Patty Melt Cusack

Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Austra … hang on. The weather is miserable, Shonella aren’t playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the background and Shane Gould isn’t around to not be fucked with. It’s original flavour Survivor, with less cursed objects – though I did line-up some pizzas this season, so maybe that one will continue – and hopefully more excitement and blindsides. Oh and no more final four fire challenge. But enough with dreaming, Probst is on a boat with 20 people who are split into two tribes that I assume were named by Roma Downey after years of wearing down Tom Arnold’s nemesis Mark Burnett; David and Goliath. This season a tribe of bosses will battle with ten underdogs, and hopefully we aren’t swept up in a religious fever dream like Sophie in South Pacific.

We met the first David, Christian who is a total nerd, Elizabeth who is the country icon who flipped the bird on the cast photo and Pat who is big, burly and looks to be a total sweetheart. Who knows not to trust a book by its cover. They’re up against the Goliaths who include publisher and CEO Natalie – who is an icon – and Angelina loves all that comes with being a Goliath.

Anyway the two tribes converged on a barge with Probst and the Goliaths quickly realised that the cards are definitely in their favour when they saw the Davids rolling in. Probst confirmed their suspicions, announcing that this year’s theme is a battle of the privileged versus the underdogs. The David tribe were thrilled to be the underdogs, knowing they are instantly the favoured tribe for a decent narrative. We met Nick, who grew up poor in the south and fought tooth and nail to achieve his dreams of being a lawyer – public defender now – and on Survivor. Swoon. Gabby too was feeling her underdog roots, knowing the Goliaths can only fall while they are destined to rise.

The Goliaths however were quick to try and deflect from being labelled a Goliath, except for pre wrestler John, who knows he is a boss … though just wants to find himself and downplay his intelligence. Swoon. Allison was the most vocal to oppose the label, saying she worked hard from her upper-middle class family to follow in her father’s footsteps. Probst, the shady bitch, asked to hear about Pat’s upbringing, with him talking about living paycheque to paycheque, without even the option of going to get an education. She was pretty cool to stick with the Goliath label after that.

Wanting to get the bad blood brewing like Taylor Swift keeping control on her squad, Probst got the Goliaths to pick two people from each tribe to compete in a reward challenge. With Enlightened creator Mike White selecting Lyrsa and Christian, who he deemed Big Bang Theory in a moment of corporate synergy that made CBS beam. Lyrsa knew she was selected because she is tiny, a little chunky and stands out, while Christian was cool to be labelled the weakest. They then selected Allison and John, who are huge and look strong. To even things up, Probst gave the weakest peeps – sorry, allegedly Christian – the chance to pick the route each pair took to get to a giant shelter making kit. Obviously Lyrsa and Christian got out to a huge lead, almost finishing the second stage before Allison and John finished the first. Being Goliaths however, they caught up at the puzzle leaving a bat … nope, Christian is a genius, solving the puzzle in five seconds and snatching the kit for the underdogs. While it was impressive, Christian admitted it really wasn’t a fair fight as he had written algorithms for solving slide puzzles at uni, which he tried to explain in great detail and completely lost me.

We followed the Goliaths back to their tribe where Mike was feeling completely out of place as he isn’t as buff as the rest of the tribe, and is a nerdy Hollywood type. Dan and Natalia immediately gravitated to him, knowing that he looked familiar before he shared that he was a two-time Amazing Race contestant and completely neglected to mention School of Rock and the greatest show of all time, Enlightened. Have I mentioned I love Enlightened? Dan continued to make friends, sharing that while he is a babe now he used to be bigger and he put on a tonne of weight while working as a cop, though worked hard to lose weight to join the SWAT team. Natalie applauded him on looking fine and hot damn, I already love her. Speaking of love Dan and Kara bonded over Supergirl and the fact he named his dog Kara. She swooned, as did I when I saw his lycra pants. He was smarter though, knowing it was dangerous and hoped to downplay their bond.

Meanwhile over at the Davids, Pat was quick to take charge of the tribe and got everyone to split up tasks and work together while he leads them in building the shelter. Everyone seemed to be extremely cohesive, trusting Pat’s knowledge, laying foundations and weaving fronds for shelter. Sadly he started getting a bit too strong, shouting at Christian, making awkward jokes and generally frustrating the hell out of his tribe. Which will haunt him, once it is done.

Alec was trying to bring a bit of light to the tribe, knowing how difficult it is to build a shelter with only a machete to help. Natalie however was bringing some doom and gloom, bossing Natalia and the rest of the tribe around whilst worrying about having nothing in common with her tribemates.

Back at the David tribe Elizabeth was worried Pat was going to die as he leaned out of a tree with the machete. Jessica and Bi started to bond while weaving the roof of the shelter, wanting to lie about being 19. She then floated an alliance which Bi was into, as was Carl. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth and Lyrsa got a quiet moment in the jungle and bonded over being super different and wanted to align, as nobody would expect it. And just like that, Natalie is dropped and Lyrsa is my number two to Elizabeth. Lastly Gabby and Christian bonded over being insecure nerds – their words – and hot damn, they are in the lead to be my third and fourth.

John and Mike got together by the tribe flag and bonded over their fame and I assume, all the different nicknames or characters they’ve played. Natalie continued to lose friends and alienate people, as Natalia complained to Dan and someone else – first episode, don’t judge – about her not doing anything and bossing people around. Not wanting to leave her alone as a target, Mike went searching for an idol and was super obvious which immediately made people paranoid. We then met Jeremy who looks delightful in his jocks, while the tribe spoke about Mike being sketchy. Natalie went out to find Mike and warn him to pull his head in, which he vowed to knowing that he was hunting for an idol because he wanted it and now he needs to find it because he needs it.

The next day the rain started to drive in as the Davids worked tirelessly to finish their shelter and find some sort of relief. Elizabeth spoke about how they are instantly at an advantage, because they have grown up with adversity and that makes them fight harder and care for others more than their rivals would. While everyone work, Nick disappeared to try and reserve his energy slash avoid it. He then sidled up to Christian and Elizabeth to form alliances and then come up with names for said alliances. Meanwhile back at camp, Pat put the finishing touches on the shelter much to the delight of Carl who was proud of his hard work. And pissed by Nick’s lack of.

The Goliaths however weren’t as lucky, with no shelter and freezing. Not to be deterred Allison and Angelina got together by the well where Angelina suggested they go find the idol before Mike does and even the historic gender spill of idol ownership. Sadly for them, Mike was still working hard which then made Jeremy and Alec – swoon x 2 – go searching, followed by John, Natalie and Dan, who shared that the idol is in his pants. Oh and no, he isn’t talking about his penis. He was out searching for the idol with Kara and Natalia, and found the idol earlier that day and he was storing it in his pants.

The Davids were less interested about idols, though maybe that had something to do with Davie finding a huge octopus which they will be able to smash ahead of the upcoming immunity challenge. Davie shared that people will likely underestimate him, given he is a total blerd and was proud of himself. Jessica then started to break down on day two, upset about how her mum was in a domestic violence situation and she feels like she has left her alone and she has been responsible for her her entire life. Bi too spoke about the fact she had been in a domestic violence situation and encouraged Jessica that she saved her mum’s life, and she should be proud. Later that night, Nick decided to share that he has troubles opening up with people and wasn’t brave enough to share the fact his mum died of an overdose a couple of years ago earning the support and trust of his tribe. That made him feel like he has had a relief and has truly bonded with his tribe, potentially negating the fact he did shit all at the challenge.

By day three the cyclone had well and truly hit and the sea swelled and the rain pelted on the tribes as they arrived at their first immunity challenge. Each tribe would sprint through an obstacle before someone would dig under a log and chop a rope to release a ladder, with the second place tribe penalised and forced to release their ladder by untying knots. Each tribe would then ascend a platform and use a pole vault to leap to another before completing a puzzle. Carl got out to a huge lead while John and Pat focused on wrestling in the obstacle. Carl and Alec worked on the log, Alec quickly getting under and releasing the Goliath ladder. Things only got worse for the Davids from there as the Goliaths started working on the puzzle before they even got to the pole vault. Allison led the tribe through the puzzle, before Christian desperately started to call instructions in the hope of catching up. The rain started to pour while Allison screamed instructions to her tribe, securing immunity just before the Davids. Who were all cohesive and supportive of each other and I love that.

Well except for Lyrsa, who was planning on voting out Nick before even leaving the challenge. Out of nowhere however, the tribe were back at the challenge beach as Pat was stretchered off the boat in extreme pain, unable to see. Dr Joe and the team swarmed around him as Gabby broke down, worried about Pat as all she heard was a giant crack when they hit a giant wave when they were on a boat back to camp. Probst arrived to figure out what happened, with medical worried about the extent of his injury. As it became evident that he would be medevaced from the game, Pat begged them to allow him to stay while sobbing whilst sucking down oxygen in pain.

As the helicopter flew in, his tribemates started to breakdown and worried about his injury. When given the ok, they all rushed around and told him how much love they had for him and how their hearts are with him. Jessica hoped that he was still grateful for the experience as they were grateful for him and dammit, now I’m crying. Throw in Gabby’s guilt about misjudging him at first and I’m sobbing. Probst checked in with the tribe, with Jessica saying she feels like they just keep getting kicked down. Clearly feeling sorry for them, Probst cancelled tribal council and told them a flint would await them back at camp.

It honestly was one of the most heartbreakingly cruel exits up their with Wanda and Jonathan, and just below Queen Kourtney Moon who was at least medevaced for an ingame incident. Even more cruel, knowing that Pat is the one that inspired this year’s theme, worked like a boss around camp and was someone that you’d really just want to succeed in life. Given I have a messiah complex, I obviously went into full nurse mode – paging future healer tribe member – and ushered him back to health within a couple of days, in no small part thanks to the sustenance provided by my Patty Melt Cusack.

 

 

Now I must confess – not anything about my loneliness, or its potential to kill me – that the idea of patty melt used to disgust me. I mean, why wouldn’t I just have a burger or a toastie? One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, slapped myself repeatedly over the head like Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and realised how stupid I had been. A patty melt is perfection! Dripping cheese, a thick juicy patty and the addition of sweet, buttery onions? Swoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Patty Melt Cusack
Serves: 2-4, broken-back-ed people.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 slices white bread
8 slices American Cheese

Method
Combine the beef, Worcestershire, sriracha and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Divide into four, shape into patties, cover with cling and place in the fridge to chill while you work on the onions.

Melt a small lug of butter in a small saucepan or medium heat until foamy and sweat the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and golden. Add the muscovado, balsamic and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes, after which they should be sticky and glorious.

Heat a skillet over low heat and when nice and piping, add the patties and cook for a couple of minutes each side until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, and wipe the skillet clean.

To assemble, place a slice of cheese on four slices of bread, top each with caramelised onions, followed by the patty, the remaining cheese and the last slices of bread.

Melt another knob of butter in the skillet and fry the sandies on each side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, filled with boundless joy. Despite a major back injury.

 

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Benjami Drops Wilson

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Shonee purchased a jar of lollies and a vote steal at the merge auction, while Benji remained the only person left with an idol after winning immunity at the last channel. I mean, Sharn found a hidden immunity at said challenge, however crapped it out and lead to Benji flushing it out, While she tried to play it on Mat who was getting blindsided by Benji’s insurgence, he managed to take her down and forced her to play it on herself. That of course led to the successful blindside of Mat, leaving Benji to return to camp with a ropeable Sharn, Steve and Shane.

Back at camp things were hella tense and while Benji, Brian, Shonella and Monika were thrilled, zaddy Steve held Shane and Sharn close and comforted them over their loss. Benji then gloated about being the new godfather while Steve and Sharn were in tears, making me hopefully for his downfall after serving his chaos purpose. Thankfully Benji’s hardcore play stoked a fire in Shane and she vowed to channel Russ-hole and sabotage the fire and bring an end to the game. The next day Queen Shonee noted that there was a post blindside shift and while she was worried about it, Queen Shane reminded us not to fuck with Shane Gould and hot damn I need that final two to happen right now.

Everyone tried to pull together, congratulating each other on making it as far as they have until it got hella awkward as Steve and Sharn awoke and Benji tried to be pleasant with them. Sharn then shared about how torn she was, to be screwed by Benji and feeling so alone despite being a strong as shit woman. Albeit, stuck on the bottom. She decided that getting Brian and Monika back on board was her only chance for survival, so approach Grubs to return to the Champion strong mentality and get rid of Benji. While he was awkwardly trying to dance around, she played the bottom perfectly and assured him that Mat’s blindside doesn’t impact on their relationship, and she is willing to use her past with Benji to benefit him and Monika. Sadly Brian saw right through the attempt and vowed not to buy her pledge. Brian took the intel back to the Mighty Ducks alliance and Benji’s ego continued to grow, pushing for loyalty and taking out his ex-ally Sharn.

My boy JoJo and the belly-flop structure of Monika’s nightmare returned for the reward challenge where the tribe would be split in half and race to jump off a tower, grab a ball a shoot as basket, with the first to three snatch fried chicken, chips and softies and DAMN it is worth it, no. Benji and Shane were team captains, with Benji snagging a team of Steve, Fenella, and Shonee leaving Shane to take Brian, Sharn and Monika. Tragically Shane lost the first point to Fenella, despite being a boss. Next up were Benji and Bellyflopika who pencilled dived her way to safety while Benji scored a second point for his team. Brian peed from the platform before battling Steve – and maybe a UTI – who didn’t bellyflop his way to the end, unlike Brian who punched it to the end and got the other team on the board. Lucky he unloaded, right? Shonee and Sharn were next, with Sharn tragically slaying Queen Shonee and tying things up. Shane and Fenella returned to play for victory with Shane nudging the ball out in front and snatching victory like a boss, leaving Fenella desperate for some swimming lessons and Steve in awe of her mad skillz.

Benji and the losers returned to camp with Shonella just glad to get a double portion of rice, while Steve quietly sat and observed what was happening. Benji went for a walk with Shonee, where she shared her vote-steal secret with him, hoping to use it to go from Indian to Chief which is problematic but I feel like it wasn’t meant to be malicious. Meanwhile at the reward, fried chicken proved to be the great equaliser, bringing Brian and Monika back into the Sharn and Shane fold. Shane knew it was her shot and used the time to find a way to undermine the Benji alliance, while Sharn completely missed an idol clue in the ice bucket at the reward. The four agreed to put the previous tribal behind them and to instead focus on taking out the biggest threat in Benji, with Sharn floating a blindside at the upcoming tribal. Shane and Sharn continued to downplay their betrayal to try and bring everyone back together, with them hopeful about succeeding … despite Shane not trusting Brian. Not to be outdone, he made a song and dance about searching for an idol clue, only to casually find an idol at the reward without anyone noticing.

Forgoing any camp action, JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where the tribe were required to bounce a ball on a disc while standing on a box, with Queen Shon hopeful Mat’s departure could even things up for everyone. Tragically Shonee and Monika were out almost instantaneously, before Fenella dropped her ball and joined them. They were then joined by Sharn, leaving Shane and the boys to battle it out for ten minutes. Tragically Queen Shane was next to fall, leaving Brian to try and distract Steve and talk about who is more skilled with balls. Spoiler alert: I am. After an hour, JoJo transitioned them to one hand with Benji dropping, followed closely by zaddy Steve, handing Brian with his first immunity.

Back at camp Benji was feeling super confident about his place in the game, which Sharn pulled Brian and Monika aside to lock in a vote against Benji. Despite Sharn not trusting Brian. The remaining Contenders caught up by the shore, with Benji admitting to feeling nervous about the upcoming vote. He then approached Monika to share that the Contenders were planning to use Shonee’s vote steal and that they would be tying things up if she didn’t jump. Zaddy Steve then got in on the act with Monika filling him in on the plan as they tried to figure out a way to possibly save Sharn. Steve and Sharn caught up, with our two twin-esque heroes struggling to find a way to save her and get to the end. Sharn in particular, struggling with the idea of going out.

The Mighty Ducks alliance were catching up over coconut as Sharn and a sneaky Brian loitered around trying to find some intel. Knowing that Brian is the key to their success, Shonee and Benji pulled Brian aside with Benji saying that Sharn was planning to vote him out … DESPITE THE FACT HE IS IMMUNE. Shonee was obviously ropeable, knowing Benji’s stupidity likely cost them another blindside as they madly tried to pretends she was planning to take him out in the future.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to remind Sharn of her idol fuck-up at the last tribal council, with Sharn admitting Benji rattled her and cost Mat his game. Benji admitted he only told her to play it for herself to avoid his Mat blindside being ruined. Steve spoke about being heartbroken by the vote, while Benji and Brian gloated about how great a move it was. While Mat was pissed in the jury. Shane gave him kudos for the gameplay but admitted she was pissed … and then sabotaged the tribe but destroying the fire and being an absolute Queen. Reminder: don’t fuck with Shane Gould.

Sharn too was hurt by Benji’s move, Benji tried to downplay the situation as a group move and Shonee explained that had Mat not been destroyed, she and her allies would have been left to wonder who would be next. Sharn spoke about feeling nervous and needing to stay honest, while Benji spoke about finding people to trust and accepting deception is part of the game. Monika spoke about trusting her gut and relying on how she felt when talking to her allies, while Steve shared that it is all about faith and that having faith in people can save you. Before they headed off to vote Shonee played her vote steal, snatching Sharn’s and using it to vote for Sharn … twice. Tragically all it did was tie things up, much to Shonee’s frustration. Though thankfully it lead to the downfall of Benji, ending an epic albeit at times frustrating arc as zaddy Steve giggled like a bae.

Now I KNOW i have given Benji a lot of shit but bitch stole my place on the cast and I am hella jealous. I mean, we are both called Ben, have Sideshow Bob hair and a penchant for flaming out, so I assume that is the only reason I wasn’t there. That being said, he managed to keep this season interesting and without his wild, villainous, oft-nude ride, we’d be pretty bored. Which is what I said as I apologised for yelling at him over some Benjami Drops Wilson.

 

 

A little bit sour and a little bit sweet, these are the perfect food to honour his sneaky, glorious game. On top of that, they’re fucking delicious. Like the rise of villain Queen Shane “don’t-fuck-with-me” Gould.

Enjoy!

 

 

Benjami Drops Wilson
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
zest of a lemon
2 ⅓ cups flour
⅔ cup raspberry jam

Method
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for about ten minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg and zest and beat until just combined. Add the flour, fold through, and then beat for a further minute or so, or until the dough comes together. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls, place on a lined baking sheet and flatten to form small discs. Repeat the process until all the dough is gone. Make an indent in each disc, fill with a small dollop of jam and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

When lightly golden, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to finish off. Or just devour, whatever you’d rather.

 

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Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Snack

And now, the end of The Gold Wing is here and I thought it best to once again go back in time and celebrate with someone that has faced their final curtain – Toto that into My Way, would you? – my dear friend Aaron Spelling.

As you know, I’ve long been a friend of the Spelling Dynasty and my catch-up with Loni – who played Candy in Tori’s hit show So Notorious – reminded me that Aaron has a couple of Emmys to his name, despite creating some of the most iconic TV shows of our time.

I used my time in the purring delorean to finalise my tips for the best series gongs, settling on an ASP clean sweep as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel takes Comedy, The Handmaid’s Tale goes back-to-back for Drama and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is honoured for Limited Series. I found things more difficult for Talk and Sketch Series, eventually decided Variety Talk would go to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and At Home with Amy Sedaris will/should surprise for Variety Sketch.

Oh and I obviously am backing RuPaul’s Drag Race but that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

By the time I arrived at the epic Spelling Compound, I was so overjoyed to see Aaron one last time that I didn’t want to let him go. I desperately danced around filling him in on what I had been up to, lest I set off a butterfly effect, eventually shoving Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies into our mouths to avoid any issues.

 

 

Inspired by a delicious Nigella classic, these babies are decadent, rich and a little bit healthy – yay spelt! – so you can devour them without feeling to guilty. And while that is a total lie, just buy it … because they are worth it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Choc Peanut Butter Aaron Spelting Cookies
Serves: 2 nostalgic friends, or 6-8 normal people.

Ingredients
150g peanut butter chips
125g dark chocolate
125g spelt flour
25g cocoa
½ tsp bicarb soda
pinch of kosher salt
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g muscovado sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, still cold

Method
Chuck the peanut butter chips in the freezer and preheat the oven to 160°C.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl and leave to cool a little, and combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in another bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled chocolate until well combined before adding the cold egg. Scrape down the sides, reduce speed to low and carefully add in the dry ingredients, avoiding a mushroom cloud of flour at all costs. Remove from the stand and fold through the peanut butter chips until combined.

Dollop a tablespoon of dough on a lined baking sheet, leaving a large rim for spread, until full. Place the remaining dough in the fridge while you transfer the baking sheet to the oven for ten minutes and bake until just set. Leave to rest on the warm pan for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Repeat the process until the batter is done, and then devour.

 

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Lena Wafers

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Sweets

It is the second last day of this year’s Emmy Gold celebration The Gold Wing, can you believe? And something something segue Gaz, Marg, Ava, Rami and Rhea something, I am thrilled to catch-up with my dear friend and semi-freshly minted Emmy winner Lena Waithe.

Given she won her Emmy with my (problematic) friend Aziz for the beautiful Thanksgiving episode of Master of None, it should come as no surprise that he is the reason we became friends.

I was visiting the set during season 1 and Lena and I got to talking about our coming out experiences, and Aziz suggested that they write it into the second season. So you’re welcome, because that episode was perfection and he and Lena truly deserved that Emmy and I can’t even begrudge them for not including me in the writing process.

Since her victory, Len’s career has absolutely exploded and while it means we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, I’m so proud of her. And it makes our fleeting dates even more special. As a fellow writer, I knew that she would be best placed to go through the writing categories with me. Obviously she agreed that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s auteur Amy Sherman-Palladino would snag it for Comedy. Continuing our agreeance, we both backed Phoebe Waller-Bridge for Killing Eve, Steve Martin and Martin Short for their Netflix special and William Bridges and Charlie Brooker will snag it for USS Callister.

With the formalities out of the way, we toasted her success and got to work demolishing a big batch of Lena Wafers.

 

 

Not your childhood’s technicolour crosshatched biscuits, these wafers may not look as perfect but damn they are delicious. Light, sweet and delightfully crisp, they are the only thing worthy of honouring my girl Lena.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lena Wafers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g raw caster sugar
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of kosher salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for a couple of minutes, or until it is light and fluffy. Still going, add the egg, vanilla and milk and continue beating until just combined.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl before folding through the wet ingredients. Cover and transfer to the fridge for half an hour.

When you’re ready to bake, place teaspoon sized bowls on lined baking sheets, leaving plenty of space for spread. Flatten each ball to form a thin disc and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once set, devour.

 

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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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Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Party Food, Pie, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders were smarting from losing the first immunity challenge and booting out misogynistic Matt, with Robbie leading the way to try and prove themselves against the Champions. While it was another epic fail at reward, Heath lead them to victory in the immunity challenge which sent the Champions into chaos as they prepared for tribal. Russell pulled out his idol, desperately scraped together an alliance and caused so much confusion that he somehow caused a tie between him and Jackie. Sadly for him, Sharn and Moana were not willing to take his crap, called his bluff and sent him from the game with an idol around his neck.

Things were decidedly less dramatic the neck day at the Champions camp, no, no, there was screaming and drama as a huge chicken miraculously wandered into camp. Thankfully it led to some of the best slapstick I’ve seen in years, as Sam madly ran around the camp trying to capture it. It wasn’t calm, but there was comedy and for that, I am grateful. Meanwhile Sharn and Moana – or Shaoana … Moarn – were thrilled to have taken out Russell, calling his bluff and I assume, claiming my heart. The two Queens then went for a walk down the beach and Moana shared about her experiences as a full time carer for her sister Livinia and oh my god I am crying, give her the damn money. She then locked in Sharn as her ride or die and I am all in, like they’re the nude quadruple on the Contenders.

Speaking of which, the Contenders were sitting down to breakfast, remodelling their camp and altogether loving life. Just tragically clothed.

Almost giving me whiplash, we returned to the Champions camp where Damien was trying to overcome his amputations and prove his worth to the team. Meanwhile Jackie’s poker skills were being put to good use, as she speculated felt everyone was turning against her and she needed to wake up and paint the target against her. She then started to target Damien as he has physical limitations, which can be a liability – her words, not mine – while also not wanting to face him at the end, given he is a freakin’ war hero. In any event, given we’ve seen the Contenders for a minute this episode, we can rule them out of attending tribal council this episode. Well done team!

Speaking of challenges, my love Jonathan returned for this week’s reward challenge where the Contenders were delighted to see that Russell was booted at the last tribal. While some of them were sad to have missed out on meeting him, Lydia assured them that they missed nothing. Anywho – the challenge is essentially a penalty shootout for a huge fishing kit and a fish. Basically the Champions got out to an early lead, never really lost it, Shane Gould is adorable, Damien is a saint and Monika scored the winning goal.

The Champions arrived back at camp to discover their fish had not just been cooked, but also slathered in salsa and looking glorious. Speaking of glorious, Damien was thrilled about playing a huge role in their victory and feeling like he was before his accident. While everyone feasted Moana loitered around awkwardly as she is a vegetarian, but didn’t want to ask them to leave her some veggies.

Meanwhile back at Casa de Contenders, the tribe was feeling defeated and hella hungry. Heath wandered off to grab water and discovered a clue hiding in the well, instructing him that a hidden immunity idol would be placed in the lid of the voting urn at the next tribal council should they attend. So now he is keen to throw the next challenge, particularly since Robbie caught him finding said clue and spread the intel to Benji, throwing their alliance into doubt. Speaking of idol clues, the Champions continued to feast on the fish, completely oblivious to the hidden immunity idol at their feet. Given Moana the vegetarian had zero interest in the food, she noticed and stealthy snatched it out from under their noses.

To reiterate, Moana is Queen.

Cutting me off from Moana’s coronation, Jonathan arrived for the next immunity challenge. Well, after the Champions were done gloating about their fish reward and motivating the Contenders even further. The challenge required seven members of the tribe to wheel a giant wheel around with two tribemates on top who were required to fish puzzle pieces along the way. The last two having to solve said puzzle, obvi. The Champions got out to a slight lead, however the Contenders caught up by the first puzzle pieces. By the third stack of puzzle pieces the Contenders pulled away – in no small part thanks to Shane knocking the Champions puzzles off the shelf – handing Tegan and Fenella a massive lead for solving the puzzle. While Jackie and Monika tried their best to make inroads, it was all for nought as the Contenders dominated and snatch victory before they even had a chance to get started.

Jackie immediately started to panic back at camp, bursting into tears and apologising for choking at the challenge which successfully garnered sympathy from the tribe. She then went for a walk with Monika and decide to flip the game on Damien, in the hope of ‘keeping the tribe strong’. She then approached Moana to try and get her on board, which tragically fell short as Moana sees her as lady Russell and desperately wants her and her crocodile tears out of the game. Moana approached Steve W and Mat to rally troops against Jackie instead, which they were both keen for leaving them to split up and pull in more numbers. Sharn then went to rally troops to take out Damien, pulling in Lydia … before going to Moana and agreeing to take out Jackie as they headed out to tribal council leaving me ridiculously confused.

At tribal Jonathan started by throwing some shade about their loss, with Mat trying to dance around the specifics of why exactly they lost. Jackie tried to garner some more sympathy for losing the challenge, before Damien spoke about the risks associated with the epic spotlight on him whether he performs well or not. Brian appeared to talk in sports metaphors, Steve W completely owned my heart by straight up blaming Jackie for the loss before Mat piled on and tried to convince everyone to keep Damien. Sam spoke about the importance of making alliances to save yourself when you have a run of bad luck, leading to Steve W feeling frustrated by the fact that Russell has rubbed off on them … before admitting he had made alliances. Lydia admitted she planned to vote off a weaker player while Moana evaded the question saying she wants to win challenges but also needs to think about the game.

With that confusing back and forth, the tribe went off to vote, Moana managed to snatch the idol without anyone noticing and poor Damien found himself becoming the third boot for being a liability … despite as Steve W put it, him having no legs because he was blown up helping people in Afghanistan. Speaking of which, that is actually where I first met my dear mate Damo. You see after getting kicked out the USO shows for being too lewd, I decided to try my luck performing tamer routines for the Aussie Army and became quite popular for a brief period.

After his accident, I would visit him daily and sing to him to try and make him feel better. While the doctors banned me from the hospital and got me deported for what they described as cruel and unusual punishment – bitch, I can hit more notes than Mariah you’ve got no idea – Damo knew I was just trying to help and we became the best of friends. That is why I knew my Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts would be the perfect way to cure his post boot pain.

 

 

Does the name roll of your tongue? Not really. Should I have gone with Caramelisedamien? Probably. But given how delicious these taste, I think you should cut me a break. The sweet onion melts in your mouth and dances with the earthiness of the cheese and the flaky gloriousness of the pastry.

Just trust me, they’re perfect. And hella moreish.

Enjoy!

 

 

Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
4 onions, sliced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp ground chilli
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
150g goat’s cheese, crumbled
lemon thyme, to garnish

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onions, stirring, for fifteen minutes or until soft.

Add the sugar, balsamic, chilli and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes or until rich and sticky. Allow to cool for ten minutes or so.

Meanwhile cut each slice of puff pastry into nine equal squares and place on lined baking sheets. Top each with a dollop of onions, crumble over the goat’s cheese and transfer to the over to bake for fifteen minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Devour, immediately scattered with thyme leaves.

 

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Domenicken Liver Abpâté

Condiment, Dip, Party Food, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

After being technically booted from the game – and being whisked out of time to join me for a date – Laurel grabbed the urn and walked up to cast the sole remaining vote for the winner. Which lead to Probst opting not to read that vote and instead take it back to the US to pick the winner … meaning Laurel truly, finally got to make a game changing decision.

Just not the one she was really aiming for. Though it was definitely the one she deserved.

With that, Probst moved his hand deep inside Tony and Woo’s urn and pulled out Laurel’s vote which crowned Wendell the Survivor: Ghost Island sole survivor and left Dom to realise his fears had come true by not facing him in a fire challenge.

New curse to reverse though? So, that’s something.

Anyway, Dom played a killer game and despite making the bone-headed move to call out Chris’ day one decision and instantly started a feud, he managed to make a solid relationship with Wendell and they complimented each other perfectly to get to the end.

But buddying up with Wendell wasn’t his only move, his ability to make friends with literally everyone – except Chris – is the reason none of the moves ever came to fruition this season, as either Kellyn, Laurel or Angela would tell him – oft knowing it was against their best interests – and he would be able to avoid the boot or even needed to play his idols.

As such – and I’m not just saying it because it finished in a tie – he truly is the best to never win (behind Cirie, obvi). And because of that, I gladly pulled out a big fat Domenicken Liver Abpâté to dull the pain of just missing out on victory.

 

 

Pâté is something I have loved my entire life, until I discovered it was made from livers when I was ten and I couldn’t bring myself to eat it for six horrible years. Which I regret as much as Dom regrets not trying to get rid of Wendell on day 38. Rich and earthy, it is the perfect accompaniment to your pain, wine and a big old sourdough baguette. Oh – and I obvi just adapted this recipe, because who the hell can just trial-and-error with livers.

Enjoy!

 

 

Domenicken Liver Abpâté
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 tbsp currants
100ml verjuice
1 ½ tbsp water
⅔ cup port wine
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp gelatin
pinch of allspice
100g unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
500g chicken livers, trimmed
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Soak currants in verjuice overnight.

Combine the water and half the port in a small bowl and dissolve the gelatin in it for five minutes. Bring the remaining port to a light simmer in a small pan with the sugar and allspice. Add the softened gelatin, cook until well combined and remove from the heat to cool completely.

Melt 100g of butter in a pan over low heat and cook the cook the onion and garlic for a about ten minutes, or until translucent and sweet. Add the livers, rosemary and thyme to the pan with a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a couple of minutes or until just cooked. Like, still pink in the middle just. Add the verjuice and currants and cook for a further minute.

Transfer everything to the food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Pack into a container and gently pour the cooled jelly over the top of the pâté and leave to set.

Once set, devour with a baguette and forget they’re livers.

 

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Bill Skolsbård

Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Between Michael on Survivor and my ongoing obsession with Kameron Michaels on Drag Race, you’d be forgiven for thinking I had reached peak thirstiness. But I haven’t, dear reader, I haven’t. Well, technically hadn’t, until my dearest Billy Skars dropped by to catch up.

While I will always hold Alexander up on a pedestal as my number one Skars, there is something about Bill that fills my heart with joy. And well, make blood rush to other places.

But anyway, I first met Bill through Al – after he stopped seeing me as a creepy stalker – a few years ago and I instantly knew he had that certain something Stellan, Al and Gustaf all had, so I vowed to make him a star. I got him a job with Kiz, Az and Cazza on Anna Karenina and followed it up with my husband and my family movie, The Divergent Series: Allegiant with our cousins Shailene Woodley and Ashley Judd.

I then spoke to Finn and got him the job on It … and the rest, as I oft say when I can’t think of anything to add, is history.

After Bill and I caught up and then caught up, we were positively famished so it was super convenient I had a big fresh batch of my Bill Skolsbård hidden away by the bed.

 

 

Fresh, warm, spicy and pillowy dough, jam packed with sweet, creamy custard, these babies are the perfect thing for an afternoon snack … after an afternoon delight. And they’ll definitely make your stomach see skyrockets in flight. Boom.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Bill Skolsbård
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 ⅔ cups milk, plus ½ a cup for the custard
60g unsalted butter
7g yeast
½ cup raw caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp for the custard
4 cups plain flour
1 tsp cardamom
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 yolks, plus one whole egg, whisked, for brushin’
½ cup cream
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut

Method
Combine the not-for-custard milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat and stir until it has just melted and combined. Remove from the heat and stir through the yeast and caster sugar and leave to foam for ten minutes or so. While things are getting frothy, combine the flour and spice in the bowl of a stand mixer before slowly combining the liquid. After it reaches peak froth, obvi. Knead using a dough hook on medium for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Once doubled, knock the dough back down to size like an emotionally abusive parent and divide the dough into quarters. Roll each into logs, cut them into 4, shape each into rounds and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Cover and leave to prove for a further halfies.

While the buns are rising – as opposed to making me rise – preheat the oven to 180°C and start work on the custard. Combine the remaining milk in a saucepan with the cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat straight away. Meanwhile whisk the yolks, cornflour and vanilla in a clean, dry bowl before slowly whisking in the warmed dairy until smooth and combined. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat and cook, stirring, until starting to thicken. Transfer to a bowl via a sieve, cover directly on the surface with cling and chill until ready for bakin’.

Do as I do and press into each bun to make a deep indentation. Fill said hole with the fresh, creamy custard. Brush the exposed buns with the egg to glaze and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes or so, or until golden and risen. You may need to rotate / swap the trays throughout baking if you’re without a fan force. But is anyone these days? Please let me know in the comments.

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for ten minutes or so before combining the icing sugar with a tablespoon of water to form a paste. Brush each bun with the glaze and sprinkle with the coconut. Leave to set for ten minutes or so before annihilating. Sorry, I mean devouring.

 

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Jenna Baoman

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

Previously on Survivor, Des finally decided to bring some excitement post the Chris v. Domenick feud and approached the Malolos about taking out one of the bigger threats. Sadly for her, Laurel and Donathan had been doing a good job of keeping their alliance with said big threats a secret so took the plan straight back to them. That in turn led the champion of Naviti Strong – I assume a sequel to Country Strong – Kellyn to join them in turning on her and sending Des out of the game and straight to the jury.

Lavita returned to camp where Dom was thankful to still be in the game thanks to Laurel’s loyalty. Given the fact she saved not only him, but Kellyn and Wendell too, Laurel finally felt that the had a hold on the game. Sadly Kellyn pointed out that OG Naviti still had the numbers and as such, #NavitiStrong.

The next day Sebastian returned to our screens to briefly talk about upping the food intake before Wendell and Domenick stole the show to talk about sticking together no matter what. Well, that is Wendell was feeling while Dom was willing to get rid of him and his secret allies Laurel and Donathan. To further solidify his power in the game, Dom went for a walk to see if yet another idol had been hidden. Which he obviously found. However tragically for him, it was David’s fake idol that screwed Jay – #Justice4Jay – in the generation battle and unlike Ozzy’s stick, it didn’t glow up. Instead, the advantage was a beautifully designed fake idol that could be used to dupe someone into embarrassing themselves. Again. Which Dom was obviously confident he’d be able to do.

With the excitement of the shady non-idol out of the way, my boy Probst returned for this week’s rewa … wa, wa, what? The immunity challenge? Already? In any event, they’d be required to hold a bar up and keep a ball balanced between the contraption and a beam. Sounds simple … but that is NOT all. This week there will be two immunity winners and two people will be going home AT SEPERATE TRIBAL COUNCILS. The remaining players selected either orange or purple to form temporary tribes which would go to individual tribals and vote out a person each. Poor Michael seemed screwed on the orange team with Kellyn, Wendell, Laurel and Domenick while I dunno, Angela is screwed with lovers Sebastian and Jenna, and Chelsea and Donathan?

Kellyn quickly dropped the ball, literally, followed by Mich-angel leaving Wendell, Dom and Laurel to fight it out for the orange temp tribe. Donathan was the first purple out, followed by Laurel leaving Wendell and Dom to battle it out for orange immunity. Sebastian and Jenna soon dropped leaving Angela and Chelsea to snatch purple immunity. Despite Chelsea almost dropped it, Angela’s ball slipped out of nowhere and handed Chelsea immunity. Sadly for her group, she couldn’t hold on any longer meaning they’d be the first ones attended tribal. Wendell and Dom then brought their smacktalk game while struggling to hold on before Wendell just gave up and handed Domenick the second individual immunity.

Back at camp the two groups broke off and commenced scrambling with Domenick quickly deciding to lock in a vote for Michael. Meanwhile Michael, knowing full well he was royally screwed, approached Donathan to ask him whether he could borrow it for an hour to convince everyone it was his and deflect the target on to someone else. Donathan gave a firm no however, knowing it could come back to bite him breaking both mine and Michael’s heart. Michael then approached Kellyn and tried to feed her the simple lie that he has an idol. While she bought everything he was selling, she was concerned and hoped to put the target on to Laurel as a back-up. On the flipside, Domenick was not concerned when Kellyn brought the information back to him and vowed to get Michael out.

Clearly still concerned Kellyn went to Chelsea and Wendell to talk it through and hopefully convince Wendell to join her in sacrificing Laurel instead. Wendell took said information to Laurel who agreed Michael was acting like he had something up his sleeve, or had simply given up. Knowing full well that Kellyn was willing to flip on her, Laurel decided she would rather vote for Kellyn instead to ensure her safety. Sadly for her, Kellyn was planning to use her second vote and load them up on Laurel to ensure her safety.

The other group were decidedly less intense with Sebastian, Chelsea and Angela keen to stick with Naviti and take out Sebastian’s girlfriend Jenna while telling her they’re targeting Donathan. Jenna was feeling nervous, so approached Sebastian and Chelsea to confirm they’re voting for Donathan … and then went and told Donathan that they told her they’re voting her out. Confusing no? Wanting to try and turn the tables, Donathan then considered playing his idol on Jenna while she was working to turn the vote on him while lying that she was targeting Sebastian. To complicate things, Laurel approached Donathan with her concerns that Dom and Wendell wouldn’t turn on Kellyn and it would end up in her going out … unless she had his idol.

We arrived at the first tribal with me completely confused about what is going to happen. Donathan echoed my sentiments before Sebastian confirmed that someone from Malolo would definitely be leaving this group tonight. Jenna was quick to pretend she was going home and just wanted to vote already and get it over with. That upset Sebastian and made Donathan feel a little bit concerned about his place, and I assume, reconsider playing his idol for her. Jenna continued to talk about herself being the target, leading Probst to put a hold on the questions and get to the vote. Picking up on everyone’s shiftiness, Donathan decided to make the smart move and played his ScotJasonTai idol on himself negating the one vote against him and sending Jenna from the game BY HER BOYFRIEND.

Given the Sebastian’s ultimate betrayal and the fact Probst sent her straight to the jury, instead of doing the walk of shame, Jenna was feeling pretty upset by the time she made it into my arms in Ponderosa. Thankfully the fact that I banned [redacted] from entering Ponderosa until we had finished our feast seemed to cheer her up pretty quickly. Though I have a sneaking suspicion my Jenna Baoman may have helped.

 

 

Now I know what you’re thinking – didn’t I see some sweet looking things in the cover image of this here ‘story’? A) the use of inverted commas is shady, which I love, but also hurtful and b) this is my attempt at a dessert bao. And while it may not look impressive, the flavour sure as hell is! Chocolate and (peanut butter and) vanilla (ice cream), swirl … swirled together on a caramelly bun? Poifection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jenna Baoman
Serves: 16.

Ingredients
7g yeast
160ml lukewarm water
250g flour
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons oil
¼ tsp baking powder
¾ cup double cream
100g milk chocolate
100g crunchy peanut butter
3 tbsp golden syrup
Vanilla Ice Cream
salted peanuts, roughly chopped to garnish

Method
Combine yeast, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup flour and 2 tablespoons of muscovado sugar in a jug and allow to rest until foamy and glorious, or about ten minutes. Once foamy, combine the yeast mixture in the bowl of a large stand mixer with the remaining water, flour and sugar and salt and oil. Knead using a dough hook for about five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl and allow to prove in a warm area for a couple of hours.

Once the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Flatten out, sprinkle with baking powder and knead by hand for five minutes or so,or until well combined. Roll the dough into a long dough and cut into 16 pieces, placing them on a lined baking tray to rest for ten minutes or so, or until puffed. Once they’re glorious, steam for about 8 minutes or until they’re cooked through.

While the buns are provin’ and steamin’, combine the cream, chocolate, peanut butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and cook over low heat until melted, combined and thick.

To serve, split the buns – my favourite pastime, FYI Michael – place a teaspoon of peanut fudge sauce on the bottom, followed by a scoop of ice cream, more fudge and freshly chopped nuts. Then, obvi, devour.

 

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