Sam Schoesage Gravy awaiting Australian Survivor's shocked seventh boot Sam Schoers.

Sam Schoesage Gravy

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Condiment, Gravy, Sauce, Side, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Daisy and Shaun had formed a tight bond on the Contenders tribe, however given they’ve only lost one immunity challenge, we haven’t had the chance to see whether the pair were in power. After finding an idol for the other tribe Shaun thought he had struck gold, switching it with David for the correct one. Sadly however David was playing him, having made a fake to trade out for the real thing, giving David, Janine and Luke’s alliance control of all the idols in the game. While the Champions continued to take out reward challenges, they couldn’t get it together in the immunity challenges leading to another date with Jonathan at tribal council. While David’s overconfidence started to prove off putting with Janine, Abbey and Pia enough to float the idea of blindsiding him, the alliance stood firm and poor E.T. found himself making an escape from the game.

That night the Champs were awoken from their restful slumber to find a big old crab crawling around Janine. As screaming turned to laughter, the tribe madly tried to exile it for the tribe before sadly wondering where E.T. is when they need him.

The next morning we checked in with the Contenders as they sat around for a hearty breakfast of rice as Baden tried to snap twigs. Shaun was feeling confident, owning an idol he doesn’t realise is fake and have tight allies in Daisy and John. That being said he didn’t trust Harry or Andy as far as he can throw them, so instead of trying to play against them, he opted to bring in Andy so shared with him the fact he had an idol and vowed to use it to protect them all come a swap or merge. While sweet Shaun was just trying to help, Andy was a shady jerk and called him stupid and while it wasn’t Shaun’s best move, I don’t like people being mean about him.

Jonathan returned for the latest reward challenge where the tribes discovered that psyche, it isn’t a reward challenge, it is time to drop their buffs as it is switch time. Everyone reached into Jonathan sacks to get their new buffs, with the new Contenders tribe comprised of OG’s Matt, Harry, Shaun and Casy with Janine, Abbey, Pia, Ross and Simon while Luke and David were alone on the Champions tribe with ring-ins Hannah, Andy, Sarah, Sam, Baden, Daisy and John.

We followed the new Contenders back to camp where we finally heard from Simon, who was thrilled to narrowly escape his impending boot while Janine, Abbey and Pia were concerned about the downgrade in their living conditions. Harry was concerned about his place in the new tribe given he is in the automatic minority, so commenced sharing stories of his non-existent child to win over the new tribe members. And damn it, it is actually working. Meanwhile over at the new Champions tribe the ex-Contenders were thrilled to discover their palatial new digs, complete with bounties of fruit and a calm bay. Andy was particularly thrilled, given his mega-majority on the tribe. On the flipside David and Luke were not happy to find themselves at the bottom, with Luke valiantly trying to assure David that they will figure something out. And given they both have idols, I have a feeling they will.

Jonathan made a speedy return for the latest reward challenge where the tribes are all paired up squatting on either sides of a pole with a bar tethered between them around a pole with the last pair standing without knocking over the pole winning immunity for their tribe. For some reason the tribe called for even numbers, so Casey and Baden sat out for their tribes. Hannah and Sarah were the first ones out for the new Champs, followed closely by Matt and Harry and Shaun and Simon for the Contenders. John and Andy dropped out next, leaving Janine and Abbey, and Pia and Ross to battle it out against Luke and David, and Sam and Daisy. Luke and David were the next to drop, leaving it up to Sam – who I still look forward to meeting – and Daisy to defeat Janine and Abbey after Ross and Pia finally dropped. As the challenge rolled on Luke grew desperate, asking Janine and Abbey to throw the challenge while the four women stood motionless. Eventually Daisy and Sam grew weak, knocking over their pole and handing the new Contenders immunity. Because JaQueen is what? A damn queen.

Back at camp Andy was super excited to be attending tribal council and can’t wait to get rid of Luke and David, which I desperately hope comes back to bite him big time. He then decided it is now time to take control of a vote, suggesting they split the vote on Luke and David to guarantee one of their demises … which he insufferably thinks is a plan that he has come up with and has never been done before. Thankfully both Luke and David have idols around their necks so know that they are safe if it comes down to it, however they’d rather not use them and find a crack. Luke approached Baden who was tragically Contender strong, while David tried to make inroads with Sam and while she had no desire to flip and save them, he arrogance annoyed the formerly arrogant David who decided she would be his target. One by one they worked their way around the tribe, trying to make those left behind paranoid and hopefully stumble upon a crack.

Andy then decided it was a great idea to share the information about David’s idol and the fact it came from Shaun and Daisy, with the former stumbling upon the conversation and instantly being filled with rage. Daisy then approached John to vent to him about Andy’s loose lips, realising that she would rather stay align with Luke and David instead. They opted to target Sam and then got to work finding another person to vote with, identifying Baden as their best shot. While Baden wasn’t thrilled to work with unknown quantities, he assured Daisy that should they get Luke and David on board, then he will vote with them. With that, Daisy approached the boys to float getting rid of Sam which they obviously were all in on. More importantly, they were thrilled not to have to burn their idols. Though maybe they should as Baden isn’t 100% sure flipping at this vote is a good idea. We then heard from Andy who still thinks a vote split is his genius idea and ugggh.

At tribal council Luke was open about how nervous he felt walking in to tribal with such a mega minority while David played it more coy, sharing that he is hopeful that the tribes will be able to intermingle. Andy spoke about how strongly bonded the Contenders are, while Baden was vague and non-committal in his response before Daisy straight up admitted that the Contenders won’t stay aligned for very long. Sarah meanwhile was hopeful that the Contenders would stick together while we heard Sam’s voice for the first time as she confirmed that she thinks it is a bad idea to work with David and Luke at this time. The latter opted to stir up some drama and admitted that cracks are there and he is hopeful that he has found it, while Andy desperately tried to praise them for being great, unaware that the jury doesn’t start until the merge. David then opted to threatened the OG Contenders, pointing out that their are perks in people’s pockets and the winds of change are starting to blow. Andy started to appear nervous, Zaddy John spoke about the idols scaring him while Baden just desperately hoped to fall on the right side of the numbers, earning an eye roll from Andy. Daisy then said her vote is based on what she thinks is right before the tribe went off to vote, wait no, Andy wanted to peacock for another minute, getting up to talk to John and confirm that he is voting for Luke, earning nervous looks from his allies and a look of pure rage from Daisy.

The tribe then legit went off to vote with Andy pulling off a supremely smug coin flip to decide that he would be voting for Luke and sending him home. Sadly for him that wasn’t the case, as even without them playing their idols, they managed to find the cracks and send Sam out of the game with Daisy, John and Baden’s help. While she was completely shocked to be out of the game so soon, she took it in her stride and instead had to comfort me as I raged about her lack of screentime on the show.

“You were an icon on The Amazing Race Australia! How dare they not give you some confessionals?! This is out of order. I can’t take it, I’m feeling VERY ATTACKED RIGHT NOW.”

Eventually she got through to me, reminding me that while she tragically left I still had John and he gets nude every couple of episodes. With that, my spirits lifted and I got to work whipping up a big vat of Sam Schoesage Gravy.

 

Sam Schoers working through the shock of becoming the seventh boot of Australian Survivor with a bowl of Sam Schoesage Gravy.

 

I know it either sounds as sexual as I am – who doesn’t love sausage gravy, though – or down right fowl, but I promise you, there is nothing quite as delicious as this Southern delight. Whether you’re eating it straight from the batch, or sopping it up with a [redacted], Latrice Royale-style, it instantly fills you with joy and reminds you that at least one good thing originated in the south.

Enjoy!

 

Sam Schoers working through the shock of becoming the seventh boot of Australian Survivor with a bowl of Sam Schoesage Gravy.

 

Sam Schoesage Gravy
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g breakfast sausage
⅓ cup flour
1 tbsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp nutmeg
4 cups milk, more to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Remove the sausages from their skins and cook in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking up with a wooden as you go.

Reduce heat to low and add the flour, chilli and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the milk until well combined. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until it thickens, about ten minutes.

Add the salt and pepper, and cook for a further minute, or until thick and glorious. Devour immediately, not waiting for anything you would normally serve it with. It may spoil the fun for someone later on, you know?

 

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Richard Linkslater

Breakfast, Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldy Bird, Main, Snack

Holy hell, can you believe I’ve made it four posts without disappearing from the internet without a word? New year, new me, same old bullshit it seems.

After zigging over to the television side of the globes with Katey yesterday, I decided to zag back to the Motion Picture side of the runsheet – which we kicked off with Ry, remember – for day three of my Golden Globe Gold: Goldy Bird celebrations by having a date with the divine Richard Linklater.

I first met Rich in the ‘90s when I was hired as a paddling consultant on Dazed and Confused – a role I also held on the set of the hit Jerry O’Connell vehicle, Tomcats. While our relationship started off as boss-employee, we fast became friends and I encouraged him to make collaborate with my friend Julie Delpy and the rest, as I do like to say, is history.

Given my gentle nudge lead him down the award circuit path, Rich has always felt that part of his success is due to me – while I obviously think that too, I don’t tell him that given we’re the dearest friends) – and as such, was honoured to be showcased this year.

Since he has all the writing, directing and producing cred, we focused on those races with him backing The Favourite for screenplay – while I believe it is Roma’s to take. We agree that the HFPA will honour Bradley Cooper as Best Director – rather than Actor – Roma will win Best Foreign Film and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will take Animation, however that is where our consensus ended. He sees A Star is Born sweeping Best Drama while I think Black Panther will surprise, while Blackkklansman deserves it. Rich thinks The Favourite will win Best Comedy or Musical, while I think Vice has it in the bag. While we disagreed more than we agreed, we finished with a hug and sat down to a hearty plate of Richard Linkslater.

 

 

Given my passion for all things sausage, I had always wanted to try my hand at making my own but never had the courage. Until this year, and I couldn’t be happier. Bursting with flavour and melt in your mouth, these little babies – which is a minimally tweaked recipe I found – prove that there really is nothing better than homemade.

Enjoy!

 

 

Richard Linkslater
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2.5kg boneless pork butt
¼ cup sage, roughly chopped
5 tsp thyme, roughly chopped
2 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp chilli flakes
2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
ice water
4.5m natural sheep casings, soaked and thoroughly rinsed

Method
Cut the pork into 1/2 inch chunks and freeze them for about 45 minutes to get them to a temperature 0°C. Chill a large bowl of the stand mixer during this time.

Grind the pork using a 6mm die directly into the bowl, and then put it through a second time.

Combine the mince with the herbs and spices and mix using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer for five minutes or so, or until you pull a clump of meat apart and threads appear as you pull them. You may need to had a tablespoon or two of ice cold water, though use your judgement.

Chill the mixture in the fridge while you set up the sausage stuffer and thread the casings on the end. Place the chilled mixture in the stuffer and fill the casings to avoid an air gaps forming, but making sure not to overstuff them. Twist the sausages into links and prick any air bubbles with the end of a sharp knife.

You can then either cook the sausages in a frying pan – that is scorching and then immediately reduced to the lowest heat – until browned through, poach in lightly salted water or bake in the oven.

Then devour.

 

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Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara

Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: One World

Given we’ve had a string of alpha-male dominated seasons, I decided that Liz Olson and Natalie need to dominate this season. And as such, I needed to pull out (one of) the most dominant winners Kim Spradlin to bring some good juju as we continued our countdown.

Say what you will about how awful and insufferable Colton made One World – and Kourtney’s broken arm didn’t help either – Kim had an absolute stranglehold on that game and is one of the best winners we have seen. Actually, her dominance probably didn’t help the excitement levels of the game … but I thoroughly enjoyed watching her string everyone along and dominate the game.

Sadly we haven’t had a return from Kim on account of her having multiple children since her killer game, but I am hopeful we will see her again for a legends season where she, Cirie and Sandra run the game.

Could you imagine?

Anyway like me, Kim has high hopes for the success of icons like Natalie, Elizabeth and Mike White who we can stan for creating Enlightened. Bonus points for thinking Gabby could go well, if only for her being a superfan.

With our David vs. Goliath chat out of the way, we caught up on what we’d been up to in the last couple of years, and while she rebuffed my offer to help tee up the legends alliance – though to be fair, she probs don’t need my help – she more than earned a big bowl of Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara to celebrate the impending premiere.

 

 

Let’s quickly run through everything; pasta? Delicious. Pumpkin? Glorious. Cheese? YAS. Bacon? Hot damn. Put them together and I damn near cream my shorts. In layman’s terms, this dish is perfect.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
a good knob of unsalted butter
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 shallots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry vermouth
600g butternut pumpkin, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
½ cup pecorino, grated
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
500g linguine

Method
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and once foaming, add the bacon and cook for five minutes or so. Once crisp, add the shallots and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes or until fragant and soft. Add the vermouth and cook, bubbling, for five minutes or so.

In another pan, bring the pumpkin and stock to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Blitz with a stick blender until smooth and add to the bacon and shallot mixture. Stir through the cream, pecorino and nutmeg and stir until combined.

Cook linguine as per packet instructions. Drain, reserving ½ a cup of cooking liquid. Stir the pasta through the sauce and loosen with some pasta water if needed.

Serve, slathered with additional pecorino and then devour.

 

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Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribe swap gave the Contenders a brief pause from their pagonging, well for some. As the new Contenders dominated leaving Benji and Robbie in power with their interloping Champs. Meanwhile over at the Champions Shane took control of the tribe with the Champion boys and the Contenders girls plus Brian pushing to get her. Sadly for Tegan and Shonee, she stuck with the boys and booted Tegan from the game. Thanks to another twist Tegan was given the opportunity to be saved from another boot by the other tribe, however with this time Benji and Robbie opting to send her from the game. For realsies.

We opened up with the Champions where Mat was surveying the land and found a massive beehive with Steve and Sam. Not wanting to leave it alone, they decided to try and smoke them out to get the honey giving me My Girl PTSD, because Thomas J will never be able to see without his glasses. Steve turned pyro and I got Firestarter PTSD, as the honeycomb eventually fell and the fire somehow didn’t burn out of control, leaving the Champions with a safe snack.

The next day Shonee was feeling left right out with four athletes and a genius, with no similarities to help her bond. I mean, they spoke about how long it too for wheels to be added to things and Queen Shonee was over it. Like, give me a shit tonne of Antiques Roadshow instead of suffering through this shit. Feeling like she should start contributing to the survival aspect of the tribe, she decided to try her hand at cooking, cleaning and doing things the others have done for a month. And the fact she has gotten away with that is why she is the queen, TBH. Particularly since Mat was all in on working with her.

Meanwhile over at the Contenders Heath and Fenella were feeling left out as Benji and Robbie continued to bond with the Champion girls, gloating about taking out Tegan. When really, they only added salt to her wounds technically. Fenella however was ropeable about their stupidity and hot damn it seems like the other side of Shonella is finally going to bring hell. Her new pal Heath meanwhile was confronting Robbie about how getting rid of Tegan was a good idea before hooking up with Fenella to bitch and try to find a way to get out of the mess of their making. Heath floated the idea of beating them at their own game, get the Champion girls and get rid of Robbie ASAP with Fenella decided that targeting Monika and her girl power to find an in. Fenella joined Mon and Sharn to talk about the possibility of doing a girls alliance as a way to find an in … in NUDE ROBBIE, BRB.

Sorry – all I can remember is Robbie getting his buns out and Fenella declaring game on molls. So yeah, episode of the season.

Sensing my desire slowly swinging to Robbie, JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would be required to use a rope to drag buckets full of sandbags, which two tribe members would use to knock blocks off a beam which the remaining two people will use to solve a word puzzle. Steve got the Champions out to an early lead while superwoman Lydia showed her first signs of challenge weakness, with Brian getting the second bucket back before Lydia got the Contenders first. Try as Robbie might, Shane and Mat only continued to extend the Champions lead while Benji and Heath finally closed the gap while lobbing their sacks until they found themselves stuck on one errant block. Sam and Shonee had a nice lead on the puzzle, leaving Sharn and Fenella to desperately try and come from behind. Sadly for them and thankfully for Shonee, Brian solved the puzzle from the viewing area and they just got their letters in before the Contenders, winning immunity and saving Shonee from certain doom.

The Contenders returned to camp with Benji once again talking about killing and being melodramatic about the process of voting someone out. Which is less than what I’d be like if I were out there. He and Robbie locked in a plan to get rid off Heath with the help of the Champion women, with Lydia and Monika quickly swearing allegiance. Sharn too locked in the plan with Benji, however his assurance that she was safe sounded shifty and me thinks she is going to do something about it. Heath was not happy about the possibility of going home, so when the Champion girls spoke about being in the minority he quickly assured them that he was on the outs and was more of a free agent than them. He then channeled Sandra and vowed to vote for anyone but him, before pulling in Fenella is another number as he can’t trust Lydia. Not to be outdone, Fenella approached Monika and Sharn to once again float the possibility of a women’s alliance and the three quickly locked in a vote against Robbie.

Given they are floating in the middle, Sharn and Monika went for a walk to discuss which pair would work out better for them. Unsure which would work out top their advantage. Robbie then checked in with Lydia, who told him that Heath was throwing his name out there filling him with rage. He then approached Heath to see what he thought, with Heath trying to get him to see sense and take out another Champion as they head into the merge and deciding that Monika would be the best option. Despite the fact Lydia is the biggest challenge threat and needs to go.

At tribal council Fenella was thankful for sitting in on the last tribal council and the intel they gained. Heath joined her in putting doubt in the Champion women’s mind, saying the cracks were obvious much to the smirks of Lydia. She tried to call him out but Heath straight up said that Mat and Steve – Lydia’s closest allies – were running the game and Sam was looking forward to working with the Champions come the merge. Benji and his rando accent tried to downplay the OG tribe connections, planning to grab whatever numbers he can to make it further in the game.

Lydia admitted to feeling nervous as the odd one out on the tribe, though played up how hard she and her fellow Champs worked to help the tribe. Without seeing that was playing up her status as a threat. Robbie tried to emphasise how close they had gotten, with Monika working the social game to try and make herself less of a target. Sharn was concerned that despite joining to kick out Tegan, the tribe may still be split and would turn on the Champs. Everyone alluded to trust without saying much before Robbie committed that this vote was about who he wanted to work the merge with and Sharn spoke about getting rid of threats come the merge, before Jonathan tried to paint the target on Lydia’s back given she is a beast. Robbie downplayed the importance of strength before Heath and Monika admitted that they are confident they’re in on the plan ala Keith Nale. Sadly like Heath, it backfired as he found himself following his ally Tegan out the door. Just before the merge.

Given Heath is an absolute sweetheart and despite the fact he got nude in episode two, I took him into my arms, well his legs at least – not in a suss way, he is super tall – told him how proud of his game I was, how proud his family would be and how much his friendship means to me. It was oddly platonic, which is unnerving I know, but Heath is a delight and I was heartbroken to see him go. With or without a nude scene. Anyway, the fact that that is so off brand for me makes me nervous so I whipped out a big fat Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins and took it all in my mouth at once.

 

 

While that is totally more on brand, I challenge you to do anything but when faced with these beauties. Caramelly and sticky, lightly spiced and full of nut – sorry – I can’t think of anything else I want to pack into my gob.

Enjoy!

 

 

Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
⅓ cup muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of allspice
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
⅓ cup molasses
⅓ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 ½ cup pitted dates, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180C and line an 8-hole Texan Muffin pan. Because Heath is a giant and you can’t give him a regular sized muffin.

Combine the flour, baking powder, muscovado sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt in a large bowl, and combine the milk, molasses, oil and eggs in another. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold through the walnuts and dates.

Divide your batter into the prepared holes – which wasn’t meant to sound suss, but Steve … I’m always prepared – and transfer to the oven to bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove to cool on a wire rack before devouring.

 

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Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

So Notorious. I was talking about So Notorious, the hit sitcom based on Tori Spelling’s life starring Tori Spelling and Loni as a heightened version of the divine Candy Spelling. Just in case the tease didn’t make it abundantly clear.

It was such a delight to reconnect with someone as dear as sweet Loni!

She ran through customs with a look of pure joy on her face and while at a distance I assumed it was someone trying to avoid an inspection on account of me needing new glasses, she eventually came into my line of site and jumped straight into my arms.

We both burst into tears, followed by fits of laughter at how emotional we were being and to be honest, I’m shocked our behaviour didn’t get us escorted out of the airport.

After we got home we got to work reminiscing and catching up. While she wasn’t convinced that So Notorious needed to come back and we need to take my ideas to Torz post haste, we still had a wonderful time. Which really just speaks to how deep our friendship runs.

Though I mean, when you share an ex-husband like Burt you’ve both got to admit you both have fantastic taste. Which was evidence by how much we both love a creamy Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson.

 

 

Earthy, spiced and dripping in glorious, gloopy cheese, these cannelloni pack a comforting punch. They’re the perfect meal for a cool spring night, while gabbing away with a dear friend over some cheap wine.

I mean, why pretend I drink anything better?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 tbsp butter, halved
2 leeks, thinly sliced
750g butternut pumpkin, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dry vermouth
salt and pepper, to taste
10 sage leaves, roughly chopped, halved
pinch of nutmeg, grated
1 ½ cups ricotta
1 cup parmesan, grated
500g dried cannelloni tubes
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large pot and cook the leek and pumpkin over medium heat for about ten minutes. Add the garlic, vermouth and a good whack of salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and cook for a further ten minutes or so, or until the liquid has all absorbed. Allow to cool slightly before transfering to a food processor with half the sage and the nutmeg, ricotta and parmesan and blitzing until smooth.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Meanwhile melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and once foamy, whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the milk and cream and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until smooth and thick.

To assemble, pour half of the cream sauce into the base of a baking dish. Pipe the pumpkin mixture into the cannelloni tubes and lay on top of the creamy sauce. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with sage and walnuts. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Allow to rest for five minutes before serving and devouring.

 

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Courtney Love Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my god – what a delight it was to see Courts again! I was anxiously waiting at the VIP exit of Brisbane Airport – the one where Schapelle left from! – and ran straight into her arms as soon as I saw her, breaking down in tears from either feuding with a washed up Gladiator or how desperately I missed her.

JK, obvi it was the latter. My feud gives me life.

Now as you know from my time-travel enabled date with Kurt, I’ve known Courtney for years when we were both huge in the Portland gay club scene where I was turning tricks at the time. She realised that I was destined for greatness – well, a different kind of greatness because no judgement – took me under her wing and vowed to make me a star.

While I kept on stumbling, Courts was never disappointed in me and always made me feel loved and appreciated. She truly is the sweetest person, which is why I’m honoured to have introduced her to Kurt.

Anyway I haven’t seen Courts since she toured Australia four years ago, so it was such a treat to see her, reconnect and see whether she believes that Nico and I will ultimately end up together. Well, if things don’t pan out with The Commando, obvi. And if she and Neeks enjoyed their time with Ru and Mish, obvi.

Given the deep love I have for dear Courts, I knew there was only one thing I could make that would do her and our friendship justice. A delicious Courtney Love Cake.

 

 

A traditional Sri Lankan celebration cake, the Love Cake is moist, spicy and sweet and is emblematic of all that is good in the world. Like my dear ride-or-die friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Courtney Love Cake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
350g raw unsalted cashews
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
4 eggs, separated, plus an additional 4 yolks
1 ½ cups semolina
⅓ cup honey
icing sugar, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 150°C and line a square cake tin with baking paper.

Blitz the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the rosewater and spices and blitz again until well combined.

Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, to the point where they appear to be pulsating. You know the look. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition before folding through the fragrant cashew mixture, semolina and honey.

Using a clean bowl, beat the egg whites in the stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into the semolina mixture, transfer to the cake tin and bake for an hour, or until firm and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Before carving, dusting in icing sugar and devouring. With your favourite friend.

 

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Josh Hickfory Shortbreads

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, two tribes were abandoned in the wild of Thailand with one flourishing – well, except for Dylan – and the other floundering. Like Dylan. Thankfully for both him and Chani, Host Matt decided to mix things up and switch the tribes meaning High School besties Dave and Matt were reunited on new Chani, as were Arun and Josh who aligned at The Outpost. Sadly we didn’t see much of those coming into play as Khangkhaw lost immunity – despite Tess throwing herself into it, amirite (I know it was reward, JK Kimora) – and poor Liam was felled by a mis-played idol and my pizza curse.

Back at camp Eve shared their extremely creative plan with the idol, by playing the idol on herself as they decided she was most vulnerable. Next level game-play, no? Watch your back Cirie Fields because we’ve got a new idol whisperer. Anyway Brad was actually feeling grateful as had she played it correctly, he would have been out on his arse. But she didn’t and so now the tribal council not only got rid of a Chani but it also solidified the alliance between he, Tess, Tara and Lisa.

The next day we checked in with new Chani where Dylan was making the most of his emancipation from Khangkhaw by chatting to Renee, while Josh and Matt looked glorious stand-up raft-fishing. While Dylan was trying to make inroads with the Chani’s, the boys decided to lock the vote in on Dylan … without realising he is kind of the swing vote. While Josh’s confidence seemed to signal a blindside, he shared his cancer journey with us and how watching the first season got him through treatment and getting on the show was a goal. I’m not crying, you’re crying – he is perfect and I now want him to win.

Back at new Khangkhaw Eve was thrilled to have gotten rid of the idol while JT rightly wished that it hadn’t been misplayed and instead they had a fighting chance in their new tribe. Tess was thrilled with the new tribe dynamic, as it brought her and Brad closer to Tara and Lisa by having two new Dylan’s to ostracise. To continue the smug, Brad questioned Eve’s strategy in sticking by JT when it was clearly between the two of them for the next boot … however he pulled it back in surmising that Lisa is the most likely person for them to pull over and as such, he knows to keep her close. Meanwhile on Chani, Dylan was no longer spending as much time alone instead trying to bond with Arun and Dave about snatching the numbers and, I assume, be their hero bay-ba. That scheming didn’t go unnoticed with Adam who continued to swing between loveable zaddy with the good hair and nasty bully. Sadly for Dylan, Arun and Dave weren’t trusting Dylan though appreciate that it is time for them to take out one of the big boys with his help before taking him out.

Matty Chis arrived for the reward challenge where the tribes would be required to swing out to a raft and untie planks which they use to build a bridge back to shore before completing a puzzle. Given it is for a shit tonne of pizza everyone is thrilled … begging the question,  DON’T THEY KNOW THEY ARE CURSED?! Brad and Eve got out to an early lead for Khangkhaw however the Chani boys quickly closed the gap and arrived back at the pontoon just in front. Sadly for Khangkhaw Dylan and Dave made quick work of the planks and extended their lead and had the puzzle done and secured victory moments after JT and Lisa started the puzzle.

As Chani exited to feast on pizza, Adam shared that Brad told them not to lose the next immunity challenge which between that foreshadowing and the curse, you know they’re going to do. Before we could explore that any further the tribe smashed the food, moaned and made guttural noises. If they won’t so gross about the entire thing, I probs would have been aroused TBH. Breaking from the burps and laboured breathing, Dylan shared how relieved he was that Liam left the game last week as it showed the Chani members that he’s been working on that he is their only hope for survival in the next few tribal councils.

Things were far less jovial back at Khangkhaw where they instead sat down to some peanut butter sandwiches, much to Brad’s heartache. And JT’s heartache at Brad’s heartache which makes I’m kind of here for. Before I could see where their love affair went, treemail arrived and the two tribes were tasked with sending someone to The Outpost. Tara was selected for Khangkhaw while queen Renee was sent from Chani, thanks to Arun’s killer riggery.

Tara and Renee met Matt to discover they’d be competing in a memory challenge for the opportunity to loot the opposite camp. Both women lasted six rounds before seven proved unlucky for Tara, handing Renee the chance to be this season’s queen of looting, similar to the iconic and GOAT Sandra Diaz-Twine. Renee, Tara and a flood of Tara’s tears immediately went to Khangkhaw and shared that Renee would be taking two of their items. Going straight into Queen SDT mode, she snatched their tarp off the shelter and took all of their coffee. While Khangkhaw were glad not to lose Tara it seemed Brad would have rathered her go if it meant he got to keep his coffee. Meanwhile over at Chani the boys were thrilled to see Renee return to camp with their stolen loot and immediately put the fire on for a coffee, while Adam and Josh wandered away to plot about getting rid of Dylan. Or at the very least, blocking him swaying over the Khangkhaw. Sadly it brought back mean Adam and that makes my boner sad. Josh then shared his intel from Brad at the challenge that Khangkhaw had flushed the idol and used that as their in with the OG Chanis.

He quickly approached Dave about splitting the vote between Dylan and Renee as his back-up, which sadly backfired on Josh as everyone loves Renee. As they bloody should. Obviously Dave took the information back to Renee and Arun, with the queen quickly pointing out that the boys were not thinking strategically and this is their chance to even the playing field … by throwing the challenge. And while I normally hate that, the fact that queen Renee suggested it and is planning a major power move, I will look the other way.

With that Matt arrived to lord over said immunity challenge where the tribes were required to spell immunity using blocks … on a disc suspended by ropes held by the rest of tribe. Which is the perfect challenge for even just one person to throw, though sadly Chani got out to an early lead. Thankfully they mastered dropping on the second last letter, leaving Brad the chance to … nope, Khangkhaw dropped too (for their second time). Again Chani took out the lead, again Renee, Dave and Arun managed to topple the blocks just before victory leaving Eve the chance to secure immunity for Khangkhaw.

Chani returned to camp with Dave feeling bad about throwing the challenge, though not enough to be thrilled about his opportunity to shake up the game. Both Josh and Matt appeared salty about the loss, though seemed none the wiser about throwing the challenge and instead locking in a plan to take out Dylan. They then approached Dylan and the three of them locked in Dylan’s choice – that he had no plan on honouring – in taking out Arun. Adam tried to smear Dylan to Dave, Arun and Renee however that appeared to be all for nought. Adding another layer of intrigue, Josh and Arun joined together to discuss tribal with Josh quickly spilling Dylan’s fake plan and hoping their Outpost alliance would hold. This was enough for Arun to suggest Matt gets the boot instead, however Dave desperately tried to deflect that since they were best friends in high school.

Dave and Arun then started to get nervous about making a moving, since that will automatically put a target on their backs for the remainder of the game. Thankfully Queen Renee was on the scene and made quick work allaying their fears and explaining that Dylan is screwed without them and has no other options. And since they threw the challenge to get rid of one of the top dogs, they need to take out one of the top dogs. Not to be outdone on the control side, Dylan went to Matt and played up his loyalty and gushed about being the swing vote which left me hella confused.

At tribal council Matt quickly got to work rubbing salt in Renee and the boys wounds about their loss and questioning whether anyone threw the challenge. While Dylan deflected the question, Matt wasn’t buying it and tried to push Renee to admit it. Which since she is the queen, she didn’t budge. They discussed the politics between the tribes with Josh talking about trusting the OG Chani while Dave laughed at the thought of them trusting each other. Contestant Matt they channeled Kellyn and tried to push Khangkhaw strong while on the flipside, OG Chani pretended to play defeated. Meanwhile poor Josh continued to be trusting and earnest and I dreading the thought of him being the victim when he is so damn sweet. Host Matt gave everyone the chance to give a last minute pitch which they all denied, leading to the tribe voting and – as expected – poor Josh finding himself the victim of a crushing blindside.

There is no way to dance around the fact that Josh was feeling hella salty by the time he arrived into my arms back at camp, angry that he was betrayed and handed a pass. While I felt sorry seeing such a sweet guy blindsided, it was delicious to watch – which I obvi didn’t tell him. Almost as delicious, say, as my Josh Hickfory Shortbreads.

 

 

Was I aware that hickory was a nut and anything more than a flavour? No. Do I feel stupid? Extremely so. Does that take away from how glorious these babies taste? Never.

Enjoy!

 

 

Josh Hickfory Shortbreads
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup raw caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
2 cups flour
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
⅔ cup hickory nuts – you could use walnuts, but I have a nut guy. Well, two – roughly chopped

Method
Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and zest in a stand mixer on medium for about five minutes, or until so fluffy it is pulsating. Fold through the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts until just wet, before transferring to the mixer to combine for five minutes. Shape the dough into a long log, wrap in cling and transfer to the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

About half an hour before you want to bake, preheat oven to 160ºC. and line a couple of baking sheets.

Slice the dough into ½ centimetre discs and place on the baking sheets leaving a couple of centimetres between them. Transfer to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until just golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before devouring. Or not. No judgement.

 

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Rotolaurel Johnson

Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

After seeing Angela become the final member of the jury, we returned back to camp where the final three hung out by the shore and watched the last sunrise with Dom lying that they were all deserving of the win before joining together for the Day 39 feast. Wendell felt like this was his decade long dream and he needs to bring his A-game to take a win. Laurel was trying to figure out how to convince the jury that despite her game not being flashy, she was responsible for sending all of them home and saving the boys’ backs. Dom was just focusing on closing the game out strong for his family, though was super concerned about facing Wendell and coming on too smug with the jury.

At final tribal Probst handed the floor over to the jury with Kellyn kicking off the Outwit portion of the game. Laurel pointed out she was stuck playing from the bottom the entire game and needed to rely on her social game. While Michael gave her credit for that, particularly since she went to all four tribes however that doesn’t take away from the fact she rode them to the end. Donathan agreed that he and Laurel both felt they had power, they kinda didn’t before Michael continued to undermine her argument and said that Dom had the best social game with Wendell also being strong.

Des wasn’t convinced about Wendell’s argument about talking rap together – shockingly not Chris’ though – leading Wendell to talk about having to save Dom from himself on day two. Chris called bullshit on his ensuing argument leading to Wendell emphatically sharing he was in charge only for Donathan to interject and say Dom approached he and Laurel, not Wendell. Dom then spoke about attempting to get rid of Chris during the Morgan blindside. Kellyn got sick of the argument for who brought people into the alliance so asked everyone that felt they worked with them – is this Mean Girls? – and to share who brought them in to the alliance. Wanting to claw back some ground, Wendell pointed out that Dom did a lot of showboating and that may have offended people but also risked ruining his game.

When it came to Outplay Laurel ruled herself out, saying she feels that relying on immunity at the end means you’ve played the game incorrectly. Wendell started listing his catalogue of creations – is this Ikea? – before Michael shut him down and asked about which idols they had and how that factored in. Wendell then shared that loyalty kept Laurel around which Michael gave zero fucks about and told him just as much. Dom then cut in to talk about his theatrics during his self-identified best move of the game when he booted Sebastian. He explained in minute detail how it was important to retain his real idol and bluff with the fake one. Sebastian then shared how hurt he was by the brutal way he played the idol and Donathan joined in to share that it wasn’t a truth bomb and instead the entire thing came off as bullying. Dom then tried to apologise to both of them and while Michael felt it was a good move and Chris shared his respect, the others seemed unmoved.

Rounding things out with the outlast portion, Laurel shared that keeping the boys around may not have been exciting, it was her best move and getting rid of them would have only benefited those on the jury, not her. Dom then spoke about not meaning to offend people and reminded them to vote for who played the best game, not on emotions or building furniture. Wendell then shared that he brought all the weird little pieces of him to the game and that he may not have made much of a show, but he did play an extremely strategic game.

With that, Probst tasked the jury with voting before – gag of the season – opting to read the votes on site, shocking everyone … meaning he is throwing away 34 seasons of tradition, or something big is about to go down. He then tallied the votes one by one for Domenick, Wendell, Domenick, Wendell, Domenick, Wendell, Domenick, Wendell and Laurel realised that in a matter of two votes, she would be joining the jury to cast the final vote for a winner after joining the jury as the new final member of the jury.

Thanks to the power of time travel, I caught up with Laurel before she cast the deciding vote for the winner. I whisked her away to Ponderosa and offered her an ear before she made the deciding vote and of course, culinary counsel in the form of a Rotolaurel Johnson.

 

 

Rich, creamy, cheesy pasta is arguably the greatest comfort food of all time. Which is exactly what you need after being destroyed by a jury, immediately told they didn’t find you worthy and then thrust into the unenviable position of choosing a victor between your two closest friends.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rotolaurel Johnson
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups passata
½ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp raw caster sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
250g frozen spinach, thawed and drained
500g ricotta cheese
1 egg
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
¼ tsp nutmeg
8 fresh lasagne sheets, thanks Alan Pastarkin!
½ cup grated mozarella

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and sweat the onion and half the garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the passata, basil leaves, sugar and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat to rest.

Combine the spinach, ricotta, egg, parmesan and nutmeg with the remaining garlic and a good whack of salt and pepper.

To assemble, lay out each of the lasagne sheets with the thin end closest to you. Place a generous dollop of mixture in the end and shape like a sausage. Roll up to form a fat cannelloni, wetting the end to seal and cutting in half. Repeat the process until the pasta and mixture are all done.

Place half the sauce in the bottom of a dutch oven and place the rotolo in facing up. Pour over the remaining sauce and place in the oven for fifteen minutes before adding the mozzarella and scattering of parmesan and cooking for a further ten minutes or so, or until bubbly and glorious.

Allow to rest for ten minutes, if you can, before devouring.

 

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Bougatsabastian Noel

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, twenty castaways were marooned in Fiji – again – with a fresh little twist added into the game called Ghost Island. Some say it is an excuse for more advantages and idols to be thrown into the game, others say it is home to all the cursed artefacts from Survivor seasons past which are waiting to come and reverse the curse. Anyway, Stephanie Gonzalez was first out the door thanks to Jacob being sent to Ghost Island first … which sadly only delayed his boot to second. Morgan was then swap-fucked followed by the continuing decimation of Malolo and my erection with zaddy Brendan, Stephanie – exempt from the erection part due to my aggressive homosexuality – James, Bradley and his teeny mouth, Chris and his ego, Libby, Des and Jenna before true tragedy struck as Michael was booted. While my heart wasn’t in it after that, the game continued and Chelsea and Kellyn followed him out the door, which leads us to here.

The final six features Sebastian is super sweet and looks super stoned, though has the opportunity to reverse the curse of the extra vote. King Donathan is adorable, got island hot, played a wild, oft chaotic game and I hope returns with Aunt Patty. Laurel is still here thanks to ruining everyone’s plans to take out Wendell and Dom, Angela is just here against all odds … I don’t even know what to say. Anyway, it all comes down to either Wendell or Dom, with Wendell amassing idols and friends along the way and Dom collecting idols, fakes and advantages though hasn’t made many friends.

Back at camp after booting Kellyn, everyone was still reacting to Donathan’s attempt to use chaos as a ladder. While Wendell joked about being disappointed not to help him get out Domenick, Laurel – or Yanny – told Donathan he was lucky not to get himself voted out. Because heaven forbid someone plays for better than third. Thankfully Sebastian has opted for the final six to be his moment to start playing the game, so hopefully he puts his extra vote to good use.

The next day Domenick and Wendell reconvened away from the rest of the tribe to see how best to overcome losing Donathan’s vote. While he turned against them, they still felt it was better to take out Sebastian since he is more of a threat – really? – and decided the only way to both make final four, is for one of them to win immunity. Yanny was present for the entire conversation but like this season, didn’t really contribute … though it would be a gag if she actually screwed up the plans which seems to be her thing.

Talk of the challenge manifested Probst for the final six immunity challenge where they would run a skull-maze to collect puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle. Everyone but poor Donathan and Domenick seemed to be neck and neck grabbing the puzzle pieces with Sebastian ahead when it came to solving the puzzle, followed by Laurel, Wendell, Angela and Domenick while Donathan wandered around the maze. In any event, Wendell continued his puzzle dominance, screamed for Probst to check his puzzle and didn’t have immunity snatched from him again. In addition, he got to enjoy a steak dinner which he shared with Sebastian and Angela with both he and Domenick ‘she deserves it man’ Abbate playing for those jury votes, much to the chagrin of Laurel who really wanted that steak, damnit.

The final six returned to camp with Wendell celebrating finally snatching an immunity win and guaranteeing his place in the final four thanks to his hidden immunity idol. He then joined Sebastian and Angela to smash a coupla steaks and get them all thinking that Donathan would be getting booted tonight, despite planning to take out Sebastian. Thankfully Sebastian realised he needed to build a resume, so thought it would be a good time to use his extra vote and take out someone big. Back at the camp Laurel continued to rage about Wendell fueling Angela ahead of the next immunity challenge, since she is the one that will need it to survive. Her rage at least made Dom nervous about his getting the boot. Sebastian joined Angela and Donathan to talk about just how many idols Dom has – they agreed one – and to get rid of him next with the help of his extra vote. Angela, bless, was just thrilled to be part of the plans for once. Sadly she channelled Laurel and blew said plans up by taking the information straight to Dom. Don and Laurel caught up with him sharing the fact Sebastian has an extra vote, with her deciding that maybe it is finally within her best interests to get rid of Domenick. Dom then caught Wendell up and briefly debated whether he should play it or keep it until tomorrow.

At tribal council Laurel spoke about the battle between playing big or smart – por que no los dos? – Donathan shared that he still felt nervous following the chaos he caused the night before … which Sebastian agreed with. Dom called shade, sorry, bullshit and said that he thinks Donathan accepting defeat is all an act to get him out in cahoots with Sebastian and his extra vote. Sebastian was shocked he found out, while Donathan said despite plotting against them, he knows they’re packing idols and as such knows he is going. Dom then continued his epic show for the jury trying to make Donathan look bad, though his nonchalance is totally making him look glorious and them look terrible. He then threw some bros around to mock them and it was iconic.

Dom continued to attempt to perform for the jury with Dom handing over his fake idol to Probst ahead of the vote, Sebastian and Donathan played cagey and Laurel seemed confused. With that, the tribe voted and before Probst read the votes, Dom opted to point out the idol he played was fake and pointed out how brave he was. Sadly it appears he was brave and also lucky, as the votes rolled in for Sebastian and sent him from the game.

Given Sebastian is one of the nicest damn people to walk the planet, he wasn’t too bothered to have been aggressively booted from the game. I even mentioned Angela straight-up ruined the plan to get him to bite and it didn’t. When I brought out the Bougatsabastian Noel however, I couldn’t get him to bloody stop biting.

 

 

As you could probably tell, I’m craving a bit of Greek at the moment so it was kind of convenient that Seb’s boot meant I could roll on from my ball party with some sweetly, spiced custardy goodness. Add in the flaky filo case and I was in absolute heaven. Heaven, I tells ya!

Enjoy!

 

 

Bougatsabastian Noel
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
3 cups milk
125g raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup semolina
pinch of salt
½ cup unsalted butter, plus 1 tbsp
375g filo pastry
icing sugar, to dust

Method
Place the sugar and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to low and stir through the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg before slowly adding the semolina while stirring. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir through the tablespoon of butter, transfer to a bowl, cover and leave to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Melt the remaining butter and  brush around the base and edges of a springform pan. Press a couple of sheets of filo into the tin and repeat the process of brushing the inside of the tin and added a few sheets of filo at a time, moving them around the tin, leaving about five-ten sheets of filo aside. Spoon in the custard and smooth the top. Trim the remaining pastry and place over the top of the pie, one at a time, brushing with butter in between. Fold the overhanging pastry in, brush with more butter and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes before dusting with icing sugar and devouring.

 

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