Bananarama Bread

Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Bananarama Bread
Serves: 8.

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

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

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

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

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

If not, just devour.

 

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Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie
Serves: 12.

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

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

Preheat oven to 180°C.

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

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

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

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

 

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Mikey Sparrokey Ice Cream

Dessert, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, a new challenge beast emerged in Barbs getting her head back in the game … briefly, before joining Avi and Tom to get rid of Nate and hand victory to one of the boys. Nate buried the hatchet with Mike and Jak on redemption island, which may come in handy since Jak dropped his coins and Nate returned to the game with Mike.

Back at camp the weather was hella gloomy, probably mirroring the feelings of Avi and Tom … which Mike picked up. Tom was feeling safe after surviving the previous tribal council without immunity, while Nate was feeling nervous – obviously – since he was booted by three of the five remaining players less than 48 hours ago.

Tom and Avi hung out playing cards on a blanket, while Barb perched in place in the hammock. Tom was glad Jak didn’t return to the game, which is obvious since that is one vote he has locked up. Avi then threw a curveball and mentioned that maybe going to the end with Tom and Mike would be a good idea, since they would split the boys votes. Which makes me super angry because it would come at the expense of queen Barb.

Nate and Mike were rightfully feeling on the outs, knowing that they’re only hope was Mike winning immunity and them somehow convincing Barbs to flip on the boys she is trying to help win. Which is obviously super unlikely, but goals hey?

Matt decided to join the fray for the immunity challenge, requiring the final final five to stand a series of blocks on a teetering tray held stable by them on the end of a rope – you know it, it is in most seasons of Survivor. Queen Barbs got out to an early lead … until she wasn’t, Mike then took the lead … until he wasn’t. Tom then closed the gap and overtook the serial droppers, taking out his US record equalling fifth immunity win. Hopefully that doesn’t foreshadow him becoming a runner up like Colby, Ozzy and Culpepper.

Back at camp Barb and Avi were quick to congratulate Tom, while Mike was feeling a wee bit more dejected. Mike approached Barb in her hammock throne and proved that 17 days on redemption haven’t helped his ability to scramble. He then bitched and moaned about her gameplay and age in confessionals, inciting my rage despite dem nips.

He then tried his luck with Nate who honestly just didn’t seem to give any fucks. He still hopes to win though, he is just bored with Mike.

Mike continued to talk about convincing Nate and Barb to join him in voting out RV, which I think he actually believes is Avi’s name. He then had a crack at trying to sway RV, though I don’t think it will happen … SINCE HE DOESN’T KNOW HIS NAME. Though realistically, it is in Avi’s best interests.

Avi then caught up with someone who knows his name, Tom, and spilled all the goss, terrifying Tom and me. Because let’s be honest, Tom is the only hope we have if Barbs doesn’t win. Everyone then gave some ambiguous grabs as we heading to tribal, though the outcome is still somewhat obvious.

Matt pointed out that Mike has spent most of the game on redemption island before the latter took the opportunity and ran with it, giving an arrogant monologue that highlighted how little he knows about the tribe’s dynamic. He derided Barb’s game, saying she rode the coattails of Tom and this fictitious player RV, and would never win. Barb then went in for Mike and pointed out that once again, she is the one casting the deciding vote and berated his stupidity. Essentially. Tom then support Barb, again carrying her I assume, before Barbs returned to berating Mike, highlighting that being disrespectful isn’t the best way to win her over. Mike then tried to backpedal, before Barb told everyone she does not give a fuck about how the jury perceives her game … because she knows she is the dominant queen of Survivor NZ.

Nate and Avi then said some stuff, Barb was sassy before Mike continued to trash Barbs’ game and tried to force Tom to give up immunity with the power of his mind. Thankfully Tom wasn’t moved by his powers, keeping immunity as everyone joined together to vote out Mike.

But let’s pause a second to acknowledge that … HE DID IT, HE VOTED FOR RV. HE LITERALLY THOUGHT HE WAS NAMED AFTER A RECREATIONAL VEHICLE FAVOURED BY RETIREES.

While I oft swing between loving Mike (‘s nips) and hating him, his domination of redemption island was extremely impressive. As was his ability to win everyone over on their way to the jury, which probably would have worked if he made it to the end. Which he didn’t, thoughe he did earn some Mikey Sparrokey Ice Cream.

 

 

Hokey pokey is a New Zealand icon, kinda like how mIke was the icon of redemption island. Though with the whole fresh ice cream with an insane vanilla punch, paired with a tonne of honeycomb … can you really blame the Kiwis?

No, you can’t. Enjoy!

 

 

Mikey Sparrokey Ice Cream
Makes: 1L.

Ingredients
600ml double cream
375g condensed milk
3 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups broken up honeycomb

Method
Combine the double cream, condensed milk and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on low until soft peaks form.

Remove from the mixer, fold through the honeycomb, transfer to a container and freeze overnight.

The next day, remove it from the freezer and devour.

 

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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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Leekoumaden Haan

Dessert, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, the least fun sausage fest – because of Jak, obvi – decided to throw the challenge and eliminate Shay to protect Shannon and Mike’s girl Georgia, who was a sure thing to beat Shay at redemption island. Sadly though, that didn’t actually happen with Georgia’s house of cards crumbling just before the end of the challenge, sending her out of the game and Shay back into it.

With Georgia exiting stage left, Matt announced that the recently returned Shay would be joining the newly formed Casar tribe with the 9 remaining contestants – yep, that is the roundabout way of saying that the tribes had merged!

Shay was feeling pretty proud to have reached the milestone and confident that her OG alliance would be able to regain control. While Mike was thrilled to snag some fries, he was still heartbroken about Georgia’s exit and was fairly confident that he was well screwed. Avi was thrilled to have Shay back, giddily hugging her on the way to the well as she caught him up on the awkwardness of the least sexy sausage fest and spill the t that Tom’s plot to pretend to be on her side did not actually fool her.

Back at camp, Jak continued to prove that he is the least funny person on the cast. Not allowing him to have any more screentime, Shannon reconnected with Mike to weigh up  her options and talk smack about Barb. Speaking of Barb, she and Nate continued their rise to power players, taking in everything that was going on.

Shannon and Avi joined up on the beach to discuss the boys trusting her, Jerk coached Tom on basic strategy and how best to win Avi over and Lee looked pretty in a tree. Tom and Avi then joined together to discuss the former’s faux-plan to take out Shay before turning on Mike and Lee, which Avi was not buying for a second.

The next day, Sala and an underwear clad Avi went from a stroll along the beach making me wetter than the waves on the shore. This made Tom and Jerk nervous, though the latter was super confident about his dear ally Shannon so was feeling ok. Showing a continued lack of self-awareness, Jak approached Shannon and Avi to outline all of their plans and lock in the fake final four alliance with them and Tom. On the other end of the spectrum, Sala, Barb and Nate were feeling relaxed and confident and sounded like they were ready for happy hour.

Dragging out the period between the merge and the first post-merge elimination, Matt returned for the first individual reward challenge where competitors are required to remember sequences of images for chocolate cake. Nate quickly fell out of the competition, followed by Barb, Lee, Avi – or RV if you talk to Mike – Jak and Sala, before Mike took out victory. He was then given the opportunity to share it with two people, giving it to Shannon and Shay who tied for second with Tom. While Tom told the girls to take the cake over him, Sala wasn’t buying that it was a kind gesture and continued to be suspicious of his ex-tribemate.

Trying to be helpful, Lee decided to fix the shelter so that the tarp would provide more coverage. While Sala appreciated the fact he was working hard, he found it rude that he decided to do it while Nate was sleeping. I however would argue that Nate sleeping and being lazy is probably the bigger sin, though I do think Lee is a total babe, so maybe I’m just being defensive? Despite the fact that it provides more coverage for the entire tribe, Barb and Nate were also pissed about Lee’s handiwork and continued the selfish narrative.

Poor Ange-Lee the spoke about how he just wants to provide for the tribe and help keep the camp running. He then had his longest confessional to date, about want to play with integrity and coast through with his allies making me extremely anxious that we are approaching the fall of my lover.

Avi and his undies – boy is he trying to take my heart away from Lee, or what – joined Shannon by the shore to discuss their plans, enjoying their place in the middle though if we learnt anything from Julia and Aubry, sometimes the person in the middle gets run over. Proving my fears correct, the sausage fest grew concerned that Shannon wasn’t actually with them.

Barb then continued to bitch about Lee for cooking an eggplant looking thing for the entire tribe, without consulting them first. I mean, I get it could be annoying but he is just trying to help. Seriously, this is making me sympathetic to the sausage fest.

After a brief pow-wow between Shannon and the sausage fest to complain about the complainers, Matt arrived for the long-awaited first individual immunity challenge where the tribe had to balance their balls on a disc, held up by ropes which is where we find out how smutty Matt can be. Shay, Avi and Sala quickly fell out of the challenge before Matt had even said anything about ball play. Jak and Tom soon followed before the second round commenced, still without a ball pun. After round three, Nate and Lee dropped their balls before my balls were reminded that Mike is actually kinda hot. Barb dropped out, leaving it to Mike and Shannon to fight for immunity before the wind picked up and lead to the latter dropping her ball, handing immunity to Mike.

While Shannon was talking about her experience in the challenge, Barb suddenly fainted  – I assume from expelling too much energy complaining – with Matt opting to send the tribe back to camp while she received treatment from the medic.

Not dwelling on her potential medevac, the tribe quickly got to work locking in their sides for tribal with the boys targeting Shay and Hermosa 2.0 targeting Lee, with Avi and Shannon in the middle with the ultimate decision. Thankfully for the olds, Barb returned to camp giving them the upper hand as they headed off to tribal … depending on who Shannon and RV actually decide to vote with.

At tribal, Nate and Shannon spoke about the importance of trust which is something the latter is about to break with four people. Lee said that the tribe was all over the shop and that he was just trying to stay out of the drama. Matt confirmed that everyone was guaranteed to make the jury, before asking Tom and Shay if that means that big moves will start to occur to win people’s votes in the end. Mike was thankful to have won immunity, confident that he was likely to have received votes otherwise. Little did he know how lucky he actually was, with RV and Shannon sticking with Hermosa 2.0 and Shay to vote out my babe-town Lee. Who was pissed, though thankful to be heading to redemption where he could easily Ozzy his way to victory.

Not wanting the remaining nine to feel too confident, Matt announced that they would be competing in their next immunity challenge then and there, before voting out another person from the tribe. He quickly stripped Mike of immunity before tasking them with remembering some very easy – what does fire represent in the game – and some completely fuck off hard – how many times has Matt worn a green hat. Thankfully Matt butchered the pronunciation of Nicaragua again before Jak sadly took out immunity.

Without so much as second to scramble, Matt tried to send the tribe to vote before Mike did his best Hali impersonation, stopping the vote and trying to woo people to his side and get rid of Shay. Shay then pointed out that Mike had won two of the three individual challenges this season and anyone would be mad to flip. Which was a compelling enough argument as Mike was sent to Lee’s arms on redemption island.

After a brief interlude of Lee and Mike suffering in their jocks on redemption island and blaming Shannon, we returned to camp where Nate and Barb were feeling smug for taking down the boys while Shannon was feeling nervous about ever going to redemption and having to deal with their rage. Oh and Tom got a glimmer of hope with Barb whispering to him that she’d keep him in the game as long as she can. Maybe she will win me over?

The next day, Shay was feeling nervous after barely surviving the first two post merge tribals, despite being in the majority. She joined Nate and Sala by the ocean to discuss next steps, with Tom being the obvious target despite Nate not thinking he is a problem that needs to be dealt with yet. While that is going on, Tom was correctly predicting that Nate and Barb would not sit idly by as Shay and Sala took control. Nate then zigged when I thought he was going to zag and suggested that getting rid of Shannon and throwing her to the wolves is always a possibility.

Meanwhile Jak was not having a good day and proceeded to bitch to himself about the olds taking his cool friends out of the game. Sucking up his pride, he then approached Barb to see what she was thinking and whether there was any hope for him. The most shocking part of the segment is that both of them were quite likable and seemed to be stepping up their games. She then got tea-bagged and I finally got her.

Not wanting to leave me hanging for long, Matt returned for the reward challenge – the infamous coconut chop from the Marquesas – for five Pizza Hut pizzas for four people, because that allegedly is too many for one person? I love you … but fuck you, Matt. Shay was out first, immediately followed by Tom, then Jak, Shannon, Sala and Avi, leaving Nate and Barb to battle it out, with the latter taking out the win. To make the challenge more controversial, Barb then had to select three people to share the pizza with, going with Nate, Jak and Sala – to keep the latter feeling safe so that she can take him out.

After the brief break for product placement and Shannon to chop a coconut, she and Sala went for a chat where Sala told her that Tom and Jak were telling everyone they couldn’t trust either Shannon or Shay.

We then checked in with Lee and Mike who were still feeling sad about Shannon’s betrayal, though at least Lee is still killing the hair game.

Back at camp, Barb approached Shannon to float the idea of getting rid of Sala which delighted Shannon who also wanted him out next. Barb then took this information to Jak, who took it to Tom … which definitely means Sala wins the next immunity challenge, right?

But before we get to the issue of the next tribal, we have to actually get rid of someone from the game – yep, the babe-off duel has arrived! While Lee is far prettier, Mike is more ripped, so I don’t even know who I want to see take out the win. After a bit of smack talking about Shannon, the boys got down to the challenge – which sadly wasn’t naked greco roman wrestling – where they had to balance a beam, empty some sacks and put the contents of said sacks into holes. The last part being a puzzle, obvi.

Sadly for my first love Lee, Mike and his nipples got out to an early lead that never really dissipated – even when some of his bits weren’t in the right spots – with him taking out the duel and sending Lee out of the game and into my loving arms at Pounderosa. While he was completely gutted to be out of the game, I’ve long known the way to his heart,  which like all men, is through their stomach. More specifically though, my Leekoumaden Haan.

 

 

While he never really warmed to the idea of being calmed my little honey puff as a nickname – nor was he into making me his creampie – he was always keen to down a few of these Greek delights. Lightly spiced and pillowy, the puffs are then drowned in honey and fill you with joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Leekoumaden Haan
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
7g active dry yeast
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 cups warm water
3 cups plain flour
¼ tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
vegetable oil, to fry
½ cup of honey, for puff drowning purposes

Method
Combine the yeast and sugar in a jug with the water. Stir and leave in a warm place to get all foamy for about five minutes. Once ripe and puffed, pour into the large bowl of a stand mixer and slowly stir in the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Chuck in the dough hook and mix for a couple of minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours in a warm place.

Pour enough oil into a pot to fill it 2 inches – you don’t need more, but then again frying scares me. Do what you think it right? Place it over medium heat until hot. Working in batches, slide a few tablespoon sized dollops into the oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Flip the puffs a couple of times, cooking for about five minutes total or until golden. Remove the puffs with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on some paper towel while you repeat the process until the batter is done.

Once all the puffs are cooked and crisp, heat the honey in a large frying pan over high heat. Toss the puffs through the honey, serve immediately and devour.

 

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Macarooney Mara

Dessert, Snack, Sweets

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Macarooney Mara
Serves: 6-8.

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

Method
Preheat oven to 140°C.

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

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

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

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

 

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Chocolate Creampie Trang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Trang saves it from being smutty, right?

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Creampie Trang
Serves: 8-12.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

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

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

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

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

 

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