Turkey Tom Westyum

Main, Poultry, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Palau

So I’m going to start by going a little off topic, which is so on brand for me that I really shouldn’t have had to say anything. Anyway I was already hitting peak excitement for Survivor’s return in less than three weeks, particularly given I got to reconnect with my dear friend Tom Westman today … and then I started listening to Josh Wigler’s First One Out, and now I’m surprised I haven’t had an aneurysm in anticipation.

Anyway … if you love Survivor, listen to it. If not, ignore the above par and continue on.

I’ve known Tom for years, meeting not long after 9-11. I was starting to fetishise all first responders following their bravery during the attacks, and was working my way through the ladder companies to find me a mans. While Tom ultimately wasn’t won over by my charm and sexuality, he did grow to love me and guided me like a big brother.

As is oft the case, he failed at turning me into a decent person but for some reason, never gave up on me. I repaid the favour by getting him cast on Palau … which earned him a mill, so technically I was a good investment. Fun fact: if he had made it farther on Heroes vs. Villains, I would have been his loved one visit.

Like me, he is hella excited for the new season and hopes that the cursed Stephenie LaGrossa doesn’t have to spend the entire time on Ghost Island, and can at least enjoy some tropical delights while sucking the life – literally – out of one of the tribes.

Was it a kind of dark way for our conversation to go? Sure. But when it comes with a side of Turkey Tom Westyum, how can you be mad?

 

 

Spicy, fresh and healthy – for the sole reason that turkey is healthy, duh – this tom yum, is the tom yum to beat all tom yums. Sorry Tom Yum Everett Scott, this is a winner.

Have I mentioned, tom yum? Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Tom Westyum
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g turkey mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp ground ginger
handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
vegetable oil
1 bunch of shallots, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp tom yum paste
1L chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 birdseye chillies, halved
1 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
salt and pepper

Method
Combine the turkey mince in a bowl with a clove of garlic, lime zest, ginger and a tablespoon of chopped coriander. Form into balls and place on a lined baking sheet in the fridge to semi-set.

Heat a lug of oil in a large deep frying pan and cook the shallots and remaining garlic for a minute or so. Add the tom yum paste and cook for a further minute. Stir in the stock, lime leaves and chilli and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, gently place the balls in and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Stir through the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, remaining coriander leaves and a good whack of salt and pepper. Serve immediately and devour, piping hot.

 

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Vecepia Baowery

Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor: Marquesas

Just like the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I’m about to be back, back, back, back, back again on a remote(ish) island in Fiji to cook-up some culinary commiserations for the 19 soon to be losers and 39 days, one sole survivor, of Survivor: Ghost Island. As has now become traditional, I am counting down to the premiere by spending time with past victors. And we’re kicking things off with one of my favourites – Vecepia Towery.

Now hold up – did I desperately want Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien to take out Marquesas? Without a doubt. But does that take away from the low-key brilliance that was Vecepia’s win, the likes of which we had never seen up until that point? No.

I mean, not even the kite flying challenge could diminish my love of the underrated Marquesas.

Not only did Vecepia land on the worst tribe in Survivor history at that point, but she overcame a three-seven disadvantage at the merge to lead (with Sean and Kathy, yes) the first ever shake-up in Survivor, rallying the minority to turn on the majority and overthrow the game. For that alone, you can’t count out Vecepia. Particularly when you take into account the journal she kept, that helped her snatch victory in the fallen comrades challenge.

Anyway, as you should probably have guessed by now, V is one of my dearest friends and I will defend her to the end of the earth. Knowing that, she was thrilled to answer my call and drop-by to honour the 36th season of the show … which Marquesas kind of set up to become what it is.

We laughed, we cried, we strategised about ways to get more people from early seasons brought back for returning player seasons and most importantly, we absolutely annihilated some four-weeks-to-go Vecepia Baowery.

 

 

I love me some bao buns. So, so, much. And these spicy little numbers do nothing to reduce said love. Spicy, sweet and a bun slathered in white creamy goodness? Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vecepia Baowery
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece ginger, sliced
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 long red chillies, chopped
½ cup Chinese rice wine
⅓ cup dark soy sauce
1L chicken stock
4 chicken thighs
½ cup rice flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice
vegetable oil
8 buns and the cucumber from Bret LaBao Buns
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
small handful of coriander leaves, to taste
kewpie mayo, to taste

Method
Prep your buns and cucumber as per Bretty’s recipe.

Place the garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, chillies, rice wine, soy and stock in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, reducing heat to low when rollicking. Add the chicken and simmer for twenty minutes or so. Remove and allow to cool before cutting across the thigh into short 1 inch wide strips.

Combine the rice flour and five spice in a bowl and toss through the cooled pieces of chicken to coat. Place enough vegetable oil to fill a pot up to 1cm and place over a high heat. When shimmery and starting to get that weird dancing appearance, reduce heat to medium and add half the chicken, cooking for a couple of minutes – flipping once – until they’re gloriously crisp. Remove to a paper towel and repeat the process.

To assemble, spread open your buns, slather with some kewpie, top with cucumber, capsicum, chicken, more kewpie and some coriander. Devour immediately.

 

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Caramel Popcorey Haim Cupcakes

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Aaaaaahhhh, my heart! Spending the last few days with Corey Haim has got me feeling all sad and nostalgic.

Despite what Feldman would say, Haim and I were the absolute best of friends after meeting in the 80s and while we both struggled with addiction issues, were always trying to help the other back on to the wagon – on is non-alcoholic, yeah? – even while we were failing ourselves.

It truly was such a beautiful friendship.

While there have been a lot of stories coming out about what Corey experienced in the industry, I was tragically too drunk and out of it to ever see anything beyond myself and our friendship. And as a friend, he truly was the best. Warm, caring and generously, we always had fun together and brought light into each other’s life and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

Given we met during The Lost Boys, I set the time machine for filming and dropped back, roofied myself and headed into the kitchen with ‘80s Annelie to whip up a big ol batch of her famed Caramel Popcorey Haim Cupcakes.

 

 

Make no mistake, these are the best cupcakes you will ever taste. Even better, they are so super easy to make, that anyone struggling with their sobriety/the demands of Jami Gertz can make them. Sweet, fluffy and most importantly, moist, they are everything you need … outside of having your friends back in your life.

Enjoy!

 

 

Caramel Popcorey Haim Cupcakes
Serves: 12. But really, 3 of the best friends.

Ingredients
1 cup flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder, sifted with the flour
1 ½ cup raw caster sugar, split in two
2 eggs
Roughly ¾ cup thickened cream
2 tsp vanilla
¼ vegetable oil
⅓ cup popping corn kernels
3 tbsp honey
250g butter, split in two
120g white chocolate, melted
2-3 cups pure icing sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C.

Crack the eggs into a measuring jug and fill with the thickened cream up to the one-cup line and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for 3 minutes. Add half the caster sugar and vanilla in thirds, beating well after each addition. Remove from the mixer and fold through the flour and baking powder.

Divided the batter between 12 cupcake cases and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Just.

With the cakes sorted, line a baking sheet with baking paper and heat the vegetable oil in a heavy based saucepan over a hot heat. When searing, add a kernel and if it starts to move, you’re ready to go – acting quickly, reduce heat to medium, add the remaining kernels, cover firmly with a lid and cook, shaking semi-frequently, until the popping starts to subside. Remove from the heat and discard any un-popped kernels.

Combine the remaining caster sugar, half the butter and honey in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, swirling, until mixture is boiling. Allow to boil, without stirring – which I know is super hard – until golden brown. Pour over the popcorn, quickly mix together and transfer to the lined baking sheet, pressing to form a single layer. Allow to cool.

Finally, beat the remaining butter in a stand mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar and white chocolate, continuously mixing, until a light buttercream that will hold it’s shape – just – is achieved.

Top each cupcake with a delicate dollop of icing and whack of caramel popcorn … before devouring, greedily.

 

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Zinggy Burger

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Burgers, Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara finally realised that my dear Locky needs to go if she has any shot at the end. She then discovered some lollies to sweeten the deal with Ziggy to flip, joining literally everyone else to get rid of Locky. Sadly for them – and great for my hope he’ll give us buns again – he then won immunity, causing everyone to scramble leading to (self-proclaimed) King Luke to exit the game and give someone else some screentime.

Jericho was devastated when he returned to camp, though harking back to his first confessional vowed to bring chaos to the tribe. He then went in for Tara, telling Locky all of her plans to turn on him to get further. Locky felt it sounded true – because it is – so pulled Tara aside to clear the air. While she seemed to get herself out of the mess, Locky still seemed paranoid.

The next day Ziggy replaced Luke as the manic person that oft appears to be a junkie, as she reminded us that she and Tara are the lolly bandits. She then spoke about getting a hit and the fact it is constantly on her mind which makes me extremely concerned for her welfare. Are we getting a sugar crash medevac tonight?

Tara continued to try and do damage control at camp, while a sadly clothed Locky told us he was still feeling anxious about what Jericho said, despite believing Tara. He then told us all how he was dominating the game, and I didn’t love the look on him. To put his mind at ease, Locky and Ziggy caught up in the jungle, with Ziggy convinced that Tara wasn’t flipping on them … because, sugar rush? YAAAAAAAHHHHH.

Oh wait, sorry, sugar-junky Ziggy made me forget she was completely onboard with getting rid of Locky.

Given the fact Locky was still feeling uneasy, he tried to forge a connection with Jericho to break the alleged 3-3 split. For the second time this episode, Jericho appeared to be smarter than I gave him credit for, barely humouring Locky and throwing some epic shade in his confessionals. I mean, I don’t want to like him, but the sass is glorious.

Sensing defeat, Locky moved on to Michelle who proved that she is truly the biggest threat left in the game, because if she makes it to the end, she would Kristie the shit out of the questions. His attempt to woo her quickly became a fight, gaining the attention of Jericho and Pete with the latter deciding he needs to reconnect with Tara and pull her in to get rid of Locky or Ziggy. But let’s be honest, Locky is winning immunity again, right? Otherwise we are Alecia Holden-ing our way straight from immunity, to tribal council.

Putting me out of my misery JoJo returned for said immunity challenge which required everyone to keep their balls in the air … by keeping a single ball spinning within a circular track. As quickly as it started Michelle was out, followed by Tara as the rain arrived to give us some JLP wet T-shirt action. I mean, if he keeps this up, Locky is expendable. Oh Ziggy then dropped out, followed by Jericho leaving the hopes of the tribe weighing on Pete’s shoulders. Sadly for him, the weight became too much and Locky once again took out immunity and crushed the hopes and dreams of the tribe.

Side note: how good did JLP’s nips look while handing the necklace back to Locky?

Back at camp everyone was pissed, with Tara particularly concerned about his immunity run continuing and the fact she needs to fashion a plan B. Meanwhile Pete already had his plan B lined up, deciding that Ziggy needs to go as she is the second biggest threat left in the game. Tara was not sold on this, rationalising that Ziggy is the best person to end Locky’s immunity run. Tara took the Ziggy plan back to Ziggy and Locky to see what they should do, with Locky wanting to target Michelle and bully someone into flipping with them for fear of going to rocks.

Locky tried to work his magic on Jericho and Pete to spook them into flipping rather than playing rocks, with both of the boys hilariously preferring to go to rocks and put their game to chance rather than voting with Locky. Pete then pulled Tara aside to run through the competing plans, trying to sway Tara to their side to avoid rocks.

They arrived at tribal council where the tribe struggled to pretend to be happy about Locky’s hat trick. Jericho threw some light shade, Pete admitted he wanted Locky to lose so they could vote him out, Tara gave a better acting performance pretending she doesn’t want Locky out, Ziggy said she wished she had immunity before Michelle brought some excitement to the festivities. Channelling Ciera ‘she voted out her MOM’ Eastin, she then announced that the vote is currently deadlocked and that they will be voting for Ziggy. Pete then joined the fray, promising Tara that they will stick with her if she flips to their side to get rid of Ziggy. Locky and Ziggy tried their best to talk Tara back but Michelle and Pete went in hard, tag-teaming her – not in a good way – until she had a throbbing headache as she joined them in sending Ziggy to the jury … with an extra large side of shade.

I don’t want to say Steph Rice is a jinx, but it is hard to ignore the fact that she kicked off a hat trick of my catch-ups with my favourite female aquatic Olympians. It really should come as no shock that I worked for the AIS coaching the Australian water polo teams how to be extremely aggressive and rip off their rivals’ swimmers. While I far preferred working with the men’s team – for obvious reasons – I quickly bonded with Zigs and we became the fastest of friends.

While Zigs was disappointed when she arrived at the jury villa, she was thrilled to see me – one of her favourite people – waiting to give her a hug and huge platter of my Zinggy Burger.

 

 

Tragically this recipe arrived two episodes late to coincide with the popcorn chicken alliance as it is my blatant rip-off of KFC’s Zinger Burger, which totally ruin my plans to sell myself as a psychic. As I oft say when making Burgers or Pizza, there is nothing better than a homemade version – succulent chicken, a big kick of heat and a crunch that could burst an eardrum, these babies are perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Zinggy Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp rice flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 cup corn flakes, crushed
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup vegetable oil
4 Kirsten Bunst
4 slices high-melt cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup iceberg lettuce, sliced
Kent Nelsonion Rings, to serve

Method
Combine the Worcestershire, chilli and mustard powders and a good whack of salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

When the chicken in almost done, combine the flour, cornstarch, rice flour, baking powder, egg and milk in a bowl. Combine the corn flakes, bread crumbs and teaspoon of salt in a second bowl.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, dip in the batter, followed by the coating and place on a plate. Cover and return to the fridge to chill for a hour.

Once that is done, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once sizzling, add the chicken fillets and fry for about five minutes each side, flipping once, or until golden and crisp.

Split the buns, smear the mayo on the bottom, top with lettuce, followed by the fillets and topped with some cheese and a little extra mayo. Close the burger and devour, like an Olympic champion.

 

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Stephanie Fried Rice

Main, Side, Snack

It felt like such a relief to be able to just jump in the car and drive a couple of suburbs this week, rather than having to get my people to organise the logistics of transferring major A-list celebrities to-and-from Brisbane Airport without anyone realising they are in town. I don’t want to complain about my blessed life, but sometimes it does get exhausting.

As I mentioned, I was once a swimming trainer – mainly to fulfill my passion for men in speedos and/or super tight pants – here in Brisvegas, as we oft loathsomely say. While my students feature the who’s who of Australia’s swimming elite – obviously though Grant Hackett and I used to booze together and Kowalski and I … well – my personal fave was little Stephy Rice.

I mean, sure, she felt it appropriate to tweet a homophobic sledge at a rugby team in 2010 but she did actually seem remorseful – plus, it’s not like I haven’t forgiven someone for making stupid statements – and apologised profusely. Shockingly I made the mature choice and accepted her apology and moved on … on the express condition that she appear on The Celebrity Apprentice.

While I stacked the cast with an actual businesswoman to shame her out of the competition and my nemesis Dawn Fraser – who hates that we’re close – she somehow won the game. Sure it further inflamed my rage for a couple of hours, but then I had to admire her moxie and we’ve been the dearest of friends ever since.

Sadly for the ailing Australian swim team, I couldn’t convince her to join me in staging a comeback but it was such a treat to catch-up and reconnect. We laughed, I briefly made her cry like she was apologising for a homophobic slur – despite her aggressive suggestions to the contrary, she is obviously voting ‘yes’ in the offensive same-sex marriage postal survey – and we ultimately became closer than ever before.

Though maybe that is just the Stephanie Fried Rice talking?

 

 

There is nothing better than fried rice, particular when it is sans prawns. Spicy, fresh and with a kick of heat, this is the perfect comfort meal to mend friendships and alleviate hunger.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephanie Fried Rice
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup long-grain rice, cooked as per packet instructions
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly whisked
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked and drained
1/2 cup peas, cooked and drained
1 capsicum, diced
2 tsp char sui sauce
2 tsp tamari
1 tsp rice wine
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat half the vegetable oil in a small frying pan, and lightly cook the eggs until they form a delicate omelette. Leave to rest.

Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add the bacon, frying until crisp. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for a further minute, or until fragrant. Add the carrot, corn and capsicum and cook for a further five minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for ten minutes before adding the sauces and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Devour.

 

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Kent Nelsonion Rings

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara and Anneliese were voted out of Samatau and were saved by the game’s first twist, switching tribes instead. As there must be balance, Ben and Henry volunteered to switch from Asaga, leaving the Jac of Jacry all alone. After losing immunity, Luke then finally claimed the upper hand, pulling in the new Asagans and booting my dear Queen Jacqui.

Returning to camp, Luke was feeling hella confident after blindsiding Jacry and taking control of Asaga … which feels more like pride cometh before the fall. Michelle was also thrilled, as was Tara who pointed that each of the original tribes were eight and eight, making me feel like she isn’t all Asaga strong. Poor Kent on the other hand, was feeling on the outs and was desperately trying to keep his feelings in check.

We returned to Asaga the next day where Anneliese and Tara were feeling up, surviving against all odds. Sarah then pointed out a rainbow and made my heart swell. On the other end of the mood spectrum, Kent was still feeling pretty crummy though hoped that being underestimated could help him dodge yet another vote. Anneliese, Tara, Sarah and Michelle then gossiped about Kent, with the latter saying that Odette and Kent were behaving like the children she nannies. Though she DGAF that he is against her, since she is playing harder. Do I have a Jacs replacement already?

Over at Samatau, Ziggy was fanging for a swim while we finally heard from Bern? Ben, who said that as the youngest, he was missing being doted on by his parents though was glad to be on Samatau, where people were respecting him. We were then treated to Jarrad trying to woo him over, which my gut is saying is going to end up like Ziggy flipping to Tara and Locky. Ben agreed to get rid of Henry to get further, though I reiterate, the conversation seemed more about seeing if Ben knew about an idol rather than aligning.

On the Henry note, he was feeling extremely confident in his charm, and the majority he left back at Asaga … which was destroyed at the last tribal council. Shit is gonna be awkward in a few minutes!

As expected, JoJo arrived for reward where my little Henny arrived to discover that his girl was booted at the last tribal council, leaving Luke and Tara with the biggest shit-eating grins imaginable. He tried to act like it didn’t hurt, but you could tell it really did. Locky then spoke about how good it was to see both Tara and Anneliese, which started painting the target back on their backs. Jonathan then explained the rules for an ice-cream reward, where the tribes had to push a cart of puzzles up a course before building a palm tree.

Kent was inexplicably removed from the challenge for medical reasons, before Ziggy and Locky completely dominated Luke and Jericho to get Samatau out to a huge lead. Ben being Ben, he then struggled with some knots before the combination of Henry, AK, Ben and Tessa tried to maintain their lead with Anneliese, Sarah, Odette and Jericho on their tails. Close to the end, Samatau discovered they had made some mistakes, allowing Asaga to claim a come from behind victory. Which is obvi my favourite kind.

Arriving at their ice cream reward, Jericho seemed to cream his shorts while the rest of the tribe were feeling pretty damn good. Just not cream in your shorts good, you know. He then devoured a shit tonne of ice cream before pointing out his lactose intolerance. They then started throwing hella shade at AK – which I can always get behind – before Anneliese stubbled upon a clue which led her to another, which she got sprung trying to find.

Before we could see if Anneliese had just screwed herself, we returned to Samatau where Henny was smarting over Jacqui’s boot while the OG Samatauns were thrilled – or angry, I don’t know – to discover Tara and Anneliese survived. While Henry was shook, Ben tried to use it to his advantage by pointing out to AK that he has no options left without Jacqui.

Back at reward, Anneliese was still removing husks from the palm pretending that she was looking for firewood where she finally found the clue without anyone noticing. It instructed her that the idol was hidden at the next immunity challenge, as such, she decided it was important to share the clue with someone to run cover, choosing Naomi Campbell’s mate Sarah. Thankfully Sarah was thrilled with the news, as she could use said news to extricate from her newly formed alliance of Luke and Jericho … filling me with equal parts hope and pride.

Things were still not looking up for Henry on Samatau where he spoke to Locky about how he was royally screwed without Jacs. He obviously then decided that creating his own beach-drawn game would be the best way to ingratiate himself with the tribe, which won over Ziggy and made Ben look like an absolute moron. That being said, Tessa and AK knew that his likability was a problem for their games and because of that, he needs to go ASAP.

Anneliese and Sarah awoke on day 24 to plot how best to snatch the idol at the upcoming immunity. Given the fact Anneliese is becoming the puzzle queen, she couldn’t actually snatch it for herself and instead handed over the clue and responsibility to Sarah to snatch.

On that note, JoJo returned for said immunity challenge where Jericho gloated about the previous reward before Henry pointed out that he and Ben were on the outs and in desperate need of a win. The challenge involved the tribes transporting disc along a rope challenge before releasing them, pushing them up a ramp, into a barrel and then up a shoot – where the idol was hidden – to release the puzzle pieces. As seems to be the case, Samatau got out to an early led with Ben – shockingly – turning in a strong performance, while poor Sarah was left to untangle the discs for Asaga solo. Will Sarah even make it to the idol before Samatau finish? It isn’t looking good.

Samatau continued to extend their lead, getting the puzzle pieces before Sarah – finally joined by Jericho – had even finished the first obstacle. Anneliese then paces the course, desperate to snatch the idol while Samatau snatched immunity. After successfully taking the idol, Anneliese joined her tribe before Henry handed an idol clue over to Jericho out of nowhere making me hopeful that he planted a fake idol where he found the old one and I forgot. Did that happen and we’re about to see Luke or Jericho humiliated? Please.

The defeated Asaga returned to camp, trying to make themselves feel better about their loss. While everyone was upset, Luke was loving it since he was in control … which feels like he is being set up for a fall. Anneliese and Sarah disappeared to discuss their alliance, with Sarah continuing her strong gameplay by confirming she Anneliese’s idol is hers alone and she wanted to work with her as best as she could.

Sensing he is next to go, Kent opened up his strategy shop down the beach hoping to lure people over to discuss options with him. After an awkwardly long period of sitting lazily at the end of the beach, Tara approached Kent to see if he was open to getting rid of Michelle which is what he was hoping anyway. Tara then approached Anneliese to get rid of Michelle, which the latter wasn’t keen on given the fact Sarah wouldn’t be keen on it. Tara then approached Luke about keeping strength, with Luke suggesting Odette – who is the strongest woman left in the game – instead of Kent.

Michelle, Anneliese and Sarah discussed the upcoming vote by the fire, where Michelle started to drink the overconfidence kool aid which appears to have rubbed Sarah the wrong way. She then approached Kent to discuss the fact he and Odette were next to go, which he countered that the options were actually Michelle and Kent. Given that Sarah is aligned with Michelle, she tried to sway the vote to Luke or Jericho instead to lock in a majority and take control.

They arrived at tribal council where JLP was quick to rub in the fact they completely bombed the immunity challenge, with Jericho and Luke  explaining the loss in an extremely basic manner. Michelle spoke about how difficult the challenge was, before Anneliese admitted that they are kinda screwed given the fact that Samatau was stacked with athletic members. Michelle then raised some eyebrows talking about getting rid of threats and keeping people she can trust, rather than strength. Odette, Jericho and Luke debated which was the right option, before Michelle and Kent were outed as causing most of the disharmony in the tribe. After talking about not really getting on, Kent offended Michelle by pointing she doesn’t contribute much at camp. She then challenged him to point out how he does any better, which he struggled with. Sarah then spoke about the fact there is a clear majority, though those on bottom should be working hard to claim back the majority. Despite signalling that she was on the precipice of flipping, Sarah stuck with current majority to take out my speedo loving daddy Kent.

Since he is the Chief Financial Officer of a Government Department, I have long known to keep my dear friend Kent on my good side. How do I do that, you ask? By whipping up a big batch of my Kent Nelsonion Rings.

 

 

Despite the fact it is bleedingly obvious that you can’t go past fried food when looking for comfort, I figure I should do my best to sell you on these babies. Though the crisp batter, sweet, melting onion and whack of salt kinda do that for me, no?

Enjoy!

 

 

Kent Nelsonion Rings
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 large onions
125ml milk
1 egg
70g flour
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp muscovado sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
oil, for fryin’

Method
Slice the onions into 1cm wide rings and heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat until 180°C.

Whisk the wet and dry ingredients together, separately – aka wet together, dry together – before whisking them all together.

Dip the onions in the batter and fry a few pieces at a time for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to some kitchen towel and repeat the process until the onion is all gone.

Season with salt and pepper and devour, in a melancholic yet accepting manner.

 

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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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Jodie Sweetin Sour Pork

Main, Party Food, Snack

First I had to go on the run to avoid being implicated in #Envelopegate then my dear, sexy Bob Harper announces he had a major heart attack a few weeks ago … meaning this little blog is perilously close to becoming a hit list.

Thankfully I’ve spent the week hanging with the delightful, calm and – most importantly – rational Jodes Sweetin and she has talked me out of adding my many nemeses to my dance card.

And of course, promised to live – happily and healthily – to see 2018 and hopefully break the curse this patch of cyberspace seems to have rustled up.

I haven’t seen much of Jodes lately with her muy busy enjoying a career renaissance with the success – no comments on quality here – of Fuller House and a semi-successful run against my part-time lover and full-time babe Nyle DiMarco. It fills me with such complete joy to see her doing so well but I hate that it keeps us apart for such long stretches of time!

With her taking a break between seasons two and three, she was thrilled to have me over and gossip about the show, reconnect and ponder the being that is our friend/frenemy Candace Cameron Bure.

It was such a diverse back and forth that I knew the only way to honour it was by devouring a big bowl of our favourite Jodie Sweetin Sour Pork.

 

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There isn’t much you can say that isn’t in its name – sweet, sour, pork. While it may not be the most glamourous or respected of dishes, it is the perfect way to mark a catch-up with my nostalgia inducing pal.

Don’t like it? How rude – enjoy!

 

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Jodie Sweetin Sour Pork
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g pork tenderloin, cut into 2cm dice
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp rice wine
½ green capsicum, roughly diced
½ red capsicum, roughly diced
2 shallots, cut into 3cm pieces
3 rings pineapple, fried and cut into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp ketchup
1 tsp plum sauce
½ tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp raw caster sugar
vegetable oil, to fry
steamed rice, to serve

Method
Toss the pork in the soy sauce, cornstarch and rice wine and allow to marinate while you prepare all the other ingredients. As part of that, combine the ketchup, plum sauce, rice wine vinegar, Worcestershire, oyster sauce and sugar in a small jug and leave to rest.

Once you’re good to go, heat a generous lug of oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat. Once scorching, add the pork and stir fry until golden brown. Add the capsicum, shallots, pineapple and garlic and cook for a further minute or so. Once it is fragrant, add the the sauce, reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce thickens.

Serve immediately with rice … and devour.

 

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Salt-n-Pepa Squid

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Golden Little Pill, Main, Seafood, Snack

While Elts and I weren’t up for pushing it – sexually or the limits of our tenuous reconciliation – I didn’t let it get me down, knowing that my dear friends Salt-n-Pepa were joining me for day two of Grammy Gold.

As you could probably infer from my aggressive sexuality nature, I was heavily involved in writing Let’s Talk About Sex with the girls. Our friendship, however, goes much deeper than that having met in the mid-80s. From the early days, I knew the girls were destined for greatest and immediately tried to hitch my wagon to theirs.

While we lost contact after their disbanding – and by that, I berated Salt for quitting and we stopped talking – we recently reconnected after our second (and final) co-written song Shoop was used on the Deadpool soundtrack.

After watching the disturbingly sexy nude scene, I ran out of the cinema, picked up the phone and we’ve been on the road to renewed best-friendship ever since.

When it came time to organise my inaugural Grammy Gold, I knew that the gals had to be in attendance. Plus – why would I miss out on having my first duo recipe, featuring the first all female hip-hop group to go platinum as part of the first Gram-Go?

Exactly. Plus, Salt-n-Pepa Squid is delicious, even if you’re a seafood hater like me.

 

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Fun fact: this spicy delight is the reason for all of the girls success AND is where their names came from. We were hanging in my crib trying to re-name their band – everyone was getting hangry so I hauled arse to the kitchen, grabbed out some squid and asked what flavour the girls wanted.

Salt and pepper where the first words out of their respective mouths, became their nicknames, and this beautiful dish was born – enjoy!

Also yes, I am claiming to have completely invented salt and pepper squid … and post-its.

Oh – and FYI, Elts, Salt and Peps all agree that Beyonce / Lemonade is going to dominate.

 

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Salt-n-Pepa Squid
Serves: 8-10.

Ingredients
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp chinese five-spice powder
2 tsp sea salt flakes
100g rice flour
lemon, zested and sliced into wedges to serve
10 small squid hoods, cleaned, quartered and scored
2 eggs, lightly beaten
vegetable oil, for frying

Method
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the peppercorns, chilli flakes, five-spice and salt and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a mortar and pestle, and bash out your unresolved sexual feelings from yesterday until the spices are a rough powder.

Combine half of the spices with the rice flour and lemon zest. Dip the squid in the eggs and toss through the spice mixture. Repeat until done.

Heat a very generous lug of oil in a large frying pan. When nice and hot, cook the squid a couple at a time for a minute or two, or until crispy and curled. Transfer to paper towels and repeat the process until done. Toss with the remaining spice mixture and serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

 

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