Previously on Australian Survivor we were finally introduced to speedo king Jordan’s cousin Josh, who proudly joined the new Blood tribe to eliminate his cuz’s former ally Amy before she could turn the tribe against him. While Nina had positioned herself in her new tribe, she tragically injured herself when coming off a slide during the reward challenge. As Blood enjoyed their reward, Jordie, Josh and Mark vowed to share any idols clue they came across. Which is exactly what Mark didn’t do, unaware that Jordie spotted him stealthily popping the clue in his shoe. Before we could get a resolution to that scene, Nina was whisked away from the reward for further testing before returning at the site of the next immunity challenge where we learnt she had an avulsion fracture in her ankle and was tragically being medevaced from the game.
With Nina’s departure confirmed, Jonathan did a hard pivot as the castaways wiped off their tears before learning of the upcoming challenge. First they would race through a mud pit, barge through a wall of hay bales and clear a path to carry a chariot, before throwing a monkey fist to release sandbags and lift the rider to the top over the tower to collect the sandbags and drop them down for the tribe to use to knock out tiles spelling their tribe names. Oh and in addition to immunity, the winning tribe would also get an advantage they can read all about after they get back to camp.
Blood got out to the earliest of leads which was only extended as they quickly smashed through the wall of hay. Jordie and Jesse then got carried on the chariot for their rival tribes, with both boys struggling to land their monkey fists before Jesse landed his out of nowhere, collected all the sandbags and started shooting while Blood floundered. Jesse and Khanh traded out with Khanh shooting away at the targets as Jordie finally released his sandbags and against all odds, ended up closing the gap. As Josh and Khanh shot head to head, Josh took the lead for Blood again, while Khanh was always just behind, tragically allowing Josh to jag a come from behind victory for Blood.
Back at camp Ben was frustrated to once again lose a challenge, though joined up with Sam and Jesse to lock in the vote against Michelle, with a split on Khanh to clear out his idol. While Ben was feeling good to be near the top, but not near enough to ever be the target, it was sadly all a ruse as Sam and Jesse went for a swim to laugh about their upcoming blindside against Ben in place of the Michelle votes.
Sam and Jesse split up to lock in this vote, with Jesse left behind to keep Ben feeling good about his place in the tribe. Sam, Chrissy, Michelle and Khanh caught up by the well, all glad to jump on board the vote against Ben while they worried about whether Croc would be ok with getting rid of his ally Ben. While Chrissy reminded them to all keep quiet and not pull a Cara. As the group split up, Sam caught up with Chrissy and suggested that they really do need to get rid of Khanh’s idol ASAP, despite their assurances they won’t target him.
Back at camp Ben started to get nervous about everyone whispering, while Jesse worked overtime to make sure he felt ok before pulling KJ aside to talk through the plan with her, with her obviously agreeing to join them and load her vote on Khanh, given she doesn’t really have any options. While Jesse was confident about the plan coming together flawlessly, Chrissy straight up told Ben that she had heard his name being thrown around and while she tried to say she’s heard a lot of names, you could tell she realised that despite her warnings, she had become the Cara. Much to young Jesse’s simmering rage.
Jesse tried to downplay her faux pas, assuring Ben his name has not come up in any of the plans though and quickly went through all the votes again to keep him safe. As Jesse and Sam caught up and spoke about how safe Ben is feeling and how perfectly this will play out, Croc decided that he wasn’t thrilled with the plan and instead wanted to flush Khanh’s idol instead. With that, Croc went to KJ, Michelle and Chrissy and floated the idea of genuinely flushing Khanh’s idol, which they were all thrilled about. Particularly KJ, who didn’t want to be dictated to by a 21 year old.
Jesse noticed an increase of whispers and approached Croc and KJ to make sure everything was ok, with Croc admitting he’d rather get rid of Khanh than Ben. And well, the vibe between them was just all kind of weird and as such, Jesse was terrified the blindside would backfire and they’d have to deal with a very angry Ben back at camp.
At tribal council the Water tribe were gagged to learn that the Blood tribe would be joining them, since their advantage was to sit in on tonight’s tribal council. Oh and that was followed by another gag when Jonathan announced that the tribe would be voting immediately. Which you know means this is a non-elimination and Sam really just can’t catch a break when it comes to trying for a big ol’ blindside and production screwing her. After everyone voted, Joanthan tallied the votes with 1 somehow landing on KJ, 2 on Khanh and 4 on Ben, however before he got his torch snuffed, Mel read the second part of their advantage where they could steal someone from the rival tribe. The catch being, they can only vote to steal someone from Water who had received a vote at tribal council.
This finally got some discussion happening with Mark talking about voting for what is best for the tribe. Shay meanwhile was hopeful the tribe would reunite her with her boyfriend, who was angry about his blindside. Which is why I would leave him there if I was the Blood tribe. Chrissy was nervous about potentially having to deal with the fallout back at camp while Jordie was busy whispering to his allies about who they should vote for, admitting to Jonathan he was weighing up making a great decision for his tribe but also trying to keep his brother safe. This blew Khanh’s mind who didn’t even think about it, while KJ just straight up pitched that she was ready to jump to the other tribe and reconnect with her original allies.
Mark spoke about the fact it is probably easier to bring a single over – aka Khanh or KJ – rather than making another pair, while Josh was nervous about the prospect of bringing Khanh over, given that could make things dangerous should they go to tribal council given his idol. Jonathan then explained that one at a time the Blood tribe would vote for the person they want to steal, with the person with the most votes immediately joining the tribe. With that, the tribe voted and Jordie straight up said he was voting KJ to leave Ben to completely blow up his game, as the rest of his tribe – minus Shay, obviously – joined the fun and snatched KJ to join Blood.
Back at the new-ish Blood tribe, Shay was angry with her tribe for not bringing her partner over to the tribe while it really feels like the best thing for her. That being said, she was glad to have another woman join the tribe because they are well and truly a sausage fest ATM and – I never thought I’d say this, ever – not in a good way.
Meanwhile over at the Water tribe Ben was trying to act like the blindside never happened and he was still dear friends with everyone in the tribe. Chrissy meanwhile was feeling super awkward, worried how things would blow up with him eventually. As she swam in the water with Ben and Jesse, Jesse apologised to him and while the boys quickly made up, she looked on in shock. Particularly since she was worried that Ben was angriest at her, given they were so close.
Chrissy and Jesse then caught up alone by the fire, worried about Ben getting to merge and reuniting with Shay and being protected by the other boys. Jesse’s only answer however was to throw the upcoming immunity challenge and get rid of Ben ASAP, particularly before Ben realises it was him and not Chrissy that organised it. As Chrissy and Jesse whispered by the fire however, Ben called them out for gossiping before assuring everyone that he just wants to be an asset and hopefully, they won’t have to return to tribal council.
Back at the Blood tribe KJ was living her absolute best life, loving the new surroundings and glad to be back with her allies Jordie, Mark and Josh. She caught up with Jordie to get the lay of the land, with him admitting that he is essentially working with everyone but Shay. And knowing the Water tribe wants to get rid of Ben made him even more sure it was the right move. As Shay quietly did chores in the water, the boys told her Shay was glad to have another woman in the tribe though given KJ planned to work with the group, I feel like it may not actually be helpful. Though KJ was living for the speedo king Jordan and his allies, so I have no choice but to stan her. Shay meanwhile continued to feel on the outs, missing Nina even more,knowing that the only way to guarantee her safety is to win immunity. Though based on last night, that may doom her/my speedo king Ben.
The tribes met up with Jonathan for the next immunity challenge where they would have to navigate three balls through an upright obstacle using a flat paddle, passing it off from person to person, one at a time, as they each navigate their own maze. Both tribes were neck and neck from the start, until Jesse dropped his first ball – deliberately – to slow them down. Michelle joined in the fun of throwing the challenge as Mark landed Blood’s first ball in the final obstacle. When Ben landed the first ball for Water, Jesse stepped up his game and started dropping more and more while Ben looked frustrated while he waited at the end. Obviously Mark whipped through the final maze and landed their second and third balls, handing them immunity. But yeah, Water definitely threw the challenge.
Back at camp Sam was thrilled to have a target laying in wait for the tribe, quickly locking in the vote against Ben with Jesse, Chrissy and Croc reminding them that his survival would make post-merge chaotic for all of them. With that locked in, the quartet disappeared with Croc ready to leave Chrissy to play with her allies while he instead thought about going out on his own to save Ben. With that, he pulled Michelle, Khanh and Chrissy aside and instead floated the idea of getting rid of Jesse instead, given he and his brother are just as threatening, if not more so, than Ben and Shay. Chrissy just looked awkward, while Khanh and Michelle appeared on board with the plan.
After Chrissy shared how horrible Croc’s plan is for her game, he caught up with Ben to float the idea of getting rid of Jesse and while he appeared down with it, he immediately went to Jesse and Sam with the information. The two people who led the blindside against him the night before. With Jesse and Sam seething with this news.
Ben pledged his undying loyalty to both Jesse and Sam, assuring them that he would gladly work with them moving forward. And just like that, the vote moved on to Croc with Chrissy to be kept in the dark. They split up to lock in the rest of the numbers, with Ben quickly getting Michelle on board before she went to catch up with Chrissy. Who felt like she was stuck in the worst position, given she and Croc are on different pages in the game. And she does not want to vote for Jesse.
While Chrissy was already feeling guilty, she caught up with Jesse who assured her that everything is still the same as the night before, without either of them realising they are both lying to each other, despite not wanting to. Chrissy reconnected with Croc, opening up about how much she doesn’t want to get rid of Jesse, given she considers him like a child while Croc just couldn’t care less about it. And once again, somehow, Khanh appears to be about to skate through another tribal without using his idol.
At tribal council Chrissy shared that Ben handled his blindside with grace, unlike how she would have played in the same situation. To which Ben responded that he thinks the tribe has just found its natural order again and all is right with the world. Chrissy reiterated she wouldn’t be handling things as cooly as he was, before Sam spoke about Ben being a threat, though the fact she now questioned whether it was even the right time to get rid of him last night. Jesse meanwhile agreed that things change very quickly in the game of Survivor, while Ben showed his gratitude for the fact everyone is still willing to work with him.
Khanh meanwhile was just shocked his name was not part of any of the plans that he heard, which actually, come to think of it, makes him more nervous, given it means he may actually be the plan. While Croc was just trying to stay strong and hold his ground. Jesse admitted that there are definitely strong alliances in the tribe, though most of the votes have been ones of consensus. Ben continued to play it cool, agreeing while there are people calling the shots everyone still has a voice. Which is something Michelle agreed with, encouraging them all to leverage themselves to put them in the best position possible.
Chrissy essentially said she and Croc – or she and Jesse – would be voting differently tonight, which made Jesse nervous while Croc reiterated he is voting solely on how things will play out post-merge. Which led to Sam jumping in, reminding them that there is no guarantee the merge is around the corner and they need to find balance, while Jesse straight up said he was very confident he was onboard with the winning plan. As was Croc.
With that the tribe voted and Jesse’s confidence appeared warranted as the tribe joined together to blindside Croc from the game. Now leaving them to contend with a very angry and upset Chrissy.
Despite his obvious disappointment to be arriving at Loser Lodge, he was confident that he had left Chrissy in a good standing for the rest of the game and as such, he couldn’t feel too sad. Which is 100% the kind of guy Croc is. I’ve known Croc for years and years as we’re both part of the broader Roosters alumni – my dad played three first-grade games, which makes me an immortal, FYI – so I knew he would need something sweet enough to move past his blindside. Sweet enough while impressive, both technically and physically, meaning I quickly served him a commiseratory Michael Crocembouche.
Yeah, yeah, I’ve done profiteroles before – for another NRL great, no less – and technically, croquembouche is nothing more than then stacked into a tower (a small one, in this instance) but that doesn’t take away from how good these are. Plus, this time we have caramel!
75g unsalted butter, chopped
¾ cup water
¾ cup flour, plus ⅓ cup for the custard
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks for the custard
1 ¾ cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
1 ⅓ cup raw caster sugar
90g butter, at room temperature
½ cup thickened cream, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 240°C.
Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and add the four eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until combined.
Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe balls of dough, 3cm apart, on lined baking sheets. Bake it for about 10 minutes or until the pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.
Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole in each to release the steam and maintain optimal crispness.
To make the crème pâtissière, combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. Whisk egg yolks and ⅓ of a cup of sugar in a bowl until thick before whisking in the flour, followed by the warmed milk. Return the custard to the pan and cook, stirring, over low heat for a further couple of minutes, or until nice and thick. Leave to cool.
Once everything is chill, pipe the custard inside each puff and place on a cooling rack.
To make the salted caramel, heat the remaining caster sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and stir constantly into the sugary clumps that form turn in a thick, molten liquid. Once melted and it becomes amber in colour, whisk in the butter until combined. This will splatter and expand, so be careful to avoid a burn.
Cook for a further minute without stirring before slowly adding the thickened cream, again being careful to avoid the rollicking mixture. Allow to boil for a minute before removing from the heat and leaving to cool slightly. Stir in a teaspoon or two of salt, stirring until well combined.
Once cool enough to work with, dip each puff in the caramel and repeat the process as you build them to form a croquembouche. Or multiple mini ones like my lazy self did.
Whatever structure you choose to go with, devour immediately, in anticipation of Chrissy burning everything to the ground.
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