Tina Turnovers

Baking, Dessert, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Snack, Sweets

We’ve crossed the halfway point of this year’s Grammy Gold celebration – Somebody That I Used to Gold – and no tea no shade to Gaga, ONJ or Trey Park, but I decided it was about time I enlisted one of my most iconic friends. And thankfully the one, the only Tina Turner was keen to roll down the river for a date.

While I haven’t know Tina as long as most of my celebrity friends, the moment we met in the late ‘80s forged an instant bond and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Though there really is no bond stronger than one built on thirsting over footy players while filming an ad.

I know I haven’t told you about said bond before, but she means so much to me that I wanted to wait sharing our love on this ‘ere patch of cyberspace until there was a special occasion. And there is no occasion specialer than an EGOT contributing award show.

After holding each other close and catching up on what we’ve been up to, Tina being Tina
interrupted our gabfest by saying, “hit me with the odds Ben. And put some stank on it.”

I mean, if that is not the mark of an icon, I don’t know what is. With that we agreed that Arctic Monkeys will take Best Rock Performance, that we’ve never heard of any of the metal performances, Greta Van Fleet feel like the best shot for Best Rock Song and Weezer should take Best Rock Album.

Did I half-arse the running of odds? Sure. But I really wanted to focus my attention on making my Tina Turnovers perfect for my dear friend.

 

 

Creamy, sweet and full of juicy, tart blueberries, these are the perfect snack for any occasion. And are super easy, so you’d be mad not to have a crack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tina Turnovers
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese, softened
¼ cup raw caster sugar
2 lemons, zested
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and quartered
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 egg, whisked
demerara sugar, for sprinklin’

Method
Preheat oven to 220°C.

Combine the cream cheese, caster sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Divide amongst the squares of pastry, dot with the blueberries and seal to form triangles.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately.

 

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Tray Baker

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Main

Like Gaga and ONJ before him today’s Somebody That I Used to Gold visitor, my dear friend Trey Parker dabbles in all corners of the entertainment industry. And if it weren’t for my frenemy Phil Collins, who be a proud EGOT recipient.

#JusticeforBlameCanada.

I’ve known Trey for years when I got hired to model a character on South Park. Sure Big Gay Al was controversial – you don’t need me to tell you that my primary school principal felt compelled to write a four page essay about the horror character in place of a newsletter – but he brought so much joy to my life, and gave me the most beautiful friend in Trey.

While I haven’t seen Trey in years, he was thrilled to catch-up and strategise a way to finally snag himself an Oscar – obviously a Big Gay Al spin-off movie, starring me – and help me run the odds on my favourite Grammy categories – musical theatre, comedy and the big one, SPOKEN WORD!!!!!

Sorry – too many exclamation points. I’m like a chain email from your mother!

Obviously we agree that the erstwhile singing voice behind Jasmine and Mulan, Lea Salonga, will take The Book of Mormon’s Best Musical Theatre Crown for Once on This Island. Comedy I’ve gone with Dave Chappelle while Trey thinks Fred Armisen is the hot money. Obviously my boy David Sedaris is going to take out my fave category Spoken Word and I refused to hear any argument to the contrary. Like how Tiffany Haddish is the darling of the entertainment industry and Jimmy Carter is old, which is why Chad Michaels and Raja won their seasons of Drag Race.

JK Kimora, they both slayed and deserved their victories.

Anyway, it was exciting to think that our Big Gay Al movie may sweep the Awards Pool. So much so that we didn’t realise how famished we were until my Tray Barker had filled the house with glorious, happy smells.

 

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but you know I have a passionate love for sausage. You may be surprised to learn, however, that I am just as passionate about apple and sweet potato. Chuck em in a tray, add some booze and you’re in for a glorious meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tray Baker
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
1kg pork sausages
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
250g sweet potato, cut into chunks
2 red apples, sliced thickly into rounds
300ml apple cider
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
½ parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Heat a decent lug of olive oil in a skillet and cook the sausages until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a baking dish. Add a lug of oil to the frying pan and cook the leek and fennel for five minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Transfer to the aforementioned baking dish.

Add the sweet potato and apple to the baking dish and pour over the stock and cider. Cover with foil and transfer to the oven to bake for half and hour, or until the potato is tender and the liquid reduced.

Sprinkle with sage and parmesan and return to the oven, uncovered, to cook for ten minutes or until the cheese is golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Main, Poultry, Snack

It was such a treat to see this year’s GO recipient Lady Gaga to kick off this year’s Grammy Gold celebration – Somebody That I Used To Gold – that I couldn’t quit the film world completely. As such I grabbed the phone and as a twist of fate, my dear friend Olivia Newton John was free to catch up.

Despite being on death’s door according to the tabloids.

I’ve known Liv since the mid-70s while she and Pat Carroll where working the nightclub scene. Unbeknownst to them, they were once booked for a strip club and while it came as a shock, it led to us meeting. Which gave her “the most beautiful friendship of my life,” so she is pleased by how things turned out.

Given she is most well known for her star making turn in Grease, Liv was thrilled to help me run the Music for Visual Media odds. While she thinks our Hugh will snatch Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media, my heart will always for for Call Me by Your Name though the clarinets of Lady Bird do fill my heart with joy. For Best Score Soundtrack I think Black Panther  has it in the bag, while Liv is rooting for The Shape of Water. And rounding things out, we agree that Gaga will continue her sting of wins for Shallow in Best Song, however a Mystery of Love win would make me sob happy tears by a fireplace.

With the most important job of all out of the way, we hung out in the kitchen, laughed, cried and smashed a huge batch of Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties.

 

 

If you haven’t realised by now, I have a passionate, unadulterated love for rissoles. And these babies are no exception, sweet, tarty and packing a punch, they’re the perfect nourishing mid-week meal that doesn’t make you want to cry. Doesn’t everyone cry during dinner on hump day? No, just me? Awks.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
small handful basil leaves, roughly chopped chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine everything in a bowl, scrunching with your hands until well combined. Divide into 8 patties and place on a lined baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes and devour immediately with a salad. Despite not making friends with it.

 

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Lady Gaugamole

Condiment, Dip, Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Vegetarian

Despite the fact that she is slaying the award season game with her film debut, my dear friend Lady Gaga will always be the scrappy little recording artist that could. While I irrationally hated Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta from the first moment I saw her, I am so grateful that Tony Bennett was able to talk sense into me and allow the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I mean, 100 of my fellow celebrities had told me that I would love Gaga’s sweet, creative soul but it took just one to get through to me and for that, I will always be grateful to Tone.

But enough about Tone, this is about thrice Academy and Emmy Award nominated, six time Grammy winning and my dear friend, Gaga. As I said, my own stupidity kept me from years of friendship with Ga – as only her best friends call her – and while that often wakes me in a cold sweat, I am glad at how quickly we developed the beautiful friendship we have.

Given she is busy residenc-ing and attendee literally every single award show on the planet, I decided to swing by for a post Oscar-nominees luncheon date and, you guessed it, run the odds for the Grammys.

Given she has made a splash in the film world I bequeathed her the honour of helping me pick who will take out Best Music Film and while I see merits in Whitney winning like Ga thinks, I can’t go past Quincy. While I am a dear friend of both Jay and Bey, neither of us can see them beating Childish Gambino’s This Is America.

Obviously I couldn’t bet against Gaga for Best Pop Solo Performance or Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, so we focused on me betting the house on Tony Bennett and Diana Krall’s Love Is Here to Stay for BEst Traditional Pop Vocal Album – though Babs is my most likely spoiler – and my love for Kelly Clarkson isn’t enough to make me bet against Camila Cabello’s creatively titled Camila taking out Best Pop Vocal Album.

While running all those odds can be hungry work, I know that the Academy serves calorie rich food at the nominees luncheon – checky during awards season, no? – so I opted to keep it light with a delicious Lady Gaugamole.

 

 

Nobody loves avocados more than I – excluding Queer Eye’s Antony, obviously – however I had never tasted guac perfection until I encountered Chipotle. Oh Chipotle, how I love you so! The spicy, glorious guac bursting from a burrito and washed down with some Pibb Extreme is my idea of heaven. But this is not an add, focus on their guac – fresh and zingy, it is perfect all by itself.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lady Gaugamole
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 ripe avocados
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbsp coriander
1 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
¼ tsp kosher salt
Tortea Leoni Chips, to serve

Method
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and mash the flesh.

Fold through the remaining ingredients.

Devour, with a big bowl of Tortea Leoni Chips.

 

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Somebody That I Used to Gold

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

While it probably seems like I am limping through this little marathon called life – I am sorry about the sporadic social media, I have a sick puppy and I am a dutiful parent – I am trying to slip on my lycra, go to Yogalates and get my tri-weekly blowouts – that’s three times a week, right? – whilst maintaining an aggressive regiment of Hollywood catch-ups.

I don’t want to say I’m father of the year, but I’m totally father of the year.

Anyway, this isn’t about me … because once again the suits at the Recording Academy didn’t see fit to nominate my album of covers while impersonating either Celine or Kenny for record of the year – it’s all about the Grammys.

(Hey, I may be bitter but I still know the best way to get awards is to schmooze and mingle).

So dust off the ol’ gramophone, grab a Whitskey Houston Sour – because this is a dry year, FYI – and prepare to get acquainted with Somebody That I Used to Gold.

Who will be joining me to kick off this year’s celebrations?

Image source: The Recording Academy.

 

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Diavollen Pizza

Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldy Bird, Main, Pizza, Street Food

I can’t believe we’ve arrived at day four of this year’s Golden Globes Gold, Goldy Bird which is also doubling as my triumphant return to internet glory. I mean, it feels like only yesterday I was sitting down with Ryan, Katey and Rich. I guess in Rich’s case, that is because it was yesterday. But anyway, I decided there was no better person to hang out with and round out the Motion Picture Awards than my dear, dear friend Diane Warren.

I first met Di in the late ‘80s while working on Mannequin. As you know, I was on set with my dear friend Estelle when I heard her humming what would become the hit theme song Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now. I was blown away by her talent, and immediately approached her in the hope of striking up a friendship and riding her coattails.

But plot twist, before a single word left my mouth she admitted that it was my beauty and the chemistry I shared with Andrew McCarthy that inspired her to write the song. And she asked my to move in with her and be her muse.

Which I did, until my epic tirade at the ‘99 Academy Awards that led to me being blacklisted from the Academy and she had to distance herself from me. While she could appreciate my rage that she and Cate Blanchett both lost, she had to set me free and we lost contact for a few years.

Until a young girl called Gaga brought us back together, which is another story for another time.

It was so good to be able to see her again, reconnect and celebrate our dear Gaga, before sitting down and discuss the final two Motion Picture categories, Score and Song. Obviously we’re both backing Gaga for Song, though I certainly wouldn’t be shocked if Kendrick Lamar snagged it for All the Stars. And I would obviously love my two dear friends Dolly and Linda to snag a win. As far as the Scores go, Justin Horowitz’s is near perfection in First Man and as such, we both think it would win. Though I would argue this category is essentially wide open.

With that, I said farewell to the Motion Picture odds and we sat down for a big slice of Diavollen Pizza to toast to our ongoing successes.

 

 

While you may not remember given my part-time relationship with this anthropological study last year, I have a passion for anything so hot and spicy that it can liquify my organs. And this inferno salame pizza is one of my favourite vehicles, hot, meaty sausage, pillowy dough and drippy cheese, there is nothing I would love in my mouth more.

Enjoy!

 

 

Diavollen Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup passata
a small handful of fresh Italian herbs, roughly chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella
¼ cup basil leaves
200g hot inferno salame

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Smear the bases with passata and herbs. Sprinkle with the cheese, followed by the basil and the salame.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately.

 

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Katey Sagal Bombs

Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Golden Globe Gold, Main, Snack, Street Food

After kicking this year’s Golden Globe celebrations – Goldy Bird – with my dear friend and ex-lover Ryan Gosling, I decided to visit with a more maternal figure in my life as we bounced to the TV side of the Globes. And there is no better maternal figures to ever grace the small screen than the one-two punch of Peg Bundy and Gemma Teller Morrow, which are conveniently played by my dear Katey Sagal.

I first met Kate in 1987 when Married was starting up. I was dating David Faustino and was Christina Applegate’s best friend at the time, but it was the warm way she took me under her wing that kept me on set after the inevitable break-ups. And made us like family.

She was always patient, always kind. She does not envy, boast or is … wait, sorry, I am slipping back into Catholic School. She is the kindest most loving person and I know, and I am so lucky to have had her undying support and guidance in my life.

As soon as I saw her, I fell into her arms and started sobbing. Why I am not sure, but it shows the safety I feel in her presence. We quickly gabbed about what we’ve been up to before dipping our toe into the world of Miniseries and TV movies, as we’ve got someone else lined up to cover Drama (who is likely to snatch victory this year). In any event, we agree Darren Criss will continue his streak winning Best Actor for his portrayal of Andrew Cunanan while Amy Adams will defeat Regina King in their other direct battle for Best Actress. Despite Connie Britton’s hair always being my vote. For Best Miniseries or TV Film, my split our votes with Kate going for Sharp Objects, while I am baking American Crime Story if only because of Queen Judith Light.

With that out of the way and how deeply I love Katey and respect our robust odds related discussions, I got to work whipping up one of Christina Tosi’s opi in her honour. In the form of Katey Sagal Bombs.

 

 

Straight up, I love Milk Bar. It is without a doubt the happiest place on earth (alongside Disneyland and In’N’Out, obvi), and this little baby is one of the reasons why. Soft, pillowy dough wrapped around the salty glory of cream cheese, bacon and shallots exploding in your mouth.

I mean, dis good. Dis real good.

Enjoy!

 

 

Katey Sagal Bombs
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
‘Mother Dough’
3½ cups flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 ¾ cups water, at room temperature

Filling and assembly
50g streaky bacon, diced
200g cream cheese
4 shallots, sliced
1 tsp raw caster sugar
dash of smoking liquid
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tsp black sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp dried onion
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 egg, beaten

Method
First you need to start with the filling, so fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it’s brown and crunchy. Remove from the heat.

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until soft and fluffy. Add the bacon and its fat, the shallots, sugar, smoking liquid and salt, and beat until well combined.

Scoop into 8 even lumps and place in a lined container. Transfer to the freezer until rock solid.

When the lumps are hard, start working on the dough by combining the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and stir with the dough hook by hand until just combined before transferring it to the mixer and kneading on low for 10 minutes, or until a smooth, soft ball forms.

Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 160C.

To assemble, punch down the dough and split in two. Freeze one half in a container, and when you want to use it defrost and then prove for an hour. Split the other dough into 8 equal pieces, and stretch each to form a 10cm wide disc. Place a frozen piece of cream cheese in the centre of each, seal and roll into a smooth ball. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat the process until done.

Combine the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion, onion powder and garlic powder in a bowl, and whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water.

Brush each bomb with egg wash and coat with the seed mix. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and exploding with goodness.

Devour immediately. Ish.

 

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Blu Cancheese Dressing

Condiment, Dip

Today marks our fourth anniversary on the interwebs and I feel like I’ve taken to quoting Jonathan Van Ness more and more frequently but … can you believe? Anyway, given it is a birthday that means I needed to organise a little party, so I decided to reach out to my girl Blu Cantrell and asked her to hit me up style and help celebrate.

Which she obviously said yes to, otherwise this would be a total waste of a post, no?

I’ve known Blu for years after meeting while auditioning Puff’s back-up singers for him in the mid ‘90s. I was completely blown away by her talent and told Diddy that he’d be mad not to take her on, whilst secretly working to make her a star.

Fast forward a few years, Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!) became a hit, earned her two Grammy noms and once again, I succeeded. Maybe my lot in life is to elevate people to fame rather than snag an EGOT of my own while winning America’s Next Top Model after losing weight on Survivor in full Drag?

JK, I deserve an EGOT.

As you can imagine, Blu was honoured to be selected to drop by for our anniversary celebrations. And while some people would argue that she is a left-field choice, she has had a rough couple of years and as a dear, sweet friend, I wanted her to feel special.

We laughed, we cried, we reconnected, and most importantly, came up with a way to thrust us both firmly into the spotlight. Though that, my non-famous friends, is a story for another time. While you wait, why not whip up some Blu Cancheese Dressing and see if you come up with the same idea we did whilst gulping it down?

 

 

Smooth, creamy and packing a hell of a punch of pungent blue cheese, this dressing is truly the best. Well, to accompany Buffalec Baldwin Chicken Meatball Poppers or any form of buffalo flavoured things.

Buffalo as in chilli wings, not the animal. We’re not Jessica Simpson, though she is a dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blu Cancheese Dressing
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
150g blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the blue cheese, garlic, sour cream, mayo and buttermilk in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Decant and down.

 

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Pear and Gin Spritz

Drink

Hot damn has it been a busy week?! I mean, triple boots on Australian Survivor, a new celeb feud, hosting my besto AND kicking off a countdown for Survivor David vs. Goliath – it is exhausting. So exhausting that I needed to pour myself a nice tall glass of Gin.

As in, my dear friend from across the ditch Gin. Not the booze … (though I assume you can tell where this is going).

While I’ve only known Gin for a decade or so, our friendship blossomed quite quickly and we’re truly as close as two friends could ever be. You see, she was support act for Jay Brannan’s 2008 Sydney gig where I was selling the shit out of his merch and revelling in the glory of an AAA pass. Which isn’t something rare for me, obviously. But I still relish the opportunity to talk down to people and flaunt the access over gen pop.

Anyway, I was wandering the corridors for shits and giggles, stumbled into Gin backstage and we got to talking. One thing led to another, and I left the gig with a new BFF and an offer to drop by whenever I was in NZ.

Which I later learnt is pretty much a law of being Kiwi. To invite relative strangers into your home.

Thankfully I didn’t know that then, took her up and her offer and we solidified our bond as besties. Which is why she happily jumped on a plane to drop by, reconnect and split a Pear and Gin Spritz or seven.

 

 

Is this a blatant attempt to work through some of the leftover granita I had locked away in the freezer? Sure. But daaaaaamn, does it just work. A little tart, a little sweet … add in the earthiness of gin and you have a real treat.

Turns out I’m Dr. fucking Seuss now, so enjoy!

 

 

Pear and Gin Spritz
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
⅔ cup Granita Berkett
½ cup soda water
1 shot gin
dash of bitters

Method
Place a mound of granita in a glass.

Top with soda water, gin and bitters, in that order, before downing. Gleefully.

 

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Courtney Love Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Courtney Love Cake
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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