Marquise au Chocky Gilbert

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 All Stars were abandoned on the shores of Fiji looking for revenge, redemption, a combination of the two, or simply to retain their crown in Shane and Jericho’s case. Though sadly for them, their second chance ended before it even began as the Olympian became the first boot and was followed out the door by the cookie monster. They were followed by Daisy, Michelle and Henry in quick succession before the tribes switched things up. After an attempt on her scalp, Shonee took revenge on Abbey, Lydia and John before Mat was bundled in on the deal, I assume solely because he too was an athlete. We then entered the darkest timeline and lost three OGs back-to-back-to-back with Queen Phoebe, fourth place robbed goddess Flick and Nick all just missing the merge. The latter because Jacqui hulked out in the immunity challenge and kept ruining it for the tribe.

We checked in with Mokuta the next morning where Zach was ritualistically carving Nick’s initials into a tree as Sharn reflected on turning on her close ally Nick. Even though it feels like she doesn’t have the right, though maybe I am just bitter. Completely jubilant however was David who had managed to take control of the switched tribe, had an idol that his allies know about – and more importantly, fear – and a secret idol that can keep him safe. Oh and he is going into the merge with a 7-5 advantage based on swap tribes, and an in with the OG Vakama tribe. Not wanting to rest on his laurels, David called an all tribe meeting to plot for the upcoming merge, convincing them to play up that he is on the outs so that he can try and get back in with Vakama, blindside them and fully take control. And drag Zach along for fun.

Forgoing any chatter from Vakama, the tribes joined Jonathan at the top of a hill where after Harry and Shonee processed the pain of losing their bestie Nick, the tribes were officially no more as the tribes merged. AK and Moana were thrilled to have finally been able to make the merge and become an eligible bachelor and bachelorette respectively. Moana was even more motivated to win the money for her family, while David was ready to destroy his competition.

On that note, Jonathan tasked them all with their first individual challenge for an advantage in the upcoming immunity challenge. All they would need to do is hold a clay pot tethered to a rope over a ledge with the last person standing taking out the prize. Almost immediately AK dropped his pot, followed closely by David who immediately started catching up with Brooke and AK. Harry soon dropped out, joining the catch-up while Shonee dropped and was all alone down the other end, silently willing her friends to return to her side. David continued to sell Mokuta’s prearranged lie before Tarzan and Brooke dropped from the challenge. After an hour, Jonathan grew tired and forced everyone down to one hand, leading to Sharn dropping out, followed by Moana, Locky and Zach, leaving Jacqui and Lee to battle it out. After another hour in the sun Jacqui showed her first sign of weakness, while David continued to reel Vakama in with his eyes. Oh and then out of nowhere Jacqui dropped, handing Lee an advantage. Which he won’t learn about until the immunity challenge.

The merge tribe arrived at their new camp – the former Mokuta – with Tarzan thrilled to finally make the merge, Shonee was thrilled to make it again – and be one step closer to some Gucci – and AK was just thrilled about the palatial digs at the new camp. Oh and the huge feast awaiting them by the shore. Locky was screaming, the tribe were grabbing at things, Moana was cracking the booze and Shonee was just thrilled to have cutlery again. After toasting to their successes, Sharn suggested the tribe name of Kalokalo which allegedly means star in Fijian. Everyone agreed, though I assume not because they cared per se and more because they were too interested in smashing the food and eyeing up the competition.

Kalokalo slowly migrated back to the shelter where everyone was mingling, with Brooke chatting to Brooke and Lee, though not that Moana has anything to worry about given she is the Godmother and is fully in control. And she was willing to paint Mokuta as a fractured tribe to stay there. She and Sharn told Brooke about Dave being on the outs, and the need to keep him happy to blindside him. Though really, her plan was to get revenge on Locky who spent the first two weeks of the game targeting her. And voted out her bestie Mat. With that, she pulled Dave aside to lock in the vote against Locky deep in the jungle, with him thrilled by the idea given getting rid of Locky is in his best interests.

Shonee meanwhile was nervous to be in the minority and as such, decided it was time to find two people that she can flip to their side and take control. She caught up with Brooke by the well, who agreed that Dave and Zach were their best hopes and as such, Shonee got to work reminding Zach how much he loves her. She told Brooke that an easy in with Zach is birds, given he has a passion for rescuing birds and has heaps of averies. With that she loves birds and Brooke too now loves birds, regaling him with tales about hand rearing birds and honestly, I can’t actually tell if she bred birds. David could see that they were desperately trying to flip him, glad that Zach too was playing along. As such, he pulled Locky aside to see how they can take control, with Locky spilling Vakama’s entire plan and assuring Dave that Shonee is confident that she will be able to flip back and keep them all safe. Later that night Vakama 2.0, Zach and David caught up to lock in their plan for the upcoming vote, eventually settling on Sharn as Locky wished for chaos, as that is where he does his best work.

Jonathan returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where they would each have to balance on see-saw and take blocks from a dish on one end and stack them on a tray on the other, with the first till nine winning immunity. Well not Lee, as his advantage was to remove a block and only go for eight. The tribe all stepped on to their platforms and while everyone struggled to find their feet, Shonee was like a statue and quickly stacked eight like it was nothing. Sadly she lost her stack though, forcing her to restart. Thankfully she also set off a chain reaction as everyone else lost their balance allowing her to start things up again and build her second tower at lightning speed before everyone followed the trend and dropped again. Ultimately Shonee quickly built her third tower like it was nothing, securing immunity like the freaking icon that she is.

Thanks pilates!

Back at camp the tribe celebrated Shonee’s athletic display of dominance, while the icon was just thrilled to know that there is no way that she is going home. Oh and she let us know that she is just great at balancing and hasn’t even done pilates in over a year. While Locky would have preferred to have won for himself, he was glad that immunity was at the very least in his alliance’s hands and as such, can target Sharn with the help of David and Zach and take control. He then got way to confident and hot damn – Locky, you in danger girl.

Almost like I manifested it, Moana pulled Sharn and Lee aside to lock in the vote for Locky and tee up Sharn to play the fool and pretend to slip that they are targeting AK. With that, she pulled AK aside to let him know that her alliance would be voting for him tonight. And given he has no reason not to trust her, took the information to David and Locky and reconfirmed that they were still on for voting out Sharn, nervous about going home himself should their plans fail. The only person more cocky than Locky at the moment was David, giddy to be in the swing vote position and safely in the majority no matter which side they select.

He caught Zach up on the plan and returned to play mind games with Vakama 2.0 but was proving to be so convincing, that Tarzan started to panic that he had actually flipped. This made him nervous enough to call Moana over and the duo approached him to stress the importance of the upcoming vote to prove their loyalties. Moana was nervous, Locky and Brooke were confident and while it feels obvious, it is so obvious that Locky will go, that maybe I am wrong?

At tribal council Harry spoke about the intricacies of navigating the first post-merge tribal council, before Jonathan threw shade at AK for not making it before. AK spoke about his surprise at how few people approached him after the immunity challenge and truly felt like nothing had changed and everyone was locked in their alliances. David spoke about someone potentially being blindsided, given everyone is keen to make a statement and take out a big player first. Locky admitted to feeling on the bottom as the former Vakama, though was hopeful to have found enough cracks to save them. Sharn spoke about splitting cracks and honestly I get distracted by such innuendo.

Harry continued to prove how dangerous he would be if he gets the chance to plead his case at tribal council, calmly outlining the importance of not only surviving but also impressing the jury enough to win. David agreed but pointed out that you need to get there, oft by making smart decisions, to even get to plead your case. He then spoke about Mayan sacrifice and it got real dark, real quick. Zach had a slip of the tongue, alluding to the vote coming down to old tribal lines. As he desperately tried to play the fool and bumble around who could be aligned, you could see him desperately wanting to crawl back into his avery.

Harry said that they’re at the point where some people haven’t had the chance to play the game yet and as such, looks forward to them showing what they are made off. Locky urged people to step up, while Moana slyly reminded him that she has. Tarzan spoke about the importance of loyalty, while his ally Moana preached the virtues of making the safe move. Locky interjected and told her that there is no way that he will vote for her in the end then. She tried to defend playing it safe, before Locky schooled her about the pre-merge not really counting, since they aren’t around to reward the big moves and as such, she needs to step up. Moana schooled him and asserted that a quiet game doesn’t mean it isn’t a good game. Sharn was confident, Locky was confident and shock horror, David was feeling confident. With that, the tribe voted and poor Locky discovered that his was misplaced as Mokuta 2.0 stuck together to send him out of the game and over to the jury.

Likely not to vote for Moana.

Oh dear, sweet, beautiful Locky – I hate to see him go, but hot damn watching him leave truly floods my basement. He entered Loser Lodge just as it upgraded to the Jury Villa, so I took him into my arms, realised I am devoid of upper body strength and got him to take me in his arms and spin me in a circle like a rom com.

“The King of the Jury needs his queen, and I am forever yours,” I whispered into his ear.

He giggled, maybe awkwardly, maybe a little nervous, I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that Locky is straight up the most interesting player of his archetype besides Malcolm. Good strategically, charming and likeable, athletic and built like a God, he is perfect for this game and could have taken out the season, had Dave and Moana not had control.

His eyes welled up with tears as I told him all this before he started giggling again, this time at the sight of my Marquise au Chocky Gilbert.

 

 

Velvety and smooth, sweet, rich and oh so delicious, the marquise au chocolat melts in your mouth. And is the perfect thing to distract from post boot pain, in bed with your love.

Enjoy!

 

 

Marquise au Chocky Gilbert
Serves: 2 lovers that can also be friends.

Ingredients
255g dark chocolate, cut into pieces
1 tbsp espresso, cooled
1 tbsp amaretto
100g raw caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
175g unsalted butter, melted
cocoa, for dustin’

Method
Line a loaf tin with cling.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the coffee and amaretto and place in the top of a double boiler – well, if you don’t have steamy, unbridled sexual tension with your mate – and cook, stirring until the chocolate has just melted and everything has come together.

Meanwhile combine the caster sugar in yolks in a bowl and whisk for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. You could do this in a stand mixture, but I like to watch Locky whisk shirtless and I got him to give me a hand. Fold through the chocolate and butter until well combined. Leave to cool.

Finally whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold through the combined chocolate mixture until it forms a homogenous, shiny mixture. Transfer to the lined tin, cover with cling until airtight and place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 12 hours.

Once set, turn out, cut into slices and serve, dusted lightly with cocoa. They devour, on plates, or Locky’s chest. I went with the latter option.

 

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Flix Egginton

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Phoebe tried to regain David’s trust in her after her minor faux pas. Which is infuriating since David is ignoring the fact he betrayed her on the Daisy vote. But anyway. While Phoebe found a clue to the hidden immunity idol, David snagged the idol out from under her nose, giving him two legit, and a fake one that he made. Meanwhile Vakama grew more and more desperate for a win, until Shonee won them reward – which snagged her some sunnies – and kicked off a mini-streak by snagging immunity. Back at camp David and Moana tried to pull numbers to take out Phoebe, while she and Nick rallied the troops to get rid of Moana. Firmly in the middle, Sharn wasn’t sure which duo to side with until David made her nervous at tribal and switched her vote to Moana. Since Nick played his second vote, that tied things up, however on the revote, Sharn flipped back to her allies and sent Phoebe from the game.

Back at camp David was feeling giddy to have humiliated Phoebe and to have found out that Sharn is a snake. She, David and Mo caught up with Sharn desperate to convince them that she was always on their side without telling them that she voted for Moana to cover her tracks for turning on Nick and Lee. While Moana wasn’t concerned and trusted her completely, David wasn’t convinced and with his confidence, he became a bit too arrogant. And sadly, I don’t see it coming back to bite him any time soon.

The next morning marked their 25th day in game and feeling, I don’t know, stupid, Nick decided to tell everyone that the extra vote came from him and that was what was in Pandora’s vote. He shared how sad he was to see Phoebe go and more importantly blow the second vote, since he is well and truly on the bottom. As such, he decided to charm the tribe, bonding with Jacqui while washing the clothes. With them continuing their chat while pegging their clothes, Sharn, Moana and David caught up by the well with Sharn desperate to convince David of her loyalty, asking what their next steps were and readily agreeing to get rid of Nick ASAP. Though I assume she did that since she realises that it is him or her going home next.

Over at Vakama the tribe celebrated the half-way mark with a swim on the reef and Flick was busy marvelling how well they were getting on, with the entire tribe aligned. She continued her positivity by talking about how great she felt in the tribe, and more importantly, was confident in her ability to make it to the end should she make the merge. And oh god, Flick, you’re in danger! Back at camp Flick and Brooke caught up, talking about how great it has been to reconnect and it felt secure, knowing how the other works. Sadly for Flick, Brooke admitted to us that she planned to strike first but knew to wait until the moment was right. Before that thread could unravel, Brooke shared that the person she trusts least in the tribe is Harry, given he is sneaky. And constantly hunting for idols. As such, she joined him in poking around the jungle and after assuring her that he already checked the area they were. Then almost immediately, he saw a yellow thread and pulled it, digging up the advantage to put a stop to one of the next two tribal councils after the votes are cast, cancelling the tribal council and leaving the votes a mystery.

My love Jonathan arrived for the immunity challenge where the tribes had to dig under a log, race over a bunch of obstacles, through a rope tunel and then shoot their nuts to break five tiles. Returning to form, Mokuta got out to a convincing early lead, getting their entire tribe under the log before Vakama even got their first. With only Brooke through for Vakama, Mokuta made it to their final obstacle and made it to the nut shooting portion of the challenge just as Vakama got past the log. Somehow they managed to close the gap, getting up to the tiles while Lee had only broken two. This allowed Locky to crack a tile and save it from being too humiliating as Zach and Lee slowly plugged away at the tiles before David stepped up and finally won immunity for Mokuta.

Back at camp the dejected Vakama spent a little bit of time lamenting their losses until Shonee reminded them that they did manage to close the gap, which should make them proud. And just like that, the tribe started to split up and try and find a plan for the tribal council. Flick suggested to Brooke that they stay OG Vakama strong and take out Harry and while Brooke said that she was keen, Brooke was out for blood and decided that now would be the right time to get rid of her. With that, Brooke approached Harry, Shonee and Locky to lock in the votes against Flick, with Harry and Shonee just happy to vote for anyone but them. That being said, Harry was pretty thrilled to be able to pull the plug on the tribal council of his choice. From the next two.

With that locked down, Brooke and Locky approached AK to gauge his interest in taking out Flick. And while he was scared to break up their alliance too early, he did seem somewhat agreeable while subtly reminding them that getting rid of Harry makes the most sense. And it is also the easiest move. Though that seemed to lock Brooke for Flick, given she doesn’t want to play it safe this time. While the lovebirds hung out, AK approached Shonee to let her know that she is safe at tribal council, but Harry is likely to get votes and to be aware, wanting to keep her open as an option at next tribal council. Shonee being Shonee, she took this information back to her closest ally and told him that they need to come up with a plan ASAP, otherwise he is going home.

Harry pulled Locky aside to find out whether the vote was still for Flick, letting Locky know that he had heard his name thrown around. Locky feigned ignorance, asking where the information came from and while Harry told him it came from Shonee, he didn’t give up the true culprit of AK. Meanwhile Brooke pulled Flick aside to let her know that their fake plan was to split the vote between Harry and Shonee, though assured us that all she cares for is revenge. Clearly unaware that should they go to tribal again, she and Locky could easily be booted by the three loners.

At tribal council Brooke admitted that they have all been dreading having to turn on each other, with AK agreeing that they all wished that this turned out to be the final six. Harry said that he still believes they made the right move to get rid of Mat and not make a move, though shared that he was nervous that tonight’s vote would fall along OG tribal lines. Brooke disagreed that that is how they would be voting, Shonee and Harry still felt super nervous. AK admitted that voting against them was one of the many plans he heard throughout the day, which lead to Harry reminding everyone that loyalty may get you to the end, but these four people have all played the exact same game and some diversity in their alliance could work, given they will need information and/or a point of difference at final tribal council.

AK agreed that working with them makes a lot of sense, while Flick joined the fray and said that she plans to stay loyal but would ultimately be voting in her best interests. Harry continued to fight hard, while Locky and Brooke countered that just because he has connections, doesn’t mean it would end up helping them. Brooke then spoke about the dilemma of voting out the wrong person and while she may risk not making the merge with her decision tonight, if she did, she would have better numbers. AK reminded everyone that he plays to win and he’d rather be voted out than not try. Then Harry said that he planned to make some ballsy moves and while it seemed like a threat, everyone lapped it up and shared that that attitude is exactly why they all returned.

With that the tribe voted and while Harry got up to play his advantage, AK put a stop to him, jumping up, whispering in his ear and assuring him that everyone voted Flick and not to do anything stupid. Because if they do, they will be the final five. Shonee cautioned him not to be stupid, but Harry ended up making the ballsiest move of all, holding on to the advantage and letting the votes play out. And luckily for him, that trust wasn’t misplaced as the tribe did join together to boot Flick and help Brooke get her revenge.

Look, I get it – I GET IT – Brooke got humiliated by Flick in her season and if I were her, I would have cut her too before giving her the chance to do it again. She made the right move for her, but that doesn’t make it any easier. And with that, as soon as I heard her walking into Loser Lodge, I barrelled to the door, flung it open and pulled her in for the biggest hug, holding back my tears.

My voice cracked as I started to shake and quietly told her how hard it was to see her go out so soon, and how worried I was for Queen Shonee, the last standing fourth-places robbed goddess. Flick being the sweet, upbeat icon that she is booped me on the nose and reminded me that everything is going to be ok, she was ok and honestly, she just wanted to hang with her fellow GC icon and smash a Flix Egginton or six.

 

 

Like my second favourite robbed goddess herself, these babies are super sweet and immediately make you fall in love with them. The crunch of the biscuit, the sticky caramel and the melted chocolate? It almost makes losing Flick worth it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Flix Egginton
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1¼ cups plain flour
¼ cup icing sugar
¼ firmly packed cup muscovado sugar
½ tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g raw caster sugar
½ cup thickened cream
40g salted butter
350g milk chocolate, melted

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To make the cookie, combine the flour, icing and muscovado sugars and salt in a bowl. Place the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixture and beat on medium until light and fluffy. Add the dry mix a little at a time until it is all done and and just coming together. Pour into a lined 23cm square baking tin and press to make a neat, flat base. Transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While it is getting as chill as Cynthia Bailey, place the caster sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, sans stirring, for five minutes, or until bubbly and amber. Stir in the salty butter and cream, and cook until it reaches 120C. Pour over the cookie base, tilting the pan until it is even. Leave to cool for an hour, or until set.

Lifting the caramel coated cookie from the pan and using a serrated knife, cut into 1cm thick batons. Dip them in some melted chocolate and transfer to a wire rack to set.

The devour, heartbroken that we’re down to our final fourth-place robbed goddess.

 

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Amber Marinara Sauce

Condiment, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: The Australian Outback, Survivor: Winners at War, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor – which yes, yes, was minutes ago – 20 former champions of the game arrived in Fiji for the 20th anniversary special edition, battle royale, all winners season. While the opening didn’t have the majesty of dislocated shoulders or Sugar running around topless flipping the bird at the heroes, seeing winners like Amber, Ethan and Danni, who I never thought I would see again, was so exciting and grand, my gay little heart almost exploded. Mainly because Ethan is a zaddy and can get it. But anyway, the victors were split into two tribe Dakal and Sele, with the former taking out the opening immunity, meaning Queen Sandra lived to avoid becoming the first boot. Over at Sele, Rob, Parvati, Ethan and Danni joined together to form an old school alliance, taking control and deciding whether to split up Adam and Denise – who got lost together – and Natalie and Jeremy. Given the latter two were such close allies, and Jeremy’s blindside literally pushed Natalie to victory, they targeted them and sent Natalie to the Edge of Extinction.

We followed Natalie off to the Edge of Extinction, which she was now a massive fan of given it gives her the chance to return to the game. Despite following in her sister’s footsteps and getting booted first in The Amazing Race All Stars, she was still shocked to have been voted out of the game, describing the feeling of picking up a torch at tribal as weird.

The next day we checked in with Dakal where Sandra and Sarah were talking to Yul by the well, finding some common ground on their lack of connections and not having family. Sandra told the duo how hurt she was by Rob lying to her about playing, after denying it while spending 36 days together on the Island of the Idols. And honestly, I don’t know if this is a brilliant lie to get the target off her own back, or whether she was genuinely hurt … but I live for my vengeful queen. I just wish it didn’t mean she was likely going to take it out on Amber, instead of her hubby. Seeing a chance to split up the poker pals, Yul asked Sandra and Sarah if they would be willing to split up the marrieds and their card shark chums, which the Game Changers both quickly agreed to. Yul was mainly thrilled that the ladies were trying to pull together the same people he was. Aka the one time players that don’t have any connections on the tribe. Yul took the information back to his allies Sophie, Wendell and Nick and they were obviously keen to snatch the majority.

Over at Sele Michele was smarting over being left out of the vote at the previous tribal council, given she has so much pressure to prove that she deserved her first win and is actually a good player. She and Ben caught up, agreeing that Rob is in control of the tribe, no matter what he says, and that they need to hook up with Adam to make sure the new school kids aren’t led to the slaughter by the oldies. Firmly in the middle of the factions, Jeremy excused himself to a quiet section of the jungle where he learnt that Nat had bequeathed him her Fire Token and as such, he was the richest man in the game.

Speaking of Nat, she discovered the price list for items on Edge of Extinction which was accompanied by a note, offering a chance to earn herself a Fire Token. With that, she went hiking around the island to find the last place you would see the sun set. Where she discovered an immunity idol that is good for the next three tribal councils, which she could sell to someone from the losing tribe at the next immunity challenge for one Fire Token.

Speaking of the immunity challenge, Jeffrey arrived to lord over it. Each tribe was required to paddle out to retrieve a bag of number tiles, race over a series of obstacles, use the numbers to release three rings and then toss three rings to raise three flags. Both tribes were neck and neck getting into the water, until Sele straight up paddled into a pontoon and gave Dakal a huge lead. Which only extended as Sele over shot the dock with the number tiles. Sele desperately tried to close the gap but Dakal proved too strong, extended the lead as Rob single handedly flipped his tribemates over an obstacle. By the time Sele made it to the last obstacles, Yul had managed to release the rings giving Tyson and Wendell a massive head start tossing their rings. Wendell scored the first point before Adam finally released the rings. While Wendell continued to struggle, Jeremy quickly landed three rings in a row and handed Sele a massive come from behind win.

Back at camp Tony decided to simply ask if anyone wants to go keep Natalie company on the Edge of Extinction. With nobody jumping at the chance to exit the game, the tribe quickly splintered to find a target – not calmly, as Yul requested – with Sandra and Nick keen to take out Amber, while Kim, Amber and Tyson suggested those two and Tony to Wendell, unaware that they were aligned. Wendell, Nick and Yul caught up, Amber was feeling confident in her alliance with Tyson and Kim, though the pace made her nervous and she knew that she needed to keep up. Amber approached Sophie to see whether they should be getting rid of Sandra, given she spreads information to keep the target of herself. Speaking of Sandra, she was spreading information to her allies, to solidify the target on Tyson, Kim or Amber.

Sandra was feeling particularly confident, given she discovered and accepted the immunity idol in her bag. Stirring the pot with safe, glee, Sandra told Tony and co that Tyson now wants Tony out, pissing Tony off and getting his allies to change the plan to get rid of Tyson instead. Particularly since Amber isn’t scrambling, and keeping the married couple together keeps the target off him. Meanwhile Yul and Nick approached Tyson to let him know that everyone is terrified about the poker alliance, and as such, Tyson immediately flipped his game from dictating a vote, to assuring them that he will be a loyal number and vote whichever way they want him to. Kim and Amber be damned. Speaking of Kim, she was feeling nervous for the first time in her Survivor career, approaching Sandra and Wendell to find out who the target is, quickly realising that it may just be her.

Knowing that her presence was causing a lot of silences, she desperately tried to find someone to talk to and started announcing herself before entering any populated areas. She felt awful to finally be left out in her Survivor career, and was just hopeful that she wasn’t the one that was punished for the alleged poker alliance.

At tribal council Probst continued to make Amber feel super old, reminding her that she hasn’t played in over 16 years with her admitting that the speed of the game is overwhelming. Tyson spoke about the differences in each of the eras of Survivor, with the oldies sitting back and observing while the newer victors seem to act first, think second. Amber felt that Tony was running around erratically, with he and Sandra defending him because they were going to tribal council. And if she can’t keep up with the pace, she needs to get out of the way. Sophie said that the scrambling dropped off throughout the day, and as such, people should be nervous that their last conversation is correct. Which Sandra agreed with, given it was whittled down to a small group. Kim admitted that she was part of the small group because she played in a poker game which everyone believes is an alliance, which Tyson agreed was also putting him in danger.

Kim desperately tried to convince everyone that she is not close with the poker group and if it is, she isn’t a part of it. Wendell agreed that there are so many connections that the game is a mess, while Amber said that with $2 million dollars on the line, everyone was playing for themselves. Which Sandra gladly agreed with.

With that the tribe voted, Sandra held on to her hidden immunity idol and Kim and Tyson were spared as Amber became the second person and first Mariano voted out of the game to the Edge of Extinction. After bequeathing her Fire Token to Rob, I jumped out from behind the Edge of Extinction sign and unlike Natalie, she wasn’t terrified nor surprised to see me. She simply threw her arms around my neck and told me how glad she was to at least see me in her moment of crushing defeat.

Like Sandra said while voting for her, it was heartbreaking to see Amber’s third chance cut because of Rob’s threat level, rather than her own. And that thought made me start to break down in tears. Immediately, she went into mum/mom mode, pulled me in for a hug and reminded me that everything will be ok. And that while Edge of Extinction sucks, I can at least watch her in every episode. With that thought bringing a smile to my face, she got a fire going and I quickly whipped her up an Amber Marinara Sauce for the road.

 

 

Rich, robust and versatile – am I describing the perfect man or a simply beautiful marinara sauce. Por que no los dos, amirite? Smooth and lightly herbed, this marinara is the basis for all that is good in Italian cooking – from pizza to pasta, this baby has your back.

Enjoy!

 

 

Amber Marinara Sauce
Serves: 4-6 in a Dolognese, or about 1L if chugging.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
2 tsp chilli flakes
800g can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper, ground
½ tsp raw caster sugar
¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped

Method
Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and sweat the garlic for a couple of minutes, or until fragrant and starting to catch on the bottom. Add the chilli and cook, stirring, for a further minute.

Add the tomatoes, and a cup of water that has been swilled around the can to get every last drop of ruby, delicious goodness. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, sugar and herbs and cook – stirring occasionally still, FYI – for a further 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat to cool completely, before bottling.

 

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Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake

Baking, Cake, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water, Survivor: Winners at War, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Let’s not even play the cutesie game of acknowledging the previous two seasons of Survivor, because honestly, they ended up with a controversial victor and some real world ugliness dominating the end game. And this is the ultimate battle – Winners at War – and even the inclusion of Edge of Extinction can’t take away from the epic grandeur that is about to unfold before our very eyes. Speaking of unfolded, to begin the season we opened up with the original marooning, followed in quick succession by the current batch of contestants and their victorious maroonings and honestly, if the site of Ethan in Africa spliced with the zaddy riding the Fijian waves in a speed boat doesn’t flood your basement and make you want to cry because you’re so overwhelmed, you’re a terrible person.

I mean, it is fucking Ethan! Fun fact: he is the first person that made me feel ok to embrace my curls. Even funner fact: I now realise that that was me thinking he was hot and wanting to look like him.

But anyway, the ten men sped through the Fijian waters with Tony acknowledging his huge target, though looking around at his fellow victors, he himself was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the season, and his fellow competitors. Meanwhile in another part of the ocean, ten female winners were cruising on their own boat, with Parvati talking about being out of the loop for ten years while building her family, though she was ready to come back and destroy her competition. And honestly, I already have goosebumps. Ethan shared that he is just happy that he lived long enough to play Survivor again after beating cancer. Amber was thrilled to be back and hoped to win again, and more importantly looked forward to beating her husband again.

The men were the first to arrive on the tiny island in the middle of a reef where Probst was waiting to greet them. The women soon followed, with Sandra shocked to see Rob was also there playing against his wife, given she just spent 36 days on the Island of the Idols with her and never once thought to mention that he was playing again. As a newer winner, Wendell was overwhelmed to be facing off against legends, 13 years on Yul knows that the game has changed and Probst acknowledged how much the world has changed since Amber first played 20 years ago and hot damn, I am old. And hot damn, this is amazing.

Probst unveiled a bottle of champagne to toast everyone and 20 years of Survivor before shocking Natalie by splitting everyone into tribes and assuring them that the season is not men versus women. She started on the Sele tribe with Rob, Ethan, Parvati, Ben, Michele, Danni, Denise, her bestie Jeremy and Adam, while Tony, Wendell, Amber, Kim, Sophie, Nick, Sarah, Yul, Sandra and Tyson formed Dakal. Probst announced that this season would feature a currency called Fire Tokens. Each person would start with one and would need to will it to someone else when they are voted out to the Edge of Extinction. Vom. Adding to the excitement, he then said that this season would be a little bit different, in that the victor wouldn’t win $1 million, bu $2 million, to the joy of literally everyone.

Oh and then he surprised everyone by announcing that they would be kicking the season off with a challenge in the water, which isn’t a great idea after booze, but whatever. In pairs, they would race out to collect a ring and then drag the ring towards a coloured pole for their tribe. First to be touching the ring and their pole – my dream night, really – would score a point, with first to securing a flint, rice … AND immunity. Filling Denise with dread, given she has never missed a tribal council in her Survivor career.

First up were Tyson and Yul for Dakal facing off against Jeremy and Ethan for Dakal. Tyson quickly snatched the ring and headed to his pole while Jeremy and Ethan desperately tried to drag him away. Yul joined the fray however and quickly dragged them to their pole, scoring the first point for Dakal. The second round featured Natalie and Parvati versus Kim and Sarah, with Kim pulling hair and Natalie beasting her way against the current as Parvati desperately reach for the pole. Until Kim and Sarah overpowered them and scored the second point for Dakal. Rob and Ben faced off against Wendell and Tony, with the former duo proving too strong and scoring the first point for Sele. The next round featured Denise and Natalie facing off against Amber and Sarah, with Natalie and Amber clawing over the ring, while Sarah and Denise tousled in the water. Eventually the women came together and Mrs Mariano proved that managing four kids builds strength, dragging Natalie and Denise with Sarah to score the third point for Dakal and immunity.

Meaning Queen Sandra escapes being the first boot. Yas yas yas.

After being told that tribal council won’t be until day two, a dejected Sele headed off while a much more relieved Dakal arrived at their island. The tribe hugged and introduced themselves before Nick found a Fire Token menu, explaining what they can buy and how the currency works. And Nick was confident that mastering the currency will prove key to victory in the season. And given he is from a new season, he is used to it to his advantage. Please don’t tell me that is a winner’s quote.

The tribe quickly got to work building their shelter, with Wendell hoping to take a step back so that he isn’t stuck building again like his first season, rather than building relationships and hunting for idols. Meanwhile Sarah and Amber were catching up by the well, with Sarah expressing how shocked she was to see the All Stars’ victor given she and Rob have four kids sitting at home. Talk quickly turned to their kids and the women shared that they each made calendars for their kids to cross off every day until they are home. Tyson stumbled upon the scene and shared that he made a daisy chain for them to rip off a ring each day and hot damn, that is the sweetest. He then spoke about how much winning Survivor meant to him, because now he is able to spend more time with his kids and as such, coming out again is a huge deal. Back at camp Wendell called Sandra the queen, filling her with nerves as she knows that title puts the biggest target on her back. She spoke about her history with Tony and Sarah and how they all voted each other out, but my gut tells me this is all for show and they plan to stick together.

We checked in with Sele where they got to work building a shelter, while getting to know each other and slowly trying to figure out who to vote out the next day. Parvati and Jeremy bonded over their babies at home, with Parvati acknowledging how differently she will play the game as a married parent. Parvati continued to use kids to bond, chatting with Rob about his kids before Rob joined Ethan to check he was doing ok. Ethan shared how scary life after cancer can be, and as such, he is hoping returning to the game will take him back to the younger guy that was carefree and won the game. Denise and Adam went wandering to find the well and continued Denise’s terrible luck in Survivor, by getting lost. While they used the time to align, the rest of the tribe noticed that they had been gone for a ridiculously long time and as such, painted a target squarely on their backs.

We returned to Dakal where Tony was chatting to Yul, Nick and Wendell about playing a calmer game than before, knowing that it will only put a target on his back and see him get booted early again, like Game Changers. Speaking of big targets, Amber was feeling nervous about the pace of the game. While everyone was chatting and building the shelter, she wasn’t sure whether she should be out hunting for idols to save herself from the looming fear of she and her husband teaming up. On another part of the island Yul was casually asking Sophie to align and after assuring her that he didn’t view it casually, Yul spoke about the importance of the lesser connected people joining together to counter the larger poker alliance of Kim, Rob, Jeremy and Tyson, with Natalie and Amber roped in by association. Sophie and her nerd shield noticed themselves in the middle with Wendell and Nick, with Tyson, Kim and Amber closely aligned and the gritty Game Changers of Sarah, Tony and Sandra clearly aligned.

Speaking of alliances, over at Sele Rob approached Parvati about working together this season, rather than targeting each other like in Heroes vs. Villains. Knowing that they have the biggest targets on the island, and given Rob has few options, Parvati was all in and they quickly found people to join their old school crew. Speaking off old school, Danni and Ethan were chatting to Adam and Ben about everyone’s out of game connections, with Danni pointing out that Rob is clearly the most connected and as such, needs to go. Sadly for her, Ben went for a walk with Jeremy and Rob and told the latter that his name had been thrown out. In a matter of seconds Rob got the fact Danni was the one throwing his name out from Ben and as such approached Danni to hear it from her. Somehow the iconic Danni used it to her advantage, telling him the truth leading to Rob, Parvati, Danni and Ethan joining together to take on the newbies.

The next day Adam awoke terrified about tribal council as the rest of the tribe woke up and started to scramble. Danni and Denise caught up, Jeremy and Michele were plotting, Ben and Ethan chatted while the latter’s head spun about the speed of the game. Natalie and Jeremy, whom she avenged in San Juan del Sur, caught up by the shore, with Natalie suggesting that Adam should be voted out given he and Denise disappeared on day one. They took the idea to Ben, Ethan and Rob who all seemed open to the idea. Once again Ben took the information straight back to the person that was being targeted, filling Adam with even more nerves. Adam then suggested that Natalie and Jeremy were the most dangerous pair on the tribe and they should maybe focus on Rob and Amber too. Adam then got to work rallying the troops to split up Jeremy and Natalie, roping in Denise, Ethan and the old schoolers, with Rob and Parvati agreeing that it makes sense to split up the pairs ASAP.

Parvati joined Jeremy, Natalie, Danni and Ben to try and get someone to lock in a name, with everyone too scared to be the one to throw out a name. While Danni suggested Adam, everyone was too nervous to lock something in which made Parvati nervous that she is missing something and it is her. She then joined Rob by the shore and icons were in hysterics about the fact that they are sitting pretty and nobody seems to be targeting two of the biggest icons of the game. And the fact the rest of the tribe are heading out for tribal without any plans.

At tribal council Ethan spoke about how differently the pace of the game is from All Stars, which in itself was a step up from Africa. Rob agreed that the game is so different from Marquesas. Talk soon turned to the fact that Denise and Adam disappeared on day one, with Denise reiterating that they got lost before acknowledging that that doesn’t matter because perceptions are everything. Adam then jumped in to remind everyone that being nervous about people that met the day before is absurd given there is a married couple in the game and people that have been friends for decades. Probst asked Natalie whether she was nervous to follow in Nadiya’s footsteps and become the first boot, with her talking about using any excuse to vote someone out first. Parvati said that nobody should feel comfortable, but for some reason most people do. This made Jeremy nervous, though he was hopeful that tribal would show who he can trust. Ben and Michele meanwhile were just sitting there anxiously, overwhelmed by everything. Ethan admitted to being nervous, while Natalie agreed that being all winners put more pressure on them than ever before.

With that the tribe headed out to vote and it proved that Probst was prophetic as my love Natalie found herself following in Nadiya’s footsteps and becoming the first boot. Before he had even finished counting the votes, Natalie had her hair in the bun and was ready to fight, getting her torch snuffed, bequeathing her Fire Token to Jeremy – obviously – and jumping on a boat to head to the Edge of Extinction.

Sike, you know I stopped her before she jumped on the boat and pulled her into a bear hug. Well ever she stopped hitting me and screaming because I scared the shit out of each other. We collapsed in a heap laughing at how terrified she was before I casually suggested that maybe she and Nadiya just aren’t meant to compete in All Stars seasons. Obviously she objected and told me to stop saying silly things, because she is coming back with a vengeance and is going to slay the merge. Well, as soon as she is done fuelling up on her Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake.

 

 

This little Nigella number is quite possibly the best cake of all time, I knew it would be perfect for one of my favourite single-season winner’s arc. Revenge, redemption and bold play, calls for a punch of sticky peanut butter and the velvety smooth chocolate topping. Get thee to a kitchen now and praise the Queen. Well Queens – Natalie and Nigella.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake
Serves: 1 lonely twinnie, sitting on an island waiting for Godot, Telstra and/or company.

Ingredients
200g digestive biscuits
50g salted peanuts
100g dark chocolate chips
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
500g cream cheese
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
200g raw caster sugar
1 ½ cups sour cream
250g smooth peanut butter
100g milk chocolate chips
30g muscovado brown sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Chuck the digestives, peanuts, dark chocolate chips and butter in a food processor and blitz until a moist crumb forms and it is clumping together. Transfer to a springform tin and press into the bottom and half-way up the sides. Place the base in the fridge to chill while you get started on the filling.

In a clean food processor – aka, sorry you had to clean mid-bake – place the cream cheese, egg and yolks, caster sugar, half a cup of sour cream and the peanut butter and blitz until it forms a cohesive, creamy, caramelly colour. Pour oven the base, marveling as the beauty as it flows in.

Get a kettle boiling and a baking dish that will fit the cake tin out. Wrap the base and side of the springform with a double layer of clingfilm, followed by a double layer of foil to create a protective, waterproof barrier.

Once the kettle has boiled, place the cake in the baking dish and pour water into the dish so that it comes half-way up the side of the tin. Carefully transfer the waterbath and cake into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is set and dry.

Remove from the oven and combine the remaining sour cream, milk chocolate and muscovado sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking, until smooth and combined. Pour over the cake and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes, or until set.

Allow to cool completely before transferring to the fridge to set overnight. Then, devouring immediately.

 

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Quentin Maraschino Cherries

Dessert, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCII: Gold Basketball, Sweets

I don’t want to bore you with the details of my time in exile, but I can confirm that there was one big name star that was reaching out to me each week in concern. And that was Academy Award winning multi-hyphenate Quentin Tarantino. As such, I knew he would be the perfect person to kick off this year’s Oscar Gold celebration. Particularly since he directed three of my friends – Margot, Brad and Leo – to nominations this year.

Quents and I have known each other since the ‘80s when we both guested in the same episode of The Golden Girls. Sensing each other’s talents, we were drawn to each other through the sea of Elvis-impersonating extras and became the fastest of friends.

The question has probably struck you – how have two talented writers, such as ourselves, never worked together? It is a combination of unbridled sexual tension – dat chin, yo – and the fact I prefer to act as his muse, rather than tip the balance of our current relationship.

Fun fact: I inspired the characters of Mia Wallace, The Bride, Elle Driver and Daisy Domergue. What can I say? I am a strong, independent woman.

As soon as I say Quentin, I collapsed in a heap, the emotion of seeing him, the director of my beloved Luke Perry’s final film, hitting me like a wave. He ran and scooped me up in his arms, carried me into his home and lay me next to him on the couch to discuss this year’s Oscar odds.

I may have been high on the smelling salts, but we kicked off talking about Best Director and without even thinking about the fact he was nominated, said that Bong Joon-ho would be robbed if he lost for Parasite. And Mendes likely beating him with 1917 may be deserving, but I’d still be heartbroken.

“I assume you’re fucking tipping me for Best Original Screenplay then,” he joked, bringing me back to earth.

“Yes, obvi. But that is a conversation for later in the week. You’ve got some other categories I’d like you to run with me!”

He agreed that Bong has International Film in the bag, despite Pedro being equally deserving for  Pain and Glory. He thinks Documentary Feature will go to American Factory, while I am all in for The Cave. We agreed that Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) should and will win Documentary Short, Film Editing will go to Ford v Ferrari as it is the most technical and Visual Effects should go to Avengers: Endgame but will likely get swept up in a 1917 sweep.

With the formalities out of the way, I acted weak again to distract from my earlier faux pas. And so that I could enjoy being hand fed Quentin Maraschino Cherries by their namesake.

 

 

Some people say that maraschinos are a garnish. A sticky sweet morsel of magic to heighten a cocktail or dessert. But to Quents and I, they’re not a snack. They’re the whole damn meal in and of themselves. And once you make your own, you’ll never go back.

Enjoy!

 

 

Quentin Maraschino Cherries
Serves: 2 talented friends with palpable sexual chemistry.

Ingredients
1kg sweet cherries, pitted
11 cups water
1 tbsp pickling salt
4 1/2  cups raw caster sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 tsp red food colouring
30ml almond extract

Method
Bring 8 cups of water and pickling salt to a boil in a large pot, and cook until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat to cool for about fifteen minutes. Stir in the sweet cherries, cover and leave to brine overnight.

The next morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, drain the cherries and rinse under cold water for a couple of minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile combine the remaining water, with the sugar, juice and zest of the lemon and food colouring in a large pot and cook, stirring, for five minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in cherries and almond extract, cover and leave another 24 hours.

The next day when Quentin questions whether the recipe really takes this long or whether you’re just using it as a ploy for sleepovers, pour cherries and juice into hot, sterilized jars and leave in a cool, dark place.

Or devour, instantly. You know the drill.

 

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Macaron Howard

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Snack, Sweets

The Emmys are but a day away and as such, Emmy Gold: Golden Family is coming to an end to allow enough time for me to get ready and sneak in to the auditorium. While it is always tragic to know that our awards season celebrations are coming to an end, having been able to spend time with Chris, Riz, Tat, Shelley and Matt are truly a gift.

And finishing with TV icon and multi-hyphenate Ron Howard is just icing on the bloody cake.

I first met Ron way back when we were starting out with our careers on the set of The Andy Griffith Show. While I was working as Andy Giffith’s stunt double, I was only a young lad – did I mention I suffer from Benjamin button disease? – so little Ronnie and I became the fastest of friends.

And that friendship spanned decades until Apollo 13, when my infamous feud with Tam Honks commenced. While I was cast out of his life for a few years – evil Tam’s doing, obvi – we were brought back together by Jess when Arrested Development was getting up. Thankfully, our friendship hasn’t had a set back since.

Given his status as a powerhouse actor, writer, director, model, I decided to run through the oft forgotten about critical categories of writing and directing. For Limited Series writing, I am backing When They See Us but wouldn’t be shocked to see Escape at Dannemora. Variety we both see Last Week Tonight with John Oliver taking it out again. Drama better go to anything but Game of Thrones with me thinking The Handmaid’s Tale may continue it’s hanging episode streak of wins while Ron thinks Killing Eve will come out victorious. Comedy is where we really struggled. It is always hard to bet against Veep, though Fleabag’s second season was near perfect … and I can see Russian Doll picking up a trophy here.

When it comes to Directing, we see The Late Show with Stephen Colbert taking it out given live shows are truly a feat. I think that this once again comes down to Escape at Dannemora and When They See Us, with Ron backing Ben Stiller for the former, while I think whoever doesn’t win writing will grab this and shut out Chernobyl. I hope The Handmaid’s Tale takes it for Drama, but wouldn’t be shocked to see Adam McKay snag it for Succession, just for being Adam McKay. While Bill Hader is universally beloved, I don’t see him winning Comedy directing given he is up against Daniel Palladino for the majestic Catskills episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which should not be beaten.

With that, I thanked Ron for finally agreeing to appear on this patch of cyberspace and his many years of friendship, handed over a plate of Macaron Howard as I headed out to the awards.

 

 

There is nothing better than a sweet, melt in your mouth macaron. Delicate and delicious, this baby packs a nice blueberry punch that truly fills you with joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Macaron Howard
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
75g almond meal
115g icing sugar
2 egg whites, at room temperature
55g raw caster sugar
a few drops blue food colouring
1 cup freeze-dried blueberries, finely crushed
60g butter, softened
1 ⅓ cup icing sugar
1 ½ tbsp double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Combine the almond meal and icing sugar in a bowl. Meanwhile place the egg whites and raw caster sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the food colouring and ¼ cup crushed blueberries and whisk until just combined. Fold through the dry mixture and transfer to a piping bag.

Line two baking sheets and pipe little macarons across the pans until the mixture is gone. Tap each on the bench a couple of times before transferring to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed, crisp and glorious. Remove to rest for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

While they’re getting hella chill, combine the remaining blueberry with the cup-measure of icing sugar. Meanwhile cream the butter on medium for five minutes, or until pale and fluffy before slowly adding the sugar and blueberry mix in two batches. Once just combined, add the cream and vanilla, and beat until fluffy.

Dollop the icing on the exposed side of a biscuit and sandwich with another. Repeat the process until done.

Devour, regally. Like TV royalty.

 

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Matthew Reeses Pieces

Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Snack, Sweets

With my dates with Christina, Riz, Tat and Shelley done and dusted, it means that the end of Emmy Gold: Golden Family is almost upon us. And while I know that is something truly tragic for you all, be grateful that you still have these last two dates, one of which is with the iconic Matthew Rhys.

I’ve known Matt for 20 years now, after meeting on the set of Titus. I was having a torrid affair with Alan Cumming at the time, and given the healthy amount of nudity I fast became a fan of his … work.

While we were never intimate ourselves, Matt has always been a strong ally and when he was cast as Kevin Walker he got me a job on Brothers & Sisters as an intimacy coach, so that his relationships would be sincere. What a doll!

Since he has been busy working with my sworn enemy Tam Honks, we haven’t seen each other recently but I thought it was appropriate to bury the hatchet this Emmy season as he is a current reigning champ. And obviously he was thrilled, knowing how painful our feud had been on Keri.

Given it was his category, we focused on Drama with both agreeing that my dear Pete Dink will once again snatch Outstanding Supporting Actor, despite Nikolaj really deserving to get some love too. If Billy Porter doesn’t succeed him in Outstanding Lead Actor, we’ve agreed to riot and think that Killing Eve should take out Outstanding Drama since the final season of Game of Thrones doesn’t actually deserve it.

With that we held each other tight as he apologised for working with Tam and assured me that he tried really hard not to befriend him. While that may seem inadequate, I was feeling zen – and hoping to score his plus one – so accepting the apology and smashed a bowl of Matthew Reeses Pieces.

 

 

Crunchy on the outside, smooth and nutty on the inside, these little copycat Reese’s are bloody delightful. Definitely copycat. Promise.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matthew Reeses Pieces
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
3 ½ cups raw caster sugar
2 cups muscovado sugar
1 cup milk
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1⁄4  tesp salt
1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp liquid glucose
a few drops orange, yellow and brown food colouring

Method
Combine 2 cups caster sugar, the muscovado sugar, milk, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring infrequently until it reaches 115C. Remove from the heat, add the peanut butter and leave to rest. Not stirring at all.

When the thermometer reads 45C add the vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is glossy.

Combine the remaining sugar with ½ a cup of water in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Crank to high and once boiling, quickly stir through the glucose and continue to cook until it reaches 115C. Remove from heat and leave to stand until it is no longer bubbly.

Pour the syrup into a large wet platter and cool until you can bear to touch it. Transfer to a bowl and knead with a wooden spoon, turning it back and forward until it is white and opaque. You can transfer to a bench and continue kneading by hand if that is easier until it is smooth. Form it into a ball and cover with a wet – but wrung – cloth and leave to cure for an hour or so.

Remove the cloth, split it into three and knead each with a few drops of food colouring to give each an orange, brown and yellow.

To assemble, melt the fondant one colour at a time and take a small piece of peanut penuche and dip into the liquid. Transfer to a lined baking sheet to dry, flipping after a few minutes. Repeat the process until you’ve got a bag of candies. That you definitely didn’t just buy.

 

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Simon Black and White Cookie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champions continued to extend their lead after getting Daisy to burn yet another idol while Zaddy John was sent to join my harem in the Jury Villa. Jonathan then dropped a bomb at the next tribal council and announced that the next two people voted out would be sent to Exile Island before battling each other for the chance to return to the game, with that Daisy was then voted out to spend a miserable night in the rain. The next day Abbey started to crave a big move for her resume and after Pia secured immunity, joined Harry, Baden and Luke to blindside Simon from the game. Well, temporarily, as he destroyed Daisy in the challenge and sent her to Jury Villa and rejoined the game.

The tribe returned to camp with the same final seven as the day before, with Abbey awkwardly hugging Simon and the silent King finding his voice, talking to us about his rage at being voted out. Instead of finding allies, he decided that an idol would be his best shot so went searching, digging up much of the island and leading to – probably – the deforestation of 90% of Fiji.

The next day Abbey was feeling nervous about her place in the game, knowing Simon would be upset with her and concerned that JaQueen and Pia won’t ever forgive her. Which is a fair judgement, given Pia and JaQueen were seething about her lies and bitching about her by the shore.

Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to balance a platform using a rope and move back and forth up the length of the course collecting letters to spell immunity on said platform. While everyone raced out to start, Baden stayed behind to reorder his blocks. That didn’t seem to slow him down however as he joined Pia, Luke and Abbey at the front of the pack, while poor Simon sat in last. The four continued to power ahead, with Abbey and Luke firmly fighting for first while their platforms slowly swayed. Pia was the first to drop her stack, followed by Baden who was sympathetic to Pia’s loss. Abbey dropped her stack on the last block, allowing Luke to place his last block and slowly make his way back to the start to secure immunity, with Simon now breathing down his neck and Abbey cheering him on. Thankfully he held firm, maintained his stack and snatched immunity, while JaQueen admitted that she was just hoping to pull a Bradbury.

Back at camp Simon recommenced digging up the entire island while Abbey was just thrilled that anyone but Simon took out immunity. She checked in with Harry, Baden and Luke to lock in their latest vote for Simon to guarantee he doesn’t go on an immunity run. Luke and Abbey went for a private chat while Pia and JaQueen sat nearby and saltily speculated what the new duo could be up to. Sick of speculating, they approached them leaving Luke to straight up ask them to join them in getting rid of Simon. Again.

While they sat there strategising JaQueen started to realise that Abbey was the bigger threat and as such, she and Pia went hunting for numbers. JaQueen approached Simon who quickly fell in line, while Pia once again used her acting skills to improvise and pulled Harry aside with JaQueen and played into his desire to make a big, bold move. They outlined that while none of them can win against Luke he is immune and as such, taking out Abbey would be the next biggest move to impress the jury. While Harry agreed that getting rid of Abbey is a logical choice, he was lucky enough to have countless options and just needed to decide whether teaming up with JaQueen and Pia was in his best interests.

At tribal council Janine spoke about the feeling of deja vu heading into tonight’s tribal council, while Abbey tried to downplay the fact that nothing has changed since the previous vote. Despite the fact her flip was outed and her two closest allies aren’t on board with her anymore. She then pushed for everyone to band together and get rid of Simon again, which led Simon to finding his voice and congratulating Luke, Harry, Baden and Abbey for outwitting him. JaQueen admitted that she too felt blindsided and was paranoid that she would be next, leaving Abbey to assure them that she would have said something if it really would have impacted them.

Harry spoke about the uncertainty of moves at tribal council leading to major, continued change while Pia hoped the flip didn’t leave her on the outs. Simon returned to talk the only thing he has left, the fact that he can be a loyal number, while Harry spoke about everyone’s paths to the end intersecting in different ways. Pia agreed with him and mentioned that that means things will shift a lot more frequently, before JaQueen and Abbey mentioned that they would be voting with their head tonight and honestly I have no idea what it happening.

With that the tribe voted and for the second time in a row, silent Simon was booted from the game. The reason Simon barely appeared in any episodes this season is because all of his confessionals were him talking about how excited he was to get booted, see his dear fellow Brisbanite – not a good episode for Queenslanders, no? – and smash some Simon Black and White Cookies together.

 

 

These classic New York biscuits are a favourite of my husband, who first got Simon to try one when we were travelling to NYC together. Soft and fluffy, almost cake like biscuits, smothered in a thick choc v. sugar crust, they truly are a magical creation. Like Simon, which you would know if he or Sam actually appeared this season.

Enjoy!

 

 

Simon Black and White Cookie
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter plus 2 tsp for the icing, at room temperature
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups icing sugar mixture
30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt in a bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a jug.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

To making the dough, cream the butter and caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium for about ten minutes, or until pale, creamy and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low and working slowly and carefully to avoid the kitchen looking like a crime scene, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in thirds, stirring until just combined.

Place heaped large golf-ball sized dollops on lined baking sheets, allowing plenty of space for spreading. Press them down to flatten a little and transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine the icing butter remaining butter and vanilla in a heatproof bowl with a tablespoon of water. Place over a double boiler and stir until combined and soft. Spread the icing over half of each cookie before adding the chocolate to the bowl and heating until combined. Spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each biscuit and leave to set for five minutes.

Then devour, chattily, like Simon is in real life.

 

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Biscuits & Gravid Genat awaiting the model blindside victim David Genat after he was brutally cut from Australian Survivor.

Biscuits & Gravid Genat

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Bread, Breakfast, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the first post-merge tribal council gave Andy one more time to be wrong, thinking he was lying about David’s idol when dropping a bombway out. While David legit had one. Classic Andy. Thankfully that mistake only made Pia more resolute about taking him out ASAP. While JaQueen spent a couple of days rallying people to blindside an exceedingly cocky David, he won a hard fought immunity challenge over Shaun and saved. After being sent directly to tribal council, without even passing go and collecting $200, everyone scrambled outside with Shaun desperately trying to swing the vote on to Luke given he is a social threat that nobody can beat. Sadly for Shaun however that didn’t work with JaQueen and co’s plans, as they signalled their intentions and flipped the vote back on the sexy, strapping Shaun.

Back at camp the tribe were hunkering down as they were battered by torrential rain for over twelve hours, with Pia realising that the game is so much tougher than she was expecting. She was grateful however to have her dear friend JaQueen, trusting each other implicitly. As they sat around debating whether a palm has a frong – JaQueen, I’m disappointed – or a frond, they watched David flirting his way along the sure with Abbey and once again was focused on the need to get her former ally Dave out of the game.

Luke was once again feeling excited to have escaped certain doom, getting biblical and making jokes about blindsides and again, I hate that he annoyed me his last season. Given he has been through it before, he was acutely aware that they’re getting at the pointy end of the game and as such, alliances are going to break every tribal council. Meanwhile Daisy was still moping about tribal, given she had to get in line and vote out Shaun to try and save herself from JaQueen’s golden tongue. Speaking of golden, this time God, David was feeling super confident, having the numbers advantage, an idol and a team of allegedly loyal soldiers and he is looking forward to steamrolling his way to the end.

And to that I say, David, you in danger girl.

David was grateful for his tight alliance with Luke, who tells him everything that is going on, and as such, he knows it is safe to get rid of Daisy next. He then approached Pia, Abbey and JaQueen to fill them in on his plan to boot her and then told them not to tell anyone and keep everything quiet before tribal council. Which you know none of them are interested in. This led to even Abbey getting annoyed by his confidence, so the trio solidified their plan to blindside him as soon as possible. Knowing that getting David out will require them to keep it super quiet and play into his ego, inflating his confidence to unheard of levels. Pia then once again gave a masterclass in fake friend acting and again, David, you’re in danger as the Australian Black Widow alliance has finally arrived.

Jonathan and his guns arrived for the immunity challenge where they would race to dig a big sack of walls which they would then use to roll down a long, hard shaft and land them in waiting holes. Little Baden was the first to unleash his balls, rolling them down his shaft and trying to get a handle on the challenge before Luke joined him with his balls. Baden finally mastered the challenge, landing two balls with Luke nipping at his heels. Abbey finally joined the balls as Luke started to overtake Baden, landing his fourth and fifth balls while Baden started knocking his off. David joined them at the paddle but it was all for nought as Luke landed his sixth ball and secured individual immunity for the first time in his Survivor career.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Luke on a job well done at the immunity challenge before he dedicated victory to his kids and again, he has really won me over. As they started to pick at fruit, David quickly locked in the vote for Daisy, pulling everyone aside and feeling on top of the world. But we all know pride comes before a fall and he approached the Champion girls to talk about the plan to split the vote on Daisy and Harry, with JaQueen and Pia assuring him that they love the idea and have no reason to worry about big, bold moves as yet. Which he bought hook, line and sinker.

With that Pia, Abbey and JaQueen split up to bring in allies, with Pia quickly pulling in John before joining JaQueen to pull in Harry who knows that David is a threat and not Daisy. Despite not knowing whether the move will be enough to keep him, he felt like he had no other options. Meanwhile Abbey approached Daisy to get her up to speed on the new plan and told her that while it will sound like everyone is getting rid of her, it is only to keep Dave confident enough to not play his genuine hypothetical idol. While Daisy was nervous to be the decoy vote, she knows that that is her only hope to stay in the game. Pia was hopeful that the blindside will come together, carefully avoiding telling David’s nearest and dearest about the plan, with JaQueen wishing that the sun would hurry up and set so nobody can fuck it up. Right on cue Daisy pulled Luke aside to talk to him about the vote ahead, filling Pia and Abbey with a horrible feeling of dread as they were about to leave.

At tribal council Jonathan was joined by Zaddy Shaun who was looking stunning all scrubbed up before congratulating Luke on his first individual immunity. They then joked about Luke becoming the new challenge beast of the season and dominating the game. JaQueen deflected Jonathan’s suggestion that the focus would now be on a new challenge threat, assuring him that she will be sticking with her alliance this time. David jumped in to agree that allies are more important, particularly if the challenge threat is amongst them as they can keep the target off your back. Dave then went in on Daisy for flipping on him at Champions 2.0 – or 3.0 – with Daisy dutifully playing the hapless next boot, apologising for not talking to him prior to flipping on him pre-merge.

Harry joined the fray to talk about his nerves about old tribal lines dictating the vote ahead and that all he cares about is self-preservation. Zaddy John agreed that all he cares about is making it another day, with Baden agreeing that he wished another Contender wasn’t about to go home however he doesn’t have any say. Simon finally spoke however it clearly wasn’t too memorable as I honestly just know that he said something. Though maybe that was because Jonathan pivoted back to Zaddy John who spoke about cracks showing in the Champion alliance, which immediately made the Champion ladies shit their pants as David appeared to grow more and more nervous. Before heading off to vote Daisy wished that she had scrambled harder before tribal, while Dave asked everyone to stick to the plan, unaware that those magic words are what killed the man, the myth, the legend Keith Nale. And killed him, as Pia’s plan played out perfectly and he was blindsided from the game with an idol in his pocket.

While I do love a Survivor downfall, I also love everything that David has brought to the game this season, from his spunky attitude to his aggressive gameplay and his glistening torso, I would watch him on repeat. He was bummed to be voted out, sure, but was thrilled to see his old runway coach – I go by Miss Benny-J – on hand to comfort him. After I worked through the excitement of having Shaun and David to myself in the jury villa, all I could think about was getting him alone in a room to gorge on some Biscuits & Gravid Genat.

 

David Genat waiting to smash Biscuits & Gravid Genat after he was brutally blindsided from Australian Survivor.

 

Is it lazy to throw together two recipes that I’ve previously done? Sure. but when you’re faced with staring at a cooktop and staring at David’s beautiful face, I think you would err on the side of simple. Plus, this creamy sausagey gloop, slathered over buns is a delicious way to celebrate our model contestant. Or him to celebrate with me, I don’t mind.

Enjoy!

 

David Genat smashing Biscuits & Gravid Genat after he was brutally blindsided from Australian Survivor.

 

Biscuits & Gravid Genat
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 batch Jenna Lewiscuits
1 batch Sam Schoesage Gravy

Method
Cook the biscuits as per Jenna’s recipe.

Cook the gravy as per Sam’s recipe.

Split the biscuits, top with gravy and devour.

 

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Pizzara Frillips

Pizzara Frillips

Side, Snack, Street Food

Let me just tell you, one does not know how much Zara Tindall née Phillip’s visit meant to me. And boy does she know how to troll her cousins, which makes me even happier to call her a dear friend.

I arrived at Brisbane Airport driving a Tesla, as per her request, and picked her up from the pick-up zone of a genuinely commercial flight to avoid getting a ticket from the parking machine, to reduce adding to the burden of recycling plants. We then laughed the entire way back to our apartment, knowing that if her environmental heroics surface the very same week of Harry and Wills’ plane faux-pas, she will come out on top.

Shit, she made me promise not to say anything. Can you keep it between us?

In any event, it was such a treat to get to spend a little bit of time with Zars and fondly look back on our time spent together in our youth, when we would compete against each other in dressage events and tut-tut at the epic fails on the polo match.

Sadly at all those cultural events, we never got the chance to relax and gorge on food that we loved so it was a total joy for the two of us to get together and smash some like we would while attending the Gordonstoun School.

 

Pizzara Frillips

 

While we both grew up enjoying the finer things in life, we still know that there is nothing more enjoyable than some crunchy fries dirtied up with some pepperoni, napoli and tonnes of cheese. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Enjoy!

 

Pizzara Frillips

 

Pizzara Frillips
Serves: 2 regal chums.

Ingredients
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped
1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp thyme, roughly chopped
1 cup passata
pinch of raw caster sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
200g pepperoni, sliced
1 cup mozzarella, grated

Method
Cook the fries as per Jud’s instructions.

While they’re getting hot, heat a lug of olive oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Add the herbs, passata, pinch of sugar and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

To assemble slash serve, place the fries in a bowl, top with sliced pepperoni, a generous heap of sauce and an even more generous mound of mozzarella.

Then devour, messily, full of joy. And pomp and circumstance too, obvi.

 

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