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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Destitsio Williams

Baking, Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the merge hit leaving Cole nice and paranoid … and, bless, unable to see the clue to an advantage in plain site. With him busy, the heroes and hustlers got together and plotted to take out the healers, one-by-one. Which commenced at tribal after Joe played him idol needlessly as Jessica became the final pre-Ponderosa boot.

Solewa returned to camp where things were awkward and everyone kind of stood around awkwardly while Cole spoke about being upset and Joe impressed by their move. We then found out that Ben and Lauren had in fact orchestrated the entire blindside, with my namesake hoping they can go all the way to the top seven … though was concerned something would screw it up. Which is totalling going to happen, no?

The next day Mike was still struggling with the loss of tribal before Lauren, out of nowhere, found the clue to the advantage Cole couldn’t see in front of him. The advantage is another variant of the extra vote gig, with Lauren allowed to forgo voting at the next tribal council and stockpile the vote for a later tribal council. Depending on our you feel about saving, it is the ultimate banking game … or way too hard.

Not leaving me to sweat on it too long, my love Jeff returned for the reward challenge where the tribes would be split into two teams to run up a tower and shoot sacks at a target. Aka what the homophobe at my work said every gay person would be doing after Australia voted for marriage equality … which yes, was true for me, but also, have some fucking decorum. The team of Ben, Mike, Lauren, Ashley and Desi got out to a 3-0 lead before Ryan, Chrissy, JP, Cole and Devon’s strategy – to have the worst people go first and no longer have to participate – played of overtaking the others and snagging a spaghetti dinner, with Joe … who won the lottery and got reward without competing.

After the challenge Jeff explained that the spaghetti would be served ‘family style’ meaning there would be one single serve and each would go in to eat alone, not knowing how much the others had had. To further improve Joe’s day, he was given the opportunity to outline their eating order. Given he needs allies, Joe elected to go last sending Devon first – don’t tell Rodney, but it was for his birthday – followed by JP, who also didn’t notice a clue under the plate. Sweet Cole went next and surprisingly found the clue straight away … before using a tea towel to cover the clue. Smart move and also, so fucking dumb. Chrissy and Ryan also found the clue – outlining it was hidden under the tribe flag – before the latter hid the plate in the bushes.

Chrissy and Ryan spoke about the clue and Cole’s dim wit while Joe ate, before the latter proved he wasn’t as dumb as everyone thinks and questioned what they were talking about. This of course set up a three man race to collect the idol, which kind of fizzled out as Ryan snatched the idol while Cole went to pee. Thankfully he tasked Chrissy with covering the hole, leading to Cole diving under the flag with her to fight for the already gone idol. This then caught everyone’s attention, leading to an all in brawl before Ben decided Cole did have the idol. Oh … after the flag fell on top of everyone.

I mean, this was some Benny Hill shit. Praise Probst.

Given Cole was now in desperate need of some actual immunity, Probst returned for the challenge where the castaways were required to stand on a balance beam, while keeping an object up with a long hard pole. So again, pretty much my favourite pastime. Mike and Joe quickly dropped out followed by Devon, Lauren, Ryan – whose heart was literally beating through his chest – Ashley, Chrissy, Ben and Desi. This left Cole and JP to battle it out for immunity and my heart as their chests glistened in the sun. JP couldn’t keep it up long enough, handing Cole immunity … and well, my heart. I mean, he is proven to keep it up longer. How can I go past him?

Cole’s immunity win didn’t sit well with the hero-hustler mega alliance who half-heartedly congratulated him on his victory before quickly locking in a split vote for Joe and Desi. The split vote gave the healers hope, given they only needed to flip one person to their side to take control. Surprisingly this was Cole’s plan. Sadly for Joe he decided to approach Ryan and Devon while Ben lurked in the bushes ala Queen Sandra, leading to Ben blowing up at Joe at camp while Desi, Ryan and Chrissy lazed about in the shelter, nonchalantly wondering if something was happening.

After things cooled down, Lauren pulled Ben aside to share that they can not split the vote tonight otherwise she will lose her advantage. This made Ben nervous forcing him to approach Mike to flip to their side and save him. While Mike wasn’t sure keeping Ben was a good idea, he did think showing loyalty may carry him further.

At tribal Joe and Ben continued their feud with Joe identifying him as a threat, while Ben tried to point out he is a part of a bigger alliance and that he trusted them all. It went back and forth for a while before Chrissy and Ashley joined the fray to point out how annoying Joe is. Desi then gave a confusingly cryptic comment, Mike threw out the fact the Yawa five betrayed him as the last tribal and Ben spoke more about being a vet, which really isn’t making the target on his back any smaller. Desi continued to dig her own grave and Devon spoke about being a bright and beautiful light – seriously, swoon … and out of nowhere – before they headed off to vote.

Notably Lauren was successful in snagging her extra vote before the votes finished up tied with four each on Joe and Desi, with one each on Ben and Lauren for good measure … and no one the wiser that that didn’t add up to 11. More surprisingly the votes piled up on Desi in the revote, sending her out of the game to become the Queen of Ponderosa.

While she was absolutely heartbroken by the turn of events – and let’s be honest, so was I – I was glad to be able to hang with her, cheer her up and decide the tone for this season’s jury over a big ol’ bowl of my Destitsio Williams.

 

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged – right Jules – that pasta will cure all ailments. Add a dickload of spices, a large hunk of meat and a creamy sauce? That is what dreams are made of, right Hiz?

Enjoy!

 

 

Destitsio Williams
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
2 tbsp tomato paste
1kg beef mince
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried mint
2 cups passata
500g ziti pasta
¾ cup butter
4 eggs
1 ½ cup parmesan, grated
¼ cups plain flour
2 cups milk, heated
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat before sweating the onion, garlic and carrot for five minutes … or so. Add the paste and mince and cook, breaking up the mince with the wooden spoon, for ten minutes or so, or until starting to brown. Add the allspice, mint and passata with a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

While your meat sauce is cooling, melt ¼ cup butter in a medium saucepan until foamy. Add ¼ cup flour and cooking for a minute or two, or until the roux is coming together. Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 cups of milk until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and whisk through the yolks of the eggs, with the nutmeg and ¼ cup parmesan.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cook the pasta as per packet instruction before draining and returning to the pan with the remaining butter, egg whites and parmesan. Stir for a couple of minutes or until everything just comes together.

Press half the coated butter into the base of a large baking dish. Top with the meat sauce, following by the remaining pasta … and then finally, the béchamel. Sprinkle with some extra parmesan and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven, allow to rest for ten minutes … and then devour.

 

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Prune Whitfield Tart

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Baking, Dessert, Pie, Sweets

I am absolutely exhausted after realising that our date with Jules as part of our Ab Fab celebrations yesterday coincided with our 500TH FREAKING RECIPE (and Australia doing me proud and voting for love to win). I mean, 500 recipes and no one has offered me a cookbook deal yet?! In any event, the ravages of time are starting to hit me so I decided to get my ol’ girl Dame June Whitfield over for a calm, celebratory occasion.

Oh how I fucking – sorry, forking – love Juney Whits.

I’ve been friends with June for the longest time after quickly becoming best friends on the set of my show, The Benny Hill Show. Did I ever mention my full name is actually Benjamin James Woodley Judd Hill? No? Well soz.

In any event, June and I became the fastest of friends and I’ve supported her all our lives. I mean, from the questionable Carry On films, to the magic of Miss Marple on the gramophone, to the glorious episode of my hit show slash passion project Sooty and of course, Ab Fab, I’ve been by her side to guide and support her. No matter what.

Give the fact travelling is starting to impact as both due to our advanced years, June and I haven’t been able to see as much of each other as I’d like. Thankfully the extended absence we’ve shared has only made the date more meaningful. As did my bowel friendly Prune Whitfield Tart.

 

 

While prunes have some bad, elderly connotations … this tart is actually quite delicious. Super sweet, super rich AND it keeps you super regular. What more could you want?

Enjoy!

 

 

Prune Whitfield Tart
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
3 cups stoned prunes
250g unsalted butter, cubed
250g raw caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
500g flour
½ tsp baking powder
juice of a lemon
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp almond extract

Method
Place the prunes in a bowl and soak in water overnight.

Cut to the next day and combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in a food processor, and blitz until the butter is completely soaked. Add the flour and blitz until wet breadcrumbs are formed. Add the eggs and baking powder and blitz until just combined. Remove, shape into a disc, wrap in cling and place in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

While the dough is getting chill, place the prunes in a large saucepan with the muscovado sugar, lemon juice and almond essence and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for half an hour, or until the water is reduced. Blitz using a stick blender and leave to cool slightly.

Split the dough 2:1 and roll the 2 part out until 3mm thick and layer into a pie dish and transfer to the fridge to chill while you prep the lattice. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into 2cm thick strips.

Fill the dish with the prune filling before gently forming a lattice – use the Fiona Apple method – on the top of the pie. Crimp the edges to seal and transfer to the oven to bake for  1 hour and 20 minutes or until brown and crisp.

Allow to cool, dust with icing sugar and devour, greedily.

 

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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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Taratin Reid

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Snack, Sweets

While I am ok at admitting when I’m in the wrong, it is rare for me to admit when I completely got a situation wrong. Like the situation that led to my dogged pursuit of destroying Tara Reid in the media for the last two years.

You see, Tara was trying to protect me. From myself and Hoff, knowing that he and I have long enjoyed a dear friendship and she didn’t want our relationship to flow from the screen to off, and end in Hoff’s third divorce and the end of a beautiful friendship.

Sure – it was a little presumptuous of her but there was a 99% chance of that entire scenario playing out, so there was nothing I could do but breakdown in tears, hold her and be thankful that I have such a dear friend that knows me so well and wants to protect me from myself.

Tara Reid, realistically, should become the first living person to be canonised.

As you know, I got Tara her big break in The Big Lebowski through my boy Philly Sey after me became firm friends during her brief appearance on Days of Our Lives (I was dating Drake Hogestyn at the time). While we were close after Days, our friendship truly blossomed after Lebowski and she dedicated her life to paying me  back for my kindness.

In a plot twist, that devotion is what made her block my Sharknado 3 casting despite knowing it would risk our friendship. See, she is a damn saint.

After putting an end to the feud and apologising profusely for all the horrible things I said about her in the media, things went straight back to normal and we laughed while filling each other in on what was going on in our lives over a Taratin Reid.

 

 

Sweet, rustic and altogether homely, this is the perfect dish to sweeten the deal of an apology … and nourish the rekindling of a beautiful, beautiful friendship.

Enjoy!

 

 

Taratin Reid
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs
6 apples, peeled, halved and cored
1 lemon, juiced
50g raw caster sugar
50g muscovado sugar
200g butter, at room temperature

Method
Combine the flour, caster sugar and salt in a food processor with the unsalted butter and blitz until it resembles wet sand. Add the eggs and blitz until just coming together. Remove from the processor, shape into a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in cling and place in the fridge for half an hour.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 180°C. While preparing the apples, add them to the lemon juice to stop them from going brown.

Heat a medium, ovenproof  frying pan over low heat and melt the sugars with three tablespoons of water, stirring until melted. Increase the heat and allow to caramelise, without stirring, until it forms a honey colour. Add the butter and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

Add the apples to the pan, curved side down until they are tightly packed. Place in the oven and bake for half an hour. While baking, roll out the dough to the size of the pan and place in the fridge to chill until the apples are done.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool slightly before placing the dough on top, tucking the edges into the pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Remove the pan again and allow to cool completely before gently turning the tart out of the pan onto a plate. Serve and devour immediately, with or without ice cream.

 

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Jericroquettes Malabonga

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Side, Snack, TV Recap

And after 55 days out in the Samoan jungle, we finally have a new sole survivor in the form of Jericho.

He and Tara managed to outwit, outplay and outlast Joan, Adam, Kate, Tarzan, Aimee, Sam, Mark, Jacqui – yes this is a shameless plug for all our other recipes – Kent, AK, Ben, Odette, Jarrad, Anneliese, Henry, Tessa – yep, still going – Sarah, Luke, Ziggy, Locky, Michelle and Pete, to battle it out in the final tribal council.

While his performance at final tribal was – like night and day with last year’s champ Kristie’s – rather subpar, Luke’s going into bat for him and Henry pushing him to get fiery were enough to hand him a win for a game well played.

I mean, sure, I am shook to see that sometimes nice guys do win after he worked his ass off around camp to provide for his tribe, single-handedly tried to save his tribe from crushing defeat and made some hilariously ridiculous metaphors to give people a laugh … I assume. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he did get pretty villainous on his way to the prize.

Now it is quite awkward, but Jericho and I aren’t the best of friends after he restrained me on a flight for “drunk and disorderly behaviour,” so I wasn’t thrilled to see him out in Samoa, let alone taking out the win … but he did manage to win me over while we shared his victorious Jericroquettes Malabonga.

 

 

It could be said that croquettes are quite simple, but there is no denying that they’re delicious and definitely have more than meets the eye. Plus – potato, bacon and cheese. How do you go wrong?

Congratulations on your victory Jericho – enjoy!

 

 

Jericroquettes Malabonga
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 potatoes, cooked, mashed and cooled
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and – you guessed it – cooled
2 eggs
3 shallots, thinly sliced
½ cup plain flour
½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
salt and pepper

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mashed potato, bacon, 1 egg, shallots, half the flour and the mozzarella in a bowl. Divide into 10 balls – I like a big fat croquette – and roll into a sausage shape.

Place the remaining flour in a bowl, with the remaining egg whisked with the milk in another and some seasoned breadcrumbs in another. Roll the croquettes in the flour, followed by the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking tray, chuck it in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven and devour immediately, with some Spicy TomaJones Sauce.

 

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Apple Cinnamone Nguyen Waffles

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Jeffy Pop and 18 brand new castaways returned to our screens, I assume concerned by my growing … passion for JLP and Locky’s buns. And boy did they work overtime! The healers tribe served up a feud between Faux-ny and the peen-doctor who I think is called Mike, while the hustlers were not in fact prostitutes though Patrick could totally slip his bolt in me – his last name is bolt, keep up. Oh and the very dapper Ryan found a one-night only super idol that he had to give away if his tribe won immunity, which they did. Meanwhile the heroes were where it was at as Alan went nuts about the idol, forcing JP to get his out to prove he wasn’t hiding an idol anywhere, while Chrissy kept a hold on the super idol as Olympian Katrina exited the game as the first boot.

Back at camp Chrissy was happy about all the drama that unfolded at tribal council, highlighting some big cracks in the four man alliance. In addition to the crack JP had to show Alan to prove he was idol-less. Alan then spoke about how awful and intense tribal council was, despite being the one to cause it, though was glad about the fact he highlighted a crack in his alliance. I think? Ashley, thankfully, saw it as a bad thing, though I don’t see how she can get herself out of the mess with Ben looking to make a move away from the ‘core four’ which lasted sub four days.

Meanwhile over at the hustlers camp, Simone was on struggle street which is exactly how I’d feel if I were playing the game. On the flipside, Ryan and Devon were still going strong and it truly is an alliance I can get behind. Speaking of behinds, Simone was thrilled to have taken an aqua-dump, and announced it to the tribe before complaining about the outdoors which is not a great idea. Bless her though, she offered to clean out the fish and prove she was willing to try. She and Ali then went for a walk to the well where a power-player emerged in Ali, who was busy making a connection by giving Simone a pep talk … so she can use her later in the game.

Finally we arrived at the healers tribe which is actually called Soko for those playing at home. Whatever name they go by isn’t the point though, we have a showmance forming between Cole and Jessica … if he can get past how old she is at 30! Desi then spoke about being a beauty queen, while Fauxny started to soften his stance on Mike though continued to tell everyone he thought he had the idol, whilst trying to find the idol for himself. Fauxny aka Joe then found an idol clue though couldn’t figure it out, so instead took it to Cole to see if he could make sense of it which he did in sub five seconds. He then gloated about helping Joe find the idol like it wasn’t a bone-headed decision to do that, rather than swipe it for himself.

Back at Levu – *coughs* heroes – we were treated to some glorious, though tragically clothed, bun action from JP while he caught a lobster. He then complained about being called out as a power couple the night before as he wasn’t getting any of the fringe benefits of that coupledom. He then went for a walk with Chrissy where he tried to downplay his alliance with Ashley and she commenced analysing everyone on the tribe to see who best to align with. Like Goldilocks, JP was too dumb, Ashley was too shifty, Alan was too crazy, but thankfully Ben is just right – his charm, meshing perfectly with her strategic side.

Over at camp Yawa, Devon’s calm yoga session was interrupted by Patrick’s fear of crabs which brought out his wild banshee side. He then continued to grate on Lauren, and while I agree that his Australian accent was annoying, his buns were thick … and glorious. Feeling on the outs as the oldest member of the tribe, Lauren got to work connecting with the Queen of the Hustlers Ali. The latter was concerned that Lauren wasn’t loving Patrick, given they were aligned … though did agree he was kind of annoying.

Dem cakes though.

Jeff finally appeared for the next immunity challenge – and reward for fishing gear – requiring three members of each tribe to swim out, dive underwater and maneuver puzzle pieces to the end of a cage before bringing them to a platform where the remaining castaways completed a sign-puzzle. The hustlers got out to an early lead followed closely by the heroes, with the healers stuck in last place. Devon continued to extend the hustlers’ lead, getting the third well ahead of the others. The heroes got their third bundle of puzzle pieces as the hustlers made it to the puzzle pontoon, where we were again treated to some glorious Patrick buns. The healers eventually closed the gap, dominating the puzzle and taking out immunity. The heroes and hustlers started to panic, with the heroes also overtaking the hustlers to take out immunity.

The hustlers did as their tribe designation suggests and got to work hustlin’, with Simone apologising for stuffing up the puzzle, anxious that she would be voted out. Seeing that Lauren was irritated by Patrick, she took Lauren and Ali for a walk to float the idea of getting him out of the game. While that was happening, Patrick spoke to Ryan and Devon about getting rid of Simone putting Ali firmly in the middle. She then went to Ryan to try and decide what the best move is, debating the merits of getting rid of Simone or Patrick. Ryan then decided that Patrick’s unpredictability was a detriment, and started to think that maybe Simone was the better option, despite not doing much around camp or being good in challenges.

At tribal council Ryan threw some shade at Jeff, likening tribal to being forced into a child’s birthday party for that kid you don’t like. Ali spoke about the importance of keeping the right person, not just for the tribe but her/their game/s. Patrick wanted to keep the tribe strong and Simone wanted to keep the tribe strong in the loyalty sense, while Patrick spoke about trusting most of the people in attendance … freaking everyone out. He then tried his hardest to backpedal, though earnt a lot of eye rolls from Lauren in the process. Thankfully Simone reiterated how much she hated nature before saying she wants to stay, which was less convincing to the tribe and she quickly found herself becoming the second boot.

As you can probably guess from the countless universities I scammed into believing I was a lawyer, I met my girl Simone while working together at the Asian American Bar Association of New York. I was also pulling some Rachel Dolezal levels of scamming at the time, which also shouldn’t be a shock. Despite my journey at the association ending in a similar manner to Rach’s at NAACP, Simone and I kept in touch and I mentored her before the show. Tragically the pre-Survivor training didn’t seem to work, though once again she didn’t hold it against me when she arrived at loser lodge. Though my Apple Cinnamone Nguyen Waffles probs had something to do with that.

 

 

Spicy and sweet, crunchy and melt in your mouth – these waffles are perfection. Particularly for someone that just suffered the crushing pain of becoming the second boot after – gasp – living in the wilderness for six days WITH NO AIR CONDITIONING.

Enjoy!

 

 

Apple Cinnamone Nguyen Waffles
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted, plus extra for cooking
2 apples, peeled, grated and squeezed of excess liquid

Method
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk the eggs, milk and melted butter together in a jug.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stir until smooth before folding through the apples.

Heat a waffle iron over medium heat.

Melt some butter into the waffle iron to grease, scoop the batter into the waffle iron and close. Cook for a couple of minutes per side, remove and repeat. Then devour.

 

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Pumpkim Richartta Rolls

Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Given the troubles Kimmy has had the last couple of years, it was such a joy to catch up with her and see for myself how well she is doing. Particularly because I feel responsible for leading her down the path she is on.

Of course, my sweet, sweet Kimmy doesn’t see it that way.

I sadly haven’t seen much of Kim since the tragic passing of her dear ex and my beloved friend Monty. As soon as we saw each other, we ran into the other’s’ arms and sobbed for her loss before spending the afternoon reminiscing about the good times with Monty and how proud of her she would be.

While Andy Cohen would be extremely disappointed with my inability to convince her to return to the housewives full time – I still think she needs time to heal – he (and Rinna) would be happy that I was able to get her to accept the infamous bunny for Hucksley’s first birthday.

After achieving the near impossible, I decided to push my luck and talk to her about the sequel-reboot of Witch Mountain … which she just LOVED, though I sadly can’t talk about it due to Disney’s hella watertight confidentiality agreements (the slut pigs).

Given how much ground we had to cover, we needed something light, hearty and soothing – that I could also sneak a drink in a mug with – to give us sustinance. No doubt you know where this is going – given it is our simplest pun yet and isn’t shoehorned in at all – we shared my famed Pumpkim Richartta Rolls.

 

 

A little bit spicy, soothingly sweet and the earthy combination of pumpkin and the ricotta work to create a delightful vegetarian alternative to sausage rolls that doesn’t include spinach.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkim Richartta Rolls
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
500g butternut pumpkin, diced and roasted
500g ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs , lightly whisked
½ – 1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried oregano, plus extra to garnish
1 tbsp plain flour
¼ cup grated parmesan
3 sheets puff pastry
salt and pepper, to taste
milk, to glaze

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the pumpkin, ricotta, garlic, eggs, breadcrumbs, cumin, oregano, flour and parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz until smooth(ish) and combined. Add more breadcrumbs if it is too wet.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, place a long strip of the mixture in the middle of each pastry half and roll over to enclose.

Cut each in half, transfer to a lined baking sheet and brush with milk before sprinkling with some extra oregano. Place in the oven and bake for about twenty minutes, or until golden and crispy. Then, obviously, devour like, again, a slut pig.

 

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Gnocchi Gilbert

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Pasta, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Jericho had the shits after his beloved Luke was booted from the game. Thankfully Locky was still public enemy number one … until he won his third immunity, leading to a battle between Ziggy, Tara and Locky, and Pete, Michelle and Jericho. Well, until the threat of rocks came into it and she flipped to guarantee her safety, sending Ziggy from the game in sixth place.

The tribe returned to camp where Tara quickly defended herself for flipping on Ziggy, rightly pointing out it saved her from getting Jessica Lewis-ed. Locky however was well pissed, given the fact everyone openly spoke about wanting him out at tribal, his closest ally Tara included. The next day he was still smarting, ignoring the rest of the tribe while they sat by the camp. Knowing that he is screwed if he doesn’t work through his issues, Locky spoke to Tara in the shelter about their issues, accused her of yelling at him while yelling at her and then dropped the L bomb to clear the air instantly.

While the love story was unfolding, Peter, Jericho and Michelle tried to come up with a plan B for if Locky wins his fourth immunity in a row. This in turn gave Locky enough time to fashion his own plan B, taking Anneliese’s idol message and rag, showing it to Tara to convince her that he has an idol and letting her spread it like wildfire to save him. Tara and Michelle bought it hook, line and sinker, but the boys weren’t buying it. Once again, Jericho proving himself smarter than I give him credit for.

Breaking things up, Jericho spoke about a traumatic experience from his childhood when he almost drowned while trying to surf, solidifying his rapidly expanding winner’s edit. Hell, it was so damn emotional I even welled up and rooted for him. Proving why I love Locky – other than his buns – he offered to go out swimming in the deep water with Jericho so he would feel safe and get to experience something he always wanted to. Fuck me dead – I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING. Can they go to the final two and one of them propose Boston Rob style?

As heartwarming as the moment was, him winning over Jericho and pulling at Tara’s heartstrings painted an even bigger target on his back, motivating them even more to pip him at the post at the next immunity challenge. Right on cue JLP returned for a combined reward and immunity challenge where they each had to line up dominoes on a suspended bar to ring a gong … without knocking them over. The reward? Well my friends, that is for a car – and picnic – meaning whoever wins immunity tonight is now out of the running for the win. Actually, does the car curse count on Australian Survivor?

In any event, Peter got out to an early lead though sadly was just short. Jericho thought he had it, missing by one block. Locky gave it a crack, missing after a couple. Then Tara failed, allowing Michelle and Locky to battle it out with the former taking it out by a couple of seconds. Fuck I hope the car curse isn’t applicable here. She was then given the chance to take the car for a spin and the obligatory picnic with two of her closest friends, taking Jericho and Tara. While Locky was pissed to miss out on immunity and a car, Pete was pissed about the picnic and spoke to me on the deepest of levels.

Michelle and her crew arrived at the beach to enjoy their picnic feast and before the basket was even opened, Jericho proposed them forming a final three alliance. While they all jumped on the idea, talk turned to Locky with his post-challenge reaction convincing Tara that he was idol-less, while Michelle was still unconvinced. Meanwhile back at camp things were decidedly awkward with Locky and Pete trying to make clunky chit-chat before Pete cut the crap and tried to get Locky to prove he had an idol.

Locky gave arguably the best deflection possible – we want you to question whether I have it so my vote can dictate the entire tribal – before the others returned and her started working on Jericho to flip and get rid of goat Pete to earn the respect of the jury. Jericho then rejoined Pete, Michelle and Tara while they debated whether Locky has an idol, while Locky hid in the bushes to make them think he was trying to find his idol. This somehow convinced Michelle that he has the idol as she followed him down the beach to plot about getting rid of Peter making me wonder, can he actually pull this off?

At tribal Michelle was quick to gloat about her immunity and car combo before JLP started to rub salt in Locky’s wounds. Pete quickly went in for Locky before Michelle started to defend him, before he and Locky started to bicker with Locky providing some much needed sass. Tara joined the fray to challenge the use of the term goat, explaining that sheep makes far more sense. After that brief interlude, Pete and Locky continued their fighting with Pete fighting hard, although not brave enough to say that Locky will vote for me anyway, so pile your votes on Locky and if he does have an idol, I’m out.

Tragically, albeit by no means surprisingly, Locky didn’t play his non-existent idol and found himself voted out of the game – despite Winchelle flipping – in fifth place. As heartbroken as I was to see my dreamboat go, I’m truly shocked that he managed to make it as far as he did so tried to keep myself grateful as we caught up in the jury villa.

Now I know you’d assume that I don’t actually know Locky, given how lecherously I speak about him each episode, but we’ve actually been the dearest of friends for years after he taught me to swim on an adventure trip, which I paid forward with Steph Rice via time travel. (Fun fact, me constantly suggesting nudie runs are why Locky was so comfortable getting nude in episode 2). How did I repay his kindness though? By whipping up a big bowl of my Gnocchi Gilbert, obviously.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about Locky, I think of white, pillowy mounds you just can’t wait to bury your face in. Add some spicy, salted meat and you’re living my dreams. I’m going, away, for a minute … enjoy!

 

 

Gnocchi Gilbert
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1.5 kg floury potatoes, peeled and chopped into a generous dice (larger pieces, less water absorbed)
large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
⅓ cup grated parmesan, plus extra to garnish despite how ugly it looks when not shaved
350g plain flour, plus extra to dust
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g speck, diced
1 tsp chilli flakes
800g diced tomatoes
2 cups baby spinach

Method
With that, place the potatoes in a pan of cold water – this is important – bring to the boil and cook until just tender. Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring, for a minute or two to ensure they are dry husks aka without moisture.

Allow to cool. Say it with me and remind me if you ever hear me mention gnocchi, allow to cool completely.

Pass through a ricer or mash aggressively until smooth and your rage sorted. Add a pinch of nutmeg, eggs, a pinch of salt and flour and gently bring together with your hands. Emphasis on gentle, the dough is like shortcrust pastry – you want to work it only as much as you need to.

Once it has come together, dust the bench and your hands with flour and take about a quarter of the dough, roll into a 1.5cm thick log. Slice into 2cm lengths, use the back of a fork to roll the gnocchi to give you the imprint – press the fork down into the length and pull towards you – and place on a floured baking sheet to rest. Repeat the process until all done and allow to rest for an hour or so.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a pot over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until softened. Add the speck and cook for a few minutes, or until crisp and fragrant. Add the chilli flakes and tomatoes, and reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

Cook the gnocchi in batches until they rise to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and repeat until they’re done.

The sauce should be ready to go, so add the spinach and cook for a minutes or so, or until wilted. Remove from the heat, toss – don’t you love tossing for Locky – through the gnocchi, cover in parmesan and devour, greedily.

Three cheers for Locky and his nudity!

 

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Stephanie Fried Rice

Main, Side, Snack

It felt like such a relief to be able to just jump in the car and drive a couple of suburbs this week, rather than having to get my people to organise the logistics of transferring major A-list celebrities to-and-from Brisbane Airport without anyone realising they are in town. I don’t want to complain about my blessed life, but sometimes it does get exhausting.

As I mentioned, I was once a swimming trainer – mainly to fulfill my passion for men in speedos and/or super tight pants – here in Brisvegas, as we oft loathsomely say. While my students feature the who’s who of Australia’s swimming elite – obviously though Grant Hackett and I used to booze together and Kowalski and I … well – my personal fave was little Stephy Rice.

I mean, sure, she felt it appropriate to tweet a homophobic sledge at a rugby team in 2010 but she did actually seem remorseful – plus, it’s not like I haven’t forgiven someone for making stupid statements – and apologised profusely. Shockingly I made the mature choice and accepted her apology and moved on … on the express condition that she appear on The Celebrity Apprentice.

While I stacked the cast with an actual businesswoman to shame her out of the competition and my nemesis Dawn Fraser – who hates that we’re close – she somehow won the game. Sure it further inflamed my rage for a couple of hours, but then I had to admire her moxie and we’ve been the dearest of friends ever since.

Sadly for the ailing Australian swim team, I couldn’t convince her to join me in staging a comeback but it was such a treat to catch-up and reconnect. We laughed, I briefly made her cry like she was apologising for a homophobic slur – despite her aggressive suggestions to the contrary, she is obviously voting ‘yes’ in the offensive same-sex marriage postal survey – and we ultimately became closer than ever before.

Though maybe that is just the Stephanie Fried Rice talking?

 

 

There is nothing better than fried rice, particular when it is sans prawns. Spicy, fresh and with a kick of heat, this is the perfect comfort meal to mend friendships and alleviate hunger.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephanie Fried Rice
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup long-grain rice, cooked as per packet instructions
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly whisked
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked and drained
1/2 cup peas, cooked and drained
1 capsicum, diced
2 tsp char sui sauce
2 tsp tamari
1 tsp rice wine
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat half the vegetable oil in a small frying pan, and lightly cook the eggs until they form a delicate omelette. Leave to rest.

Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add the bacon, frying until crisp. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for a further minute, or until fragrant. Add the carrot, corn and capsicum and cook for a further five minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for ten minutes before adding the sauces and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Devour.

 

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