Betty White Chocolate, Pumpkin and Walnut Cookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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

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

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

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

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

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

 

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Prune Whitfield Tart

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Prune Whitfield Tart
Serves: 12.

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

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

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

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

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

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

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

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

 

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Pita Andre Bread

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack

With Halloween now a distant memory, I’m balls deep in preparations for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, which of course means I’m desperately trying to fit in as many catch-ups as possible. Thankfully, I was able to fit in some time with my dear friend, fellow Gold Coaster and ex-lover Peter Andre.

Pete and I have known each other since the late ‘80s, after I hitched my wagon to his after his appearance on New Faces. I enrolled myself at Benowa State High, became his dearest friend and set him up to become the pop star of the ‘90s that he was destined to be. We also fell into a passionate love affair.

Our relationship was so beautiful and pure – well as pure as it could be – that he wrote a love song for me.

The song? Mysterious Guy.

Our break-up when he succumbed to the record company’s pressure to change the gender of his protagonist? Swift, brutal … and as vitriolic as the vengeful rage of Taylor Swift. For years after I couldn’t go to Thailand – where the film clip was made and we planned to holiday after – or the Gold Coast, as they triggered the painful memory of my broken heart.

Cut to a few years later and Pete, desperate to return to my good graces – flew down under to see me on the Tweed and try and reconcile. While he got lost while we went hiking on Mount Warning, stumbled on the set of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here and fell in love with Jordan, that few days we spent together before the show healed our wounds. And we’ve been the best of friends ever since.

Pete has been super busy with his young family the last year or so, so it was such a treat for him to take the time to catch-up before we got too busy with festive celebrations. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, devoured a shit tonne of Pita Andre Bread.

 

 

Light, soft and oh so good, these are the perfect thing for when you’re done with eating buns and what a carb alternative. I mean, who doesn’t love to stuff a good Peter?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pita Andre Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
7g dry yeast
1 ½ tsp muscovado sugar
450g flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper
⅔ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing if/as needed

Method
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a measuring jug and place in a warm spot for about ten minutes, or until foamy.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and oil and stir with the dough hook until all the flour is wet. Turn the mixer on and knead on medium for about five minutes, or until smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling and leave to prove for half an hour.

When it’s nice and puffy, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Punch back the dough and divide it into 12 balls. Roll them out into flat thin discs – a few millimetres max. Place a disc on the frying pan and cook for about 20-30 seconds, or until puffed. Flip and cook for another 20-30 seconds or so. Remove from the pan and repeat the process until done.

Then, devour.

 

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Finnel Wolfhard Cakes

Dessert, Snack, Stranger Feasts, Sweets

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Anyway, enjoy!

 

 

Finnel Wolfhard Cakes
Serves: 6-8.

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

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

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

Serve immediately, dusted generously in icing sugar.

 

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Shannongria Purser

Drink, Stranger Feasts

There is no better way to kick off our Stranger Things party than by catching up with my dear friend, protege and newly minted Emmy nominee Shannon Purser. I mean, I may as well get justice for Barb straight up, right?

I was working as a casting agent on the request of the Duffer Brothers and Winona when I was blown away by her majestic audition for the now iconic role of Barb. Her talent was raw and she had such a kind, kind soul that I knew she needed a friend that could finesse the unshaped talent and aggressively protect her.

While we’ve only been friends for the past two years, our bond is unbreakable. I mean, I even forgave her after she refused to withdraw from Emmy contention when I grew worried justice for Barb would cost Alexis Bledel her rightful Emmy. I mean, It probably didn’t hurt that she still won?

She ran to my arms at the airport, so excited to be visiting me in Brisbane – lol, jokes on her – and to fill me in on all her upcoming projects. While I was crestfallen that she could swing me a role as Kevin’s lover on Riverdale, I was thrilled that she did me proud with Melissa on the upcoming Life of the Party . So again, all was forgiven.

Despite, tragically, not being found as safe – slash alive – as Will, I knew that Shan needed to be front and centre for our Stranger Things celebrations to toast to her ongoing success … and, obviously, for justice.

And there is nothing more toast worthy, or just, than a big ol’ pitcher of Shannongria Purser.

 

 

Sure, Shan is technically only 20 but given our legal drinking age is 18, I thought it was ok to let her enjoy a libation that wasn’t non-alcoholic. And enjoy she did. The depth of the red works perfectly with the tang of the citrus and blueberries to create a scarily good drink.

Enjoy!

 

 

Shannongria Purser
Serves: 2, no judgement.

Ingredients
¼ cup muscovado sugar
2 bottles red, I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon
¼ cup brandy
1 cup soda water, chilled
2 oranges, thinly sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
½ cup frozen blueberries, still thawing

Method
Place the sugar in a small saucepan with a cup of sugar and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about half an hour.

Once cooled, combine everything in a jug. Stir, pour and down.

 

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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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Michelle Douganzola Pizza

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

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara and Locky were going through a tough break-up leading Locky to come up with a plot to use an old note to fake having an idol. He and the remaining castaways then discovered that in addition to immunity, they’d be playing for a car where Michelle – who Ziggy said was the worst physically – beat Locky and challenged the car curse to come down under. Then, tragedy struck, as Locky was unable to convince anyone but Michelle that he had an idol and was sent from the game completely clothed. How dare he not follow Jack from Survivor NZ’s suit, or lack thereof?

Asatoa returned to camp and celebrated making it to the final four, where Tara was feeling free after vanquishing her best friend. Celebrations continued the next day as the remaining castaways were proud to have made it to day 50, with Tara more shocked than anyone. Though not shocked enough to be in the middle pages of a dirty magazine, thankfully. She was proud that as a stay at home mum, she has been able to achieve so much as she has and to get out of her rut, which truly speaks to the crippling fear that controls me.

Jericho too is proud of himself, particularly given the fact no one has ever written his name down in 50 days. Despite this success, he decided that it was best to move on and become Jericho 2.0, which I can only imagine will be as successful as iSnack 2.0. Channelling Keith Nale, Michelle acknowledged that Survivor is not the holiday she was expecting. Obviously she is already spending the half a mil, also speaking directly to my soul. Rounding out the empowering journey section of this first finale week episode, Pete was missing his family and breaking down … which is exactly what I’d be doing on day 1, so I’m extremely proud he lasted 7 weeks before hitting this point.

With that out of the way Michelle turned things strategic, fostering her relationships to ensure everyone wants to take her to the finals. While Tara and Jericho were onboard, the former wasn’t sure how Michelle was feeling about her so whipped out her tub of lollies to sweeten the deal. Let’s not tell her how well knowing about the lolly jar went for Ziggy, right?

Given that the trio is tight, Pete was feeling completely on the outs and in need of immunity which he clearly said in front of a mirror three times because JLP appeared. Though not for immunity, instead the opportunity to eliminate a member of the jury. The challenge involved the final four holding on to numbered pegs on a wall, which Jonathan would tell them to remove one-by-one, until the drop one-by-one until we have a victor. Before even taking a peg out, Tara dropped. After losing a few more pegs, Michelle dropped out leaving the boys to battle it out before Pete dropped off trying to remove his fifth-last peg, giving Jericho the advantage and I assume, a pegging fantasy. Lol, he already had that.

Back at camp everyone was quick to congratulate Jericho before immediately getting to work convincing him to get rid of the juror they assume won’t vote for them. Michelle and Tara had a gentle conversation about who would vote for him in the end, with Tessa seemingly the only one identified as voting for someone else … in the form of Peter. Once again proving himself smarter than I’ve given his credit for, he convened a tribe meeting to see what everyone else was thinking to identify the potential threats they aren’t speaking about, and then getting rid of them.

Peter played – and I hate myself for saying this – right in to Jericho’s hand, trying to convince him that Locky was the best person to get rid of to keep Tessa and Jarrad on the jury, which you just knowing is going to backfire on Peter and a still-underdog-after-being-booted Tessa.

At the special Neal Gottlieb memorial tribal council, where the jury was shocked to discover that one of them would once again be voted out, this time from their luxury booze pad where I act as their personal chef’s. Jericho stupidly acknowledged he was smarter than the other players give him credit for, making his road more difficult moving forward. Jericho then had the opportunity to ask three jurors questions and while Jarrad danced around his answer, Tessa went in and said Tara didn’t deserve to be in the final four and Anneliese spoke about wanting a good person to win, as well as a good game player, proving her gameplay is still underrated, given Jericho’s pious spirit.

Calling his intelligence back into question, Jericho decided to vote out Tessa who just mentioned she would not vote for Tara. That being said, she was a pretty clear Michelle or Pete vote so I guess it makes sense … but she just mentioned she wouldn’t vote for Tara identifying your best goat. But honestly, poor Tessa – this is probably the worst thing that could happen to you on Survivor.

The next day Jerkicho and the others met JLP at an abandoned beach, which puzzled them as there was no challenge set up. Given the set-up yesterday, it was crystal clear that we were in for a family reward leading. The castaways broke down as Jonathan brought out Peter’s parents, Michelle’s sister, Jerkicho’s brother and Tara’s entire freaking family. Despite the fact not everyone got an equal number of visitors, I can’t hold it against Tara seeing her kids. We then got a rundown from the family members as the castaways sobbed to varying degrees, Peter being Kim Kardashian and Jericho being Jeffrey Dahmer or any other emotionless psychopath. JLP then gave them all the afternoon off to enjoy their families company instead of making them earn it and potentially cause some drama, the levels we haven’t seen since Brenda and Dawn in Caramoan.

We then got to experience the remaining castaways showing their families around the island. Tara’s kids were shocked and disgusted by the squalor, Jericho and his brother were Jericho and his brother, and of course, Michelle and her sister immediately started strategising. Kweens. Peter’s parents, like Tara’s kids, were shocked by the primitive surroundings and moreso, their loved ones ability to survive.

Breaking up the love fest, Jonathan returned for the most epic individual challenge of the season requiring them to pull themselves in a canoe to a tower in the ocean. They were then required to drop a bucket into the water and fill a tank until they reach a key before swimming to shore, unlock a rope and traverse a balance beam while untangling said rope. Once at the end, they use the weighted rope to try and shoot it through a hoop and pull down a bridge leading to a final puzzle.

Jericho got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Peter, with Michelle and a distant Tara rounding out the field. That is until the shoot portion, where Jericho sucked allowing everyone else to catch him. He finally scored and made his way to the puzzle with Tara and Pete following closely behind before Michelle finally joined them about five minutes later. Being the kween that she is, Michelle closed the gap and the puzzle came down to her and Peter, with Pete ultimately taking out immunity despite a last minute fumble as he lost a piece.

Back at camp the tribe gave their obligatory congratulations to Peter before those that didn’t win started to talk smack about him. Channelling Drag Race All Stars, Peter then had one on ones with each of the remaining castaways. He and Michelle agreed that Jericho needs to go because he already has locked in votes sitting on the jury. Tara was also keen on the plan to get rid of Jericho, offering up her name as the decoy boot for Jerkicho’s go-see with Peter. While he did buy it for a second, Peter and Michelle eventually made Jericho nervous, leading to an epic conversation between Michelle and Jericho where he tried to threaten her and she absolutely destroyed him. Then Tara happened. Despite siding with Pete and Michelle, she went for a walk with Jericho and spilled their entire plans before agreeing to force a tie with Jericho. Which would result in a fire making challenge between Michelle and Jericho.

At tribal council, Peter was extremely thankful to be wearing immunity before Jericho went all in campaigning for someone forcing a tie and going to a fire challenge. Michelle being Michelle defended herself, and gave another stellar tribal council performance and proved how much of a threat she is if she makes it to the end. While Michelle was secure in her scrambling, her trust was misplaced as Tara did in fact force a tie, twice, resulting in a fire making challenge – which is a term we’ve heard 6543 times tonight – between Jericho and Queen Michelle.

Despite a valiant effort from our Queen Michelle, Tara’s questionable decision allowed Jericho to win his way through to the final three and Michelle from the game as the ninth juror. Yes ninth, Tessa’s life still matters. As gut wrenching as it was to see her go, Michelle handled her exit gracefully, with a smile on her face like the killer person she is. We’ve long been friends, both meeting on the nannying circuit, before I was blacklisted for having one too many Irish coffees whilst in charge.

As is oft the case, Michelle stood by me and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. It was hard to see her arrive at the jury villa on the back of Tara’s stupid move, though she was in such good spirits she wouldn’t let me go into camp and burn it down, saying that my Michelle Douganzola Pizza was all she needed.

 

 

There is no better combination that sweetly caramelised onions and the earthy, sharp tang of blue cheese and this pizza is where is truly shines. Throw in some fluffy dough and garlic, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Like Michelle should be. Long live the Queen.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michelle Douganzola Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
passata and italian herbs, for the aforementioned bases
small knob of butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g gorgonzola, crumbled

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When as frothy as my shorts during one of Locky’s nude scenes, reduce heat to low, add the onions and cook until soft and sweet, about ten minutes. Crank up the heat to medium and add the sugar and vinegar and cook until caramelised, aka a further ten minutes or so.

Smear the dough with the passata and italian herbs and dollop out the caramelised onions. Sprinkle over the garlic and gorgonzola and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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Apple Cinnamone Nguyen Waffles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dem cakes though.

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Apple Cinnamone Nguyen Waffles
Serves: 6.

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

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

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

Heat a waffle iron over medium heat.

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

 

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Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton

Burgers, Main, Side, Snack

After the highs of the Emmys and the lows of being reminded that intolerance is still alive and real, it was such a joy to reconnect with my dear friend slash ex-lover Blue and see what he and his beautiful family are up to.

I first met Blue while working together at Warner Music Group and love quickly blossomed. While it sadly didn’t work out for us romantically in the long run – he is too damn nice and couldn’t overlook my rage blackouts and scams – it slowly turned into a dear friendship.

A couple of years after our breakup, I visited Blue while on holidays and decided to set him up with a friend of mine. Cut to a few years later, he and Matt are married and fathers to a beautiful little boy. You’re welcome, both Blue and members of the public that get to watch them on social media.

Anyway – Blue answered my hysterical calls asking for some emotional support while working through the homophobia incited by the Australian government, jumped in the car and met me in L.A. to talk through the pain and catch-up.

While I was a mess when he arrived, he quickly cheered me up reminding me that the world is not that bad a place and our community is stronger than a vocal minority empowered by an ineffective government. Plus – he reminded me that our best friends’ meal is a Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton and that is all the repayment he needs for supporting me.

 

 

It is no secret that I love me a burger, and this is up there with my faves. The huge whack of blue cheese, mixed with the glorious bacon and the sweet onions? I just came a little while thinking about them.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter and olive oil
4 onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
500g beef mince
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 rashers of streaky bacon
4 Kirsten Bunst
200g blue cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat the butter and oil in a medium frying pan, adding the onions when the butter is nice and foamy. Reduce heat to low and sweat for about half an hour, stirring to avoid them sticking. Once they are really soft, crank the heat to medium and add the balsamic, muscovado and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are sticky. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Meanwhile combine the mince, garlic, yoghurt, Worcestershire and a heaped tablespoon of caramelised onions and scrunch with your hand to combine. Form into four patties and chill in the fridge for about half an hour.

When you’re ready to eat, heat a lug of olive oil on a griddle over medium heat and cook the patties for a couple of minutes each side. Transfer to a plate and cook the bacon for a couple of minutes each side before transferring to a plate.

Split the buns – my favourite pastime – and lightly toast them on the grill before getting down to assembly. Place a dollop of caramelised onions on the base of the burger, followed by the patties, then the bacon and a good crumble of blue cheese – I obviously used more than blue cheese – before devouring.

 

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Henry Snickerson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Henry Snickerson
Makes: 12-16.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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