Alicia Caraway Meatballs

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: The Australian Outback, Tapas

Get your flagging finger ready and sidle up to my face because Survivor: Island of the Idols is back in less than four weeks and my girl Alicia Calaway is finally making her triumphant debut on this here anthropological study.

I’ve known Alicia for years after training as personal trainers together in NYC and when Probst was casting Australian Outback, I knew she would be a perfect fit. While her epic finger-waving fight with Kimmi made our friendship difficult for a couple of years, we eventually buried the hatchet as I aggressively tried to help pre-game for All Stars.

While Alicia’s most famous moves in the game are the aforementioned fight and providing a break to the Mogo Mogo pagoning in All Stars, she also holds the joint distinction of being the first person to vote for the winner of two seasons.

Given she has a history with Rob, I thought it would be entertaining to bring her over to celebrate his return with Sandra to pal around Gilligan’s Island style. Though tragically, they had moved on from their All Stars dramas and instead she was excited to see him back. And hopes it isn’t as long between this season and his next.

Again, I won’t say anything here about warring winners.

We laughed and caught up on life, toasted to the ongoing success of the show despite its ever worsening twists and gorged on Alicia Caraway Meatballs in the hope that Island of the Idols will follow David vs. Goliath and be a killer season despite the shitty title.

 

 

I stumbled upon this recipe on Taste.com.au in a desperate hunt for something quick, easy and featuring caraway, and it quickly won my heart. Delicate meatballs, with a good whack of spice and sticky sweetness? They’re now the second favourite balls I like in and around my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alicia Caraway Meatballs

Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup

Method
Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, egg, caraway, chilli and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined and form into golf sized balls.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and once hot, toss through the balls and cook for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the maple syrup and toss to coat.

Serve immediately and devour, careful not to wag the balls near my face. Though there would go my social life.

 

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Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie

Main, Snack, Street Food, Tapas

What an absolute joy it is to catch up with someone as dear as Rachel Zoe. While it has been a few years since we’ve last caught up, our relationship is one that is so strong that it feels like no time has passed.

I first met Rach in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s while completing my college professor scam at George Washington University. While I was tiring of the scam, I say young Rach and a man named Roger in one of my classes and vowed to get them together. My scam gave way to my, let’s say fetish, for Fiddling on the Roof, and I set out to make them a match.

While they were both ropeable at the end of semester to discover they learnt less than zero, I pointed out that I brought them together. And having promising to get Rach into fashion, they agreed to forgive me.

Her career then took off and I was on the skids after too much white in the Great White Way – both kinds, FYI – and she took me under her wing and made me her assistant. I then slept with Andy Cohen, got her a reality show and was promptly fired by Andy when we broke up and was replaced by Brad Goreski.

Not that I’m still bitter at Andy about that or anything. I mean, he named his son after me as an apology which is meaningful.

In any event, Rach and I are dear friends and had a fantastic closing Brisbane Fashion Week – which full disclosure, I assumed was an oxymoron – before returning home to gossip and smash a tonne of Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pies.

 

 

Earthy and lightly spiced, these babies are damned delicious. Little flakey pockets of pastry, with a piping hot fresh filling and a hit of poppy seeds, it is truly delightful.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
500g chorizo sausages, casings removed
400g lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp smoked paprika
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs, whisked
200g vintage cheddar, grated
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini and chorizos and cook, breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon, for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the lentils, chilli and paprika, stir for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once the filling has cooled, cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press half into muffin tins. Add half the egg to the lentil mixture with the cheese and parsley and stir until well combined. Spoon into each muffin hole. Top with the remaining pastry, crimping to close, and brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then devour, giddily.

 

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Lamby Slidaris

Lamby Slidaris

Burgers, Main, Tapas

What a way to kick off my triumphant return to this anthropological study slash international fashion lifestyle brand!

Ames arrived in full Ronnie Vino look and attitude, dancing her way through my door and into my arms, before launching into a rapid fire greeting as she poured us glasses of wine I swiped from a hotel minibar and left at her house.

“Ben! Thank god you agreed to come back, I was worried about you after your tragic loss but always knew that coming back to you fans would help you heal.

“And to return with a date with me? What an honour!”

But truly the honour is all mine. As you know, I first met Amy through her brother Dave – Annelie and I were department store elves with him. It was this point I invented twerking, which I taught to Miley. Eventually he took us back to Raleigh where we immediately fell in love with the broader Sedari clan, none more than dear Amy.

And that, my friends, was the beginning of our beautiful friendship.

Amy’s career has deservedly gone from strength to strength over the years, and while she didn’t hook me and Justin Theroux up after his split from Jen-An and is yet to cast me on At Home, nothing will ever come between us. I mean, at the very least, we will always have Lamby Slidaris.

 

Amy Sedaris preparing to devour a delightful Lamby Slidaris

 

Inspired by her Greek heritage, though not necessarily Lou Sedaris – or Loudaris, as I’ve tried to turn into his nickname – approved, these little babies are melt in your mouth perfection. The earthy lamb, salt haloumi and the sweet, sweet hit of beetroot work together for a tops tapas treat.

Enjoy!

 

Amy Sedaris smashing a delightful Lamby Slidaris

 

Lamby Slidaris
Serves: 2-6.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano, roughly chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp mint, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper, to taste
100-200g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into
10 Briocher Bünsberg in slider form
¼ – ½ cup Beetrootina Wesley Tzatziki

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine the mince, garlic, oregano, chilli, mint, cumin and coriander in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch until well combined, divide into 10 little patties and flatten on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Spread the halloumi slices on a second lined baking sheet and pop them in the oven for the last 5-10 minutes, or until starting to crisp on the outside.

To assemble your sliders, split the buns – my favourite pastime – lather with beetroot tzatziki, top with the pattie and cheese, and close before smashing. Greedily. Immediately.

 

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Sosatie-Anne van Renen

Main, Party Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa wait, no, I’ve only dreamt about being alone in a tropical fantasy with Nico. We haven’t done this before. Deep in the South Pacific, Nico was was looking bae as he was about to dump 21 new castaways on the islands of Samoa. First up we met the Sa’ula tribe’s Nathan who was also a total babe and who was totally keen to play into his banging looks and pretend to be a dumb jock. Which I am here for if he is in on the joke, and preferably, is wearing a legit jock. On the Laumei tribe, typical first boot bait Laetitia was concerned about being an early target due to her age. Congratulations Laetitia, you’re immediately my favourite. Meanwhile the Ta’alo tribe was home to Jacques the superfan, who had a man bun but did not appear to be a total douche, making me wonder, maybe I actually can pull off a man bun if I can commit beyond the Rizzo phase my hair will go through?

Jacques’ tribemate Felix wasn’t feeling confident in their collective physicality and was concerned about their challenge prowess, despite them having a guy who’s guns and thighs were so built I would happily suffocate under them. Sorry, this is too much … but damn they have cast some banging men. On the flipside Geoffrey could see that the cast was stacked, but hoped to be able to navigate through them all given they look like the have throbbing … egos. Beauty Queen Nicole was clean to shed off the shine and get dirty, while Lee-Anne was confident her pageant past will help out her social game, Mike was interested to see just how rugged he will become, Steffi looked forward to winning and Rob was fearful about his passion to trust way too easily.

Oh and did I mention there is now an Island of Secrets which sounds like Ghost Island and New Zealand’s The Outpost had a child?

Finally the tribes arrived on shore to meet Nico where Ting Ting immediately won my heart by putting everyone into their stereotypical boxes of hotties and notties. Rob was feeling confident in Sa’ula’s prospects given they’re all built, which immediately makes me fear for their chances while Cobus was confident he will be able to dominate his tribe despite diplomatically saying how much he loves them all on site. Durao was happy to be on a tribe with the hulk, aka Rocco who was concerned that given he is so built he will be targeted as soon as the merge hits. And Laetitia was channelling Lisa, thrilled to tick off an item on the bucket list and with a full heart for the people sharing the mat with her. She is an icon and I stan her. Paul too was thrilled to be on a tribe with buff dudes, though was concerned that his age might put his on the outside straight away.

Not wasting any time, Nico asked each tribe to select a leader prior to the first reward challenge, with Paul, Rocco and Cobus immediately identified. Being a messy bitch, Nico then asked the three thrown under the bus upon taking the leadership mantle to identify their tribe’s weakest member with Paul giving Sa’ula’s title to Seipei, Rocco branding Laumei’s as Laetitia – because she’ll take the least offence – and Cobus giving the mantle to Jacques on Ta’alo. Nico then complicated things further by sending the leaders off to the Island of Secrets for the first day, while the weakest members were given the hero roll in the reward challenge, guiding their blindfolded tribemates to a bounty of supplies.

Given that he isn’t an idiot, Jacques noticed that there was a single item at the end of the course and realised it must be an advantage so sent Felix and Ting Ting to fetch it for him while everyone else focused on supplies. Given everyone is winners and losers, I will just focus on the fact that their weren’t really enough crotch smacks on the obstacles.

We quickly checked in with the zaddies of the Island of Secrets where they discovered a note which informed them to find a coloured station for each tribe offering them with a choice between flint or a clue to the hidden immunity idol back at camp. Rocco opted for the flint, while Cobus and Paul decided it was more important to focus on their own safety and went for the clue. Wait, no, Paul planned to find a tribe idol which you know is going to end terribly. After Paul stripped down, Rocco searched through his pants to read the clue giving him both rewards and damn, I love him.

Over at Ta’alo Ting Ting was thrilled to be playing the game, while Jacques wanted to do introductions. Tania though had no interest, desperate to get some water instead. We also but a name to the fine face that is Dante, who loves the ocean as much as I love the site of him. Meanwhile back at the well Tania was fast becoming my favourite, berating Jacques for getting married before 30 and then awkwardly hung around as Meryl casually dropped the fact she got married at 22. Oh and she is a proud rock climber slash stoner, and is the self-appointed strongest woman in the game. And yes, she is my favourite. Jacques quickly disappeared to learn that his advantage turned out to an extra vote that was only valid for the first tribal council after the merge.

We dropped by Sa’ula where they were all introducing themselves and Seipei was proving to be the icon of the tribe, explaining the pronunciation of her name as see it, you pay for it. Sadly her confidence was starting to wear on her tribemates as she directed them in building their shelter. While she and Lee-Anne were lugging supplies around, Nathan, Rob, Nicole and Steffi used the opportunity to form a tight alliance. We then learnt that Lea-Anne and Nicole had prior beef with each other as Nicole beat Lee-Anne in the Mrs South Africa pageant two years ago, and that she was out for blood now that she is the current reigning. Nicole wasn’t feeling as badly though, given that she was a winner. Oh and Steffi too is a beauty queen too. Lee-Anne and Seipei watched the four bond and despite the fact it should worry her, Lee-Anne wasn’t concerned about their obvious closeness on day one.

Finally we ventured over to Laumei where the tribe appeared to be getting on quite well, celebrating their wins and laughing about the absurdity of camp life. Geoffrey and Laetitia went to get water for the tribe, with the iconic Laetitia quickly checking for an idol without him noticing.

Back at Ta’alo Tania proved to be South Africa’s Debbie, working on fire and quickly annoying Felix, Ting Ting and Jacques giving that she doesn’t actually deliver on her promises. That night she continued to list an elaborate resume and background, including a bank-robber father. The next day Tania was confident about her mature brain, pulling the girls in to form an alliance as she has no interest in vote out women as she needs to further womankind. lInstantly Tania reneged on that deal, pulling Ting Ting aside to point out Meryl as their weakest and potentially icing her out and going with the strong boys that Tania is confident will want to align with her. Which obviously made Ting Ting nervous as you literally can’t predict what she will do. Before we could learn anything further, Cobus arrived to the delight of his tribe – until they discovered he didn’t come bearing a flint – as he covered the fact he took an advantage. Sensing a psychic link, Tania pulled Cobus aside to assure him that they will be allies if he can pull in Dante. And giving Dante is wearing speedos, I really need to pull … well, you know. Despite Tania’s intensity being a boner killer for Cobus and Dante. But those read jocks? No boners killed here.

Paul returned to Sa’ula and immediately shared the clue for the hidden immunity idol and suggested it be used to further their tribe when needed. Which Seipei loved, given it shows he isn’t the most cut-throat competitor. Rob, Nicole and Nathan pulled Paul aside to assure him that he is part of their alliance with Steffi. The tribe were busy hunting for the idol, with Lee-Anne feeling insecure as Nicole ultimately snatched the idol. The alliance of four and Paul were thrilled to have discovered the idol, however were annoyed that Lee-Anne was around and they couldn’t keep it a secret. They then handed it over to Paul for safe keeping, which is quite possibly the worst decision. But whatevs.

Rocco arrived at the Laumei tribe and immediately threw Cobus and Paul under the bus, pulling out his rock-hard flint and letting everyone know that the others selected a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Rocco continued to be swoon worthy, saying he loves Laetitia because that is his mum’s name and then asked everyone what they’d like him to help out with. He then followed Mike and Durao to collect supplies and float the idea of an all male alliance before sharing the  clue to the hidden immunity idol with him, which immediately makes me question him. Just like Mike, who knows all male alliances suck. Rocco then approached Geoffrey who was more keen on an alliance, not caring who the other members are as long as they’re in the majority. Mike and Geoffrey then caught up in the ocean, with Mike airing his concerns about aligning with Rocco since her wants a four with Rose, Mmaba and Geoffrey given it has the potential to be more stable. Sadly Geoffrey feels left right out in Mike’s alliance and would prefer to be with Rocco, which TBH is totally my vibe too.

Nico finally returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would start by disassembling a puzzle on a pontoon in the ocean and bringing the pieces to shore over obstacles, including a fuck-off-tall a-frame, before solving the puzzle on the beach. More importantly Dante was wearing speedos, so he is currently my favourite. Laumei got out to an early lead, with Ta’alo close behind while the physically stacked Sa’ula bringing up the rear. Ta’alo arrived to build the puzzle well ahead of the other tribes, while poor Laetitia struggled to cross the balance beam, sending Laumei into last place. Eventually all three tribes arrived at the puzzle stations, while Nathan appeared to have injured his ankle. The puzzle proved extremely difficult, as the tribes continued to work for over an hour and a half before Ta’alo finally put us out of our misery and took out the first immunity before Durao secured the second one for Laumei, sending the stacked Sa’ula to the first tribal council of the season.

Rob carried an injured Nathan back into camp, assuring him that he is not going to be targeted and he is still not the weakest person on the tribe. The tribe then handed off the idol to Nathan as a sign of good faith, filling Seipei with dread given she and Lee-Anne are clearly on the outs. She approached Nathan to assure him that she wants to stay in the game and will do what it takes. Steffi and Lee-Anne caught up by the well, with the latter throwing Seipei under the bus and suggesting Nathan as an option because of his injury. Lee-Anne then mentioned that she wanted to go to the final three with Steffi and Nicole given their shared pageant history, though Steffi questioned her as to why it took her until day three to actually talk to her and damn, Steffi is good. Real good. We then learnt that Paul was doing some teenager cosplay as he caught up with Nicole and Rob to debate the merits of keeping Lee-Anne or Seipei, with Nicole scared that she can’t trust her. Lee-Anne approached them to explain why she hasn’t spoken to them, as she was busy babysitting Seipei the first few days. Steffi broke things up and pulled Nicole, Rob and Paul to talk to Seipei about why they should target Lee-Anne rather than balls terrible attempt at modern streetwear. While Steffi didn’t like Seipei’s bossy, chatty approach, Nicole still wasn’t sure whether she could trust Lee-Anne. Lee-Anne was laying it on thick, breaking down talking about how much she looks up to her and that she will be loyal to the end. Which Nicole agreed with, neglecting to mention the ‘loyal to the end’ part.

At tribal council Nicole was quick to point out how much the bonds are already meaning to her, while Steffi pointed out that Lee-Anne has been struggling to bond with people which made her feel nervous. Lee-Anne sold it as adapting to her current situation, while Steffi, Rob and Nathan started whispering to each other about turning on Lee-Anne as she spoke about her struggles. Nico called out Nathan, who defended himself by saying it is just such a difficult decision. The whispering continued as Seipei spoke about the importance of diversifying their options, Rob admitted to being confused about the vote given everything has changed by the whispering.

Lee-Anne wanted to know what she did wrong, Steffi felt everyone needs to fight for their life at tribal and stay strong to avoid coming back, Nicole and Nathan admitted to being confused about the vote ahead before Nico opened the floor for everyone to discuss who to take out. Steffi laughed as no one spoke up, Seipei pointed out that she wanted to have these discussions back at camp before Nathan assured everyone that his vote hasn’t changed. Lee-Anne tried to convince everyone that she should stay as she lifts everyone up and wants to get to know everyone before Rob cut her off and just requested to vote. And vote they did. For Lee-Anne, who was heartbroken to find herself becoming the first boot.

While Lee-Anne was gutted to become the first boot, she was thrilled to hold the distinction of being the first South African castaway to join the party that is this here patch of cyberspace. Conveniently she is also a dear friend of mine, after we met on the pageant circuit. She hired me to coach her after her first Mrs. South Africa competition and under my tutelage, she finally snagged the crown. In no small part thanks to a diet of solely Sosatie-Anne van Renen.

 

 

Did I mention that this season is full of South African delicacies? Well it is. And thanks to this sweet number, I am well on my way to becoming a fan of the cuisine. Rich, tasty lamb, sweet apricots and a kick of spice are the perfect way to welcome Survivor SA to the fam.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sosatie-Anne van Renen
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 cup apricot jam
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 lime, juiced and zested with extra wedges to serve
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
4 whole cloves
1 tsp ground chilli
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes
24 dried apricots
2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
mint sprigs, to serve

Method
Combine the jam, vinegar, lime zest and juice, garlic, ginger, coriander, cloves, chilli, allspice, cumin and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss through the lamb and transfer to the fridge to marinate for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once almost ready to assemble, place the apricots in boiling water to plump up for half an hour and then drain completely.

Now to assemble, thread the lamb on a skewer, followed by apricots and onions, alternating until the skewer is full. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and repeat the process until done. Place the skewers in the oven and bake for half an hour, brushing with marinade every five minutes or so, and cook until golden and glorious.

Devour with a good squeeze of lime and some mint leaves.

 

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Chickwendy Empanadiaz

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, two became three but the OG Manu’s still couldn’t seem to catch a break, with Wendy isolated with only her chickens for comfort, while the rest were shipped off to a new island and promptly continued their losing streak. When all hope appeared lost, David managed to snatch a come from behind immunity win, sending NuManu back to tribal council. And while it appeared Big Wendy was down for the count, Victoria pulled off an epic blindside by sending Queen Aubry to the Island of Extinction with an extra vote and idol in her pocket. And quickly ascended the throne to become Queen Victoria.

Or Queen Vicky, I can’t decide.

On the Island of Extinction Aubry was feeling the pain of following in JT’s footsteps, by being blindsided with some many advantages in his pocket. Despite being broken, she was hopeful as the only way is up for her, and she is going to wait around and get back when she can.

Before we could learn anything else, Jeff returned for this week’s reward challenge where the tribes would leap over tables, release some sandbags and then throw them at a target until flags are released. Given it is for coffee and snacks, I would literally destroy everyone if I was on that island. Surprisingly all three tribes were neck and neck by the time it came to tossing the sandbags, though hold Wardog’s beer, because he cannot throw and Lesu are back in last. Obviously Joe snagged Kama first place, while Gavin just snatched victory for Manu despite a late push from Lauren.

Back at Kama the tribe continued their vacation courtesy of Joe with Julie really struggling to comprehend what it would mean to lose. She then praised him for being so damn amazing, though reiterated to us that she has zero interest in working with him and is just blowing smoke up his arse. Speaking of Joe, he was breaking down about Aubry being voted out, knowing that the returnees are public enemy number one and he feels super alone. Unlike at home, where fan favourite, game changer SDT is waiting for him. Joe caught up with Julia and pointed out that he isn’t the only threat and that all the strong people will need to band together if they want to have any hope of staying around. Particularly since their winning streak has no doubt pissed people off.

Speaking of which, Lesu were lamenting their loss and wishing that they could be Joe for just one minute. While David was keen to go try and kind food, Lauren and Wardog opted to sit around and complain about being starving and over their shitty camp. If only they could muster enough energy to help him get the massive clam that is on the shore! Instead of helping, Wardog pulled Kelley and David aside to talk about getting rid of Lauren, which made the returnees nervous given he just won’t pick a lane. The only glorious thing to come out of it, is the fact that Kelley and David are now aligned.

Back on the Edge of Extinction, Chris discovered a basket with five maps full of holes. Reem requested everyone stay calm which Keith agreed to however it is Keith, so who knows. After folding the maps, the tribes wandered up the hill before Rick figured out that the reward was back on the beach and that they’ve wasted their time. Despite his location was wrong, Reem discovered the reward in the beach … only for Keith to snatch it from under her, earning him the chance to penalising someone in the upcoming returnee challenge. Pray circle (jerk) for Chris. Particularly after he pointed out that Reem gave the reward away, setting her off on a tirade against him which may get physical. All I know is, I feel sorry for Rick, Chris and Aubry.

Probst returned for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes would be required to climb a ladder, manoeuvre a bag through a frame, open said bag, release a ball and open a gate. Then solve a puzzle, obvi. Oh and only one tribe would secure immunity, and the other two forced to attend tribal together and get rid of a single player. I have Malcolm PTSD. No surprises Kama snatched an early lead however they all eventually caught up at the puzzle. Despite David thinking he was close to victory, Joe proved adept at puzzles too and solved it just in the knick of time, handing Kama immunity and sending the other tribe to tribal council.

Back at Manu Eric was feeling the loss hard, concerned about the potential for a tied vote and no doubt, concerned Wendy will flip back to her original tribe. Victoria rallied the troops and told them to stick together, while Wendy suggested they don’t target David since he doesn’t have any allies and as such, they should go for Lauren, Kelley or Wentworth. Eric then changed his no rock stance, and told everyone to stick together and threaten to go the rocks, since returnees aren’t likely to waste their shot. Eric and Gavin then went for a chat, reconfirming their relationship and locking in the rocks option. Sadly for them, Victoria is less inclined to go to rocks for these bozos as she is a Queen and wants to win. But thankfully for her, no one appears to have figured that out yet.

Meanwhile over at Lesu Kelley was confident that the other tribe would stick four strong and while targeting the big guys is the best idea, Victoria could be the safest move given they won’t expect it. Wardog had other ideas however, saying that they should vote Wendy because in the event of a time, the others will likely flip on her given they haven’t been together that long. While this is the only correct move for the tribe – outside of pulling Wendy over to their side – Kelley was annoyed that Wardog continues to ignore everyone else and push forward with his ideas. David suggested that he should tell Wendy to vote for someone and hope that it doesn’t go to rocks, while Lauren was confident that they will vote for her and as such she was worried. Even though being the person locked in the tie is literally best case for rocks, which the tribe were keen on.

Wardog went to relax by the beach and questioned going to rocks for Lauren, who is clearly breaking down and as such, went hunting for an idol. The other three figured it out and grew more frustrated with him, deciding they needed to find the idol first. Which Wentworth did, while right next to Wardog. Kelley ran back and filled in Lauren, while Wardog continued to climb trees desperate for the idol. Lauren too wanted to share some intel, sharing that she won’t go to rocks for Wardog and will flip if it comes to it.

The tribes arrived at tribal council and both admitted that they all planned to stick with their tribe, Wardog reiterated that he is ready to battle for his group while Eric admitted that neither knows the others dynamics and as such, it is going to be unpredictable. Kelley offered Manu loyalty were they to flip, which Gavin too offered. Wendy shared that she feels trapped in the middle, with David talking about his love for Wendy while Eric mentioned that Wendy told them otherwise. Kelley started whispering to Wardog while David reminded everyone that he has no qualms going to rocks, which Victoria thought was bullshit. Wendy whispered to David that if he flipped, he’ll be safe, Wardog whispered to David, Gavin whispered to Eric and David asked Wendy to go aside for a little chat. With that the tribes voted and despite all the whispers, the votes rolled in four a piece for Lauren and Wendy. With that the whispering started again, this time with Eric joining Lesu while Kelley and Lauren spoke to Victoria and Gavin to come up with a plan, while poor Wendy sat alone in the middle. Before being booted unanimously.

While she was upbeat upon discovering the Edge of Extinction sign and discovering that she would get a meal to accompany her boat ride, her mood soon deflated.

“This is delicious Ben, what are we eating?”

“Well Big Wendy, I wasn’t sure what to make you originally however I found three chickens wandering the island and was hit with a brain wave.”

You could pinpoint the exact moment her heart broke, and while I kind of feel bad that her rescue was only temporary, when it tastes as good as my Chickwendy Empanadiaz, she can’t really hold a grudge. Right?

 

 

In my defense, since Annelie got cage-fight induced amnesia, I have been unable to make another empanada, but when I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make some tweaks and move past my fears. And oh how glad I am that I did, smokey, sweet and packing a hell of a punch, they’re the kind of thing you can’t stop eating. Ever.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chickwendy Empanadiaz
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 large onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1kg chicken thighs, diced
2 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
1 green capsicum, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
4 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions for five minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and chicken, and cook for a further five minutes. Add the stock, bay leaves, capsicum, tomato pastes, paprikas, oregano and cayenne, with a good whack of salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for half an hour, or until the sauce is thickened. Leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Cut each piece of pastry into 9 equal squares.  Place 1 tbsp of filling in each and scrunch the egse to form little half moon pockets. Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with the egg and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp.

Devour immediately, in honour of those poor, briefly freed chickens I cooked.

Don’t tell Sia.

 

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Prawny Dumplaens

Main, Seafood, Street Food, Tapas

Now I know my reveal yesterday focused on Whitesnake and that was such a small part of her life, but the Here I Go Again film clip has had the most profound impact on my life and TBH, shaped the man I am today. And that is all because of the way she danced on the damn bonnet of moving cars.

And it lead me to the beautiful friendship we share today.

As soon as I saw her cartwheel from car to car, I knew that that is what I wanted to do with my life so I reached out – repeatedly – until she agreed to take me under her wing. After dropping the restraining order she got out on me on account of said repeated reaching out slash breaking on to her property slash dancing on the cars in her garage.

Thankfully she was moved by me breaking down into tears, begging for her to help me be more like her whilst I was getting thrown in the back of the police car, followed me to the station, bailed me out and helped me reach my dream of dance perfection.

Fun fact: she said it was the backflip I did off the side of the car while slipping out of the handcuffs – Countess LuAnn style – that made her realise I was ripe for mentoring.

Anyway, I have gone way off topic. Tawny and I have been busy the last few years, so this was our first chance to catch-up in what felt like forever. And boy was it special – we laughed about the good old days, pulled out some of our choreography and smashed what felt like a tonne of Prawny Dumplaens.

 

 

I’ve long spoken of my disgust for all things seafood, but like Carrie before her, I am willing to work through it for my dear Tawny. Plus, these doughy delights are so jam packed with ginger that the prawn tastes delicate, and even I can stomach it. Which is high praise.

Enjoy!

 

 

Prawny Dumplaens
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
200g uncooked prawn meat – aka peeled and deveined – finely chopped
2 shallots, thinly slicely
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
20 gow gee wrappers

Method
Combine the prawn, shallot, ginger, coriander, oyster sauce and chilli in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Working a quarter of the wrappers at a time, lay them on a clean, dry bench. Place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each, brush around the edges with water and crimp to close. Repeat the process until all the wrappers and/or filling is used up.

To cook, prep a steamer, line with a small piece of baking paper and cook in batches for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Devour immediately with plenty of soy and chilli sauce.

 

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Samosa Hinton

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes merge and they celebrated with an auction where Shane was the true winner getting to beg people to split food with her. Which as a grandma, she excelled at … even before we learnt along with Lydia not to fuck with Shane Gould. With the beast out of the way, the Champions appeared to be splintering, so when given the opportunity to snatch an advantage, Sharn took it with both hands giving her an advantage at the upcoming immunity challenge. Which she parlayed into a second win. Despite trying to sway the bottom of the alliance over to their side, Robbie and Benji once again came up short and poor Robbie was sent from the game and to the Jury Villa to become King of the Jury.

We returned to camp the next morning where Sharn loitered in the water while Mat wrote a message to his son Max’s birthday and hot damn, my ovaries exploded. Not to be outdone, it is also Steve’s birthday and Mat and Sharn helped him celebrate. He was touched and started to tear up by the time everyone served him a cake of potato and carrot and hot damn, I love zaddy Steve and his buff people’s alliance. My ability to relate with them or not, be damned!

Jonathan didn’t leave us waiting long, arriving for this week’s reward which is essentially flags but with coloured bottles. Before the challenge started, however, Benji spoke about having the sads and Sam said that Robbie raised some valid points, though he made them too late for anyone to do anything. Which is kinda a dangerous thing to say, no. Anyway, back to the challenge which is for a trip to the Survivor spa with wine and cheese, and if Mat and Steve don’t have a zaddy date this episode is straight up homophobic. Monika was first out, fucked up by a shoulder charge from Shane Gould. She was followed by Steve who gave up because he wanted someone that wanted it more to win – swoon – much to the delight of Shonee who would love a good shampoo.

They were joined on the loser bench by Shane, Shonee – who smashed Sharn in the process – before Sam and Benji tried to come up with strategies to take out Brian and Mat, sadly failing and eliminating Sharn instead. Sam was taken out by Brian, who was the next eliminated leaving Mat and Benji to battle it out. The final round complicated matters with the person having to grab the idol, snatch the bottle and run over the start line. Despite getting out in front, Mat let Benji grab the bottle and proceeded to tackle him leading to some beautiful homoerotic wrestling before Mat eventually snatched victory. As is always the case, Mat was given the chance to select one person to join him and out of nowhere selected Fenella for having a killer sense of humour. To further complicate matters, he was given one more spot at the spa, selecting Sharn and angering Sam who felt even more on the outs of his alliance.

We followed Mat and the girls to the spa where they were delighted to find hammocks, champagne, chocolate, cheese and a shower, while Fenella tried to figure out why Mat selected her. After scrubbing up, Mat admitted that he didn’t invite her for her sparkling personality and instead was hoping to pull her in to become the new majority alliance. Despite not wanting to pull in Shonee, Fenella kept bringing up her ride or die and agreed that the six of them should take control.

The victors returned to camp where they lined up the losers and handed out gifts of razors, tweezers, soaps and while it is obvious as hell, he got Steve some jocks and I will never bitch about that. Unlike Benji, who decided that he needs to go ASAP. Brian however wandered into the ocean to wash himself off with the soap and I really question myself sometimes, because even that was pretty hot. Even as they joked about him being grotty.

To make it even worse, we opened the next day with the tribe were ogling Brian’s weight loss and talking about him being a babe. While I wanted to explore my psyche and why I found the bathing scene hot, I was distracted as Benji got to work ingratiating himself with Mat to try and get close enough to take him out. He charmed him, Sharn and Steve, talking about having no allies left in the game before turning around and approaching Sam about potentially taking Mat out. Sam was obviously keen since he has been feeling on the bottom of his alliance, however he knew that a flip required Shonella’s support so approached them about joining him and Benji. The girls were keen, so he moved on to Monika about aligning with them … however she could see how panicked and stressed he was, and I’m not sure whether she is actually interested in joining with the paranoia.

JoJo returned for the latest immunity challenge, the Survivor classic – Last Gasp – where everyone would have to hang on to a grate on the surface of the water as the tide rolled in around them. The last person remaining calm enough to stay under water, wins. Given they were dangerously in the shallows – making escape more difficult – they started to get eaten by little fish, which TBH would be enough to do me in. Everyone was still in the challenge after 50 minutes as the water lapped at their mouths and panicked set in. Well, for everyone but Shane was zen as hell. Sam became the first person out of the challenge, followed by Shonee, Steve, Monika – despite taking on a tonne of water for ages – Sharn, Fenella and Benji, after an extreme battle with himself. After an hour and fifteen Brian opted out, leaving Shane and Mat to fight for immunity with their faces completely submerged before Shane surfaced out of nowhere and handed Mat immunity.

While everyone else was congratulating Mat, Benji and Sam were devastated as they returned to camp, since their dream target was now immune and they needed to find a different target. Sam threw out Steve’s name instead, given he is Mat’s – and mine – number one. Sam approached Mat to throw him off the scent and assure him that he is talking to the others to try and distract them, however Mat was hurt and felt that Sam betrayed their alliance and decided that he now needs to go as his conversations only benefitted himself. Mat rallied Sharn, Shane and Steve who were all in for taking out Sam due to his betrayal, before Mat pulled in Benji who was just happy that someone else’s name is being thrown around. This made Sam even more paranoid, as he returned to Mat to try and win his way back into the alliance. Sam told him that Benji told him – this sounds like a school fight – that Mat was targeting him, infuriating Mat and motivating the Champions mega alliance to reconsider taking out Benji.

At tribal council we saw a scrubbed up Robbie was babin’ albeit tragically clothed. Sam spoke about the fact it wasn’t really the right time to move last night and then admitted he is well and truly on the block tonight, and therefore he regretted it. Sam spoke about Mat targeting Lydia – despite it being Shane’s plan – and admitted he warned Lydia to try and keep things together, which Mat felt was a betrayal. The two went back and forth talking about loyalty and the power of words, and to be honest it seemed pretty painful. Sharn got in on the mum and dad talk action, asking how he could say he was sticking with his alliance when he just said it was fractured. While he defended it as a slip of the tongue, I just don’t know if anyone truly believes him anymore. Benji jumped in on the action, pointing out that the Contenders were still easy allies. Steve said he had heard his name thrown out this afternoon, as had Sam and Benji, before Benji continued to work this tribal council and say it was important that they trust in who they plan to vote with and regroup if and when needed.

Brian was confused, though looking for ways to build his resume, Shane was just being her usual baller self and Mat wasn’t sure whether he would stick with the devil he knows, or the one whispering new plans in his ear. With that, the tribe went off to vote and Benji felt safe enough not to play his idol, quite rightly, as Sam found himself joining Robbie on the jury. Given Sam is an absolute delight, he took his boot in his stride and was even cool that I used our entire catch-up flirting with Robbie. As a still-clinging-to-young alumni of UQ, I’ve known Sam forever and we’ve been besties for years, so I’m not really surprised he took his boot so well. Or me dumping him to pursue a classically hot guy I’m going to regret. Though since I kept him well fed with a big ol’ batch of Samosa Hintons, why would he even care about me?

 

 

Packing a lot of spice and a good whack of chilli, these babies are the ultimate comfort snack. I mean, spiced meat and crispy pastry – name a more iconic duo.

I’ll wait. And in the meantime, you can enjoy!

 

 

Samosa Hinton
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
1 potato, washed and diced
1 carrot, grated
½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp garam masala
3  cups flour
1 tsp ground cumin
⅓ cup melted ghee
¾ cup warm water
vegetable oil, for brushin’

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onions and garlic for five minutes or so. Add the mince, and cook for a further couple of minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. Add the potato, carrot, turmeric, coriander, chilli, ginger and garam masala, with a big whack of salt and pepper, and cook until the mince is done. Add the peas and cook for a couple of minutes, or until all of the liquid has absorbed. Remove from the heat and  allow to cool.

While the fillin’ is chillin’, combine the flour with a good pinch of salt and the cumin. Slowly add the ghee and water, kneading as you go to create a smooth, firmish-not-sticky dough. Cover and leave to rest for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 200C.

To assemble, split the dough into ten pieces and roll into discs. Cut each disc in half and shape into a cone. Pack with the filling and seal the ends with a dab of water to form a triangle. Place on a lined baking sheet and continue until the filling and dough are all gone.

Brush the samosas with vegetable oil and place in the oven to bake – because I’m scared of fryin’ – for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with some Raita Mitchell or Joe Manngo Chutney.

 

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Honey, Chilli & Lemon Jacken Glaziered Wings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 220°C.

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

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

 

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Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Party Food, Pie, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders were smarting from losing the first immunity challenge and booting out misogynistic Matt, with Robbie leading the way to try and prove themselves against the Champions. While it was another epic fail at reward, Heath lead them to victory in the immunity challenge which sent the Champions into chaos as they prepared for tribal. Russell pulled out his idol, desperately scraped together an alliance and caused so much confusion that he somehow caused a tie between him and Jackie. Sadly for him, Sharn and Moana were not willing to take his crap, called his bluff and sent him from the game with an idol around his neck.

Things were decidedly less dramatic the neck day at the Champions camp, no, no, there was screaming and drama as a huge chicken miraculously wandered into camp. Thankfully it led to some of the best slapstick I’ve seen in years, as Sam madly ran around the camp trying to capture it. It wasn’t calm, but there was comedy and for that, I am grateful. Meanwhile Sharn and Moana – or Shaoana … Moarn – were thrilled to have taken out Russell, calling his bluff and I assume, claiming my heart. The two Queens then went for a walk down the beach and Moana shared about her experiences as a full time carer for her sister Livinia and oh my god I am crying, give her the damn money. She then locked in Sharn as her ride or die and I am all in, like they’re the nude quadruple on the Contenders.

Speaking of which, the Contenders were sitting down to breakfast, remodelling their camp and altogether loving life. Just tragically clothed.

Almost giving me whiplash, we returned to the Champions camp where Damien was trying to overcome his amputations and prove his worth to the team. Meanwhile Jackie’s poker skills were being put to good use, as she speculated felt everyone was turning against her and she needed to wake up and paint the target against her. She then started to target Damien as he has physical limitations, which can be a liability – her words, not mine – while also not wanting to face him at the end, given he is a freakin’ war hero. In any event, given we’ve seen the Contenders for a minute this episode, we can rule them out of attending tribal council this episode. Well done team!

Speaking of challenges, my love Jonathan returned for this week’s reward challenge where the Contenders were delighted to see that Russell was booted at the last tribal. While some of them were sad to have missed out on meeting him, Lydia assured them that they missed nothing. Anywho – the challenge is essentially a penalty shootout for a huge fishing kit and a fish. Basically the Champions got out to an early lead, never really lost it, Shane Gould is adorable, Damien is a saint and Monika scored the winning goal.

The Champions arrived back at camp to discover their fish had not just been cooked, but also slathered in salsa and looking glorious. Speaking of glorious, Damien was thrilled about playing a huge role in their victory and feeling like he was before his accident. While everyone feasted Moana loitered around awkwardly as she is a vegetarian, but didn’t want to ask them to leave her some veggies.

Meanwhile back at Casa de Contenders, the tribe was feeling defeated and hella hungry. Heath wandered off to grab water and discovered a clue hiding in the well, instructing him that a hidden immunity idol would be placed in the lid of the voting urn at the next tribal council should they attend. So now he is keen to throw the next challenge, particularly since Robbie caught him finding said clue and spread the intel to Benji, throwing their alliance into doubt. Speaking of idol clues, the Champions continued to feast on the fish, completely oblivious to the hidden immunity idol at their feet. Given Moana the vegetarian had zero interest in the food, she noticed and stealthy snatched it out from under their noses.

To reiterate, Moana is Queen.

Cutting me off from Moana’s coronation, Jonathan arrived for the next immunity challenge. Well, after the Champions were done gloating about their fish reward and motivating the Contenders even further. The challenge required seven members of the tribe to wheel a giant wheel around with two tribemates on top who were required to fish puzzle pieces along the way. The last two having to solve said puzzle, obvi. The Champions got out to a slight lead, however the Contenders caught up by the first puzzle pieces. By the third stack of puzzle pieces the Contenders pulled away – in no small part thanks to Shane knocking the Champions puzzles off the shelf – handing Tegan and Fenella a massive lead for solving the puzzle. While Jackie and Monika tried their best to make inroads, it was all for nought as the Contenders dominated and snatch victory before they even had a chance to get started.

Jackie immediately started to panic back at camp, bursting into tears and apologising for choking at the challenge which successfully garnered sympathy from the tribe. She then went for a walk with Monika and decide to flip the game on Damien, in the hope of ‘keeping the tribe strong’. She then approached Moana to try and get her on board, which tragically fell short as Moana sees her as lady Russell and desperately wants her and her crocodile tears out of the game. Moana approached Steve W and Mat to rally troops against Jackie instead, which they were both keen for leaving them to split up and pull in more numbers. Sharn then went to rally troops to take out Damien, pulling in Lydia … before going to Moana and agreeing to take out Jackie as they headed out to tribal council leaving me ridiculously confused.

At tribal Jonathan started by throwing some shade about their loss, with Mat trying to dance around the specifics of why exactly they lost. Jackie tried to garner some more sympathy for losing the challenge, before Damien spoke about the risks associated with the epic spotlight on him whether he performs well or not. Brian appeared to talk in sports metaphors, Steve W completely owned my heart by straight up blaming Jackie for the loss before Mat piled on and tried to convince everyone to keep Damien. Sam spoke about the importance of making alliances to save yourself when you have a run of bad luck, leading to Steve W feeling frustrated by the fact that Russell has rubbed off on them … before admitting he had made alliances. Lydia admitted she planned to vote off a weaker player while Moana evaded the question saying she wants to win challenges but also needs to think about the game.

With that confusing back and forth, the tribe went off to vote, Moana managed to snatch the idol without anyone noticing and poor Damien found himself becoming the third boot for being a liability … despite as Steve W put it, him having no legs because he was blown up helping people in Afghanistan. Speaking of which, that is actually where I first met my dear mate Damo. You see after getting kicked out the USO shows for being too lewd, I decided to try my luck performing tamer routines for the Aussie Army and became quite popular for a brief period.

After his accident, I would visit him daily and sing to him to try and make him feel better. While the doctors banned me from the hospital and got me deported for what they described as cruel and unusual punishment – bitch, I can hit more notes than Mariah you’ve got no idea – Damo knew I was just trying to help and we became the best of friends. That is why I knew my Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts would be the perfect way to cure his post boot pain.

 

 

Does the name roll of your tongue? Not really. Should I have gone with Caramelisedamien? Probably. But given how delicious these taste, I think you should cut me a break. The sweet onion melts in your mouth and dances with the earthiness of the cheese and the flaky gloriousness of the pastry.

Just trust me, they’re perfect. And hella moreish.

Enjoy!

 

 

Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
4 onions, sliced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp ground chilli
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
150g goat’s cheese, crumbled
lemon thyme, to garnish

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onions, stirring, for fifteen minutes or until soft.

Add the sugar, balsamic, chilli and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes or until rich and sticky. Allow to cool for ten minutes or so.

Meanwhile cut each slice of puff pastry into nine equal squares and place on lined baking sheets. Top each with a dollop of onions, crumble over the goat’s cheese and transfer to the over to bake for fifteen minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Devour, immediately scattered with thyme leaves.

 

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