Beetroot and Bean Watsalad

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Salad, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, before Nina was tragically whisked from the game she got to enjoy a reward with her tribe. But she wasn’t the only one not having luck as Mark thought he snatched a clue to a hidden immunity idol without anyone knowing. Unaware that his ally Jordie saw everything. With the alphas in control of the Blood tribe, KJ was thrilled to be the new resident female in their alliance, leaving Shay cast aside. After Water threw the next immunity challenge, Jesse and Sam planned to re-blindside Ben. That is until Ben told them that Croc was trying to save him and instead target Jesse. As such they flipped things on Croc and sent him home with an idol in his pocket. While poor Queen Chrissy sobbed.

The next day things were looking rather zen at Water as Ben fished in his speedos while Sam led the girls in washing out their bits, her words, not mine. Jesse and Khanh followed this by stripping off, making me as wet as the stream they frolicked in. While Chrissy looked on completely enraged, Ben opened up about how he was feeling awkward about the blindside, though was thrilled to have defied the odds and made his way back to the top of the tribe. Poor Chrissy meanwhile was heartbroken to have lost her support network in Croc, missing everything he reminded her of at home. Sam tried to make things better, assuring Chrissy that everyone loves Croc though they were told he was turning on them first and therefore felt they had to take him out first. And then Chrissy herself confirmed things that Croc had said without even realising it.

But, you know, Sam followed that up by confirming Ben was the mastermind of the blindside and Ben, girl, you’re in danger because Chrissy is coming for you.

Over at the Blood tribe everyone was genuinely zen, with Mark living for his all male alliance and while that sounds like my dream, in Survivor, I absolutely hate it. Particularly because it is less about them taking out the weak links and more about them taking out the women, given Shay could beat any of them in a challenge. Mark meanwhile was frustrated that he hadn’t been able to find his idol yet, despite the clue clearly directing him to find it tethered underwater by the well.

As he stealthily looked again, he told us how he would be putting his army training to good use while searching undetected. Under the watchful eye of Jordie, who quickly popped out of the bushes and forced Mark to confess that he found a clue. Mark then found the idol but pretended he hadn’t found anything and as such, the duo went hunting together. Well, until Mark grew tired of Jordie shadowing him and instead confessed he had the idol, assuming Jordie was an honest player. Which he is well and truly not. But go off sis, because villain Jordie is a delight.

The tribes reconnected with Jonathan for another immunity challenge which they were gagged to learn was an individual affair, with one person from each tribe jagging immunity. Since both tribes will be going to tribal council, and both tribes would be voting someone out. Aka, another twist. Put as far as the challenge goes, everyone would stand on narrow pegs and hold a rod above their heads to keep a ball pressed against a wall, with the last person from each tribe winning immunity.

Almost instantly, Dave dropped from the challenge, followed closely by Jordan begging the question, is that blood alliance gender or strength based? Michelle was first out for Water as Mark quickly followed over on Blood, followed by Mel, Josh and KJ leaving Jordie and Shay to fight it out. Ben and Chrissy meanwhile were verbally sparring over Croc’s blindside with them eventually clearing the air before Chrissy dropped, followed immediately by Jesse who fell on his face. With Jordie showing genuine concern and well, swoon.

After 26 minutes, Ben dropped out in agony as Chrissy caught him before he fell. Sam meanwhile was desperate to make a deal with Khanh, asking him to give her the necklace should she let him win the challenge despite the fact she was allegedly feeling fine. She then immediately dropped out of the challenge and proved she was not, in fact, fine as she passed out and required medical to be rushed in to make sure she was ok. With that excitement out of the way, poor Jordie dropped out without any medical intervention, handing Shay the second immunity and frankly, putting us all out of our misery. Because that looks painful.

Back at the Blood tribe, Jordie was frustrated that Shay’s victory had put a kibosh on their plans, though was grateful to have two other women to split the votes between. The boys caught up in the water to debate the merits of keeping Mel or KJ, settling on the former given she still has a partner in the game which is dangerous moving forward. Meanwhile the girls were back at camp and instead of bonding to form a rival alliance, Shay told KJ to do the washing up and walked away and well, that is not going to change the status quo.

Given she had no options with the girls, KJ approached the boys in the water and reiterated her status as a free agent to try and save herself. Though given Jordie straight up plotted a split vote between KJ and Mel IN FRONT OF KJ, that should not make her feel assured in the slightest. The boys then looped in Mel, assuring her the plan is to take out KJ and well, this messiness just guarantees someone is coming out of tribal council angry. Though given how awkward Josh was while telling Shay about the plan, she should also be worried about her long-term survival. Particularly when she shared she was nervous about KJ coming for her and wanted her gone. And when they didn’t budge, that should show her they clearly don’t care about her. Shay then tried to rally the broader group on a plan to take out KJ and while Mark seemed interested, I can’t bring myself to get my hopes up for him turning on the boys.

Over at the Water tribe things were moderately less chaotic as Chrissy was focused on getting revenge on Ben and quickly rallied the troops to finally get rid of him. She, Sam and Khanh all agreed to get rid of him, with the girls assuring Khanh that Jesse will be all in on the plan to get rid of Ben too. Then somehow, that made Chrissy nervous given Sam and Jesse also voted for Croc and as such, she also hated them. And damn, this may end up being just as chaotic. As Chrissy napped away the afternoon, Ben was busy trying to woo the tribe to his idea to flush Khanh’s idol and get rid of Chrissy instead. He then went person to person sharing his plan and while Sam and Jesse debated the merits of the split, I still have an awful feeling we’re losing one of the speedo kings tonight.

At tribal council Dave admitted he was shocked by how strong Jordie was in the challenge while Shay admitted she felt like she needed to win, given their tribe is a complete sausage fest. She joked that Mel and KJ were now on their own, before pretending they’d be fine, while both KJ and Mel reiterated that they are in fact fighting for their lives in the game. Mark tried to downplay the predictability, given people are wont to be conflicting and chaotic. While Shay tried to pretend original tribes may come into play, Mark admitted his decision will be based on what is best for his merge game. Jordie spoke about the likelihood there is an idol in play at the camp, with Jordan laughing about someone finally learning to keep it quiet while Mark looked straight up anxious. Jordie meanwhile agreed they’ve reached the point of the game where they are making decisions based on the next week in the game, rather than just focusing on seeing tomorrow.

Jonathan turned his attention to the Water tribe, with Chrissy still smarting about Croc’s blindside and vowied that there are definitely going to be some upset people after the upcoming vote. But she will not be one of them, since her name is not on the block. Ben admitted she is likely targeting him, with Chrissy reminding everyone she is fiercely loyal which Ben agreed he was too despite the fact he cut Croc. Who was the only person willing to save him. Which is valid, but not the right argument.

Sam spoke about how she pushed so hard in the challenge to make her son and Mark proud, while Khanh spoke about pushing himself in the challenge to prove he could, rather than it being a sign of him feeling unsafe with his tribe. Jesse agreed that it was more about PBs before Ben got up and started to whisper to Khanh to play his idol for himself rather than on Chrissy, given he would essentially be voting himself out if not. This got Jonathan’s attention with Khanh admitting Ben told him to play his idol to save himself and while JLP tried to make him feel awks about giving up immunity to Sam, he admitted he still has an idol and doesn’t care. Particularly since he has the relationships to carry him through should it get flushed.

Sam and Chrissy assured him that he is definitely not part of the plan, as Khanh started to sob about how grateful he is to have found so many genuine friends on his tribe. Sam agreed that she is shocked by how many bonds she has made and while they all feel like their trust has been broken over time, they need to come back, move on and work together the next day because that is how the game works.

With that the tribes voted though before Jonathan read them, he announced that the person voted out on each tribe would get a chance to fight for their life in a firemaking challenge with the winner staying in the game and returning to their tribe, while the loser would officially be out of the game. 

Ultimately it was Mel and Ben voted out of their respective tribes and were whisked off to the side of tribal council to battle out in the firemaking challenge. While her sister looked to already be accepting her defeat, Mel absolutely dominated the challenge, immediately getting flames and managing to keep it going as she built it into a full blown fire. While Ben managed to get a flame, he appeared to keep smothering it as Michelle barked at Mel to find the smallest sticks she could find. While Mel’s too went out, she and Ben eventually built a flame, before Mel managed to keep hers consistent the longest, burning through the rope and saving her position in the game. As Water celebrated finally getting Ben out of the game.

Obviously, his loss absolutely broke my heart given he is one of my top two speedo kings of the season. Which I obviously told him as I pulled him into my arms back at Loser Lodge.

I’ve known Ben for years and years, meeting at a Bens for speedos club. While he was there to fight the speedo stigma of the modern age, I was there to scout talent and funnily enough, suggested he go on Survivor to join the pantheon of zaddies throughout the years. Promising him a Beetroot and Bean Watsalad as a thank you for his service.

Like Ben, this fresh little number is an absolute dreamboat. Rich a earthy, smooth and creamy with a little bit of spice and zing, there is nothing more you could want to put in your mouth. The salad, guys – head out of the gutter. Though, obvi, Ben is a total swoon.

Enjoy!

Beetroot and Bean Watsalad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 beetroot, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 sprig rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 garlic cloves, minced
200g beans, trimmed and cut into lengths
100g feta, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and wrap each beetroot in foil after giving them a good rub in 1 tbsp olive oil and seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Pop into the oven and cook for about an hour, or until tender. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for fifteen minutes.

While the beetroot is cooling down, combine the remaining olive oil with the vinegar, rosemary, thyme and a good whack of salt and pepper. Shake to combine. Then blanch the beans until they are a nice, bright green. Remove and leave to chill.

Dice the beetroot and add to a bowl with the beans, feta, red onion and walnuts. Pour over the dressing and toss until well combined. Then devour.


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Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2018), Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribe swap gave the Contenders a brief pause from their pagonging, well for some. As the new Contenders dominated leaving Benji and Robbie in power with their interloping Champs. Meanwhile over at the Champions Shane took control of the tribe with the Champion boys and the Contenders girls plus Brian pushing to get her. Sadly for Tegan and Shonee, she stuck with the boys and booted Tegan from the game. Thanks to another twist Tegan was given the opportunity to be saved from another boot by the other tribe, however with this time Benji and Robbie opting to send her from the game. For realsies.

We opened up with the Champions where Mat was surveying the land and found a massive beehive with Steve and Sam. Not wanting to leave it alone, they decided to try and smoke them out to get the honey giving me My Girl PTSD, because Thomas J will never be able to see without his glasses. Steve turned pyro and I got Firestarter PTSD, as the honeycomb eventually fell and the fire somehow didn’t burn out of control, leaving the Champions with a safe snack.

The next day Shonee was feeling left right out with four athletes and a genius, with no similarities to help her bond. I mean, they spoke about how long it too for wheels to be added to things and Queen Shonee was over it. Like, give me a shit tonne of Antiques Roadshow instead of suffering through this shit. Feeling like she should start contributing to the survival aspect of the tribe, she decided to try her hand at cooking, cleaning and doing things the others have done for a month. And the fact she has gotten away with that is why she is the queen, TBH. Particularly since Mat was all in on working with her.

Meanwhile over at the Contenders Heath and Fenella were feeling left out as Benji and Robbie continued to bond with the Champion girls, gloating about taking out Tegan. When really, they only added salt to her wounds technically. Fenella however was ropeable about their stupidity and hot damn it seems like the other side of Shonella is finally going to bring hell. Her new pal Heath meanwhile was confronting Robbie about how getting rid of Tegan was a good idea before hooking up with Fenella to bitch and try to find a way to get out of the mess of their making. Heath floated the idea of beating them at their own game, get the Champion girls and get rid of Robbie ASAP with Fenella decided that targeting Monika and her girl power to find an in. Fenella joined Mon and Sharn to talk about the possibility of doing a girls alliance as a way to find an in … in NUDE ROBBIE, BRB.

Sorry – all I can remember is Robbie getting his buns out and Fenella declaring game on molls. So yeah, episode of the season.

Sensing my desire slowly swinging to Robbie, JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would be required to use a rope to drag buckets full of sandbags, which two tribe members would use to knock blocks off a beam which the remaining two people will use to solve a word puzzle. Steve got the Champions out to an early lead while superwoman Lydia showed her first signs of challenge weakness, with Brian getting the second bucket back before Lydia got the Contenders first. Try as Robbie might, Shane and Mat only continued to extend the Champions lead while Benji and Heath finally closed the gap while lobbing their sacks until they found themselves stuck on one errant block. Sam and Shonee had a nice lead on the puzzle, leaving Sharn and Fenella to desperately try and come from behind. Sadly for them and thankfully for Shonee, Brian solved the puzzle from the viewing area and they just got their letters in before the Contenders, winning immunity and saving Shonee from certain doom.

The Contenders returned to camp with Benji once again talking about killing and being melodramatic about the process of voting someone out. Which is less than what I’d be like if I were out there. He and Robbie locked in a plan to get rid off Heath with the help of the Champion women, with Lydia and Monika quickly swearing allegiance. Sharn too locked in the plan with Benji, however his assurance that she was safe sounded shifty and me thinks she is going to do something about it. Heath was not happy about the possibility of going home, so when the Champion girls spoke about being in the minority he quickly assured them that he was on the outs and was more of a free agent than them. He then channeled Sandra and vowed to vote for anyone but him, before pulling in Fenella is another number as he can’t trust Lydia. Not to be outdone, Fenella approached Monika and Sharn to once again float the possibility of a women’s alliance and the three quickly locked in a vote against Robbie.

Given they are floating in the middle, Sharn and Monika went for a walk to discuss which pair would work out better for them. Unsure which would work out top their advantage. Robbie then checked in with Lydia, who told him that Heath was throwing his name out there filling him with rage. He then approached Heath to see what he thought, with Heath trying to get him to see sense and take out another Champion as they head into the merge and deciding that Monika would be the best option. Despite the fact Lydia is the biggest challenge threat and needs to go.

At tribal council Fenella was thankful for sitting in on the last tribal council and the intel they gained. Heath joined her in putting doubt in the Champion women’s mind, saying the cracks were obvious much to the smirks of Lydia. She tried to call him out but Heath straight up said that Mat and Steve – Lydia’s closest allies – were running the game and Sam was looking forward to working with the Champions come the merge. Benji and his rando accent tried to downplay the OG tribe connections, planning to grab whatever numbers he can to make it further in the game.

Lydia admitted to feeling nervous as the odd one out on the tribe, though played up how hard she and her fellow Champs worked to help the tribe. Without seeing that was playing up her status as a threat. Robbie tried to emphasise how close they had gotten, with Monika working the social game to try and make herself less of a target. Sharn was concerned that despite joining to kick out Tegan, the tribe may still be split and would turn on the Champs. Everyone alluded to trust without saying much before Robbie committed that this vote was about who he wanted to work the merge with and Sharn spoke about getting rid of threats come the merge, before Jonathan tried to paint the target on Lydia’s back given she is a beast. Robbie downplayed the importance of strength before Heath and Monika admitted that they are confident they’re in on the plan ala Keith Nale. Sadly like Heath, it backfired as he found himself following his ally Tegan out the door. Just before the merge.

Given Heath is an absolute sweetheart and despite the fact he got nude in episode two, I took him into my arms, well his legs at least – not in a suss way, he is super tall – told him how proud of his game I was, how proud his family would be and how much his friendship means to me. It was oddly platonic, which is unnerving I know, but Heath is a delight and I was heartbroken to see him go. With or without a nude scene. Anyway, the fact that that is so off brand for me makes me nervous so I whipped out a big fat Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins and took it all in my mouth at once.

 

 

While that is totally more on brand, I challenge you to do anything but when faced with these beauties. Caramelly and sticky, lightly spiced and full of nut – sorry – I can’t think of anything else I want to pack into my gob.

Enjoy!

 

 

Heath Datevies & Walnut Muffins
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
⅓ cup muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of allspice
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
⅓ cup molasses
⅓ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 ½ cup pitted dates, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180C and line an 8-hole Texan Muffin pan. Because Heath is a giant and you can’t give him a regular sized muffin.

Combine the flour, baking powder, muscovado sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt in a large bowl, and combine the milk, molasses, oil and eggs in another. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold through the walnuts and dates.

Divide your batter into the prepared holes – which wasn’t meant to sound suss, but Steve … I’m always prepared – and transfer to the oven to bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove to cool on a wire rack before devouring.

 

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Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After the debacle of catching up with my frenemy, the worst winner of Drag Race and – my honest opinion only – all around garbage person Tyra Sanchez, it was so nice to spend time with my kind friend Engelbert Humperdinck.

Kind, warm, funny, charming and best of all, kind and open with his fans … friend.

Unlike Tyra.

Anyway, I first met the Dinck and his – well, you know – back in the ‘60s when he was still getting his career off the ground. My dear friend Tom Jones’ manager was his former roommate and one night while we were out partying, we decided his name was holding him back. Ten minutes later Engelbert was born and Arnold was no more.

With that, I earned his complete and unequivocal trust, shaping his career ever since. Well until yesterday, when he tragically declined my offer to coach him to another Eurovision berth. Which no doubt would have been more successful.

While I was upset he didn’t trust me, I respect his wishes like a friend – unlike say, Tyra would – and we instead focused on reconnecting and havin’ a laff. Though that is kind of the go to reaction to splitting an Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake between two best friends.

 

 

Moist, sweet and perfectly spiced, hummingbird cake is like a carrot cake on crack. In all the right ways. Add in some cream cheese icing and my shorts are creamed, culinarily speaking obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup, muscovado sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
2 ripe bananas, mashed
450g crushed pineapple (in juice), drained with juice reserved
2 eggs, lightly whisked
¾ cup sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar mixture

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease 2 x 25cm cake tins.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, and spices in a large bowl. Fold through the muscovado sugar, coconut and walnuts. In another bowl, combine the banana, pineapple, eggs, oil and ⅓ of the pineapple juice. While stirring pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and continue to fold until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the lined tins, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, checking after half an hour. You want it golden brown on the outside and an inserted skewer to just come out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until it is light, fluffy and just combined. Don’t overbeat as the icing will become too soft.

To assemble, smear a third of the icing on top of one of the cakes. Top with the second cake, and smear the rest of the icing on top and around the edges. Press the remaining walnuts into the icing and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour or so, removing ten minutes before serving … and devouring.

 

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Michaela Bradshortcake

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

Previously – slash a minute ago – on Survivor, it became exceedingly more obvious that Sarah was sliding her way to victory, despite Cirie’s killer display. While everyone was against Brad for the entire episode, Andrea stuck her neck out one time too many and found herself sent to the jury.

We arrived back at camp where Aubry apologised to Brad for being the only person remaining that voted for him last tribal. She then acknowledged the elephant in the room, that if you align with her you end up voted out … or near death. She then broke down about having had such a rollercoaster day what with winning immunity and being blindsided, before winning Tai’s affection back and making Cirie wary of Tai’s social game.

Probst quickly returned for the second immunity challenge of the episode, the Darrah Johnson-Shane Powers memorial pour-water-in-the-hole-to-float-a-key-high-enough-to-retrieve-it. Don’t blame me for the title, I was experiencing PTSD by proxy for Cirie.

Michaela got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Troyzan, Aubry and Brad, who made quick work using the key to unlock their puzzle pieces. Given how confusing the puzzle was, Sarah, Tai and Cirie all caught up before Brad found a hole that he couldn’t fill. Michaela thought she had it, which she didn’t before kicking the puzzle … giving enough time for Brad to fill that hole and snatch immunity.

Brad then celebrated and / or through a tantrum, almost channelling Mr. This-Is-My-Island, Troyzan.

Back at camp the Troyzan and Tai were feeling uncomfortable, since the target was immune … despite both of them being in possession of an idol, or two if you’re Tai. Tai approached Aubry about needing to make some moves if they are going to make it to the end, both agreeing that Sarah is currently the one to beat.

Aubry then told Cirie, who went straight back to Sarah who refused to believe that Aubry was telling the truth. Wanting to solidify her loyalty, Sarah decided to give up the extra vote advantage to Cirie. Cirie, being the crafty kween that she is, debating the merits on hanging on to it, or playing it despite the fact Sarah didn’t want to, to protect Sarah from herself and Tai.

Cirie then clued Michaela in on what was happening, with both of them agreeing that Cirie needed to use Sarah’s vote steal to steal Sarah’s own vote to take out Tai … by lulling him into a false sense of security to not play an idol by saying she is doing it to save him. This is some next level inception bullshit right here and if she pulls it off, she is the first in line to Sandra’s throne in the line of procession.

Giving future players a masterclass on how to manipulate people, Cirie pulled Tai aside and played him like a fiddle. I mean, the voice quivering, the panic, the concern?! I love Cirie.

We then arrived at tribal council where Sarah spoke about the mad scrambling that occurred post challenge. Cirie and Brad agreed that everyone was lying to someone and that they need to cut through that, to which Michaela disagreed. Tai then acknowledged that he always gives people the benefit of the doubt and that it could lead to his downfall.

Troyzan sounded like he’s been hurt one too many times in the game, which after being schooled by Kim I assume he has. Michaela then brought up the ‘we’ again before we headed off to vote … but wait, Cirie pulled out the vote steal! Sadly for her, she didn’t read the fine print saying that it could not be transferred.

She was then chastised by Probst and Sarah, for outing the fact she was going to make a huge move but actually couldn’t. And as has become the tradition of Game Changers, Sarah then whispered something in Tai’s ear, before Cirie pulled Sarah aside to tell her she was trying to use it to save her, which Michaela jumped up to agree with. Troyzan then tried to eavesdrop, earning the wrath of Michaela who did not have time for his shit.

Aubry then joined the fray and things started to calm down and everyone returned to their seats … until Sarah got back up to  talk to Tai, with Cirie whispering in the other ear. Cirie then went to Michaela, while Tai went back to talking to Sarah … before the latter decided to just use the advantage, take Tai’s vote and get this over with.

Despite snatching Tai’s vote, Sarah didn’t join Aubry and Michaela in voting out Tai, instead joining Brad and Troyzan to blindside Michaela. While it wasn’t as exciting as her previous exit, the tribal build up was even more exciting and she ended with you do you, boo … which is amazing.

Make no mistake, Michaela is a total sass queen … but she was feeling a little bit salty, having been booted from Survivor twice in the space of a few months. That being said, it is hard to stay salty when you fill up on my Michaela Bradshortcake!

 

 

I know that the doll/TV show firmly pushes for the strawberry version of these delights, I have a strong aversion to the feel of them on my tongue and therefore avoid them at most costs. I mean, I’ll eat them but they are not my first through fifth choice.

Plus, how do you go wrong with apple, walnut and cinnamon? Exactly, you can’t – enjoy!

 

 

Michaela Bradshortcake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
3-4 apples, cored and finely diced
juice of a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raw caster sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
kosher salt
85g cold unsalted butter
1 ½ cup double cream
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 egg

Method
Combine the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and ¼ cup raw caster sugar to combine. Cover and allow to steep for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter through the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand. Add 1 cup cream and walnuts, and stir with a fork until it just starts to come together.

Form the dough into large lime-sized balls and press to flatten on a lined baking tray, repeating the process until done.

Whisk the egg, brush each biscuit/scone and bake until golden brown, or about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for half an hour.

When ready to serve, whip the remaining cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Half the biscuit and top with some apple and cream. Close the biscuit … and because I really like to load up on the toppings, add some more apple, cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

Then devour, obviously.

 

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Peaches Cobbler

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Sweets

As you should be aware by now, I’ve known most of my celebrity friends for a long, long time and am – not meaning to blow my own trumpet – the reason that 99% of them are even famous/successful.

My dear Merrill aka Peaches, however, is the exception.

You see, I only met Peaches in 2007 when she was playing Big Day Out. Picture it, Gold Coast, 2007 – which I literally just told you. A young, sexy ingenue was killing it on the d-floor of the Boiler Room to Shake Your Tits before collapsing to the ground due from sheer exhaustion from their dance majesty.

That young ingenue, was me.

Peaches quickly sprung into action, I assume due to her pre-fame teaching days, diving of the stage, taking me in her arms and pouring water over my head to wake me up. Side note, that inspired me to travel back in time and write slash choreograph the hit movie Flashdance.

Cutting the set short, Peaches took me backstage to recuperate and we quickly bonded over our mutual love of filthy song lyrics. The following nine years are arguably the best years of my life, as I got to experience the joy of forming such a beautiful friendship.

We both been super busy lately, what with her doing herself, appearing on the (finally) Emmy winning program Orphan Black and releasing a new album and with me, well, being busy, ok, so haven’t been able to see much of each other recently. This almost-milestone date, truly is an absolute blessing.

Now I know that this is only technically my 249th documented catch-up, but I’m just going to pretend this is my moment due to the inconsistent scheduling of Australian Survivor causing problems. Plus, I agreed to catch-up with Peaches when I thought she was going to be the magical 250th visitor, so I needed to treat the occasion like it was.

Plus, Peaches Cobbler is the ultimate party food, so why deny it?

 

peaches-cobbler-1

 

Sweet, rustic and deceptively decadent – the sweet peaches, work beautifully  with the earthy walnuts and the pillowy dough to fill your stomach, and heart, with unending joy.

Plus, you can slather it in ice cream. What is not to love – fruity nuts, dripping in a sweet, white liquid? Enjoy!

 

peaches-cobbler-2

 

Peaches Cobbler
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups raw caster sugar, divided
½ cup water
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g walnuts nuts
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
50g muscovado sugar
pinch of sea salt
125g unsalted butter, chilled
vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the sliced peaches, sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir through the vanilla paste and get cobblin’.

Blitz the walnuts in a food processor for a couple of seconds. Now you can either add all the other ingredients and blitz until the mixture resembles wet sand. Obviously I prefer the hand approach, if you do to decant the roughly blitzed walnuts to a bowl and combine with the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Chop the butter into small cubes, add the bowl and rub through the mix … until it resembles wet sand.

Now for the fun – add the peaches and liquid into a small baking dish, grab large balls of the dough and haphazardly place around the top to almost seal it.

Place it in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden, crisp and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately, generously topped with ice cream. It may not look best that way, but it certainly makes it taste good.

 

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Peter Baklavenstos

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Running into an ex is always awkward, but when it is seeing the person that broke your heart after getting them on the show … after they were just voted out is kinda satisfying.

Scrap that, it is fucking glorious.

This week we started with Petey trying to woo Tai into his third showmance in six episodes while over on Chanloh, part-time model Debbie and her adonis Nick engaged in, what on the island was, the filthiest and most explicit romance since Ozzy and Amanda in Micronesia.

Love, however, isn’t what we watch for … it is all about Probst making a series of ball puns while people were bobbing for them during the reward challenge. Once again, Aubrey continued to be the challenge beast of the season.

Peter spent most of the episode putting a target on his back and being paranoid, before a block almost took out Biden at the challenge. Thankfully he wasn’t evacuated, giving Aubrey another chance to shine when she literally crossed out Julia’s name and changed her vote to Peter.

I don’t know if it was due to budget cuts or they are trying to be green, but I’m thankfully there are limited pieces of parchment for drama’s sake.

I first met Petey on the impersonating circuit where he, obviously, was a Time Square Obama and I was any misc-dark haired celebrity with curls, but was most often recognised as Fred Savage, Ray Martin or aggressive Andy Samberg.

Pete and I, again obviously, fell into a torrid love affair bathed amongst the lights of Bro-ad-way (right near where, I assume, Reed cheated on Josh). Our loving relationship was so strong, he convinced me to don blackface (to upset my nemesis Harry Connick Jr. – he always refused my advances/to whisper my name) and play the Michelle to his Barack.

Mich (who I am also friends with) loved the idea and thankfully deemed my arms perfect enough to play her … lucky I invented that workout system with her in 2014. I must look at releasing it soon, if only I paid Todd Tucker for his work filming it.

Anyway, when I found out Pete was officially going to be on Survivor I quickly tried to call Probst and try to help pre-game for my lover, but his attitude got in the way (I’m team Biden on the circuit, not on the island) and we sadly went our separate ways.

While you may assume that I would handle a break-up with expletives, lighter-fluid and booze, that wasn’t the case when I reconnected with Pete in loser lodge … probably as I was so smug to see him just before the merge, meaning my break-up, once again proves that Kat Mr. Edorsson is a genius – who wants to date someone that doesn’t make the merge?

Thankfully I am very mature and rational and was kind enough to whip it out him up a nice batch of my (usually post-coital) Peter Baklaventos.

 

peter-baklavenstos-1

 

Baklava, while time consuming, is one of the easiest sweets you can make but still looks impressive. Obviously this is my favourite kind of recipe – one that gives you the most bang for your buck … particularly if it is for a post bang meal.

Between the pastry, rosewater and sticky nuts dripping in a sweet, moist glaze … this is something you need to have in and around your mouth. ASAP.

Enjoy!

 

peter-baklavenstos-2

 

Peter Baklavenstos
Makes: About 24 pieces.

Ingredients
250 gm each pistachios and walnuts, finely chopped
100 gm caster sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
200 gm butter, coarsely chopped
500 gm filo pastry
Honey syrup
300 gm caster sugar
125 gm honey
1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only
1 cinnamon quill
4 drops rosewater

Method
Combine nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan, set aside and keep warm. Brush a 24x34cm baking dish with butter. Cut filo sheets to fit tray snugly and cover with a damp tea towel.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Layer one-third of the filo pastry in tray, brushing butter between each layer. Yes this can be annoying and I generally avoid this set when making filo pies … but this is the one dish you kind of can’t avoid this step, sorry.

Spread half the nut mixture on top, repeat the process with the next third of filo, top with the remaining nuts and do the filo again. Once more, with feeling and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the fridge and cut the dish into 4cm diamonds with a sharp knife, making sure to get through all layers of filo and bake until golden and crisp, about 50 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly.

While in the oven, get onto the honey syrup by combining the sugar, honey, lemon rind, cinnamon and 300ml water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 20 minutes and the flavours have gloriously steeped in the liquid. Remove from heat, strain and stir through the lemon juice and rosewater and set aside.

Cool baklava for about 5 minutes and pour the syrup evenly over the pastry. Set aside at room temperature to cool completely … if you can. Then go crazy and devour it.

 

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Banana Khait Muffins

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Again, seriously?! I don’t know how I am going to pay off all my bookies – once again, one of my top winner picks heading into the season was sent to loser lodge (and I am looking to start another ponzi scheme). Poor Anna was dealt a dud hand in the swap and her tribe opted not to hold her but to fold her and let her run away into my arms.

It all started innocently with Obama capitalising on last week’s drama by opening up the Chan Loh trauma centre, lancing potential (and likely, judging from the rusty hook) future medivac Sexy Rudy’s finger, before my frosty dandy got his hand-ys on the hidden immunity before the aforementioned switch up.

After exiling poor Julia to hell beach, with nothing but Darnell’s brown-trout for company, the members of the new tribes jostled for position … or something – let’s be honest, all I heard was something about Obama’s low hanging fruit.

Yep.

I first met Anna a couple of years ago, when I hired her to be my poker coach. You see, I had created a strip-poker group with my celebrity crushes / hot friends and needed to learn to play to get them as naked as possible, as quickly as possible. Anna is an absolute card shark and after helping me find abs-olute pleasure with my friends, she was instantly welcomed to my inner circle.

Fun fact: I actually used time-travel to go back and co-write The Gambler with Kenny Rogers.

After the tribes convened to go fishing and witness a puzzle laying down for Debbie like a lover, a target was firmly set on Anna or Tai’s back … and since Tai has managed to take another island (non-puzzle) lover, Anna was royal flushed from the tribe.

She was very hurt to have made her way to loser lodge this soon but was thrilled to be able to help me make money off the rest of the pre-merge boots in a high stakes game of Cambrodian Fame Hungry Poker (it is aggressive, sexual and involves also winning the opportunity to be Tai’s next bro-mance).

She was even more thrilled to see my Banana Khait Muffins, which I used as currency to pay her when I was her student … which inspired the old rapping meatball lady from my hit movie The Wedding Singer.

 

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Banana muffins are quite possibly the easiest thing to make but since I originally used these as currency, I had to dress them up a bit so caramelised the bananas first and added some nuts … because who doesn’t love a bit of caramel and nut action to up the stakes? The caramel gives you sticky pockets of goodness that leave your stomach feeling like it’s got a very satisfied full house. Or black jack, probably.

Enjoy!

 

banana-khait-muffins-2

 

Banana Khait Muffins
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
200g caster sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
2 bananas, sliced
½ cup walnuts, chopped
350g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
135ml grapeseed oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g natural yoghurt

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C, fan-forced.

Pour the sugar into a very clean, medium-sized frying pan over medium heat and leave to melt until a caramel begins to firm. As hypocritical as I may sound, don’t stir it … be patient and let it gloriously melt by itself. Once it is molten, add the salt, banana and walnuts, stirring until they are coated.

Place the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet … ingredients in the other. Add the caramel/banana mix to your wet ingredients (saving a teaspoon of caramel for each muffin to drizzle on top after they are baked, if you want).

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined, making sure you avoid overworking it. A) if you do, it makes them dense and b) why put in my effort than you have to?

Spoon the mixture into lined muffin pans and bake for 40 minutes. Cool and drizzle with reserved caramel, if you didn’t eat it while they were baking … which full disclosure, I did.

What can I say, Probst makes me hungry!

 

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Cinnamonica Seles Apples

Condiment, Side, Snack, Sweets

Straight up, I would like to dispel your knee-jerk assumptions from earlier in the week – I was not involved in the stabbing of Monica Seles … despite being a close friend of Steffi Graf. There is no proof, so don’t even try. I mean, the glove does not fit etc.

That being said, the tragically senseless and violent crime is what led to my first meeting with Monnie. You see, I was serving a community service term as a Candy Stripper (yes, stripper) in the German hospital where she was recuperating after the attack (I was drunk and disorderly at the same tournament the previous year as part of Steffi’s entourage, when I got into a premature fight with Brooke Shields).

Anyway, being a total sports fanatic I took Monnie under my wing and acted as her chief security and support. Plus, she also had great meds which I swapped out for placebos … thus her extended break to recover.

Despite the theft of the drugs being discovered (Monnie forgave me knowing I was an addict and supported me through rehab), we’ve been the closest of friends ever since, with me ghostwriting her memoir and advising her to make fantastic career choices like her forays into television with The Nanny and DWTS.

Monnie and I hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years so it was such a delight to catch up with her and participate in my personal favourite past-time, hitting tennis balls off the roof of my building at unsuspecting pedestrians below.

Let me just say, Mon still has it!

After such rigorous exercise, we were definitely in need of some simple sugars that we could pretend were healthy – enter my Cinnamonica Seles Apples.

 

cinnamonica-seles-apples-1

 

Cinnamon and sugar as quite possibly the greatest culinary combination, with apples and walnuts being a close second. Obviously when you chuck all the keys into a bowl at the kitchen swingers party and instead end up with a flavour orgy, things can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

 

cinnamonica-seles-apples-2

 

Cinnamonica Seles Apples
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 royal gala apples
100g walnuts, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp butter
⅓ cup brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Method
Core and thickly slice apples, leaving skin on. Toss in lemon juice.

Melt butter in a non-stick pan over a medium heat, add apples and walnuts. Cook, stirring until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

Add brown sugar and cinnamon, cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.