Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Condiment, Dip, Sauce

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes battled it out in a dusty immunity challenge with Simon narrowly besting his former tribemate Emmett. While Simon was supported by the rest of his tribe to get to the end and score the win, it was truly a one man show on Brains. Speaking of Emmett, he wasn’t too bothered to lose the challenge given he was leading the Brains tribe’s majority alliance. With an iron fist, if you ask the Brains trio. Speaking of them, they decided their best hope was to woo Kez to their side, given she desperately wants Cara out and Emmett isn’t listening to her. While she vowed to go to rocks to get what she wanted, she ultimately stayed with the alliance and joined them to boot Georgia from the game.

The peace of the outback was disturbed the next day as Gerald snored by the fire as George wandered around wide eyed, glad to still be in the game. Though he admitted that it isn’t luck that got him this far, it was his hard work to finally win some people over. On the outside are his remaining nemesis, Laura and Rachel. And frankly, he doesn’t care who goes next out of the pair of them.

Rachel meanwhile was collecting a tonne of wood despite being tired and on the outs. While Laura was sleeping. We then finally got an intro package for Queen Rach, who was Queenslander of the Year last year and is essentially an icon. She then took that positive attitude to the billabong, teaching Cara how to fish and damn, is this what hope feels like?

Meanwhile over at Brawn Hayley was feeling her oats, in charge and generally living the dream, forming a tight bond with the girls and generally being the boss. They were fishing, tending the fire and making friendship bracelets and honestly, I am just as jealous as Simon to be missing out on the experience. Speaking of Simon, Hayley can see how large his target is and as such, got to work finding cracks to get him out before they get to merge. While Dani and the boys bonded in the shallows – Simon in his speedos, swoon – Hayley realised building a relationship with her would be critical to her long term game and as such, got to work bonding with Dani.

The duo caught up and went fishing, while Hayley started soft, asking about the Brawns on the other tribe, she then got straight to the point, asking Dani when she thinks would be a good time to get rid of Simon. With Dani straight up spilling her entire strategy to align with the alpha and then cut them from the game. A move that she called ‘The Sandra Bullock’, which is as iconic as her asking Hayley if she’d be interested in helping to pull off the move. Which Hayley giddily responded by announcing that blindsides are even sweeter when the person thinks they’re in control.

Iconic, brutal, stunning. I love them.

Hayley then went for a cheeky little wander, lamenting about the pain of not seeing or hearing from their loved ones. And right on cue, she discovered letters from home in treemail, instantly reducing everyone to tears. We learnt about Hayley’s beautiful boyfriend Jimmy who was ready to propose when she returned home. Andrew meanwhile got a cute painting from his nephew, Wai heard about her cat, Dani’s partner roasted her for being stubborn and then Baden sobbed over missing his daughters and ugh, I’m not crying. You’re crying. I mean, one of them sees his face in the moon each night AND HOPES HE CAN SEE HERS.

It. Is. Too. Damn. Precious.

Over at the Brains, we learnt about George’s beautiful bond with his dog, Emmett missing his fiance and well Rach, she finally had her fire back. Ready to fight for her wife back at home. As such, she pulled Cara and George aside to talk. But sadly, we weren’t privy to that as Emmett, Gerald and Kez realised that losing challenges isn’t the worst thing right now and as such, they should consider throwing a challenge to get rid of another Brain or two.

My love Jonathan finally returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would face off sliding a series of blocks to untangle ropes and releasing a key. These tribes would then traverse a series of obstacles, collect some balls, wade through a mud pit and then slide some balls down a ramp to land in a dish. Queen Wai obviously directed the Brawn tribe to quickly untangle the ropes and release the key while the Brains grew more and more confused. Even without Emmett trying to throw the challenge, the Brawns tribe powered all the way to the end of the course and landed their balls in arguably the biggest blowout of all time.

As the tribes celebrated together everyone tried to whisper to each other with Andrew telling Laura to just get to merge while Hayley encouraged Rach to throw all the mud around and make a mess. While Emmett and Kez could barely hide their excitement to be going back to tribal council. So, maybe they did throw it?

Back at camp Emmett was pumped to continue the decimation of the Brains before firing up some rice and relaxing. Despite knowing full well that the Brains still have enough people to take control of the tribe if they put their differences aside. That being a pretty bloody big if. After quickly locking in Rachel as the bigger target, with the girls loading their votes on Laura as a back-up. Emmett then shifted his focus to the next step once Cara and George left, that being to flip Laura and then take out Cara and George.

Knowing that she is screwed, Rachel opted to put her emotional feelings about George and Cara aside and instead try and work with them to make a big move against Emmett and weaken the Brawn tribe at large. Obviously Laura was on board, so wIth that, Rachel powered off to find George and pitch him the plan with him calmly agreeing that he knows what happens next if they don’t mix things up. George then shared that he wanted to split the vote the way the majority did so that he could ultimately make the decision to flip on someone like Emmett without anyone knowing it was coming. And buy him more time to figure out which option is best for his game, with or without Cara’s support.

At tribal council Gerald admitted that nothing has really changed with the power dynamics of the tribe, with Rachel agreeing that she and Laura are definitely the dead women walking. George meanwhile spoke in political speak, confusing Rachel and Laura about whether he would flip. Emmett admitted he is just wanting to get to the merge and take control, though also alluded to the fact that he is always going to put Brawns first. Rachel pointed out that Brains currently have the majority if they were merging and coming back together is better for all of them. While George agreed that Laura and Rachel made some valid points, Emmett and more so Gerald, made some very complimentary arguments to bring them together.

Laura called it out for what it is, blowing smoke up Cara and George’s arse leading to Kez needing to step in and point out that Brawn is also a fractured tribe and they actually need some Brains to help get further as they navigate their own complex dynamics come merge. Aka the Simon and Emmett faction versus her, Flick and Gerald. With that the tribe voted and despite the promise that big things were happening this week – SuE’s bIG mOvE, right? – the majority held together and Rach was tragically booted from the game.

As soon as I saw her turn the corner into Loser Lodge, I burst into tears, heartbroken to see my fellow Queenslander of the Year booted from the game. And by fellow, it happens in like a decade, remembering I invented time travel. That is not what I win for either. But anyway, Rach and I are dear friends and I was so disappointed that she couldn’t turn things around, particularly since we’re so close to the merge.

Given Rach is an absolute delight however, she took it in her stride and calmly held me until I stopped crying. After that, we did the usual laugh, cry and reconnect before I searched the fridge and found enough ingredients to whip her up a Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie.

I know ranch is often looked at as a pretty basic dip/dressing/condiment – at least by me and my paranoia, I guess – but I am basic and proud. Add in a little chipotle, however, and you elevate it into the stratosphere. Fresh and tart, but packing a good whack of heat, this delight will have you slathering it on anything. Or gulping down like water.

Enjoy!

Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie
Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients
2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
⅔ cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chives, thinly sliced
½ tsp paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Now try and keep up because this is tough. Place everything in a jar. 

Shake well.

And down.

Or refrigerate until ready to serve with something else. But, why?


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Nachoey Cheese McCann

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Cheese, Condiment, Dip, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Brawns continued their reward streak and to make matters worse for Andrew, he got whacked in the nads while losing another challenge. Meanwhile Simon found not one but two idols in the space of mere minutes and obviously grew in confidence. Shocking everyone Brawn turned things around, bucking tradition and winning their second immunity challenge. Back at camp George decided his best chance of survival was to target Laura while Joey locked the alliance’s vote on George. Until, you know, he walked into camp wearing an idol, and as such, Joey flipped things on Mitch instead, booting him from the game and flushing George’s idol with it.

We first checked in with the Brawns tribe where spiders were nesting in Shannon’s knickers. While that alone is concerning, the scariest part is the fact they were holding their own shape. Before we could explore that further, Flick explained that the tribe were living their best lives, focused on training to keep their winning streak up. Speaking of winning, Simon was thrilled to secure himself a path to the endgame with his two idols. That being said, Gerald knew about the idols and was extremely focused on getting him out toot suite. Gerald checked in with my Queens Kez and Flick, spilling all the deets on the idol. And just like that, the trio got to work planning to raise Simon up so that he was so confident that they could blindside him.

Over at Brains the tribe were soberly eating their prison food, with Rachel only happy with the fact she drew a line in the sand with George at the last tribal council. And well, let’s just say that George now had Rachel in his sights. His first move was to confront her in front of everyone and when she was unapologetic, they fought. With Laura and Rachel then muttering about him. It was a move, but I never said it was a wise one. We finally go to learn more about Cara, who in addition to real estate and her empathic abilities, is an expert in meteorology. And well, she and George have really been vibing and she is confident in her abilities to temper his worst impulses and keep things tight, hopefully going to the end together.

Joey meanwhile was growing cocky, catching up with Laura and Andrew to laugh about how screwed the minority are now that they’ve taken control. Which is never an endearing look.

Jonathan made his triumphant return to our screen for the reward challenge where the tribes would weave through a series of obstacles while tethered to a rope before digging up sandbags and tossing them to smash six targets. For choccy milk and lamingtons, which again, bloody iconic combo from the reward team. Brains quickly got out to an early lead, given their smaller bodies made it easier to work through the obstacles. Sadly Cara started to struggle, tying things up for the tribes. And well, then George and Wai literally tied themselves into a knot and well, all appeared to be lost for the Brains. As Rachel screamed at George from the side of the course, Emmett started to taste the chocolate milk in his mind. Then Joey and Andrew happened, smashing target after target in quick succession before Brawns had a last minute surge, stealing victory out from underneath the Brains.

Wanting to create some drama, Jonathan offered the Brawns the chance to invite one of the Brains over to share the reward with the Brawns opting for Joey, hoping his big mouth will give them enough information to create drama post swap.

The Brawns and Joey arrived at their bush cafe, with Joey continuing to be loud and energetic, unaware that they invited him over solely because of that. As everyone smashed their lamingtons and milk, Simon asked the obvious question, how in the hell did he land on the Brains tribe? While Simon softened him up with compliments, the girls went in for the kill, asking what happened at the previous tribal council and why George didn’t go since he clearly hates him. And well, once he popped he didn’t stop. Making Flick a very happy girl with all the free flowing information.

Back at Camp Brains, the tribe were heartbroken to have come so close to winning again with Wai promising to try her best in the next challenge. As everyone assured her that she is valued, Rachel opened up and said that George bitching about the tribe in front of the Brawns isn’t helpful before a challenge and creates disharmony, distracting from the task at hand. This obviously pissed off George, who stormed off with Georgia sent to follow him and try to keep him in check. The one positive of the scene is that we then finally learnt more about Georgia, who was using her forensic psychologist background to try and understand George a bit better. Sadly for her, all it did was piss him off, making her the new biggest target in his eyes.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the Brains were delighted to see a puzzle was in the mix, while the Brawns were obviously terrified. For the challenge, the tribe would paddle a boogie board out to an apparatus to release five keys before getting wheeled back in, one at a time. They would then use the keys to release puzzle pieces and then, you know, solve the puzzle. Importantly, Simon is in his speedo. As is oft the case, the Brawns got out to a sizable lead at the start of the challenge, powering through the physical side of things. While George reminded the Brains not to worry, given they have a puzzle to sort things out again. Sadly with Wai on the bench they had no real leader in the puzzle which allowed Simon to direct his tribe to yet another victory. 

Back at camp the tribe joined together to lament their loss, while George knew that his luck was about to run out. Joey meanwhile was feeling super confident, joyfully swimming in the billabong with Georgia and Laura, talking about how much better things will be once George is gone. That being said, this is Survivor and when people’s backs are against the wall, they get crafty. George joined with Cara, Baden and Wai, identifying Georgia as their best chance to get out. But to do that, he needs some luck. As such, he and Cara went hunting for idols and while the cool kids mocked them from the billabong, Queen Cara took the throne, finding her first idol. And you best believe she was ready to do whatever necessary to keep her alliance safe.

Cara, George, Wai and Baden caught up again, with George quickly suggesting she play the idol for him given he is their only target and as such, they can take out Georgia instead. That however made Cara nervous that the other alliance could opt to change the vote to her and as such, she wasn’t sure whether it was worth the risk.

Laura meanwhile started to grow suspicious about George or Cara finding the idol, rallying the troops to float the idea of splitting the vote JIC. That being said, there is no way they can do that without flipping someone over. And instead of getting Baden or Cara, Joey decided the Wai was the best idea, given she is logical. He, Cara and Hayley pulled her aside and while they were confident they did enough to charm her over to their side, she wasn’t sure who to go with. You know, since the person that saved her on day two is also the most volatile person in the game. 

She took the information to George and admitted she was thinking about flipping and as such, he emotionally begged her to cast him aside after this tribal council, not before. With that Cara, Baden and George got together, with George assuring her that he wants her to play the idol for herself and only herself. Before they decided the wisest move was to put on a massive display of pass-the-parcel with the idol and once they’re all confused, hope Wai is spooked back to their side.

At tribal council Cara kicked off the proceedings by wearing her hidden immunity idol, with George suggesting he may have something up his sleeve too. Joey wasn’t sure what the plan was with Cara’s idol, though he desperately just wanted to get rid of George. Aka the bad egg. Cara then continued to earn her Queen crown, admitting the tribe have nothing in common and as such, she is struggling to deal with the people that aren’t wanting to work together to let people flourish. As Wai started talking, the theatre commenced, with Cara whispering in Baden’s ear before passing the idol over to him.

While Hayley admitted their game was making her nervous, her alliance have definitely come up with a couple of different plans to counteract whatever they’re doing. George admitted that while he desperately wants to win the game, when watching Wai struggle on day two, he realised that winning at all costs was not him and as such, he is happy to exit the game with his head held high. George admitted there is no hope for him before Wai and Rachel admitted that there is a lot of tension in the tribe, but more importantly, Baden passed the idol off to Geroge. Wai spoke about the alliances changing day by day, admitting it has definitely changed for her from day two to now. This elicited more compliments from George, successfully guilting the hell out of Wai.

With that the tribe voted – Wai for George, calling him out for holding the day two stuff over her head like parents that tell their kids they should be grateful they have a roof over their head – before Cara played her idol for George. And oh God, Queen Cara, no. The votes rolled in for Cara and Georgia, ending in a 3-3 tie. As such, the tribe revoted and poor Queen Cara found her torch being snuffed. But gagatondra, all was not as it seemed, as she found a Brawn buff on her way out the door, directing her to head over to Brawn and join the new tribe.

As she stumbled through the bush in absolute darkness, she eventually arrived at her new camp and proceeded to dive on to her campmates. Startling them awake, either delighting or enraging them. Or potentially a bit of both.

We checked in with team Brains the next day, where George suggested that putting snake skin on a tree was the cause of all of their misfortune. As such, he removed it and tried to stay quiet while the majority rejoiced in their growing power. Joey spoke about the excitement of the last tribal council, despite the fact George was still in the tribe. Joey went to Laura and Andrew, pledging his undying allegiance to them and Georgia, meaning Hayley, Rachel and Wai were just numbers waiting around to be picked off after George and Baden. Speaking of George, he was heartbroken to have lost his best friend Cara, however was immensely grateful that she gave up her game for his.

Oh and now George was over Wai, given she betrayed the good guys.

Despite not being able to look at her for hours and hours, he eventually pulled Wai aside to find out why she turned on him. Wai called him out for being volatile and how it is hard to be around and as such, she opted for the more peaceful path. While George argued that he was iced out by Joey from day one, Wai still couldn’t see the value of realigning with him. Particularly because she doesn’t like to feel indebted to him for the entire game because she is playing her own, damnit. Like a queen.

The next morning Cara was getting a deep dive on the Brawn tribe as Simon sexily walked out of the billabong in a speedo and the rest worked out. Oh and then she got food with flavour, and ate off crockery. There were blankets, dance class and well, the Brains are dead to her. Officially. And she looks forward to spilling the tea on Joey and Laura’s bullshit to everyone that will listen.

With that, she pulled all the Brawns around to talk about how awful they are, while playing up how loyal George is. As she continued to talk smack, Simon quickly deduced that she has no intention of aligning with any Brains and as such, he can pull her in and take control of the tribe. Particularly since she just wants to raise people up. Sadly for him, Shannon also identified her as a priority ally and quickly went walking for firewood for her to bond.

The tribes reconvened to meet Jonathan where the Brains were gagged to see that Cara was still in the game, none more delighted to see her than George. Meanwhile Joey looked ready to kill and Rache continued to try in vain to get George to stop talking shit about the tribe. Cara meanwhile said that she was thrilled to finally be on a tribe with heart, while Simon agreed that she was a very welcome addition. In any event, this week’s reward challenge would require everyone to hold a barrel of water up with a tribe out if any person drops their bucket. Though they can pass their bucket off to others. Oh AND it was for BBQ. As you can imagine, this challenge isn’t overly exciting to write about however after Wai and Shannon tapped out, the latter used it as a chance to woo Cara who was sitting out of the challenge. Sadly for her though, Simon was watching the entire interaction.

Just as I say it isn’t exciting to write about, Chelsea accidently took her hand off a ring while passing one along and got herself eliminated from the challenge. And just like that, Brains were well positioned for victory. She was followed out by Dani before Gerald started to struggle under the weight of two buckets, as did Daini and Flick. After what felt like an eternity of struggle, poor Gerald couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping the buckets and handing Brains their first ever reward. Leaving Cara to once again starve.

Oh and was the snake skin actually cursed? I don’t want to say George was right, but George is probably right.

Back at camp Brains, the tribe were delighted to see their abundant feast awaiting them, quickly firing up the barbie and smashing everything in sight. We then learnt Laura is into angel golden showers, while George was just thrilled by how great he did in the reward. Talk soon turned to Cara surviving the previous tribal council and joining Brawn, with Joey disappointed to not be able to take out another target. As such, Joey followed Baden into the water and quickly got to work teeing up a new alliance. Tragically for the former though, it was right in front of Hayley who decided now was the time to make a move and take control of the tribe.

Slay Queen Hayley.

Over at the Brawn camp, the tribe lamented their loss while Kez encouraged everyone to just keep going. Gerald on the other hand was heartbroken to have lost the challenge for the tribe and as such, felt like a target. Cara tried to rally everyone around, putting her empath powers to use. She then straight up identified Daini’s broken jaw and Shannon’s reproductive concerns and damn, she is a witch. While everyone else was crying, moved by the experience, Simon was more focused on trying to build his own bond with her before they go to the next challenge.

As such, he asked when older women go through menopause, implying she is old and just, no. Simon, no.

My love Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race up a ramp to collect ropes, build a bridge with them, cross said bridge, climb a tower and retrieve an idol and then work through obstacles before untying a platform which they need to use to lift the idol up and hook it in a cage. Oh and in addition to the challenge, Jonathan announced that a hidden immunity idol is at the end of the course and if they want it, they can go for it. Though risk annoying their tribe, obvi.

While Brains started strong, the Brawns quickly pulled away before George disappeared to make a snatch for the idol. Sadly for him, Hayley and Gerald quickly joined him, with Queen Hayley snatching it and returning everyone’s focus back to the challenge. While Brawn was still out in front, Hayley worked furiously to make up for slowing them down. Again both tribes somehow caught up at the end, but they were no match for Cara who played a calm, critical role in helping Brawn secure another immunity win.

Back at camp Joey was very blasé about the loss before Rachel encouraged everyone to go for a swim to get all the dust off themselves. As she and the alliance of four caught up, Joey obviously suggested they finally get rid of George. As everyone agreed the tribe will be so much calmer without him, Joey suggested that they split the vote between George and Wai just in case he has an idol. Everyone joined back up at camp, with George congratulating Hayley on snagging the idol and cheekily asking if she would play it for him. Which Joey felt was insufferable, though Hayley did slyly suggest that anything is possible.

Preparing for his inevitable boot, George once again wandered around looking for a miracle. He first tried for the boldest, pulling Joey and Laura aside to float other names that would be decent targets given there are weaker people in the tribe. Like say, Wai or Rachel. Joey and Laura caught up with Hayley to reiterate his pleas fell on deaf ears, however that made her frustrated given the hierarchy of the tribe is blatantly obvious and frankly, boring, if someone doesn’t step up with a big move.

As such Hayley approached Baden, suggesting that instead of following along with orders they instead take control and flip the vote on Joey. While Baden felt it was a bold choice, he was also keen to stir up some drama and force the other group into playing. Next up in her plot was talking to Rachel, who felt it was too risky a move to make. Hayley then went to Wai and knowing that she would be a tough sell, told her about the plan to split the vote on her. As such, she wanted to vote for Joey instead. While Wai was scared about burning more bridges, Hayley pointed out that if George goes, she is clearly next and as such, they will just get picked off one by one. But Wai just wanted a little time to figure out her options.

By the fire George made things awkward, asking Wai if she reflected on the last tribal council and how horrible she made him feel. And ugh, that may have been enough to turn her off joining Hayley, isn’t it? And given Hayley didn’t even get a chance to talk to George, there is no way this plan will come together, is there?

At tribal council Hayley spoke about voting Cara out to try and improve the mood in camp, with Rachel agreeing it definitely improved things as they enjoyed their feast. Georgia spoke about it being hard to vote people out, while Baden shared that he wasn’t concerned about being voted out yet and is doing what he is told. That is, until he needs to turn the tables on someone. Joey admitted to having a solid alliance, while Hayley said that pecking orders always change but she hopes her relationships will make the difference.

Laura spoke about not having a pecking order within the alliance, while Jonathan pointed out that that is what the people on the top say. Wai admitted that there is a plan at this tribal council, while Andrew agreed that something can always happen and people can pull something out of their hats. Hayley shared that she believes the tribe will be united after this vote, before George reiterated that he is an asset to the tribe and he doesn’t believe that would be the case if he goes.

This made Laura smirk and while she agreed that he was good in the reward challenge, he doesn’t contribute much in camp. As George told everyone to look forward, Georgia reiterated past behaviour is the best indicator for where things are going. That being said, Hayley tapped George on the elbow and mouthed to vote for Joey, giving him a cheeky grin, while Hayley said that everyone has had the discussions they needed to to make their decision.

With that, the tribe voted, Hayley stood firm and held on to her idol while the cool kids split the votes on Wai and George, before the votes piled up on Joey and he was booted from the game. As Hayley ascended the throne and George dodged yet another bullet.

Joey being the most eager, upbeat and energetic person on the season, he was still peppy and positive by the time we caught up in Loser Lodge. Pulling me in for a hug and ready to celebrate his entertaining, albeit short run. Emphasis on run, which is how we first met. You see, I was formerly a champion marathon runner and had a startling rivalry before my career was derailed by a hit and run – the car hit and I ran away because I wanted to watch TV, true story.

Despite the rivalry, Joey took me under his wing and nursed me back to health to the point I can now go for a bit of huffy puffy at the speed of Kath Day-Knight. Needless to say, that kindness is something I have never forgotten and as such, I was thrilled to be able to celebrate his game with some velvety Nachoey Cheese McCann.

I know American food often gets a lot of shit, but if you’ve read more than five recipes on this patch of cyberspace, you know that I passionately love it. And this gooey cheese is no different! Spicy, creamy and oh so moreish, there is nothing better to eat when you’re down.

Enjoy!

Nachoey Cheese McCann
Makes: 2 cups.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 cup milk
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste

Method
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk until fragrant, 1 minute. 

Slowly add milk, whisking until no lumps remain. Add cheese and cook until melted, 5 minutes, then stir in salt and a pinch of cayenne. Serve immediately.


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Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Cheese, Condiment, Dip, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor we finished out All Stars on a bit of a whimper. I mean, sure, David played a dominant game and well and truly earnt victory, but it all ended in the midst of our first lockdown in Australia and well, if JLP isn’t reading the votes, I don’t want a bar of it. So needless to say, I’m thrilled that Osher is fiddler-ing on the roof and JLP’s gunshow is back front and centre for the new season.

Speaking of which, we kicked things off with snapshots of beaches, oceans and belly flops from the days of yore before venturing to the outback for this year’s season where the cast entered Mad Max style, though tragically without a flaming guitar or my dear friend Tina Turner in sight. 

We first met Dani, my first queen, who works in a prison and is ready to take on everyone and everything. She was joined by AFL legend Gavin Wanganeen who is a total zaddy and won the Brownlow, so I love him too, even though I don’t know what a Brownlow is. But he can definitely get low on my brown, you know? Next up was Flick, a pro big wave surfer who is bound to be a star if she lives up to my dear friend and fellow big waver Ross’ iconic ways.

In the Brains fleet of cars we were first introduced to George the Labor staffer and honestly, despite myself, I love him already. He is awkward, super upbeat and said ‘putting lipstick on a pig’ so, slay queen. He was joined by Cara the real estate tycoon slash empath which is a combination I am pumped to see playout. And rounding out the little intros was Baden, former cyclist and um, did he get dumped in the wrong tribe? The man has a Commonwealth Games medal!

Finally the tribes met up in the middle of nowhere before drag racing in to find my love JLP by a croc infested stream for the very first challenge of the season. But first, we heard from brainy Rach who felt their strategic prowess will take them far, while Wai was just glad to be around like-minded peers. Simon spoke for the Brawns, calling out the Brains for struggling to walk through the water to meet Jonathan which if true, really doesn’t bode well for their chances. We then met the most adorable person to grace the planet, Gerald, who literally tipped his hat to Jonathan and told everyone that the bush is tough but they’ve all got this. Basically, I think. I was too busy swooning over his sweetness.

I mean, he howdy ma’am’ed Zaddy JLP?!

But enough about that, the tribes would be facing off against each other to release a key by either chopping a log or solving a puzzle before one person ascended a tower to direct their tribe to solve a spinning puzzle which spells their tribe name. Oh and to make things super interesting, they could either select an outback survival kit or a flint. Immediately Gerald, the professional wood chopper, released his key while poor Queen Cara struggled to solve the puzzle. Simon and his nip-slip quickly got to work directing his tribe on the puzzle, though given JLP was already reading them for filth, me thinks this isn’t going to be the blowout we’re expecting given the lead. Cara then tapped out of the puzzle and after a couple of minutes, Dr. Mitch opted that he too was stumped and as such opted to chop through the stump instead while the Brawns solved two of their five puzzle arms.

So basically, I jinxed them, right?

Wai and her delightful quoka T was the caller and screamed at her tribe, telling them to cut the crap and listen to her – essentially – before they closed the gap. Why? Because Wai is my queen and I love her. Brawn then solved another arm and took the lead back, before Brains once again tied things up. It went back and forth until both tribes desperately tried to spell their final arm, until Brawn finally solved their last word and took out the first victory of the season.

We followed Brawn back to camp where we learnt that they opted for the survival kit rather than fire, and by they I mean Simon, who was thrilled to have won the kit for the tribe. The group quickly got to know each other, celebrating their success and for Gavin, downplaying his sporting past. Something he can’t deny? The fact he is an active babe. In any event, given the tribe is made up of an MMA fighter, bodybuilders and a pro surfer, he should just lean into it. Sticking out a little bit, we met model Shannon and I love her already, because she gives zero fucks that she is half the size of the rest of the tribe. Like a bloody icon. As the groups split up to set-up camp, Shannon shared that she wished the tribe chose the fire in the reward challenge as all the boys sat around rubbing their sticks together. Which isn’t the dream I just described.

Meanwhile the Brains were gagged to arrive at camp with next to nothing before everyone introduced themselves, with Hayley thrilled to wind up on such a diverse tribe. As a Pain Researcher, she did a bunch of spreadsheets to analyse past seasons’ gameplay and well, she had me at spreadsheet, so in my eyes, she is the winner. Shut it down right now. Not-Tommy Little who I didn’t catch the name of quickly advised the tribe how to build the shelter as everyone split up and got to work.

Back with the Brawns, the boys were still rubbing their sticks, with the girls quickly growing more and more frustrated with Simon as the one who promised he’d be able to get one going. As the sun went down so did everyone’s mood, as they settled in for a long, cold night shivering under the stars. The one thing providing everyone but Simon comfort no doubt being the fact that his choice put a massive target on his back.

The next day the tribe slowly thawed out, with Kez pissed at herself for not bringing a jacket to the outback. I love her. Over it, Flick quickly directed the tribe to reinforce the walls of the shelter, while the boys tried to mentally get themselves ready to attack the fire again. Oh and we then met Daini, or Big D, who was ready to prove himself because as a bodybuilder, when he is pushed to the limit his brain is at its best. And honestly, I thought I wouldn’t vibe with him but ugh, I love him too.

Over at Brains, Phil was living their best life as they woke up refreshed after fully slotting into bush living. Meanwhile Dr Mitch was quickly finding himself as somebody that the tribe looked up to as he directed them with what jobs they could do to help him set up the camp. On the flipside, he was feeling that Wai was out of her depth and unlikely to last long. Speaking of Wai, she was trying her best to work through her nerves and feeling uncomfortable in her surroundings and I relate to it on the deepest of levels, so I love her even more.

She and George caught up by the well, with George pointing out that Mitch is being a bit of a know-it-all and was dictating rather than helping, all while an idol, clue or some sort of advantage sat behind them both. They returned to camp with George shadily reading Mitch as he quietly worked away, before George was dismissively sent away to get sticks. Though instead, he circled back to the well where he finally noticed an advantage, which he learnt gave him the power to save half the tribe from their first tribal council. Which is huge and ugh, I’m scared for Dr Zaddy.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they had to race over a ramp, across a net, untie a ladder, climb up to a deck, ride a cart down the other side – which looked bloody fun – release balls and then shoot some hoops. Both tribes were neck and neck over the first two obstacles, though poor Wai appeared to be struggling at every step. Everyone arrived at the deck together with the Brains first to have a fun ride down while Brawn got their cart off the track, giving Brains a decent lead retrieving their balls. Eventually both tribes started shooting their balls, but Joey quickly got his eye in and scored the first point for the Brains as George barked at him to trade out. Sadly that meant that not-Tommy Little had to go through the learning curve to get his eye in, which was enough for Simon to get his head in the game and shoot ball after ball, redeeming his fire decision and handing Brawns immunity.

Back at camp Mitch was disappointed to have lost, though tried to use the loss as a teachable moment so the tribe could learn from their mistakes and do better in their future endeavours. He then went for a walk with Cara and Georgia, calling George out for being the know-it-all while Cara wanted to take out Phil – no Cara, no – and Georgia felt Wai was the weakest. They returned to camp to get Baden on board to take out Wai, before Mitch went person to person to spread the word. Though Phil was not loving it, given they could quickly become a target themself if Wai is gone. 

Wai thankfully wasn’t taking it lying down, catching up with Hayley and suggesting that maybe they should take out the dominant personalities like say, Mitch. Which Hayley agreed wasn’t the worst idea. George quickly took this spark and ran with it, as he tried to identify who would be the best group to leave behind with Mitch to get rid of him or risk sticking it out at tribal council to get rid of him himself.

At tribal council – which as an aside, is a damn work of art – Joey spoke about how great everyone was, with Phil agreeing that they absolutely froth the tribe. Which is honestly more Australiana than something even Art would say on Drag Race Down Under. Wai meanwhile was nervous about first impressions, though wanted everyone to look beyond that and focus on those that had the best intentions for the tribe. This made Mitch raise an eyebrow, wanting the tribe to stay as strong as possible to avoid coming back, despite the joy of kikiing with JLP obvi. This pissed off George who was annoyed about how focusing on strength would set up a society he doesn’t want to be a part of. And he wanted to give everyone enough time to shine, which Baden said was not what the game was about.

Baden and George then argued back and forth, with George pointing out that the tribe has a dictatorship and he wanted to make decisions that give everyone the chance to shine. This irked Mitch who felt like Geroge was out to get him – which he is – while Wai agreed with JLP that winning challenges isn’t the way to win the game and instead, they needed to be smart. Mitch started to stew about George coming for him, with the latter starting to fire up and really throw down. All with a smile on his face.

Just before everyone went off to vote, George stopped the proceedings to play his advantage, saving himself and taking Rachel, Baden, Cara, Georgia and Wai back with him to camp, leaving Micth at the mercy of Phil, Joey, Hayley, Laura and not-Tommy Little. And well, Mitch was straight up pissed because both of his targets just went back to camp. The remaining six agreed that George just blew up his entire game with literally everyone, while Phil was nervous that they could become collateral damage for the decision. Hayley reminded her tribe that she is an asset to them, while Joey admitted that he was just going to vote for whoever he thinks everyone else will vote for. Which is something Hayley quickly agreed with, I assume because she didn’t feel like the obvious target.

With that, the half-tribe voted and my dear friend Phil found themselves becoming the first boot of the season. And well, let’s just say, I was not bloody happy about it.

Not. At. ALL.

I mean, go on Tenplay, rewatch the episode and as the fourth Phil vote popped up you can hear an odd chop in the audio. That was where they had to cut around my screams from the heart of Cloncurry, enraged at the thought that an easily mid-Jury player and icon was felled by the same stinking twist that robbed us of Michelle Yi in the original Fiji.

As Phil made it back to town, they quickly found me in the kitchen as a small army of locals had corralled around to see what was causing the scene. Phil pushed his way into the kitchen, took me in their arms and wrapped me in a blanket that was freshly crocheted on the drive from tribal council to town. You see, as fellow social media sensations, Phil and I have been the best of friends for years now and they knew that the only thing worse than me playing Survivor and getting booted immediately, was me having to watch it happen to them.

As such, they held my hand as I shakily got to work, while still sobbing, plating up some comforting and brand appropriate Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson.

Given I was so grief stricken, I was thrilled that this dish was so simple. But despite the minimal effort, this one still packs a glorious punch! The tang of the cream cheese and the hit of chilli are the perfect duo for a nostalgic little snack while trying to distract from your heartache.

Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson
Serves: 2 dear friends.
Inspired by the delightful pre-tubbed dip birthed in the mid-00s & was absolutely ‘uuuge in Tweed.

Ingredients
250g Philadelphia cream cheese, or you know any brand but for the name alone, I was loyal
⅓ cup sweet chilli sauce
Jatz to serve, because this is a nostalgic trip and I’d have nothing else

Method
Now strap yourself in because this is a tough one, ok?

First, dollop some cream cheese on a plate and then pour over sweet chilli.

Then devour, still raging that George heroically saving Wai burnt my love Phil.


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Anitartare Wigl’it Sauce

Condiment, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, Sauce, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the queens served us their down unders, covered in red lycra and full bushes as they auditioned for Baywatch with the zaddy Pit Crew member. Scarlet and Elektra charmed Ru and took out victory, making them the team leaders for two girl groups. I assume to replace Australia’s two best girl groups, Girlfriend and Bardot. Anyway, both girls shone however the latter was a bit more Beyonce than Destiny’s Child and as such, Scarlet took out victory while Elektra was shockingly (see what I did there?) put in the bottom with Coco. With Coco tragically felled by her fellow lip sync assassin.

The top seven returned to the Werk Room, gutted to have lost such a bubbly delight like Coco. Meanwhile Scarlet was growing more and more confident, thrilled to have snatched her first victory of the season and giddily shading Elektra for not bringing it on the runway. Thankfully Anita kindly suggested that maybe Elektra could become a drag window cleaner now that she is so experienced with it. Elektra shared her shock – I’m loving this gag, aren’t I? – about how the judges just aren’t loving her which led to Etcetera calling out her general taste level. Though kindly (and/or shadily) offered to look over her looks. While Scarlet pointed out you can put glitter on shit, because at the end of the day it is still shit. And just like that, the potential winners’ edit took a hit.

The next day Scarlet was still feeling her oats, while Kita and Anita were delightfully proving why they are already stars. Elektra spoke about feeling better, given she was in the bottom for being too good which Etcetera and Scarlet quickly tried to shut down, with Elektra going for the jugular with Etcetera pointing out that she has just been sliding through as safe. Karen meanwhile was watching on in pure delight as the room got shady and Elektra was refusing to back down and being a straight up icon.

The excitement was shut down as Ru and the glorious Pit Crew wheeled in all of their junk and some trash that the queens would be using to make this week’s runway from. Though not before Art Simone jumped out of the rubbish, officially returned to the competition with no real explanation as to why. But let’s just say, I don’t really mind except I probably would have preferred it be Jojo.

Barely giving us time to breathe, Ru announced that they would need to fight for their junk and exited the Werk Room as the dolls battled for enough to put together an outfit. Etcetera asked who was feeling confident, with Maxi sharing she isn’t a sewer but was smart enough to take a lesson before leaving for the competition. Karen meanwhile wasn’t feeling confident, given she is not the best at sewing. Talk turned to Art’s return, with Art assuring us she has a new attitude and is ready to fight to get to the end. And conveniently she was feeling confident about the challenge ahead, while Etcetera shadily pointed out that Art was sent home by Coco, and since she is now gone, anyone is technically good enough to send her home again. Karen meanwhile was pressed to have Art back, wanting to have her turn to redeem her shitty Snatch Game. As such, she decided to focus less about the design and more about selling the characterisation of one of her back-up characters.

And oh girl, you may be in danger.

Scarlet continued to be a difficult presence this week, as she once again gloated about the challenge ahead, which thankfully gave Elektra a steely focus to prove herself this week. And Anita, poor dear, sweet Anita spoke about how much she loves sewing, but grew more and more anxious about all of the potential designs she could possibly work on and DAMN this needs to be a fake-out. Badly.

Ru came back to catch up with the queens, explaining to Art that the judges can see how great she is and how she can just bounce off jokes and as such, proved Snatch Game was not a true reflection of her skills. With that, Art shared she was confident to serve an outfit so disappeared to do just that. Karen was up next, sharing how she would be serving Schapelle Corby on the runway and well, just give her the win right now. I don’t even care if Ru thinks it is a bad idea. Kita meanwhile was inspired by a bunch of balls and ready for a win, Elektra was thrilled to sew though was nervous about her styling. Given Ru’s reaction to her kangaroo hunter concept, I hope she pivots to a glamorous gown as Ru kindly suggested.

Maxi was up next and ready to rock her non-stretch fabric, as much as Ru and Etcetera are concerned. Speaking of Etcetera, she was planning to grace the runway in a goddess of the harvest look, desperate to get a critique and let’s just say, I hope it is a high, rather than a low as the editors are feeling messy this week. Anita was inspired by Bob Mackie using books and video tapes, with a hot glue gun rather than sewing. Oh and then we learnt she is in the NZ Navy and not just that, plays the trumpet in the navy band. I need to reiterate this, Anita must be protected at all costs. Scarlet meanwhile doesn’t need protection, given she is super confident in her design ability. But then Ru asked what advice Scarlet would give to Elektra, leading to her pointing out that doing the splits isn’t a skill.

And just like that, Scarlet needs protection. Elektra immediately defended herself with her perfect nipples on display, with Scarlet acting bored as she tried to pretend it isn’t impressive to be a back-up dancer for J-Lo and Sia. Which lol, sorry, it is. Whether you want to fight with Elektra or not.

Over in another corner Kita was having an absolute blast with her glue gun, while Maxi was delightfully fucking up the sewing machine and making jokes about the girls fighting. Anita was madly gluing her gown, which impacted the zen nature as Etcetera grew very, very nervous. She then pointed out Karen looks like Buzz Lightyear and her anxiety started to grow. Well, until Anita shared her crush on Buzz growing up. Meanwhile Art was a pure delight as she worked away on her look while joking with Elektra. Before Scarlet arrived to poke Elektra and continue to lean right into their villain role, whether she realised it or not.

Elimination Day rolled around with Karen less nervous about her concept, while Anita was happy with hers and ready to slay. Kita on the other hand was not feeling it and was scared that her bestie was far and away the worst and was about to be blindsided. Art spoke about feeling liberated to have gotten losing out of her system, but was acutely aware that she can’t afford to do it again. She then asked about whether the other queens were hurt when people are disappointed to see them out of drag before Etcetera spoke about her gender journey and how in drag everyone gets it, but out of drag it is difficult to explain being non-binary. The dolls rallied around Etcetera, with them thanking the queens for understanding as Karen pointed out that that is not something they should have to do.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined on the panel by the gorgeous Elz Carrad who I had never heard of and now plan to marry in an intimate ceremony in Milford Sound. Distracting me from my burgeoning love, Art opened the show as a delightfully pink Marie Antoinette by way of that little whorehouse in Texas. Kita was a bouncing colourful delight, coated in balls. Etcetera was full glamour in a sheer lilac number, primed for a boudoir shoot. Maxi was a punk version of Divina’s bag look, Karen had Rhys delighted as she smoked up the runway as Schapelle despite kinda looking a mess and misunderstanding the assignment.

Elektra served full glamour-whore, in a gown of ties. Before Antia tragically was not great in a burnt book gown and Scarlet sadly proved her confidence was not misplaced, as she slayed in a gorgeous picnic table onesie, complete with wine and a grape headband. And as much as she hasn’t been fun this week, you can’t fault the look despite it erring on the side of simple.

Kita Mean and Elektra were sent to safety, with the latter praised for listening to the judges and growing. With them out of the way, the judges gushed about everything Art did, glad that her return was triumphant and looked forward to watching her grow. Etcetera was praised for her sewing skills, though they were unsure about her references. Maxi was praised for listening to the judges critiques and happy at how well she executed the entire look. Then Karen was read for focusing on the characterisation of Schapelle rather than constructing an outfit. Anita too was read, though for doing a look that had been done of the runway before by Naomi fucking Smalls. And well, they loved everything about Scarlet.

Backstage Elektra was on cloud nine just to be safe and thrilled with the added bonus that it gave a big fuck you to the other queens. Scarlet tried to make-up with Elektra by praising it as the second best look on the runway and girl, just stop. Karen was heartbroken to have bombed by focusing on character and for kind of just not getting the categories that she excels at yet. She was confident she and Anita would be lip syncing, with Anita agreeing but disappointed since the judges didn’t love or hate her look, were just kind of ambivalent. Oh and she was frustrated by the fact she thought Kita would be in the bottom rather than safe, which is actually what Etcetera thought given there is a split up the back of her skirt. This led to a cheeky vent about how the judges were harder on her as a fashion girl, with Elektra thrilled that Etcetera is melting down at the first sign of weakness.

Once again Scarlet took out victory, while Art and Maxi were sent to safety, leaving the bottoms to nervously await their fates. However there wasn’t much in doubt, given they had all predicted that Karen and Anita would be lip syncing, while Etcetera joined the remaining queens at the back of the stage. From the very first moment of Dannii Minogue’s I Begin to Wonder, both of the girls owned the stage. Anita rocked high camp, while Karen was charming her way through a two-step. She then added some finger drums and PCYC disco moves, while Anita rocked the robot across the stage and was totally demented. Ultimately Karen was saved  while my heart broke as Anita was sent out of the competition.

And in the words of Alyssa Edwards, “buffoonery, riggery and straight up tomfoolery!” 

I may be biased, given I passionately stan Anita but she well and truly won that lip sync and oy did I let her know as she walked into the Werk Room to pack-up and decompress. I screamed, I cried and tried to break into Ru’s compound on set to demand Art be re-removed from the competition and save Anita instead. But Anita being dear, sweet Anita, she held me tight and told me that it is ok, she will be ok, I will be ok – she was just glad to be there and to get the chance to compete.

Given I was still simmering with rage and fighting back tears, I didn’t have the strength to make Anita the 16-course degustation she deserved and instead sadly whipped up some Anitartare Wigl’it Sauce and called it a day. Which she brightly lied about, telling me it was all she could ever ask for.

While it generally goes better with a Carrie Fisher’n’Chips the world’s nicest person Anita says that it is the perfect snack all by itself. Tangy, salty and a little sweet, this creamy sauce does have all the flavours necessary to cheer you up. Though I probs wouldn’t guzzle it like we did. Just saying.

Enjoy!

Anitartare Wigl’it Sauce
Makes: 1-1 ½ cups.

Ingredients
1 cup Shayonnaise Swain
2 gherkins, finely chopped
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp capers, minced

Method
To be honest, once you’ve made – or decanted store bought – your mayo, there really isn’t much to do.

Combine everything in a bowl. Stir to combine and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so before eating.


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Amber Marinara Sauce

Condiment, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: The Australian Outback, Survivor: Winners at War, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor – which yes, yes, was minutes ago – 20 former champions of the game arrived in Fiji for the 20th anniversary special edition, battle royale, all winners season. While the opening didn’t have the majesty of dislocated shoulders or Sugar running around topless flipping the bird at the heroes, seeing winners like Amber, Ethan and Danni, who I never thought I would see again, was so exciting and grand, my gay little heart almost exploded. Mainly because Ethan is a zaddy and can get it. But anyway, the victors were split into two tribe Dakal and Sele, with the former taking out the opening immunity, meaning Queen Sandra lived to avoid becoming the first boot. Over at Sele, Rob, Parvati, Ethan and Danni joined together to form an old school alliance, taking control and deciding whether to split up Adam and Denise – who got lost together – and Natalie and Jeremy. Given the latter two were such close allies, and Jeremy’s blindside literally pushed Natalie to victory, they targeted them and sent Natalie to the Edge of Extinction.

We followed Natalie off to the Edge of Extinction, which she was now a massive fan of given it gives her the chance to return to the game. Despite following in her sister’s footsteps and getting booted first in The Amazing Race All Stars, she was still shocked to have been voted out of the game, describing the feeling of picking up a torch at tribal as weird.

The next day we checked in with Dakal where Sandra and Sarah were talking to Yul by the well, finding some common ground on their lack of connections and not having family. Sandra told the duo how hurt she was by Rob lying to her about playing, after denying it while spending 36 days together on the Island of the Idols. And honestly, I don’t know if this is a brilliant lie to get the target off her own back, or whether she was genuinely hurt … but I live for my vengeful queen. I just wish it didn’t mean she was likely going to take it out on Amber, instead of her hubby. Seeing a chance to split up the poker pals, Yul asked Sandra and Sarah if they would be willing to split up the marrieds and their card shark chums, which the Game Changers both quickly agreed to. Yul was mainly thrilled that the ladies were trying to pull together the same people he was. Aka the one time players that don’t have any connections on the tribe. Yul took the information back to his allies Sophie, Wendell and Nick and they were obviously keen to snatch the majority.

Over at Sele Michele was smarting over being left out of the vote at the previous tribal council, given she has so much pressure to prove that she deserved her first win and is actually a good player. She and Ben caught up, agreeing that Rob is in control of the tribe, no matter what he says, and that they need to hook up with Adam to make sure the new school kids aren’t led to the slaughter by the oldies. Firmly in the middle of the factions, Jeremy excused himself to a quiet section of the jungle where he learnt that Nat had bequeathed him her Fire Token and as such, he was the richest man in the game.

Speaking of Nat, she discovered the price list for items on Edge of Extinction which was accompanied by a note, offering a chance to earn herself a Fire Token. With that, she went hiking around the island to find the last place you would see the sun set. Where she discovered an immunity idol that is good for the next three tribal councils, which she could sell to someone from the losing tribe at the next immunity challenge for one Fire Token.

Speaking of the immunity challenge, Jeffrey arrived to lord over it. Each tribe was required to paddle out to retrieve a bag of number tiles, race over a series of obstacles, use the numbers to release three rings and then toss three rings to raise three flags. Both tribes were neck and neck getting into the water, until Sele straight up paddled into a pontoon and gave Dakal a huge lead. Which only extended as Sele over shot the dock with the number tiles. Sele desperately tried to close the gap but Dakal proved too strong, extended the lead as Rob single handedly flipped his tribemates over an obstacle. By the time Sele made it to the last obstacles, Yul had managed to release the rings giving Tyson and Wendell a massive head start tossing their rings. Wendell scored the first point before Adam finally released the rings. While Wendell continued to struggle, Jeremy quickly landed three rings in a row and handed Sele a massive come from behind win.

Back at camp Tony decided to simply ask if anyone wants to go keep Natalie company on the Edge of Extinction. With nobody jumping at the chance to exit the game, the tribe quickly splintered to find a target – not calmly, as Yul requested – with Sandra and Nick keen to take out Amber, while Kim, Amber and Tyson suggested those two and Tony to Wendell, unaware that they were aligned. Wendell, Nick and Yul caught up, Amber was feeling confident in her alliance with Tyson and Kim, though the pace made her nervous and she knew that she needed to keep up. Amber approached Sophie to see whether they should be getting rid of Sandra, given she spreads information to keep the target of herself. Speaking of Sandra, she was spreading information to her allies, to solidify the target on Tyson, Kim or Amber.

Sandra was feeling particularly confident, given she discovered and accepted the immunity idol in her bag. Stirring the pot with safe, glee, Sandra told Tony and co that Tyson now wants Tony out, pissing Tony off and getting his allies to change the plan to get rid of Tyson instead. Particularly since Amber isn’t scrambling, and keeping the married couple together keeps the target off him. Meanwhile Yul and Nick approached Tyson to let him know that everyone is terrified about the poker alliance, and as such, Tyson immediately flipped his game from dictating a vote, to assuring them that he will be a loyal number and vote whichever way they want him to. Kim and Amber be damned. Speaking of Kim, she was feeling nervous for the first time in her Survivor career, approaching Sandra and Wendell to find out who the target is, quickly realising that it may just be her.

Knowing that her presence was causing a lot of silences, she desperately tried to find someone to talk to and started announcing herself before entering any populated areas. She felt awful to finally be left out in her Survivor career, and was just hopeful that she wasn’t the one that was punished for the alleged poker alliance.

At tribal council Probst continued to make Amber feel super old, reminding her that she hasn’t played in over 16 years with her admitting that the speed of the game is overwhelming. Tyson spoke about the differences in each of the eras of Survivor, with the oldies sitting back and observing while the newer victors seem to act first, think second. Amber felt that Tony was running around erratically, with he and Sandra defending him because they were going to tribal council. And if she can’t keep up with the pace, she needs to get out of the way. Sophie said that the scrambling dropped off throughout the day, and as such, people should be nervous that their last conversation is correct. Which Sandra agreed with, given it was whittled down to a small group. Kim admitted that she was part of the small group because she played in a poker game which everyone believes is an alliance, which Tyson agreed was also putting him in danger.

Kim desperately tried to convince everyone that she is not close with the poker group and if it is, she isn’t a part of it. Wendell agreed that there are so many connections that the game is a mess, while Amber said that with $2 million dollars on the line, everyone was playing for themselves. Which Sandra gladly agreed with.

With that the tribe voted, Sandra held on to her hidden immunity idol and Kim and Tyson were spared as Amber became the second person and first Mariano voted out of the game to the Edge of Extinction. After bequeathing her Fire Token to Rob, I jumped out from behind the Edge of Extinction sign and unlike Natalie, she wasn’t terrified nor surprised to see me. She simply threw her arms around my neck and told me how glad she was to at least see me in her moment of crushing defeat.

Like Sandra said while voting for her, it was heartbreaking to see Amber’s third chance cut because of Rob’s threat level, rather than her own. And that thought made me start to break down in tears. Immediately, she went into mum/mom mode, pulled me in for a hug and reminded me that everything will be ok. And that while Edge of Extinction sucks, I can at least watch her in every episode. With that thought bringing a smile to my face, she got a fire going and I quickly whipped her up an Amber Marinara Sauce for the road.

 

 

Rich, robust and versatile – am I describing the perfect man or a simply beautiful marinara sauce. Por que no los dos, amirite? Smooth and lightly herbed, this marinara is the basis for all that is good in Italian cooking – from pizza to pasta, this baby has your back.

Enjoy!

 

 

Amber Marinara Sauce
Serves: 4-6 in a Dolognese, or about 1L if chugging.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
2 tsp chilli flakes
800g can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper, ground
½ tsp raw caster sugar
¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped

Method
Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and sweat the garlic for a couple of minutes, or until fragrant and starting to catch on the bottom. Add the chilli and cook, stirring, for a further minute.

Add the tomatoes, and a cup of water that has been swilled around the can to get every last drop of ruby, delicious goodness. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, sugar and herbs and cook – stirring occasionally still, FYI – for a further 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat to cool completely, before bottling.

 

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Christina Applegate Sauce

Condiment, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Sauce

As you know, most of my time celebrating an Award Show is dedicated to finding someone that will take me as their plus one when the relevant academy chooses yet again, not to invite me. So since my dear Christina Applegate is nominated again this year and co-starred opposite Ed O’Neil, I couldn’t go past kicking off this year’s celebration with her.

I’ve known Chris for decades, after meeting on the set of Married. While I was employed as part of Kate’s entourage, I was drawn to Chris due to our similar sense of humour and we quickly developed a strong, unbreakable bond.

Given how busy she is, I haven’t caught up with Christina in close to 12 months, so it was such a joy to swing by her pad and toast her success on Dead to Me. While she wouldn’t give away any spoilers on season 2, she did assure me that should Linda agree to end her feud with me she could find a way to work me in to the season.

And I assume, finally get me my elusive first Emmy nomination.

Speaking of Emmy nominees, we sat down to run the odds in the Comedy Game. Despite both loving her performance in Dead to Me, we agreed that JLD will take Best Actress despite Catherine O’Hara deserving it. Best Actor she thinks will go to Bill Hader, while I think Ted Danson will make his triumphant return to the stage. While I am hopeful Anna Chlumsky will finally take out an Emmy for her role in Veep, Chris thinks it will go to Olivia Colman. When both obviously agree that Henry Winkler will take out Best Supporting Actor once again.

With that I wished her luck and toasted to her ongoing success with a big pot of sweet, spiced Christina Applegate Sauce.

 

 

While most people would argue that apple sauce is apple sauce and it isn’t anything special, I urge you to try this and then try to go back to store bought. Because you can’t. Lightly spiced with a caramelly hint, this smooth sauce is the perfect accompaniment to a big, salty slab of pork. Or great to shot.

Enjoy!

 

 

Christina Applegate Sauce
Serves: 1 saucy nominee and her inspiration.

Ingredients
5 granny smith apples, peeled and cored
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 cinnamon quill

Method
Place everything in a saucepan with two tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, covered, and cook until apples are very soft. About ten minutes should be enough.

Remove the cinnamon quill and blitz the sauce until smooth and serve immediately.

 

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Sosie Bacon Jam

Condiment, Gravy, Sauce

Wellity wellity, look who is back for some Sunday sauciness! Wait, no, shit, like Patty Hogg, I’ve said too much, I’ve said too much. Let me backpedal, I was on the phone to my love Kev last weekend – it was Daddy’s day, after all – and my god-daughter Sosie yelled out to send her love and talk about how much she missed me.

After Kev and I were done letting each other know how much we love each other, I got him to put Sose on the line and told her to get out here and visit with me some time. Ten minutes later she told me the flights were booked and to get baking.

So obviously I have known Sosie for her entire life and as her godfather have always tried to help her out when she needed it. I then got her cast in the Scream TV show, in an HBO vehicle and opposite three of my boyfriends in 13 Reasons Why, so I think you would agree I’ve been quite successful.

I was feeling super nostalgic spending time with Sosie, so told her how proud I am of her ad nauseum. Before whipping her up a vat of Sosie Bacon Jam.

 

 

Sticky, sweet and with a gloriously salty kick, bacon jam is quite possibly one of my favourite things. Chuck it on a burger, a sandy, with some cheese, in a quiche, hell even a shoe Old Gregg style, I will eat it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sosie Bacon Jam
Serves: 1-2 cups.

Ingredients
olive oil
500g streaky bacon, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup bourbon
⅔ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup muscovado sugar
2 tbsp thyme leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a small lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the bacon over medium heat for about fifteen minutes, or until crispy, caramelised and straight up glorious. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Add the bourbon and cook the alcohol off for a minute before stirring through the apple cider, muscovado and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and leave to simmer, stirring semi-frequently, for 20 minutes, or until thick and sticky.

Season to taste and transfer to a sterilised jar. Or just eat with a spoon like a true member of the Bacon clan would.

It can keep for a week or so refrigerated, but I don’t think you’ll have any left over. Just sayin’.

 

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Michelle Branch Dressing ready to be guzzled down by Michelle Branch

Michelle Branch Dressing

Condiment, Dip, Sauce

It really is true what they say about when it rains, it pours – not the famous Survivor challenge which Shi-Ann won in All Stars, upsetting the apple cart – as no sooner had Keke Palmer left my apartment, was my phone ringing again with Michelle Branch inviting herself over to join the fun.

While I am ashamed to admit that I oft get her and my other friend Vanessa Carlton mixed up, I was happy to oblige and welcome her to this ‘ere patch of cyberspace.

I first met Michelle almost two decades ago when she did a set visit to American Pie 2 to sell her hit song Everywhere. While my dearest Tara and Eugene weren’t sold on it fitting the narrative flow of the movie, I soon convinced them it would work perfectly during the scene where Jason Biggs superglues his hand to his dick.

And the rest, as they also say, is history.

Given I am the one that pushed to get her big break, Michelle trusted my judgement and agreed to fall under my tutelage. That lent to a couple of more singles, a Grammy winning collab with Santana and you could say, I was successful.

We tragically haven’t caught up in the last few years, given she has been busy with a wee bebe at home, so it was a treat to catch up, share a few laughs and jug vats of Michelle Branch Dressing. Which is weird but totally our thing, you know.

 

Michelle Branch waiting to chug Michelle Branch Dressing

 

A little sweet, kinda tart and silky smooth, ranch is the perfect accompaniment to any salad, hot wings or anything spicy, TBH. Or, you can drink it like nectar. No judgement.

Enjoy!

 

Michelle Branch mid chug of her Michelle Branch Dressing

 

Michelle Branch Dressing
Makes: 1 cup.

Ingredients
⅔ cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chives, thinly sliced
½ tsp paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Place everything in a jar. Shake well. And down.

Or refrigerate until ready to serve with something else. Though it doesn’t really need it, you know.

 

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Sam Schoesage Gravy awaiting Australian Survivor's shocked seventh boot Sam Schoers.

Sam Schoesage Gravy

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Condiment, Gravy, Sauce, Side, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Daisy and Shaun had formed a tight bond on the Contenders tribe, however given they’ve only lost one immunity challenge, we haven’t had the chance to see whether the pair were in power. After finding an idol for the other tribe Shaun thought he had struck gold, switching it with David for the correct one. Sadly however David was playing him, having made a fake to trade out for the real thing, giving David, Janine and Luke’s alliance control of all the idols in the game. While the Champions continued to take out reward challenges, they couldn’t get it together in the immunity challenges leading to another date with Jonathan at tribal council. While David’s overconfidence started to prove off putting with Janine, Abbey and Pia enough to float the idea of blindsiding him, the alliance stood firm and poor E.T. found himself making an escape from the game.

That night the Champs were awoken from their restful slumber to find a big old crab crawling around Janine. As screaming turned to laughter, the tribe madly tried to exile it for the tribe before sadly wondering where E.T. is when they need him.

The next morning we checked in with the Contenders as they sat around for a hearty breakfast of rice as Baden tried to snap twigs. Shaun was feeling confident, owning an idol he doesn’t realise is fake and have tight allies in Daisy and John. That being said he didn’t trust Harry or Andy as far as he can throw them, so instead of trying to play against them, he opted to bring in Andy so shared with him the fact he had an idol and vowed to use it to protect them all come a swap or merge. While sweet Shaun was just trying to help, Andy was a shady jerk and called him stupid and while it wasn’t Shaun’s best move, I don’t like people being mean about him.

Jonathan returned for the latest reward challenge where the tribes discovered that psyche, it isn’t a reward challenge, it is time to drop their buffs as it is switch time. Everyone reached into Jonathan sacks to get their new buffs, with the new Contenders tribe comprised of OG’s Matt, Harry, Shaun and Casy with Janine, Abbey, Pia, Ross and Simon while Luke and David were alone on the Champions tribe with ring-ins Hannah, Andy, Sarah, Sam, Baden, Daisy and John.

We followed the new Contenders back to camp where we finally heard from Simon, who was thrilled to narrowly escape his impending boot while Janine, Abbey and Pia were concerned about the downgrade in their living conditions. Harry was concerned about his place in the new tribe given he is in the automatic minority, so commenced sharing stories of his non-existent child to win over the new tribe members. And damn it, it is actually working. Meanwhile over at the new Champions tribe the ex-Contenders were thrilled to discover their palatial new digs, complete with bounties of fruit and a calm bay. Andy was particularly thrilled, given his mega-majority on the tribe. On the flipside David and Luke were not happy to find themselves at the bottom, with Luke valiantly trying to assure David that they will figure something out. And given they both have idols, I have a feeling they will.

Jonathan made a speedy return for the latest reward challenge where the tribes are all paired up squatting on either sides of a pole with a bar tethered between them around a pole with the last pair standing without knocking over the pole winning immunity for their tribe. For some reason the tribe called for even numbers, so Casey and Baden sat out for their tribes. Hannah and Sarah were the first ones out for the new Champs, followed closely by Matt and Harry and Shaun and Simon for the Contenders. John and Andy dropped out next, leaving Janine and Abbey, and Pia and Ross to battle it out against Luke and David, and Sam and Daisy. Luke and David were the next to drop, leaving it up to Sam – who I still look forward to meeting – and Daisy to defeat Janine and Abbey after Ross and Pia finally dropped. As the challenge rolled on Luke grew desperate, asking Janine and Abbey to throw the challenge while the four women stood motionless. Eventually Daisy and Sam grew weak, knocking over their pole and handing the new Contenders immunity. Because JaQueen is what? A damn queen.

Back at camp Andy was super excited to be attending tribal council and can’t wait to get rid of Luke and David, which I desperately hope comes back to bite him big time. He then decided it is now time to take control of a vote, suggesting they split the vote on Luke and David to guarantee one of their demises … which he insufferably thinks is a plan that he has come up with and has never been done before. Thankfully both Luke and David have idols around their necks so know that they are safe if it comes down to it, however they’d rather not use them and find a crack. Luke approached Baden who was tragically Contender strong, while David tried to make inroads with Sam and while she had no desire to flip and save them, he arrogance annoyed the formerly arrogant David who decided she would be his target. One by one they worked their way around the tribe, trying to make those left behind paranoid and hopefully stumble upon a crack.

Andy then decided it was a great idea to share the information about David’s idol and the fact it came from Shaun and Daisy, with the former stumbling upon the conversation and instantly being filled with rage. Daisy then approached John to vent to him about Andy’s loose lips, realising that she would rather stay align with Luke and David instead. They opted to target Sam and then got to work finding another person to vote with, identifying Baden as their best shot. While Baden wasn’t thrilled to work with unknown quantities, he assured Daisy that should they get Luke and David on board, then he will vote with them. With that, Daisy approached the boys to float getting rid of Sam which they obviously were all in on. More importantly, they were thrilled not to have to burn their idols. Though maybe they should as Baden isn’t 100% sure flipping at this vote is a good idea. We then heard from Andy who still thinks a vote split is his genius idea and ugggh.

At tribal council Luke was open about how nervous he felt walking in to tribal with such a mega minority while David played it more coy, sharing that he is hopeful that the tribes will be able to intermingle. Andy spoke about how strongly bonded the Contenders are, while Baden was vague and non-committal in his response before Daisy straight up admitted that the Contenders won’t stay aligned for very long. Sarah meanwhile was hopeful that the Contenders would stick together while we heard Sam’s voice for the first time as she confirmed that she thinks it is a bad idea to work with David and Luke at this time. The latter opted to stir up some drama and admitted that cracks are there and he is hopeful that he has found it, while Andy desperately tried to praise them for being great, unaware that the jury doesn’t start until the merge. David then opted to threatened the OG Contenders, pointing out that their are perks in people’s pockets and the winds of change are starting to blow. Andy started to appear nervous, Zaddy John spoke about the idols scaring him while Baden just desperately hoped to fall on the right side of the numbers, earning an eye roll from Andy. Daisy then said her vote is based on what she thinks is right before the tribe went off to vote, wait no, Andy wanted to peacock for another minute, getting up to talk to John and confirm that he is voting for Luke, earning nervous looks from his allies and a look of pure rage from Daisy.

The tribe then legit went off to vote with Andy pulling off a supremely smug coin flip to decide that he would be voting for Luke and sending him home. Sadly for him that wasn’t the case, as even without them playing their idols, they managed to find the cracks and send Sam out of the game with Daisy, John and Baden’s help. While she was completely shocked to be out of the game so soon, she took it in her stride and instead had to comfort me as I raged about her lack of screentime on the show.

“You were an icon on The Amazing Race Australia! How dare they not give you some confessionals?! This is out of order. I can’t take it, I’m feeling VERY ATTACKED RIGHT NOW.”

Eventually she got through to me, reminding me that while she tragically left I still had John and he gets nude every couple of episodes. With that, my spirits lifted and I got to work whipping up a big vat of Sam Schoesage Gravy.

 

Sam Schoers working through the shock of becoming the seventh boot of Australian Survivor with a bowl of Sam Schoesage Gravy.

 

I know it either sounds as sexual as I am – who doesn’t love sausage gravy, though – or down right fowl, but I promise you, there is nothing quite as delicious as this Southern delight. Whether you’re eating it straight from the batch, or sopping it up with a [redacted], Latrice Royale-style, it instantly fills you with joy and reminds you that at least one good thing originated in the south.

Enjoy!

 

Sam Schoers working through the shock of becoming the seventh boot of Australian Survivor with a bowl of Sam Schoesage Gravy.

 

Sam Schoesage Gravy
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g breakfast sausage
⅓ cup flour
1 tbsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp nutmeg
4 cups milk, more to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Remove the sausages from their skins and cook in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking up with a wooden as you go.

Reduce heat to low and add the flour, chilli and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the milk until well combined. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until it thickens, about ten minutes.

Add the salt and pepper, and cook for a further minute, or until thick and glorious. Devour immediately, not waiting for anything you would normally serve it with. It may spoil the fun for someone later on, you know?

 

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