving she is aligned with Mike. She then told Mike and I was reminded of the epic ‘David as an idol’ scene from Millennials vs. Gen X.

Devon took the plan to Ben and Chrissy to get rid of Joe, that latter of whom was thrilled given she found him insufferable at lunch. Ben however was more keen to take out Cole, given he literally eats whatever he wants. Jessica and Lauren pulled Cole aside to warn him about his eating, Ben floated the idea of booting Joe or Cole with Mike, and I am reminded how freaking confusing merge episodes are.

Thankfully, Cole is pretty and Devon’s torso is longer than I am tall.

Pulling me out of the alliance whirlpool, Probst returned for the first immunity challenge where everyone stands on a narrow beam and keeps a ball spinning within a disc. As quickly as it started Ryan dropped out, followed by Mike whilst trying to be cute while taking a step – what did Alyssa Edwards say? Jessica was out after taking her second step forward, followed by Ben, JP, Devon and Lauren as they dropped to the final section. Joe soon dropped out, leaving Desi, Cole, Chrissy and Ashley to fight it out for immunity. Which Desi won, after Cole and Chrissy dropped their balls and Ashley dropped while trying to move her second foot onto the narrowest section of the beam.

Getting straight back into it, Cole pulled Ben aside back at camp to apologise for eating all the food and not thinking about others. Despite accepting his apology, Ben did not in fact accept said apology – preach – though wasn’t sure whether booting him was a good plan, or could blow up in his face.

Feeling unsafe, Cole approached Joe to fill him in on the new Yawa alliance immediately pissing off Joe, who knows Ben will flip at the first opportunity. Cole then joined Mike, Lauren and Desi to talk about getting rid of the heroes biggest threat Chrissy, leaving them to debate whether Ben was with them or about to go against the family. Obviously Lauren then approached Ben to talk about which side they would go with, before the hustlers and heroes – sans JP – got together to pick their target. Given they’re concerned about Joe and Cole having an idol, and the Cole and Jessica alliance, Jessica seemed to be their safest option.

At tribal, Probst quickly brought up the theme and put the target on the plentiful healers. Everyone danced around loyalty and truth, trying to keep their allies calm and not give anything away. Mike then offended Joe, who was talking about being extremely loyal, leading to him pulling out his idol and threatening to use them. Cole was unphased by the display –  given he helped Joe find his first idol – while Ben announced that the battle lines were drawn and they need to vote to see where the chips may fall. Joe played his idol just in case they fell for him, which they did not, instead coming down to Chrissy and Jessica, with the latter booted from the game … as the final pre-jury boot.

Poor, sweet Jessica was feeling quite down when she arrived at loser lodge – particularly after finding out it hadn’t ticked over to Ponderosa as yet – though quickly perked up when she saw me, her dear friend, waiting for her. Like the great, great Cirie Fields, I first met Nurse Practitioner Jessica while in rehab. She was completing a placement at the time and given how kind she was, she took a lost cause like me under her wing and helped me through (one of) my most recent stint(s) in rehab and got me sober. As such, we’ve been friends ever since.

After getting her out of her post-boot funk, we got to work catching up, talking about how dreamy Cole and his nips are … and then dreaming we were eating my Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza off dem plates.

 

 

If CalebAras and Joan – and Skarsy, obvs – have taught you anything, I love me some carbonara. I mean, warm, salty, creamy goodness going straight down my throat? Sign me up … and now, in PIZZA form.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jessicarbonara Johnston Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
1 cup parmesan, grated
2 eggs, lightly whisked
salt and pepper
200g pancetta, roughly sliced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
a handful mushrooms, thinly sliced
125g pecorino cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s method – sans tommie paste.

Whisk the parmesan, eggs and a good whack of salt and black pepper until thick and combined.

Spoon the egg mixture onto the rolled out dough and spread across the bases. Sprinkle over the pancetta, shallots and mushrooms, and top with pecorino.

Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until the bases are crispy and the cheese golden. Devour.

 

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Turkeira Knightley Sausage Rolls

Main, Party Food, Snack

While my first two choices were both too busy – being a monarch and a queen, respectively – to catch-up, my old faithful Keira Knightley was free. And it was wonderful to see her again.

I first met Kiz while protesting against her playing Lizzie Bennet in Pride & Prejudice – because no one would ever be able to top the sublime Jennifer Ehle. Oh … and I stole Jamie Dornan away from her. It wasn’t a strong start to friendship, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does highlight how sweet dear Kizza can be.

But I guess I wouldn’t hold a grudge if someone bought you your first Academy Award nomination to apologise.

After working through our rocky start, we became the best of friends and I became the toast of ol’ London town. We laughed, we partied and, after she discovered that she didn’t earn her first nom, vowed to secure her a legit Oscar nom. While it took me nine years, her performance in The Imitation Game was exquisite and I was glad to see her get the recognition she deserved … and to clear my debt.

It was such a treat to see her again and catch-up on what she’s been doing since she was in town for the scandal plagued last Pirates movie. Given how thankful we were to see each other, I was inspired to whip up my  Thanksgiving approved Turkeira Knightley Sausage Rolls.

 

 

Bringing a little bit of festive spirit to the Australian classic, these rolls are near culinary perfection. Flakey pastry, spiced, moist turkey and plump warm cranberries? Delicious and oh so comforting.

Enjoy!

 

 

Turkeira Knightley Sausage Rolls
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g turkey mince
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ cup craisins, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh sage, roughly chopped
⅓ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 eggs, lightly whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place the turkey, onion, garlic, craisins, sage, pistachios, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon in a large bowl and scrunch to combine.

Cut the pastry sheets in half and split the meat mixture into two, shaping into a long sausage to fit the length of the pastry. Place on the pastry, wrap tightly to combine, brushing the seam to help seal the sausage roll.

Slice each into two or three, place on a lined baking sheet and brush with remaining egg. Place in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until cooked through and the pastry is golden.

Devour, festively.

 

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Finnel Wolfhard Cakes

Dessert, Snack, Stranger Feasts, Sweets

It is All Hallows’ Eve eve and as such, I knew we needed to catch-up with the Stranger Things heavy hitter – after Eleven and Joyce, obvi – Finn Wolfhard. Aka Mike. Obviously, no shade to Shan, Mil, Gat, Cal and Noah. It’s just that the Wheelers really drove the entire plot, you know?

While I also didn’t meet Finn until he auditioned for the show, I knew that while his doppelgänger Noah would be best to play the vulnerability of Will, Finn was born to play the strong, dedicated – and this season, brooding – Mike.

Seeing his raw talent in the audition, I gave him free acting lessons on set and vowed to make him a star. Next thing you know, he landed a role in the hit movie It. I may have made some poor decisions that tanked my Hollywood career – not even taking into account the time I told Harvey Weinstein no – but I sure am a talented acting coach and career advisor.

It – no pun intended as it (again, no pun intended) is a basic word that I can barely get through a sentence without using – was such a treat to reconnect, toast to his success and plot where to next for his career. As you know, that is some hunger inducing business, so we were both thrilled when I got to whipping up some Finnel Wolfhard Cakes.

 

 

While they may not looking anything special, funnel cakes sure as, well, fun. Plus, they look like a spider-web that It would weave for that period he is a spider. Which I’m not actually sure happens in the movie, given the entire concept terrifies me.

Anyway, enjoy!

 

 

Finnel Wolfhard Cakes
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 cups milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
¼ cup butter, melted

Method
Whisk the milk, egg, vanilla together in a large bowl, and the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar in another. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually add the wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms. Fold through the melted butter and allow to rest for five minutes.

When you’re ready to go, heat 1 inch deep vegetable oil in a large pot until nice and hot. Transfer the batter to a funnel and dribble in a stream into the hot oil. Fry for a couple of minutes, or until lightly golden. Flip and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process until the batter is done.

Serve immediately, dusted generously in icing sugar.

 

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Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp

Main, Snack, Stranger Feasts

Yesterday marked the halfway point of our Stranger Things slash Halloween celebration Stranger Feasts – after my previous dates with Shan, Mil, Gats and Cal – and I realised it was high time we caught up with Will Byers himself, Noah Schnapp.

Similar to Shan, I first met Noah when he came in to audition for Stranger and despite getting him and Finn confused literally every time I see them – I mean, come on, they look like brothers – I knew that he was the only one for the part.

Or Mike. No Will, definitely Will.

As a dear friend of Winona’s, I took him under my wing and gave him tips on how best to win her over to foster that mother-son bond that is integral to the show. I would argue it was my tutelage of how Wins ticks that led to them forming the glorious relationship they have now.

Like all the kids before him, Noah was really excited to come and visit in Brisbane and to spruik the latest season. And to thank me for getting him a job opposite Petey Dink on Angry Birds, obvi.

After catching up and giving him a stern talking to about eating right, studying hard and being good, I realised that I may actually pass as a functioning adult. While that hit my extremely hard and filled me with rage, I took a deep breath and whipped him up a delicious (and nutritious) Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp.

 

 

Without giving anything away about season two, I decided Noah needed a spooky meal that was far less murdery than the monsters attacking Hawkins. While these are essentially just patties covered in pastry, I would argue that is all you need. Delicately flavoured, moist meat(loaves), wrapped in flakey pastry? Tell me what more you could ever need.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mummy Meatnoaf Schnapp
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 egg, lightly whisked, separately
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup peas
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
2 sheets puff pastry, cut into 1cm strips.
4 black olives, pitted and sliced

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, one of the eggs, garlic, carrot, peas, Worcestershire, tomato paste, oregano and basil in a large bowl and scrunch to combine. Divide into 8, roll into a ball and flatten into patties.

One at a time, mummify the patties leaving space for eyes. Place on a lined tray, add two olive eyes and repeat until done. Brush each with the remaining egg and bake for 20 minutes to half an hour, or until cooked through and the pastry is crispy.

Serve immediately on a bed of mashed potatoes, splattered with bloody ketchup as required.

 

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Zinggy Burger

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Burgers, Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara finally realised that my dear Locky needs to go if she has any shot at the end. She then discovered some lollies to sweeten the deal with Ziggy to flip, joining literally everyone else to get rid of Locky. Sadly for them – and great for my hope he’ll give us buns again – he then won immunity, causing everyone to scramble leading to (self-proclaimed) King Luke to exit the game and give someone else some screentime.

Jericho was devastated when he returned to camp, though harking back to his first confessional vowed to bring chaos to the tribe. He then went in for Tara, telling Locky all of her plans to turn on him to get further. Locky felt it sounded true – because it is – so pulled Tara aside to clear the air. While she seemed to get herself out of the mess, Locky still seemed paranoid.

The next day Ziggy replaced Luke as the manic person that oft appears to be a junkie, as she reminded us that she and Tara are the lolly bandits. She then spoke about getting a hit and the fact it is constantly on her mind which makes me extremely concerned for her welfare. Are we getting a sugar crash medevac tonight?

Tara continued to try and do damage control at camp, while a sadly clothed Locky told us he was still feeling anxious about what Jericho said, despite believing Tara. He then told us all how he was dominating the game, and I didn’t love the look on him. To put his mind at ease, Locky and Ziggy caught up in the jungle, with Ziggy convinced that Tara wasn’t flipping on them … because, sugar rush? YAAAAAAAHHHHH.

Oh wait, sorry, sugar-junky Ziggy made me forget she was completely onboard with getting rid of Locky.

Given the fact Locky was still feeling uneasy, he tried to forge a connection with Jericho to break the alleged 3-3 split. For the second time this episode, Jericho appeared to be smarter than I gave him credit for, barely humouring Locky and throwing some epic shade in his confessionals. I mean, I don’t want to like him, but the sass is glorious.

Sensing defeat, Locky moved on to Michelle who proved that she is truly the biggest threat left in the game, because if she makes it to the end, she would Kristie the shit out of the questions. His attempt to woo her quickly became a fight, gaining the attention of Jericho and Pete with the latter deciding he needs to reconnect with Tara and pull her in to get rid of Locky or Ziggy. But let’s be honest, Locky is winning immunity again, right? Otherwise we are Alecia Holden-ing our way straight from immunity, to tribal council.

Putting me out of my misery JoJo returned for said immunity challenge which required everyone to keep their balls in the air … by keeping a single ball spinning within a circular track. As quickly as it started Michelle was out, followed by Tara as the rain arrived to give us some JLP wet T-shirt action. I mean, if he keeps this up, Locky is expendable. Oh Ziggy then dropped out, followed by Jericho leaving the hopes of the tribe weighing on Pete’s shoulders. Sadly for him, the weight became too much and Locky once again took out immunity and crushed the hopes and dreams of the tribe.

Side note: how good did JLP’s nips look while handing the necklace back to Locky?

Back at camp everyone was pissed, with Tara particularly concerned about his immunity run continuing and the fact she needs to fashion a plan B. Meanwhile Pete already had his plan B lined up, deciding that Ziggy needs to go as she is the second biggest threat left in the game. Tara was not sold on this, rationalising that Ziggy is the best person to end Locky’s immunity run. Tara took the Ziggy plan back to Ziggy and Locky to see what they should do, with Locky wanting to target Michelle and bully someone into flipping with them for fear of going to rocks.

Locky tried to work his magic on Jericho and Pete to spook them into flipping rather than playing rocks, with both of the boys hilariously preferring to go to rocks and put their game to chance rather than voting with Locky. Pete then pulled Tara aside to run through the competing plans, trying to sway Tara to their side to avoid rocks.

They arrived at tribal council where the tribe struggled to pretend to be happy about Locky’s hat trick. Jericho threw some light shade, Pete admitted he wanted Locky to lose so they could vote him out, Tara gave a better acting performance pretending she doesn’t want Locky out, Ziggy said she wished she had immunity before Michelle brought some excitement to the festivities. Channelling Ciera ‘she voted out her MOM’ Eastin, she then announced that the vote is currently deadlocked and that they will be voting for Ziggy. Pete then joined the fray, promising Tara that they will stick with her if she flips to their side to get rid of Ziggy. Locky and Ziggy tried their best to talk Tara back but Michelle and Pete went in hard, tag-teaming her – not in a good way – until she had a throbbing headache as she joined them in sending Ziggy to the jury … with an extra large side of shade.

I don’t want to say Steph Rice is a jinx, but it is hard to ignore the fact that she kicked off a hat trick of my catch-ups with my favourite female aquatic Olympians. It really should come as no shock that I worked for the AIS coaching the Australian water polo teams how to be extremely aggressive and rip off their rivals’ swimmers. While I far preferred working with the men’s team – for obvious reasons – I quickly bonded with Zigs and we became the fastest of friends.

While Zigs was disappointed when she arrived at the jury villa, she was thrilled to see me – one of her favourite people – waiting to give her a hug and huge platter of my Zinggy Burger.

 

 

Tragically this recipe arrived two episodes late to coincide with the popcorn chicken alliance as it is my blatant rip-off of KFC’s Zinger Burger, which totally ruin my plans to sell myself as a psychic. As I oft say when making Burgers or Pizza, there is nothing better than a homemade version – succulent chicken, a big kick of heat and a crunch that could burst an eardrum, these babies are perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Zinggy Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp rice flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 cup corn flakes, crushed
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup vegetable oil
4 Kirsten Bunst
4 slices high-melt cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup iceberg lettuce, sliced
Kent Nelsonion Rings, to serve

Method
Combine the Worcestershire, chilli and mustard powders and a good whack of salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

When the chicken in almost done, combine the flour, cornstarch, rice flour, baking powder, egg and milk in a bowl. Combine the corn flakes, bread crumbs and teaspoon of salt in a second bowl.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, dip in the batter, followed by the coating and place on a plate. Cover and return to the fridge to chill for a hour.

Once that is done, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once sizzling, add the chicken fillets and fry for about five minutes each side, flipping once, or until golden and crisp.

Split the buns, smear the mayo on the bottom, top with lettuce, followed by the fillets and topped with some cheese and a little extra mayo. Close the burger and devour, like an Olympic champion.

 

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Henry Snickerson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Locky flipped on Samatau at the first post-merge tribal, though tried to pin it on Anneliese to save himself. This pitted the two against each other, with Anneliese trying to rally the troops to vote Locky and play her idol to save herself. Sadly, Ziggy opted to play the super-idol and keep a fellow meat shield in the game, sending Anneliese to the jury.

Back at camp, Tessa was feeling pretty annoyed by Ziggy’s play and she and Pete were questioning their entire alliance. While Tessa was doing a far better job of playing it cool, Ziggy rightfully pointed out that it was futile to stick with a dying alliance and was best to make a power move to win over her new alliance. Elsewhere in camp Henry was loving that not only did his plan play off, it also eliminated the other two idols in the game.

The next day Ziggy continued to bond with her new alliance while Tara was shocked at how far she has made it, how few people are left and how much she misses her family. If it didn’t cut straight to a Henry scene about his sole idol in the game, I would have assumed a family visit was imminent. Pulling me back to reality, Henry and Locky spoke about how much they love each other and working (with) each other.

Tessa conveniently reminded us that once again, she was back on the bottom before Jonathan returned to lord over the Survivor auction. Luke, Jericho and Ziggy got into a bidding war for a covered dish, which ended up being a message to leave the auction immediately … and instead receive everything that people win. Fuck me dead, that sounds amazing. Ziggy then dropped all her cash for smashed avo and Henry blew his wad (of cash) for champagne and cheesecake like the golden girl (fan) I so desperately want him to be. Before the next uncovered item was even on the bench, Sarah spent all her money on a nice chilled coconut … which Luke actually enjoyed. Locky and Michelle spent all their cash for the chance to pull rocks for a burrito and margaritas – not of the Moreno variety, sadly – before Pete threw $20 at the chance to speak to her family which Tara immediately topped for $500.

Her talking to her kids was adorable and emotional and if you’re not crying, you’re a jerk. (Also – told ya so). Luke then also got to speak to his kids and I lost it even more, as he struggled to talk to his son (who has autism) … and finished his journey to winning me back over.

After all that excitement, Jericho and Pete had a bidding war for burgers, fries and soft drink which juvenile Jericho loved. This left Pete to spend $320 – Tessa, you have all your cash – for an advantage at the next immunity challenge, for he and Luke. Jericho then gave Dr Tessa some sick burns while forcing her to pay $320 for an overnight reward with all the trimmings for her, rock-winning Michelle and obviously, Luke. This of course pissed off Sarah who was as equally screwed by the auction and wasn’t accepting that as the reason Michelle was selected. Hell hath no fury like a person scorned – I know the phrase is woman, but I am also no slouch when scorned – and gurl. Is. Scorned.

Michelle and Luke joined Tessa at reward where they all gloated about their luck. Tessa then explained that the decision was completely strategy, wanting to talk them into getting out Henry, Locky, Ziggy and Tara. I love Tara, but one of those things is not like the other. Back at camp Sarah continued to seethe which Henry continued to utilise to stoke the flames of rage against Tessa. Poor Pete tried his best to run damage control, but it truly was not going well.

At the reward it took about five seconds before Tessa got the intel that Henry had the idol, while we also learned that Ziggy’s regular part of idol was still in play after he move last tribal. While Michelle was all in with Tessa’s plan to blindside Henry followed by Ziggy, Luke was reticent, knowing that big moves are only worth it if they are to your benefit. I fucking hate when people not only prove my judgemental expectations wrong, but damn he is having a good episode.

The luxurious crew awoke the next day to a champagne breakfast complete with donuts and pastries, while back at camp Locky was freaking out that they would have aligned. Which they did, forming the champagne alliance. That being said, Henry was not so concerned, given the fact he has a ropable Sarah on side. Or so I thought, as she pointed out the fact that she was playing up her rage to put some distance between them so that she can pull off a blindside of Henry. That is some next level inception shit right there. She then got to work, pulling Jericho aside to tell him that their idol find last episode was a complete fake and he actually found it way back in the first week. This fired up Jericho and makes me extremely anxious for Henry.

With all the key players for tonight’s tribal lined up, Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where Tessa and Michele tried their best at downplaying the majesty of their reward. We then got to the challenge where everyone had to hold up a ball on top of a curved rim while balancing on rapidly shrinking platformed, with Pete and Luke’s advantage being to start 30 seconds on a stage of their choosing. Michelle was out before Luke even began – after electing to take said advantage on the first stage – quickly followed by Tara before Sarah and Ziggy dropped. After round two kicked off, Jericho dropped out before Pete finally used his advantage on the final stage, before dropping out, followed closely by Luke and Henry. While Locky and Tessa both put in a huge effort – dug deep, if you will – her steady doctored hands pulled off a miracle and won Tessa immunity.

Returning to camp Henry and Locky were disappointed by Tessa’s victory which was further exacerbated by the fact it was pouring rain and they couldn’t go out and scramble. After waiting a sum total of five minutes, Tessa pulled Pete out into the rain to talk about her (slash their) new alliance with Luke and Michelle and that Henry would be going home, if they make him feel comfortable enough. This left Luke and Michelle to pretend that Tessa didn’t win them over, which wasn’t making Locky feel very comfortable. He and Henry then approached Tessa and Pete about voting literally anyone but them, while Pete gave Sarah up as another option. Tessa was feeling confident in her plan, Henry was feeling confident Pete would be going before Michelle pulled Sarah aside to get her onboard with the Henry vote, as did Luke with Jericho which legitimately left me feeling extremely confused as they headed off to tribal. I mean, he has to be smart enough to play his idol, right?

Everyone played tribal council hella vaguely, aside from Tessa and Michelle’s glamping gloat-fest. While Locky and Ziggy spoke up and acknowledged that Tessa was gunning for them, Ziggy wasn’t overly concerned that anything would come of it. Luke was able to use his dopey demeanour to his advantage, brushing off speculation of an alliance. Sarah was also unconvinced anything would come of Tessa’s scrambling before Pete dropped the bomb that there was a very powerful group of players in the game, which Tessa concurred with before Michelle acknowledged them by name – hey Locky, Henry and Ziggy – and kind of defused the suspicion of a blindside.

While Sarah, Tara and Henry were all expecting a straightforward Peter vote, Henry ignored Locky’s plea for him to play the idol resulting in him exiting the game and becoming the third member of the jury. He may not have been my number one – swoon Locky, swoon – but I still found him to be a total babe, and while we may not have known each other for very long – I met while running a con as a fake yoga attendee at his fake yoga studio – I felt our bond – and his dominant gameplay – more than earned him arguably the recipe of the season, my Henry Snickerson.

 

 

I say this about homemade burgers and pizzas, but the rule also applies to chocolate bars and biscuits – homemade copycats are always better than the OG. (Well, except for Shake Shack and In’n’Out). This homemade snickers is more kingsize than Luke’s ego and is more delicious than Locky – spongey nougat, salty nuts and dripping caramel … I’m now both horny and hungry.

Enjoy!

 

 

Henry Snickerson
Makes: 12-16.

Ingredients
¾ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup liquid glucose
¼ cup water
1 egg white, at room temperature
generous pinch of salt
½ cup natural crunchy peanut butter
60g butter
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
395g condensed milk
1 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
600g milk chocolate

Method
Line a 20x30cm baking pan with some baking paper.

Combine the caster sugar, glucose and water in a small pan over high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. While you bring the syrup to the boil, whisk the egg white in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. When the sugar reaches 135°C, remove from the boil and very slowly add to the eggs with the whisk still on high. Continue whisking until the nougat comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the peanut butter with an oiled spatula, emphasis on oiled, until it is thick, combined and spongy. Turn into the lined baking pan, spreading mixture evenly, and leave to rest while you make the caramel.

Combine the butter, muscovado sugar and condensed milk in a clean saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook until it is thick and has started to turn a caramel colour. Remove from the heat and fold through the chopped peanuts before spreading over the setting nougat. Cover and place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to assemble, line a baking sheet with paper and cut the nougat and caramel into chocolate bar sized … bars. Melt the chocolate in the microwave – 30s on high, followed by 10s intervals until done – and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Dip the bars into the melted chocolate and place them on the lined baking sheet. Once done, brush the remaining chocolate over the bars to completely enclose them. Transfer to the fridge for a few hours to set, before devouring with your favourite marriage celebrant / fauxgi.

 

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Annelicoise Wilson Salad

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Salad, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the tribes followed the lead of Spice Girls as two became one. While the remaining Asagans looked to be screwed given their numbers disadvantage, they systematically pulled in Henry, Michelle and Locky, one by one, to take control which tragically sent Jarrad out of the game.

Though again, in the words of Abi-Maria, at least he made the jury.

The tribe returned from tribal council where the former majority were reeling from J-Rad’s departure, quickly banding together to find out who flipped on them. While Tessa, Ziggy and Pete assumed it was Locky that flipped, my king did some next level lying and bamboozled them to the point where it felt like they couldn’t even be bothered to find the rat.

The next day Anneliese was still reeling from the vote and Locky’s ability to lie to her face, which made her feel uneasy about him. She then decided that he needed to go, and got to work deciding who best for them to target. Meanwhile Henry and Jericho went for a walk to find Henry’s idol from day four, using the useless clue that he gave to Jericho at the reward challenge a couple of weeks ago. He then pretended to find his own idol again, solidifying Jericho’s loyalty to him.

Anneliese meanwhile continued her assault on my man, approaching Sarah to join with her to get rid of Locky. On the flipside, Henry continued to solidify his alliance with Luke and Jericho by stealing the rest of the jam while everyone slept. It makes as much sense as it sounds, given it will not end well. As expected, JamGate erupted the next morning when Anneliese and Locky discovered the jam was gone.

In the post-jam world of Asatoa, Henry and Locky met up with Sarah and Michelle to discuss their next move, deciding that it was most important to get rid of Anneliese. They also decided that she was the one to eat the jam, just to really confirm the alliance. Ziggy and Pete then reconnected to discuss their next steps, with the latter wanting to go down swinging with his current alliance while Ziggy was willing to shop around for answers.

On the walk to the immunity challenge, Anneliese told us she didn’t want Locky to win, while Henry mentioned Anneliese couldn’t win meaning, in all likelihood, one of them is about to win the challenge. Jonathan gave us a quick rundown – after Henry flagged JamGate again – with the challenge broken up into three stages. The first six people to hook their ring on a pole – my favourite pastime – moved through to the second round, where they had to work through a rope tangled on an obstacle. The top three moving on to the last phase where they each had to land three balls on a ledge at the top of a ramp.

Doing the LGBT community proud, Pete quickly landed his ring, followed by Tara, Henry, Locky, Tessa and Jericho. Henry took an early lead on the second stage, before being overtaken by Locky who became the first person moving on to the final stage. Thankfully Henry wasn’t too far behind, with Jericho rounding out the top three. Locky got out to an early lead, before Henry and Jericho each landed a ball. Henry landed his second, followed by Jericho before Henry just took out immunity. Oh and yeah, neither Locky nor Anneliese won immunity like predicted. Whatevs.

After a brief interlude of pleasantries while everyone congratulated Henry on his victory, shit started to get real. Henry, Luke, Locky and Michelle confirmed the vote for Anneliese, though Michelle and Luke would pretend they were onboard with getting out Locky. Locky then tried to work the idol out of Anneliese’s hands, though given the fact she knows they’re both targeting each other it wasn’t very successful. Anneliese then approached Tessa and Pete to see what the plan was, with them telling her that it is likely her. She then admitted that she had the idol and vowed to play it and stick together.

Tessa and Pete then approached Ziggy to lock in the plan, which she agreed with before running directly to Locky and Henry to keep Locky – another potential meatshield for Ziggy – in the game over Anneliese. While Locky and Henry were feeling confident, Tara and Luke weren’t buying it and were extremely nervous as they headed off to tribal.

At tribal, Jarrad watched on from the jury as the first five minutes revolved around JamGate. While Sarah correctly guessed Luke was involved, Jericho alluded to the fact that it may have influenced the vote which shows he is probs smarter than I give him credit for. Finally we got to some vague statements about the numbers, with Michelle pointing out that despite believing she had the numbers after the last tribal council, the line in the sand was washed away the very next day. Ziggy mentioned she was planning to take out a threat tonight, while Tara and Henry spoke about how dangerous flippers are in the game. Michelle spoke about idols being out there followed by Ziggy mentioning that tonight is the night to make a move, making me even more anxious than I thought possible today … AND I was at the Emmys but a few hours ago!

The votes rolled in between Locky and Anneliese – well I assume, we only saw two – before Anneliese decided to play her idol to save herself from becoming the scapegoat. Sadly for her though, Ziggy opted to play her super idol negating Anneliese’s idol and sending her out of the game as the second juror. While I would have burnt the jury villa to the ground if it happened to me, Anneliese was as gracious as always upon arrival and warmly embraced me as I put the finishing touches on her Annelicoise Wilson Salad.

 

 

I’m actually a lecturer at Anneliese’s university – obviously, I’m still into running uni scams – and I truly have a soft spot for her. Hell, I’d go as far as to say she is my favourite student … which explains why I was willing to cook seafood for her. Well … serve it. While the idea of tuna makes me sick, nicoise is actually pretty amazing. Though I assume that all comes down to the potato and eggs? In any event, enjoy!

 

 

Annelicoise Wilson Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 eggs
150g potatoes
150g green beans, trimmed, halved
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
pinch of muscovado sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 baby cos lettuces, leaves torn and rinsed
200g tinned tuna, drained
12 small black olives, halved
small handful parsley, diced

Method
Place the eggs in a pot of cold water. Place over medium heat, bring to the boil and cook for five minutes. Drain the eggs, submerge in cold water, peel and half.

While the eggs are cooking, place the potato into a second pot of water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Cook for five to ten minutes, or until tender. Add the beans and cook for a further minute. Drain, run under cold water to refresh and allow to drain for a couple of minutes.

Combine the vinegar, dijon, garlic, muscovado and olive oil in a jug and whisk until well combined.

To serve, place the lettuce in a bowl, top with potato, beans and eggs. Drizzle with the dressing, add tuna and olives, sprinkle over parsley … and add more dressing, because who doesn’t wanna get saucy.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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