Ginnifer Saunders

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Drink

I’m sure it comes as absolutely no surprise that we’re kicking off Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday Party by catching up with the Queen of Ab Fab slash my dearest friend of all, Jennifer Saunders.

I’ve known Jen for years, after meeting in college and living together with our mutual friend Dawn. Fun fact: I actually introduced the girls, helped them sort through their issues AND encouraged them to pursue a career in comedy.

Long story short, you’re fucking welcome.

In addition to inspiring, arguably, the greatest comedy duo of all time, I also inspired Jen and Dawn to write the sketch that inspired Ab Fab. And once more with feeling, inspired.

In. Spir. Ed.

While I was, egregiously, never invited to guest in the show, Jen made it up to me eventually by casting me as Kate Moss in the movie. Yes – I played Kate Moss. Not, Kate Moss.

Jen and I have both been super busy over the last year, so it was great to be able to take the time to mark her special occasion, reconnect and down a dickload of Ginnifer Saunders.

 

 

Technically just a gin and tonic, I always find a way to inject some fruit into the festivities and have all cups run over. With joy. Sweet, sweet, voluminous, joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ginnifer Saunders
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
60ml gin
120ml tonic
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon slices, for garnish
2 tbsp raspberries
2 tbsp blueberries
dash of bitters
couple of ice cubes

Method
Combine everything in a shaker.

Shake.

Pour.

Drink.

 

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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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Luke Toquinoa Bowl

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Poultry, Side, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the OG Asaga were the closest alliance in the game until Michelle was left out of the Tessa blindside causing tension between Michelle and Sarah. After a glorious reward of dirty bird, Locky continued his winning streak and took out his first individual immunity. Back at camp, Michelle continued to seethe at Sarah and rallied the tribe to send the strategic model to the jury.

Given Sarah’s boot was unanimous, we returned to camp the next day where the castaways were so delirious you could be forgiven for thinking Australian Idol was rebooted. Michelle was extremely happy to have taken out Sarah and reaffirmed her desire to win, promising us and I assume herself, that she has not lasted 45 days to stumble in the final ten. She then shared that she was in a tight pair with Pete – seriously, when did that happen – and they agreed to go to the end together, plotting to join with Jericho and Luke to take control. The boys, obviously, agreed instantly, without question.

Jericho and Luke then took a turn to the shore to confirm that they will join with Michelle and Pete, though completely believe that they will win out in the end. Locky, Ziggy and Tara however were not to be outdone, seeing that the other four were planning to work together they vowed to join together to try and get further. Sadly Locky’s assertive planning – which was the right idea – irked Tara and she realised that getting rid of Locky is probably in her best interests. Which would piss me off a lot more if he’d been nude since episode 2 (oh to be Mark in this picture!).

After a brief winner-esque scene from Luke about his life back at home and – ugh, obviously – being the king, Locky was feeling down at camp and tried to assure Tara and Ziggy that sticking together was their best chance. Tara then wandered down the beach to think and find allies to take out my babetown when she stumbled upon a moral dilemma, to take two quilts for the comfort of the tribe or a huge ass lolly stash for herself. She then suggested using them to pull people in and I think it has triggered my Jericho-the-cookie-monster six episode arc PTSD.

While on her sugar high, she stumbled upon the aforementioned cookie monster and Luke and got them onboard to take out Locky. She then approached Ziggy about aligning with her, Jericho and Luke to take out Locky, before showing her said lollies to try and secure her loyalty. Thankfully their lolly scene was far less insufferable than Jericho’s epic saga.

Tara then told us that the only thing she needs to worry about, is Locky winning immunity … which is apparently like saying bloody Mary in the mirror three times. Jonathan appeared as summoned for the immunity challenge which is essentially a more complex musical chairs slash memory hybrid where the tribe mates had to collect covered items, with one person eliminated each round until someone takes out immunity. Tara was first out, followed by Pete, Jericho, Ziggy and Michelle, leaving Locky and Luke to battle it out for immunity. JoJo changed it up, requiring the boys to each find five items in order. Locky got out to an early lead, securing two before Luke was on the board. Despite a valiant effort to catch up, Locky powered ahead and secured his second immunity, much to the chagrin of literally everyone.

Everyone was quick to congratulate Locky when they arrived back at camp, despite how furious they were. Tara decided on an as yet undecided Plan B, taking Ziggy into the jungle to figure it out. They decided that strength was needed to beat Locky in challenges, so kind of committed to getting rid of Michelle, I guess. Ziggy approached Luke to raise the idea, which he agreed to instantly, which is oft the way.

Tara and Luke approached Locky to get rid of Michelle, however he thought it was pointless to get rid of Michelle and instead they should get rid of Luke and make a big move in front of the jury. While Ziggy was quick to jump onboard with the plans, Tara wasn’t convinced as Locky went on his merry way to convince Pete to trust him. While that was happening? Oh, Tara went and told Luke their plans which lead Luke, Jericho and Michelle to get rid of Ziggy instead. Jericho then told Pete the Ziggy plan, leading him to discuss who is the better option – Luke or Ziggy – with Michelle.

At tribal council Ziggy announced that everyone was scrambling – which shouldn’t come as a shock except for the fact everyone pretends they don’t – before Pete mentioned that despite desperately wanting immunity, people winning multiple immunities is dangerous and they need to be taken out ASAP. This made Ziggy extremely nervous, though kind of seemed defeated. Michelle, Jericho and Luke all spoke extremely cryptically before Pete and Michelle started whispering about who they should target. While Pete wanted to take out Luke, it seemed like she wanted him to stay leaving me more confused than I was about Jericho’s driving talk … which was more confusing about yesterday’s kitten story. Obviously death was the end result, though.

The votes rolled in and despite her best efforts, Pete got his way and Luke was sent packing to my hot-and-cold embrace at the jury villa. While I have been kind of harsh about Luke – and then extremely supportive in the next breath – we are the dearest of friends, having met while I was working in the mines. I was obviously there to research for the lead role in my upcoming remake of the Coal Miner’s Daughter, so had little interest in doing any work. I noticed Luke’s mammoth work ethic, hitched myself to his wagons and survived as long as I could before they caught me out.

Given his kindness, I repaid him each night the only way I know how – well, one of only two ways I know how – by making him a big, fat Luke Toquinoa Bowl.

 

 

Don’t let the ugliness of my photos fool you – quinoa and I are not a dream team, ok – this meal is delicious. Spicy, fresh and packing a whole lot of heat, the quinoa and veggies almost cancel out the sour cream and dickloads of cheese. Almost.

Enjoy!

 

 

Luke Toquinoa Bowl
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 cup white quinoa
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
500g chicken breasts, diced
200g canned chipotle chillis in adobo sauce, blitzed
400g can crushed tomatoes
400g can black beans
1 cup corn kernels
avocados
1 lemon, juiced
2 shallots, finely sliced
6-12 tortillas, depending on the size of your bowl
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
sour cream, sriracha and coriander, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Rinse the quinoa under cold water until it runs clear. Transfer into a pan and add two cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil. Once rollicking like a night out with Lukey, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain off any excess liquid and fluff with a fork like you would cous cous.

While the quinoa is getting plump, chuck the sweet potato on a lined baking sheet with a lug of olive oil, the cumin, chilli, coriander seeds and a good whack of salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Place it in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

After that, heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and brown the chicken breast. Once almost cooked, add the chipotles, tomatoes, black beans and corn and simmer until completely cooked through.

Now for the last semi-difficult bits, mash the avocadoes with the lemon juice and shallots. Press the tortillas into Texan muffin tins or the serving bowls, brush with some olive oil and place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes to crisp.

To serve, put some quinoa in the bottom of the bowl – I mixed it in with the chipotle chicken because I was drunk cooking, thus it looking like a turd – top with some chicken, spiced sweet potato, guacamole, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, sriracha and coriander.

Then devour, smugly, knowing the quinoa makes it healthy. Right?

 

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Spinachevy and Chase Rolls

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds, Main, Party Food, Snack, Vegetarian

After kicking things off with EGOT recipient Reets and a semi-sweet trip down memory lane with my dear(ly departed) Jack, I thought we needed to bring back the funny for day three. And, obviously, there is no man that has won exactly three Emmy Awards (that I can be bothered looking up) funnier, that I can call a friend than Chevy Chase.

I’ve known Chevs for years, after meeting in Betty Ford – who fun fact, gave me free treatment at the clinic as we’re also dear friends – in the ‘80s and becoming the fastest of friends. While there were obviously some issues between us after he dropped the N-bomb on the set of Community and refused to make me play his son in the newest Vacation movie, I found a way to forgive him.

Hey – I forgave Candace Cameron Bure for being Candace Cameron Bure, I can do anything.

Anyway being a betting man, Chevs was keen to get straight to work after a brief catch-up. Given the fact two of his Emmys are for writing, I bequeathed him the great honour of discussing all – yes, all – the writing categories.

Obvi, Big Little Lies has Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama Special, while he backed Saturday Night Live – again, obvi – for Variety Series, I think it’s going to go to John Oliver or Samantha Bee. As far as the series categories go, Aziz and Lena have the comedy wrapped up for the sublime Thanksgiving episode of Master of None. We again disagreed on the drama winner, Chevs going for The Handmaid’s Tale, while I think the Duffers’ will take it out with Stranger Things … as a consolation for losing Outstanding Drama Series.

As you can imagine, what with two disagreements, we needed something hella hearty and comforting to get us through. Thankfully my Spinachevy and Chase Rolls more than fit the bill.

 

 

Fresh, spicy and dripping with cheese, these are my favourite kind of rolls this side of Alyssa Edwards’ backrolls.

*Tongue pop* Enjoy, okkkuurrr?

 

 

Spinachevy and Chase Rolls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained completely
250g danish feta, crumbled
½ cup parmesan, grated
small handful dill, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets puff pastry, halved
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the spinach, feta, parmesan, dill, onion, breadcrumbs, zest and salt and pepper in a bowl.

Split the mixture into quarters and roll each portion into long – puff pastry length – sausages and place along an edge of the puff pastry. Brush the edge of the pastry and roll to enclose, ensuring the seam is on the bottom. Cut into three and place on a baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining three quarters.

Brush each roll with eggs and bake for 25 minutes or until golden, crisp and flaky. Devour.

 

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Marktini Wales

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Drink, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara flipped out on Peter for flipping after weeks of Tessa calling her a flipper, leaving Tara and Locky on the bottom with AK in control. Meanwhile Sam suffered a near drowning before Henry finally succeeded in throwing the immunity – after a four episode build-up – sending her out of the game as the sixth boot.

As Asaga returned to camp Henry and Queen Jacqui were feeling confident after pulling off their big move, while Mark skulked around silently like a predator. Not the predator, but a predator … like a lion, you know? We then heard from him where he shared that he was indeed pissed, would be holding a grudge, and hot damn, doesn’t anger look good on him?

Things were still looking bleak for Mark the next day – his rage level going from pissed to livid – before cornering Kent to find out what the hell happened at the last tribal council. While Kent was quick to cover for Jacqui and her involvement in the plot, though distanced himself a bit from Henry. All of it was for nought though, as Mark knew that they were definitely the ones pulling the strings. Jacs and Henny gurl then caught up while Jacs shared the intel from Kent’s walk, and Henry vowed to get rid of Markie Mark at the next opportunity.

Meanwhile things were looking up over at Samatau where we finally heard a bit more from Ziggy who likened the game to waterpolo, the sport she competed in at the olympics. Twice. Tara and Locky decided that the Olympic athlete was their best chance for survival, approaching her by the water to flip on AK a rejoin with them. While Ziggy agreed that AK is a threat that definitely needs to be dealt with, she wasn’t sure if the time was right … but knew that she holds the power and helping them could get her some favours down the track.

The rains returned , as did Locky’s glistening torso and the shark he’s been attempting to catch since before Henry started throwing immunity challenges. Like the great Tom Westman and Amanda Kimmel before him, Locky finally caught said shark with a machete and helped bring the tribe back together. The only thing that could have made the moment better was him being naked, but sadly, I can’t always get what I want. Which is fucked.

Back at Asaga Luke thought he’d hit the jackpot when a fresh coconut fell from the sky … which turned out to be a wasp nest, biting the shit out of him and making me worry that he won’t actually live to see day 55. Thankfully he survived the attack and decided to play it forward, pulling Mark aside, fuelling his Jacs/Henny rage and trying to plot splitting up my favourite power couple by knocking out Jacqui.

IF THAT HAPPENS, I WILL COME FOR YOU BOTH.

Finally JLP and his guns returned to our screens for, and I know I say this a lot, one of my favourite Survivor challenges – sumo! While Samatau were shocked to see Sam had been voted out, Asaga were equally shocked to hear about Locky’s fishing abilities. But that is not what we’re here to enjoy – each tribe had to send a person up to battle on a sumo platform and avoid falling into the mud moat. First up, Ziggy made quick work of my queen Jacs, before Jarrad was sent in by Mark despite a valiant effort. Odette gave Asaga the lead over Tara before Locky tied things up for Samatau, pushing Luke in before it even began. Anneliese then defeated Sarah, Tessa made quick work of Michelle, Kent took out Pete and Henry tied things up by beating AK.

Ziggy once again defeated Jacqui before Jarrad put up the biggest fight against Mark, despite losing again. Odette once again defeated Tara, Locky tied things up by defeating Luke, meaning it came down to a battle between Anneliese and Sarah. After a long, hard battle, Sarah showed why she survived Naomi Campbell putting up a huge fight, despite losing the battle and sending Asaga tribe back to tribal council.

Back at camp Henry was feeling the pressure after losing again, though was glad to have the opportunity to take out Mark before he can get revenge for the Sam vote. While he seemed to have the numbers, with Jacs, Kent, Odette, maybe Jericho, Sarah and Ben in a pinch, Mark got to work trying to pull people over to his side. He and Luke cleaned up the mud in the shore and tried to fashion a plan to take out Jacs, where junky Luke reappeared, give me zero hope for their success.

Luke then approached Jericho and Michelle to join them in voting Jacs, where Michelle uttered the immortal words of the one true Survivor queen Sandra. Luke and Michelle then tried to get Sarah on side, where the model showed how good at the game she is, pointing out that Mark will easily get the power back if they let him. She then agreed that she was with them, before telling us that once again she was in the driver’s seat at tribal. We then heard from Odette again, after Luke told her that everyone had switched to his side and were voting out Jacqui. And met Ben, who I believe bombed the last reward challenge, who said that Luke is Mr. Boombastic and would screw his game sooner, rather than later.

At tribal rubbed salt in Sarah’s wounds for losing the challenge before praising her for her effort – good boy JoJo. Henry then alluded to get rid of Mark, as did Odette, with both of them saying that keeping the strongest wasn’t always the best idea. Jericho then stopped the proceedings to say that basing the vote on vengeance is not a good idea and they need to come together, which Sarah kind of agreed with, saying that consistency was the key. Sensing he is on the way out the door, Mark pointed out that Jacry are in the power position and need to be split up, and get rid of Jacs. While Luke loved it based on his shit eating grin, Jacqui was well pissed, giving some killer side eye.

Everyone appeared to be going back and forth in their mind, making Henry very nervous, though he was smart enough to mention that he trusts the people he trusts for a reason before Jericho once again tried to lobby to get rid of one of the liabilities. Based off Jacs abs, I assume he isn’t insinuating that is her, making me wonder who he thinks is voting with him for Ben or Michelle? After Henry didn’t whip the idol out for Jacqui, the votes started rolling in evenly for Jacs and Mark, filling me with anxiety before they (thankfully) started piling up on Mark, sending him from the game and saving my favourite power couple.

While it may come as a shock since he has morals and I am aggressive slash unhinged, Mark and I have been dear friends for years having met when I was consulting with the army. Hey, my aggression is a tactically asset sometimes? While I was never able to convince him to go AWOL with me, we did bond as he took me under my wing and tried to make me a better person. I knew that he’d be gutted to be voted out, but too nice to really let rip, so plied him with liquor to add some excitement, in the form of my Marktini Wales.

 

 

While he didn’t spill any good tea – and I didn’t want to hear it, if it was about Jacry – I did get him drunk enough to pluck up the courage to ask out Sam. Maybe I should have shaken it, like bond?

Eh – enjoy!

 

 

Marktini Wales
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
ice
2 shots gin
1 shot dry vermouth
twist of lemon

Method
Combine the ice, gin and vermouth in a cocktail shaker and stir to combine … because despite what Bond would have you believe, shaking is barbaric.

Pour the liquid – aka not the ice – into a martini glass, add a twist of lemon and devour, gladly.

 

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Salmontha Hashcakes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Seafood, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Sam and Mark W tried to become the second coming of the most boring showmance – El and Lee – while Jacqui and Henry formed the second version of great survivor duo – Denise and Malcolm. But that’s all we know about Asaga – other than cookies – as Samatau lost four straight immunities, sending Adam, Kate and Tarzan out of the game, before Tessa and AK were finally able to make a move, blindsiding Locky’s alliance and sending Aimee out of the game. Ay …

Things were nice and awkward as Samatau returned to camp following Pete’s flip, with Locky and Tara well and truly on the outs after tribal. Locky tried to lay on the charm – and my pants spontaneously fell off – as a storm rolled in, while Tara went the opposite route and let her rage fly, yelling at Pete for flipping on her. This obviously made AK a very happy boy, which I still don’t know if I’m onboard with just yet. Are we meant to like AK?

The next day we checked in with Asaga where Kent was doing handstands in the water, making me question my dick-togs fetish. We were reacquainted with Sarah who spoke about the joy of not having to attend tribal … though she was starting to hope that the winning streak would end. Echoing the sentiment, Henry was going stir-crazy waiting to make some moves and play the actual game. Slash get rid of episode one villain Sam.

It was still bleak in the cold light of day over at Samatau where Tara was sulking in a hammock, trying to avoid Pete who she and Locky are not ready to forgive just yet. Pete however was feeling proud of making his move and signalling to the others that he is a player, not a number. Though given how Australian Survivor normally goes, I don’t actually see that as a good thing.

Wanting to keep things exciting, JoJo arrived for the reward challenge where Asaga were shocked to discover Aimee was eliminated at tribal. The challenge, another homoerotic favourite of mine – why couldn’t Henry and Locky be on the same tribe – requires the tribes to stand on a log and navigate around each tribemate and get to the other side. Given it is for a barbie and booze, the stakes – lol – were high. Odette and Ben struggled big time for Asaga which allowed Samatau to take the lead with Tessa, Ziggy and Anneliese finishing the course before Sam finally got a point on the board for Asaga. Sadly it was all for nought as Samatau continued to widen the gap, ultimately putting their issues behind them and  taking out a much needed victory.

Sam was well pissed to have missed out of the barbie and vowed that Ben is not an asset and would be the next person out when they lose immunity. Which given the fact we’ve seen something other than the Jericho/Luke cookie sitcom at Asaga, a trip to tribal council feels imminent.

Samatau returned to camp to discover a table completely laden with food, instantly dissipating the various feuds as Tara and Locky got to work whipping up their feast. While everything was going peachy, AK quickly turned it all to shit while pondering aloud where the idol clue could be hidden.

Meanwhile back at Asaga, Sam spoke about struggling with not winning any rewards so far, though quickly pointed how confident was being in the majority alliance. Mother nature then decided it was time to bring her down a peg, sweeping her out into the ocean while fishing with Luke and Mark before Luke swam to her rescue.

Anneliese and Tara got together by the beach to talk about the new alliances on Samatau, both agreeing that AK will self-destruct before getting the chance to make it to the end. Tara continued to wallow in her fall from grace, breaking down with Locky and crying about how awful AK is and how hard the game is. Making him less and less likeable, AK bitched about her tears to Tessa and saying that she should be fighting. While yes, it is true, maybe don’t say it while she is mid-breakdown.

Back at Asaga, Henry spoke about his life outside of the game and reminded us about his continuing fauxgi lie. Sam and Sarah however are not buying the fact he is a yogi with the former trying to out him in front of the tribe. While he danced his way out of the lie, Sam and Sarah were more sure than ever that it was a lie. Henry realised that Sam was starting to question his career and vowed to throw the next challenge and get rid of her. For realsies, this time.

Right on cue JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where Henry’s v-lines plant me firmly on his side in the looming Henry/Sam feud. Given the fact that Locky is sure that Asaga’s continued victories all come down to Henry, I am starting to think he make actually get his way with the challenge. Each tribe started on a platform in the ocean before one-by-one diving into the water, climbing up and over an obstacle, running over a net and back to the shore. Once the entire tribe was in, one person from each tribe was required to cut through a rope to release puzzle pieces. While Locky got Samatau out to a strong lead, Michelle overtook Anneliese before Tessa dominated Kent and reclaimed the lead. Luke then overtook AK handing-back Asaga’s lead. Henry and Sarah had a nice headstart on the puzzle however Henry finally succeeded in throwing the challenge, moving at a snail’s pace allowing Tessa and Anneliese to overtake Asaga and take out their second immunity challenge.

Back at camp Henry was quick to apologise for blowing the puzzle while quietly thrilled his plan worked, vowing to get rid of Sam. He then approached Sam to talk the plan for tribal, where they agreed to split the vote between Michelle and Ben. He then did the walk around, getting everyone to agree to get vote out Sam. Sarah however, was not so sure.

While Sam tried to confirm the split between Michelle and Ben, she and Mark were feeling nervous about tribal and felt that something was up. Mark then used his army training to try and get some information out of Sarah, which she skillfully danced around. She however wasn’t feeling great and now wanted Mark out. He then continued to alienate people, approaching Jacqui and Kent to confirm the Michelle/Ben vote with Kent also wanting to get rid of Mark. Not to be outdone, Sam then approached people in the shelter and was so intense that I have no idea who they’re actually going to boot.

We arrived at tribal council where JLP’s guns were on point, as usual, while welcoming Asaga back. Kent spoke about his joy at avoiding tribal for so long, though was glad to finally put his brain to use again. Mark tried to play the diplomat, talking about the challenge being close and everyone pulling their weight at camp. Henry continued to play defeated for blowing the challenge before Luke joked that Henry and Sarah were responsible for them losing. Sam through some shade on people not pulling their weight, before Michelle and Ben jumped in to defend themselves and say that while they have no idea how to camp – preach – they are trying, in their own way.

Talk quickly turned to people overplaying, with Sarah pointing out that someone going too hard too soon creates too much tension. This made Sam nervous, as she quickly tried to defend herself and get people to see the game her way. Michelle once again jumped in, knowing that Sam’s way involves her torch getting snuffed. Queen Jacqui then gave the perfect analogy for the game, saying that while you play Monopoly with your friends, you still buy Mayfair, build hotels and try to wipe them out. Sam spoke loyalty, before Michelle mentioned she was feeling confident that she would see day 17, earning a smirk from Sam.

Sadly that smirk was quickly wiped off her face as Henry’s plan came to fruition and she became the sixth boot. While she was super intense in the game – which is ultimately how I think I would play – Sam took her boot in her stride and showed a whole lot of class – which is not something people would ever say about me. I’ve known Sam for years, both being huge deals on the running circuit (actual footage of me running at the end of the pack). While I did consider Tonya Harding her to give myself a chance, I knew that ultimately I would be terrible in prison and vowed to support her career and ride her coattails. My way to her heart was via a batch of my Salmontha Hashcakes.

 

 

While I have a passionate hate for seafood, I knew that these semi-healthy – fish = healthy, ok – treats were the only way to win her over after my threats. I then tried them and was pleasantly surprised by how good they were – hot, zesty and light, they are the perfect thing to help you work through the pain of having your tribe flip on you. Or Mondayitis, which has similar symptoms.

Enjoy!

 

 

Salmontha Hashcakes
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
600g potatoes, cut into a 1cm dice
½ frozen peas, defrosted
400g tinned (skinless and boneless) salmon
½ a bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped
1 lemon
1 tbsp chilli
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly whisked
olive oil

Method
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil over high heat. Once rollicking like the Samoan surf, add the potatoes, reduce heat to medium and simmer for around 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook for a further minute before draining in a colander. Mash the potatoes and peas, and leave to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Once cooled, add the chunks of salmon, chives, zest of the lemon, chilli, flour, a good whack of salt and pepper and the egg. Combine with your hands and divide into 8 balls. Flatten into cakes, place on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and bake for about twenty minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through.

Serve immediately with some lemon wedges and a salad, or just with the wedges if it’s a snack.

 

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Zac Efriands

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Side, Snack, Sweets

Holy hell, am I emotionally spent from my time with my friend come ex come *spoiler alert* friend again, Zachary David Alexander Efron. So as you know, my dear friend Corbin Bleu came up with a foolproof three-point plan to facilitate a reconciliation between Zac and I, but I never shared what it was … and it will blow your mind with its intricacy.

1. Call Zac on the phone and tell him I want to have him over to talk about where we left things.
2. Apologise for any of the nastiness I caused (minimal, but sure).
3. Listen to his feelings and accept that maybe he is hurt, vowing to move on if you’re both willing to forgive.

Seriously – have you ever read such a wild plan? And more importantly, would you ever, in a million years, think that it would work?

I am shook, still.

I first met Zac in 2004 while visiting my then boyfriends Jesse McCartney and Ryan Kwanten – I was in a polyamorous phase – and my dear friend Merrin Dungey on the set of Summerland, and we quickly bonded over our love of theatre and surfing. As I oft do, I knew that he was destined for greatness, dropped Jess and vowed to make him a star.

Two years later, I made good on said promise when I cast him in High School Musical. The rest, as they say, is history … but I assume you’d like to know that part of that history involved him thanking me with two years of passionate kissing and tender love-making.

Then tragedy struck when he opted to star in a Nicholas Sparks adaptation. I was livid, we broke it off immediately and we haven’t spoken since. (Despite the best efforts of my dear Sethy Roges).

While it was quite awkward to start, my constant run-ins with the law and multiple Hollywood feuds have seemingly given me the ability to deliver an apology that appears genuine and he forgave me for all that I’d done. He also apologised, but for nothing specific. While I found that odd, a quick Google search supports his claim that he never dragged me through the tabloids.

With that as proof, I kindly forgave him for all the pain that he caused and we caught each other up on life and laughed about the good old days … of my famed Zac Efriands.

 

 

Tart, earthy and sickeningly sweet, these delicate beauties are the perfect thing to facilitate meaningful reconciliation and solve all your problems. Take that, banana bread!

Enjoy!

 

 

Zac Efriands
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
200g icing sugar
⅓ cup flour
1 ⅔ cups almond meal
3 lemons, zested and juiced
200g unsalted butter, melted
6 egg whites
2 tbsp poppy seeds
¾ cup raw caster sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease a 12-hole friand pan.

Sift the icing sugar, flour and almond meal into a mixing bowl. Slowly incorporate the zest, melted butter, egg whites and poppy seeds, until just combined.

Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until puffed, golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for five minutes, before turning out and cooling completely.

When you’re almost ready to serve, combine the lemon juice and raw caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes or until slightly thickened.

Prick the friands – ahhhh, the memories with Zac – and poor over the sweet tangy liquid, filling up the friands – again, memories.

Devour immediately.

 

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Mark Herlaaroumi Fries

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

Previously on Australian Survivor, Locky and Tarzan had a post-challenge twist while Tara and Tessa faced off, I assumed to become the dominant T lady of the tribe. At Asaga, Jacry were controlling the tribe and plotted to throw the challenge, to get rid of Sam. Despite Henny’s best efforts, they ended up winning immunity, sending Samatu back to tribal where Tessa dug her hole so deep, I’m still shocked Kate was booted.

Samatau returned to camp where Tessa was completely shocked to still be alive in the game, thought was thankful slash confused to Tarzan, who saved her despite her aggressive performance at tribal. While she apologise to the tribe for her harsh words, she was sorry not soz and gave me serious Kat Dumont vibes and I am LIVING for it. Tara on the other hand, was not living for it.

The next day Jericho awoke confused as to what day it was before Luke spoke about how skinny he was, desperate for some luxury and or food. Wanting to cut Lukey’s grass, Sam tried to bond with Jericho, who spoke about his religion and the fact his Christian morals are not something he brought with him.

Over at Samatau Tessa was still shocked to still be in the game, with Tarzan confessing to her and Locky that he felt she deserved to stay and said she owed him nothing, seemingly genuinely, showing he is far more shrewd than people seem to believe. On the flipside – geddit? – Tara was still seething about the blow up, though approached Tessa by the shore to clear the air, knowing that she may need her one day soon. While it shows she is more aware than people give her credit for, Tessa was not buying it.

Not wanting to rehash the post drama any longer, JoJo arrived to lord over the reward challenge where he would release a shit tonne of coconuts into the ocean, where the tribes would have to race and collect them, ferry them back to the beach, collecting two tribe members along the way and shoot them at three targets. Given the fact it was for tea, coffee and spices, it was a serious challenge.

Both tribes strategised hard pre-game before Kent tried to win me over in his dickies. While Mark got out to an early lead for Asaga, Ziggy’s water polo skills shone, making extremely quick work of tossing the coconuts. Sadly Locky wasn’t great at balancing on the board, while fauxgi Henry’s balance allowed Asaga to overtake and pull away. Thankfully for my babe Locky, Samatau managed to close the gap while Asaga were getting their eye in and took out reward.

Back at camp, Samatu were on a high anticipating all the flavour to come. Wanting to put some icing on the cake that is their victory, Tarzan went out searching for fish when he stumbled across an option a temptation for cookies and firewood. While he battled with the weight of the dilemma, we checked in with Asaga where Luke was feeling guilty for losing the challenge where Jericho stumbled upon the same dilemma while searching for firewood. While his nips were on point, his reasoning was not, electing to take the secret food which is never a good option when it can so easily be found out, given the other tribe will obviously have the same option.

On the flipside, Tarzan continued to show his aptitude for the game, bringing firewood back to camp, showing them the note and pointing out what he gave up. Well played Tarzan, good luck navigating out of that Jericho. While his plan seemed ok in theory – using the cookies to build alliances – I don’t see it ending well offering Henry some cookies, and not Jacqui.

Over at Samatau, Tessa was still stressed out about being on the bottom of the alliance and approached Locky and Ziggy about saving her, which they felt wasn’t an option. Out of nowhere, Tarzan appeared to throw out the fact they need to target the weakest player, which is Anneliese, rather than Tessa. While they still weren’t receptive, Tessa knew that pushing it wasn’t a good idea and instead went idol hunting.

Jericho continued to act obnoxious about his cookie haul at Asaga, pulling Henry aside under the cover of darkness before enjoying a second round in the bushes with Luke. While he seemingly got away with the sneakiness, he did bury the jar in his shirt which you just know is going to be discovered. Hopefully.

Lil JoJo returned to the screens for the immunity challenge, where I’m hoping that Samatau can end their losing streak … and Locky can end his now two episode clothing streak, streaking and showing us his end. The challenge involved the tribes splitting into two teams, one finalising an obstacle course while the others ran the course without touching the ground. Samatau got out to an early lead with a rolling technique over the makeshift net obstacle. They then took a leaf out of the Parvati walking on two poles book, carrying each member across while balancing on only one. While Asaga caught up carrying the sandbags over the ladder, Samatau managed to close the gap just before Henry secured the third straight immunity for Asaga.

Tessa was not feeling confident arriving back at camp, so immediately darted off to search for an idol while the mega alliance of eight plus Tarzan reconfirmed that she was next to go. While she was having zero luck finding the idol, Tarzan went searching for it himself and quickly came up with the goods. He then approached Locky to let him know that he would join them in voting Tessa, making sure that they didn’t have a backup boot for a split vote. Locky found the exchange a bit awkward, though I’m not sure if he found it awkward enough for me to feel secure.

Continuing to work hard for Tessa, Tarzan approached AK and showed he and Tessa that he had the idol and wanted to take out one of the bigwigs of the alliance. Aka nude angel, Locky. After passing the idol straight on to Tessa, she got extremely emotional and grateful while Tarzan continued to work on AK to join them.

They arrived at tribal council where Jonathan was quick to point out that Ziggy and AK let the team down, before rubbing salt in Tessa’s bottom-of-the-alliance wounds. While Tessa pointed out that the mega-majority would eventually have to turn on themselves, Locky was quick to deflect the fact that he is in charge. Tessa once again gave an aggressive tribal council performance, while Jarrad kind of bumbled through the questions. Tara pointed out that Tessa chastised her for playing the game but is now imploring people to do the same, Anneliese felt Tessa and Tarzan wouldn’t be loyal to her if she flipped, Tarzan spoke about being loyal which Locky disagreed with, while AK tried to avoid giving away which way he would go, before hinting that Tessa may knock someone out that is not expecting it.

While it got a very smug reaction from Peter and Anneliese, their smiles quickly turned to frowns when Tessa pulled out the idol. The votes rolled in for Tessa, before Locky was startled to receive a vote … which thankfully was the only one he received, as the tribe rightfully split the votes between Tessa and Tarzan, sending the latter from the game like Rohan last year who gave up his idol to save Phoebe, only to get the boot.

While I love Tarzan, that is well played AK. As a lime farmer, Tarzan and I have been dear friends for years on account of the fact I used to be heir to the greatest fruit dynasty of Porpoise Spit inspiration, Tweed Heads.

I wasn’t sure how to feel to see Tarzan at loser lodge – I was disappointed in him for giving his idol to Tessa, thankful Locky lives to get nude another day, sad that he couldn’t work with my wet dream to go all the end … but ultimately thankful to smash some Mark Herlaaroumi Fries.

 

 

Fries are amazing, as is halloumi. Fries made out of halloumi? Well, that is a more of a wet dream than Locky.

Enjoy!

Oh, and the sauce is yoghurt, so don’t panic.

 

 

Mark Herlaaroumi Fries
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
½ cup Greek yoghurt
1 lemon, zested, then cut into wedges for serving
1 tbsp harissa
¼ cup mint leave, cut
75g plain flour
500g halloumi, cut into fries
olive oil

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the yoghurt, zest, harissa and half the mint in a bowl. Stir to combine, cover and place in the fridge to cool.

Place the flour in a bowl, toss through the halloumi and place on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a dish, top with fresh mint and serve with the harissa yoghurt and lemon wedges. Devour, dripping in sauce.

 

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Beetrutina Wesley Tzatziki

Condiment, Dip, Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

There is no easy way to bring this up so I’m just going to spew it out – I saw my girl Rutina Wesley at Nelsan Ellis’ funeral and we were so overwhelmed by our shared grief, that we vowed to catch-up and to help each other work through our pain.

You see Nels, Ruts and I attended Juilliard around the same time – I was in Group 35 – and became a close trio of friends, so the last few weeks have been really hard as we’ve been coming to terms with the loss of such a kind soul like Nels.

I arrived at the airport super early and paced around the arrivals gate anxiously, as I waited for Rutina to arrive. As soon as I laid eyes on her, I started to cry tears of relief and ran into her arms and didn’t let go for what felt like an eternity.

We headed back to my place – in an extremely coordinated Schapelle Corby fashion, obvi – and spent the last few days sitting around, holding hands and talking through our feelings and all the good things Nels would be wanting for us.

While we became dear friends at Juilliard, it was working together on True Blood that truly cemented our friendship. Al had come onto me for help assemble the cast and while I questioned the inclusion of my friend Anna as Sooookaaaahh, like Al, I knew that only Rutina could play the role of Tara – and Nels, Lafayette.

I was also extremely vocal about (other, better) Al’s need to be constantly naked, however that only paid-off in the season six finale.

Anyway – Rutina has been super busy since True Blood, with a short stint on Arrow and the lead role in Oprah’s Queen Sugar, so I know that Nels will be watching over her and cheering on her success. As I’m sure he was watching over me as I whipped up my Beetrutina Wesley Tzatziki.

 

 

The earthy roast beetroot and kick of garlic, live together in perfect harmony with the tang of the yoghurt and fresh herbs, to create a more-ish variation on tzatziki you can’t go past.

Enjoy!

 

 

Beetrutina Wesley Tzatziki
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
1 large beetroot, roasted and peeled
½ Lebanese cucumber
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ cup thick Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
juice of a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Turkish bread, to serve

Method
Grate the beetroot and cucumber into a sieve and press to drain off the liquid.

Transfer to a bowl, add the garlic, yoghurt, herbs, lemon juice and olive oil and stir well to combine.

Transfer to a dish and devour with a tonne of Turkish bread.

 

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Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, 16 kiwis were dumped in the Nic-ar-ag-ew-arn jungle, where they were surprised by a tribal council on day one, where Dee and Hannah were each voted out of their tribes. While it felt like all hope was lost, Matt introduced redemption island where Hannah won the first duel … only to be bested by Tony in the next. She was followed out of the game by Tony, Izzy, the medically evacuated Lou, and Georgia who was beaten by Shay who returned to the game at the merge.

Shannon flipped on the young boys at the merge, sending Lee and Mike to redemption island where the latter went on a streak, sending Lee, Sala, Shannon, Shay and Jak to the jury, returning to the game with Nate … before both being voted out again, leaving Queen Barbs in the final three with Tom and Avi.

The finalists returned to camp where they congratulated each other on a game well played, and marvelled at how surreal an experience it has been. Barb then quickly filled us in that the only reason she made it to the end, is because Nate told her she needed to back herself and that she deserved to make it to the end.

Conversation quickly turned to the jury where Avi was concerned that keeping Barb means he is down one guaranteed votes, Barb felt all the jurors hated her and Tom felt it was going to come down closely between him and Avi.

The next day the final three were feeling calm and noticing the beauty of their soon-to-be-former jungle home, before Avi went into an extended monologue, speaking about playing Survivor being a high school dream of his, making it feel like victory is rapidly approaching. They soon discovered a final three breakfast set up by the beach … leading into Barbs’ monologue about deserving the win and playing the game to prove that she could do it and to focus on herself, rather than just being someone’s wife or mother.

What happened next? You guessed it – Tom had a monologue! Talking about how Survivor was also a childhood dream of his and that he fought to stay in the game the entire time, though was concerned that Avi being a nice guy will soak up a large number of votes.

At final tribal council, the finalists kicked off the show by telling the jury why they deserved to win. Tom spoke about his lifelong love of the game and wanting to be a role model for his students. Avi told them he gave it his all in the game and he fulfilled all of his goals, which sounds arrogant … as does telling the jury he trusts them.

Then came Barbs, who went for the jugular telling them she achieved her goal of sitting opposite them, rather than next to them, and navigated the huge personalities, survived the noose around her neck and played the best game of the three, whilst being underestimated by their inability to be perceptive.

I love queen Barbs, but fuck – no one is going to give her the votes she deserves.

Shay kicked off the jury portion asking Barb if she is kind – she thinks so, which shocked the jury – she asked Avi what he wants the children of New Zealand to know from his game before Shay used the opportunity to clear the air between her and Tom, turning it into Dr Phil.

While I thought Jak would bring some humour to the occasion, he sadly didn’t, instead applauding Avi for being nice, Tom bro, for being a great bro friend bro … and then told Barb he was impressed by her, but felt disrespected by her the entire season.

Mike threw Barb a ditto, what Jak said before telling Avi he doesn’t feel he wants to win the game and needs to be convinced. I’d love to say it was a good question, but it wasn’t, nor was asking Tom to convince him he has morals … despite being a teacher which is probably the noblest profession known to man.

Nate congratulated the final three before reminding them that they all took the opportunity to vote him out twice before asking why Avi didn’t take him to the final three. Spoiler alert, he never committed to the plan. Shannon as a superfan was disappointingly bitter, telling Barb there was nothing she should say to make her vote for her, asked Avi why being nice deserves a win and whether Tom was carried to the end by Avi … despite dominating challenges.

Then came Sala. While he started out being his usual, sweet self by congratulating Tom and Avi for being nice guys that he is proud to have played with. He then lay into Barb, calling her disrespectful, selfish and lazy – just observation, soz not soz – shat on people and was rude. What a sanctimonious dick.

Lee then told them all that they only made it to the end because of luck, despite Tom dominating the game physically, Avi dominating socially and Barb dominating strategically.

As was expected after the roasting she got from the jury, my girl Barb couldn’t muster a single vote from the jury finishing in third place. Despite being destroyed by the bitter Bettys of the jury, she was thrilled to see a friendly face in loser lodge. Particularly one holding a freshly baked Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie.

 

 

A little bit sweet and a little bit tart, this pie is the perfect culinary representation of my dear equine loving friend. Wrap it in some soft pillowy dough and you have pie-fection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
450g plain flour
125g icing sugar, sieved
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs, 2 for the dough and 1 lightly beaten for the glaze
325g butter, diced, 225g for the dough, 100g for the filling
1kg Granny Smith apples, cored, thickly sliced
1kg rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 3cm lengths
500g raw caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
2 lemons, rind and juice
60g panko breadcrumbs
20g demerara sugar

Method
Combine the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor to combine, add butter, vanilla and 1 tsp of cinnamon and blitz until it resembles wet sand. Add the eggs and blitz until the dough just comes together. Form into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Melt the remaining butter in a pot over medium heat, add the apples and stir for about five minutes. Add the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon quills and vanilla paste, and cook for a further ten minutes before adding the lemon juice and rind, stirring and removing from the heat. Once the mixture is cool and you’re just about to make the pie, stir in the breadcrumbs.

Roll out two thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 3-5mm thick. Drape over a pie dish, and shape the pastry into the dish. Trim the edges and pour in the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough, drape over the top and press the edges to enclose. Poke a hole in the centre for steam, brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Chuck it – not literally – in the oven and bake for an hour, or until golden and cooked through. You may need to cover with foil for the last twenty minutes, but trust your gut.

Once ready, allow to cool in the dish for a couple of hours – preferably on a window sill, obvi – before devouring with fresh vanilla ice cream, or a spice custard.

 

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