David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey was inspired by Sasha Velour by way of my girl Whitney, getting so emotional as he welcomed us back to the majestic islands of Fiji for the OG Survivor. Oh but while it is the 41st season, he warned us all to be ready – not because the winners are coming for you – as the game has evolved while in lockdown and is shorter but more dangerous than ever. The first change being that only one tribe won the first immunity challenge, with Yase and Ua attending back-to-back tribal councils with Abraham and Sara becoming the first and second boots of the new era.

We checked in with Ua the next day where the tribe was still recovering from tribal council. Brad was paranoid about how quickly JD switched things up and as such, worried he could no longer trust him. And then when he spotted JD and Ricard heading off to get water together, he obviously ran along the beach to beat them to the well and eavesdrop. After hearing them innocently speak about him for a bit, he darted back to camp where Shan was now more concerned by Brad as an ally rather than worried by JD now being calm. Shan took that information back to Ricard, with him admitting that he said nothing bad and assuring her it was all good. Oh and that Brad needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile at Luvu, Deshawn was growing tired as he desperately continued to try and start fire for the tribe. Eventually the iconic Naseer got sick of watching on, jumped in and got the fire started in no time at all. Immediately making the tribe love him, given they would probably die without him according to Sydney, the de facto proxy for the audience. Oh and we also learnt that grew up without electricity or running water in Sri Lanka but he was always happy and damn, I couldn’t love him more at this point.

We finally checked in on Yase where Tiffany was absolutely exhausted, sharing that she would give anything for even a cup of rice. Back at camp, Xander was busy trying to finish the shelter before he pointed out that Voce had been gone a long time to Liana. With that, they suggested they split up to try and find him, with Xander putting this time to use finding the ‘Beware’ advantage, which told him to accept the risks and do everything it says, or put it back and leave it for someone else. Obviously he took the risk and learnt that he had found one third of an idol which will only gain power if the same idol is found at both of the other camps. To activate it, he simply needs to say a weird phrase and wait for the other two to say theirs at the same immunity challenge and voila, they all get idols. Sadly for him, he won’t have a vote for the rest of the game unless the other two idols are found.

Knowing it is fairly dangerous, he pulled his closest allies Evvie and Voce aside to fill them in, with Voce nervous about now being down a vote. While Evvie was more concerned about Xander’s growing power and not wanting to go to the end with men and then have their game disregarded which always seems to happen on Survivor. With that, Evvie took that information back to their true allies, Tiffany and Liana, and damn Xander, you in danger girl.

The tribes joined up with Jeffrey over the ocean for the immunity challenge where someone would dive in and retrieve a key before bringing it back to two others who would race over a series of obstacles and then swim to the end where the other two people will unlock puzzle pieces, which they obviously use to solve. Oh and in addition to immunity for the first two tribes to finish, they will also get either a massive bundle of fishing gear or just enough fishing gear. 

Xander got Yase out to an early lead, though couldn’t retrieve his key on the first go giving Sydney time to take the lead for Luvu. Danny meanwhile made quick work of the obstacles for Luvu while Brad and Tiffany struggled on the balance beam. Eventually Brad made it to the end while Naseer continued to power Luvu ahead while Shan joined him in lapping Tiffany. While poor Liana waited for her turn on the obstacles for Yase, Luvu and Ua quickly worked through the puzzle before Tiffany finally made it to the end. Sadly for Yase, however, Liana couldn’t overcome the disadvantage as Erika powered through another puzzle and took out victory for Luvu while Ua took out second place, sending Yase back to tribal council.

As winners of the challenge, Luvu were given the power to send someone from Yase for a special journey, quickly sending Evvie before they learnt they could send someone from either of the remaining tribes, with Deshawn quickly volunteering to go.

Back at camp, Tiffany quickly apologised for costing the tribe so much time in the challenge though she was quietly confident that she would still be safe at tribal council, given she and the girls were planning on getting rid of Xander. Speaking of Xander, he and Voce were worried about the girls sticking together and saving Tiffany given there are no guarantees a swap will save the tribe from themselves. Knowing they were mildly screwed, Voce approached Liana to see if she would be willing to get rid of Tiffany with her quickly agreeing that after the challenge it makes sense. Sadly for him however, Liana took the information back to Tiffany and while she assured her she was safe, she was still nervous Tiffany would do something stupid and screw it up for them.

Meanwhile Evvie and Deshawn arrived on the same island as last week and they quickly bonded as they ventured to the top. Knowing Yase will be at a disadvantage come merge, Evvie got to work charming Deshawn so that they would have an ally moving forward. They then shared that there is no way they can risk their vote with tribal council coming up and as such, he can safely take the extra vote and know that they won’t screw him over if they work together moving forward.  We then learnt a bit more about Deshawn, who worked hard to overcome all obstacles to become a doctor before pivoting back to Evvie’s charm offensive. They started by explaining that they plan to boot Xander over Tiffany at the upcoming tribal council before explaining in detail how the idols work this season.

Evvie returned to camp with their vote intact – you’re welcome for the extra vote, Deshawn – and quickly explained that the rules of the journey were the same as last week. They then went for a walk to the well with the girls, quickly locking in the blindside on Xander before returning to the boys and assuring them that they will join them to get rid of Tiffany. While Evvie was chatting with the boys, Tiffany was suggesting they should get rid of Voce instead, given Xander may play his idol, given she just doesn’t want to believe the situation with the idols. While Evvie calmly tried to explain the situation to her, assuring her that they read the note and it is actually powerless, Tiffany’s paranoia started to get to them, given it will be difficult to navigate around, should they stay aligned with her.

At tribal council Tiffany spoke about how disappointed in herself she was in the challenge, admitting that in the moment, she wanted the world to swallow her up. Xander spoke about how raw and exhausting it is to live the Survivor experience. Voce likened it to being in surgery and implored the tribe to find the wound and save their lives. We then learnt that his drive comes from his hardworking mother. Liana admitted that where the ‘bleeding’ Voce was talking about varies from person to person and as such, they need to find who they trust. This inspired Tiffany to remind them that challenges aren’t the only part of Survivor and as such, they need to vote with loyalty in mind. Evvie spoke about the fact the tribes could switch tomorrow and as such, strength means nothing and that is why the decisions are tough. Xander agreed that there is so much unknown and as such, there could be no switch in which case, strength becomes that much more important.

With that the tribe voted and somehow Liana and Evvie bought into Tiffany’s fear, joining her to send Voce out of the game against all odds. As he wandered into Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I mean, I didn’t want any of the tribe to go, but it was still heartbreaking to lose my dear friend Voce so early. You see, we first met while working together as interns at the hospital that inspired Shonda Rhime’s to write Grey’s Anatomy and became the fastest of friends.

David is kind, wise, calm and most importantly, is a total babe and as such, I was absolutely shook to see him go so soon. But after catching up and splitting a David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake, everything seemed right with the world again.

I feel like I say it a lot, but Milk Bar is the greatest place on earth and every damn recipe is near perfection. Tragically, there isn’t any down under and as such, I need to try my best to recreate their cakes. And well, this one is pretty damn great! Earthy, sweet and oh so moist, this is the perfect way to mark a shocking early boot.

Enjoy!

David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake
Serves: 2 dear friends or 16 normal people.

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g raw caster sugar
60g muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
110g buttermilk
75g grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butterscotch chips
240g white chocolate
25g light corn syrup, warmed to soften
55g double cream, cold as possible
75g pumpkin puree
60g milk powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
55g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Dulce de Nick Lachey
⅓ cup milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Combine the 115g butter , 250g of the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and cream on medium speed for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and return to the mixer on low for a further minute before adding the eggs one at a time, allowing to mix for a further minute between each addition. Scrape down the side, crank to medium and beat for a further few minutes or until delicate and light.

Whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a jug and with the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture in until it is all in and just combined. Scrape down the sides once again and then beat on high for five minutes or until homogeneous and airy.

Combine 185g of flour with the baking baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Fold the mixture through the wet ingredients before returning to the stand mixer on low for a minute or two, or until it is just coming together. Remove and fold through the butterscotch chips.

Pour into the lined sheet pan, smooth out the top and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cake is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.

Reduce the oven to 120C.

While the cake gets chill, combine 150g of white chocolate and 25g of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 15-second bursts, stirring after each go until velvety and smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz while adding the corn syrup in a steady stream.

Once combined, add the heavy cream as the blender is still going until it comes together. It may look curdled for a bit, but it will come back together. Finally blend in the pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of salt and the remaining cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Combine the 40g of the milk powder, the cornstarch and the remaining flour, caster sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands – or a spatula if it is too hot – until it starts to come together into large clumps. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until dry and sandy.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and leave to cool slightly.

Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining milk powder and white chocolate for five minutes or until the clumps firm with the chocolate. Transfer to a baking sheet to set completely.

To assemble, cut the sheet cake into two 20cm circles and leave to the side. Using a 20cm cake ring lined with acetate, press the remaining cake crumbs into the base and soak with a third of the milk. Top with a third of the ganache, some crumbs followed by half of the dulce de leche.

Top with one of the discs of cake and repeat the process with the milk, ganache, crumb and ganache. Top with the remaining disc of cake, follow with the remaining milk and ganache before decorating with the remaining crumbs.

Cover, transfer to the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge, take out of the ring and acetate and leave to come to temperature for half an hour or so before devouring, joyously.


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Custard George Mladanish

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Dessert, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the final three met Jonathan in the middle of the elephant’s graveyard from The Lion King to find three torture devices from a Saw movie. Apparently this wildly unexpected crossover wasn’t a sign of things to come for Disney, but instead the final immunity challenge for Brains v Brawns. After hours and hours of standing on pegs beneath a bed of nails, Flick finally fell out of the challenge and handed Hayley immunity and the chance to select who she would face off against in the final two. And despite pleading a strong case at tribal council, found herself heading out of the game as the final juror.

The final two awoke on Day 48 to find a bounty of food and champagne, with Hayley admitting that voting out Flick was the hardest thing she has had to do all season. She then reflected that while George has played a strong strategic game, she has also managed to play a physical game as well as outwitting people and to top it off, didn’t rub people the wrong way like George did. And well, she is ready to take out victory and take control of her life after years dedicated to study.

George meanwhile was shocked that the person that was so close to being an early boot had made it to the end of the competition, ready to pitch his case to the jury. George was proud of his strong strategic game and hoped that he would be rewarded so that he could pay off his parents debts and let them enjoy their retirement, which is just so damn warm and fuzzy I can’t even stand it. He reflected on having a target on his back the entire time and was ready to remind every juror that his game is why they’re all sitting on the bench.

Which honestly, is never a great way to win votes.

At final tribal council George kicked things off and was far more charming than I thought he would be, talking about how he has been overcoming his own fears all game. And speaking of the game, his first play was to sow controlled chaos in his tribe to work around the fact he was clearly in the bottom. After the tribe swap, he knew to fall in line with the Brawns before flipping back to the Brains come merge, given there was no way he was ever getting to the end with the others. He was passionate, articulate and well, Hayley’s nervous face said it all as the jury smiled with George talking about leading the Brains from a minority to the majority and that he fought tooth and nail all season.

And, obviously, he told them that he is ready for his crown.

Hayley’s nervous face made way for a cheeky smile, sharing how proud she is of her game. Not to be outdone by George, she went all the way back to Joey’s boot, taking full credit for the move to flip Wai and Baden to get rid of him and pointed out it was the turning point in the game. She then spoke about her idol heroics on the post-swap Brawn tribe, highlighting her ability to trust in new allies to pull off the blindside on Simon. Oh and the Kez boot? Yeah, yeah – George told her to play the idol for Laura, but she is the one that successfully executed the plan. She then acknowledged the fact she was booted from the game but fought her way back and how she used that weakened target to find her footing and dominate the end game.

Jonathan flipped things over to the jury with Laura assuring both Hayley and George that she is undecided on who to vote for. She asked George what he learnt about himself during the game, with him admitting that he now knows that he can do anything he puts his mind to, given nobody expected him to get to this point. He also learnt that he is great at eavesdropping. Cara meanwhile asked Hayley if she planned to lie and deceive or whether it was just natural. Hayley knocked it out of the park, admitting that that is not only part of the game but also her job, given that as a researcher you have to convince people that placebos are actually real. And those skills were great for her game.

Andrew asked whether either of them have regrets in the game, with George thrilled that everything got him to this point and as such, he was good. Hayley meanwhile regretted the way she outed George as the double agent early in the merge, as it landed her on redemption. This led to Dani jumping in and asking why Hayley lied at the outback spa, with Hayley perfectly outlining that she was scared at what Dani would do if she felt that Hayley wasn’t with her and as such, she had to lull her into a false sense of security for her own safety. Which seemed to make Dani happy, assuring both Hayley and George that she is an undecided voter and she wants to see them both own all of their lies.

Gerald meanwhile asked George and Hayley who they would align with should the game restart with the jury, with George hilariously saying none of them while Hayley said that she was confident she would be able to work with all of them again.

Dani returned for her legit question, asking George why he habitually gave up in the challenges when he knew half of the jury value physicality given they were on the Brawn tribe. And well, it is literally a third of the motto. George defended himself, saying that he knew that his lack of athletic ability was his weak point and as such, he just wanted to focus on the things he could do well. Flick asked Hayley while they never worked together, with Hayley circling back to the Simon blindside and wanting to work with Flick but she never joined her at the merge. Then at the final seven, she only went with George, Cara and Wai because she knew that would give her the easiest path to winning her way to the end. Flick meanwhile asked George about his lies, with him admitting that he dominated strategically and only lied in the hope of getting further.

Emmett meanwhile asked George why he decided to lie and be strategic in such a brash way, explaining that he upset everyone on their way out the door and asked whether he would play the same game if he had his time over. George tried to get Emmett to focus on the game he did play rather than hurt feelings, with Emmett doubling down that that is not what he was asking before George eventually admitted that he wouldn’t play the same again. But I think between the lines, he meant that he wouldn’t get away with the same game twice. Which is super true. Hayley was meanwhile asked how her game differed from George, expertly pointing out that she is the most well rounded player, given she was not just strategic, she was also social and an absolute beast in the challenges.

Tragically Wai and Baden’s questions were cut – or I had a microsleep – before the jury cast their votes and Jonathan wheeled out Hayley and George’s loved ones to read the votes. While things were quickly tied at two a piece, the rest of the votes piled up on Hayley, as she took out victory and the title of sole survivor. Leaving the poor cockroach to join me for a meal to perk him back up as she celebrated.

As the giant sparklers were still going off in celebration of Hayley’s win, I pulled my heartbroken friend – let’s say, we’re both political operatives shall we – aside and intensely told him that the fact he even made it to the end was a shock. Because he played a bold, dominant game and had a target on his back the entire time. He and Hayley both played hard and arguably were our strongest final two ever, both nailing final tribal council and as such, he should sit back, relax and enjoy a Custard George Mladanish like the champion he is.

Like George, this little number is surrounded by a crispy outer shell but inside is nothing but warm, sweet, delicate and soft. Needless to say it is delicious and the perfect way to mark a game well played.

Enjoy!

Custard George Mladanish
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
4 eggs, 3 separated and 1 whole
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup cornflour
2 cups milk
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
⅔ cup flaked almonds

Method
First up, start by making your custard. If you have your own preferred recipe, go with that, otherwise keep reading. The most important part is it being firmer. Whisk the three yolks with the caster sugar, vanilla and cornflour in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk, quarter cups at a time, until you have a smooth, velvety texture.

Transfer to a saucepan and over medium-low heat, cook, whisking constantly for five minutes or so. Or until the mixture starts to thicken. Keep cooking for a further minute while bubbling away before removing and transferring to a bowl. Cover with cling (directly on top to avoid a skin forming) and leave to cool completely.

While it gets chill, preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Using two of the sheets of pastry, line the base and of a loose based, 35cm rectangle fluted tart tin and trim off excess pastry.

Place the tin on a baking sheet, line and weight the tart tin and blind bake for ten minutes, or until golden around the edges. Remove the weights and bake for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Drop the oven temperature down to 170°C.

Once both the shell and custard are cool, pour the custard into the shell, sprinkling with half the flaked almonds throughout because I love almonds. Cut the remaining sheet of pastry into strips and plait over the top to form as intricate lattice as you can be bothered with.

Whisk the remaining egg and sprinkle over the remaining almonds. Transfer the danish to the oven and bake for 15-30 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before carving and devouring.


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Jojo Zahohos

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, Snack, Sweets

We open the inaugural episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under with all the pomp and circumstance us Aussies can muster, meaning there was a kookaburra carrying on over the beautiful, smooth baritone of a didgeridoo while Ru let rip with some spectacular Australiana puns. And coming from the foremost pun enthusiast of this great southern land, he should really take that as a bloody compliment.

Oh and in the great tradition of bring the US of the southern hemisphere, I’m ignoring the fact this show is half New Zealand – aka our Canada, the prettier more charming country – and should one of their queens win, claim them as quick as we claimed Rusty, Keith Urban, Rebecca Gibney and the iconic Richard Wilkins.

But enough of my ramblings, I really need to turn my attention to the first shiela to show off her map of Tassie in the Down Under work room, the iconic Art Simone. Full of bogan charm and bouncing with joy, she flew her way into my heart like a flaming Galah. After a brief period of isolation which no doubt triggered memories of her recent hotel quarantine, she was joined by Maxi Shield who won my heart by quoting another Australian legend, Lara Bingle. As the two gabbed about in the Werk Room, they gave the world the first taste of the finer details of the Australian language with a few fucken oaths, you’re a srubber and other phrases that really say, how the fuck do Australians think this is how you’re meant to talk to friends? 

Dripping in her self-proclaimed Faboriginality Jojo Zaho quickly became my fave as out of drag, he is hot as hell and rocks the mouth of a trucker. We got our first taste of the queens from the long white cloud when Elektra Shock entered the fray and quickly gagged the Aussie girls, despite them not knowing who she is. Side note, she was absolutely robbed of victory in House of Drag season 2, so if you underestimate her, you may just find yourself da-da-da-da-da, fucking off.

Making things a little more controversial, Scarlet arrived looking like Aquaria and thankfully not rocking on of her many reported black face looks. Coco Jumbo arrived and brought a tonne of charm and energy, and maybe I love her most of all instead? I mean, at least she was charming while mocking Elektra’s thirsty wig. Speaking of Elektra, one of the queens that robbed her of victory on House of Drag, Kita Mean arrived, this time to compete against her. Talk quickly turned to how gaggy it is for Kita to appear without her partner Anita, with Kita admitting that it feels weird to be going it alone. Up next was my new, ultimate, super mega best value favourite Etcetera Etcetera arrived dressed as a cockroach and shut it down, right now – she wins my heart and then hopefully the competition. Messed up antler or not. We then learnt that wait, Kita does not need to worry about getting lonely as Anita also made her triumphant debut and damn, I wish I knew how she managed to stay so charming despite being way too fucking much and so so positive.

Oh and please note, this now means that both of Elektra’s bosses are now in competition with her.

Rounding out the cast is Karen from Finance with the greatest entrance of all time, missing her mark and out of shot while dressed like Jane Fonda in 9 to 5. And like her friends Trixie and Katya, I live for her.

Barely getting any time to kiki and get to know each other on a deep and spiritual level, the siren went off and Mama Ra arrived to welcome the dolls into her international family and then immediately tasked them with a screen test overseen by the man that floods my basement most, Taika Waititi.

Speaking of flooded basements, we quickly pivoted to the shoot where the Pit Crew were well and truly packing – and had me primed to shoot – as the queens filed in to film their audition for Thore. Art was first, lisping her way further into my heart and completely charming Ru with her stupidity. Maxi was sexy, Jojo was ready to mount the Pit Crew – #RelatableQueen – Scarlet rocked laser titties, Coco was wacky, Etcetera was ridiculous and in the zone, Kita was focused, Anita served anger and joy in exactly the same way, while Elektra was absolutely demented while screaming out her rage and having Ru in hysterics. Karen then danced her way into my heart. But sadly for her, not Ru and Taika’s, as Elektra took out the first Mini Challenge of the series and silenced all the girls that didn’t believe in her.

With that out of the way, Ru quickly dropped the bomb that their first Maxi Challenge would be a cheeky little get to know you ball. The first category is Born Naked, with the queens getting us thirsty in their sexiest nude illusion. No Place Like Home would be the second category, giving the queens the chance to sell themselves while selling what makes their hometown so good.

As soon as Ru departed the queens scrambled to find a place in the Week Room, while Etcetera, Coco and Jojo were busy looking for the trade of the season. Which fills my heart with joy that the trio of icons have their priorities correct. While Kita decreed Maxi the trade of the season for looking like a trucker, Coco identified Anita as the PeeWee Herman before nearly fainting as she discovered that Elektra is hot. As such, she immediately regretted being shady about her as her only shot now may be a hate fuck. Speaking of Elektra, she was already feeling like the underdog of the season and felt like she really needed to turn out the first challenge to counteract the other queens’ reputations.

Elimination Day arrived – the episode ran fast, fam – with Karen sharing that her hometown runway was inspired by all of the drunk girls late in the afternoon of Melbourne Cup, meanwhile Jojo was going to rock a look in honour of her ancestry rather than one specific place, before sharing with Art how proud she is to be an Indigenous Australian. Elektra and Kita meanwhile were kikiing about their Born Naked runways, with Kita sharing that she is still uncomfortable in her skin after losing weight after her recent lap band surgery. Oh and Anita was starting to feel very awkward about competing against her dear friend, though vowed that this is her time to shine as Scarlet’s born naked outfit tore open as they were about to head off to the runway.

With that, we check in with Michelle – lover of penal colonies – and Rhys, who loves his new daddy RuPaul. Who conveniently was sans drag as her make-up decided not to join her in New Zealand in time.

On the Born Naked runway, Scarlet was able to sew together her silicone catsuit and rocked full bush and nips, proving Australia and New Zealand are a bit more lax with their censorship. Maxi meanwhile lived in her see-through trench. Elektra was inspired by Ru in a gladiator number, Coco covered herself in over-sized, camp drag props, Etcetera rocked their non-binary roots in a gory and glamous goddess gown. Jojo meanwhile had me living with her even fuller bush than Scarlet, Karen looked like a sparkle, stripping dream while Anita slayed as Eve, though not as much as Alaska Eve, it should be noted. Kita’s bodysuit was sadly  ill fitting around the arms but she made up for it with a beautiful ball covered number while Art gave split personality in the most polished way possible.

Extra points go to Kita for getting Rhys to quickly assert himself as the alpha non-Ru-or-Michelle judge on all franchises ever by uttering, “I love balls slapping against my arse,” which I feel in my soul. I mean, ugh, it is soothing and I’m glad Rhys is bringing it into the broader consciousness.

Category No Place Like Home saw Scarlet slayk, serving Black Swan realness, Maxi served Big Prawn eleganza in honour of Ballina – which for those that have tragically never been, was a petrol station. Elektra was a technicolour dream angel for Auckland, which was stunning despite me not getting her references. Coco rocked King Kong chic in honour of another of my Christmas roadtrip faves, the Big Banana of Coffs Harbour. Etcetera served the map of Canberra in the sexiest way possible before Jojo stole the damn show as the self-crowned Queen of the Kooris. Karen pivoted in the best way possible, slaying as a very realistic drunk chick at the races. And I should know, as I was once kicked out of the races. Oh and then Anita turned up as a sheep, before Kita was All Black and sexy as hell and Art closed the show with a reveal, from little black dress to a graffiti covered gown and honestly, it was impeccable.

Ultimately Maxi, Etcetera, Anita and Kita were sent to safety, leaving the tops and bottoms – you know I have to say it, we’re all bottoms – on stage to receive critiques. The judges lived for Scarlet, despite her meaty damn tuck. They thought Elektra’s looks were simple albeit great, and then confusing and basic for her hometown look. They didn’t love Coco’s nude look, but lived for her hometown runway despite it potentially being legitimate Party City. Jojo was tragically read for being unpolished despite having a powerful message. Karen meanwhile received universal praise for both looks, as did Art.

Critically, Rhys followed his earlier majesty by quoting his boyfriend, “this is a strong opening, I hope you can top it.” And with that, the hilarious Ross Matthews, Carson, Alan and Graham started to worry about their job security.

Backstage Coco was gutted to have received mixed reviews, while Elektra was sure that she was in the bottom with Coco. Jojo meanwhile was heartbroken to not impress the judges, breaking down as she listened to the lip sync song, sure of her fate before she even returned to the stage.

Ultimately Scarlet was deemed safe as was Art, meaning Karen took out victory in the first challenge. On the other end of the spectrum, Coco scraped through by the skin of her teeth leaving Elektra and Jojo to battle it out in the first lip sync of the season to Tragedy by the mother tucking BeeGees.

Right from the start Elektra was desperate for victory as she slapped her pussy into the stage, but damn did both of the duo kill it. Bouncing off each other, the queens gave comedy and ultimately were delightfully congenial and altogether ridiculous, giving the world a taste of just how fun Down Under drag can be. Tragically though, someone had to become the Pork Chop of the franchise and despite it being such a strong opening lip sync, poor Jojo Zaho was felled from the competition.

Upon arriving backstage, I immediately pulled her in for a massive hug partly because I was so heartbroken to see her go and partly because she is hot. As I wiped away her tears, I reminded her that as her dear friend – we met at that place when we were both doing that thing, I’m sure I mentioned it – I know that this will not bring her down and frankly, snagged herself one of the most iconic places in the history of the series. Bested only by a crown. But since she was eliminated wearing one, she kinda got the best of both worlds. With that, we whipped out our Jojo Zahohos and toasted to all her success.

I was going to try and avoid smut upon my return, but when serving up a long, firm pole filled with glorious, sweet cream there is no way to avoid it. I am a ho for a hoho and after putting one in your mouth, you will be too.

Enjoy!

Jojo Zahohos
Serves: 2 dear friends, looking for a creamy filling.
Edited from Gale Gand’s recipe.

Ingredients
7 eggs, two of which need to be separated
¾ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ cup clarified butter, warm
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
350g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil, or whatever flavourless oil you prefer

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line two jelly roll pans with baking paper.

Combine five whole eggs, two yolks – you could use the whites for a cheeky Macarooney Mara – muscovado sugar and two teaspoons of the vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk over a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture homogeneous. Remove from the heat and transfer to a stand mixer, beating for five minutes or so, or until light and fluffy.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the flour, cocoa and baking powder until just combined before finally folding through the clarified butter. Split the batter between the two pans, smooth the tops and transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Take the cakes out of the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and cover with some cling while you get to work on the rest.

While the cake is getting chill, mix the icing sugar, butter and remaining vanilla with the paddle of a mixer until the sugar is wet. Insert the paddle into the stand mixer and beat on medium for a few minutes or until so light and fluffy it is pulsating.

To assemble the cakes, smear a layer of filling over the top of each cake, leaving a centimetre on one of the long sides. Roll each cake tightly to form a fat roll, trim into lengths, transfer to baking sheet – seam side down – and place in the fridge to set for an hour.

While they’re in the fridge, combine the chocolate and oil in a bowl over a double boiler and mix until it forms a glossy liquid. Leave to chill for five minutes before grabbing the cakes and working one at a time, dip them in the glaze, allow excess to drip off and then transfer to a baking sheet to set.

Once firm, plate up, serve them to your iconic friend and devour together, in the smuttiest way possible.


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Mat Profiterogers

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Phoebe and David were feeling isolated on new Mokuta, though the latter found some comfort in the form of his first idol of the season. Meanwhile his secret ally Mat was precariously sitting pretty in new Vakama, thanks in no small part to his second hidden immunity idol. Once again Vakama lost the immunity challenge and quickly firmed up a plan to get rid of Mat or his idol. And as such, Locky got to work rallying the troops. Not to be outdone, Mat tried to rally a counter attack, quickly pulling in John and seemingly piquing Harry, Shonee and Flick’s interest. It all came crashing down at tribal council however and sensing their hesitation, Mat played his idol for himself, sending zaddy John out of the game.

We opened at Mokuta where the tribe were loving their winning ways and despite some feuding, Lee was loving the fact their group was in tact. Even Tarzan, who had a morning ritual of going down the end of the beach each morning, stripping off and washing himself with sand. Which is both disturbing and hot all at once.

Meanwhile back at Vakama Shonee too was grooming with Brooke and Flick before convincing AK to give her a shower by the well. She then solidified her alliance with Locky and Brooke by paying the shower forward. And honestly, seeing her so happy and confident in her decision to lock in with that group makes me happy. On the flipside, Mat was not enjoying being on the bottom once again. This time without an idol, or Flick, Harry and Shonee to protect save him. With that, Mat decided to approach the bigger players to try and sow seeds of doubt and make everyone paranoid enough to start targeting each other, rather than him.

Now clothed, Tarzan was washing up with Sharn and Jacqui at Mokuta while Phoebe was just grateful to be on a winning tribe, given she is on the bottom and they have straight up tried to vote her out once before. As such, Phoebe went on a charm offensive, chatting with Zach, trying to garner sympathy from Lee and most importantly get David to trust her again and believe that he is her person. While David was seemingly in on burying the hatchet, he assured us that it is all for show and he has no intention to stick with her to the end. And will humiliate her on her way out. He then listed all his secret sub-alliances and hot damn, why are so many people trusting him?

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where each tribe would pit one castaway against another and swim against a current to snatch a flag, with the first to grab it winning a point and the first tribe to three winning an epic cake reward. Flick and Sharn were the first to do battle with both fighting hard against a ridiculously strong current. Both drifted back to starting buoy before trying again and once again coming up short. Leaving neither to score a point. Nick and AK were next up, and while AK was the first to make an attempt, he went absolutely nowhere. Nick desperately tried, looking far from graceful, but was successful and scored the first point for Mokuta. Bet they wish Shane was still in the game, no?

Mat and David were up next, with Mat absolutely destroying David and tying things up. Lee and Locky then faced off and were neck and neck until Locky was disqualified for trying to drown Lee. Much to Nick’s delight and Locky chagrin. Phoebe and Brooke nervously jumped in the water next, wondering how in the hell they will make it to the end. Brooke went hard out, ultimately tiring herself allowing Phoebe time to recharge, which was enough for her to power to the end and score reward for Mokuta.

Mokuta arrived at the Survivor cake shop – after Nick acknowledged his messy swimming style – where they learnt that this reward will be enjoyed one at a time and hot damn, this is going to be a mess. The tribe selected the order, with David suggesting Tarzan given he is the least strategic and is unlikely to lie. With Tarzan eating snacks, the rest of the tribe drew straws and despite feeling lucky, Nick drew the short straw and would go last. Tarzan admitted to not liking cake, so quickly had a look through the shop before grabbing a single donut and deciding that there is no clue. Moana was next and got distracted by the cakes, exiting empty handed. Phoebe was up next and wasn’t so calm, smashing food and hacking up cakes, desperate to find a clue. Which on the last one, she found, learning that an idol was hidden back at camp and then desperately tried to hide the clue. Which she did badly.

When she returned to the tribe, they clearly found her cover story shady but there was no time to call it out as David was up next. And he straight up destroyed the shop, biting into whole cakes, drowning himself in milk, tossing things on the ground and flipping over furniture. Everyone else was relatively tidy, except for Lee who motorboated the cakes, before Nick finally got his turn and literally ransacked the entire shack, desperate to find a clue without the fear of getting caught out given he was last.

Forgoing any and all camp action, Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would race to unpacked poles which they would stick into holes and build a staircase to get to the top of a tower, which they cross before releasing keys with more poles, using the keys to unlock a chest of puzzle pieces and wait for it, solve said puzzle. As is fast becoming habit, Mokuta got out to an early lead while Vakama was nipping at the heels, desperate to close the gap. Vakama did manage to overtake Mokuta, as David struggled to release their first key giving them a healthy lead when the tribes arrived at the puzzle. While AK and Harry tried to make the most of their lead, they proved no match for Nick and Sharn, who whipped through the puzzle and secured another massive come from behind victory, sending Vakama back to tribal council. Again.

The dejected tribe returned to camp, with Harry grateful that Nick’s epic puzzle skills deflected from the fact he and AK completely choked on the puzzle. He was hopeful that while they are heading to tribal council, he could use it to his advantage to solidify trust with the core alliance so that he can make a move later down the track. Mat went hunting for an idol, giving Harry the chance to make his move with Brooke, Flick and Locky, offering himself as the second person in the split vote situation, knowing that he will go home if Mat is successful. But ultimately prove his loyalty, which honestly, isn’t worth the risk. Speaking of Mat, he continued to hunt, knowing that there is no point trying to woo Harry or Shonee again and as such, decided to target Shonee and try and get Locky and AK on his side.

He pulled the boys aside and reminded them that they will have even less strength for challenges if they get rid of him and as such, they need to keep him and instead take out Shonee as she is weak – BOO – with the added bonus being that it weakens Harry’s game. Also keen to make a move was Flick, who finally got a confessional this season, who approached Mat. This was enough to make Shonee, Brooke and Locky nervous, with the trio floating the idea of getting rid of her instead. Which Brooke was super keen on, given she has a score to settle with her from season 1.

At tribal council Locky praised the tribe for being strong and identified their weakness with puzzles is letting them down. AK admitted that he and Harry choked at the challenge, which Mat took advantage of, talking of his regret in not stepping up to the puzzle himself. Talk turned to the athlete genocide spearheaded by Shonee, with Brooke reiterating that Abbey, Lydia and John are not required and they are killing the physical side. Mat then spoke about being on the outs again, and as such, highlighting how much stronger the tribe is for having him on it. Locky agreed that should Mat go, they will be fighting an uphill battle in challenges, but at the end of the day, numbers are what matters. Running out of angles, Mat suggested that often the bigger move is to keep someone in the game. This led to Harry talking about the importance of keeping targets in the game, but given how many allies Mat has on the other side, the benefit may not be worth it.

Mat spoke about the last two days, knowing that he is screwed, completely humbling, telling everyone that his gratitude for keeping him is the best way to gain loyalty. Flick then put her foot in it and agreed that Mat’s pitch is convincing and is making her question which way to vote. With that, Mat then started to point out another target, the sneaky Harry. Harry played up his loyalty before Brooke joined the fray and admitted that sooner rather than later, they will need to start picking each other off and Flick honestly looked like she was about to shit her pants with that statement. Mat gave one more pitch, encouraging everyone that this is the turning point in the game and as such, they need to make a move and think about winning the next challenge. Finally the tribe voted and despite his pleas, they stayed together and sent the football legend from the game.

Poor Mat was heartbroken to have been voted out, though was proud of the game that he had played and the fact he made it as far as he did with the size of the target he had on his back. While I was disappointed my fellow GC legend – because I’m from the Gold Coast – couldn’t make it work with our fellow GCer, I kept my chin up and was grateful that no matter what, Mat plays the game hard and that is always infinitely entertaining. Plus, it not working meant that Queen Shonee lived to fight another day, you know? With that, I toasted his legend of the game status – which I just bequeathed him – and fed him up a plate of Mat Profiterogers. Which, fun fact, I managed to rescue from the reward.

 

 

Perfectly puffed balls of choux, full to the brim – of freaking out – with aggressively vanillary custard and a thick layer of velvety ganache, these are the only way to eat your feelings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mat Profiterogers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g butter, chopped
¾ cup water
¾ cup plain flour, plus ⅓ cup for the custard
pinch salt
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks for the custard
1 ¾ cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
⅓ cup caster sugar
½ cup cream
250g milk chocolate

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and add the four eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until combined.

Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe balls of dough, 3cm apart, on lined baking sheets. Bake in for about 10 minutes or until pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole in each to release the steam and maintain optimal crispness.

To make the crème pâtissière, combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick before whisking in the flour, followed by the warmed milk. Return the custard to the pan and cook, stirring, over low heat for a further couple of minutes, or until nice and thick. Leave to cool.

Once everything is chill, pipe the custard inside each puff and place on a cooling rack.

Lastly heat the cream in another saucepan over low heat and when just about to boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until thick and smooth. Pour over each profiterole and leave to rest.

Then devour. Heartbroken to have missed the merge.

 

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Blondies

Baking, Dessert, Sweets

I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to see out such a triumphant week. I mean, my ex-turned-friend became an Oscar winner, Shonee slayed and was then saved and the OG version of Survivor debuted its all winners season. That is a lot to take in; overwhelming, exhilarating and inappropriately erotic, so it was wonderful to put icing on the cake in the form of my dear friends Blondie.

I first met Blondie in the ‘70s. They were getting there start at CBGBs – fun fact, both Bs stand for me; Ben and bareback. While they were rocking the stage, I was making my cash in the bathrooms, alleyways and near the dumpster, but it never deterred Debs, Chris and the boys for reaching out and making friends with me.

Was it a friendship based on pity, with them buying me dinner after their set? Sure. But I have zero dignity, and gladly played into their desire to help me. And thankfully it developed into a deep, loving, life long friendship.

We haven’t had the chance to catch-up as one big group lately, so it meant so much to me the Debbie tee-d up all our schedules to facilitate and reunite us as one big happy family.

As soon as they arrived at my door, I pulled them in for a big hug and broke into tears, overwhelmed by how much their love means to me. After crying, we turned things around with a lot of love and light, and a big ol’ batch of our – now weedless – Blondies.

 

 

Sweet and gooey, there is nothing better than anything in the brownie/blondie family. I mean, who doesn’t love eating cake batter? These puppies are as close as you can get without having to fear e-coli. Add in the caramelly goodness of white chocolate and the tart, tang of raspberries and I am well and truly in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blondies
Serves: 5-7 of the dearest friends, depending on the line-up.

Ingredients
¾ cup unsalted butter
1 ¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 ½ cups plain flour
150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
100g raspberries

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C.

Combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until just combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and whisk in the vanilla. Leave to cool slightly.

Whisk in the eggs and flour until just combined before folding in the white chocolate and raspberry.

Pour the batter into a lined square baking tin and transfer to the oven to back for 30 minutes, or until golden and set around the edge and the centre is just baked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

As soon as they are cold, slice, serve and devour. Greedily.

 

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Macaron Howard

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Snack, Sweets

The Emmys are but a day away and as such, Emmy Gold: Golden Family is coming to an end to allow enough time for me to get ready and sneak in to the auditorium. While it is always tragic to know that our awards season celebrations are coming to an end, having been able to spend time with Chris, Riz, Tat, Shelley and Matt are truly a gift.

And finishing with TV icon and multi-hyphenate Ron Howard is just icing on the bloody cake.

I first met Ron way back when we were starting out with our careers on the set of The Andy Griffith Show. While I was working as Andy Giffith’s stunt double, I was only a young lad – did I mention I suffer from Benjamin button disease? – so little Ronnie and I became the fastest of friends.

And that friendship spanned decades until Apollo 13, when my infamous feud with Tam Honks commenced. While I was cast out of his life for a few years – evil Tam’s doing, obvi – we were brought back together by Jess when Arrested Development was getting up. Thankfully, our friendship hasn’t had a set back since.

Given his status as a powerhouse actor, writer, director, model, I decided to run through the oft forgotten about critical categories of writing and directing. For Limited Series writing, I am backing When They See Us but wouldn’t be shocked to see Escape at Dannemora. Variety we both see Last Week Tonight with John Oliver taking it out again. Drama better go to anything but Game of Thrones with me thinking The Handmaid’s Tale may continue it’s hanging episode streak of wins while Ron thinks Killing Eve will come out victorious. Comedy is where we really struggled. It is always hard to bet against Veep, though Fleabag’s second season was near perfect … and I can see Russian Doll picking up a trophy here.

When it comes to Directing, we see The Late Show with Stephen Colbert taking it out given live shows are truly a feat. I think that this once again comes down to Escape at Dannemora and When They See Us, with Ron backing Ben Stiller for the former, while I think whoever doesn’t win writing will grab this and shut out Chernobyl. I hope The Handmaid’s Tale takes it for Drama, but wouldn’t be shocked to see Adam McKay snag it for Succession, just for being Adam McKay. While Bill Hader is universally beloved, I don’t see him winning Comedy directing given he is up against Daniel Palladino for the majestic Catskills episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which should not be beaten.

With that, I thanked Ron for finally agreeing to appear on this patch of cyberspace and his many years of friendship, handed over a plate of Macaron Howard as I headed out to the awards.

 

 

There is nothing better than a sweet, melt in your mouth macaron. Delicate and delicious, this baby packs a nice blueberry punch that truly fills you with joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Macaron Howard
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
75g almond meal
115g icing sugar
2 egg whites, at room temperature
55g raw caster sugar
a few drops blue food colouring
1 cup freeze-dried blueberries, finely crushed
60g butter, softened
1 ⅓ cup icing sugar
1 ½ tbsp double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Combine the almond meal and icing sugar in a bowl. Meanwhile place the egg whites and raw caster sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the food colouring and ¼ cup crushed blueberries and whisk until just combined. Fold through the dry mixture and transfer to a piping bag.

Line two baking sheets and pipe little macarons across the pans until the mixture is gone. Tap each on the bench a couple of times before transferring to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed, crisp and glorious. Remove to rest for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

While they’re getting hella chill, combine the remaining blueberry with the cup-measure of icing sugar. Meanwhile cream the butter on medium for five minutes, or until pale and fluffy before slowly adding the sugar and blueberry mix in two batches. Once just combined, add the cream and vanilla, and beat until fluffy.

Dollop the icing on the exposed side of a biscuit and sandwich with another. Repeat the process until done.

Devour, regally. Like TV royalty.

 

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Luke Tokolate Banana Bread

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Abbey continued to roll with the Contenders boys, with their sights set directly on Luke. Knowing he was screwed, Luke searched high and low for an idol and while he couldn’t find one, instead he won a powerful advantage followed by the next immunity challenge. Abbey and the boys identified Pia as the next biggest threat and worked to get rid of her, while Pia worked Luke to see if they could move forward together. Luke played his advantage and senr Baden back to camp, leading to an epic game of whispers and posturing that led to Luke and Pia standing strong and blindsiding Abbey from the game.

Pia, Luke and Harry returned to camp with Baden shocked to hear Pia was still in the game, while Luke celebrated the fact that he pulled off one of the biggest moves ever. Pia joined him to congratulate him on putting on an epic show, thrilled that she was able to charm her way into him protecting her. On the flipside Harry wasn’t thrilled by the turn of events, knowing that he was made a fool of and as such, he could only double down on the fact he needed Luke to go.

The next day the top four sat by the shore and congratulated each other on making it this far, with Luke particularly excited to have broken his record by making day 47. He was also particularly shocked to have not been sent packing as soon as he landed on the beach, given he has played before and showed what he was made of. He then ran through his resume and it was hella heartwarming and honestly, I teared up a little. Even when he went wild in the water. Harry was still salty about the previous tribal council and knew that Luke wins if he makes it to the final tribal council, and as such, he needs to win the next immunity challenge to get rid of him ASAP. Harry also noted that Pia is the next biggest threat, hid behind a meatshield while dominating the game strategically.

Pia returned to camp with a box with a quiz and honestly I wasn’t sure what was happening until they voted for Luke and Baden to get burgers and I realised it was a de facto reward challenge. While Harry shaded Baden’s weak gameplay to us, Baden was proud of the game he played with the hand he was dealt and well and truly exceeded his expectations.

My love Jonathan returned for the second last immunity challenge of the season where the final four each had to try and keep their balls in the air. One by one they would drop a ball at the top of a maze and race to the bottom to catch it and keep the cycle going, slowly adding balls at regular intervals with the last person standing taking out immunity. Everyone worked slowly and methodically with their first ball, trying to get the rhythm of the maze and figure out how they will manage when four balls are in play. Everyone made it through the first and second balls, with the panic well and truly sitting in as they added in their third balls. Pia ultimately was the first to drop. The fourth ball then tragically claimed Luke, followed by Baden, handing Harry his first immunity win.

An exhausted Luke then started to break down and honestly, I have some horrible Kelley Wentworth flashbacks and my heart is broken.

Back at camp Harry doubled down on the fact that he needs to take out Luke if he wants to have any chance of winning. He then approached Baden to lock in their votes against Luke, thought tried to downplay how desperately he wants him out of the game. Baden wasn’t as convinced about who should go next, knowing he has no shot against Luke thought wanting to keep him around because he likes him the best. Luke and Baden then caught up and lamented about Harry’s win, with Luke heartbroken to have fumbled at the last moment and trying to find the perfect balance of convincing them to keep him around without being overbearing.

Luke proposed that he and Baden vote together, and Pia and Harry will vote together and then he will face off with Pia in a fire challenge to guarantee they’re both in the final three and have a better shot of beating Harry and getting to the end. While Baden seemed open to the idea, he admitted that he won’t be able to make a decision until tribal council. Uneasy Luke and Pia caught up with them proposing causing a tie between Luke and Baden, with Pia knowing that he would win and let’s be honest, she is guaranteed a place in the final two as both boys would take her. While Pia wasn’t sure which way to go, she knew that if she couldn’t win, she wants him to to better his family’s life. They then broke down and spoke about how much they mean to each other and honestly, I’m a fucking mess. After that emotional little interlude, Pia went for a walk to try and figure out which way is better for her game, knowing that she can beat both Harry and Baden but realising that neither of them will take her to the final tribal council.

At tribal council Harry continued to think the contrived toothpick thing was cute, while he gave the jury his best shit eating grin as they filed in. He spoke about the pride and happiness of securing himself immunity, and more importantly kept it from Luke. Luke spoke about how hard it was to let his game literally slip through his fingers. His voice started to break as he spoke about having only one option left, sharing that he will be voting Baden and hoping that Pia will join him and force them into a fire challenge. He then went one step further and said that he will take her to the final tribal council if that happens, though assured her that he won’t be annoyed if she voted him out too. She spoke about her current dilemma, not sure whether to play with her head or her heart, and not sure which one actually gives her the best chance of making it to the end. As an aside, keeping Luke gives her the best shot at making it to the end.

Baden admitted that he is not confident should it end in a fire challenge, given he has done minimal work with the flint. Harry tried to praise Luke’s pitch and tell him it makes sense, though tried to get into Pia’s head and tell her that a guaranteed place at the end isn’t better than having to rely on herself to get there. With that the tribe voted and Pia decided to trust in herself, joining the boys and sending Luke out of the game as this year’s fourth place robbed goddess of the season alongside Flick, Michelle and Shonee.

Through tears, I took him in my arms and reassured him that he should be proud of his performance and I’m so glad to once again whip him up some comfort

While I slept on the power of the people’s Champion during his first run – I was a Sarah fan and was always distracted by Locky’s nudity, so, yeah – he well and truly won me over on his second attempt. Which I guess is why he manages to make it deep, and I believe always will, when he plays Survivor. He is laid back, fun and dulls the pain of starving on an island. Like my Luke Tokolate Banana Bread would if Jonathan ever wanted to offer my services for a reward.

 

 

Sweet and warm, this baby may not solve all your problems – right Apu – but it does kind of feel like a culinary hug. Lightly spiced and dripping with sticky chocolate, this is what dreams are made of.

Enjoy!

 

 

Luke Tokolate Banana Bread
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
60g muscovado sugar
70ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
175g sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and chocolate in a bowl, and whisk together the muscovado, sunflower oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bananas in another. Fold the wet mixture through the dry until just combined.

Transfer to a lined baking dish and place in the oven to bake for an hour, covering with foil for the last 30 minutes. If an inserted skewer doesn’t come out clean, reduce heat to 150C and return to the oven, uncovered, for a further five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour, slathered in butter.

 

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Andy Meldrumsticks waiting to be gobbled up by the hapless Australian Survivor ultrafan, Andy Meldrum

Andy Meldrumstick

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor a broken rope eliminated King Ross from the game, breaking the heart of the nation in the process. Prior to that the post-swap Champions tribe was dominated by two power couples – Daisy and Shaun and Luke and David – who were battling it out for dominance, though were laying in wait to take control. Andy meanwhile tried to play both sides, but botched it so badly that nobody wanted to play with him and quickly made enemies. Clearly not having heard about Julia getting run over in Koah Rong while standing in the middle of the road. Meanwhile at the Contenders the OG Champs had dominated the tribe, though when it came down to just them and Harry had considered getting into bed with him and forming an unlikely alliance to control the post merge.

We immediately checked in with Jonathan at the top of a hill where both tribes were still sad to have lost Ross to injury. While I was offended by the lack of mourning period, that didn’t stop the game as Jonathan told them all to drop their buffs – sadly John didn’t take his speedo off with it – as the merge had arrived. Pia was thrilled to have gone from potential first boot to in a good place post-merge, while Luke was pumped to have made it for the second time. Janine was excited for the game to restart, while Andy was excited that all those sharks are circling and ready to sacrifice their next victim. Which is likely to be him.

Before returning to their new camp, Jonathan introduced them to their first individual reward challenge where the would need to hold a weight tethered to bucket of water above their head, with the last person dry snatching a mystery crate of goodness. Mere minutes into the challenge Jonathan offered the first temptation, with Luke dropping out and snatching a packet of Tim Tams. Which will, tragically, run out. Pia and Harry were next, dropping out for phone calls from home with Pia’s partner giving her a pep talk while her daughter was more concerned about keeping her up to date with her ear-wear. Which is iconic. Abbey and JaQueen dropped out for tacos and margies, John, Shaun and Baden dropped out for red wine and some spaghetti and Andy dropped out for John’s love, a mexican parma.

Daisy, Simon and David stayed firm through bacon and eggs, cake, shampoo and conditioner, an advantage in the next immunity challenge and an entire pizza, instead choosing to battle it out for the big ol’ box. Wanting to hurry things along, Jonathan changed the rule to leaving both hands on the bag, which immediately claimed David while Daisy and Simon continued to fight. Well until Simon couldn’t handle it anymore, dropping the bag and handing Daisy the big box. Which she could open when she arrived at the new camp.

Back at camp Daisy was thrilled to be above average as a member of the newly merged tribe, which settled on the palatial digs of the camp formerly known as Champ Camp. While they tried to act like one big happy family and settle in, Andy brought up that they need to name the tribe. Obviously he had researched a name, suggesting ‘Soli Bula’ which means welcome together. After everyone agreed on it and laughed about how obvious a superfan he is, he shared that ‘Soli Bula actually means sacrifice and he can’t wait to sacrifice everyone on the tribe. Sadly unaware that he is likely to be the next person sacrificed.

David and the rest of the Champions went for a walk down the beach with David filling them in on what he and Luke went through on the other tribe with the idol plays and swift moves. Luke stayed with the Contenders to make them feel like he is in with them and hide how tight the alliance truly is. David warned them against Andy and his ways, though pointed out that Daisy and Shaun are the most dangerous and need to be split up ASAP. Speaking of Daisy, she was catching up with Baden and Harry who warned her against the target on her and Shaun’s back, before reiterating that if one of them goes, they all go one after the other.

Shaun decided staying Contender strong is the most beneficial for their games, approaching Harry and John to get them on board. Pia was feeling slightly more confident, knowing she has a meat shield in the form of JaQueen and that her social game has been so strong, nobody has bothered to notice the strategy. She also suggested that playing lowkey and hiding your superfan status is important, which is something Andy needs to learn ASAP. Pia and JaQueen went for a walk to the well, where she suggested that she still wants to take out David, though whether it is something that she needs to happen ASAP is unknown.

Finally Daisy went for a wander into the jungle where she discovered her box and learned that her reward was actually every single item that Jonathan offered at the reward, in addition to a bath. After a brief chat with her mum, she then read the advantage which sadly gave her no information. After smashing a few meals, washing her hair and smashing her margie, she then lifted up a final closh, discovering that she also won an individual immunity idol filling with with unending joy and a little bit of hope. She then returned to camp to fill them in on her reward, however David was not buying it since she didn’t mention anything about an idol. Or the obviously ball hiding it in her hand.

Daisy and Shaun caught up near the well, with her sharing that she found an idol in her box – direct quote – which made Shaun confident that they will be able to swing the odds in their favour, despite the target their alliance has put on their backs. That night David, Abbey, Pia and JaQueen decided to make Daisy feel so nervous that if she has an idol, she plays it while they target someone else.

The next day John flashed everyone is pearly white arse, before everyone headed off to find Jonathan for the first individual immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a rope threaded through a tile and attached to a bag holding 60% of their bodyweight, with the last person still holding their bag with their tile intact scoring immunity. Oh and we finally learnt Daisy’s advantage is starting ten minutes after everyone else. Out of nowhere Zaddy John and Luke started to struggle within the first ten minutes, dropping out first at the same time, followed closely by Harry. After Daisy joined the fray, Baden opted out of the challenge with everyone riding out the next ten minutes safely. Pia started to struggle before joining the boys on the bench, followed by David after everyone spoke about the dangers of being too confident. He was followed by Andy, and then Simon at the thirty minute mark. After 40 minutes Shaun and Janine started to struggle, with Janine needing more of a boost if she wanted to stay in the challenge. Abbey, Shaun and Daisy continued to fight it out with the latter dropping out despite her advantage. Finally, after 55 minutes in battle poor Abbey couldn’t hold old any longer, handing Shaun the first individual immunity just when he needed it.

Back at camp Andy was feeling nervous about his place in the tribe now that Shaun has immunity. Meanwhile David was frustrated that his number one target had immunity and his number two likely had an idol, and as such, wanted Andy out in retaliation for his failing ways as a snack. With David iconically referring to him as a worm. While everyone agreed to band together to take out Andy, Shaun wasn’t happy about getting rid of him as a number and instead suggested to Daisy that they need to stick together as Contenders and target Dave. They then floated the idea of playing their idol to save Andy JIC and while Daisy can’t trust him, she also was attracted to the idea of making a big move.

Pia too was struggling with the easy Andy vote, realising that getting rid of Dave would likely be better for her game. She, Abbey and JaQueen caught up, agreeing that getting rid of Dave would make sense, so approached Andy to see what went on at the post-swap Champions tribe. Luke and Abbey approached Shaun and Daisy to start making Daisy nervous enough to get rid of her idol. Eventually Andy and Dave caught up for Andy’s last attempt to save himself, sharing that he didn’t actually try to throw the challenge and instead was making it look like he was to keep Daisy and Shaun happy. Knowing it was a total lie, David told him that he trusted him and  that his only chance at surviving the night would be to join the Champs and vote for Daisy. And honestly after the mess of everyone scrambling, I am so confused about what is actually going to happen.

At tribal council JaQueen tried to downplay how tight the OG Champions were, suggesting that they are all contenders ready to battle. John pointed out that the original tribes were hard to break, before David joined in downplaying the day one alliances. Shaun admitted that he is aware of the target on his back but people need to realise he can not win ten immunities in a row. Andy spoke about loyalty being hard to come by now that the tribe merged, before Luke jumped in to remind him of the move he tried to make against Daisy pre-merge which showed a lack of loyalty. Andy tried to lie out of the hole, with Dave joining in to tag-team Andy with Luke saying that they would actually respect him if he owned his moves. Shaun asked Andy point blank if he had tried to make a move against Daisy, with him once again lying about it happening.

Baden said that it was the most important tribal of the game, while Daisy admitted that she is feeling very nervous. David jumped back in to point out that just because someone is taking a lot of heat, doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be the one getting the boot and honestly I don’t know if that should make Daisy more or less nervous. He and Janine questioned the vote coming down to tribal lines, while Shaun was hopeful that tomorrow everything will be clearer and people will then be able to figure out their next move. David then spoke about the vote being clear cut, though was sure that some people will likely be shocked by the outcome.

With that the tribe voted, Daisy played her idol for herself and the tribe joined together to rid the game of Andy. Though not before one final moment of making me feel confused about how I feel for him, joking about voting for Daisy a couple of times and following it up by outing Dave’s idol. While sure, he didn’t actually think that Dave has the idol which he has, but the fact that he dropped the bomb and has left drama is something I’ll be forever grateful for. Plus, the look of pain as he tried to not show how disappointed he was to just miss the jury is the exact way I would be looking, and as such, the man still deserved a comforting Andy Meldrumstick.

 

Andy Meldrum waiting to dry his tears with an Andy Meldrumsticks

 

While Andy’s big moves never went anywhere, those massive swings are what makes the game exciting … kinda like the combination of white chocolate, salted caramel and peanuts. As salty as his moments of loss and deceit, as sweet as his (surprising to me) numerous victories in challenges and as cold as his persona, there is no better way to toast the ultrafan. And distract from the fact he was outshone as a villain by David.

Enjoy!

 

Andy Meldrum washing away his pain with an Andy Meldrumstick or two

 

Andy Meldrumstick
Serves: 1 Sonic Look-a-like and his dearest frenemy

Ingredients
400g white chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
6 waffle cones
8 cups Vanilla Ice Cream, softened.
2 cups JL Salkeld Caramel
1 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Method
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over a rollicking boil until smooth and silky. Remove from the heat and stir through the oil until well combined.

To assemble, pour a tablespoon of chocolate in the bottom of each cone and place into a couple of glasses and transfer to the freezer to set for ten minutes or so. Once set, remove from the freezer and pipe the ice cream into each cone, adding swirls and peaks to make it look legit. Using another piping bag, pipe a core of salted caramel into the middle and swirl over the top. Return to the cup and pop it into the freezer to set for half an hour or so, repeating the process until the ice creams are done.

Once set, brush with additional white chocolate and drizzle over the top, sprinkle with peanuts and return to the freezer to set for half an hour. Then devour, sadly, knowing you’ve missed the all winners season … even before losing the season in a spectacular fashion.

 

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Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Aubry and Joe were on the outs at Kama given the penchant of returning players to dominate in seasons with newbies. Unless of course they’re up against a trio of queens in the form of Danni, Sophie and Denise. At Manu Kelley and David were feeling a reprieve given Reem and Wendy callously tried to teach Keith to swim – and in turn help the tribe in challenges – moving the target on to them. As such, it was poor Reem that found herself becoming the first person voted out … and electing to go to the Island of Extinction.

We opened up with poor Reem who was bored and confused, unsure where she is and what she will have to do for her shot back into the game. No timeline and no instructions truly are the cruelest mindfuck and I already feel less angry about the twist. Though it was super hard watching Reem break down over how hard it was sitting isolated on a desolate island thinking about everything she left behind.

Meanwhile at Manu the tribe were laughing it up comparing their wrinkly hands before Wendy explained to Rick, and sadly David, about wanting to take out Kelley given she has had two shots. And she believes is the ringleader that has sent her to the bottom of the totem pole. While Kelley was befriended everyone else, Wendy’s words started to penetrate David and Rick as Wentworth’s power appeared to grow. Kelley was understanding of her position, given she spent most of Second Chances on the bottom – that Savage blindside though – and knew how dangerous it was to her game, so suggested the tribe went on a group idol hunt to mitigate the risk of Wendy finding one.

We jumped over to Kama where I shit you not, Ron was leading the tribe in some choreography which truly highlighted the need to get Alyssa Edwards on this show in full drag ASAP. Everyone was enjoying his high energy, except for zaddy Eric who was MIA and Aubry who wasn’t enjoying the kumbaya nature of a tribe that has not gone to tribal. But hold her drink, because she is about to approach the newbies one by one to find out how they feel about returning players which no one was interested in talking about. Proving the fact that they are totally screwed. Victoria, Ron and Julia swapped stories by the shore and realised that everyone has been told the same thing and as such, Victoria wants her out yesterday.

Over at Manu Kelley and Lauren were searching for an idol, while Rick and David speculated that the group hunt plan is the perfect may to hide the fact that idol-whisperer Kelley has one. They agreed that they were happy working with Kelley at the moment, but David knows that Kelley won’t let him get to the merge and as such, it isn’t the worst idea to join with Wendy who has zero allies and will be loyal. Wendy rejoined them to reiterate her pitch and point out her vote last week proved her loyalty to an ally, and with her gone, that is up for grabs.

Oh and Rick and David are all in and I kinda love it. And the fact that David is in the best position of the returnees, despite being the weakest.

Back at Kama Gavin and Eric commenced the idol hunting on their tribe, and damn, I got distracted by Eric. Zeric. Zadderic? Eraddy? Anyway this didn’t go unnoticed by Julie, who channeled Angelina and highlighted that men always find idols, while women don’t. While it was super confusing that she complained about not looking for idols instead of doing it, I do love that it was low-key pushing a women’s alliance with Victoria. I also love that she is as clueless about hunter-gatherer roles as I am.

Speaking of idols, Lauren was still searching over on Manu and followed in the footsteps of her heroes Wentworth and Parvati and found said idol. And proved that a guaranteed way to not find an idol is not looking for an idol.

My dear Probst returned to the fray for this week’s immunity challenge – a Game Changers classic – where the tribes were required to swim out to a cage, climb over it, release a big, fat snake, take it back to shore, release numbered tiles to solve a combination and release rings that they need to land on paddles to spell immunity. I think, I focused on snakes and rings. Given Keith wasn’t given enough time to learn to swim, Kama got out to a huge lead while Chris desperately tried to help him along. Keith also struggled with climbing as damn, Chris’ wet jocks look good. Despite it looking like it was going to be a blowout, Manu closed the gap as Keith rolled around in the sand. Both tribes were neck and neck as Joe and Keith tossed rings and sorry, distracted again. Despite a brief interlude of Keith showing that he couldn’t throw, Chris desperately tried to snatch victory to no avail, as Kama once again won immunity.

And Aubry reversed the curse. If that’s allowed without Ghost Island? I don’t know.

Back at camp the Kelley vs. Wendy war started to heat up, while Wardog – still a thing – suggested that Keith’s failure should be making him their number one target. He pushed that plan with Lauren, Kelley and Rick, which Kelley was not into as he is a threat to no one and Wendy is a threat to her, so needs to go. David too was disappointed, though because the plan to take out Kelley would have to be put on hold. Poor Chris also wasn’t loving the plan given he had apparently formed a close bond with him and didn’t want to lose his loyal idol.

Chris approached Rick to float the idea of getting rid of Kelley, which Rick was obviously thrilled about given that has been his goal the entire episode. He took the tea back to David, who was thrilled at how things were shaping up and to get the chance to get her before she gets him. They roped in Keith, who was obvi keen, before Wardog single handedly shut down the plan, convincing Chris that keeping Kelley would be the perfect meat shield should they get screwed by a swap. He then channeled Cirie and pointed out that keep goats around means it could take their spot, so they need to get him out before they realise he is an easy win. Kelley approached Chris and Wardog, and immediately knew something was up and rightly worried that she was about to be voted out.

At tribal council Wendy and Kelley admitted to being nervous after getting votes at the previous tribal council, as Kelley elaborated that being a returning player is a blessing and a curse. She then reiterated that she would be a perfect shield and is strong enough to help them win challenges, which is pretty much her only play. Probst shaded Keith’s challenge performance, with him obviously trying to point out good relationships mean more. But given they’re two-nil, I’d find it hard not to focus on strength since they’ll keep coming back and lose numbers – and potentially find themselves out – should they not think about it. Wardog was hopeful that a blindside may be coming, and after the vote, he will know whether he has placed his trust with the right people. David agreed a blindside is coming, which Keith agreed with because everyone ran the numbers and should be confident heading in to tribal.

Talk turned to ticking off the checklist of the Survivor experience, which blindsides are a part of while Wardog cautioned everyone that focus on a checklist rather than rational gameplay isn’t a great move. And just like that, I’m ok with calling him Wardog again. With that the tribe voted and they piled up on Keith who they either really did a number on convincing him he was safe, or was desperately playing for the camera as he walked out of the tribal council. And played for the back of the theatre as he deliberated over going to the Island of Extinction. Which, spoiler alert, he obviously does but not before a verbal beatdown from me telling him to cut the theatrics and a big bowl of Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding.

 

 

Sticky date pudding would have to be one of my favourite desserts. Light and fluffy yet rich and sticky, it melts in your mouth and fills you with joy. Add in some ice cream and well, consider my shorts creamed themselves.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stickeith Date Sowell Pudding
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
250g pitted dates, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
185g butter, softened
2 cups muscovado sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 ¾ cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
300ml thickened cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and line the base of a 22cm cake pan.

Combine the dates and bicarb in a bowl with 1 ½ cups boiling water and leave to steep for half an hour.

Once the dates are foamy and glorious, cream 125g of the butter, 1 cup of the sugar and 2 tsp vanilla in a stand mixer on medium. Once it’s light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined before removing and folding through the date mixture, flour and baking powder.

Spoon in the pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly browned and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to rest while you make the sauce.

Speaking of which, combine the remaining sugar, vanilla, butter and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sauce comes to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Invert pudding onto a serving plate and stab wildly with a skewer. Slowly pour over ½-1 cup of sauce, allowing it to soak in but not flow over the edge. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving, slathered in more sauce and a generous heap of Vanilla Ice Cream.

 

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