Previously on Australian Survivor Blood and Water pulled a Spicys as two became one, reuniting loved ones and forming the Lava tribe. Which yes, is a worse name than Fire. At the first reward challenge Khanh won $60K which came with a secondary prize of painting an even bigger target on his back. At the immunity challenge KJ proved herself an undercover challenge beast, despite being narrowly pipped at the post by young, sweet Jesse. While scrambling, Mark and Sam had a domestic about voting out either Khanh and Shay with Mark being very insufferable as he patronised his wife into turning on her ally. Ultimately it worked though, as Sam stuck with her husband and sent Khanh from the game to become the King of the Jury.
Back at camp Chrissy worried about how she would be able to pull off dinner without their resident Masterchef, while Mark and Sam took a quiet moment to apologise to each other. Though given Mark gave her more of a sorry not sorry, my alliance is better than yours and your bestie needs to go so suck it up, oh and you can thank me when we get to the end, I don’t think this is the end of their family feud.
The next day the sausage fest was hanging with KJ and Shay, with the latter two clearly just looking to get to 7th and 8th place or hoping to immunity their ways to the end. Mark was still feeling very pleased with himself and super confident that nothing will break it up, which hopefully means something is going to break them up soon. If not a blindside, potentially Chrissy’s mashed beans which look like severe gastrointestinal distress waiting to happen. While Mark was feeling confident, Chrissy and Dave caught up to gossip about the marital issues while Sam complained about losing Khanh to Mel and Michelle. Particularly since she still (rightly) thinks Shay is the biggest threat.
Sam meanwhile was worried that Mark may be as blinded by his allies as Mark felt she was by Khanh. As such, she caught up with Jordie and Dave to line up some targets, quickly locking in Shay as the most threatening. Speaking about Shay, she was growing more and more nervous about Sam coming after her and starting shadowing her in the most hilarious way possible. Talking to Jordan? Shay will give Jordan a shoulder massage! As Sam straight up walked away, Shay tried to get Jordan to see the importance of keeping some singles around otherwise all the duos will end up screwing themselves over as they’ll have no way to work out of it.
Jordie and Jesse caught up with Josh in the water, congratulating themselves on controlling the game while Jesse assured them that Sam just gets nervous and to not worry about her blowing up any of their games. Particularly since Jordie was more focused on getting rid of Mark should their alliance part ways. And the first part of his plan was to out his idol to Josh. Sadly for Jordie, however, Josh didn’t seem to worry Mark was keeping the idol a secret and was very nervous about the idea of turning on him. Particularly coming up with enough votes to split between Mark and someone else.
The tribe met up with Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to fill a leaky drum with water to level a table to build a puzzle on. Leave your bucket to lose too much water and the table drops and you have to start over. Which is very clever, TBH. Everyone had slightly different strategies; sorting pieces first, stockpiling extra water and just trying to stay calm and methodical. While Josh and Shay were neck and neck at the start, Josh dropped his table leaving Shay to power ahead and jag herself immunity just before Josh or Mel could catch her.
Kinda proving Mark should have listened to his wife last night, no?
Back at camp Sam thankfully was completely enraged by the fact Shay had immunity and as such, worked to try and take out who she felt was the head of the alliance, aka Josh. Not Mark. Particularly since he talks to everyone in the alliance except her, meaning she knows she is on the bottom in his eyes. While she warned Mark that Josh is the biggest threat to their game, he assured her the time isn’t right to turn on him. Meanwhile Josh was filling in his cousin Jordan on where things stand, with them agreeing that Jordie and not Mark is a threat given Jordie is clearly ready to flip.
But first, they had to get rid of some of the floaters and as such, when Jordie dropped by they locked in a split vote between Mel and Michelle.
Josh then went to the other floaters and told them they would all be splitting the vote between the twins, with people not realising they could easily take control if they stopped just doing what they were told. He then went one further and spoke to Michelle about the vote and let her know it would be split between her and Mel and while she thanked him for his honesty, she told us that Josh will regret telling her. Oh and when Mark confirmed for Mel that she was the target, both twins were ready to fight.
With that Mel and Michelle decided that they should bring all the girls together and load all their votes on Josh instead and since the boys were splitting the votes, they would take control. The twins rallied the girls to float said plan and while everyone appeared interested, Sam’s nervous face made me nervous that this won’t come together. Shay agreed that this is the right time to make a move against the men, which got Sam fired up given she doesn’t want the men to dictate the future of the game. Though was worried that getting rid of Josh, which is good for her game, would ruin Mark’s, and she may not have the numbers to get much further should it blow up.
Shay encouraged Mel to talk to Chrissy and KJ about locking in the vote on Josh and while Chrissy knew he was a threat, she still wanted a little more time to think. Meanwhile Michelle pulled Jordan aside to ask why they were targeting her and her sister, with Jordan assuring her there is no right or wrong that she did and it is all just part of the game. But he just wants her to hold her nerve and stay strong aka she is the back-up plan, not the target. While all the girls worried about when the right time would be to target the boys should they not act now.
At tribal council Khanh looked like a total snack on the Jury Bench – well said, Jordan – while Josh straight up admitted to being part of the majority which is controlling the game. Dave said the alliance is really zen and makes all decisions by committee, with Mark agreeing it makes the most sense so no one person is the target. Michelle jumped in to talk about the stupidity of targeting herself and Mel, with the latter joining in to remind people they need to build a resume if they want to win and targeting those on the bottom will never build the resume.
Josh blamed Sandra for our current predicament, reminding them she told them all the strong people would go come merge and as such, they know they have no other choice but to band together. When Jonathan asked Mel what would be the smarter decision, she told everyone that Josh is a far bigger threat and as such, they need to get rid of him. She then doubled down, pointing out he knows the game just as well as she does, plus he is strong and is playing a strong social game. While Sam tried to be non-committal, Mel continued to play to the people on the bottom of the tribe and told them they have to make a move before it is too late and as such, they need to wake up and fight. Now.
With that the tribe voted and tragically the twins plan did not come to fruition as Mel found herself booted from the game. Though lucky for her, she now gets to hang out with Khanh on the jury which would be way more fun.
As soon as Mel arrived at Jury Villa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and told her how heartbroken I was to see her go so soon. Particularly since I worried it means we’re getting the opposite of last season with a male-dominated endgame with an alliance that holds out. Maybe I’m wrong and Sam will flip everything next week, but the one thing that mattered most to Mel, was that I stop rambling and get to baking. You see, we’ve been the best of friends since I started going to her clinic, so she knew I would be packing a fresh batch of Melinzer Chiang Cookies to cheer her up.
These simple little cookies are so good (and so much fun). Buttery, spiced shortbread with a good whack of jam doing a peek-a-boo through heart cutouts? Sign me up. And now you, I advise.
Melinzer Chiang Cookies
160g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground clove
100g butter, at room temperature
60g almond meal
100g raw caster sugar
⅓ cup raspberry jam
icing sugar, for sprinkling
Combine the flour and spices in a bowl before massaging through the butter with your fingertips, like you would do damper or scones. Add the almond meal, sugar and sugar and mix together by cutting through with a knife until it comes together in large clumps. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, or until it comes together. Form into a disc, wrap in cling and pop in the fridge for half an hour or until chill.
Once chill, roll out the dough on a lightly flour surface until it is about 5mm thick. Cut out an even number of round pieces of dough, then use a small shape – ideally heart, obvi – to form a window in half the cookies. Transfer to a lined baking sheet before popping in the fridge for half an hour to chill.
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Once the biscuits are chill, transfer them to the oven to back for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
When it comes time to assemble, spoon a little jam on the whole biscuits, close with the cut-outs and then dust with icing sugar. Before devouring, giddily.
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