Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brawn continued to take out victory after victory, with George sure that if he was put into a physical battle he could have changed their losing ways. That being said, he and Wai then single handedly took out immunity for the tribe earning their respect and saving George by the skin of his teeth. Back at camp, Janelle quickly became the target however for some reason Simon wanted Shannon gone instead. While he and the big guys targeted her, Janelle was having none of Emmett’s arrogance and instead tried to flip the vote on him. And while it failed and she found herself booted, she was still iconic and I love and miss her.

The next day the Brawn tribe were warming up by the fire and preparing to plan for the day ahead, while Simon was awkwardly trying to come to terms with the fact his plan is not the one that was executed. He then tried to dig his way out of the hole, putting it down to a simple miscounting situation. While Gavin quietly watched on as he and the rest of the alliance searched their minds for an answer before sharing with us that he booted Janelle because that was the last thing someone told him and as such, he thought it was the plan.

Flick, the other turncoat, was not unwitting and instead was glad to draw a line in the sand and save her friend Shannon, given she knows that going with the boys, she’d be forth at best. She was kiki-ing with Gerald and the girls and honestly, again, I love them all. Particularly since Flick was ready to take out a meathead at the very next opportunity.

Meanwhile over at casa de Brains, Laura was feeling her oats to have had the night off as the team woke up and enjoyed breakfast. That being said, she was starting to get desperate for a fire. Instead of focusing her energy on that, George suggested the group rest up so that they’re best placed to take out victory in the reward challenge and potentially win a flint. Rather than have their strongest player blister their hands and get weak. Given he has zero capital in the tribe, as soon as he disappeared the tribe got to work trying to start a fire. And given Andrew – aka not-Tommy Little – is a straight-up survival expert, I’m not actually sure why they haven’t had fire for the first five days. In any event, as George washed off in the water, Andrew and Baden started a roaring flame and just like that, the Brains are back in the game.

Well, the Brains minus George who was plum tuckered from his walk.

Dear, sweet Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where the tribes would face off to hold a trough up the longest as the other tribe attempted to fill it with water and weigh it down. All for coffee, tea, sugar and Iced bloody Vovos. Rachel and Baden valiantly held it up for Brains as Daini and Gerald looked super chill and steady for the Brawn. Surprising Dr Mitch I assume, who was super shady about their brain power, Emmett and Simon lead the Brawn tribe to strategically fill the trough as quickly as possible and damn, Brains, you’re in danger. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a contest and once again, Brawn took out the reward giving them the most plush camp in Cloncurry.

Brawn were obviously overjoyed to return to camp to find their afternoon tea set-up, complete with a collage of photos of them with their loved ones. As everyone sobbed, Gerald popped the kettle on and whipped up their drinks before they settled in to talk about their families. Chelsea spoke about her close bond with her dad, Gerald opened up about his pride for his sister, Big D broke down in tears sharing how he and his mum had nothing growing up and her tenacity is what pushes him to work hard.

Kez felt like the reward brought everyone together before we learnt about her journey to becoming a bodybuilder after being bullied throughout school and ugh, I love Queen Kez and her lack of jumper so, so much. Particularly since she stumbled upon an idol clue while collecting sticks in front of everyone and like an icon, she quietly pocketed it and went to the bushes to learn where she needed to look.

Back over with the Brains, the tribe were feeling far from joyous but hey, at least they have fire? Oh and Andrew, who quickly dammed off their water and got to work deoxygenating the water to force the fish into the net and hot damn, they’ve got a bit of fight left in them as they’re heading into the immunity challenge.

Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race to solve a giant brain teaser to release a ring, which they would then use to climb a wall before crossing rope steps, knocking over a tower, then immediately rebuilding it on the end of a seesaw. Wai quickly took charge of the brainteaser for the Brains tribe, while the Brawn tribe just straight up struggled. Wai decided the Brains tribe needed a bit of muscle and despite George wanting in, Joey slotted in while Georgia tried to keep him calm. But thankfully for them, he was persistent and Baden finally listened and suggested the tribe switch him out and damn, George immediately solved the puzzle. As such, Brains quickly worked their way through the course and won the challenge, just as the Brawn tribe made it across the rope steps.

And once again, was George the hero of the challenge?!

The defeated Brawns returned to camp and while they appeared down, Flick was pretty pumped to be able to take a shot at Simon, Emmett and Gavin. She was already aligned with Shannon and Kez and as such, the girls got to work bringing in Gerald, Daini and Benny to form a majority alliance. Which they appeared to quickly secure with the vote locked in for Gavin. Shannon was excited to get her revenge on the boys and as such, suggested they talk up voting for Simon to throw the others off the scent.

Meanwhile Simon could see the writing on the wall and as such, got to work trying to flip Big D and take back the numbers and get rid of the eternally charming Shannon. And ugh, poor Big D, he was just feeling both anxious and spicy to find himself in the middle. Speaking of finding, Kez got nervous after witnessing Big D talking to the boys and instead turned her attention to the idol. Which she quickly found, the catch being that it was buried under a rock right in front of everyone in camp.

Unsure what to do, Kez enlisted Flick’s help, pulling her aside and sitting in front of the tomb to collect the idol. The catch being that since she didn’t pack enough clothes, she had to pretend to sunbake in the scorching sun until Flick rescued her and brought her some shoes to finally hide her idol in. And you best believe that she is willing to play it should she feel worried for her girls.

And given Big D is still unsure which side to go with, she just might have to. Particularly since he suggested they instead vote for Kez rather than Shannon and they all just folded to his preference. While Simon and Gavin were confident he was with them, Emmett was still nervous and well, I hate to agree with him but I am nervous. But for my girl Kez instead.

At tribal council Jonathan shaded them for being back so soon before Chelsea spoke about how hard it is to lose being so damn competitive. Shannon admitted that they overcomplicated the puzzle which ultimately cost them the challenge, while Simon doubled down on them voting out Janelle being the right move. Despite not actually voting that way. Kez coyly suggested that there is always a chance of a blindside and that she hopes this tribal council identifies the snake in the grass within their tribe. Emmett agreed that it is challenging trying to find your footing, though he knew who he was voting for and that is half the battle. Big D admitted that he naturally goes for people he vibes with, though in the game he will make his decisions based on strength for the tribe.

Immediately filling Kez with fear. 

Emmett was arrogant and cocky about his alliance having the numbers while Simon admitted that there can always be a spanner thrown in the works. That spanner usually being an idol. Big D suggested that the vote would be the one to draw a line in the sand, while Simon shared that he was shocked it wasn’t drawn sooner. Which immediately riled up both Queen Flick and Queen Kez, who said it was pretty obvious that Simon drew a line in the sand, but nobody else was that pigheaded. Essentially. Big D admitted that trust changes throughout the game, while Gavin and Dani were just wanting to prove loyalty.

With that the tribe voted and feeling nervous, Queen Kez pulled out her idol and played it for herself as the rival alliance looked like they were shitting their pants. That being said, it was unnecessary as Big D stuck with the good guys and Gavin was booted from the game by the new 6-person alliance. And ugh, he is so damn sweet it is almost hard to see him go.

As you know, I’m highly influential in the sporting world and as such, have known Gav for years and we’ve been the best of friends. We locked eyes with each other across loser lodge and I pulled him in for a hug, assuring him that being the third boot isn’t anything to sneeze at. Particularly when it comes with a side of sweet, sweet Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes.

I know, I know – you hear green tomatoes (which you’re inexplicable pronouncing tom-a-toes right now, aren’t you) and think, that is disgusting. But hear me out, because these are delicious. Salt, sweet and packing a kick of heat, they’re the perfect snack for whiling away an afternoon. Or processing post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes
Serves: 4 dear friends, two of which are obviously Jessica Tandy and Mary-Louise Parker.

Ingredients
3 firm green tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
⅓ buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup polenta
1 cup vegetable, canola or another appropriate frying oil

Method
Cut the tomatoes into 1cm slices, sprinkle with a good whack of salt and leave to rest on a chopping board for five minutes.

Meanwhile, place the flour and spices in one bowl with a good whack of pepper, the buttermilk and egg in another and the polenta in yet another.

Bring the oil to heat over medium heat and once nice and hot, dip the salted tomatoes in the flour, then in the egg wash followed by the polenta and into the oil three or four at a time. Cook for three minutes, flip and cook for a further three minutes, or until golden and brown. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until down.

Serve piping hot with a bit of hot sauce and savour every bite.


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Buffaloana Chicken Hopizza

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Pizza, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 All Star players returned to the game with Lydia out for revenge, Henry lived to be messy, Brooke was a challenge beast and David claimed a suite of idols. Amongst the chaos Queen Shane followed Tina Wesson’s first-to-worst trajectory (despite almost avoiding it), followed by Jericho, Daisy – in a brutal blindside from Dave – Michelle and Henry before Shonee kicked off an epic revenge arc by eliminating Lydia, Abbey and John back-to-back-to-back. They were followed by Mat, Phoebe and Flick before Nick tragically missed the jury.

Locky ultimately became the first to go post-merge, followed by Harry and the tragic exit of Lee. Zach, Jacqui, Shonee and AK soon followed before Brooke’s immunity run forced the dominant majority alliance to turn on each other to boot Tarzan. Which was tragically followed by Brooke losing immunity and heading to the jury as one of our icon fourth placed robbed-goddesses, leaving Moana, Dave and Sharn to battle it out for victory.

The final three awoke on Day 49, with Dave shocked to still be in the game despite entering All Stars with a huge target from his previous season. Though thankfully, he learnt from his previous mistakes and this time forged strong bonds to keep him in the game. He then praised Moana and Sharn for being such strong competitors, though reminded himself that he is not there to make friends and he is playing to reunite his family and move back to Australia. And yeah, there is no way he is losing right?

Wait, no – we do get to hear from the other two. Sharn spoke about how important it is to win final immunity and to get to choose your opponent. While she only made it to the end with the help of her allies, the alliance would break tonight and as such, she needs to make sure she has control. Rightly, she congratulated herself on making it to the final three twice in a row and as such, she more than anyone, knows the pain of losing and as such, she isn’t going to suffer through that again. We finally checked in with Moana, who shared that she came into All Stars to pick up where she left off, after having to exit the game because she was sick. She highlighted that she played a stealth, strategic game and has never been in any real danger because she has been across literally everything that happened in camp. Which again, is true.

The final three arrived on a very windy cliff where they met Jonathan who explained that they would each stand on small pedestals with one hand holding an idol on a post and the other pulling a ring, pulling them in the other direction with the last one standing taking out immunity. As is tradition, Jonathan then wheeled out everyone’s families to distract them and make their heart break before physically destroying them. Sharn’s kids all still look exactly like their father, though hopefully the kids didn’t get his personality. But I can’t even be mean because her oldest son was super sweet about her and now I am crying. Then Jonathan wheeled out Moana’s wife of 53 days and her sister Vinnie and hot damn, I’m sobbing. Vinnie is life, Mo’s wife is hot – it is perfect. Oh and then Vinnie hugged Dave as Isabella’s crying made her sad and damn, I forgive the final three for making the merge boring. Can Vinnie be a write-in winner? I mean, Edge of Extinction is a thing, so anything goes now. Oh and then Dave’s wife and daughter arrived and see, he isn’t an arrogant jerk, he is delightful and such a kind family man. Also, can we circle back to the fact Moana’s wife is straight up beautiful? As beautiful as Dave’s sons calling him to wish him luck.

After drying their tears and hugging their families, the final three climbed up to their craggy perches while their poor families sat on a cliff and quietly wished that the challenge would be as short as possible. Well except for Vinnie and the younger kids who disappeared and honestly, Vinnie better be getting good money to babysit those kids because she is precious and needs to be protected at all costs. Anyway, as Australian Survivor is wise enough to stick with endurance challenges for final immunity, they aren’t the most exciting to recap. That being said, Jonathan said ‘It’s All Stars Baby’ in Caitlyn Jenner’s voice and honestly, I live. Moana started to struggle early in the challenge, but she showed so much personality in her interactions with her wife and now I am rooting for her.

Sharn spoke about it being more difficult than her OG final immunity challenge, while David spoke about how much he wants it and as such, while it is painful, he won’t back down. After more than an hour, out of nowhere Moana slipped off the pegs and literally fell out of the challenge, panicking everyone and leading to her wife heroically coming to rescue her and honestly, I ship them so hard. Left alone in the challenge for a further hour, David decided to try and make a deal with Sharn, suggesting that no matter what, they’re going to the end because they both want to face off against the best in the final tribal council. Sharn agreed how much of an honour it would be to go to the end with him, however neither seemed to be willing to back down. A torrential downpour then rolled in for dramatic effect and while David looked to be struggling, it was Sharn that collapsed out of nowhere, handing David immunity. And more likely, the title of Sole Survivor.

At tribal council David spoke about how amazing it was to see all of their families and compete in the final immunity challenge, though was saddened to be bringing an end to one of his closest allies’ games. Moana highlighted how close she and Dave have been from the start which immediately led to Sharn cutting her off and talking about how she was just as close with Dave. She then pointed out that she isn’t really loyal to her bestie Moana by saying that she and Dave agreed that they wanted to go to the end together during the immunity challenge. Obviously because this is All Stars and they need to have the best facing off. Moana laughed at the thought and pointed out that they all made deals with each other and as such, that deal means nothing. She then pointed out that she has played a strong game and more importantly, she doesn’t address a jury for a living. 

Sharn laughed about her previous final tribal – lol – before smartly pointing out that the duo had played similar games, while her game and David’s are clearly distinguishable and as such, the jury can easily pick a winner. Oh and then Moana got sassy and honestly, where was she all season – she said that Sharn had her shot in front of the jury and now it is time she has hers. Oh and if Dave thinks she is an easy beat, take her to the end and prove it. With that David voted and tragically Moana was sent from the game as the final juror, not because she was the weaker opponent, but because she was the stronger one.

As soon as I saw Moana enter the Jury Villa, I ran to her to give her a massive hug and to praise her for playing such a dominant game alongside David. Yes, yes, I spent a lot of time complaining about how boring their alliance made the show, but that doesn’t take away from their stellar, controlling games. That being said, David had something working in his favour that Moana tragically didn’t and that was the fact I planned to make Moana a pizza. Yes, the Fame Hungry Survivor Pizza curse strikes again and it is my fault Mo lost the prize and instead had to settle for a Buffaloana Chicken Hopizza.

Like burgers, buffalo chicken is one of those things I am very passionate about shoe-horning into other culinary forms. From burgers to meatballs, buffalo chicken just works in so many forms and despite being the curse that ended Mo’s game, there is no denying this is perfection. And maybe a little worth it.

Enjoy! 

Buffaloana Chicken Hopizza
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 cup hot sauce
2 tbsp butter
3 cups shredded roast chicken (or Chooke)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup passata
handful of fresh Italian herbs, roughly chopped
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
2-4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, thinly sliced
⅔ cup blue cheese, crumbled
Michelle Branch Dressing, to serve

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

When they’re almost finished proving, combine the hot sauce and butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat until combined. Remove from the heat and fold through the chicken. Season to taste, probably more pepper than salt, in my opinion.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To assemble, smear the bases with passata and herbs. Top with the mozzarella, carrot and celery, followed by the spicy chicken and blue cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devouring immediately with a good lashing of ranch dressing in honour of my menu choices ended my favourite potential winner (of the final three).


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Abbearclaw Holmes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Dessert, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Mokuta were desperate to not go on a losing streak, thankfully breaking it their current mini-run by snatching victory for an ice cream reward. Sadly however, that was only a brief reprieve as they lost immunity. Heading back to tribal council, Nick tried to rally the troops to take out Henry while Abbey led the athletes to target Shonee. Nervous about losing strength, Lydia pulled Henry aside to advise him to play an idol if he has one, so off he went to make a fake. Unaware that Shonee had found the legit one. Henry tried to grab his fake in front of everyone at tribal, though Nick did not buy it and cautioned everyone that it was a ploy. It did make Shonee nervous enough to play hers, challenging him to do the same if it is real. Thankfully for her, he didn’t bother with his fake and as such, she negated five votes against herself and sent him from the game as the fifth boot.

The next day Zach was busy showing off his strength to the tribe, while Shonee lamented their losing ways. Begging the question, why are they losing if the athletes are as tough as they think they are. But back to Zach and his workout – guess who his biggest fan was? You guessed, team strong herself, Abbey!

Meanwhile over at Vakama the tribe were joyfully playing on the shore, with David still gladly leading the high school clique. Who had taken to squwaking – no joke – while the oldies of Mat, Tarzan, Moana and Jacqui were still feeling left out. Speaking of the minority alliance, Mat was giddily taunting Locky about the idol he had found and potential cracks in the alliance. Playing 4D chess, he even commenced pretending he would be open to working together, but Locky is so loyal, the poor thing couldn’t even entertain it.

Back at Mokuta our queen and savior Shonee was heartbroken to be stuck with a bunch of people that don’t want to be around them. She was particularly annoyed about the lame athlete alliance – preach – so got to work hustling, in the hopes of taking control and getting rid of the head of the athletes in Abbey. After quickly celebrating their win at the previous tribal, Shonee and Nick got to work wooing Sharn and Zach to their side. Shonee took Sharn to the scene of her triumphant idol find, with the icon reminding Sharn that once she is gone, Sharn is the next weakest and as such she needs to make a move ASAP. Sharn agreed and was keen to make a move, but only if Zach was willing to join them. Speaking of Zach, he was feeling on the outs and caught up with Harry about how they could take control. We then learnt from the form misogynist that he was reformed and keen to play a different, more social AF game. As such, he decided to join the little rascals and Sharn to overthrow the athletes.

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where each tribe was required to stack a series of blocks along a beam over a trip hazard – while tethered in pairs – to knock over a sign. With the victors scoring a huge Italian feast. Vakama appeared to have a slight lead, however when Jacqui and Moana looked to measure out the spacing, it annoyed Locky for slowing them down. As such Mokuta took the slightest of slight leads, until they knocked over a single block. Which was enough for Vakama to take back the lead. Which only extended when Mokuta knocked over four more. Vakama continued to pull ahead, until they realised they didn’t have enough to make it to the end. While both tribes fiddled with the spacing, mother nature opted to troll them both and the wind blew over multiple blocks from each tribe, leading to a flurry of rebuilding. Back and forth both tribs tried to knock them over before Vakama finally put us out of our misery and scored the reward.

Vakama sprinted to reward where they discovered not only did they score a huge Italian feast, but they also got a tonne of wine and a photo wall featuring everyone with their mums. AK kicked off the tears talking to his mum and damn, it was so sweet and god, do I like AK? Jacqui’s parents had their own tennis court which is super impressive, Tarzan surprised everyone with his sexy short hair and lack of beard, Mat fondly remembered his sweet, sweet mum, Moana was feeling guilty about being away from her mum, unable to help and give her joy and damn, I am crying. Nobody else had overly emotional stories and I don’t want to make jokes because it is so pure. Though Flick worked at Wendy’s and now I want a shake?

My love Jonathan returned for an immunity challenge where each tribe had to swim out to a pontoon in pairs, climb a ladder, jump into the water, run across a net and then release four balls, which the last tribe member would try to toss them in their sack.Mokuta got out to an early lead, in no small part thanks to our Queen Shonee, while Tarzan and Phoebe struggled big time for Vakama. Sharn and Nick started to extend their lead, until we were reminded that Nick is not the best swimmer – shouldn’t have booted Shane – before he and Sharn struggled to release their ball. With that Flick and Mat close the gap and then gave Vakama a huge lead. While David and Jacqui started to struggle, allowing Abbey and John to catch up, my nude king just couldn’t catch his breath leading to Vakama pulling away once again. Locky and Brooke made quick work of the final ball, giving AK a huge advantage, scoring all four baskets before Mokuta even scored their last ball.

Back at camp John was feeling terrible about letting the tribe down, with the athletes conveniently accepting his apology and ignoring the fact Shonee was a star performer. Abbey of course planned to stick with all the strong athletes, and as such, she decided that Shonee – star performer – was the one that needed to go. She pulled Sharn and John aside, with the trio agreeing to stick together and get rid of Shonee with the help of Lee and Lydia. But little did Abbey know, Sharn had zero interest in playing along or getting rid of Shonee and as such, wanted to get rid of Abbey and take away the athlete’s leader. Abbey approached Lee and Zach, with Lee all in however the latter had learnt his lesson from his first season and wanted to stop focusing on strength and as such, save Shonee. And all of a sudden, I find Zach very attractive.

Zach, Harry and Sharn caught up in the jungle, with Zach pointing out that John didn’t do a good job at any of the challenges this season and as such, why don’t they get rid of him instead. And completely shake the core of the majority. With the trio locked in to take out John, Zach pulled Shonee and Nick aside to get them on board. Sadly for all of them, Nick couldn’t see sense in snatching the majority and so instead, approached John to turn the entire tribe on Zach. And tying things up 4-4, rather than giving him and his allies a 5-3 advantage. Nick approached Lee about joining the plan to get rid of John and kind of rationalised his plan, explaining that since John has no solid relationships and therefore there will be no hurt feelings should a tribe swap appear on the horizon.

At tribal council Nick spoke about Henry playing fast and loose, while Harry added that with Henry gone, Shonee is the most in danger given she received votes at last tribal council. Shonee tried to see the glass half-full, encouraging everyone to stick together and reminded everyone that there are 9 people left in the tribe and since only four people that voted for her remain, her five could have the majority. While this was unfolding, Nick started to whisper to the rival alliance that Zach is targeting John and as such, they should join him in voting out Zach instead. Meanwhile John spoke about being nervous because he completely bombed the challenge while Zach alluded to switching up his game and focusing on the long term, rather than solely strength. Lydia spoke about wanting to work with people she can trust and think the same way she does – *coughs* athletes *coughs*. Shonee believed that all but one person is on the same page, before Zach and John nervously countered that there are at least two more that should be in danger.

Out of nowhere Jonathan interrupted proceedings to announce that instead of voting to boot someone from the game, this tribal council, the top two vote getters would be sent to exile beach where they will await their fate. This made Harry nervous to make a move, given someone could potentially come back from the game, while Abbey and Nick were both more than happy to stick with the plan. The reforming Zach admitted that he was feeling nervous, reminded of Tegan’s near boot in his season. With that the tribe voted and tragically the athletes banded together to send Shonee to exile, while the little rascals piled the votes on Zach and poor Zach was completely out of the loop and voted for John. Who safely stayed with his tribe as the other two departed for exile.

Zach and Shonee arrived at exile, with Shonee searching her brain to figure out the Fijian word for revenge so that they can name their teeny, tiny tribe. The two marvelled at how ugly their beach was, though Shonee did use the time to assure us that she can and will get revenge on all the athletes, plus Sharn for shits and giggles. The next morning however, she was back to being her zen self, loving being away from the buff people and leading Zach through her island beauty routine. And do I now ship them?

Meanwhile back at Mokuta, Lydia, Lee, John and Abbey were loving themselves and their muscles sick. Which was making Nick sick, given he desperately missed his closest ally Shonee. And he had nobody to blame but himself. Abbey pretended that she was glad Shonee wasn’t alone, before humble-bragging about her perfect voting record (this season) and the fact she has a solid alliance and is controlling her tribe. John then tried humour clothed and TBH, I don’t like it. We checked in with Vakama where talk way centred around soy milk and honestly, I am as bored by the discussion as Mat and his minions. Speaking of that crew, Mat was content with his allies and was glad to be sitting ok with people he trusts and David looking out for him.

And you know what all this talk means!

Jonathan met the tribes by the beach where Vakama learnt two people were voted out the night before and had been sent to exile. Jonathan then announced that like Zach and Shonee, everyone’s games are changing as the tribes are switching up. To a chorus of groans the tribes dropped their buffs before selecting new ones, with Harry, Mat, Flick, AK, Brooke, Locky, Abbey, Lydia and John forming new Vakama and David, Tarzan, Moana, Jacqui, Phoebe, Nick, Lee and Sharn making up Mokuta 2.0. The iconic duo were forced to put a stop to their beauty routine and were wheeled out to discover the switched up tribes. They then learnt that they weren’t in fact exiting the game and instead would each be joining the new tribes, with Shonee joining her nemeses on Vakama and Zach landed on Mokuta.

With the tribes locked, Jonathan announced that they would now be facing off for reward, which was essentially a tug of war challenge, with each tribe pulling in opposite directions until the can get to their end and grab a flag. With the first tribe to three scoring an advantage in the game … which is hidden in a Pandora’s Box, which they can open back at camp. And a grazing plate, which is iconic, like Queen Shonee. First up were Sharn, Phoebe and Moana against Flick, Abbey and Lydia. Despite Abbey and Lydia being straight up beasts, they were no match for new Mokuta, with Moana clawing her way to victory for her tribe. Lucky Abbey and Lydia are strong, right? Lol. Immediately they started to blame Flick, which is honestly just fucked.

The next round featured Jacqui, Moana, Nick and David facing off against Locky, Mat, Shonee and Flick. Instantly Abbey started coaching Shonee through the challenge which would be sweet if she didn’t just vote her out for being weak. At the end of the day, it became a battle of the anchors, with David and Locky fighting tooth and nail until David grabbed the flag and another point for Mokuta. Abbey and Lydia then went up for redemption against Phoebe and Moana, and tragically got it, scoring a point despite some aggressive play of Phoebe, queen. The fourth round featured Locky, AK and Harry facing off against David, Zach and Lee, with the latter trio of beasts making easy work of the point, grabbing the flag and snatching reward for their new tribe.

We followed new Vakama back to camp where Abbey was smarting to have lost the reward challenge, though was embracing the new tribe and trying to find a place for herself and stay safe in the 5-5 split of the old tribe. She and Lydia went for a walk, confident that they won’t be the obvious targets, despite being beasts aka an easy target for the rival OG tribe. Shonee meanwhile immediately went swimming with Flick and Brooke, quickly pledging her allegiance to them and vowing to get rid of the jerks who tried to vote her off. Meanwhile David felt like he hit the jackpot at the Mokuta tribe, a luxury beach and the majority numbers in the tribe. Not to mention the bountiful tasting plate. Given most of his allies ended up on the other tribe, David realised that Zach would be the key to safety, given he likely wants revenge. Before they could talk weights, the tribe opened up a clue which advised everyone to go hunting for one of two keys which could open up the box and release the advantage for one person.

With that, they were off and racing! The tribe searched high and low around the island, until Nick stumbled upon the key amongst a dead log. Quickly he pulled Phoebe aside to let her know that he found it to try and solidify an alliance with his season mate. She assured him that she would keep look out while he slyly headed in to camp to open the box and snatch the advantage. Which he did, just as Jacqui found the other key. With the clock running out, Nick grabbed the advantage and disappeared as Jacqui stumbled into camp to learn that she had been pipped. Everyone returned to camp, with Nick desperately trying to hide the fact he open the box before disappearing to learn that he had found an extra vote. Which never really ends well in OG flavour Survivor.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where the tribes each had to pull a cart through the sand, collecting huge puzzle pieces while two people from the other tribe actively work to slow the others down. Once they make it to the end, they would then solve the puzzle for victory. With that John and Mat go ready to slow down their rivals, while Moana and Jacqui were selected from the rival tribe. Vakama got out to an early lead as Jacqui and Moana desperately tried to slow them down and Mokuta struggled against Mat and John. Vakama got to the end with a large advantage, though sadly for them, they didn’t have Nick, who got the tribe to coordinate the colours as they got them off, so the puzzle would be easy. He confidently coached his tribe through the puzzle, quickly putting it together while Vakama looked at their pieces in confusion. Piece by piece Mokuta continued to close the gap, then pipped Vakama and finally, scored a massive come from behind victory. And a hero moment for Nick. Swoon.

Back at camp Abbey was angry to continue her losing streak, so immediately set her sights on Shonee, who played no part in the tribe losing the challenge. With that, she and Lydia complained about Shonee in the water before approaching AK, Locky, Brooke and Flick to join with them to get rid of Shonee and keep the tribe strong. While the logic is solid, given it keeps threats around to take the heat of her, eventually she is the weakest in the tribe, and at what point do they stop voting out the weak. Abbey and Lydia were confident that they had locked in the vote for Shonee as the tribe reconvened by the fire, and they then saw Shonee working her magic in front of their very eyes. Shonee charmed her way through the OG Vakama tribe members, while pointing out that Abbey was the leader of Mokuta and as such, they need to weaken Mokuta by getting rid of her instead. Locky, Brooke and Flick genuinely seemed locked to join Shonee, so Shonee approached Harry to get him up to speed – perfectly downplaying their alliance – while Harry then worked on AK.

Oh and then Shonee pulled in Mat, assuring him that they will control this tribe and then come merge, get revenge on Sharn.

Abbey and Lydia were none the wiser, happily sitting around the fire while Shonee and Locky confirmed their alliance. Before Shonee gave herself a quick sand facial to celebrate. She then went deep into the jungle with Flick and Brooke, with the girls assuring her that they are with her 100%. However Brooke grew anxious about getting rid of muscle mass as they headed off for tribal.

At tribal council AK spoke about how well everyone was getting along at camp, given all the grumps had been moved to the rival tribe. Lydia agreed that everyone was getting along, while Mat was a little more realistic, admitting to being nervous to find himself on a tribe with Lydia who he blindsided with Queen Shane. This time Lydia seemed to be more open to moving forward, conveniently when she has to let go of her grudge for her own safety. RIP Shane. Abbey pretended that she was thrilled to see Shonee stay in the game, as she is such a great girl. Thankfully this led to peak Shonee, where she spoke about Abbey needing to wait and see whether she would let bygones be bygones. And then spoke about loving her new tribe with lots of new friends.

Mat reiterated that Shonee was just voted out by people that are sitting on the tribe, so revenge is the obvious course of action. Harry diverted things to the future, talking about how pivotal this moment is to all of their games, as it sets the direction heading into the merge. Locky spoke about the importance of keeping the tribe strong, though was glorious coy about what strong means to him. Lydia then complained about being at her fourth tribal council in a row and as such, she is sick of it and wants to win. This bored the hell out of Shonee, who was fed up with hearing about the importance of strength. Out of nowhere Locky and Brooke whispered about being nervous before Lydia tried one last ditch effort to keep strength. With that the tribe voted and Locky did keep the tribe strong by joining with Shonee, Harry and Mat to blindside Abbey and send her from the game as the sixth boot.

As much as I loved Abbey in her first season, she crossed Shonee and as such, I was thrilled to see her go. Which I told her as soon as she walked into Loser Lodge. While she tried to explain that Shonee’s social prowess and likeability reminded her of Pia – meaning she was her biggest threat out there – I was having none of it. And as such, I told her that I’m not mad – despite totally being mad – just disappointed, then handed her a tray of warm, sweet Abbearclaw Holmes.

 

 

Given how much I loved the Queen that saved us from the horrors of an athlete alliance just last season – bye Steven, Nova, Susie and E.T.! – I wanted to make something special for her second, victorious go around. And there is no pastry/cookie better than a bear claw – crunchy, melt in your mouth and baking an aggressive almond crunch. These are victorious … and I guess Abs deserves them, despite crossing Shon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbearclaw Holmes
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 batch David Croissant dough
2 egg whites
1 ½ cup marzipan, cubed
1 ½ cup icing sugar
blanched almonds, to taste slash greed
milk, for brushin’
½ cup demerara sugar

Method
Make the croissant dough as per the instructions, all the way up to the part where you’re rolling, cutting and shaping.

To make the filling, combine the egg white and marzipan in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until cohesive and light. Reduce to low and slowly add the icing sugar, and once all combined, crank to medium and beat for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy.

To assemble, cut the dough into quarters and roll each portion into a 30cm square. Cut each into three equal strips and spread a couple of teaspoons of filling down the centre of each strip. Fold them in half to former filled, long strips and press the edges to close. Cut each strip into three, sealing each join and shape into a slight half moon as you transfer to a lined baking sheet.

Once the dough and filing is all gone, cut each strip four times, going half-way through the dough and split them slightly. Cover and leave to prove for an hour or so.

When they are puffy and beautiful – not like mine – press an almond into each gap on the claws. Brush with milk, sprinkle with the demerara and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and crispy.

Leave to cool slightly before devouring, wishing you had more social game.

 

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Abbean Holmes Soup

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Side, Snack, Soup, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Luke and Abbey were playing the middle of the two duos, with the former unaware that everyone – but Abbey – was plotting his demise. When he took out immunity and saved himself, Harry pivoted and put the target back on to his nemesis JaQueen. This put Luke and Abbey back in the middle and try as JaQueen and Pia might, they were unable to swing them back to their side, and JaQueen was tragically beheaded. Not literally, but it felt hard to watch. As Janine is a bloody icon.

Back at camp Pia was disheartened to have lost Janine though explained to the tribe that as an award winning actress, she could tell that it was coming since they’re shit actors. Abbey was proud to make it to the final five, and have the chance to show the jury that she can pull off a big blindside in getting rid of Janine. And since she has grown to enjoy a cheeky blindside, looked forward to rolling Pia next. Which can’t happen as my heart just couldn’t take it.

The next day Harry was thrilled to have Janine’s scalp in his collection like a munted Hannibal Lector. The rest of the tribe lazed about – Abbey not keen on having another bean, don’t tell John – while Harry decided that Luke is the last person left that could beat him in the final two, and as such, needs to go. He pulled Abbey and Baden aside to lock in the vote against Luke, and then quickly lined up the back-up target of Pia should he win another immunity. Given they can all see that she was the mastermind behind the boss lady. Speaking of Pia she wasn’t feeling it after losing her island bestie, though focused on her family who she was fighting for. She then put a smile on her dial, pretended to be happy and got to work winning people back without them noticing that she is coming for revenge.

She knew that Luke was her best shot, so huddled with him in the shelter and assured him that she has no desire to vote him out and as such, is his best bloody shot at staying in the game. He assured Pia that she has nothing to worry about as he knows he will be booted the moment he doesn’t have immunity or an idol. As such he went searching for another idol and after days of meandering the jungle, finally spotted a clue hidden in the tree. It led him to the other end of the beach where another clue was hidden within a coconut. This in turn led him back to camp to grab a machete before heading back to the coconut where he learnt that he didn’t find an idol and instead, won the power to send someone out of tribal council before the vote which makes them safe and robs them of the right to vote. At the final five. Which is fucking huge.

My dear Jonathan and his guns of steel returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would stack dominos along a beam tethered to a trip obstacle, with the first person to stack their dominos and have them clang – is clang the right word? – into a gong snatching immunity. Harry and Abbey got out to an early lead, while Luke trailed closely behind. Luke dropped three blocks, followed by Harry dumping a bunch handing Abbey the lead, with Baden close behind. Everyone kinda caught up, while Abbey, Baden and Pia tried to respace their blocks to give them a shot at victory. Baden then knocked all of his off the beam, allowing Abbey the chance to snatch victory however she didn’t space hers enough bringing it down to a fight between Luke and Pia, with Luke actually snatching a record equalling individual immunity.

Back at camp Harry was super grumpy about Luke’s winning streak, knowing full well that he and his fake son don’t stand a chance against him in the final two. He and Abbey went for a walk to lock in the plan B to take out Pia, with Harry sure that there is no way she will win anything and as such, will not help them get rid of Luke. Baden joined the duo and they all locked in the plan, worried about getting caught and then straight up giving each other pinky promises under the watchful eye of Pia and Luke. Pia laughed about them clearly planning to vote her out, though vowed not to go down without a fight. Unaware that she was charming the shit out of her biggest hope.

Abbey caught up with Luke, completely unaware that he knows she is gunning for him and Pia. He assured Baden, Harry and Abbey that he was with them until the end, though he was hopeful that he would be able to swing something to save Pia. He approached her and promised that no matter how it looks at tribal council, to trust him and she will be safe. He told us that his plan is to send Baden back to camp and force Harry into turning on Abbey with him and Pia. Knowing they needed to lull her into a false sense of security, Pia and Luke approached Abbey to float getting rid of Harry. Pia said she would be putting her acting skills to use at tribal, Abbey was unaware of the plot against her and Luke was honestly so far down a rabbithole that he worried that he would end up blindsiding himself.

Again, like a fucking icon.

At tribal council Luke interrupted Jonathan’s praise of his immunity streak by standing up, handing over the note and immediately sending Baden straight back to camp. He exited in utter confusion, thrilled to make it to the final four but shocked about what will go down in his absence. Abbey and Harry were shocked about the turn of events, while Pia pretended to be disappointed that he didn’t choose to save her. Luke then started whispering to Pia, which made Harry and Abbey nervous, though Harry admitted that it is unlikely that Luke would leave his plan to the very last minute and as such, it was all for show. Jonathan tried to rub salt in their wounds about being left out, leading to Luke whispering to Abbey while Pia whispered that Harry was awesome.

Sensing his imminent doom, Harry started to burn everything down and told them all that Luke is in control and unbeatable. He then mentioned that there is one way that they can save themselves, unaware that he is only burning himself given Luke isn’t going to flip on Pia to keep a fellow immunity threat around. Pia reminded everyone that staying focused on Luke is forcing others to make stupid decisions, while Luke said that only one person needs to worry this tribal council and it is about time they take the garbage out. Pia admitted that she is kind of shocked to potentially making it through the tribal and Harry tried to remind everyone that he is not the biggest threat left in the game.

With that the tribe voted and Luke and Pia’s hail Mary plan worked perfectly, with Abbey voting Harry, Harry voting Pia and Pia and Luke banding together to blindside Abbey from the game. And impressing the hell out of the jury with their flashy move. While she was overshadowed by her former closest allies Pia and Janine’s dominant games, she formed one third of Australian Survivor’s answer to the Black Widow Brigade and that is something that makes me immensely proud. Particularly after she blindsided her childhood hero and one of the aforementioned closest allies slash queens. In any event, she did me proud and surprisingly I told her that, took her in my arms and gave her a clearly island appropriate bowl of Abbean Holmes Soup. Despite the fact she wished to never eat another bean.

 

 

Essentially flavoured just like a can of refried beans, this isn’t going to be something that everyone loves. But if you love refried beans like Ab (used to) and I, roll right up. Earthy, spiced and pack with simple charm, this baby proves that sometimes plain(ish) can be your favourite flavour.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbean Holmes Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 chipotles in adobo
800g canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp thyme leaves
a small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
100g queso fresco, crumbled

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic, tomatoes and chipotles, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pinto beans and cook off any excess liquid from the rinsing before adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and simmer for half an hour, stirring infrequently.

Once the liquid has reduced to be just under the solids, add the herbs and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat, season and blitz until smooth.

Return to the heat and cook for another five minutes, adding some extra stock if it is too thick. Serve, top with queso and devour through the tears of your life.

 

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Simon Black and White Cookie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champions continued to extend their lead after getting Daisy to burn yet another idol while Zaddy John was sent to join my harem in the Jury Villa. Jonathan then dropped a bomb at the next tribal council and announced that the next two people voted out would be sent to Exile Island before battling each other for the chance to return to the game, with that Daisy was then voted out to spend a miserable night in the rain. The next day Abbey started to crave a big move for her resume and after Pia secured immunity, joined Harry, Baden and Luke to blindside Simon from the game. Well, temporarily, as he destroyed Daisy in the challenge and sent her to Jury Villa and rejoined the game.

The tribe returned to camp with the same final seven as the day before, with Abbey awkwardly hugging Simon and the silent King finding his voice, talking to us about his rage at being voted out. Instead of finding allies, he decided that an idol would be his best shot so went searching, digging up much of the island and leading to – probably – the deforestation of 90% of Fiji.

The next day Abbey was feeling nervous about her place in the game, knowing Simon would be upset with her and concerned that JaQueen and Pia won’t ever forgive her. Which is a fair judgement, given Pia and JaQueen were seething about her lies and bitching about her by the shore.

Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to balance a platform using a rope and move back and forth up the length of the course collecting letters to spell immunity on said platform. While everyone raced out to start, Baden stayed behind to reorder his blocks. That didn’t seem to slow him down however as he joined Pia, Luke and Abbey at the front of the pack, while poor Simon sat in last. The four continued to power ahead, with Abbey and Luke firmly fighting for first while their platforms slowly swayed. Pia was the first to drop her stack, followed by Baden who was sympathetic to Pia’s loss. Abbey dropped her stack on the last block, allowing Luke to place his last block and slowly make his way back to the start to secure immunity, with Simon now breathing down his neck and Abbey cheering him on. Thankfully he held firm, maintained his stack and snatched immunity, while JaQueen admitted that she was just hoping to pull a Bradbury.

Back at camp Simon recommenced digging up the entire island while Abbey was just thrilled that anyone but Simon took out immunity. She checked in with Harry, Baden and Luke to lock in their latest vote for Simon to guarantee he doesn’t go on an immunity run. Luke and Abbey went for a private chat while Pia and JaQueen sat nearby and saltily speculated what the new duo could be up to. Sick of speculating, they approached them leaving Luke to straight up ask them to join them in getting rid of Simon. Again.

While they sat there strategising JaQueen started to realise that Abbey was the bigger threat and as such, she and Pia went hunting for numbers. JaQueen approached Simon who quickly fell in line, while Pia once again used her acting skills to improvise and pulled Harry aside with JaQueen and played into his desire to make a big, bold move. They outlined that while none of them can win against Luke he is immune and as such, taking out Abbey would be the next biggest move to impress the jury. While Harry agreed that getting rid of Abbey is a logical choice, he was lucky enough to have countless options and just needed to decide whether teaming up with JaQueen and Pia was in his best interests.

At tribal council Janine spoke about the feeling of deja vu heading into tonight’s tribal council, while Abbey tried to downplay the fact that nothing has changed since the previous vote. Despite the fact her flip was outed and her two closest allies aren’t on board with her anymore. She then pushed for everyone to band together and get rid of Simon again, which led Simon to finding his voice and congratulating Luke, Harry, Baden and Abbey for outwitting him. JaQueen admitted that she too felt blindsided and was paranoid that she would be next, leaving Abbey to assure them that she would have said something if it really would have impacted them.

Harry spoke about the uncertainty of moves at tribal council leading to major, continued change while Pia hoped the flip didn’t leave her on the outs. Simon returned to talk the only thing he has left, the fact that he can be a loyal number, while Harry spoke about everyone’s paths to the end intersecting in different ways. Pia agreed with him and mentioned that that means things will shift a lot more frequently, before JaQueen and Abbey mentioned that they would be voting with their head tonight and honestly I have no idea what it happening.

With that the tribe voted and for the second time in a row, silent Simon was booted from the game. The reason Simon barely appeared in any episodes this season is because all of his confessionals were him talking about how excited he was to get booted, see his dear fellow Brisbanite – not a good episode for Queenslanders, no? – and smash some Simon Black and White Cookies together.

 

 

These classic New York biscuits are a favourite of my husband, who first got Simon to try one when we were travelling to NYC together. Soft and fluffy, almost cake like biscuits, smothered in a thick choc v. sugar crust, they truly are a magical creation. Like Simon, which you would know if he or Sam actually appeared this season.

Enjoy!

 

 

Simon Black and White Cookie
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter plus 2 tsp for the icing, at room temperature
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups icing sugar mixture
30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt in a bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a jug.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

To making the dough, cream the butter and caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium for about ten minutes, or until pale, creamy and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low and working slowly and carefully to avoid the kitchen looking like a crime scene, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in thirds, stirring until just combined.

Place heaped large golf-ball sized dollops on lined baking sheets, allowing plenty of space for spreading. Press them down to flatten a little and transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine the icing butter remaining butter and vanilla in a heatproof bowl with a tablespoon of water. Place over a double boiler and stir until combined and soft. Spread the icing over half of each cookie before adding the chocolate to the bowl and heating until combined. Spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each biscuit and leave to set for five minutes.

Then devour, chattily, like Simon is in real life.

 

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Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the battle between Champions and Contenders reached its crescendo as the two tribes merged with six OGs apiece, thanks to some impressive work from David and Luke to survive a mega-minority after the swap. After the merge Daisy snatched victory at the first reward challenge, and with it an idol, while Shaun took out immunity which gave the former Contenders the upper hand at the first tribal council. Sadly for them, David once again proved to be the master and convinced the tribe to target Andy and get rid of him as an easy vote before the jury commences. While Shaun didn’t like giving up the potential numbers advantage, there was nothing he could do to convince the Contenders it was a bad idea. After being made to feel nervous at tribal, Daisy played her idol just in case as Andy was booted unanimously. And then got one thing right, finally, by dropping the bombshell that Dave has an idol. Even though he didn’t think it was true, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The next day we checked in with the tribe as Zaddy John was growing more and more annoyed by David’s peacocking around camp. I assume because he isn’t stripping off enough, which John, PREACH. The tribe then critiqued the model’s island looks, with most people reading him for filth thanks to his penchant for a bare chest and copious amounts of accessories. Though his passion for going to challenges at least shirtless is something I am grateful for, so I won’t shade him too much. Plus, his confidence is kind of endearing as he assumes that once again Andy’s attempt at playing the game and blowing (accidentally) up his idol secret will be a fail. Which sadly, I don’t agree with.

Meanwhile Luke was thrilled to still be in the game and somehow have the numbers advantage back after getting everyone to turn on Andy. He and his dear ally Janine were discussing how she expected to go before leaving for the game, with him sharing how much he respected her given she is so open to pushing herself. They then spoke about their tough upbringings and she told him how much she respected him and WHY AM I CRYING. They are honestly a duo I ship hard and I hate that Luke annoyed me so much in his first season. That being said Janine knows that a good social game is key for her and as such, being warm and engaging is her way to deflect from the target on her back. Though I choose to believe her love for Luke is as pure – or impure – as mine for John.

Luke and Baden then caught up to discuss their potential alliance, with Baden sharing that his plan is to ride the middle and use his bond with Luke to keep abreast of what is going on. They then spoke about the importance of getting rid of Shaun and/or Simon as soon as possible, before Shaun sauntered upon the scene just as they were bitching about him. Thankfully for him Baden has no intention of getting rid of another Contender, so planned to use the information to get rid of a Champion ASAP. Baden caught up with Daisy and Shaun who were concerned about his role as a double agent, though were grateful that he could spill the tea and help them find a way to take out David next. Shaun then attempted to dabble in some comedy, joking about David being slimy and while they kinda fell flat he is super pretty, so whatevs.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would hold themselves up between two poles on ever decreasing footholds … FOR A BRAND NEW CAR. Everyone survived the first stage of the challenge before poor Shaun became the first person out. He was followed by Daisy and Baden in quick succession. The rest transitioned to the skinniest perch, which immediately claimed Zaddy John, Luke, Pia and Harry, before Janine excused herself after an hour leaving Simon, Abbey and David to battle it out for a car they could easily buy themselves. At 75 minutes Simon stepped out of the challenge, with Abbey and Dave fighting it out for another 25 minutes before Jonathan grew tired, told them they could no longer use their hands which proved to be Dave’s undoing, handing Abbey the car. Not to rest on his laurels, Jonathan told Abbey that the boot was complete with a picnic and as such she could invite two people to join her, with the earnest AFL player selecting Dave for trying hard and John for being sweet.

At the picnic Dave gritted his teeth through the disappointment at losing the car, having to tolerate smashing the abundance of food under a waterfall in Fiji. The trio got to celebrating their luck, with Abbey happy to reward Dave’s hard work and form a bond with John. Who was looking forward to getting to know her, which instantly made me jealous. Growing tired of the bonding David decided to bring up the game, suggesting the three of them would be a solid alliance that could control their way to the end game. And while David didn’t want to go to the end with them, he’d be happy to be dragged by them. Sadly for him John had zero desire to work with him, sick of how hard Dave is playing and knowing full well that he needs to go. Abbey then turned the conversation to who should go next, with him placing the target on Shaun’s back and while the logic is solid, his aggressive gameplay irked her too.

Back at camp Shaun was understanding of Abbey taking Dave on reward, given she is so sweet. Instead of dwelling he searched for an idol and stumbled upon a mandarin tree. He was then sprung by Janine and the two of them tried to shake fruit free, while the two discussed how critical it is to get rid of Dave ASAP. Which JaQueen was all in on, vowing to blindside him at the very next chance she gets.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge which is the full blown water torture event, with everyone submerged under a grate in rising water with the last person to remain under the grate snatching victory. Almost instantly a terrified Daisy and Abbey dropped out of the challenge as the sun started to set and the rest of the competitors started to freeze. As the water covered everyone’s eyes Baden dropped out, followed by Harry, Pia, Harry and Janine, leaving Shaun, Luke, David and Simon to battle it out in the dark. After a brief struggle – which sounds like a death notice – Luke was the next to go, followed by silent Simon leaving the battling babes to hold on for dear life. With Shaun dropping out after being fully submerged, leaving a nearly drowned David to secure immunity,

Oh and then Jonathan dropped the bomb that instead of going back to camp, the tribe would be heading to a lit clearing straight outside tribal council.

The tribe frantically scrambled to identify a target, with the Champions plus Harry immediately excusing themselves to confirm that they would once again split the vote on Daisy and Shaun. Meanwhile Shaun rallied the Contenders and shared that he would be voting for Luke, since David isn’t an option and nobody can possibly beat him at the end. And while everyone agreed, they know Luke is too likeable to get anyone to flip on him at this point in the game. Shaun and Daisy then approached Simon and Abbey to see how they were feeling about things, with Shaun making the pitch to get rid of Luke … as he approached the group and stopped everyone in their tracks. Harry too added some drama, running to John with Pia, JaQueen and Daisy, to float the idea of getting rid of the biggest threat aka Luke. Simon then joined the group as the weighed up who is the bigger threat out of Shaun and Luke. While Pia was open to the flip, she was once again worried about an idol being in play.

The tribe finally arrived at tribal council where David admitted that the previous hour was complete and utter bedlam as everyone tried to draw a line in the sand once and for all. Pia shared that everyone has finally realised that it is well and truly and individual game, while Luke started to whisper to anyone near him to reconfirm the vote against Shaun. David tried to redirect the focus back to Shaun and his strength, while Shaun then pointed out that relying on immunities isn’t enough and as such, Luke and his strategic gameplay is far more threatening and is far harder to get rid of. David tried to sell his immunity victory as one for all of his allies, while JaQueen admitted that the minimal time to scramble has really complicated their games and forced people to ignore a lot of glaring issues with their plans. She then straddled the centre pointing out that getting rid of a challenge threat is something that needs to occur when you have the chance.

Shaun pointed out that getting rid of him is a shitty move and not something that would help build your resume for the jury, while someone like Luke who will beat all of them is a smarter, game-building move. JaQueen tried to reiterate that they need to get rid of strength, with Harry pointing out that they will have other chances and getting rid of Luke makes oh so much sense. John then joined the fray to remind everyone that when Shaun goes, the next strongest will become the biggest threat and as such, those people need to think carefully about how they frame their votes. With that the tribe voted and tragically the stallion himself Shaun was booted from the game.

In any normal season Shaun would be the number one person I lust after between his penchant for speedos and being gorgeous. And while I love John, I assured Shaun that he is my solid number two and I only held back on my love for him thanks to my relationship with his partner Megsy – aka Megan Gale, who I really need to catch-up with soon. Fun fact, I am godfather to their eldest. While Shaun and I were heartbroken to see him eliminated this early, we were grateful that he landed in the fourth best place – behind winner, runner-up and fourth-place robbed goddess – as the King of the Jury. I mean, how reassured are you that such a calm, nice person is setting the tone for this year’s jury. I mean, it almost makes me feel as good as filling my gob with Shaun Cheese & Hampscones.

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

There are not many ways you improve on something as wholesome and perfect as Shaun, sorry scone, but adding ham and cheese is definitely one of them. Salty ham, sharp cheddar and a kick of capsicum work together to make these babies even more perfect … er.

Enjoy!

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
100g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
200g ham, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
½ green capsicum, finely diced
2 cups vintage cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and whisk in the chilli flakes. Add the butter and press together with your fingertips until it comes together and resembles moist sand. How much do you love the word moist? Fold through the ham, shallots, garlic, capsicum and ¾ of the cheese into that moist mix with a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour in the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until the dough has just come together.

Portion the dough into 8-12 even mounds and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush with excess buttermilk and a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and glorious.

Spread the fluffy little buns, slather with copious amounts of butter and devour, as the sweet butter melts and drips all over you.

Maybe Shaun is my number one?

 

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