Jairusty Nail Robinson

Drink, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the Yase tribe were struggling to comprehend their terrible run in the challenges until Queen Tiffany turned things around and became a beast in the immunity challenge, saving her tribe from another tribal council. While Brad managed to jag himself an extra vote and found the three-way idol, he and Xander were still looking for a third and as such, he lost his vote AND the right to play any advantages. Which sadly was enough for Ricard, Shan and JD to join together and blindside him from the game.

Back at camp Genie was annoyed to be left out of the blindside, though given she tripped on her way back to camp she probably was frustrated by that too. She cussed them out, explaining that she is frustrated to be the one that looks after everyone but they don’t even respect her enough to tell her. Shan then dropped the bomb that Brad wasn’t as close to Genie as she thought, given he only told her about both of his advantages and as such, she should kinda be grateful. Essentially. This in turn annoyed JD who was frustrated that Shan made such a big deal about him keeping his extra vote a secret from her when she was keeping her own secrets from him.

And ugh, this is the kind of messy that I love.

The next day the tribes met up with Jiffy Pop for the first reward challenge of the season where they would have to toss a ball into a track and race to the end to collect it. Once they all have their balls, they need to dig under a log and race to the end where they must each land their balls in a trough. First two tribes to win snagging themselves a visit from a Fijian survival expert for first place and a single fish for second. Despite their reputation as the weakest tribe, Yase got out to an early lead as Ua nipped at their heels while Heather kept Luvu firmly in last place. Ua took the lead when it came to landing their balls while Tiffany was once again the star performer of Yase as the two tribes snagged their rewards, putting Heather out of her misery.

She immediately started to sob over letting her team down which honestly was heartbreaking to watch, until her fellow castaways cheered her on for giving her best and not giving up.

Back at camp Yase recapped their shitty run thus far in the season and how this core four has really come together to succeed, with queen Tiffany rightly talking about how she is really killing the challenges now. But before we could even dig into that, Tiffany discovered a bunch of baby turtles hatching and oh my goodness, they are so damn cute!

Over at Ua their survival expert was climbing up a palm tree and literally doing tricks and ugh, I love him! He gave them recipes, tips, taught them how to catch and prepare fish and seemingly made everyone come together in harmony. Wait, no – Ricard felt he had learnt enough survival skills now and as such, was happy to get rid of Genie ASAP.

To which I say, no. Nope. Not on my watch, Ricard.

Meanwhile over at Luvu Erika and Deshawn were praising each other’s game while Sydney and Danny were fishing around them and Heather was processing their loss back at camp. Erika shared that she is more than ready to get rid of someone, feeling anxious to finally play the game and get a damn torch. After returning to shore, Sydney tried to make fire and flipped out upon failing. And with that, she realised that they should get rid of Sydney given she is so volatile. Sadly for Erika, Deshawn took this information directly to Sydney and as such, the duo decided that they need to get rid of Erika when the time comes. The duo then roped in Danny with Deshawn suggesting that they should throw the upcoming challenge to deal with her ASAP, though given Danny is a professional athlete, he wasn’t sure if he could bring himself to do it.

Speaking of the immunity challenge, the tribes reconvened where they learnt they would race through the water collecting bags of logs which they would use to release a key which in turn would release three rings which they must land on a post. Ua got out to the earliest lead while Luvu nipped at their heels before snapping it despite Deshawn desperately trying to throw the challenge. As Evvie feverishly swam in the wrong direction for Yase. Naseer single handedly kept the tribe in front as Yase slowly caught up to Ua. As Deshawn threw the rings as far away from the posts as possible, Tiffany and JD quickly landed their first rings. Liana gave Yase the lead before Naseer started tossing for Luvu and landed two rings. Ultimately Yase were first to snag immunity before Naseer finally landed his third ring and sent Ua back to tribal council.

Back at camp Genie pulled JD aside to try and form a duo against the other two, with Genie telling him that she plans to roll her shot in the dark die. JD agreed that he feels on the outs but shared that he desperately didn’t want to roll his dice yet, in the hope of convincing her to do the same. JD then caught up with Ricard and filled him in on the plans, assuring him that he will not turn on him. Meanwhile Shan and Genie were catching up, with the former assuring her that the plan is to get rid of JD and as such, she doesn’t need to worry about playing her dice. Shan and Ricard then caught up, deciding that Shan should try and convince JD to hand over the extra vote again and neutralise the threat so that they can make a clear decision.

With that Shan got to work playing JD, talking about how paranoid she is about his extra vote and assuring him that she will give the vote back after they both survive tribal council. Again. For the second episode in a row. Oh and once she had it in her pocket, she decided that maybe she should blindside him again since she now has ownership of it, per her interpretation of the rules. Which for the record, didn’t work for Cirie.

At tribal council Genie spoke about how tired and disappointed she is to be back at tribal council while Ricard spoke about how it gets harder and harder to vote someone out each week. Shan agreed, complete with fart jokes, while JD admitted that watching on at home is far easier, given you have all the information that the castaways on the island don’t. Genie brought up being blindsided by the Brad vote and how it makes her feel uneasy, given the tribe clearly doesn’t trust her. Ricard tried to play it cool with Genie admitting that she was planning to play her shot in the dark before JD cautioned her to not do something stupid that could screw over a potential ally.

Ricard admitted that he has had his name written down – hey Genie – while Shan spoke about how they need to play hard if they don’t want to be among the 17 losers of the season. JD spoke about how his plans before the game started were completely different to how he has played and he still has a lot he wants to achieve. While poor Genie started to cry, heartbroken about her dreams coming to an end. With that the tribe voted and while Genie elected to not play her shot in the dark, it proved to be the right move as Shan and Ricard joined her to blindside poor JD from the game.

Obviously young JD was heartbroken as her arrived in Loser Lodge, but I quickly pulled him in for a hug and reminded him, superfan to superfan, that the game is hard and while he didn’t win he should still be proud of himself. From finding advantages to making big moves, he tried and while not everything worked out, he was an entertaining presence. And when that didn’t make him feel better, I got to work perking him up with tales of Malcolm, Woo and Ozzy. Which was enough to perk him up enough to toast a game well played with my Jairusty Nail Robinson.

While a rusty nail is a simple drink, it is the simplicity that makes it so damn good. Earthy, rich and warming, this little number is perfect for a quiet night of reflection. Shit, that was oddly deep, right? Or am I just that vapid that I think that is deep? Who cares, I guess.

Enjoy!

Jairusty Nail Robinson
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
60ml Scotch whiskey
1 tbsp drambuie
ice

Method
Pour the Scotch and drambuie into an old fashioned glass.

Top with ice. Stir. Down.


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Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Brad grew paranoid of his ally JD and how quickly things flipped at their first tribal council. Tiffany meanwhile was exhausted on Yase, leaving Xander plenty of free time to find the aware advantage – aka the three-way idol that is only powered if everyone says the same weird phrases at the same immunity challenge. Sadly for him, he was the only person that found one meaning it was powerless and he lost his vote. Oh and then Yase lost immunity again thanks to Tiffany struggling badly in the challenge. Despite this, it came down to the boys and while Evvie continued to explain Xander’s idol was powerless, Tiffany convinced them to boot sweet Voce instead.

The next morning Liana awoke bright and early, regretting the choice to get rid of Voce – I think – given it could cost her the game if the tribe continues their losing streak. As she tended to the fire, she missed an advantage sitting right next to her. Thankfully, Tiffany woke up not much later and found it under the watchful eyes of Evvie and Liana. As such, she beckoned them to follow her down to the beach where she learnt that later that night a boat would arrive to take her to another island where she would be faced with a choice. The failure to get on said boat would cost her her vote at the next tribal council. Which she was obviously thrilled about, while Liana questioned whether missing it will cost her the game.

Meanwhile over at Ua, JD was bonding with Genie, Ricard and Shan while Brad got up and started tending to camp. Thankfully for him, as the tribe partied together, he found the same advantage that Tiffany got and as such, the King and Queen of chaos are destined for a twilight meet-up and damn, I am excited! We then jetted over to Luvu where Sydney was telling the tribe that Naseer pulled her aside last night and suggested getting rid of Danny, while poor Naseer sat alone at camp. Breaking my damn heart, given he is so sweet and joyous. Thankfully he apologised to everyone and while everyone seemed great, Sydney was still very much against him. And then grabbed the hidden advantage in front of the tribe to avoid Heather or Naseer grabbing it.

We returned to Ua where JD was wandering around, searching high and low for a hidden immunity idol to add to his collection of advantages. Given he was struggling, he decided that someone else must have found it and then listed why every other person in the tribe had it. As the tribe reconnected, we learnt that Brad and Genie had found the idol together but half an hour earlier and while Queen Genie was disappointed to not be the owner of the idol, she was glad her closest ally had it. Brad started to feel guilty that their other ally Shan wasn’t in the know, so pulled her aside and let her know about the madness of the three-way idol before gagging her with the knowledge of his OTHER advantage. And while she pretended to be excited for him, she was also concerned about his growing power.

That night, Brad built a body out of supplies on the beach so that people would think he was sleeping away before he ventured out on his boat trip. While Tiffany and Sydney weren’t as elaborate with their escapes, they did meet him on a new island where they learnt that they would have to select themselves a tarp or ‘a steal a vote’. And like the other dilemma, if they all select the tarp they all get a tarp but if they all choose the ‘steal a vote’, they all lose their vote at the next tribal council. And then if the decision is split, those that choose tarp get nothing while the others get the ‘steal a vote’. Tiffany quickly suggested they all agree that one of them gets the ‘steal a vote’, while the others get nothing which made Sydney very nervous about her. After they discussed back and forth, they all made their decisions in private and returned back to camp.

The next day, Tiffany and Sydney learnt that they were empty handed while Brad was delighted to find his steal a vote. Which is the outcome Sydney was hoping for.

The tribes reconvened with Jeffrey for the latest immunity challenge where they had to swim out and cross a rope bridge over the water, run to shore, dig up sandbags and toss them on small shelves. Oh and the winning tribes also get a fruit platter. After Brad and Xander offered up their idol phrases, they sadly discovered that they were missing their third partner and they were now both without their votes. Deshawn got Luvu out to an early lead before Shan pipped him on the rope bridge and gave Ua the lead. The tribes continued to trade out the lead while Xander desperately tried to close the gap for Yase. Eventually all of the tribes caught up when it came to tossing the sacks, which proved to be Tiffany’s secret skill as she landed the first one for Yase. Xander quickly landed another two, while Deshawn tried to close the gap. Ua then got in on the action and landed a few but it was all for nought as Luvu took out immunity followed by Xander snagging a victory for Yase, sending Ua to tribal council.

Back at camp the tribe tried to process their loss, while Brad was more frustrated by the fact his idol isn’t powered and as such, he doesn’t have his vote and nor can he play any advantages. A factoid we only just learnt. JD ventured off to go to the bathroom before returning with his extra vote visible. As such, Shan and Ricard pulled him aside to give him the chance to come clean but given they forced his hand, neither of them really trusted him. The duo then caught up and discussed the merits of getting rid of either JD or Brad since they are both untrustworthy, though they argued that the latter does contribute more around camp. Knowing he was screwed, JD apologised to Shan and offered up the extra vote for her to mind until later to the game. We then learnt that Shan felt emotionally connected to both of the boys and as such, she is even more confused about what is the right decision for her game.

At tribal council Shan spoke about how disappointed she was to be back at tribal council while JD quickly took responsibility for their loss in the challenge. Ricard admitted that he is already at the point of the game where he would rather vote based on his allegiances rather than strength, while Genie was concerned she was getting his vote given she voted for him last week. Though wasn’t overly concerned, given she has a solid alliance. Brad spoke about the importance of building trust, which JD jumped on and assured them that while they may not trust him at the moment, he hopes to win back the trust. Brad reminded them that things always look up after tribal council as the joy of surviving comes to them. JD spoke about how Survivor gave him his confidence and built him up to the man he is today and ugh, the way Brad watched on with pride was just too precious.

With that the tribe voted and powerless, poor Brad was gagged to find himself booted from the game. But more importantly, does this mean that Xander will never get to stop talking about his dead flying relatives?!

But that is a question for another time, because as soon as I saw Brad wander into Loser Lodge, I pulled him into my arms and started to cry over his loss. You see, I’ve known Brad for years after hitchhiking my way across America working as a ranch hand in the hopes of finding my own Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. While I was tragically unsuccessful, Brad took me under his wing and tried to make me into a decent person, often looking on with the same pride he looked at JD with. The results may have been hit and miss, but he was always proud of me when I whipped out a batch of Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

There is no better combination than peanut butter and chocolate, a fact best proven by these little numbers. Smooth, chewy peanut butter, mixed with sharp, rich chocolate? I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
Serves: 2 dear friends, makes 36.

Ingredients
1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp unsalted butter 
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
500g melting chocolate

Method
Combine the peanut butter, butter and muscovado sugar in a saucepan and cook, stirring over medium heat until melted. Bring to a gentle boil before removing from the heat and folding through the icing sugar. Stirring until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to chill.

Line 36 mini-muffin holes with paper patties. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and salt together until smooth and shiny. Immediately pour a tablespoon into each muffin cup and swirl to cover the base.

Take the chilled peanut butter mixture out of the fridge and roll into 1 teaspoon sized thick discs. Pop one in each of the muffin cups, top with the remaining chocolate and transfer to the fridge to set.

Remove from the pattie liners and devour, joyously.


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David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey was inspired by Sasha Velour by way of my girl Whitney, getting so emotional as he welcomed us back to the majestic islands of Fiji for the OG Survivor. Oh but while it is the 41st season, he warned us all to be ready – not because the winners are coming for you – as the game has evolved while in lockdown and is shorter but more dangerous than ever. The first change being that only one tribe won the first immunity challenge, with Yase and Ua attending back-to-back tribal councils with Abraham and Sara becoming the first and second boots of the new era.

We checked in with Ua the next day where the tribe was still recovering from tribal council. Brad was paranoid about how quickly JD switched things up and as such, worried he could no longer trust him. And then when he spotted JD and Ricard heading off to get water together, he obviously ran along the beach to beat them to the well and eavesdrop. After hearing them innocently speak about him for a bit, he darted back to camp where Shan was now more concerned by Brad as an ally rather than worried by JD now being calm. Shan took that information back to Ricard, with him admitting that he said nothing bad and assuring her it was all good. Oh and that Brad needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile at Luvu, Deshawn was growing tired as he desperately continued to try and start fire for the tribe. Eventually the iconic Naseer got sick of watching on, jumped in and got the fire started in no time at all. Immediately making the tribe love him, given they would probably die without him according to Sydney, the de facto proxy for the audience. Oh and we also learnt that grew up without electricity or running water in Sri Lanka but he was always happy and damn, I couldn’t love him more at this point.

We finally checked in on Yase where Tiffany was absolutely exhausted, sharing that she would give anything for even a cup of rice. Back at camp, Xander was busy trying to finish the shelter before he pointed out that Voce had been gone a long time to Liana. With that, they suggested they split up to try and find him, with Xander putting this time to use finding the ‘Beware’ advantage, which told him to accept the risks and do everything it says, or put it back and leave it for someone else. Obviously he took the risk and learnt that he had found one third of an idol which will only gain power if the same idol is found at both of the other camps. To activate it, he simply needs to say a weird phrase and wait for the other two to say theirs at the same immunity challenge and voila, they all get idols. Sadly for him, he won’t have a vote for the rest of the game unless the other two idols are found.

Knowing it is fairly dangerous, he pulled his closest allies Evvie and Voce aside to fill them in, with Voce nervous about now being down a vote. While Evvie was more concerned about Xander’s growing power and not wanting to go to the end with men and then have their game disregarded which always seems to happen on Survivor. With that, Evvie took that information back to their true allies, Tiffany and Liana, and damn Xander, you in danger girl.

The tribes joined up with Jeffrey over the ocean for the immunity challenge where someone would dive in and retrieve a key before bringing it back to two others who would race over a series of obstacles and then swim to the end where the other two people will unlock puzzle pieces, which they obviously use to solve. Oh and in addition to immunity for the first two tribes to finish, they will also get either a massive bundle of fishing gear or just enough fishing gear. 

Xander got Yase out to an early lead, though couldn’t retrieve his key on the first go giving Sydney time to take the lead for Luvu. Danny meanwhile made quick work of the obstacles for Luvu while Brad and Tiffany struggled on the balance beam. Eventually Brad made it to the end while Naseer continued to power Luvu ahead while Shan joined him in lapping Tiffany. While poor Liana waited for her turn on the obstacles for Yase, Luvu and Ua quickly worked through the puzzle before Tiffany finally made it to the end. Sadly for Yase, however, Liana couldn’t overcome the disadvantage as Erika powered through another puzzle and took out victory for Luvu while Ua took out second place, sending Yase back to tribal council.

As winners of the challenge, Luvu were given the power to send someone from Yase for a special journey, quickly sending Evvie before they learnt they could send someone from either of the remaining tribes, with Deshawn quickly volunteering to go.

Back at camp, Tiffany quickly apologised for costing the tribe so much time in the challenge though she was quietly confident that she would still be safe at tribal council, given she and the girls were planning on getting rid of Xander. Speaking of Xander, he and Voce were worried about the girls sticking together and saving Tiffany given there are no guarantees a swap will save the tribe from themselves. Knowing they were mildly screwed, Voce approached Liana to see if she would be willing to get rid of Tiffany with her quickly agreeing that after the challenge it makes sense. Sadly for him however, Liana took the information back to Tiffany and while she assured her she was safe, she was still nervous Tiffany would do something stupid and screw it up for them.

Meanwhile Evvie and Deshawn arrived on the same island as last week and they quickly bonded as they ventured to the top. Knowing Yase will be at a disadvantage come merge, Evvie got to work charming Deshawn so that they would have an ally moving forward. They then shared that there is no way they can risk their vote with tribal council coming up and as such, he can safely take the extra vote and know that they won’t screw him over if they work together moving forward.  We then learnt a bit more about Deshawn, who worked hard to overcome all obstacles to become a doctor before pivoting back to Evvie’s charm offensive. They started by explaining that they plan to boot Xander over Tiffany at the upcoming tribal council before explaining in detail how the idols work this season.

Evvie returned to camp with their vote intact – you’re welcome for the extra vote, Deshawn – and quickly explained that the rules of the journey were the same as last week. They then went for a walk to the well with the girls, quickly locking in the blindside on Xander before returning to the boys and assuring them that they will join them to get rid of Tiffany. While Evvie was chatting with the boys, Tiffany was suggesting they should get rid of Voce instead, given Xander may play his idol, given she just doesn’t want to believe the situation with the idols. While Evvie calmly tried to explain the situation to her, assuring her that they read the note and it is actually powerless, Tiffany’s paranoia started to get to them, given it will be difficult to navigate around, should they stay aligned with her.

At tribal council Tiffany spoke about how disappointed in herself she was in the challenge, admitting that in the moment, she wanted the world to swallow her up. Xander spoke about how raw and exhausting it is to live the Survivor experience. Voce likened it to being in surgery and implored the tribe to find the wound and save their lives. We then learnt that his drive comes from his hardworking mother. Liana admitted that where the ‘bleeding’ Voce was talking about varies from person to person and as such, they need to find who they trust. This inspired Tiffany to remind them that challenges aren’t the only part of Survivor and as such, they need to vote with loyalty in mind. Evvie spoke about the fact the tribes could switch tomorrow and as such, strength means nothing and that is why the decisions are tough. Xander agreed that there is so much unknown and as such, there could be no switch in which case, strength becomes that much more important.

With that the tribe voted and somehow Liana and Evvie bought into Tiffany’s fear, joining her to send Voce out of the game against all odds. As he wandered into Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I mean, I didn’t want any of the tribe to go, but it was still heartbreaking to lose my dear friend Voce so early. You see, we first met while working together as interns at the hospital that inspired Shonda Rhime’s to write Grey’s Anatomy and became the fastest of friends.

David is kind, wise, calm and most importantly, is a total babe and as such, I was absolutely shook to see him go so soon. But after catching up and splitting a David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake, everything seemed right with the world again.

I feel like I say it a lot, but Milk Bar is the greatest place on earth and every damn recipe is near perfection. Tragically, there isn’t any down under and as such, I need to try my best to recreate their cakes. And well, this one is pretty damn great! Earthy, sweet and oh so moist, this is the perfect way to mark a shocking early boot.

Enjoy!

David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake
Serves: 2 dear friends or 16 normal people.

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g raw caster sugar
60g muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
110g buttermilk
75g grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butterscotch chips
240g white chocolate
25g light corn syrup, warmed to soften
55g double cream, cold as possible
75g pumpkin puree
60g milk powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
55g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Dulce de Nick Lachey
⅓ cup milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Combine the 115g butter , 250g of the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and cream on medium speed for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and return to the mixer on low for a further minute before adding the eggs one at a time, allowing to mix for a further minute between each addition. Scrape down the side, crank to medium and beat for a further few minutes or until delicate and light.

Whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a jug and with the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture in until it is all in and just combined. Scrape down the sides once again and then beat on high for five minutes or until homogeneous and airy.

Combine 185g of flour with the baking baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Fold the mixture through the wet ingredients before returning to the stand mixer on low for a minute or two, or until it is just coming together. Remove and fold through the butterscotch chips.

Pour into the lined sheet pan, smooth out the top and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cake is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.

Reduce the oven to 120C.

While the cake gets chill, combine 150g of white chocolate and 25g of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 15-second bursts, stirring after each go until velvety and smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz while adding the corn syrup in a steady stream.

Once combined, add the heavy cream as the blender is still going until it comes together. It may look curdled for a bit, but it will come back together. Finally blend in the pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of salt and the remaining cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Combine the 40g of the milk powder, the cornstarch and the remaining flour, caster sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands – or a spatula if it is too hot – until it starts to come together into large clumps. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until dry and sandy.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and leave to cool slightly.

Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining milk powder and white chocolate for five minutes or until the clumps firm with the chocolate. Transfer to a baking sheet to set completely.

To assemble, cut the sheet cake into two 20cm circles and leave to the side. Using a 20cm cake ring lined with acetate, press the remaining cake crumbs into the base and soak with a third of the milk. Top with a third of the ganache, some crumbs followed by half of the dulce de leche.

Top with one of the discs of cake and repeat the process with the milk, ganache, crumb and ganache. Top with the remaining disc of cake, follow with the remaining milk and ganache before decorating with the remaining crumbs.

Cover, transfer to the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge, take out of the ring and acetate and leave to come to temperature for half an hour or so before devouring, joyously.


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Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon

Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeff warmly welcomed us back to the tropical islands of Fiji before warning the cast that this is a new era, with a shorter game that was harder and packed full of twists to keep them on their toes. After making them work hard for the simplest of supplies, Jeff gagged them at the first immunity challenge by announcing that only one tribe would be immune and both of the losers would head to tribal council. While Luvu pulled off a come from behind victory, Yase were the first tribe to head to tribal council where poor Abraham was gagged to become the first boot.

But let’s back up a little bit.

After losing the challenge, we followed Ua back to camp with Sara sobbing to have lost the challenge, though she vowed to fight as hard as possible despite being on the puzzle. And losing a piece temporarily, costing them precious time. She and Ricard caught up however, agreeing that JD needed to go which led to Ricard rallying the tribe to get rid of him. Which he did very quickly, until Brad suggested getting rid of Sara or Shan would be a good idea too. DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEM. Brad then pulled JD aside with Shan to fill him in on the situation, suggesting they should instead get rid of Sara. And while Shan felt nervous trusting Brad, she felt like she was best placed socially to ultimately get what she wants.

At tribal council Ua too were feeling their oats as a tribe, loving the fact they have had zero drama. Brad meanwhile offered to give up their pot if they can stay together, just a little while longer, which Probst tragically didn’t accept. Shan spoke about the zen way they elected JD to participate in the challenge, with him pretending that he was completely honest and it just wasn’t worth lying about. Sara meanwhile suggested the entire situation seemed completely implausible, whether she believed him or not. Talk soon turned to the missing puzzle piece which cost them the challenge before Genie kindly summed up that it is what it is. 

As JD started talking, Ricard started whispering to Sara and Shan to see who they should vote out. This led to Probst calling them out, setting off a live tribal council as everyone started throwing out names. Ricard suggested they get rid of Brad while Shan and JD debated the merits of keeping Brad or Sara. The tribe grew more and more paranoid before Brad asked if they could pop their die in their pockets in case, before Shan begged Jeff to just let them vote. And with that, they did, as JD pocketed his extra vote and nobody opted to play their Shot in the Dark. As such, the votes piled up on half the tribe before Sara found herself becoming the second boot.

Poor Sara was absolutely heartbroken to be the first person voted out of her tribe, though was so grateful to see me. You see, as we both work in the healthcare industry we obviously got to know each other and became the best of friends. When I saw that she was part of the cast, I was confident her sweet charm would take her far so let out an epic scream when I saw her enter Loser Lodge. I mean, it was so loud it probably shook the Sandra and Rob heads on whatever beach they were left on.

Anyway, given the quick turnaround between boot and departure, I quickly gave her a hug, reminded her she was amazing and popped a comforting Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon in a take-away container before she realised I accidentally cursed her game with food.

Yep, once again the Survivor pizza curse lives on! But as I often say, when they taste this good, my friends can’t really complain about missing out on the title and million dollar prize that goes along with it. In any event, the nutty, smokiness of the cheese works perfectly with the delicate artichoke and after finishing it off, you can feel nothing but happiness.

Enjoy!

Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
extra virgin olvie oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup smoked Gouda, grated
½ cup mozzarella, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
⅔ cup artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Spread out your bases and drizzle with a little bit of oil. Sprinkle over the garlic, followed by most of the cheeses. Divide the artichokes amongst them, top with the rest of the cheese and a good whack of pepper and a pinch of salt.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, happy that while pizza still fucks over reality contestants post-COVID, it tastes damn good.


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Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie

Lunch, Main, Sandwich, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor we experienced the ultimate – not the best, that is still Micronesia or Heroes vs. Villains – battle with 20 former winners taking to the island to become the champion of champions. Or to Tony, the King to Sandra’s Queen. Then, well, Rona happened and the show was off air for a year and a half and well, let’s just say, it is a relief that Jeffrey L. Probst is back on the screen.

More specifically, back on the screen to welcome us back and share how much he missed us all. No prizes for guessing who was standing directly behind the camera when he delivered that monologue! (It was me, FYI). Anyway, after pointing out a new beware advantage we learnt that the shorter game came with smaller tribes, no food and a lot of risks to make the game even more dangerous.

With that, the three new tribes jetted their way through the ocean where we met Evvie from the Yase tribe, who was thrilled to kick off the new phase of the show. Danny meanwhile binged the show in lockdown and was ready to put his NFL past to work on the Luvu tribe. And well, Heather is my early fave, given she is an older woman and hella charming. JD meanwhile rubbed me the wrong way, given he is young and I am aging. As a frontline worker Voce was just glad to be away from the hospital, Shan was ready to give Pastors a bad name – I think – Sara was just glad to not be stuck in 2020, Deshawn was ready to leave isolation, Erica felt ready to be uncaged and Xander looks like he is going to be a wild twink. And that is a compliment. Think Shawn Mendes playing Survivor rather than being dopey and sweet?

Poor Heather was dropped as my favourite to make way for the iconic Genie, who is perfection personified. Hippy, happy and just so damn charming (I still love you too Heather). She was joined by 17 others on a ship in the middle of the ocean where Jeff officially welcomed them to the new season, with Abraham talking about how ecstatic he is to just not have to wear a mask. Erica meanwhile was grateful she wasn’t dropped from the cast due to the delay, while Naseer won my heart talking about learning English from watching Survivor when he came to America. I mean, what?! He is adorable. Heather spoke about watching the show from the start with her boyfriend, who became her husband AND now with their children. They are all just. So. Sweet.

Jeff then challenged everyone to grow and evolve and have difficult conversations, which led to him questioning his use of the phrase ‘come on in guys’. And after queer, female, icon Evvie told Jeffrey she was ok with, everyone agreed and the game was afoot. We learnt that the blue tribe would go by Luvu, the yellow tribe would be Yase while the green tribe is Ua. Jeffrey then put them to their paces in the first challenge where they would scavenge the boat for six oars for their boat before climbing in and paddling around a buoy to retrieve a key with the first ones to finish getting some meager supplies, while the rest would have nothing. While Luvu got out to an early lead, Ua was hot on their tail as Yase wandered aimlessly around the ship. Ua meanwhile dominated the rowing, pulling away and secured victory as Jeff read Yase for filth for their dodge performance.

Oh and we learnt that Luvu were so shit at paddling because they didn’t unclip the anchor which is hilarious and iconic and I love them.

We first followed Ua back to camp where we met Sara, who shared that her grandmother tragically passed away from COVID and she is out on the island for her, given she is a fellow Survivor fan. She was joined on the tribe with Queen Genie, rancher Brad – who is adorable and sweet – Ricard, JD and Shan. We learnt that Brad also lost his father a week before flying out for the game and ugh, this is going to be super rough if everyone has suffered COVID losses. On the more upbeat end of the spectrum, JD quickly put their flint to use and made fire for the camp and ugh, their joy was so pure.

The Yase tribe meanwhile were embarrassed to have bombed the challenge, though were glad to be together. In their shame. Yase was made up of Liana, Tiffany, Xander, Voce, Abraham and Queen Evvie, who discovered a challenge set up for them on the beach. They had the option to do a brain teaser counting triangles or two of them could gather enough water to fill two buckets and if they failed whichever one they chose, they wouldn’t get any supplies until after the first tribal council.  Voce obviously thought it was a horrible idea to do the bucket challenge, which he and Xander were forced to do while the rest of the tribe got to work setting up camp and searching for idols.

Over on Luvu they too opted for the bucket challenge, leaving Danny and Deshawn to get it done. Before immediately snapping bambo and losing their first buckets of water. Meanwhile at Ua, Queen Genie was opening up about her wife and the support she has always had from her traditional family and ugh, why am I crying so much? Ricard meanwhile was opening up to Sara about his husband and how they met just before he was due to foster a child. But given her husband is a total babe, he was smitten, they quickly got married and had a baby. But now he is guilty about leaving his pregnant husband at home with a toddler that doesn’t understand where he went and when he is coming back.

Back at Luvu, the guys quickly gave up on the bucket challenge and instead were hunting for an idol. Sadly for them, however, Naseer went to make sure they were ok and spotted them, making him backpedal on his plan to not talk strategy until the challenge was done, pulling in the rest of the tribe for a final four.

Over at Yase the boys were struggling with the challenge, though powering along as best they could. Meanwhile Evvie and Liana were catching up, suggesting that the boys would be bonded by the challenge and as such, they should form a duo and side with them. Liana then caught up with Abraham and instead of a generic getting to know you conversation, Abraham opted to shade Tiff for diving off the boat in the opening challenge and paint a target on her back. Sadly for him, Liana pulled her aside and filled her in on everything before we learnt that she had a preemptive mastectomy which ultimately discovered that she had early-stage cancer. Which is just honestly so mind blowing to think about.

We returned to Ua where JD was trying to lay low and not talk strategy in the hope of hiding his superfan status. Obviously that didn’t go unnoticed though as Ricard, Sara and Shan caught up by the well to talk about how hard he is trying to charm everyone and as such, they suggested they should get rid of him ASAP. Well, maybe not Shan, given she was actively forming a ride or die alliance with every single member of the tribe.

Deshawn and Danny meanwhile had given up on the hunt for their idols and returned to working on the challenge while Xander and Voce trudged away on their beach and honestly, all I know is that my basement is flooded. As were all the barrels, as both tribes secured themselves supplies. As soon as it was done, Sydney pulled Deshawn and Danny aside to fill them in on Naseer dobbing them in and DON’T DO THIS TO SWEET NASEER!?

The next day Sydney was living her best life at camp before a boat arrived requesting one person jump on with absolutely zero information. Imagine if someone just stumbled upon camp and suggested this and they went with it? Chilling. Anyway, obviously nobody wanted the target that volunteering would bring, leading to Danny throwing his hand up to avoid them debating all day. Meanwhile Xander gladly took the nomination over at Yase given everyone felt he was least likely to lie to them, leaving the duo to battle or join JD from Ua, thanks to him picking a white rock.

With that, the trio joined together on a new island where they learnt they would take a nice stroll up to the top of a mountain and well, this is a movie I could watch all night. On the way up, we learnt that JD was bullied growing up and that he has worked hard to change his image, inspired by Survivor icons Ozzy and Woo. At the top of the island we learnt that the trio would tragically split up to make a private decision before returning home. Wisely, Danny suggested they come up with a consensus decision so their stories are the same. Sadly for him, the challenge was simply to choose whether to risk or protect their votes. If everyone selected protect, nothing changes. If everyone selected risk, they all lose their vote at the next tribal council. And if it is split, the people that selected risk people would get an extra vote.

Before we could learn anything, we followed Danny back to camp where he quickly filled the tribe in on the truth and surprisingly, everyone believed him. Xander too opted with the truth route, pointing out he went for the extra vote so that come swap or merge, the tribe now have something in their pocket to get ahead. JD meanwhile sat his tribe down for a very in depth story time and while he almost told the entire truth – minus his choice – he gave so much information that they felt they couldn’t trust him.

The tribes reconvened with Jeff for the first challenge of the season where Ricard gagged everyone by announcing that he had more time to process Jeff questioning ‘come on in, guys’ and requested he drop ‘guys’ which makes so much sense given his family, so don’t even try giving him hate internet. Before getting to the challenge, Jeff announced the new ‘Shot in the Dark’ twist where they would each get a die that they can play once throughout the game at tribal council when it came time to vote, where they can forfeit their vote for a one-in-six shot at a piece of parchment deeming them safe.

But enough about the twist, in the immunity challenge they obviously need to traverse a bunch of obstacles to retrieve puzzle pieces, push said puzzle pieces up and down additional obstacles before ascending a tower and solving said puzzle. Oh and the two tribes that lose will both be going to tribal council AND losing their flints until the next immunity challenge. All tribes were neck and neck before Ua took the slightest lead and Luvu dropped one of their bags, costing them valuable time and leaving them to languish at the back of the pack. Ua were first to start working on their puzzle, quickly joined by Yase while Luvu desperately tried to close the gap. Which they did, whipping through the puzzle and snatching immunity for their tribe.

Back at Yase, Evvie broke down in tears over losing the puzzle for the tribe, knowing it may paint a target on her back. Thankfully for her, Liana and Tiffany were more focused on getting rid of Abraham given he was so quick to target Tiffany on the first day. Meanwhile Abraham was trying to rally the boys to join him in getting rid of Tiff as the weakest. They then took the information to Evvie and while she sounded on board, she knew it was a bad idea for her game. As such, she pulled Voce and Xander aside to point out Abraham is more of a liability, I assume in the broadest sense of the word. She took the information back to Tiffany and while the latter’s gut told her that she would be safe at tribal, she knew not to be complacent and as such went hunting for an idol. Tragically not spotting it when it was right in front of her.

At tribal council the tribe dipped their torches in the fire before Tiffany praised the tribe for being so harmonious and loving. Abraham meanwhile turned things to strategy, suggesting the vote needs to focus on strength, given the tribe is so small. Tiffany spoke about how great Abraham is at talking without actually saying anything at all which led to him highlighting his strength again for good measure. Evvie meanwhile suggested it was a different game, but agreed that strength is still important while Voce crunched the numbers and suggested the ‘Shot in the Dark’ twist isn’t really that scary. Because, you know, maths.

Liana spoke about how nerve wracking the twist is for those that don’t roll their dice, while Xander just wanted the tribe to come together and prove themselves as assets slash challenge threats. Which Evvie reminded them is important for setting up their end game. With that the tribe voted, Xander stealthily pocket his extra vote and poor Abraham found himself becoming the first boot of the new era.

As someone that has posed as a cyber security analyst, you know I am a former best friend of Abraham’s. Who, for the record, I call by her legal name Eric. Anyway, as I spotted him in Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and gave him a massive hug, knowing how painful it would feel to go home so soon after such a long wait. Then I learnt that by going home, the pre-juror’s were truly going home. Effective immediately and as such, I reminded him he is a sweet, charming guy, handed him a Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie and bid him adieu. 

There are so many jokes I could make about how much I love the pickle, hiding said pickles etc. but at the end of the day, those tart little numbers are something I just don’t joke around about. I mean, pop them on a toastie and you take it to the next level.

Enjoy!

Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 slices sourdough 
2 tbsp Shayonnaise Swain
6-8 slices English leg ham
1 cup vintage cheddar, as sharp as you can find, grated
2 dill pickles, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter, for spreadin’

Method
Lay out your bread on a chopping board and spread each with the mayo.

Top two slices with a quarter of the cheese each, followed by the ham, the pickle and the rest of the cheese. Season with a little salt and a good whack of pepper and top with the other slices of bread, mayo side down.

Spread a little butter on the top slices of bread and get a large skillet on the hob over medium heat. Once hot, place the sandies butter side down and cook for five-ten minutes, or until golden and crisp. Smear some butter on the top slices and flip over to cook for a further five-ten minutes. By which time that side should be crispy and the cheese, gooey and glorious.

Serve piping hot and devour.


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It’s a new dawn – but is it FFGC Sierra or Thomas?

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

After the world’s longest off season, which TBH, could easily be a phrase used to describe the pandemic, Survivor is back. And while we all feel like survivors just for getting through the day at this point – looking at you Melbourne, with your lockdown/earthquake combo yesterday – having dear Jiffy Pop back on the screen will perk us up collectively.

While the thankfully themeless Survivor 41 is a shorter season due to Ms Rona, Survivor is Survivor and we’ve been promised a new dawn. Which makes me shiver with anticipation, rather than concern.

So once again, buckle in, sit back and get ready for the madness of our coverage as I join the castaways post-boot to offer culinary comfort and casual chastising.

Who will be the first to go? Well watch the show and then check back here next Wednesday!

Image source: CBS.


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Porchetthan Zohndsiwch

Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Africa, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Winners at War, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Natalie continued to grow her portfolio of Fire Tokens despite being the first boot, finding the second advantage – to leave tribal before the votes are cast, thus making the person immune – and selling it to her ally Jeremy. Making her the richest person in the game and one step closer to an advantage in the return challenge. In desperate need of a challenge advantage was Sele, who once again were destroyed at the immunity challenge and sending them back to tribal council. After Danni grew nervous about her place in the old school alliance, she started to scramble and run her mouth, outing the aforementioned alliance in the process. Her paranoia only grew at tribal council, leading to the tribe banding together to oust her from the game and put her out of her misery.

We returned to Sele the next morning where Boston Rob was pranking Adam awake, I assume missing having his kids around and bonding with one of the youngest on the tribe. Adam shared that despite Danni’s unanimous vote thanks to Rob and his fellow old schoolers Ethan and Parvati turning on her, the tribe is still very much split between the oldies and the new school players. Though Adam knows that Boston Rob likes to feel like he is in control of the game, and as such, he needs to change things up and play a bit more like Adam. Adam and his ego caught up with Denise to discuss potentially taking a shot at one of the big guns. Aka Parvati. While Denise was nervous about upsetting her two closest allies, she was feeling mildly confident given she was willed Danni’s fire token and Adam returned the other half of her idol to her, giving her control of a complete one.

With the plan casually outlined, Adam went to Michele and Ben to float the idea of targeting the iconic Parvati. Ben was keen to start working against Rob, while Michele was open to taking out Parvati given she is cutthroat and will strike soon enough. And she was confident that while he will be butthurt, he has no other options and as such, will need to come around. Next on his list, Adam approached Ethan to float the idea of getting rid of Parvati and while he knew it was a risky move, he knew he had to loop him in to keep him on side. Apparently. Ethan however was ropeable, given Parvati is his number one and he vowed to never turn on her.

Meanwhile over at Dakal Sandra was mixing up her game by filling the provider role. As she put it, this is her fifth time out there and is her farewell tour – please be a lie – so she may as well catch some fish to keep people onside. Off she went to cast a net in the shallows during low tide and while they lay in wait, Tyson shared how odd it was to be on the outs in his tribe. As such, he decided to try and turn the tribe against Sandra as an easy vote. He approached Yul and Sophie, and while Yul agreed that Sandra stirring the pot all the time was dangerous to his game, he changed his tune the next day when Sandra caught a baby shark in the shallows proving that she can be a provider and keeps life positive around camp. With that Yul pulled Sandra aside to let her know that Tyson was gunning for her, pissing her off and vowing to get rid of him first.

At the Edge of Extinction Danni was also trying to become the provider, spear fishing in the shallows and trying to remind herself that she isn’t out yet. The ladies were interrupted from their fishing by treemail, directing them towards a tree on the top of the hill featuring a locked box with a sign that told them that they already have all the information that they need. Amber scurried back to camp to search for things with numbers written on them to test the locks. While it was a logical theory, she proved incorrect which gave Natalie enough time to realise that the combination was a series of shells on the string attached to treemail. After tossing away one of the other clues and ruining the second, Natalie bolted back to the bo, unlocked it and discovered directions to a vote steal advantage which she could sell to someone for a fire token. She weighed up the options, knowing that she had to pick someone that would be willing to take a risk to ensure her third fire token, which would make her the richest person in the game.

We returned to Dakal where Tyson and Tony were still discussing the shark while Sarah discovered a note in her bag, which told her that the steal a vote would be hidden in the torch of someone on the other tribe. And she would need to go grab it tonight, under the cover of darkness. While she was nervous about everything that could go wrong, she knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so handed over her fire token and enlisted Tony to help cover for her. That night Tony grabbed ashes to smear over her face and when it didn’t work, they spat in it to make it stick and honestly, these two are like watching kids play. And I think I love it. Meanwhile at Sele Ethan was putting another log on the fire as Sarah approached. Luckily for her he went straight back to sleep while she crawled around camp in the pitch black before she finally found the torches on the side of camp. She nervously stood up and while she was snapping twigs and making an almighty racquet, she found the advantage and made it out of camp unnoticed.

Jeffrey arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where they would have to leap across ramp walls, dig up a ladder, use the ladder to grab a rope, toss said rope up to a platform, scale it and then, wait for it, solve a puzzle. Oh and the winning tribe would also get some chicken kebabs for good measure. As is becoming habit Dakal got out to an early lead, whipping through the physical part of the challenge and giving Sophie and Sarah a huge lead on the puzzle. Sadly for them, it was the famed tree puzzle which meant the lead was quickly eaten up, giving Rob and Michele hope. The two tribes went back and forth with the lead until they both came down to two pieces each after Sarah and Sophie knocked out two pieces while trying to put the last in. Rob and Michele tried to slot in the final piece before they could recover but the girls kept their cool, popped them back in and claimed immunity yet again. Begging the question, is Denise still cursed?

Back at camp Sele sat around the camp in silence, too scared to be the first one to make a move and potentially make themselves a target. Sick of waiting, Jeremy broke the stand off and walked away, leading to Ben and Denise quickly following him out of camp. Ben quickly locked in the plan to get rid of Parvati, given she is the most dangerous player in the game. Ben then filled Adam in on Adam’s own plan before Adam pulled Rob aside to see if he would be willing to flip on Parvati. Adam was hoping that the truth would keep him safe with Rob and while Rob seemed open to the idea, he immediately took the information to Michele and Jeremy and told them that Adam told him about the Parvati plot. While they tried to pretend it wasn’t the case, Rob steamrolled through their denials to get them to lock in a plan for Adam. Rob then got Parvati on board while Michele and Jermey quickly tried to come up with a plan B.

Michele thought that breaking up the trio was the most pressing situation, she was annoyed that Adam had spilt the plan and as such, considered getting rid of him instead. Michele decided that voting out Parvati was now too risky and would upset Rob and as such, getting rid of Ethan may be the smartest move. She approached Denise and Ben to catch them up before sharing that whatever happens at tribal council tonight will be because she and Jeremy wanted that to happen. Oh and that she totally deserved her win and haters need to back off.

At tribal council Ben spoke about the stand off after the challenge, which Jeremy added was because they thought they were cohesive after the Danni vote and the loss proved that they weren’t. Ethan agreed that it is hard to be united and as such, people are looking out for themselves and the people that they are working with. Adam spoke about the fact that the overlap of alliances makes it hard for any vote to be neat, and that someone else will always be annoyed. Michele likened it to dating, highlighting the importance of trusting your gut and going with what feels right.

Rob agreed that trust is important, though inherently nobody should trust anyone. Parvati pointed out that she is one of the targets tonight and while people are talking about options, she has none, given she came in as one of the most respected winners and few people want to work with her. Adam agreed that reputations make it harder for people like Parvati, or Rob, who straight up has a statue dedicated to him on another island. Rob was annoyed that Adam was reminding everyone that Rob and Parvati are on the Mount Rushmore of Survivor, while Ben tried to pretend he never had allies on Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, despite being aligned until he blew it up. Denise admitted that there was bedlam after tribal council and everyone was going to everyone to find a plan that they were open to. Ethan spoek about the fact that he is trying to play things one day at a time as he doesn’t want to plan ahead if he can’t even get there.

With that the tribe voted and while I am thrilled that Parvati saved herself yet again, it came at the cost of Zaddy Ethan and that breaks my heart. In. To. A. Million. PIECES. I mean, I loved the look of confusion on Adam’s face when Ethan rather than Parvati was voted out but I would happy have not had that hilarity for just one more day of Ethan in the main game.

Like with Danni before him, Ethan found me behind the fire token exchange table, following the sound of my Kim Kardashian ugly cry. He picked me up as my legs trembled beneath me and pulled me in for a hug. With one arm holding me steady and the other warmly holding my head to his chest, he let me sob for eternity. And while it didn’t matter to him how long we hugged, only wanting me to be ok, the Extinction boat driver continuously coughed and tapped his watch to try and break it up. As such, the producer pulled him away as I screamed and reached for him, only managing to slip an Porchetthan Zohndsiwch in his bag.

 

 

Gloriously salty pork, nutty, creamy cheese and the zingy punch of mustard and rocket work perfectly to fill you with joy, even when you are at your lowest. Plus, there is crackling and crackling solves all problems.

Enjoy!

 

 

Porchetthan Zohndsiwch
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 ciabatta, cut into sandwich sized lengths and split in half
2 tbsp dijon mustard
4 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices of porchetta
1 cup rocket

Method
I know assembling a sandwich hardly counts as a recipe, however I have lived a life this week – RIP Phoebe, Flick and now Zaddy Ethan – so I needed something simple enough to throw together through tears.

Soooo, to assemble, smear the bread with the mustard, layer a couple of slices of cheese on the base, top with piping hot pork on top and the rocket.

Close, devour and return to the game like the precious angel you are Ethan!

 

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Danni Po’Boytwright

Main, Survivor, Survivor: Guatemala, Survivor: Winners at War, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor nothing apparently happened and honestly, if this trend continues, I am going to be ropeable. While the network was too lazy to give the iconic season two hour episodes and therefore don’t have time, I love to reminisce. I mean, watching 20 former victors arrive on a remote island – countless falling on their faces as they exited the dingy – before Jeffrey threw them straight into an immunity challenge, where the new former Dakal tribe received immunity, meaning Sandra, Amber, Sarah, Sophie, Kim, Tony, Tyson, Yul, Nick and Wendell were saved from the Tina Wesson, first to worst special. Meanwhile at Sele, Denise found a new, less sexy – but still packing – Malcolm, in the form of Adam, though they sadly got lost in the jungle and immediately became the targets. Luckily Adam is better than people give him credit for and rallied the old school alliance of Rob, Parvati – swoon – Ethan and Danni to his side to get rid of Natalie and weaken Jeremy.

Then the second immunity challenge happened and despite a massive lead for Dakal, Jeremy slayed the final portion and secured immunity. This made Dakal descend into chaos, with the Game Changers all aligning, the poker group of Kim, Tyson and Amber – by proxy – on the outs and the wet-dream power alliance of Yul and Sophie pulling in Nick and Wendell to take control of the tribe. Ultimately pulling in the Game Changers to get rid of Amber, again, to weaken a male. Much to the disgust of Sandra.

We opened by checking in on Natalie and her new BFF Amber on the Edge of Extinction where Amber was still trying to come to terms with her boot, though was grateful for a second chance and was using her four children at home and her husband over at Sele as motivation to keep going and to push to find ways that she can help Rob’s Cause.

Speaking of Rob, he awoke at Sele to discover a bequeathed Fire Token and immediately panicked that it meant that Amber had been voted out. He then shared how hard it was for both of them to leave the kids once again and as such, he worried about how she would cope with all the time to think the edge provides. Rob found Parvati by the shore and immediately shared his fears with her while Parvati hopefully suggested that maybe it was Sandra. They then speculated about all the different friends that could have possibly passed their token to him, but you could tell deep down that he knew his wife was gone. And if Sandra had something to do with it, he would be out for revenge.

Meanwhile Denise and Ben were chatting and collecting wood, with the latter hoping to improve his game by building social bonds. As a semi-expert, Ben decided to coach Denise in finding hidden immunity idols with it quickly paying off as Denise snatched it. Sadly for her it was a best friend’s idol, requiring Denise to give the other half away with it only working when combined. Surprisingly Ben didn’t pressure her to give him the half, instead suggesting that she pass it off to someone to build trust. Helpfully suggesting Adam, somehow unaware that the two were fast becoming a tight duo. With Ben’s blessing, Denise found Adam on the beach and told him what had happened and while they were both annoyed that Ben was aware of its existence, glad that they could use it together. With that Denise suggested that they gift it to Parvati to get an in with the icon, while Adam quickly talked her out of it and around to giving it to him instead.

Over at Dakal Yul was using his long, hard piece of wood to collect fruit for the tribe, while Kim acted as his cheerleader, just desperate to find a friend. Speaking of Kim, she was struggling with being on the outs after dominating her first season and decided to go find an idol. Despite knowing that hunting isolates her and makes her more of a target, the risk was worth it as she really didn’t have any other options. After learning that it was a crummy best friend’s idol, Tony and Nick appeared from behind a tree, with her pretending to be grabbing firewood. While she knew that she had been caught, she assumed they didn’t think she had found it. Having a good feeling about Sophie, she approached her to gift her the other half idol, much to Sophie’s confusion given they aren’t aligned and Sophie is keen to take her out using the intel.

Back at the Edge of Extinction, Amber and Natalie discovered a note for yet another advantage. Natalie played dumb about the whole token jam, bartering any advantages to earn enough to by rewards or advantages for them. For some reason, the duo opted to hunt for the advantage together, meandering around the island until Amber decided it was a trigger to find something that may appear tomorrow. Annoyed at expending all the energy, Natalie felt guilty and went to get water for them both. It was there that she discovered an advantage in the well. Said advantage would set the person back one token, and give them the opportunity to exit tribal council before the votes were cast, meaning they were immune, but also missed out on having their say. Like the Pia and Luke majesty in Champions vs. Contenders II. Over at Sele we learnt that Jeremy was the lucky person to be get the advantage offer, with him readily handing over his token.

We returned to Dakal where Tony was hard at work on his fake job of construction to keep himself occupied so he doesn’t do anything stupid. Instead of injecting that energy in improving camp, he used his time to make a ladder so that they could climb up to collect fruit. The tribe took the 20-foot ladder into the jungle to test it out, while Tyson marveled at the fact he isn’t dead and Sophie was concerned that he was actually going to test it and die. Tony being Tony, he then actually climbed the idol and honestly, I am still shocked that he isn’t dead.

While everyone was worried about his mental well being, the move did soften them towards him and everyone was laughing and happy. Sarah noticed that this is exactly how he was in Cagayan and was glad that people were falling for him, hopeful that him making more friends would hide from their friendship of more than six years. The duo finally took a moment to go for a walk and quickly suggested that they reignite their Cops’R’Us alliance and while they all looked happy, Sarah did not that last time they aligned, He took her out and as such, she is going in with her eyes wide open.

Jeffrey finally arrived for the combined reward and immunity challenge and after Rob stopped fuming about losing his wife, Jeff explained that they would race out with a cart to collect three years on the top of towers, then use said keys to release three chests. They would then load them on the cart, dis-assemble it, pass it through an obstacle, reassemble it and wheel the cart to the end and solve a puzzle with the pieces inside. The reward was for the Survivor spice kit and honestly, I am shocked that Michele didn’t have PTSD from the Koah Rong spice challenge genocide.

Dakal got out to an early lead with Sele nipping at their heels. It turns out however that Tyson is more adept at wielding a long, hard pole and extended their lead ever so slightly. Dakal continued to work well together, putting their cart back together ahead of Sele, getting their pieces to Sandra and Sophie with a decent lead over Sele, leaving Rob and Denise to nervously wait. Sandra and Sophie had finished their first segment of the puzzle as Denise and Rob finally joined the fray, with Tony encouraging his tribe to cheer for their girls to make their rivals more anxious. Which is equal parts petty, hilarious and amazing. Rob and Denise took a break to sort their pieces on the table, while Sandra and Sophie whipped through the puzzle, winning the challenge for their tribe with a huge lead, sending Sele back to tribal council.

Making me think, was Rob too concerned about Amber to think? If so, I ship them so hard.

Back at camp Parvati was nervous about being outnumbered by the new school winners on the tribe, while Rob was heartbroken to have choked in the challenge. Ethan pointed out that Rob was crap in the challenge, while Rob countered that he too was shit. Rob wasn’t overly concerned about heading to tribal council however, as he built a strong relationship with his fellow old school winners and as such, they got together to try and find a target. Unfortunately, the alliance was plotting without one of their members, Danni, which made her super nervous. And irritated with Parvati, got to work schmoozing the tribe to try and save herself. Danni and Ethan caught up with Ben and Danni sadly let slip the existence of the old school alliance, immediately terrifying Ben as the newest winner on his tribe.

With that Ben took the information to Adam and Jeremy, with Ethan tagging along and pretending not to be a part of any of the drama, to turn the tide on the old schoolers. Meanwhile Danni approached Rob and explained that she was feeling left out, so checked in with him to see whether he would be willing to take out his number one ally, Parvati. While they promised to go with the plan and stick together, Rob considered it her second and final strike, and instead got to work turning the vote on her. This made Adam happy, seeing the oldies fighting against themselves and while he would rather get rid of Parvati, he was happy to bide his time until it was right and get rid of Parvati. Ethan told Parvati about Danni targeting her, before the trio joined together to lock in the Danni vote and see whether they trust Ben enough to go through with it. Meanwhile Adam filled Michele and Jeremy in on the plan, before offering up the chance to take out Parvati instead. And being on the bottom of the tribe, the duo obviously didn’t care, as long as it wasn’t them.

At tribal council Adam struggled to stick his torch in a hole, and oh my god, is he playing the bumbling fool perfectly? With the slapstick out of the way, Rob spoke about the importance of making both real and fake relationships, which Ethan agreed was hard to figure out. Michele admitted to struggling to read people this season and that old school and new school doesn’t impact. Parvati disagreed and said that playing decades ago made it difficult for some people to keep up, given they never had to contend with certain elements and as such, are pretty much newbies in this era.

Danni agreed and said that her previous game was all about loyalty, which is what she was trying to do this season. This got a nice chuckle from Parvati who shared that Danni originally had targeted Rob, who then became her ally in the old school alliance. This got a reaction from Ben, who shared Danni’s earlier faux pas with the tribe and said that as much as they want to deny it, there clearly was an old school, new school thing occurring in the tribe. He then spoke about the rising paranoia in the tribe, blaming the oldies for causing it in the tribe. This led to the trio berating him for calling them out, when everyone is.

Rob, Jeremy, Parvati and Ethan started whispering, before Rob called on everyone to empty out their bag to prove that they don’t have the idol. Denise skillfully hid her idol in her hand as everyone emptied their bag, and Adam called Rob out for strong arming the tribe into showing their possessions. Adam spoke about the more important aspect of the game being about forming relationships at this point, with Parvati agreeing that the vote was solely coming down to relationships.

With that the tribe voted, nobody played a hidden immunity idol and Queen Danni was ironically voted from the game for running her mouth, despite winning her season and hiding her plans from even the producers. On the way out the door, a dejected Danni bequeathed her Fire Token to Denise.

Unlike most of my other Edge of Extinction catch-ups, I didn’t jump out and spook the hell out of Danni. While I had planned to, I was ugly crying like Dawson Leery and was not being quiet about it, and as such, Danni found me hiding under the bequeathment table and asked what the hell I was doing down there. I spluttered through snot bubbles as I explained how happy I was to finally have a Guatemala OG return to the game and seeing her running her mouth out of the game so soon, was too much to handle. Particularly since she won by keeping her mouth shut in confessionals, so production couldn’t spoil her plans.

I continued to cry as she tried to perk me up, vowing to return to the game and slay it. And as such, told me I better have another recipe lined up to follow the delicious Danni Po’Boytwright we shared as she headed to the girl’s club known as Edge of Extinction.

 

 

Spicy and meaty, this baby is one of my favourite ways to enjoy meat in my buns. While it may appear simple, this po’boy makes up for its simplicity by being jam packed with flavour. Garlicky, creamy, spicy and sweet, this sando is a complete journey for your mouth, which is just what you need.

Enjoy!

 

 

Danni Po’Boytwright
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp ground chilli
1kg beef chuck roast
2 cups beef stock
4 Hulk Hogies
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
8-12 slices provolone cheese
iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, sliced
4 dill pickles, sliced
1 tbsp hot sauce

Method
Combine a good lug of olive oil with the garlic, salt, pepper and chilli in a large, shallow dish and add the beef chuck. Rub with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for an hour or so.

Heat another lug of oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Once scorching, reduce heat to medium and seal the roast on either side for a couple of minutes, allowing the outside to caramelise. Once it has started sticking to the base, add the beef stock and bring to the boil. Once rolicking, reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour or so, or until the meat is falling apart and the liquid is all but gone. You may need to add more stock to the pan throughout cooking.

Remove the meat from the pot to rest for five minutes before using two forks to shred the beef like you would pulled pork. Return the beef to the pan to absorb all the juices and keep warm while you prep the sandwich.

Preheat oven to 180C.

To assemble, split the buns in half and heap with a generous smear of mayonnaise. Generously top with the meat, followed by a few slices of cheese. Pop them on a lined baking sheet and cook for five minutes or so, or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven, top with lettuce, tomato, pickles and a generous spritz of hot sauce.

Then devour.

 

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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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Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake

Baking, Cake, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water, Survivor: Winners at War, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Let’s not even play the cutesie game of acknowledging the previous two seasons of Survivor, because honestly, they ended up with a controversial victor and some real world ugliness dominating the end game. And this is the ultimate battle – Winners at War – and even the inclusion of Edge of Extinction can’t take away from the epic grandeur that is about to unfold before our very eyes. Speaking of unfolded, to begin the season we opened up with the original marooning, followed in quick succession by the current batch of contestants and their victorious maroonings and honestly, if the site of Ethan in Africa spliced with the zaddy riding the Fijian waves in a speed boat doesn’t flood your basement and make you want to cry because you’re so overwhelmed, you’re a terrible person.

I mean, it is fucking Ethan! Fun fact: he is the first person that made me feel ok to embrace my curls. Even funner fact: I now realise that that was me thinking he was hot and wanting to look like him.

But anyway, the ten men sped through the Fijian waters with Tony acknowledging his huge target, though looking around at his fellow victors, he himself was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the season, and his fellow competitors. Meanwhile in another part of the ocean, ten female winners were cruising on their own boat, with Parvati talking about being out of the loop for ten years while building her family, though she was ready to come back and destroy her competition. And honestly, I already have goosebumps. Ethan shared that he is just happy that he lived long enough to play Survivor again after beating cancer. Amber was thrilled to be back and hoped to win again, and more importantly looked forward to beating her husband again.

The men were the first to arrive on the tiny island in the middle of a reef where Probst was waiting to greet them. The women soon followed, with Sandra shocked to see Rob was also there playing against his wife, given she just spent 36 days on the Island of the Idols with her and never once thought to mention that he was playing again. As a newer winner, Wendell was overwhelmed to be facing off against legends, 13 years on Yul knows that the game has changed and Probst acknowledged how much the world has changed since Amber first played 20 years ago and hot damn, I am old. And hot damn, this is amazing.

Probst unveiled a bottle of champagne to toast everyone and 20 years of Survivor before shocking Natalie by splitting everyone into tribes and assuring them that the season is not men versus women. She started on the Sele tribe with Rob, Ethan, Parvati, Ben, Michele, Danni, Denise, her bestie Jeremy and Adam, while Tony, Wendell, Amber, Kim, Sophie, Nick, Sarah, Yul, Sandra and Tyson formed Dakal. Probst announced that this season would feature a currency called Fire Tokens. Each person would start with one and would need to will it to someone else when they are voted out to the Edge of Extinction. Vom. Adding to the excitement, he then said that this season would be a little bit different, in that the victor wouldn’t win $1 million, bu $2 million, to the joy of literally everyone.

Oh and then he surprised everyone by announcing that they would be kicking the season off with a challenge in the water, which isn’t a great idea after booze, but whatever. In pairs, they would race out to collect a ring and then drag the ring towards a coloured pole for their tribe. First to be touching the ring and their pole – my dream night, really – would score a point, with first to securing a flint, rice … AND immunity. Filling Denise with dread, given she has never missed a tribal council in her Survivor career.

First up were Tyson and Yul for Dakal facing off against Jeremy and Ethan for Dakal. Tyson quickly snatched the ring and headed to his pole while Jeremy and Ethan desperately tried to drag him away. Yul joined the fray however and quickly dragged them to their pole, scoring the first point for Dakal. The second round featured Natalie and Parvati versus Kim and Sarah, with Kim pulling hair and Natalie beasting her way against the current as Parvati desperately reach for the pole. Until Kim and Sarah overpowered them and scored the second point for Dakal. Rob and Ben faced off against Wendell and Tony, with the former duo proving too strong and scoring the first point for Sele. The next round featured Denise and Natalie facing off against Amber and Sarah, with Natalie and Amber clawing over the ring, while Sarah and Denise tousled in the water. Eventually the women came together and Mrs Mariano proved that managing four kids builds strength, dragging Natalie and Denise with Sarah to score the third point for Dakal and immunity.

Meaning Queen Sandra escapes being the first boot. Yas yas yas.

After being told that tribal council won’t be until day two, a dejected Sele headed off while a much more relieved Dakal arrived at their island. The tribe hugged and introduced themselves before Nick found a Fire Token menu, explaining what they can buy and how the currency works. And Nick was confident that mastering the currency will prove key to victory in the season. And given he is from a new season, he is used to it to his advantage. Please don’t tell me that is a winner’s quote.

The tribe quickly got to work building their shelter, with Wendell hoping to take a step back so that he isn’t stuck building again like his first season, rather than building relationships and hunting for idols. Meanwhile Sarah and Amber were catching up by the well, with Sarah expressing how shocked she was to see the All Stars’ victor given she and Rob have four kids sitting at home. Talk quickly turned to their kids and the women shared that they each made calendars for their kids to cross off every day until they are home. Tyson stumbled upon the scene and shared that he made a daisy chain for them to rip off a ring each day and hot damn, that is the sweetest. He then spoke about how much winning Survivor meant to him, because now he is able to spend more time with his kids and as such, coming out again is a huge deal. Back at camp Wendell called Sandra the queen, filling her with nerves as she knows that title puts the biggest target on her back. She spoke about her history with Tony and Sarah and how they all voted each other out, but my gut tells me this is all for show and they plan to stick together.

We checked in with Sele where they got to work building a shelter, while getting to know each other and slowly trying to figure out who to vote out the next day. Parvati and Jeremy bonded over their babies at home, with Parvati acknowledging how differently she will play the game as a married parent. Parvati continued to use kids to bond, chatting with Rob about his kids before Rob joined Ethan to check he was doing ok. Ethan shared how scary life after cancer can be, and as such, he is hoping returning to the game will take him back to the younger guy that was carefree and won the game. Denise and Adam went wandering to find the well and continued Denise’s terrible luck in Survivor, by getting lost. While they used the time to align, the rest of the tribe noticed that they had been gone for a ridiculously long time and as such, painted a target squarely on their backs.

We returned to Dakal where Tony was chatting to Yul, Nick and Wendell about playing a calmer game than before, knowing that it will only put a target on his back and see him get booted early again, like Game Changers. Speaking of big targets, Amber was feeling nervous about the pace of the game. While everyone was chatting and building the shelter, she wasn’t sure whether she should be out hunting for idols to save herself from the looming fear of she and her husband teaming up. On another part of the island Yul was casually asking Sophie to align and after assuring her that he didn’t view it casually, Yul spoke about the importance of the lesser connected people joining together to counter the larger poker alliance of Kim, Rob, Jeremy and Tyson, with Natalie and Amber roped in by association. Sophie and her nerd shield noticed themselves in the middle with Wendell and Nick, with Tyson, Kim and Amber closely aligned and the gritty Game Changers of Sarah, Tony and Sandra clearly aligned.

Speaking of alliances, over at Sele Rob approached Parvati about working together this season, rather than targeting each other like in Heroes vs. Villains. Knowing that they have the biggest targets on the island, and given Rob has few options, Parvati was all in and they quickly found people to join their old school crew. Speaking off old school, Danni and Ethan were chatting to Adam and Ben about everyone’s out of game connections, with Danni pointing out that Rob is clearly the most connected and as such, needs to go. Sadly for her, Ben went for a walk with Jeremy and Rob and told the latter that his name had been thrown out. In a matter of seconds Rob got the fact Danni was the one throwing his name out from Ben and as such approached Danni to hear it from her. Somehow the iconic Danni used it to her advantage, telling him the truth leading to Rob, Parvati, Danni and Ethan joining together to take on the newbies.

The next day Adam awoke terrified about tribal council as the rest of the tribe woke up and started to scramble. Danni and Denise caught up, Jeremy and Michele were plotting, Ben and Ethan chatted while the latter’s head spun about the speed of the game. Natalie and Jeremy, whom she avenged in San Juan del Sur, caught up by the shore, with Natalie suggesting that Adam should be voted out given he and Denise disappeared on day one. They took the idea to Ben, Ethan and Rob who all seemed open to the idea. Once again Ben took the information straight back to the person that was being targeted, filling Adam with even more nerves. Adam then suggested that Natalie and Jeremy were the most dangerous pair on the tribe and they should maybe focus on Rob and Amber too. Adam then got to work rallying the troops to split up Jeremy and Natalie, roping in Denise, Ethan and the old schoolers, with Rob and Parvati agreeing that it makes sense to split up the pairs ASAP.

Parvati joined Jeremy, Natalie, Danni and Ben to try and get someone to lock in a name, with everyone too scared to be the one to throw out a name. While Danni suggested Adam, everyone was too nervous to lock something in which made Parvati nervous that she is missing something and it is her. She then joined Rob by the shore and icons were in hysterics about the fact that they are sitting pretty and nobody seems to be targeting two of the biggest icons of the game. And the fact the rest of the tribe are heading out for tribal without any plans.

At tribal council Ethan spoke about how differently the pace of the game is from All Stars, which in itself was a step up from Africa. Rob agreed that the game is so different from Marquesas. Talk soon turned to the fact that Denise and Adam disappeared on day one, with Denise reiterating that they got lost before acknowledging that that doesn’t matter because perceptions are everything. Adam then jumped in to remind everyone that being nervous about people that met the day before is absurd given there is a married couple in the game and people that have been friends for decades. Probst asked Natalie whether she was nervous to follow in Nadiya’s footsteps and become the first boot, with her talking about using any excuse to vote someone out first. Parvati said that nobody should feel comfortable, but for some reason most people do. This made Jeremy nervous, though he was hopeful that tribal would show who he can trust. Ben and Michele meanwhile were just sitting there anxiously, overwhelmed by everything. Ethan admitted to being nervous, while Natalie agreed that being all winners put more pressure on them than ever before.

With that the tribe headed out to vote and it proved that Probst was prophetic as my love Natalie found herself following in Nadiya’s footsteps and becoming the first boot. Before he had even finished counting the votes, Natalie had her hair in the bun and was ready to fight, getting her torch snuffed, bequeathing her Fire Token to Jeremy – obviously – and jumping on a boat to head to the Edge of Extinction.

Sike, you know I stopped her before she jumped on the boat and pulled her into a bear hug. Well ever she stopped hitting me and screaming because I scared the shit out of each other. We collapsed in a heap laughing at how terrified she was before I casually suggested that maybe she and Nadiya just aren’t meant to compete in All Stars seasons. Obviously she objected and told me to stop saying silly things, because she is coming back with a vengeance and is going to slay the merge. Well, as soon as she is done fuelling up on her Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake.

 

 

This little Nigella number is quite possibly the best cake of all time, I knew it would be perfect for one of my favourite single-season winner’s arc. Revenge, redemption and bold play, calls for a punch of sticky peanut butter and the velvety smooth chocolate topping. Get thee to a kitchen now and praise the Queen. Well Queens – Natalie and Nigella.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake
Serves: 1 lonely twinnie, sitting on an island waiting for Godot, Telstra and/or company.

Ingredients
200g digestive biscuits
50g salted peanuts
100g dark chocolate chips
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
500g cream cheese
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
200g raw caster sugar
1 ½ cups sour cream
250g smooth peanut butter
100g milk chocolate chips
30g muscovado brown sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Chuck the digestives, peanuts, dark chocolate chips and butter in a food processor and blitz until a moist crumb forms and it is clumping together. Transfer to a springform tin and press into the bottom and half-way up the sides. Place the base in the fridge to chill while you get started on the filling.

In a clean food processor – aka, sorry you had to clean mid-bake – place the cream cheese, egg and yolks, caster sugar, half a cup of sour cream and the peanut butter and blitz until it forms a cohesive, creamy, caramelly colour. Pour oven the base, marveling as the beauty as it flows in.

Get a kettle boiling and a baking dish that will fit the cake tin out. Wrap the base and side of the springform with a double layer of clingfilm, followed by a double layer of foil to create a protective, waterproof barrier.

Once the kettle has boiled, place the cake in the baking dish and pour water into the dish so that it comes half-way up the side of the tin. Carefully transfer the waterbath and cake into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is set and dry.

Remove from the oven and combine the remaining sour cream, milk chocolate and muscovado sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking, until smooth and combined. Pour over the cake and return to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes, or until set.

Allow to cool completely before transferring to the fridge to set overnight. Then, devouring immediately.

 

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