Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly

Dessert, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!!

Yes, the secret – which I’ve surprisingly kept for the last twelve months after stealing the urn from Probst and counting the votes – is finally out and my dear friend and ex-colleague Michele Fitzgerald has officially been crowned the Sole Survivor of Kaoh Rong: Near-Death Island.

I first connected with Mich a couple of years back when we were both tending bar in Jersey where we bonded over our mutual love of Harry Potter. While I eventually left the bar to work as the Giudice’s financial advisor, our experiences did inspire me to travel back in time and write the screenplay to the hit 80s film Cocktail.

Poor Mich’s win has been quite polarising – hell, even I’m still debating whether Aubry was robbed of the title – but the fact of the matter is, she gave a strong final tribal council performance and won the vote. Convincingly.

Thanks to what people are calling a jury full of people that are helly-jelly of Aubry’s game, Michele was able to articulate her impressive, low-key game and convince them she was deserving of the title. In honour of the haters, I had to make her a Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly.




Haters are gonna hate … unless you serve them up this floral, tart and delightful dessert. While I will always be team Aubry – in honour of our dark curls, cool glasses and nerd behaviour – Mich played a hard, subtle game and her skill at connecting with others and making moves when she needed to was underestimated by us at home.

Congratulations Michele – while Aubry was also a deserving candidate, you completely earned your win. Enjoy your victory jelly!




Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly
Serves: 6.

150ml elderflower cordial
250ml water
100ml vodka
5 leaves gelatine
125g fresh raspberries

Combine the cordial, water and vodka in a large jug.

Break the gelatine up into pieces in a heatproof bowl, covering with a dash of the liquid and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes. If needed, place the bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water and stir until completely dissolved.

While the gelatine is soaking, rinse the raspberries.

Pour the gelatine liquid into the jug and stir to combine. Half-fill whatever you’re using as a mould – I went with margarita  glasses as this is a victory dessert and I’m not an animal – dot a couple of raspberries in each and place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours. Leave the remaining mixture at room temperature.

Repeat the process with the liquid and fruit, and return to the fridge to set for a further few hours.

Devour in honour of our reigned champ – well done Mich!


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Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto

Main, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

It pains me to say this … absolutely pains me, the runner-up / first loser of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, is the undisputed queen of the island Aubry Bracco.

While I agree that Michele earned her win, laying low and moving when she needed to, building relationships and winning some well-timed challenges – Aubry was the dominant force of the season, reading the situation perfectly and dictating the votes at every tribal she attended.

Thankfully – and I use that term loosely – losing Neal didn’t impact on her placement, so I guess it makes it easier to accept.

Well, easier to accept than the O.J. verdict at the very least.

I’ve long been friends with Aubs, having attended Brown University together with Summer Roberts where we connected over her love of drawing with crayons and my love of finger painting.

While I returned to Australia (following one of my deportations), we stayed in close contact throughout the years via our passion for social media.

Aubs was feeling defeated when she made it to Ponderosa after reading the vibe of the jury and knowing that she’d have to wait an entire year for her second place cheque. Thankfully I had a nice big bowl of my Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto, as a chaser to my warm embrace of course.




Like Aubs’ run in the game, the risotto packs a punch and overcomes some strong flavours to result in a smooth, delicate dish that is fit for a winner.

The winner that should’ve been – enjoy!




Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto
Serves: 4.

1 tbsp olive oil
60g unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 ⅓ cups arborio rice
100ml white wine
3 cups chicken stock, warm
100ml pure cream
300g mushrooms
150g brie, torn into pieces

Heat the oil and half the butter in a pan over medium-low heat.

Add the onions, garlic, chilli and half the rosemary, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and sweet.

Add the rice and stir to coat the grains before adding the wine. Stir and simmer for a minute, or until evaporated. Mix in the stock, a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed completely before adding the next. Continue cooking, while stirring, for about 15 minutes before adding in the cream and cooking for a further minute. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a skillet over high heat and cook the mushrooms and remaining rosemary until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season.

Add the mushrooms to the risotto, stir to combine and serve immediately, topping generously with pieces of brie.


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Mai Tai Trang

Drink, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

After Cyd went out in, well technically without, flames, we returned to camp – after spending a bit of time with Cyd’s buff mum – where Aubry discussed her ability to pull it out and Michele was concerned about Tai’s decision to save Aubry and what that means to her potential victory.

Echoing the audience at home, Tai questioned whether it was a final two or a three given Probst’s cryptic wording.

Ultimately though it was classic Probst just being classic, as a new twist was unleashed where the final three competed for the right to vote out a juror. After a tight race, Michele continued her low-key – is that her motto? – string of challenge wins and after hearing Aubry and Tai’s compelling arguments, sent a guaranteed and persuasive Aubry voter, Neal, packing.

Ultimately though, it didn’t impacted the outcome as my dear friend Tai continued in the hallowed tradition of Becky Lee by getting zero votes at final tribal council.

I first connected with Tai while staging my own one-man, zero audience, independent adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in San Fran’s Golden Gate Park. Given his gentle, loving spirit Tai would offer me support as he went about his job. You could argue that his kindness is responsible for my excessive, irritating self-confidence.

Tai was upset after final tribal, not because he lost but because he had just said goodbye to his dear friend and surrogate son #MarkTheChicken. After assuring him that he should be proud of his game – and that I had no chicken recipes for the top two – he started to perk back up.

My miracle, liquid elixir – which is just butt-loads of alcohol, dressed up with tropical mixers – may have had something to do with that though. Either way, my Mai Tai Trang was just what doc-Tai ordered.




I was very depressed by the lack of audience for my performance back in San Fran, which resulted in my downing a morning mai tai to give me the courage to continue with my dreams. After connecting with Tai, I started to double the batch as a way to say thank you … for being a friend.

Give the light, fresh flavours and a good whack of booze, it is also the perfect way to down your sorrows after snagging no final tribal council votes.





Mai Tai Trang
Serves: 1-2, depending on the mood.

60ml spiced rum
25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
20ml orange curacao
10ml orgeat
crushed ice
mint sprig, to garnish … or if you forgot, a lime wedge

Combine all liquid in a cocktail shaker, shake.

Place some crushed ice in the base of a glass, top with the booze, garnish with mint … or the aforementioned lime wedge and wash away your sorrows.


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Joe Del Campho

Main, Soup, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Yeah, yeah – previously on Survivor, Jason couldn’t pull off the impossible and was sent to Ponderosa despite everyone in the alliance trying to turn on each other. But this episode, seriously? Again! Another freaking medevac!?

Poor little Joey, Joe-Joe aka Rudy 2.0 found himself experiencing some severe #GastrointestinalDistress and was swiftly pulled from the game in fifth place. Confirming to Tai that, despite his fears, he goes home with his idol in his pocket.

Game, set, match editors – well played!

Anyway, let’s rewind. We got back to camp and again Joe spoke, before Michelle and Tai butted heads over Tai’s late-game villain turn after he once again flipped on his alliance for the third time.

We then headed straight to reward where Joe shocked everyone and won the reward, proving that slow and steady wins the race, and ended his anti-Anglim streak in the process.

Damn straight he #GetsItDoneAt71!

I first connected with Joe about four decades ago when we worked for the FBI together. Joe is an absolute gentleman and acted like a mentor to me, despite my questionable relationship with the law.

We stayed close throughout the years – despite my many scandals, arrests and stints in rehab – and Joe has remained a constant in my life and has always tried to help me be the best version of me. Could you imagine how bad I would have been without him?

Anyway, poor little Joe overindulged in the delicious meat at his Hef reward, despite not being a big meat guy, and sadly that was his downfall.

We heard all about Cydney upping her game (by downplaying the fact that she could literally crush everyone left in the game), Joe, Cyd and Aubry formed a final three alliance, Tai and Michelle joined forces, Aubry and Tai reconnected while Michelle and Cydney solidified their bond … all for nothing after Joe was done in, I assume, by an extreme case of meat sweats!

Having zero respect for the fact that he was just medically evacuated for stomach issues – and the fact that he is 71, to boot – I decided to go with a (potentially) digestively aggressive Joe Del Campho to welcome him to post-hospital Ponderosa.




In my defense, pho was Joe and my go to meal after cracking a case / defeating the bad-guys / whatever it is we did in the FBI back in the day (I was way too high to remember those days) – it was to us, what shawarma is to the avengers, you know?

So yeah, onion, par cooked-meat and chilli isn’t a good thing on paper – but it was the ultimate comfort food for my dear old friend. Despite that, the fresh flavours, delicately cooked meat and the kick of heat and lime work together to bring you a pho that dances in your mouth.

Plus, ginger is good for you … so there is that, right? Enjoy!




Joe Del Campho
Serves: 4.

5 cups beef stock
3cm piece ginger, finely grated
2 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
cinnamon quill
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
dried pho noodles, softened in boiling water for a couple of minutes
250g beef sirloin, finely sliced across the grain
1 onion, finely sliced
4 shallots, green part only, finely sliced
⅓ cup chopped coriander
black pepper
lime wedges, to serve
sliced chillies, to serve
Thai basil leaves, to serve
bean sprouts, to serve
sriracha sauce

Place stock, ginger, spices, fish sauce, soy sauce and 2 cups of cold water in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Place a handful of pho noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to rest until cooked through or about fifteen minutes, drain and leave to rest.

Thinly slice the steak – it helps if you freeze it for about 20 minutes before.

Remove the spices from the stock mixture with a slotted spoon.

To serve, place pho noodles in the bottom of a bowl, layer the raw steak and onion over the top and cover generously with the piping hot stock. Season generously and sprinkle on some coriander.

To eat, season to taste with lime juice and chilli and add in some basil and sprouts. As I like heat and disregard Joe’s health, I topped it up generously with some sriracha.

The heat may have got things moving?


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Julia Sokolowsquinoa Salad

Main, Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Previously on Survivor, Tai escaped from the hold of the dark ones … who technically would be the Dark Two, but whatever, semantics. Tai went back to the heroes and gave us a classic Tribal Council moment when he nah bro’d Scot to the jury.

Everyone but Jason/Kyle/Sarge and the beauty girls seemed happy about the switch, particularly Tai and Aubry who spent, what I assume was the entire night making out.

Poor Caleb, first being brutally medevaced, now cheated on by Tai? Tragic.

We then heard Jason/Kyle/Sarge repeat the same confessional sixteen times before we headed to reward where luck was not on what’s-his-face’s side again, missing the opportunity to compete for fried chicken and wine, aka my foreplay. While the castaways were happy, I’m pretty sure that production stole a romantic date Probst had planned for us, so I’m obviously suing CBS.

While the third/second coming of the Black Widow Brigade and The Witches Coven respectively were away on reward with a random dog, no joke, Sargsonle once again spoke about how screwed he was while Julia salivated at the thought of booting Tai and murdering fan-favourite Mark the Chicken – who has had more screentime than Rudy 2.0 all season.

Little did she know how soon she’d be getting to eat as, once again, the castaways went a bit crazy and turned on my dear friend and protege, Julia Sokolowski after Tai dotted his T and crossed his I to save himself. Well technically, Aubs has kind of had it out for her for a few weeks now. But she was legitimately #Blindsided, so I still chalk it up to a bit of Kaoh Rong cuckoo.

Oh and Michelle won immunity spelling blindside before blindsided her closest ally and the second place finisher of the challenge, so that is pretty ironic. Maybe. More than Alanis’ examples were.


I first met Jules last year and despite not knowing her for long, she has quickly become one of my closest friends and I am endeavouring to mould her into being a kind, rational and completed grounded person, just like me!

You see, JuJuSki is lucky enough to not only attend my Alma Mater, Boston University, but also to have pledged my sorority Alpha Phi.

As a former president of Alpha Phi in the mid-90s (there was a campus serial killer at the time which inspired both Scream 2 and Scream Queens … but I’ll tell you about it later), I like to provide support and guidance to my new sisters and help shape the minds of the future. JuJu is a shining star and as soon as I saw her, I knew that she had to be my latest mentee.

Ju was sad to make her way to Ponderosa, but as a super fan, was able to respect the gameplay. Plus I had a big bowl of my Julia Sokolowsquinoa Salad on hand to distract her from her boot slash not eating Mark the Chicken.




Full disclosure, I spilt some wine and Julia shed some tears into the pot while cooking the quinoa so it is a bit soggier than normal. Obviously, we expect no judgement. Plus, even if you tried, Julia would just straight up turn around and walk out mid-way through your sentence like she did to Jeff mid-snuff. Girl is tough.

Despite the hiccup, this salad is seriously good! The sweetness of the pumpkin works perfectly with the nuttiness of the goat’s cheese and the tang on the orange. Plus, quinoa is healthy so you can feel totally smug after eating it.





Julia Sokolowsquinoa Salad
Serves: 4.

450g can whole baby beetroot, rinsed and drained (You could use fresh, trimmed, scrubbed, wrapped in foil and baked for 30mins. But who can be bothered in the middle of the Cambodian jungle?)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
800g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh thyme
400g white quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 oranges
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
½ cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
120g goat’s cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 180C. Spread pumpkin out on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with extra oil, the cumin, a good whack of salt and pepper and bake for about 30 minutes, or golden and cooked through.

Cook quinoa following packet directions, avoiding to overcook or drown in booze/tears like we did – maybe you like mushy, soggy food? Either way, when it is cooked to your liking, set it aside to cool.

Peel and segment the oranges over a large bowl to catch all of the juice and combine with the honey, mustard and oil. Stirring to combine.

Cut beetroot into wedges and add to the orange and dressing with the pumpkin, quinoa, parsley, walnuts and cheese.

Devour and let your post blindside rage disappear.


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Scot Pollartichoke Dip

Condiment, Dip, Party Food, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Previously on Survivor, Debbie added juror to her extensive resume while the under 70s boys created chaos / Tai went to the darkside. Thankfully in Survivor, pride comes before a fall and after an episode partly-lived in the boys’ fantasy land, proclaiming their maturity and greatness and the fact they are in control, Aubry and Cydney continued their domination (who has better voting records? Exactly) and sent poor Scot and his questionable tatts to the jury.

Aside from the boys continual cockiness, we also got to witness the emergence of the final storyline of the season at the reward challenge, that being the battle between Julia v Tai for the Colby Donaldson memorial challenge beast title, with JuJuSki dominating for love – outlasting Joe for an entire four seconds – and Tai winning an (albeit cursed) advantage, essentially making him Dara’s demi-God.

Sure neither of them went on to win immunity, that went to what’s-his-face (no seriously, what is he going by – Sarge, Jason or the other one?), but mark my words, this season will birth an unlikely challenge beast.

With old-mate winning immunity and in possession of a hidden immunity idol, the under-70-with-peens alliance felt even more unstoppable. I don’t know if he woke up from the darkness he was held under, or felt safe with his newly minted God status, but Tai went back to the good guys and nah bro’d Scot’s request for the idol and sent him sadly into the night.

Sadly for poor Scot, this isn’t the first time misplaced trust has gotten him into trouble. You see, I am actually the reason for the “hey kids, do drugs” video – realistically, this should not come as a surprise to anybody. I was on a bender at the time and assured Scot the camera was off, knowing that his sway as a pro athlete would bring me stacks of business in and around West Beverly High.

Literally high, I had hoped.

Despite his portrayal on the show, Scot is an absolute sweetheart and despite wanting to throttle him throughout his time on the show, I figured it was crazy hypocritical to hold a grudge given our history, so welcomed him to ponderosa with open arms … and a big bowl of my famed Scot Pollartichoke Dip.




Surprisingly, Scot was in good spirits when he made his way to Ponderosa – maybe he learnt about being a good sport during his time in the NBA, despite my advice to always seek revenge. Shit, am I the one that encouraged his behaviour last episode?

Anyway, artichoke dip is literally the greatest thing to ever happen. No joke. Hot, creamy, rich and cheesy … it is everything I want from a man shot straight into my mouth.

Minds out of the gutter, it is awesome – enjoy!




Scot Pollartichoke Dip
Serves: 1 booted b-baller and his terrible influence.

800g canned artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for garnishing
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
handful baby spinach, shredded
crudites, crackers or bread, for scooping

Preheat oven to 220°C.

In a food processor, place half the artichokes, mayo, parmesan, lemon juice, and garlic, and process until smooth.

Add shallots and the remaining artichokes and give a little pulse, without going nuts, so you have some texture. Fold through spinach and place in a size appropriate baking dish (not Tai tiny or Scot giant), top with extra parmesan and bake until hot and golden. 30 minutes should suffice.

Garnish with shallots, if you can be bothered, before devouring and burning off the roof of your mouth. Maybe let it cool a bit first?


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Nick Paitatorano Pizza

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Previously on Survivor, the tribe commenced their reversion back to High School before Neal’s knee ejaculated and he was pulled from the game.

Oh FYI, that was read by Scot Pollard while impersonating Probst. Then reread in his terrible version of Gump.

The episode opened up with the cool kids plotting out their remaining time on the island (excluding the future casualties), which you just know means you can sit back, relax, pour a wine and celebrate their eventual win, right?

Nope, not at all. You know this game – as soon as you’re confident, you’re voted out … as my dear friend and perennial withdrawal from my spank bank, Nick learnt the hard way. As tragic as Debbie and our loss is, his passing (I just assume they die when not in the game … which is a fair assumption this season) allowed us to witness Cydney emerge and commence her domination.

Oh and there were no balls this week but Aubry took a stack of dumps, so you know Probst was bringing his A game.

I first connected with Nick about six years ago when I was working in the casting department of of a major gay porn company. I had just pitched my first tent film, a porn parody of Mad Men titled Mad 4 Men and was stalking the streets to find the lead role of Don Dicker, when I saw the dreamy Nick Boston Rob Mariano Jr.

He took my breath away, albeit not in the way I would have liked, and I knew in an instant that no one else would be able to play the role. I tried courting him for months however, sadly, Nick was not interested in anything beyond our friendship … which has been going strong ever since. I will get that porn made eventually … or make a sexy-Will Forte biopic, I can’t choose but in any event, I’ve digressed.

Dear, sweet Tai followed in the hallowed Kaoh Rong / Keith Nale tradition of saying too much at tribal and sending yourself or an ally under the bus, cementing the Joe’s Angels alliance and sending Nick to my wide open arms (and Neal’s wide open wound) in Ponderosa. While he arrived harbouring no ill will following his blindside, I made quick work abusing him until he was so enraged that he needed a nice, comforting Nick Paitatorano Pizza.




Pizza, as evidenced by the number of people accepting Probst’s immunity challenge temptation, is the kind of food you can’t go past … particularly if you’re having a shit day or, you know, haven’t eaten properly in weeks so I knew this would be perfect for when Nick’s in-game smarm caught up with him.

The rich creaminess of the cheese and sauce are perfectly cut through by the salt of the pancetta and woodiness of the rosemary. Throw in the world’s favourite carb/vegetable, potato, and you’ll cream your shorts … like you would have if Nick accepted the Don Dicker role.





Nick Paitatorano Pizza
Serves: 1-2.

pizza dough (I used the one from Pizsa Zsa Gabor)
white pizza sauce (I used this one)
1 potato
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves removed
100g pancetta
⅓ cup gorgonzola, crumbled

Follow the dough recipe on Zsa Zsa’s recipe and then preheat the oven to 180°C.

While the oven is getting as hot as the showmance between Debbie and Nick, which sadly never was, get to work making the white sauce. I added an extra clove of garlic, but I love garlic so don’t let me be pushy.

Thinly slice the potato into 3mm-ish rounds, roughly chop the rosemary leaves and slice the pancetta into strips.

Roll out the dough and slather liberally in white sauce. Scatter the potato on the base, then some rosemary, the pancetta and then top with the gorgonzola.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, crisp and the cheese bubbly.


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Peter Baklavenstos

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Running into an ex is always awkward, but when it is seeing the person that broke your heart after getting them on the show … after they were just voted out is kinda satisfying.

Scrap that, it is fucking glorious.

This week we started with Petey trying to woo Tai into his third showmance in six episodes while over on Chanloh, part-time model Debbie and her adonis Nick engaged in, what on the island was, the filthiest and most explicit romance since Ozzy and Amanda in Micronesia.

Love, however, isn’t what we watch for … it is all about Probst making a series of ball puns while people were bobbing for them during the reward challenge. Once again, Aubrey continued to be the challenge beast of the season.

Peter spent most of the episode putting a target on his back and being paranoid, before a block almost took out Biden at the challenge. Thankfully he wasn’t evacuated, giving Aubrey another chance to shine when she literally crossed out Julia’s name and changed her vote to Peter.

I don’t know if it was due to budget cuts or they are trying to be green, but I’m thankfully there are limited pieces of parchment for drama’s sake.

I first met Petey on the impersonating circuit where he, obviously, was a Time Square Obama and I was any misc-dark haired celebrity with curls, but was most often recognised as Fred Savage, Ray Martin or aggressive Andy Samberg.

Pete and I, again obviously, fell into a torrid love affair bathed amongst the lights of Bro-ad-way (right near where, I assume, Reed cheated on Josh). Our loving relationship was so strong, he convinced me to don blackface (to upset my nemesis Harry Connick Jr. – he always refused my advances/to whisper my name) and play the Michelle to his Barack.

Mich (who I am also friends with) loved the idea and thankfully deemed my arms perfect enough to play her … lucky I invented that workout system with her in 2014. I must look at releasing it soon, if only I paid Todd Tucker for his work filming it.

Anyway, when I found out Pete was officially going to be on Survivor I quickly tried to call Probst and try to help pre-game for my lover, but his attitude got in the way (I’m team Biden on the circuit, not on the island) and we sadly went our separate ways.

While you may assume that I would handle a break-up with expletives, lighter-fluid and booze, that wasn’t the case when I reconnected with Pete in loser lodge … probably as I was so smug to see him just before the merge, meaning my break-up, once again proves that Kat Mr. Edorsson is a genius – who wants to date someone that doesn’t make the merge?

Thankfully I am very mature and rational and was kind enough to whip it out him up a nice batch of my (usually post-coital) Peter Baklaventos.




Baklava, while time consuming, is one of the easiest sweets you can make but still looks impressive. Obviously this is my favourite kind of recipe – one that gives you the most bang for your buck … particularly if it is for a post bang meal.

Between the pastry, rosewater and sticky nuts dripping in a sweet, moist glaze … this is something you need to have in and around your mouth. ASAP.





Peter Baklavenstos
Makes: About 24 pieces.

250 gm each pistachios and walnuts, finely chopped
100 gm caster sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
200 gm butter, coarsely chopped
500 gm filo pastry
Honey syrup
300 gm caster sugar
125 gm honey
1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only
1 cinnamon quill
4 drops rosewater

Combine nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan, set aside and keep warm. Brush a 24x34cm baking dish with butter. Cut filo sheets to fit tray snugly and cover with a damp tea towel.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Layer one-third of the filo pastry in tray, brushing butter between each layer. Yes this can be annoying and I generally avoid this set when making filo pies … but this is the one dish you kind of can’t avoid this step, sorry.

Spread half the nut mixture on top, repeat the process with the next third of filo, top with the remaining nuts and do the filo again. Once more, with feeling and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the fridge and cut the dish into 4cm diamonds with a sharp knife, making sure to get through all layers of filo and bake until golden and crisp, about 50 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly.

While in the oven, get onto the honey syrup by combining the sugar, honey, lemon rind, cinnamon and 300ml water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes and the flavours have gloriously steeped in the liquid. Remove from heat, strain and stir through the lemon juice and rosewater and set aside.

Cool baklava for about 5 minutes and pour the syrup evenly over the pastry. Set aside at room temperature to cool completely … if you can. Then go crazy and devour it.


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Banana Khait Muffins

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Again, seriously?! I don’t know how I am going to pay off all my bookies – once again, one of my top winner picks heading into the season was sent to loser lodge (and I am looking to start another ponzi scheme). Poor Anna was dealt a dud hand in the swap and her tribe opted not to hold her but to fold her and let her run away into my arms.

It all started innocently with Obama capitalising on last week’s drama by opening up the Chan Loh trauma centre, lancing potential (and likely, judging from the rusty hook) future medivac Sexy Rudy’s finger, before my frosty dandy got his hand-ys on the hidden immunity before the aforementioned switch up.

After exiling poor Julia to hell beach, with nothing but Darnell’s brown-trout for company, the members of the new tribes jostled for position … or something – let’s be honest, all I heard was something about Obama’s low hanging fruit.


I first met Anna a couple of years ago, when I hired her to be my poker coach. You see, I had created a strip-poker group with my celebrity crushes / hot friends and needed to learn to play to get them as naked as possible, as quickly as possible. Anna is an absolute card shark and after helping me find abs-olute pleasure with my friends, she was instantly welcomed to my inner circle.

Fun fact: I actually used time-travel to go back and co-write The Gambler with Kenny Rogers.

After the tribes convened to go fishing and witness a puzzle laying down for Debbie like a lover, a target was firmly set on Anna or Tai’s back … and since Tai has managed to take another island (non-puzzle) lover, Anna was royal flushed from the tribe.

She was very hurt to have made her way to loser lodge this soon but was thrilled to be able to help me make money off the rest of the pre-merge boots in a high stakes game of Cambrodian Fame Hungry Poker (it is aggressive, sexual and involves also winning the opportunity to be Tai’s next bro-mance).

She was even more thrilled to see my Banana Khait Muffins, which I used as currency to pay her when I was her student … which inspired the old rapping meatball lady from my hit movie The Wedding Singer.




Banana muffins are quite possibly the easiest thing to make but since I originally used these as currency, I had to dress them up a bit so caramelised the bananas first and added some nuts … because who doesn’t love a bit of caramel and nut action to up the stakes? The caramel gives you sticky pockets of goodness that leave your stomach feeling like it’s got a very satisfied full house. Or black jack, probably.





Banana Khait Muffins
Serves: 8-12.

200g caster sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
2 bananas, sliced
½ cup walnuts, chopped
350g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
135ml grapeseed oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g natural yoghurt

Preheat oven to 170°C, fan-forced.

Pour the sugar into a very clean, medium-sized frying pan over medium heat and leave to melt until a caramel begins to firm. As hypocritical as I may sound, don’t stir it … be patient and let it gloriously melt by itself. Once it is molten, add the salt, banana and walnuts, stirring until they are coated.

Place the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet … ingredients in the other. Add the caramel/banana mix to your wet ingredients (saving a teaspoon of caramel for each muffin to drizzle on top after they are baked, if you want).

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined, making sure you avoid overworking it. A) if you do, it makes them dense and b) why put in my effort than you have to?

Spoon the mixture into lined muffin pans and bake for 40 minutes. Cool and drizzle with reserved caramel, if you didn’t eat it while they were baking … which full disclosure, I did.

What can I say, Probst makes me hungry!


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Alecia Golden Syrup Dumplings

Dessert, Side, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Poor, scrappy Alecia!

Not only did she struggle with those embryos a few episodes back and has been consistently bullied by the remaining male Brawns, she was now booted as an afterthought of Survivor’s mother-nature massacre.

After returning from the reward challenge of doom, Alecia tried to defend her dastardly encouragement of her teammates. Shockingly, this fell on deaf ears and she was abused some more before heading off to the immunity challenge. Upon its loss, being delightful, her tribe requested that Probst save them the bother of attending tribal and to just take her back to loser lodge with him.

While Alecia vetoed the idea, it was just delaying the inevitable … and gave her team the opportunity to hurl some more abuse at her, as she made her way out. As I’ve mentioned, I coincidentally was friends with all of the cast members before the show but I will not defend any of the negative and often cruel behaviour some of them are displaying. Even when I know there may be two sides to the story.

I first met dear Alecia as a child, while working with her father. I was a young, up and coming boxer in Philadelphia (my story inspired the Oscar winning film series Rocky) and he was my fight promoter, while she was both my sparring partner and cheerleader. Yes, she could be annoying from time to time but so am I, and so is everyone else … so we never made an issue out of it.

She was disappointed when she made it to Loser Lodge but thankfully still had a positive outlook and took it all on the chin while downing a nice big serving of my Alecia Golden Syrup Dumplings.




While Alecia has a positive, never-say-die attitude I don’t think her post boot sunny disposition was all thanks to that. I mean, these dumplings are sweet. Crazy sweet. But what do you expect when you cook pillowy scone-esque dough in a shit-tonne of sugar?

Either way, devour and be thankful you aren’t the pariah of the Brawn tribe – enjoy!




Alecia Golden Syrup Dumplings
Serves: 6.

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
salt, to taste
80g unsalted butter
1 eggs
50ml milk
1 ½ cup golden syrup
½ cup water
ice cream, to serve

Sift the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt before rubbing in 20g butter into the flour until it resembles wet sand. Add the egg and milk, stirring to combine and mix till the dough just comes together. Do not overwork it like Caleb in a challenge. Set this aside to rest.

Combine the golden syrup, water and the remaining 60g butter into a large frypan. Bring to the boil to combine and turn down to a gentle simmer.

Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place into the syrup. Cover the pan with foil and then top with the lid and cook for about 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Serve generously with the remaining sauce and ice cream.


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