Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

So Notorious. I was talking about So Notorious, the hit sitcom based on Tori Spelling’s life starring Tori Spelling and Loni as a heightened version of the divine Candy Spelling. Just in case the tease didn’t make it abundantly clear.

It was such a delight to reconnect with someone as dear as sweet Loni!

She ran through customs with a look of pure joy on her face and while at a distance I assumed it was someone trying to avoid an inspection on account of me needing new glasses, she eventually came into my line of site and jumped straight into my arms.

We both burst into tears, followed by fits of laughter at how emotional we were being and to be honest, I’m shocked our behaviour didn’t get us escorted out of the airport.

After we got home we got to work reminiscing and catching up. While she wasn’t convinced that So Notorious needed to come back and we need to take my ideas to Torz post haste, we still had a wonderful time. Which really just speaks to how deep our friendship runs.

Though I mean, when you share an ex-husband like Burt you’ve both got to admit you both have fantastic taste. Which was evidence by how much we both love a creamy Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson.

 

 

Earthy, spiced and dripping in glorious, gloopy cheese, these cannelloni pack a comforting punch. They’re the perfect meal for a cool spring night, while gabbing away with a dear friend over some cheap wine.

I mean, why pretend I drink anything better?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni Anderson
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 tbsp butter, halved
2 leeks, thinly sliced
750g butternut pumpkin, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dry vermouth
salt and pepper, to taste
10 sage leaves, roughly chopped, halved
pinch of nutmeg, grated
1 ½ cups ricotta
1 cup parmesan, grated
500g dried cannelloni tubes
¼ cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large pot and cook the leek and pumpkin over medium heat for about ten minutes. Add the garlic, vermouth and a good whack of salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and cook for a further ten minutes or so, or until the liquid has all absorbed. Allow to cool slightly before transfering to a food processor with half the sage and the nutmeg, ricotta and parmesan and blitzing until smooth.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Meanwhile melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and once foamy, whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the milk and cream and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes or until smooth and thick.

To assemble, pour half of the cream sauce into the base of a baking dish. Pipe the pumpkin mixture into the cannelloni tubes and lay on top of the creamy sauce. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with sage and walnuts. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Allow to rest for five minutes before serving and devouring.

 

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Chapategan Garlicsior

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Bread, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes switched leaving Tegan and Shonee feeling hella screwed as the odd women out on the Champions, and Lydia, Sharn and Monika in the minority at the new Contenders. With Lydia and Sharn gone, Mat felt lost and anxious about his survival, while Lydia was straight up desperate to find a way to stay at the Contenders. After losing immunity, Mat bonded with Tegan and learnt that Jackie had told her his alliance had planned to throw the challenge anyway. This, tragically, led to Jackie being thrown under the bus by everyone but Brian, dealing her a dud hand and sending her from the game in a blindside.

Thanks to their poker faces their, their poker faces.

We checked in with the new Contenders tribe where Benji and Robbie were feeling hella smug after the swap, thankful that they can make it to the end together. They were also thankful to have found pawpaws, hoping to channel Tyson’s move of into banditting food and parlaying it into a victory. Spoiler alert: they will fail. Similar to Benji’s plan to shake things up today, which he assured was’a comin’.

The next day Lydia was helping the tribe to salute the sun and showing off the fact that she is the most ripped contestant to ever play the game. Which Robbie was loving, unlike, Lydia, Sharn and Monika since they know that they’re dead women walking and are doing anything to survive. Robbie heaped on the praise to Lydia and Sharn to make them feel better, but all Sharn cared about was wrestling back control and her first target was Benji since he is too much of a gamer and she thinks he needs to be knocked down a few pegs. Note to Wilson siblings: chill out when you hit the beach, ok?

Meanwhile at the Champions Shonee and Tegan looked to have found a groove with the tribe, with Steve and Mat thankful to have started to thin out the herd. That being said, they were wary of Brian since they also blindsided him at the last tribal and they need him as a number. For now. The boys decided that Shane was being underestimated by their competitors and concocted a plan with Sam to use her as a double agent, gather information and make their alliance stronger. Though given her idol hunting and the speech when she played it, I don’t think that will work out for them. Bow down to Kween Shane Gould, yo.

As speculated, Brian was feeling sad and since he is getting island hot, I am getting sad for his pain. He then discovered a bunch of clothes Jackie left lying around and proceeded to win them back by crossing over with RPDR and heading to the reward challenge as Jackie to win everyone back. Brian – you had me at mooning the camera getting into drag.

My boy JoJo arrived for this week’s reward challenge where the new Contenders were thrilled to discover that Tegan and Shonee dodged a bullet, while Brian really warmed my heart with his comedy interlude. Anyway, the challenge would require people to face off hanging off a pole with the first person to drop losing; the first tribe to three win a big ol’ roast and a bottle of veen, so everyone was hella keen. Once again Mat and Robbie kicked things off with Robbie, shockingly, finally securing a win against the old boy. Despite the Commando’s coaching, Heath defeated Brian, leaving Sharn to battle it out against Steve for a Contender’s victory. Steve managed to claw one back for the Champions, leaving Fenella and Tegan to duel for victory or survival, with Fenella – deemed useless by Lydia – once again proving to be a challenge beast, snatching victory for the new Contenders.

The new Contenders arrived at the roast, with Fenella desperately searching the table for the wine like the relateable queen that she is. Fauxmerican Benji was thrilled about something, Robbie was pumped to be dripping in the specialist of sauces, gravy, and everyone was just feeling pretty dandy. Robbie continued his passion for Lydia, asking about her career and we learnt that despite knowing nothing about Survivor, she made it to the Olympics after 18 months in the sport and truly is an icon. I don’t know if it was the wine or the roast talking, but everyone was feeling the love and Lydia was comfortable enough to say their camp was shit.

Oh – and Benji was drunk enough to be confident to go grab the idol … in the middle of the night. Despite every message you hear about not getting eaten by a shark. He waded through the shallows, tempting The Meg to eat some salty, sinewing sass-monster however tragically made it to the island – not that I was willing him dead, FYI – and snatched himself an idol in the dark. Like Figgy snatching that idol that blocked his sister’s idol and sent her packing last season.

My boy Jonathan returned for this week’s immunity challenge where they were required to transport tires across monkey bars, before ferrying them through a myriad of obstacles and using the tires to solve a puzzle. In addition to immunity, the winning tribe would get to attend tribal and watch the proceedings unfold so err’ybody was pumped to compete. Robbie and Lydia got the Contenders out to an early lead over Mat and Steve. While Fenella and Sharn tried their best, Tegan and shonee caught things up … until Heath overpowered Sam and got the Contenders back in front. Shane and Brian allowed the Champs to catch up … until the Steve and Mat lost the cart handing Lydia and Robbie the lead. Basically, it was back and forth however the Contenders had the wheels off for the puzzle first, giving them enough time to snatch immunity once again. Jonathan handed them immunity and gave them a message to read back at camp, while Brian worried about how he was going to avoid the boot.

Back at camp Tegan was feeling all the feels, living it up at the bottom of the tribe. The tribe however did not care about her nerves, giving her nothing until she got exasperated and went to the well to see if anyone would talk strategy with her. With her and Shonee out of camp the Champions locked in a vote for Tegan, while Brian – much to Mat’s dismay – slowly worked his way out of the circle to connect with Tegan and Shonee and concoct a plan to take control. Brian approached Shane to see if she’d be keen to jump ship and get rid of the boys … giving her a tonne of intel to take back to Mat and Steve. Though thankfully she was smart enough to know that keeping some information to herself was also a smart move.

Despite his assurances, Tegan wasn’t feeling safe voting with Brian tonight and decided she and Shonee need to make a move. After Sam nobly told her she would be voted out tonight, Tegan approached Mat to try and sway him to take out Brian instead given he is far less trustworthy. While Mat wasn’t sold on the whole idea, Tegan and Shonee were undeterred and approached Shane to get her to flip given she is an icon, they are icons and hot damn Granny Shane holds all the power and I am living for it. She spilled Brian’s tea – to take out Mat – to the girls and Tegan encouraged her to take the information to Mat, setting the stage for another blindside.

At tribal council Jonathan introduced the Champions and their audience before poking Tegan and Shonee for intel, with Shonee iconically reading the Champions and their flawed plans for filth. Shane praised Tegan for her epic journey thus far, Brian tried to sell the basics of the game to his tribemates, Shane doubled down on keeping the Champions strong … before Shonee went. To. Town. Poking Tegan to share everything Brian told her that morning, to woo the girls over to his side and get rid rid of one of the girls. While Brian tried to deflect, Tegan pointed out he is well and truly on the bottom of the tribe … and while he agreed he was blindsided, he casually waved it away and accepted it. Tegan continued to lay into Brian to try and get him to flip to their side, with everyone dancing around the fact that the Speedo twins are controlling the tribe.

With that, the tribe voted and Tegan once again found herself booted from … wait, wait – there is a twist. Sharn stood up and announced that that the Contenders immunity came with the opportunity to save the person from being booted, just before getting their torch snuffed. Tegan pleaded with them to save her and take her back to back to their camp. And despite the Contenders having the majority on the new Contenders – and Heath pushing hard to get them to see sense – Robbie and Benji joined the OG Champions and banded together to send Tegan from the game. For good.

And boy was I pissed. I threw a pot into the ocean and screamed into the abyss for the lack of Mat and Steve speedo time as Tegan sauntered into Loser Lodge. While She tried to calm me down by reminding me that she had technically already suffered the indignity of being blindsided and she was just happy to have made it as far as she has. I couldn’t rationalise the boneheaded move of the boys – keep a potential extra number over booting a number, but thankfully Chapategan Garlicsior is a pretty solid distraction.

 

 

Packing a solid whack of garlic, this fresh Indian bread is the perfect comfort food after facing your second boot of the game. Second. When it is counterproductive to the entire Contenders tribe. Well done Benji and Robbie, you’ve fucked everyone. As badly as you usually would

Enjoy!

 

 

Chapategan Garlicsior
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
250g wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp pepper
250ml cold water
2 garlic cloves, minced

Method
Set aside 200g/7 oz of the flour and reserve for shaping the chapatis.

Combine a cup of flour with the salt and pepper in one bowl, and place the cold water and garlic in another.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour the liquid in, kneading as you go until you have a soft dough, or about five minutes of kneading. The process is kinda like a heavy handed version of making scones.

Divide the dough into eight balls and sprinkle some flour on a bench. Roll each ball out until it is roughly 3mm thick.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and cook each chapati for about a minute, flipping once halfway through.

Repeat until done before devouring, preferably with some Steve Mankhouw Chicken Curry or Jenneer Saagustin.

 

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Honey, Chilli & Lemon Jacken Glaziered Wings

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Side, Snack, Street Food, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders luck started to turn around in the reward challenge, in no small part thanks to Monika belly-flopping through the challenge. Sadly it was short lived as they found themselves back at tribal – in no small part thanks to Steve taking nut after nut for victory – where Paige’s stint playing the middle of the road ended, run over (thanks Aubry) by the rest of the tribe and booted from the game.

We kicked things off with zaddy Steve and Mat at the Champions, where Lydia talked us through how well the tribe is going and how much they are loving the experience. Lydia was focused on getting through the game and taking out victory, which sure doesn’t bode well for her, no? Mat too was loving things, learning to swim with Shane and controlling the tribe with Jackie and Brian on the left right out. Meanwhile over at the Contenders things weren’t as upbeat as they talked about Paige’s boot and sat around, two-by-two, unsure how things were going to play out on the tribe. Well, aside from the fact that Queen Tegan is channeling Queen Sandra and straight up doesn’t give a shit who goes home, as long as it isn’t her or Heath.

Jonathan decided to drop by nice and early this ep for the latest rewa, wa, wa, what – there isn’t a challenge in sight. This is a switch! Tegan looked giddy, the Champions looked terrified and to quote Big Kev, I’m excited. The new Champions tribe was made up of Tegan – who was less excited – Shonee, Steve, Shane, Mat, Sam, Jackie and Brian while Sharn, Lydia and Monika joined Benji, Fenella, Heath and Robbie as the new Contenders tribe. Tegan felt like she couldn’t catch a break in the game while Lydia was gutted to be slumming it at the Contenders.

At said camp Lydia was heartbroken to discover everything was awful and the camp was in disarray, before they all introduced themselves. Sharn made fast friends, pulling a fishing rod out of her bag and started feeding her new tribemates, Lydia got to work jushing the shelter and Robbie fell in love with Monika. Meanwhile Shonee was giving the producers hella sass at the Champions tribe, pissed about going from on top of the tribe to left right out with Tegan. Thankfully Tegan gave her a pep-talk and they got to work making friends with their new tribemates, while Mat was paranoid about how the numbers would fall on the new tribe. Tegan started the strategising early, asking to be shown the well … which Mat happily obliged to make sure he made a connection before Brian and Jackie got the chance. Jackie and Brian meanwhile seethed near the fire, taking everything in and biding her time to make a move. Jackie didn’t bide long however, with Jackie quickly cornering Tegan and lying that the boys plan to throw the next challenge to take them out ASAP.

Back at the Contenders Lydia was bonding with Benji and Robbie, hoping that her strength would be enough to keep her around. Lydia proposed a meatshield alliance – perfected by Stephen – with the boys joining with her Champions alliance to make it to the end. Sadly she decided sacrificing Fenella would be the best option, and given the fact she was the strongest Contender woman … I don’t see it panning out.

Lil’ JoJo made a return for the first immunity challenge as new tribes with Monika pretending they weren’t slumming it at the new tribe, while Tegan and Shonee could barely hide how nervous they were. Which was evident, as Tegan said she looked forward to making new connections ahead of the merge. Anyway, challenge. The tribes were required to pair up and balance a block between their feet, with the last block remaining winning immunity for their tribe. Sam immediately started to play mind games, seeing that Benji was struggling from the get go. Sadly though he and Tegan were also struggling, and became the first to drop out of the challenge. Out of nowhere Fenella and Monika dropped, and things were evened up. Steve couldn’t hold out any longer, leaving Shonee and Shane as the last pair standing at the Champions while Benji and Sharn continued to struggle, dropping, leaving Robbie and Lydia as the new Contenders last hope. After forty-five minutes poor Shane could hold on no longer, dropping the cube and handing immunity to the new Contenders. Out of nowhere while everyone was comforting Shonee for putting in such a killer effort, Robbie hugged Mat and whispered for him to look after the girls like Rob to Lex in All Stars. And I don’t feel like that will actually work out for him.

Back at camp the Survivor gods decided to kick the Champions while they were down, heaping rain up them so they can not scramble for the vote ahead. Mat was confident that the OG Champions would stick together and send Shonee or Tegan home, while Jackie wasn’t feeling as hopeful so commenced making second plans. Jackie whispered to Shonee that they would likely split the vote at tribal and she would protect her. When the rain let up Jackie checked in with Mat to see that they would be splitting the vote, locking in the boys for Tegan and girls for Shonee. Sadly for her, Mat approached Tegan to make sure she and Shonee were ok with Tegan telling him that Jackie told her about the plan to throw the challenge to get them out. Which pissed off Mat, who approached Steve to get rid of Jackie or Brian instead since the girls would be sitting ducks for later. Brian and Jackie worried about the growing bond between Mat and Tegan, while Mat approached Shane to see if she’d be open to turning on Brian if it kept them safe.

At tribal council Jonathan shaded the Champions for losing the challenge before Mat turned it around and praised Shane and Shonee for dominating the challenge. Steve said the tribe was weaker post swap, while Shonee quickly threw some shade saying, again, that she and Shane dominated the challenge. Jackie, if she was a betting woman, would say that one of the Champions would have gone had the new Contenders tribe lost the challenge, Sam said he would hope to make new bonds with new tribemates, while poor Tegan was feeling like it is her time to go. Again. Shonee admitted that she was trying to make bonds with her new tribe mates, but it was be difficult given they’ve known each other for twenty-five days and them for one … but she does have faith in putting trust in people. Brian said it is a toss of a coin which of the girls go, which made Tegan feel like shit. Mat started talking about the importance of fake outs in sport, which started making Jackie and Brian quite nervous with Jackie encourage everyone to play safe rather than focussing on making a move for the sake of it. Mat said he was hoping to keep the tribe strong and play with people he can trust, while Jackie and Brian doubled down on keeping the Champions, specifically, strong.

With that the tribe voted and they rolled in for Tegan, Jackie, Shonee and Brian … before they all piled up on Jackie and Brian, with the poker player ultimately out played and sent out of the game. Much to her shock and feigned respect. While she was still smarting from the pain of a vicious blindside when she rolled into Loser Lodge, she couldn’t help but respect the game. Particularly given she had been looking for a way to make a crack at the other alliance. When distracting her by joking about how we both fucking suck at rubix cube stopped cheering her up, I pulled out a big batch of (verbose) Honey, Chilli & Lemon Jacken Glaziered Wings.

 

 

Yes, the name is clunky … but how can you not love the combination of honey, chilli and lemon so much that they require equal billing? Sweet, spicy and little tart, the flavours cut through the fatty wings and leave you with the ultimate comfort snack.

Enjoy!

 

 

Honey, Chilli & Lemon Jacken Glaziered Wings
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
125ml honey
1 tbsp tamari
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 chilli, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
12 chicken wings, jointed in the disgusting process that makes me sad

Method
Combine the honey, tamari, lemon, chilli, garlic and shallots in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and transfer to the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Line a large baking tray and spread out the wings with a little space between each. Transfer to hot oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, like a slob. Because that is the only way to eat wings, damnit.

 

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BFFS in Cincinnati

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

After hanging with Courts last week and just getting back from seeing the greatest movie of all time Book Club, I realised that there was another iconic blonde – who is of a certain age – I’d been neglecting. And I thought it would be remiss of me to let it linger any longer.

Thankfully my dear Loni Anderson had a clear schedule this week, so she giddily jumped on the next plane after I called.

I’ve known Loni for years after meeting when she guested on The Love Boat. As you know, I was part of Charo’s entourage at the time and spent every spare moment on he set ogling male extras on the pool deck set.

Because if my love for Steve Willis and Mat Rogers has taught you anything, this guy loves a speedo.

Anyway, tangent over. What do I make for my dearest friend that has also played another of my dearest friends which made her the TV mother of my other dearest friend?

Image source: Ron Galella/WireImage.

 

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Pear and Gin Spritz

Drink

Hot damn has it been a busy week?! I mean, triple boots on Australian Survivor, a new celeb feud, hosting my besto AND kicking off a countdown for Survivor David vs. Goliath – it is exhausting. So exhausting that I needed to pour myself a nice tall glass of Gin.

As in, my dear friend from across the ditch Gin. Not the booze … (though I assume you can tell where this is going).

While I’ve only known Gin for a decade or so, our friendship blossomed quite quickly and we’re truly as close as two friends could ever be. You see, she was support act for Jay Brannan’s 2008 Sydney gig where I was selling the shit out of his merch and revelling in the glory of an AAA pass. Which isn’t something rare for me, obviously. But I still relish the opportunity to talk down to people and flaunt the access over gen pop.

Anyway, I was wandering the corridors for shits and giggles, stumbled into Gin backstage and we got to talking. One thing led to another, and I left the gig with a new BFF and an offer to drop by whenever I was in NZ.

Which I later learnt is pretty much a law of being Kiwi. To invite relative strangers into your home.

Thankfully I didn’t know that then, took her up and her offer and we solidified our bond as besties. Which is why she happily jumped on a plane to drop by, reconnect and split a Pear and Gin Spritz or seven.

 

 

Is this a blatant attempt to work through some of the leftover granita I had locked away in the freezer? Sure. But daaaaaamn, does it just work. A little tart, a little sweet … add in the earthiness of gin and you have a real treat.

Turns out I’m Dr. fucking Seuss now, so enjoy!

 

 

Pear and Gin Spritz
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
⅔ cup Granita Berkett
½ cup soda water
1 shot gin
dash of bitters

Method
Place a mound of granita in a glass.

Top with soda water, gin and bitters, in that order, before downing. Gleefully.

 

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John Coq Au Ransling

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Caramoan - Fans vs. Favourites, Survivor: South Pacific

While I kind of dropped off the radar – which as you know, I will strike from memory in the coming weeks – as soon as Wendell defeated Domenick thanks to Laurel breaking the tie on Ghost Island, I am super pumped by the fact that in sub five weeks Survivor: David vs. Goliath will be back and all will be right in the world.

Because let’s be honest, no matter how terrible a season can be any survivor is better than no Survivor because there will also be a Michael or Brendan to thirst over.

As has become the tradition, I decided to reach out to some of my dearest Sole Survivor friends to countdown to the latest season … and since they were all unavailable, I decided to invite John Cochran.

I joke, I joke! I love Cochran and he is my dearest friend … now. But damn did I hate him during the horror that was South Pacific. The self-deprecating humour, the inability to fit in with the jocks and not wanting to get naked in the water – it was like watching myself on screen and I just couldn’t handle it.

Thankfully his flip to Coach and Co’s side led to a glorious Sophie victory, so I apologised to him for my heavy use of voodoo during the season and we slowly, tentatively became the best of friends. A friendship so strong, I couldn’t even bring myself to hate him when he voted against my lover Malcolm in his winning season.

Say what you will about the season being terrible and made for him, Caramoan had some killer moments – the TEETH, Malcolm losing his pants, Dawn seething about missing out on the family reward – and Cochran ran the game, well and truly deserving his victory.

While we couldn’t run the odds since the cast is yet to be released, we do agree that Probst’s friend, creator of Enlightened and The Amazing Race contestant Mike White – who was clearly visible in the preview at the end of Ghost Island – should become an icon of the game … and the hot cop will most likely be my number one thirst trap. Though maybe those opinions were just the John Coq Au Ransling talking.

 

 

Like his oft joked about daughter – with Sophie, obvi – Aubry Bracco, I can’t bring myself to see him without the sweet flavour or bacon, mushrooms, chicken and sweet, sweet wine. This time, however, the wine is white and hot damn does it still taste amazing. Rich and creamy, Coq au Riesling is all the fun of Coq Au Vin but with a lightness … that is removed by addition of cream. But it’s cream, so you know what, so what, who cares.

Enjoy!

 

 

John Coq Au Ransling
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
6 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken thighs, diced
250g mushrooms, sliced
750ml Riesling
1 cup cream
salt & pepper, to taste
handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Melt the butter in a large pan and sweat the onions over medium-low heat for five minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered before adding the garlic and cooking for a further minute or so.

Reduce heat to low, add the mushrooms and cook for five minutes or until browned and glorious. Add the chicken and cook for a minute to brown the sides before drowning, giddily, in wine. Crank up the heat and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer and cooking, covered for half an hour.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream and cook for a further five minutes, or until slightly reduced. Season, sprinkle with parsley and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, and devour with a generous hunk of French Sourdough. Like a Paige de Keragne, for instance.

 

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Courtney Love Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Oh my god – what a delight it was to see Courts again! I was anxiously waiting at the VIP exit of Brisbane Airport – the one where Schapelle left from! – and ran straight into her arms as soon as I saw her, breaking down in tears from either feuding with a washed up Gladiator or how desperately I missed her.

JK, obvi it was the latter. My feud gives me life.

Now as you know from my time-travel enabled date with Kurt, I’ve known Courtney for years when we were both huge in the Portland gay club scene where I was turning tricks at the time. She realised that I was destined for greatness – well, a different kind of greatness because no judgement – took me under her wing and vowed to make me a star.

While I kept on stumbling, Courts was never disappointed in me and always made me feel loved and appreciated. She truly is the sweetest person, which is why I’m honoured to have introduced her to Kurt.

Anyway I haven’t seen Courts since she toured Australia four years ago, so it was such a treat to see her, reconnect and see whether she believes that Nico and I will ultimately end up together. Well, if things don’t pan out with The Commando, obvi. And if she and Neeks enjoyed their time with Ru and Mish, obvi.

Given the deep love I have for dear Courts, I knew there was only one thing I could make that would do her and our friendship justice. A delicious Courtney Love Cake.

 

 

A traditional Sri Lankan celebration cake, the Love Cake is moist, spicy and sweet and is emblematic of all that is good in the world. Like my dear ride-or-die friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Courtney Love Cake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
350g raw unsalted cashews
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
4 eggs, separated, plus an additional 4 yolks
1 ½ cups semolina
⅓ cup honey
icing sugar, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 150°C and line a square cake tin with baking paper.

Blitz the cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the rosewater and spices and blitz again until well combined.

Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, to the point where they appear to be pulsating. You know the look. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition before folding through the fragrant cashew mixture, semolina and honey.

Using a clean bowl, beat the egg whites in the stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into the semolina mixture, transfer to the cake tin and bake for an hour, or until firm and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Before carving, dusting in icing sugar and devouring. With your favourite friend.

 

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Paige de Keragne

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Baking, Bread, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Anita and Tegan battled it out on Exile, with Anita sent from the game and Tegan sent back to roast the people that turned on her. Meanwhile over at the Champions, everyone was loving life, Steve was giving me life and well … we don’t see much from them because they keep winning. As such the Contenders returned to tribal council where somehow, against all odds Benji managed to avoid the epic fallout from his lies, in no small part thanks to Zach just digging his grave and getting himself booted. I mean, you can tell the exact moment Benji and Robbie could tell that Zach had ruined his game.

We opened up at the Champions with my love Steve Willis, tragically doing clothed yoga while Jackie and Brian roasted him for being quiet, sexy and focused on meditating and exercising. I mean, I love Steve because he is the best … but I’m also loving Brian for the sassy commentary. Well, until it dips over to being malicious, then I choose Steve. Forever and always. Brian continued to watch Steve and Lydia doing yoga in his jocks – which yes, is kinda hot – while Jackie praised how well she was set up on her tribe. She has Brian, Monika and Sam – I think – in her pocket, with Shane so scared she’d jump to anyone, and planned to take out Mat or Steve – BACK OFF – ASAP. Mat noticed the fact that Jackie was rallying troops to get him out, so tried to get Monika on side to launch a counterattack and to take control. So I guess congratulations Contenders, you’ve won immunity.

Speaking of which, the ladies of the Contenders were rejoicing in the peace following Zach’s boot. Shonee in particular was glad to no longer have to smell him or hear about his love of protein shakes, chickens and generally being boring. The girls were interrupted from roasting Zach by a random treemail announcing treasure hidden somewhere at their camp. The tribe giddily ran around the island and discovered that they were given the pity prize of their loved items from home. Paige got photos, Benji got a random doll from his nana, Tegan got her son’s bunny – the same as Brian’s daughter and my niece’s – Shonee got a photo of her zaddy husband, Robbie got a picture of his family, Fenella got a picture of her boyf and Heath got some bracelets and a picture of his daughter, and hot damn if you’re not crying you have no soul. Thankfully it brought them all together and it finally seemed like they may be at a turning point.

With all the talk about dominating the Champions at the next challenge, Jonathan returned for said challenge to see if they could put their money where their mouth is. The reward challenge required the tribe to run and climb up a wall, jump off and grab a rope before swimming out to an A-frame and tether themselves on top, with the first tribe to complete getting to smash nachos and fresh margs like Julie Cooper-Nichol. Mat and Steve thankfully were rocking the speedos so I’m not exactly sure what was happening, though I think the Contenders were in front despite Tegan and Robbie belly-flopping. Since Monika completely axed herself. Shane went for gold to try and close the gap, however the Contenders maintained their epic lead while Monika freaked about having to attempt the dive again … while Steve served cake to the camera. Once again, Mon missed the rope while Mat and Steve willed her to finish as the Contenders ascended their A-frame as Monika smashed herself, this time successfully on the third go. Despite a late push for a comeback thanks to Heath and Robbie struggling with the ropes, the Contenders finally secured their first reward while poor Monika cried in pain.

The Contenders were sent out to enjoy their reward with an ominous note and a warning that since it is a family style nachos, they’d have to be prepared to share. Shonee however was too busy being thrilled by the incoming margs and the fact that they won the first challenge after booting Zach, despite him telling them he was the only thing keeping them together.

Back at camp the Champions praised Monika for persevering through the challenge despite continually axing herself. And while I want to mock it, the fact that she took the moment to remind herself that while she isn’t an athlete she deserves to be a champion and has a renewed fire to take out the win.

At the reward, the Contenders discovered that their share meal and drink came with the mother of all shit twists with everyone eating one at a time and forced to eat as much as they want slash see fit until everyone had a turn. Or the food was gone. With everyone jockeying to try and organise the order to suit them, Tegan outplayed Benji and assured him that the girls would eat less and as such should go first … knowing full well an idol would be hidden at the food. While she searched the entire place, she came up empty handed. Fenella and Shonee followed without looking for an idol, while Paige had a cursory glance before Benji arrived and moved the food from the bottom of the platter to discover a clue etched in the wood. He quickly deduced it was hidden on a sandbank, and just like that my heart broke as he smashed the nachos like a pig and desperately tried to hide the clue. Heath arrived and questioned the mutilated nachos, though didn’t appear to notice the clue … however Robbie did. Oh wait, no. He missed it, despite it being completely exposed. Back at camp Benji gazed out at the island, though was stuck in wait until the tide went down. And even then, he was terrified about being caught and having an even bigger target on his back.

My boy Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where two people would hold a net over a log, while the other tribe would try and shoot coconuts into their baskets with the latest person standing securing immunity for their tribe. So yeah, so Zach … the contenders could probs have used you. And I was totally wrong about Contenders snagging immunity. Both tribes focused on loading up the men, with Heath and Steve slowly getting more and more weight while Fenella and Lydia were chillaxing. Ultimately Heath dropped while Steve struggled, leaving Fenella as the only hope against Lydia. Steve continued to take nut after nut until we both dropped our loads and it became a battle of the women as Fenella struggled and Lydia looked like the challenge beast that she is. Obviously before poor Fenella couldn’t hold out much longer – dem nuts, yo – giving immunity to the Champions again on account of Lydia being invincible.

Back at camp Paige was confident in her ability to play the swing vote, instantly making me nervous about her survival. Everyone was feeling dejected about the upcoming vote, with Benji knowing he can’t snatch the idol ahead of tribal council so instead looked to throw the vote to Paige. Shonee was all in as she can’t read Paige … until Benji tried to win back some trust by admitting that he is a millionaire, which made her instantly want to target him. She then went straight back to Fenella and told her they should vote him out, leading to Fenella saying what we’re all thinking – that his accent is total bullshit. Benji and his accent approached Heath to lock him in on the Paige vote, despite neither of them trusting each other. Meanwhile Robbie and Tegan were also talking about getting rid of Paige and leaving the couples in tact for this round. Benji joined them and assured Tegan he wouldn’t screw her over again, though despite the fact she doesn’t trust him she knows she needs to keep him close for this round. And well Paige just hoped the Survivor God’s would shine on her.

At tribal council Jonathan shaded the Contenders on their losing ways, before Tegan and Fenella admitted that they had each found a close ally, as did Robbie before poor Paige tried to get in on the action despite not being meaningfully allied with anyone. Tegan admitted that she needs to put things aside and work with people, even if she doesn’t trust them. Benji tried to pretend he hasn’t been caught up in his messy web of lies, Heath planned to move past prior blindsides, Shonee reminded us that Survivor isn’t the place to hold grudges and, well, Benji just felt confident her won’t be going home. 95% sure, to be exact.

With that the tribe went off to vote and tragically, opted to run over the girl in the middle in Paige rather than knock Benji’s smug face out of the. And boy was she pissed. While she seethed like I did with Zach last night, I quickly won her over with the smell of a freshly baked Paige de Keragne.

 

 

Pain de Campagne is essentially just a fancy way of saying French sourdough, but when it tastes this good you should let me indulge in my smugness. Adapted from a couple of recipes I found because I wanted an easier option, this easier version is still delicious. And light. And gloriously sour and ready for a slathering of butter.

Enjoy!

 

 

Paige de Keragne
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1kg 00 flour
250g rye flour
2 tsp yeast, crumbled
800ml tap-cold water
15g sea salt

Method
To make the starter, combine 100g of each of the flours in a bowl with ½ tsp of yeast and ½ cup water. Mix until well combined, cover and leave to ferment for at least 12 hours. I started making it back on day 11 when it seemed likely Zach’s anti-woman stance would take her out.

When the starter is adequately fermented, combine the remaining ingredients with the starter in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead with a dough hook on medium speed for about 10 minutes. Or by hand, if you need to work out some Zach anger. Did I mention Zach and I are feuding?

Once the dough is nice and elastic, shape into a ball, cover with a warm damp cloth and leave to prove for an hour or two.

When the dough has doubled in size, knock back, divide into two or three balls, shape and place on a lined baking sheet. Cover the shaped dough and leave to prove for a further hour or so.transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake for

Preheat oven to 250°C.

Once adequately proven, slice the top with shallow lines feeling your Meryl-in-It’s-Complicated-making-croissants self and place a baking dish of boiling water in the bottom of the oven. Transfer loaves to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour, freshly sliced, as the butter melts all over the bread.

 

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Duck Risottozryski

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, we witnessed the rise of the previously invisible who orchestrated a blindside of Tegan to break-up the power couple. Sadly for him, she wasn’t eliminated from the game and was instead sent to Exile Beach to await the next boot with them battling out to return to the game. Once again the Contenders lost the challenge, with Benji leading the charge to take out Tegan’s ally Heath and guarantee one of them leaves the game. Sadly for him, Heath played his idol negating all votes but his and sending Anita to Exile where she cleared the air with Tegan and was swiftly beaten at the challenge and sent from the game for good. Upon winning her way back into the game, Tegan was heartbroken to have kicked Anita out of the game though the departing Anita gave her a peptalk to get her revenge, and hot damn, I’d be terrified to have her back at camp if I were Benji.

The Contenders returned to camp where Tegan quickly got to work making everyone feel awkward as hell before letting them simmer in their guilt and getting water with Heath. Back at camp, Paige told the rest of the tribe they needed to own up to things and clear the air with Tegan if they wanted to last. They then all shared the stories that led to Tegan’s boot, with Benji’s lie outed without Tegan even needing to get her hands dirty. Though obvi, Benji wasn’t concerned. Meanwhile back at the well, Tegan filled Heath in on everything she learnt from Anita and told him that they both need to stop playing Mr & Mrs Nice Guy and go for the jugular.

Jonathan arrived on the scene for the immunity challenge where Tegan and Zach assured him that the Contenders hashed everything out and were ready to win, however given the fact we haven’t seen the Champions at all this episode, it isn’t looking likely. Anyway the challenge required sick people to run up a slippery slope to fill buckets full of holes with water and fill up a tube to release a box filled with a ball, which two people will use to complete a wall maze. As is oft the case, Mat got the Champions out to an early lead however Benji closed the gap and got the Contenders out in front. Well, until the Champions stripped down – damn boys and their speedos! Mat, Brian, Steve … swoon! – and overtook the Contenders, giving Jackie and Sam the lead for the maze. After narrowly missing the hole on their first attempt, the Contenders managed to catch up. Well until Zach and Robbie choked and Jackie and Sam secured victory for the Champions. Again.

As Tegan promised, she returned back to camp ready to out all of Benji’s lies and scorch the earth, so to speak until Fenella spoke up and outed the reason why she turned on Tegan. This set her off, saying he was a bullshitter and everyone needed to know who they were playing with. Benji then straight up lied to everyone, saying how he simply pointed out that they were a pair, then trying to say Heath planned to turn on the girls. This then lead to an epic moment where Heath and Tegan went full mum and dad mode, chastising him for lying and pointing out that the bromance are far more dangerous than their pair.

Benji then ran off to the shore to hide his tears by washing his face before pulling Zach aside to reaffirm they need to put enough doubt in their tribemates mind. While Paige didn’t buy his bullshit a second time, he was confident that he’d be able to convince Shonee and Fenella he never lied. While they looked to be all in with his story, they also seemed genuine when Tegan pulled them aside to clear the air and build their relationship back up. All was forgiven and they were ready to join Tegan in the next vote, though only if they vote out Zach instead of Benji since he is far more dislikable. While Tegan felt uncomfortable not taking Benji out, Shonee shared with us that she needed to keep her options open and felt Zach was more expendable to her game.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to shade their string of losses and Tegan for previously being booted from the game. Tegan admitted that she had been floating through the game prior to her boot, and vowed to fight hard for the rest of the game. Jonathan asked Benji for his opinion, with him once again trying to dance around the truth with very much conviction. Tegan called him out for lying about her targeting the girls to get them to turn on her, saying that Anita told her that Robbie and Benji instigated it despite their denials. Shonee confirmed that it was all true, with Benji attempting to stutter out a defence before being schooled by Tegan like she is the Michelle to his Purple Ben.

Zach tried to jump in and defend Benji, saying Tegan lied and planned to take him out with her pointing out that she never actually spoke to him and he knew that she targeted him since he voted her out. Zach admitted that he was nervous about the upcoming vote, with Tegan pointing out that the boys strengths haven’t really been helping them and the girls are far stronger than he gives them credit for. Zach continued to shrink the target on Benji’s back, saying the girls were letting down the team much to the disgust of all the women on the tribe. You could see them completely shut down as he tried to dig himself out of the hole, with the girls all jumping in to talk why he is useless and failing the tribe and Robbie and Benji looking more and more defeated.

Which was well placed as Heath and the girls joined together … with the help of Benji and Robbie, to take out Zach, despite the fact that Benji completely had his game blown up by the Exile Beach twist. While Zach had been rehabbing his image over the last couple of episodes, he was letting his misogynistic flag fly when he walked into Loser Lodge. Thankfully like a leftie woman, I don’t tolerate white heterosexual male privilege, nor do I take kindly to fragile masculinity. As such, I went to town on him for all his shitty statements throughout his ten episodes on television and proceeding to roll him the tapes of real man Steve Willis, breaking down about his desire to be loved. Real men cry, bitch.

Anyway, I went on such a rage filled tangent that I made Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth II hurricane speech look like a children’s story … so then I whipped him up a delightfully salty Duck Risottozryski to apologise for going so hard when I know that every good show needs a good villain.

 

 

I love Duck Risotto. It is amazing – deliciously gamey, sweet, creamy and packing a punch, it is near perfection. And while some would say his statements about women made him less than deserving of such a beautiful dish, I made him promise to do better in the future.

To quote Melania Trump, when they go low, we go high. She said that, right?

Enjoy!

 

 

Duck Risottozryski
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 duck breasts, skin on
1L vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
3 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
⅔ cup white wine
500g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup parmesan, grated
100g Goats Cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat until scorching. Add the duck breasts, skin down and cook for about five minutes, or until super crispy. Flip and cook for a further five minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and leave to rest for five ten minutes before slicing into 5mm thick … slices. Keep warm.

Meanwhile place the stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Finally heat another lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes or so, or until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, or until well coated and starting to lose their colour at the end. Add the wine and stir until it is almost absorbed before adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring until each additional has almost absorbed. This will take about fifteen minutes total.

While you’re cooking the rice, place the fatty duck pan back on the heat and cook the mushrooms until browned and glorious. Add the parsley, stir and remove from heat.

When the stock has all been used up, add the lemon juice and zest, thyme, mushrooms and parmesan, and a good whack of salt and pepper before stirring to combine. Crumble over the Goats Cheese and cooked duck, and serve immediately.

Then devour and wash the dishes like Zach would want. Well, if you’re a dislikable, leftie female.

 

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Granita Berkett

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champions continued to dominate – much to the disgust of Zach – before a twist allowed Mat to win himself an individual reward and share it with someone from the Contenders tribe. Since she can’t stop running her mouth, he decided to take Paige and further alienate her from the tribe. While it worked in fueling Anita’s rage, the focus should definitely be on the fact that Zach is the absolute worse. Meanwhile over at the Champions, Shane felt nervous and found herself a hidden immunity idol just in the nick of time as she and Jackie blew the immunity challenge. At tribal council, Moana’s illness started to get to her and she requested to leave, however Sharn convinced her to let the tribe vote instead with them respecting her wishes whilst also flushing Shane’s idol out of the game.

Things were decidedly more calm at the Champions the next day, as Brian made a full on play for my heart running around in his jocks before pulling them up into a G-string. I hate myself for saying it, but swoon. Lydia then gave us a rundown of the tribe, sharing that Brian pees a lot – in full view, Trump! – Sam is funny and Monika is a bit of a badarse when it comes to hunting and gathering.

Meanwhile over at Casa Contenders, Heath and Shonee discovered a wild pig wandering around their camp. While Heath tried to capture it, Anita was terrified that he would be attacked and begged him to stop. While everyone was fantasizing about eating bacon and neglecting the fact it is cured, Tegan and Heath got together to discuss the tribe dynamics and what their next steps would be. Sadly for them Benji, Robbie and Zach noticed their growing power, and Benji decided to lead the charge to get rid of Tegan and snatch control of the tribe. We then learnt that Benji can deliver a confessional, is a millionaire and is hella successful … begging the question, why exactly are we only meeting him today? Benji then approached Shonee to float the idea of taking out Tegan or Heath, which she appeared to fall for which he then gloated about, laughing how quickly she fell for his lies.

Back at the Champions, Sharn and Shane discussed Moana’s mercy boot and Sharn shared how losing her best friend in the game had made her feel alone. We then learnt more about Sharn’s life at home, being a dominant lawyer and having a beautiful family. Sharn then checked in with Steve and Mat to debate why exactly Shane played her idol for no reason.

Over at the Contenders Tegan and Anita were discussing Zach and his complete lack of human decency before we were shocked by his self-awareness, admitting that his social game is letting him down. He lamented about his need for the idol to Heath. Sadly for the jerk, Heath found the idol clue himself and learnt it was buried under the tribe flag. He shared his clue with Tegan, who quickly rallied the troops to go hunting for pippies and allow Heath to snatch his idol. Sadly for him, Zach elected to stay behind at camp to find the idol to save himself, meandering aimlessly around the camp while Heath clearly seethed. Thankfully for Heath, he soon gave up on the beach and headed into the jungle leaving the gentle giant enough time to dig for the idol and give himself and Tegan even more power.

My love Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would face off in groups of three who would go hunting for a ball in the shallows before passing it off to a fourth person, who would need to shoot it into the goals. Mat – in speedos, swoon – Steve and Brian faced off against Robbie, Heath and Benji, with the Contenders getting the early win. Well, until Fenella couldn’t work the slingshot and sent the ball straight back to Steve, who passed it to Jackie who snatched the first point for the Champions. Zach, Robbie, Anita and Paige struggled against Matt, Sharn, Lydia and Sam, with Lydia throwing them out of the way and passing the ball to Sam who, given she is a physics genius, easily charted its trajectory into the goal. Anita, Tegan, Shonee and Fenella put up a huge fight against Lydia, Shane, Monika and Jackie, and were able to snatch the Contenders their first point. Sadly the boys were also about to snatch a win, with Benji, Robbie, Zach and Heath making quick work of Brian, Steve, Mat and Sam and tying things up. Heath, Tegan, Fenella and Paige put up a huge fight against Sharn, Mat, Lydia and Jackie, however tragically were felled by Jackie and her challenge redemption.

Back at camp, Zach tried to do something different and make friends, so instead of berating people for their loss he congratulated them for trying their best. Anita pulled Tegan and Paige aside to talk about getting rid of Zach, despite his half-arse attempts to be pleasant. Tegan took the info to Fenella, who was all in while Zach and Benji loitered around. Fenella and Shonee caught up with Robbie and Benji to discuss getting rid of Zach, with the boys quickly lying to them about Heath and Tegan actually wanting Anita out instead. Surprisingly Fenella fell for their lies, taking the intel back to Anita who was angry and ready to jump. Meanwhile Health and Tegan spoke about how lucky they were to be in the middle, unaware that Benji had turned everyone against them. Thankfully Shonee seemed to question the boys story and felt that getting rid of Zach is still the smarter move, no matter how confident Benji got.

At tribal council Jonathan congratulated them on almost winning the challenge, before talking about the importance of the social game. Fenella argued that the social game can be played many different ways, before Tegan countered that if you’re not honest it would get caught out so she stands by being her honest self. Zach finally said something right, disagreeing with Tegan because being himself really hasn’t worked out for him thus far. Benji flagged that some people have more influence than others, Tegan was scared that that influence can easily put a target on your back, Anita was confident in her plan, Benji felt confident in his plan and Fenella was uneasy. Jonathan then dropped a bomb on the tribe, telling them that this tribal council would work a little bit different and instead of voting someone out, they’d be sending them to Exile Beach where they would wait for the next person to be voted out before completing a challenge to see who will stay in the game and who will go.

This bit of intel seemed to terrify Benji, Zach, Paige, Fenella and Shonee, confirming the facts the girls were actually going to flip on Tegan. Tegan was confident about the people she gave her word to and Paige wanted to flip the vote to Zach before Tegan uttered a stick to the plan, instantly cursing her like Keith Nale. With that, the tribe voted as Zach continued to win the hearts of women and normal people across the country telling Tegan that arrogance and ignorance are two very unattractive qualities in a woman while voting her out. The votes rolled in and poor Tegan found herself shipped off to Exile Beach and hot damn I can’t wait to see this revenge plot play out!

We checked in on Tegan the next day who was well and truly on struggle street all alone on Exile Beach. While she fought back tears, she set herself up a camp, started fire and reminded herself that she needs to fight, get back in the came and get her revenge on Benji. And hopefully, I assume, explain how stupid it is to elect to go by known dog’s name Benji, from one Ben to another.

We then dropped by the Champions where Brian continued his play for my heart, joking around and almost kissing Sam. I’d ship that. Lydia shared how well she is going in the game, getting along with Mat and Steve, and altogether loving island life. Mat then got Steve to give him a shave with fire and while it makes me extremely anxious, I’d also ship this.

Things were also quite relaxed at the Contenders where the tribe did some yoga and debated whether they were bruised or dirty. Oh wait, no it isn’t – Heath is seething after Tegan’s blindside, while Zach and Robbie desperately tried to win him back. Though given they only said that winning immunity would save him from the next vote, he wasn’t thrilled. And I am living for him. Fenella, Shonee and Anita were feeling bad about upsetting him too, while Benji found it hilarious and looked forward to sending him to exile while everyone else thought it was smarter to send Paige instead. Thankfully Heath has his idol and definitely won’t be taking his ally out of the game, instead playing to blindside someone who she can beat.

My boy Jonathan returned for the reward challenge where the Champions learnt about the Exile Beach redemption twist, much to their nonchalance. The challenge would see groups from each tribe carrying weights while running around a ring to catch the other tribe. They were playing for care packages from home, which thankfully elicited a more chalant reaction. Can I use it like that? Anyway, Robbie, Fenella and Benji were up first against Brian, Sam and Sharn with the Champions making quick work of the challenge while Benji struggled to breath and Fenella pushed through despite it not being a washing up challenge. Mat, Steve – in speedos, hot damn – and Lydia quickly took out Zach, Anita and Shonee … and can Steve just wear speedos for the rest of the season? He and Mat then gave Anita a peptalk after she fell in the water, couple that with the shaving scene and Steve telling his fellow Champions he loves them and I could marry him right now. Soz Mish. Oh – Heath, Paige and Zach destroyed Lydia, Shane and Jackie … but Steve, you know? Despite a strong start from Zach, Paige and Fenella, they quickly lost steam, allowing Brian, Sam and Sharn to close the gap and take out victory, despite Zach’s abnormal kindness as Paige broke down for losing.

The Champions returned to camp unwrapped their gifts and proceeded to breakdown. Lydia got a photo from home and her Olympic kangaroo that lives in their room, Brian got his daughter’s bunny – which looks like my niece’s, begging the question … are we related? – and a photo of his mum and kids, Mat too got a family photo and a poem written by his mum about the love between his parents and hot damn if the story about their deaths didn’t break your heart. As an aside – I need Chloe Maxwell and Mish for the family visit ASAP. Monika got a teddy bear made by her husband with a recorded message, Sharn got a photo album, Shane got a book, Sam got an image of his cats and childhood inventions and Steve got my tears going again, looking at the letters from his kids and MICHELLE BRIDGES SIGHTING. What I wouldn’t give to hold Steve as he cried. Not even in a creepy way though, he just needs it. I mean, breaking down while talking about needing love and acceptance. I can’t …

Jonathan returned – or at least I think he has, I can’t see through the tears – for the immunity challenge where the tribes would be required to hold weights tethered to a trough over their heads with the first tribe to drop returning to tribal. Mat, Steve and Lydia proceeded to coach their fellow Champions, while Shonee definitely was not struggling despite what Jonathan said. After five minutes Anita dropped out of the challenge, handing her bag off to Robbie while Zach sweetly – WTF – coached Paige into fighting through the pain. Jackie became the first Champion to drop out, followed closely by Paige and Shonee as Steve did a guided meditation with the Champions before Monika couldn’t take it any longer. After twenty minutes poor Fenella couldn’t hold on any longer, passing out her bag before the boys started pulling off risky moves that didn’t pay off, as Robbie dropped his bag and sent the Contenders back to tribal council.

Things were looking up over at Exile, with Tegan galvanised to push through and destroy whoever comes back into the game. Ideally, another Contender to exact her revenge.

Speaking of which, the Contenders were all miserable about their latest loss. Well except for Benji, who was thrilled to get rid of Heath and him eliminate Tegan at the challenge. Heath however was planning to target Anita to ensure Tegan’s return. He went to Zach to start planting the seeds, with Zach agreeing that they need to keep strength if they want to have a chance against powerhouses like Sharn and Lydia. Heath then approached Paige about taking out Anita, who was all in despite not realising that she is the next weakest. Heath went to Benji to tell him that Zach and Paige were in on the Anita vote, while Benji agreed he was still keen to take out Heath. Benji approached Shonee and they affirmed the vote for Heath. Well, until Shonee spoke to Fenella who was desperate to take out Zach since she hates him. Though given that Anita is still all in with Benji’s lies, she quickly got them back on taking out Heath and breaking up the couple that never turned on them.

At tribal council Robbie lamented how difficult it is to continually lose, particularly since they’ve never had a reward win. Zach spoke about how he can’t stop killing it in challenges, Anita found the game more difficult than she expected and Heath said it was hard but they knew what they signed up for. Talk returned to strength, with Anita sharing that having numbers is also a strength which kinda felt like a threat. Jonathan reminded them all about the fact that Tegan is sitting waiting for one of them at Exile Beach, with Benji pretending that voting out a strong person was a good idea while Zach admitted that he was ok if he had to go to Exile Beach if he needed to. Though quickly assured them he was joking and he wanted to stay.

Heath cautioned the tribe that anyone could win the challenge and that they needed to think carefully about who they all vote for, though nobody seemed moved by his words. Well other than him, as he played his idol based on their general shiftiness, negating every single vote but his which sent Anita to Exile Beach and made everyone else feel completely sick. Good boy Benji, good boy!

Anita rolled into Exile Beach where Tegan was chilling by the fire wondering why she was voted out the previous day. Tegan was shocked to see Anita and they both swore their way through an explanation of what happened, with Anita shocked to discover that Tegan had never planned to turn on her. After they shared their stories and cleared the air, they both agreed that whoever comes back will tear Benji a new one.

They woke up the next morning with Tegan feeling renewed and ready to get back in the game and take everyone down. Not one to leave us in suspense for too long, my boy Jonathan returned to lord over the redemption challenge with both tribes watching on as Tegan and Anita solemnly wandered into the arena. Tegan was a bit passive aggressive about the Contenders and warned the Champions that people are playing really hard, so they need to focus. After some more smack talking the girls learnt they’d be required to build towers out of blocks on the end of a ramp, with each of them required to roll a ball over the ramp to knock down the other’s stack. The first person to build their tower with all the bricks stays alive and the loser is gone for realsies.

Both girls were neck and neck however Tegan managed to knock over Anita’s stack, giving her an early lead. Well, until the wind knocked hers over when it was nearly done. With that, Anita had a huge lead while Tegan was forced to play catch up, which she did snatching victory by a single brink and sending Anita from the game. Well, coupled with Benji’s lies and Heath’s idol.

While Anita was tearful as she left her burning buff and entered Loser Lodge, she was thrilled to see her fellow Queenslander waiting in the wings to cheer her up. We laughed, we cried, we mocked Zach’s fragile masculinity and Benji’s stupidity and most importantly, smashed a big old Granita Berkett.

 

 

Fresh, light and sweet, a granita is the perfect dessert to help wash away the pain of a Queensland summer. Or the burn of being lied to leading to you blindsiding out an ally before being idolled from the game and then losing a challenge to really rub salt in the wounds.

Better still, it is delicious. So enjoy!

 

 

Granita Berkett
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
6 pears, peeled and cored
½ cup blueberries
¼ cup spiced rum
a generous lug of bitters

Method
Combine the pears and blueberries in a food processor and blitz until as smooth as possible.

Sieve the liquid into a jug and add the spiced rum and bitters.

Transfer to a flat, glass dish and place in the fridge until frozen.

Using a fork, scrape the surface to form icicle goodness.

Serve and devour immediately. I mean, it will melt if you don’t.

 

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