Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton

Burgers, Main, Side, Snack

After the highs of the Emmys and the lows of being reminded that intolerance is still alive and real, it was such a joy to reconnect with my dear friend slash ex-lover Blue and see what he and his beautiful family are up to.

I first met Blue while working together at Warner Music Group and love quickly blossomed. While it sadly didn’t work out for us romantically in the long run – he is too damn nice and couldn’t overlook my rage blackouts and scams – it slowly turned into a dear friendship.

A couple of years after our breakup, I visited Blue while on holidays and decided to set him up with a friend of mine. Cut to a few years later, he and Matt are married and fathers to a beautiful little boy. You’re welcome, both Blue and members of the public that get to watch them on social media.

Anyway – Blue answered my hysterical calls asking for some emotional support while working through the homophobia incited by the Australian government, jumped in the car and met me in L.A. to talk through the pain and catch-up.

While I was a mess when he arrived, he quickly cheered me up reminding me that the world is not that bad a place and our community is stronger than a vocal minority empowered by an ineffective government. Plus – he reminded me that our best friends’ meal is a Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton and that is all the repayment he needs for supporting me.

 

 

It is no secret that I love me a burger, and this is up there with my faves. The huge whack of blue cheese, mixed with the glorious bacon and the sweet onions? I just came a little while thinking about them.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter and olive oil
4 onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
500g beef mince
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 rashers of streaky bacon
4 Kirsten Bunst
200g blue cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat the butter and oil in a medium frying pan, adding the onions when the butter is nice and foamy. Reduce heat to low and sweat for about half an hour, stirring to avoid them sticking. Once they are really soft, crank the heat to medium and add the balsamic, muscovado and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are sticky. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Meanwhile combine the mince, garlic, yoghurt, Worcestershire and a heaped tablespoon of caramelised onions and scrunch with your hand to combine. Form into four patties and chill in the fridge for about half an hour.

When you’re ready to eat, heat a lug of olive oil on a griddle over medium heat and cook the patties for a couple of minutes each side. Transfer to a plate and cook the bacon for a couple of minutes each side before transferring to a plate.

Split the buns – my favourite pastime – and lightly toast them on the grill before getting down to assembly. Place a dollop of caramelised onions on the base of the burger, followed by the patties, then the bacon and a good crumble of blue cheese – I obviously used more than blue cheese – before devouring.

 

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Henry Snickerson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Locky flipped on Samatau at the first post-merge tribal, though tried to pin it on Anneliese to save himself. This pitted the two against each other, with Anneliese trying to rally the troops to vote Locky and play her idol to save herself. Sadly, Ziggy opted to play the super-idol and keep a fellow meat shield in the game, sending Anneliese to the jury.

Back at camp, Tessa was feeling pretty annoyed by Ziggy’s play and she and Pete were questioning their entire alliance. While Tessa was doing a far better job of playing it cool, Ziggy rightfully pointed out that it was futile to stick with a dying alliance and was best to make a power move to win over her new alliance. Elsewhere in camp Henry was loving that not only did his plan play off, it also eliminated the other two idols in the game.

The next day Ziggy continued to bond with her new alliance while Tara was shocked at how far she has made it, how few people are left and how much she misses her family. If it didn’t cut straight to a Henry scene about his sole idol in the game, I would have assumed a family visit was imminent. Pulling me back to reality, Henry and Locky spoke about how much they love each other and working (with) each other.

Tessa conveniently reminded us that once again, she was back on the bottom before Jonathan returned to lord over the Survivor auction. Luke, Jericho and Ziggy got into a bidding war for a covered dish, which ended up being a message to leave the auction immediately … and instead receive everything that people win. Fuck me dead, that sounds amazing. Ziggy then dropped all her cash for smashed avo and Henry blew his wad (of cash) for champagne and cheesecake like the golden girl (fan) I so desperately want him to be. Before the next uncovered item was even on the bench, Sarah spent all her money on a nice chilled coconut … which Luke actually enjoyed. Locky and Michelle spent all their cash for the chance to pull rocks for a burrito and margaritas – not of the Moreno variety, sadly – before Pete threw $20 at the chance to speak to her family which Tara immediately topped for $500.

Her talking to her kids was adorable and emotional and if you’re not crying, you’re a jerk. (Also – told ya so). Luke then also got to speak to his kids and I lost it even more, as he struggled to talk to his son (who has autism) … and finished his journey to winning me back over.

After all that excitement, Jericho and Pete had a bidding war for burgers, fries and soft drink which juvenile Jericho loved. This left Pete to spend $320 – Tessa, you have all your cash – for an advantage at the next immunity challenge, for he and Luke. Jericho then gave Dr Tessa some sick burns while forcing her to pay $320 for an overnight reward with all the trimmings for her, rock-winning Michelle and obviously, Luke. This of course pissed off Sarah who was as equally screwed by the auction and wasn’t accepting that as the reason Michelle was selected. Hell hath no fury like a person scorned – I know the phrase is woman, but I am also no slouch when scorned – and gurl. Is. Scorned.

Michelle and Luke joined Tessa at reward where they all gloated about their luck. Tessa then explained that the decision was completely strategy, wanting to talk them into getting out Henry, Locky, Ziggy and Tara. I love Tara, but one of those things is not like the other. Back at camp Sarah continued to seethe which Henry continued to utilise to stoke the flames of rage against Tessa. Poor Pete tried his best to run damage control, but it truly was not going well.

At the reward it took about five seconds before Tessa got the intel that Henry had the idol, while we also learned that Ziggy’s regular part of idol was still in play after he move last tribal. While Michelle was all in with Tessa’s plan to blindside Henry followed by Ziggy, Luke was reticent, knowing that big moves are only worth it if they are to your benefit. I fucking hate when people not only prove my judgemental expectations wrong, but damn he is having a good episode.

The luxurious crew awoke the next day to a champagne breakfast complete with donuts and pastries, while back at camp Locky was freaking out that they would have aligned. Which they did, forming the champagne alliance. That being said, Henry was not so concerned, given the fact he has a ropable Sarah on side. Or so I thought, as she pointed out the fact that she was playing up her rage to put some distance between them so that she can pull off a blindside of Henry. That is some next level inception shit right there. She then got to work, pulling Jericho aside to tell him that their idol find last episode was a complete fake and he actually found it way back in the first week. This fired up Jericho and makes me extremely anxious for Henry.

With all the key players for tonight’s tribal lined up, Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where Tessa and Michele tried their best at downplaying the majesty of their reward. We then got to the challenge where everyone had to hold up a ball on top of a curved rim while balancing on rapidly shrinking platformed, with Pete and Luke’s advantage being to start 30 seconds on a stage of their choosing. Michelle was out before Luke even began – after electing to take said advantage on the first stage – quickly followed by Tara before Sarah and Ziggy dropped. After round two kicked off, Jericho dropped out before Pete finally used his advantage on the final stage, before dropping out, followed closely by Luke and Henry. While Locky and Tessa both put in a huge effort – dug deep, if you will – her steady doctored hands pulled off a miracle and won Tessa immunity.

Returning to camp Henry and Locky were disappointed by Tessa’s victory which was further exacerbated by the fact it was pouring rain and they couldn’t go out and scramble. After waiting a sum total of five minutes, Tessa pulled Pete out into the rain to talk about her (slash their) new alliance with Luke and Michelle and that Henry would be going home, if they make him feel comfortable enough. This left Luke and Michelle to pretend that Tessa didn’t win them over, which wasn’t making Locky feel very comfortable. He and Henry then approached Tessa and Pete about voting literally anyone but them, while Pete gave Sarah up as another option. Tessa was feeling confident in her plan, Henry was feeling confident Pete would be going before Michelle pulled Sarah aside to get her onboard with the Henry vote, as did Luke with Jericho which legitimately left me feeling extremely confused as they headed off to tribal. I mean, he has to be smart enough to play his idol, right?

Everyone played tribal council hella vaguely, aside from Tessa and Michelle’s glamping gloat-fest. While Locky and Ziggy spoke up and acknowledged that Tessa was gunning for them, Ziggy wasn’t overly concerned that anything would come of it. Luke was able to use his dopey demeanour to his advantage, brushing off speculation of an alliance. Sarah was also unconvinced anything would come of Tessa’s scrambling before Pete dropped the bomb that there was a very powerful group of players in the game, which Tessa concurred with before Michelle acknowledged them by name – hey Locky, Henry and Ziggy – and kind of defused the suspicion of a blindside.

While Sarah, Tara and Henry were all expecting a straightforward Peter vote, Henry ignored Locky’s plea for him to play the idol resulting in him exiting the game and becoming the third member of the jury. He may not have been my number one – swoon Locky, swoon – but I still found him to be a total babe, and while we may not have known each other for very long – I met while running a con as a fake yoga attendee at his fake yoga studio – I felt our bond – and his dominant gameplay – more than earned him arguably the recipe of the season, my Henry Snickerson.

 

 

I say this about homemade burgers and pizzas, but the rule also applies to chocolate bars and biscuits – homemade copycats are always better than the OG. (Well, except for Shake Shack and In’n’Out). This homemade snickers is more kingsize than Luke’s ego and is more delicious than Locky – spongey nougat, salty nuts and dripping caramel … I’m now both horny and hungry.

Enjoy!

 

 

Henry Snickerson
Makes: 12-16.

Ingredients
¾ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup liquid glucose
¼ cup water
1 egg white, at room temperature
generous pinch of salt
½ cup natural crunchy peanut butter
60g butter
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
395g condensed milk
1 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
600g milk chocolate

Method
Line a 20x30cm baking pan with some baking paper.

Combine the caster sugar, glucose and water in a small pan over high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. While you bring the syrup to the boil, whisk the egg white in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. When the sugar reaches 135°C, remove from the boil and very slowly add to the eggs with the whisk still on high. Continue whisking until the nougat comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the peanut butter with an oiled spatula, emphasis on oiled, until it is thick, combined and spongy. Turn into the lined baking pan, spreading mixture evenly, and leave to rest while you make the caramel.

Combine the butter, muscovado sugar and condensed milk in a clean saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook until it is thick and has started to turn a caramel colour. Remove from the heat and fold through the chopped peanuts before spreading over the setting nougat. Cover and place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to assemble, line a baking sheet with paper and cut the nougat and caramel into chocolate bar sized … bars. Melt the chocolate in the microwave – 30s on high, followed by 10s intervals until done – and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Dip the bars into the melted chocolate and place them on the lined baking sheet. Once done, brush the remaining chocolate over the bars to completely enclose them. Transfer to the fridge for a few hours to set, before devouring with your favourite marriage celebrant / fauxgi.

 

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Annelicoise Wilson Salad

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Salad, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the tribes followed the lead of Spice Girls as two became one. While the remaining Asagans looked to be screwed given their numbers disadvantage, they systematically pulled in Henry, Michelle and Locky, one by one, to take control which tragically sent Jarrad out of the game.

Though again, in the words of Abi-Maria, at least he made the jury.

The tribe returned from tribal council where the former majority were reeling from J-Rad’s departure, quickly banding together to find out who flipped on them. While Tessa, Ziggy and Pete assumed it was Locky that flipped, my king did some next level lying and bamboozled them to the point where it felt like they couldn’t even be bothered to find the rat.

The next day Anneliese was still reeling from the vote and Locky’s ability to lie to her face, which made her feel uneasy about him. She then decided that he needed to go, and got to work deciding who best for them to target. Meanwhile Henry and Jericho went for a walk to find Henry’s idol from day four, using the useless clue that he gave to Jericho at the reward challenge a couple of weeks ago. He then pretended to find his own idol again, solidifying Jericho’s loyalty to him.

Anneliese meanwhile continued her assault on my man, approaching Sarah to join with her to get rid of Locky. On the flipside, Henry continued to solidify his alliance with Luke and Jericho by stealing the rest of the jam while everyone slept. It makes as much sense as it sounds, given it will not end well. As expected, JamGate erupted the next morning when Anneliese and Locky discovered the jam was gone.

In the post-jam world of Asatoa, Henry and Locky met up with Sarah and Michelle to discuss their next move, deciding that it was most important to get rid of Anneliese. They also decided that she was the one to eat the jam, just to really confirm the alliance. Ziggy and Pete then reconnected to discuss their next steps, with the latter wanting to go down swinging with his current alliance while Ziggy was willing to shop around for answers.

On the walk to the immunity challenge, Anneliese told us she didn’t want Locky to win, while Henry mentioned Anneliese couldn’t win meaning, in all likelihood, one of them is about to win the challenge. Jonathan gave us a quick rundown – after Henry flagged JamGate again – with the challenge broken up into three stages. The first six people to hook their ring on a pole – my favourite pastime – moved through to the second round, where they had to work through a rope tangled on an obstacle. The top three moving on to the last phase where they each had to land three balls on a ledge at the top of a ramp.

Doing the LGBT community proud, Pete quickly landed his ring, followed by Tara, Henry, Locky, Tessa and Jericho. Henry took an early lead on the second stage, before being overtaken by Locky who became the first person moving on to the final stage. Thankfully Henry wasn’t too far behind, with Jericho rounding out the top three. Locky got out to an early lead, before Henry and Jericho each landed a ball. Henry landed his second, followed by Jericho before Henry just took out immunity. Oh and yeah, neither Locky nor Anneliese won immunity like predicted. Whatevs.

After a brief interlude of pleasantries while everyone congratulated Henry on his victory, shit started to get real. Henry, Luke, Locky and Michelle confirmed the vote for Anneliese, though Michelle and Luke would pretend they were onboard with getting out Locky. Locky then tried to work the idol out of Anneliese’s hands, though given the fact she knows they’re both targeting each other it wasn’t very successful. Anneliese then approached Tessa and Pete to see what the plan was, with them telling her that it is likely her. She then admitted that she had the idol and vowed to play it and stick together.

Tessa and Pete then approached Ziggy to lock in the plan, which she agreed with before running directly to Locky and Henry to keep Locky – another potential meatshield for Ziggy – in the game over Anneliese. While Locky and Henry were feeling confident, Tara and Luke weren’t buying it and were extremely nervous as they headed off to tribal.

At tribal, Jarrad watched on from the jury as the first five minutes revolved around JamGate. While Sarah correctly guessed Luke was involved, Jericho alluded to the fact that it may have influenced the vote which shows he is probs smarter than I give him credit for. Finally we got to some vague statements about the numbers, with Michelle pointing out that despite believing she had the numbers after the last tribal council, the line in the sand was washed away the very next day. Ziggy mentioned she was planning to take out a threat tonight, while Tara and Henry spoke about how dangerous flippers are in the game. Michelle spoke about idols being out there followed by Ziggy mentioning that tonight is the night to make a move, making me even more anxious than I thought possible today … AND I was at the Emmys but a few hours ago!

The votes rolled in between Locky and Anneliese – well I assume, we only saw two – before Anneliese decided to play her idol to save herself from becoming the scapegoat. Sadly for her though, Ziggy opted to play her super idol negating Anneliese’s idol and sending her out of the game as the second juror. While I would have burnt the jury villa to the ground if it happened to me, Anneliese was as gracious as always upon arrival and warmly embraced me as I put the finishing touches on her Annelicoise Wilson Salad.

 

 

I’m actually a lecturer at Anneliese’s university – obviously, I’m still into running uni scams – and I truly have a soft spot for her. Hell, I’d go as far as to say she is my favourite student … which explains why I was willing to cook seafood for her. Well … serve it. While the idea of tuna makes me sick, nicoise is actually pretty amazing. Though I assume that all comes down to the potato and eggs? In any event, enjoy!

 

 

Annelicoise Wilson Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 eggs
150g potatoes
150g green beans, trimmed, halved
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
pinch of muscovado sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 baby cos lettuces, leaves torn and rinsed
200g tinned tuna, drained
12 small black olives, halved
small handful parsley, diced

Method
Place the eggs in a pot of cold water. Place over medium heat, bring to the boil and cook for five minutes. Drain the eggs, submerge in cold water, peel and half.

While the eggs are cooking, place the potato into a second pot of water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Cook for five to ten minutes, or until tender. Add the beans and cook for a further minute. Drain, run under cold water to refresh and allow to drain for a couple of minutes.

Combine the vinegar, dijon, garlic, muscovado and olive oil in a jug and whisk until well combined.

To serve, place the lettuce in a bowl, top with potato, beans and eggs. Drizzle with the dressing, add tuna and olives, sprinkle over parsley … and add more dressing, because who doesn’t wanna get saucy.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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Adam Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Drink, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor JLP marooning 24 new castaways on Samoa where Locky quickly became my favourite by taking off his clothes, with Tara a close second for her relatable thirst and AK a distant twenty-fourth for being insufferable. After an epic immunity challenge – where not-military man Mark W dominated on the very military rope obstacle – targets were firmly painted on Joan and Kent’s back after losing the puzzle. Despite a last ditch effort from Luke to flip the script on control-freak Sam, Joan became the first boot of Survivor and Kent lived to see another day.

Back at camp Kent got to work winning everyone over telling them there were no hard feelings and he wouldn’t kill them in their sleep that night. After that faux pas, Sam quickly confirmed that she was pissed off about the votes not falling how she was expecting and Luke continued to look like some that’s been drinking heavily since lunch but is trying to play it cool in front of the in-laws.

Over at the triumphant Samatau, a sadly clothed Locky was feeling the love and basking in the glow of the fire while AK realised he screwed up within the first few days and broke down on the beach by himself. Secret poker player Adam went to see if he was ok, though didn’t actually care which makes Adam a tad more likeable.

Meanwhile Sam was still seething back at Asaga, despite being in an almost-majority alliance with Mark W, Henry, Sarah and Jacqui. Meanwhile Michelle, the one that Sam trusts the least, is spearheading a counter alliance with skittish Luke, Odette, Jericho and Ben, leaving Kent in the middle like Malcolm. Side note: he kind of looks like an old man version of Frankie Muniz, no?

Giving up on pursuing Sharks, Mark decided to go fishing while Adam went fishing for the Samatau majority, pulling in Tara, Kate, Peter and Ziggy, which makes my boner for Locky concerned despite five does not equal a majority. Feeling screwed, AK decided to try and fool Jarrad into believing that he had a – and I quote – chicken idol, which for some reason Jarrad bought, spreading it to Anneliese, Aimee, Locky, Tara and Adam spooking literally everyone.

I think sensing my growing anger at AK, JLP returned for the first reward challenge of the season – for fishing gear and an outrigger canoe – requiring tribe members to square off against each other greasing up like Willie and racing down a slide to grab a ball and stick it in a hole.

First up were Locky and Mark W where Locky quickly scored the first point for Samatau, Adam quickly scored over Luke, Jericho beat Peter followed by Queen Jacqui tying things up against Anneliese. Mark H quickly won my heart, dacking Ben and giving us our first bum of the challenge. Shocking no one, waterpolo champion Ziggy scored for Samatau, Jarrad smoke Kent and Aimee extended their lead before AK used his walk up to the start with Henry to tell him how badly he is doing, before getting salt rubbed in the wounds with Henry dominating. Sam and Sarah continued to catch Asaga up before Locky and Mark W arrived for their second battle where the latter became my second favourite castaway, quickly pulling Locky’s pant completely off, leaving him to dive for victory in uncensored glory.

Praise Channel 10 not pixelating! I’ll be back in five, bare … with me. Seriously, this is two episodes from two with Locky’s arse and I am LIVING FOR IT.

Back at Samatau, Locky was glad to have secure the win despite losing some dignity. But seriously Locky, NO, dat ass – YAS GAWD. Never apologise for that. While going through their loot, AK noticed an idol clue hidden in the outrigger, as did Adam, leading to Adam getting his allies to distract AK to take it for himself. He quickly shared the clue with Kate, discovering that the idol was hidden on an island off their beach, securing them only AK rage.

Meanwhile over at Asaga, Luke continued to act skittish and therefore decided it was a great idea to channel Tony and build a spy shack. Thankfully Jacqui brought some dignity and excitement to the affair, snatching the idol clue from the well with Henry which the latter hid down his pants, making me realise that I’d really like Mark W to dack him sometime soon. After a quick search around camp, Henry and Jacqui secured the Asaga idol and became the improved Australian Survivor power couple – move El and Lee, I think we’ve found our Romber!

Over at Samatau, we finally met Peter where he spoke about hating nature which is in an instant win in my book. Adam quickly took the attention, searching unsuccessful for the idol – which was directly under his hands – in plain sight of the remaining tribe members who were busy building their house. AK then went over to search for the idol while Adam started threatening Queen Tara, Kate and Ziggy, saying that if they don’t help, they are against him. The girls quickly shut him down, correctly pointing out shelter is more important that proving their loyalty to one person of the twelve person tribe.

Ziggy and Locky went with Adam to try and put a stop to AK finding the idol, where Locky quickly discovered the string to the immunity idol wrapper. Assuming that Adam either found the idol from the very obvious clue or is a completely moron, Locky and Ziggy kindly went with the former. Wanting to continue painting a target on his back, Adam then decided to threaten them to vote him out. Seriously, he and AK should align to get booted back-to-back.

After all the idol excitement, JLP returned for a downright dirty – hopefully in a Locky writhing around naked in the sand kind of way – immunity challenge where the castaways had to race through a mud pit, through some bamboo, then through a wall, play an island version of whack-a-mole and knock down tiles with a club. Samatau got out to an early lead with (a sadly clothed) Locky dominating the obstacles for his tribe, while Asaga was held back by Kent who was the polar opposite to my lover, Lock.

Samatau continued to dominate with the pegging section, before Adam blew a fraction of their lead not knowing how to open a draw. Despite throwing the clubs with an Olympic water polo player, AK quickly knocked out Samatau’s first three idols before Henry and Jacqui finally got in the game. Being the power couple we all deserve, Jacry quickly caught up and took out immunity for Asaga.

A defeated Samatau returned to camp where Anneliese was feeling nervous after choking in the challenge. Adam was also feeling anxious after his earlier idol faux pas, which was confirmed as Locky – again, sadly clothed – told the girls while washing the mud off his torso that if AK doesn’t play an idol tonight, Adam is guaranteed to have the idol.

AK continued to pretend he had the fake chicken idol, which nobody was buying at all which I think is a ploy to attract votes so he can play his real idol and get rid of a threat. Anneliese, Peter, Locky, Aimee and Jarrad plotted to split the vote between Adam and Kate, while Adam tried to win back Tara and secure some numbers. Thankfully for him, AK continued to act hella sketchy and made Jarrad uncomfortable just before leaving for tribal council.

Jonathan quickly got to work needling the tribe with Aimee, mate, talking about how much the rain was hurting them, mate. Ziggy and Tara spoke about trust, the latter quite awkwardly trying to avoid the truth, before quickly doing an about face and explaining that AK and Adam were acting paranoid and crazy the day before. AK and Adam had a little back and forth arguing about who has the idol before Aimee finally became likeable, roasting AK for his shitty attempt at a fake idol and confirming Adam is playing way too aggressively.

Adam tried to backpedal – off topic, but I think Peter and I have the same glasses – before he and AK fought a bit more and Anneliese announced that she felt expendable as they headed off to vote. Oh and nope, Peter and I do not have the same glasses. Proving my two-pars-ago theory correct, AK pulled the actual idol out of the bag – where do you think he got the string for his chicken idol? – and then PLAYED IT FOR JARRAD. The votes rolled in for AK, Anneliese and Kate, before piling up on Adam and sending him out of the game as the second boot. Despite feuding aggressively on the Queensland poker circuit, I couldn’t be too cruel to my frenemy, low-rent-Parko, so took him in a tepid embrace and whipped him up a kind, yet non-committal-date-esque Adam Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

 

 

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is probably Starbucks’ most famous holiday flavoured beverage and for good reason, it is sickly delicious (and coffee in America sucks, so you need syrup). While my version isn’t as sweet, it is just as amazing with the delicate hint of vanilla, whack of pumpkin and spices perfectly mingling with the coffee to make me consider supporting Christmas in July as a thing.

Enjoy!

 

 

Adam Pumpkin Spiced Latte
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
1 cup milk
1 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp muscovado sugar
½ tsp vanilla
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
2 shots freshly brewed coffee

Method
Combine the milk, puree, sugar, vanilla and spices in a small saucepan over low heat and whisk until piping hot. I mean, it doesn’t get too foamy like a latte should, but it will do.

Pour the shots of coffee into a latte glass, slowly pour in the milk, sprinkle with cinnamon and devour.

Well down, but devour is kinda my thing.

 

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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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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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Harvey Fiersteamed Buns

Main, Party Food, Snack, Tony Gold, Tony Gold: Hamilgold

As we move into the second half of our inaugural Tony Gold celebrations, I knew I had to go with some even bigger Tony Awards legends and there is no one more legendary when it comes to the multi-hatted Harvey Fierstein.

I honestly don’t even know where to start about my dear friend Harvey Fierstein, the man can do just about anyoneanything and truly is a Broadway legend. I mean, he’s won Tony’s for acting and Best Play and for writing the books of musical, there aren’t many of my friends that can say they’ve achieved more. Which is a huge part of why we’re friends, as I assume you suspected.

I first met Harve’s through my dear friend Andy Warhol – I was one of his muses – when he came in to audition for his play Pork. While I was ropeable that Andy didn’t hand me the part, I begrudgingly knew that Harves was the better man for the job and instead of tearing him down, hitched my wagon to his for inevitable fame and fortune.

Fun fact: he wrote the roles of Alan and David in the Torch Song Trilogy in honour of our love affair and my childish attitude, respectively.

Given the fact that he can do pretty much anything on Broadway, I decided to wrote the best book of a musical and best production odds, so buckle in. For the book, it seems to be a two horse race between Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, the edge I give to the former and Harves gives to the latter. For the plays, we agreed on Six Degrees and of Separation and A Doll’s House, Part 2 taking the gold, with the musical gongs going to Hello, Dolly – never bet against Bette – and Dear Evan Hansen, despite Come from Away taking out the Drama Desk.

Given the conversation was robust, I couldn’t go past whipping up our old favourite post-coital meal, Harvey Fiersteamed Bun.

 

 

There is a lot I could say about Harve and my passion for a tempting, hot bun but these are far and away the best ones we want to have in our mouths to devour. I mean, steamed buns are amazing – they even ended my feud with the artist formerly known as Cumberbitch – but have you ever had a mexican themed one? Because they’re amazing. A light, fluffy cornbread enclosing a piping hot chilli and gooey cheese? Sign me the hell up.

Enjoy!

 

 

Harvey Fiersteamed Buns
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1-2 cups of Chilli con Kim Carnes
7g active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup plain flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup cornstarch, talk about corny
¼ cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 ½ tsp baking powder
grated cheese

Method
Start out by whipping up the Chilli con Kim Carnes, remove the two cups required and cook a little bit further to get rid of as much liquid as possible. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while you carry on, not necessarily calmly, with the dough.

Combine the yeast and warm water in the large bowl of a stand mixer before adding the flour, cornmeal and cornstarch, stirring with the dough hook to kinda combine / avoid a kitchen resembling an anthrax scare. Place the dough hook in the mixer and mix on the lowest setting. Slowly add the sugar and oil and continue mixing until a smooth ball forms. Remove, cover with a damp cloth and allow to prove for a couple of hours.

As its had a chance to prove itself, add the baking powder and return to the mixer on low for a couple of minutes. At this point it may be looking a bit dry since the cornmeal acts like a sponge, so add a couple of tablespoons to keep it smooth and soft … but not sticky. Nice and simple instructions, no? Once the dough is smooth, cover with the damp cloth again and allow to prove for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, cut out 12, 10-15cm squares of baking paper. Once the dough has proven itself again, punch it back and divide into 12 equal balls. Press each into a 15cm wide disc and place on a piece of baking paper. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of each disc with a pinch of cheese before pulling the edges in to enclose like a bun.

Once the buns are prepared, bring a pot of water to water with a steamer over the top. Once the water is going off like a frog in a sock, add 3-4 buns and steam for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed, fluffy and gorgeous. Repeat the process until they are done.

Once you’re ready, serve with any combination of chilli sauce, sour cream or guacamole and devour.

 

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