Bananarama Bread

Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to reconnect with my girls, Sara, Keren and Siobhan – aka Bananarama. Late last year I started receiving voicemails from all of the girls individually, asking to drop by and talk.

“Hey Ben, it’s Sar! Give me a call, I’d love to reconnect. Don’t make me Bobby D for you!”

“Ben – its Kez. I hear its been a Cruel Summer in Brisbane, call me back we need to talk.”

By the time Sio-b-han called to confess her guilt of love in the first degree, I knew what they were playing at and was equal parts excited and terrified. As you should already know, Siobhan returned to the group earlier this year and as the other founding member of Bananarama, I knew they’d be desperate to get me back.

I attended St. George’s School for Girls with Sez and Kez, and we became the fastest of friends. Sara and I then met Siobhan while studying fashion journalism and the band was quickly formed. Fun fact: I convinced them to name the band after my passion for penis … which ultimately led to me leaving the group.

Oh, I should clarify – I convinced them to name it Bananarama without explaining that it was also a festival I held in the West Village in the late 50s / early 60s.

The truth got me kicked out of the group in the early 80s for lying to them – they loved it, thus keeping it, but the betrayal cut deep – and we didn’t speak until 1987 when they wrote the hit song Love in the First Degree as an apology. While our friendship was renewed, I couldn’t rejoin the group as Maggie Thatch had banned me from the U.K.

While we’ve stayed in contact throughout the years, we haven’t seen each other in close to a decade. I guess there was always a part of me that knew that they’d want to reform but due to the nodules I shared with Julie Andrews, I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to sing again.

After holding each other for what felt like hours, we quickly caught up on life and laughed the night away. Sure the girls were disappointed that I couldn’t bring myself to rejoin the band – they don’t have to know I’m a bee’s dick away from convincing Celine Dion to start a duo – they were just thrilled to see me and share a delicious Bananarama Bread.

 

 

Like Apu and Mandula, I am a firm, firm believer that banana bread solves all of life’s problems. Throw in some walnuts and chocolate? Well I guess you’re in for a damn delightful treat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bananarama Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
4 very ripe bananas
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
150ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
150g raw caster sugar
¼ cup fresh espresso, cooled
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarb soda
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ roughly chopped milk chocolate

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a loaf tin.

Mash the bananas in the bowl of an electric mixer with the vanilla and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low while adding the oil. Add the eggs one by one, still mixing, before adding the sugar and coffee.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the flour and bicarb and quickly stir with the paddle until the mixture binds. Return to the mixer and stir on medium for a minute. Remove again, fold through the walnuts and chocolate, and pour into the loaf tin.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden, risen and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for fifteen minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely … if you can wait.

If not, just devour.

 

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Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie
Serves: 12.

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

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

Preheat oven to 180°C.

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

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

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

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

 

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Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Pie, Snack, Sweets

Oh how my heart is heavy! I mean, yes, I am heartbroken that our Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations are coming to a close today … but my agony has more to do with that fact I’m whipping out the time machine to celebrate with Brittany Murphy just prior to her death.

And fuck do I miss my Brit.

We first met on the set of Clueless where Amy Heckerling said, and I quote, “we need Brit to look less pretty, more dirty and disheveled … so Ben, can we model pre-makeover Tai on you?”

While that one comment set off a feud with Ames that lasted until a few years ago – when I embraced my homeless-toddler looks – I took Brit under her wing and gave her the typical teen movie make-under. Fun fact: she could be a farmer in those clothes was a line inspired by the fight with Amy, as I staunchly defended my sexy-farmer look.

Anyway, Brits felt for my pain and we quickly bonded. Soon after I introduced her to Allison and helped her make her Broadway in A View from the Bridge, before convincing them both to join Drop Dead Gorgeous.

I still can’t believe that she has been gone for almost eight years now, and not a day goes by where I don’t miss the ability to pick up the phone and have a gossip and a laugh. Thankfully though, my invention of time travel allows me to involve her in the celebrations, pre-posthumously.

I’ve been racking my brain about when exactly to catch-up to avoid making too many changes to the timeline, and the only time that really makes sense is to drop by in 2009 aka the 10th anniversary of the movie. But tragically that also means it is five months before her death.

When I arrived in her late noughties Hollywood home, I ran into her arms and held her so hard I thought I may break her. While I wanted to scream at her to get out of the house and that girl, you in danger … I knew I couldn’t, filling the entire catch-up with a melancholic tone for me.

Thankfully my supreme acting talent didn’t let it show, as we joked and caught up on what we’d been doing recently over a Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie.

 

 

While it may not fit with the whole cook-out theme I had going to celebrate DDG and Fourth of July, there is nothing more American than a Mississippi Mud Pie. A crunchy (sop it up with a) biscuit crust, delicate cake, velvety chocolate custard and freshly whipped cream? You really can’t go wrong.

Happy Fourth of July ya’ll, now enjoy, ya here?

 

 

Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
Crust
500g chocolate biscuits, crushed
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
Cake
¼ cup unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
¼ cup strong coffee, cooled
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 cup muscovado sugar
Pu-dang
¾ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup dark cocoa powder
¼ cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate
(Ben de La)Creme
1 cup double cream
3 tbsp raw caster sugar

Method
Preheat oven 120°C.

Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a pie dish and press all the way up the edge. Transfer to the freezer and chill for half an hour. Transfer straight into the oven and bake for ten minutes, or until dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Crank the oven to 180°C.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt via double-boiler. In a different bowl, combine the espresso powder, coffee, salt and vanilla, and allow to rest. Meanwhile, place the yolks and ½ a cup of sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until combined and doubled in volume. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the side and add the coffee mixture, and beat until just combined.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites until they foam. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Combine a cup of the stiff peaks by folding through the chocolate. Add the remaining whites and fold through until combined. Pour into the crust, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until set but still a bit jiggly in the middle, caliente style.

No, you can’t call me fucking jiggly.

Allow to cool on a rack for an hour, before transferring to the fridge for a few hours.

While that is chilling, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt and yolk in a medium saucepan before slowing whisking through the milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Boil for a minute before transferring to a bowl. Add the butter, vanilla and chocolate, whisking until combined. Allow to stand for half an hour before pressing some cling to the surface and chilling for a few hours. Once chilled, stir the pudding before transferring to the pie on top of the cake. Return to the fridge and chill.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream and caster sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop over the pie and spread to coat. Chill for half an hour before serving, generously, and devouring.

 

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Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad

Pasta, Salad, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

It is hard to remember a time when Amy Adams wasn’t a critically acclaimed darling with five Academy Award nominations under her belt. But there was, and that time was ‘98 … a year before her screen debut in Drop Dead Gorgeous.

While Leslie Miller wasn’t an Oscar bait role, Ames’ performance was pitch perfect and I knew from the start that she was destined for greatness. As is often the case when I get that feeling, I immediately hitched my wagon to her and vowed to make her a big big fucking star.

Thankfully Amy never held my advice that Cruel Intentions 2 was a good idea against me, and listened to me when I suggested she co-star with my dear friend Ben in Junebug. You may have heard of it? It is the one that put her on the map, snagged her first Oscar nom … and first Oscar robbery at the hands of Rachel Weisz.

Everybody knows that Michelle Williams and Ames’ should have tied for Supporting Actress that year, but I’ve digressed.

Ames’ is super busy filming Sharp Objects and doing reshoots on Justice League, so I was so touched that she wanted to make the time to catch up and celebrate the movie that launched her career … and her words, our best friendship. Isn’t she a doll?!

Given cook-outs are the best thing about Fourth of July for non-Americans, I decided to continue you rolling with the rapidly revealing theme and whip up another (not so healthy) salad, this time in the form of my Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad.

 

 

Like Kirstie before her, I prefer my salads to be as un-salad-like as possible. Don’t be fooled by the capsicum, tomato and carrot, this pasta salad isn’t very healthy … but damn is it delicious!

Enjoy!

 

 

Amyrican Adams Pasta Salad
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g macaroni, cooked, rinsed, and drained
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup sour cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combined everything in a bowl.

Stir.

Devour.

 

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Kirsten Bunst

Baking, Bread, Burgers, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Party Food, Side, Snack

The star and true heart and soul of Drop Dead Gorgeous – and my life, TBH – is my divine friend Kirsten Dunst. Like all American girl Amber Atkins, Keeks has always been destined for greatness.

Given these facts, I simply knew that there was no better person to kick off our Independence Day / Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations … plus, we met via my friend slash nemesis slash star of Born on the Fourth of July, Tom Cruise. Which is even more meaningful because we both survived him and avoided scientology.

Anyway, I met Keeks on the set of Interview with the Vampire where I was juggling both my lovers of the time, Brad and Tom. It was so fucking exhausting and stressful trying to keep everything secret that I broke down one day. It was Tom’s day on my schedule and he took me out for a walk and before he could push me into a van to the Scientology headquarters, I was introduced to Keeks and we quickly bonded over our mutual superiority to those in our vacinity.

My words, not hers – she is a damn saint.

I quickly dumped both the boys and vowed to make my gal-pal the biggest star the world had ever seen, getting her a role in Jumanji and getting Sof to cast her in The Virgin Suicides before snagging her the career making roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous and Bring It On, both of which I wrote about my teen years.

Given how busy she has been with the 1, 2, 3 punches of Fargo, Hidden Figures and The Beguiled, we haven’t been able to hang out as often as we used to, so she jumped at the chance to celebrate the season with me.

Knowing she is the damn star of the entire event, I couldn’t go past whipping up my Kirsten Bunst … because you just know they be reappearing later in the week.

 

 

Soft, sweet and insanely delicious, these rolls are the best thing since sliced bread, which is kinda awkward given that they are bread rolls. You know? In any event, these are the perfect rolls for burgers and hot dogs, and will make you regret the years you spent buying store bought like a chump.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kirsten Bunst
Makes: 10.

Ingredients
675-700g 00 flour
7g dried yeast
3 tbsp raw caster sugar
generous pinch of salt
125ml water
50g butter
1 cup milk, plus extra to glaze
4 egg yolks
sesame seeds, to top

Method
Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Meanwhile, heat the water, butter and milk in a saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted and the liquid is 50°C. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Knead the dough on medium, adding the yolks one at a time, allowing the dough to come together before adding the next … if you need more flour, add it here, though you want the dough to be soft, it shouldn’t be sticky. Once the yolks are done, continue kneading for about 10 minutes or until beautifully elastic. Form into a ball and transfer to a large, oiled bowl, cover with cling and allow to rise for 2 hours.

After the dough has proved, smack it down and separate into 10 portions. Shape them into burger buns or hot dog rolls, and place on a lined baking sheet. Dust with flour, cover with cling and leave to prove for another hour and a half, or until they have doubled.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Once they are beautifully puffy, lightly brush with extra milk, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown but still soft and spongy.

Devour as is, or complete with your favourite burger filling.

 

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Macarooney Mara

Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Honestly – there aren’t enough kind words in the sixteen most common languages in the cosmos to describe how wonderful Rooney is. I mean, I don’t want to be off brand and sound like i’m gushing … but damn, she is simply the greatest.

Roons and I met each other in the early noughties while attending Fox Lane High School, and quickly bonded over our similar familial backgrounds. She is one of four siblings, I am one of four siblings, in both our cases, there is also an even split of genders … I mean, we’re essentially the same with just that. But let me tell you, it doesn’t stop there – Roons is the heir to the Pittsburgh Steelers / New York Giants dynasties, I was the heir to a fruit and vegetable empire that supplied the food to the production company that does I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here.

Oh – you’re welcome for feeding the (all too brief) love of Peter Andre and Jordan.

To top of the similarities, she is from a football family and my dad was – for some reason – on a football card. So yeah, we had a shit tonne in common at school before we even realised that we were both hella cool, artistic and destined for Hollywood greatness.

As I’ve already mentioned, we did have a brief period of nastiness when I found out she was working on Lion with my then nemesis Nicky Kids but not only did she win me back, she sorted through mine and Nicole’s issues and made us the best of friends.

Given she is now eligible for sainthood despite being alive, I wanted to make something as pure and sweet as my girl to say thanks. And there is nothing more pure and sweet than my Macarooney Mara.

 

 

Macaroons are quite possibly the easiest thing you could possible make which I think adds to their deliciousness. I mean seriously, if you ever have an extra egg white you can throw together a batch in less than twenty minutes. Plus, they are sweet, toasty coconut – the BEST … like Roons.

Enjoy!

 

 

Macarooney Mara
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 egg whites
⅓ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup shredded coconut

Method
Preheat oven to 140°C.

Whisk the egg, sugar and vanilla until the sugar dissolves. Add the coconut and stir until well combined.

Divide the mixture into golf-ball sized little mounds and place on a lined baking sheet.

Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden and firm.

Remove from the oven and cool completely on the tray before serving … or resign yourself to eating it with a spoon.

 

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Chocolate Creampie Trang

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Brad won immunity again and Aubry felt everyone was against her. Which they were, booting her in fifth place.

Once again, Probst was quick to return for the final immunity challenge of the season – an epic obstacle, water slide, puzzle combo. I mean sure, it looks pretty simple but after starving for 38 days, this is guaranteed to be a struggle.

Brad got out to a an early lead, which was just as quickly taken by Sarah with Troyzan hot on her heels. Sarah continued to extend her lead, while Troyzan struggled with his second bag and fell out of it. Then out of nowhere, Brad overtook Sarah snatching the last bag of puzzle pieces and made quick work of the puzzle, equalling the record by snatching his fifth individual immunity.

Turns out he was able to do what Monica would do, going from a pre-merge boot to a finalist on his second attempt.

Back at camp, Troy jumped straight into Brad’s arms knowing that as the biggest goat remaining, he too was guaranteed to be a second runner-up. They quickly agreed that getting rid of Tai was the best plan, particularly since Brad is confident the jury will reward his challenge prowess and his experience as a lawyer guarantees him a better performance in front of the jury.

Tai made a last ditch plea to Sarah to vote for Troyzan and force a firemaking challenge between one of them and Troy. Sarah appeared to be swayed, knowing that she could potentially beat everyone remaining and a successful win in the challenge is yet another point as far as the jury are concerned.

We returned to tribal council where Aubry made a play to snatch the jury facial expression crown from Michaela. Brad was proud to be guaranteed a spot in the final but was concerned about who would be joining he and Troyzan in the final tribal. Sarah and Tai agreed that it was one of them and that if they want to go to the end together, they had to try and force a tie.

Tai started a smear campaign against Brad’s bullying, before Brad gave the jury a live show. Troyzan was quietly confident, but given how most of the tribals have gone this season couldn’t bring himself to feel safe. Sarah kept looking back at Brad and Troyzan nervously, clearly confused as the headed to vote … luckily for her, the odds were in her favour with her joining the boys to boot Tai from the game.

As you know, I met Tai when he supported my one man, nude version – did I mention it was nude, because it was – of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Golden Gate Park. While it wasn’t as celebratory as our previous Ponderosa pow-wow, Tai was still the most upbeat and positive person in the room.

That being said, who doesn’t like a nice wet creampie? That sounds dirty. Who doesn’t love a  chocolate-y creampie? Still off. I gave him a Chocolate Creampie … Trang.

The Trang saves it from being smutty, right?

 

 

Sweet, slippery, sticky and altogether delicious, this is the second best creampie a guy could ask for.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Creampie Trang
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
1 ⅓ cups chocolate biscuits, blitzed to a crumb
75g unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp raw caster sugar
⅔ cup muscovado sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
pinch of kosher salt
4 egg yolks
3 cups milk
30g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup double cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Combine the biscuit crumbs, 75g melted butter and the ¼ cup of raw caster sugar in a bowl until combined. Press the base into a pie dish and bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp. Remove and allow to cool.

While that it chilling like Tai finding idols, whisk the muscovado sugar, cornstarch, salt and yolks in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until combined and slowly stir in the milk. Bring to the boil over medium heat, while whisking, reduce heat to low and still whisking, simmer for a minute or so or until it is thick. Sieve the custard into a bowl and slowly whisk in the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Cover with clingwrap and cool for a couple of hours.

Once cooled, transfer to the crust, smooth over, cover and place in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

When you’re almost ready to devour, lightly whisk the double cream with a tablespoon of raw caster sugar until it forms soft peaks. Spoon over the pie, slice and devour.

 

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Mojitony Deane

Drink, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Shay flipped on her alliance for the second time, at her second tribal, sending a well pissed Tony to redemption island. The next day those not in purgatory competed in their first reward challenge, where Mogoton continued their losing streak. Meanwhile on redemption, Tony made quick work of the duel sending my queen Hannah out of the game.

We opened up back at Mogoton where Sala and Lou spoke about what went down at the duel and his threats for Shay’s blood, scaring the shit out of Shay. Given that he was out for blood though, I get it. Meanwhile Georgia and Shannon decided it was best to keep the juicy intel from the rest of the Hermosa helping Shannon in her quest to be my new queen.

Oh and Tony was still calling for blood on redemption … while sharpening a knife. I thought he was sweet, but that’s some scary shit.

Hermosa sat down to the first of their two meals for the day, confusing Nate and Barb who couldn’t understand why they’d bother eating twice a day for four days when they’re barely a week into a 40 day competition. Sadly though, they’re screwed if they ever lose a challenge.

Back at Mogoton Izzy got to work whipping up a sand cake in honour of Sala’s daughter’s birthday. I was going to throw some serious shade about the cake until seeing how it touched Sala … which in turn touched me. You got lucky, Izzy!

We returned to Hermosa where Lee’s hair was looking fucking stunning. THEN he decided to go fishing in short shorts. Ladies and gentleman, I think we have a winner of my heart! There was then a lot of poo talk which made me and my nieces and nephews thrilled – if they watched – though it ended up backfiring on Jak, with Barb sick of his attempted humour.

Over at Mogoton Lou and Avi went for a walk to talk strategy, planning to keep stringing Tom along to pull in the numbers with Sala, begging the question how does Shay flip if she isn’t a part of the majority?

Matty Boy – is that a nickname? More importantly, is he worthy of one – arrived to lord of the immunity challenge where tribe members had to square off against someone from the other tribe by holding themselves up between two walls on small footholds.

Lee’s hair continued to look glorious, though I also started to realise that Tom is also pretty banging. Did I mention no one dropped out on the first two footholds? Because they didn’t. Avi was the first to drop not long after transitioning to the thinnest foothold, followed by Lee – with a hairflick, swoon. Izzy hit the deck not long after, which is the best thing to say with a kiwi accent. After a lengthy struggle Tom gave out leaving poor Lou to battle it out for her tribe solo. Despite some excitement with Shannon falling out and it starting to rain – which made Mike also look banging, the water glistening over his flexing muscles …

Oh and then poor Lou dropped, handing Hermosa immunity and giving Shay the opportunity to make a new alliance that she can flip on!

Back at camp, Hermosa were loving themselves sick, sitting under their tarp and gloating about their continuing winning streak. Thankfully nature threw Mogoton a bone and the rain stopped, though not after destroying poor Shay’s scriptures.

Lou, Izzy and Shay broke away from the boys to discuss the upcoming tribal where Shay continued to push for Tom, which is something neither Izzy or Lou seem keen on. Avi and Sala got together and vowed to vote Izzy, Tom dropped by and wasn’t keen to boot Izzy, instead wanting to get rid of Shay. Avi then went to talk to Lou and Shay, where the latter verbalised wanting to boot Tom putting Avi in a difficult position. Shay and Avi then went for a walk where Avi worked overtime to save Tom, which Shay still isn’t buying into.

Avi delivered the news to Tom, who was disappointed that it was coming down to him and Izzy, though not disappointed enough to get her, Avi and Lou to get rid of Shay. As they prepared for their date with Matt, Izzy gave a last ditch plea to Avi after he announced that they would be voting her out. After Izzy was clearly upset by Avi’s news, Tom got to work on the obvious solution and went to the girls to join he and Avi to boot Shay, completing the circle of confusion before heading off to tribal.

At tribal Shay and Avi spoke about being disappointed by their losses, though not defeated. Tom then gave a great read on the situation over at Hermosa, low-key proving he is an asset and a huge threat going into the merge. Lou outlined that she trusted everyone while Izzy announced that she was pretty confident that she would be getting the boot.

Sadly for her she was correct, sending her to redemption island to stew in her rage with Tony. Thankfully Tony welcomed her with open arms, not shocking Tony since Shay is obviously the wicked witch of the west. That being said, I assume he was just happy to have some company given his monologue after she arrived.

Back at camp Mogoton continued to feel sorry for themselves, except for Tom who was only saved by Shay’s last minute flipping. I KID YOU NOT!

The next day Hermosa were still riding on the high of their victories, already losing the ability to count the number of days despite eating two meals a day. Jak and Mike pulled Shannon, Lee and Georgia aside to discuss throwing the next immunity challenge to get rid of Barb or Nate, breaking my heart in the process. Thankfully though Shannon continued to be the likeable voice of reason, with her countering the fact that while throwing a challenge is a bad idea, Nate will flip on them in a heartbeat and it sadly makes sense. Barb however noticed that Shannon had dropped she and Nate, leaving the olds desperate to fight for the next immunity.

Over at Mogoton, Tom and Avi ran through their option to call out Matt and get him to rotate the sit-outs on Hermosa to give them a shot. Obviously that lead into the next reward challenge where Hermosa were shocked to discover that Izzy was the one voted out at the last tribal.

The challenge is one of my faves for smutty puns, where one member of each tribe has to pitch their balls for the rest of their tribe to catch. Balls, pitching and catching – what more could a guy ask for? Sala and Shay got Mogoton out to an early lead, taking three balls before Hermosa even took one … surprisingly caught by Jak. Sala got another, Lee and his torn apart shorts got in on the action before Sala proved the most skilled with balls, snagging Mogoton with their first challenge victory of the season.

Back at camp Hermosa weren’t taking the end of their losing streak very well, with Mike quick to point out that Nate was absolutely useless in the challenge. Mike and Georgia discussed how best to ration their food, vowing to cut down tomorrow like literally every person on a diet.

It was a different story over at Mogoton where everyone looked happy for the first time in nine days. To add insult to Hermosa’s injuries, Georgia’s fears were confirmed with Mogoton gloating about how much food they have remaining … without even taking into account the huge fishing kit they just won in the reward challenge. That night Lou announced that she had sliced her foot on a rock the day earlier and that it was already looking nasty and infected, which is never a good thing on Survivor.

The next day they put their fishing net to good use, catching a fish for everyone and adding to their insane food haul. Lou however couldn’t care less, with her infection making her feel lethargic and sick.

Over at Hermosa, Georgia and Mike were desperately scouring the beach for anything that looked remotely edible. While they found some dragon fruit, which they were able to make into a sweet smoothie with rice. Jak however was not having a bar of it, despite the fact that it looked like Nate and Barb weren’t given the opportunity to eat anything and he could have offered it to them.

At redemption island, Izzy and Tony were having a chat as they packed their bags … and by that, Tony spoke at Izzy while she sat in silence wishing the duel would arrive and grant her silence or allow her to make a break for freedom out of the game. Thankfully for her, Matt arrived for the duel where they were each tethered to a rope wrapped around two wooden obstacles.

Before they got to work, Tony continued to use his words – a lot of words – while attacking Shay. On the flipside, Izzy couldn’t be bothered dwelling on her post-boot anger and instead focused on the duel. She got out to an early lead and despite Tony’s best attempts to catch-up, he wasn’t able to make up the ground giving Izzy the victory and sending Tony out of the game as the third boot.

While he was super disappointed to be out of the game, he was thrilled to have someone to talk to. Given my passion for rambling however I wasn’t so sure, so quickly whipped up a cheeky Mojitony Deane.

 

 

Now I’m normally not a huge fan of anything rum but this baby is so tropical and refreshing, I just can’t go past it.

Plus, let’s be honest, I’d suck the alcohol out of a deodorant stick … so enjoy?

 

 

Mojitony Deane
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
½ fresh lime, cut into four wedges
a couple of fresh mint leaves
a pinch of raw caster sugar
2 shots white rum
cubed ice
soda water, to top

Method
Place the lime, mint and sugar in the bottom of a highball and briefly muddle.

Top with the rum, ice and top up with the soda water.

Give a quick swizzle and down.

 

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Michaela Bradshortcake

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously – slash a minute ago – on Survivor, it became exceedingly more obvious that Sarah was sliding her way to victory, despite Cirie’s killer display. While everyone was against Brad for the entire episode, Andrea stuck her neck out one time too many and found herself sent to the jury.

We arrived back at camp where Aubry apologised to Brad for being the only person remaining that voted for him last tribal. She then acknowledged the elephant in the room, that if you align with her you end up voted out … or near death. She then broke down about having had such a rollercoaster day what with winning immunity and being blindsided, before winning Tai’s affection back and making Cirie wary of Tai’s social game.

Probst quickly returned for the second immunity challenge of the episode, the Darrah Johnson-Shane Powers memorial pour-water-in-the-hole-to-float-a-key-high-enough-to-retrieve-it. Don’t blame me for the title, I was experiencing PTSD by proxy for Cirie.

Michaela got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Troyzan, Aubry and Brad, who made quick work using the key to unlock their puzzle pieces. Given how confusing the puzzle was, Sarah, Tai and Cirie all caught up before Brad found a hole that he couldn’t fill. Michaela thought she had it, which she didn’t before kicking the puzzle … giving enough time for Brad to fill that hole and snatch immunity.

Brad then celebrated and / or through a tantrum, almost channelling Mr. This-Is-My-Island, Troyzan.

Back at camp the Troyzan and Tai were feeling uncomfortable, since the target was immune … despite both of them being in possession of an idol, or two if you’re Tai. Tai approached Aubry about needing to make some moves if they are going to make it to the end, both agreeing that Sarah is currently the one to beat.

Aubry then told Cirie, who went straight back to Sarah who refused to believe that Aubry was telling the truth. Wanting to solidify her loyalty, Sarah decided to give up the extra vote advantage to Cirie. Cirie, being the crafty kween that she is, debating the merits on hanging on to it, or playing it despite the fact Sarah didn’t want to, to protect Sarah from herself and Tai.

Cirie then clued Michaela in on what was happening, with both of them agreeing that Cirie needed to use Sarah’s vote steal to steal Sarah’s own vote to take out Tai … by lulling him into a false sense of security to not play an idol by saying she is doing it to save him. This is some next level inception bullshit right here and if she pulls it off, she is the first in line to Sandra’s throne in the line of procession.

Giving future players a masterclass on how to manipulate people, Cirie pulled Tai aside and played him like a fiddle. I mean, the voice quivering, the panic, the concern?! I love Cirie.

We then arrived at tribal council where Sarah spoke about the mad scrambling that occurred post challenge. Cirie and Brad agreed that everyone was lying to someone and that they need to cut through that, to which Michaela disagreed. Tai then acknowledged that he always gives people the benefit of the doubt and that it could lead to his downfall.

Troyzan sounded like he’s been hurt one too many times in the game, which after being schooled by Kim I assume he has. Michaela then brought up the ‘we’ again before we headed off to vote … but wait, Cirie pulled out the vote steal! Sadly for her, she didn’t read the fine print saying that it could not be transferred.

She was then chastised by Probst and Sarah, for outing the fact she was going to make a huge move but actually couldn’t. And as has become the tradition of Game Changers, Sarah then whispered something in Tai’s ear, before Cirie pulled Sarah aside to tell her she was trying to use it to save her, which Michaela jumped up to agree with. Troyzan then tried to eavesdrop, earning the wrath of Michaela who did not have time for his shit.

Aubry then joined the fray and things started to calm down and everyone returned to their seats … until Sarah got back up to  talk to Tai, with Cirie whispering in the other ear. Cirie then went to Michaela, while Tai went back to talking to Sarah … before the latter decided to just use the advantage, take Tai’s vote and get this over with.

Despite snatching Tai’s vote, Sarah didn’t join Aubry and Michaela in voting out Tai, instead joining Brad and Troyzan to blindside Michaela. While it wasn’t as exciting as her previous exit, the tribal build up was even more exciting and she ended with you do you, boo … which is amazing.

Make no mistake, Michaela is a total sass queen … but she was feeling a little bit salty, having been booted from Survivor twice in the space of a few months. That being said, it is hard to stay salty when you fill up on my Michaela Bradshortcake!

 

 

I know that the doll/TV show firmly pushes for the strawberry version of these delights, I have a strong aversion to the feel of them on my tongue and therefore avoid them at most costs. I mean, I’ll eat them but they are not my first through fifth choice.

Plus, how do you go wrong with apple, walnut and cinnamon? Exactly, you can’t – enjoy!

 

 

Michaela Bradshortcake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
3-4 apples, cored and finely diced
juice of a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raw caster sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
kosher salt
85g cold unsalted butter
1 ½ cup double cream
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 egg

Method
Combine the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and ¼ cup raw caster sugar to combine. Cover and allow to steep for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter through the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand. Add 1 cup cream and walnuts, and stir with a fork until it just starts to come together.

Form the dough into large lime-sized balls and press to flatten on a lined baking tray, repeating the process until done.

Whisk the egg, brush each biscuit/scone and bake until golden brown, or about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for half an hour.

When ready to serve, whip the remaining cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Half the biscuit and top with some apple and cream. Close the biscuit … and because I really like to load up on the toppings, add some more apple, cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

Then devour, obviously.

 

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