Porchetthan Zohndsiwch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Porchetthan Zohndsiwch
Serves: 2.

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

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

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

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

 

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Popcorn Wells

Party Food, Side, Snack

While we’ve both grown older since first becoming friends in ‘60s, the sweet, sparkle was well and truly still in her eye as I spotted her coming through the international arrivals gate. We gingerly – no pun intended – ran across the crowded room and straight into each other’s arms.

She held my face in her hands and said something that shocked me to my very core.

“I can’t believe it has been 16 years since we’ve seen each other!?”

Somehow I managed to have a mouthful of water, did a spit take and then fainted from shock. Well shock and my passion for causing a scene.

As I was roused awake by a hunky security guard and his less-so offsider, I locked eyes with Dawn once more and like a less selfish old Rose, whispered “it’s been 16 years? 16 years,” I then inserted a dramatic pause, “since the inaugural Spudfest?!”

 

 

“Yes my dear, and I’ve missed you each and every day,” said my dear friend and Idaho potatoes spokeswoman.

After the security guards carried us to our car – princess style, of course – we ventured back to my house and quickly got to catching each other up on the past decade and a half. We held hands, laughed, cried and wondered what the rest of the island gang would think seeing us together again.

Too worked up from the emotion of the day, neither of us felt like gorging on a rich, comforting meal. Which was convenient, because I was hella keen to nosh on some Popcorn Wells like in the good old days.

 

 

While it is hard to make popcorn that tastes as good as the stuff at the movies – I think the butter and salt needs the hours sitting in the warmed, glass case of emotion to fully release their flavours – this little number is pretty good fresh. Generously buttered, lightly salted, it has your stomach craving more, more, more. That’s how it likes it. That’s how it likes it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Popcorn Wells
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup popping corn
salt, to taste
melted butter, to taste

Method
Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat until the oil is shimmering.

Add a kernel and if it starts spinning, or better still pops, add the rest of the corn. Immediately pop on the lid and shake the pan. Return to the heat and once the popping kicks off, agitate the pot semi-frequently to keep the unpopped pieces shimmying down to the bottom.

Once the popping has all but stopped, remove from the heat and season with salt. Cover again and give a good shake before pouring in melted butter to taste, covering again and giving a more aggressive shake to ensure it is all coated.

Then devour. At SpudFest, or at home. Your choice.

 

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All the rest

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of our friendship. That started when I was a top’s port, just a tiny shit. My mate was a mighty sailing man, this stripper brave and sure but of his five co-stars that met me, only one saw me as more than a whore.

More than a whore.

That co-star, was my love Dawn Wells.

While she misunderstood and thought I didn’t consent when the *weather* started getting rough in our relationship – this tiny ship loved to get tossed – I admired her courage to stand up for this minnow, that she believed to be lost.

Believed to be lost.

While my relationship with the unnamed – that’s the hint – co-star fizzled out to a natural end, Dawn’s love and support was uncharted in my life in the ‘60s, and as such, we became the firmest of friends.

What do I make for my dear friend when she ventures here, on Benigan’s – or GilliBen’s, who knows – Isle?

Image source: Gilligan’s Island / CBS.

 

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Danni Po’Boytwright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Danni Po’Boytwright
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 180C.

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

Then devour.

 

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Amber Marinara Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Remove from the heat to cool completely, before bottling.

 

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Chocolate and Peanatalie Andersecake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

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

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Battle Royale

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Survivor, Survivor: Winners at War

Like my dear Phil Collins, I can feel it. Coming in the air tonight. And oh lord, I am excited. It may seem trivial, but 20 former Survivor champions – most, icons of the game – return to find out who is the best of the best. 

While the answer is obviously Sandra, or Parvati, depending on what mood I may be in at the time, they will clash with 18 fellow victors. And my feelings are akin to what I imagine the people of Panem were feeling ahead of the 75th Hunger Games. Though with less literal death.

Who out of Adam, Amber, Ben, Danni, Denise, Ethan, Jeremy, Kim, Michele, Natalie, Nick, Parv, Rob – yep, I’m totally doing this – Sarah, Sophie, Tony, Tyson, Wendell or Yul will join Sandra as a two-time victor? Or will the icon go three from four?

And more importantly, who will be the first person to have a quick snack with me – despite me being the whole, damn meal – on their way to the soon to be defunct Edge of Extinction?

Image source: Robert Voets/CBS.

 

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The Island of Mount Rushmore

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

We’ve survived – pun not intended, I promise – the off season and my dear Jeffrey is back for another season of smutty innuendo and drooling over the male castaways.

I mean, remember controversial victor Chris coming out of the water? Swoon.

While it really didn’t feel like much of an off season thanks to Survivor South Africa and Pia’s coronation of Australian Survivor last week, there is nothing like having the OG back. Particularly since this season features a giant statue dedicated to the one true queen of Survivor, Sandra and her subject Boston Rob.

So buckle in, sit back and get ready to venture to the Island of the Idols. And join me Saturday when we catch up with the first boot slash tally how many incorrect assumptions are made about the title!

Image source: Robert Voets/CBS.

 

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