Sylvia Jafflies

Main, Snack

Let me tell you, the phrase contractually obligated has never made me feel better! While my lunch date with Sylvia started off quite awkwardly – on account of my epic over-the-phone tantrum – she sat me down, and in her calmest newsreader voice, explained that she only hosted the greatest annual Christmas program on Australian television with my ex because it was contractually obligated.

Contractually obligated. Who would have thought that phrase could sound so good? Particularly after contractual obligations have forced me into appearing in questionable programs overseas and being the face of Spam for the entirety of the ‘90s.

Now I know that I would normally launch into an epic tirade and stir up a feud if they tried to use contracts to explain their actions, but Sylvia is honestly one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met and as such, I didn’t question the pain it caused her to buddy up with Curt.

As I mentioned, Sylvs and I were thrust together in 2006 after missing the first day of Spanish class at UQ and were required to sit a make-up class. As is oft the case, I realised that her grasp of the language was far superior to mine, so hitched my wagon to hers and became study buddies slash friends. I mean, sure, most of our study dates at Wordies were spoken in English but that made for a fun ride in class and helped me receive so many disappointed sighs from our Colombian teacher.

When we weren’t downing arancini – not Arianna’s – while learning our pluscuamperfecto, I did my best to culturally appropriate – is that a way I can use it, probs not, but you get what I mean – Latin American cuisine to further our education. Which is how I invented the Sylvia Jafflies.

 

 

Jaffles are probably the greatest invention for uni students – cheap, quick and easy, and oh so comforting when you’re wanting to die at the end of semester. Add the additional comfort of chilli and guac, and you’ve got the ultimate study food. Scrap that, just food. It is the ultimate food.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sylvia Jafflies
Serves: 2 distracted Spanish students.

Ingredients
4 slices white bread
butter
1 cup Chilli con Kim Carnes
100g sliced Mexican manchego
1 avocado, mashed
sour cream, to taste
Sriracha, to taste

Method
Now this is harder than an end of semester entrevista, so pay attention.

Start by turning on a jaffle iron and buttering the bread.

Divide the chilli across two slices, top each with manchego and close the sandwiches with the remaining bread.

Butter the top of the bread and place butter-side down on the jaffle iron.

Butter the remaining pieces of bread and close the machine.

Cook until the red light turns green … aka five minutes or so, and the bread golden and the cheese is gooey.

Slather in avo, sour cream and sriracha before devouring, carefully, on account of the piping hot cheese.

 

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Splendour en espanol

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I know that Christmas is the time of comfort and joy, or the tidings thereof at the very least, but I have to admit my dear friend Sylvia Jeffrey’s behaviour had me feeling neither over the last week.

You see, while me and all of our Queensland mates were deep in election fever last weekend, I discovered that she was flaunting her friendship with my ex Curt – yes, Curtis ma’ fuckin’ Stone – on Christmas with the Australian Women’s Weekly.

Given that we met during a make-up class of UQ’s SPAN1020 after attending 2006’s Splendour in the Grass, I expected her loyalty would fall to me in the break-up. Emotionally broken, I picked up the phone and screamed down the line at my dear friend Syl that – in the words of the wise Sue Hawk – I felt violated, humiliated and totally spent Jeff … reys.

I cried, I sobbed and I successfully guilted her into a date to reconnect. What says, while I’m proud of everything you’ve achieved since uni, I can’t believe you’d work with Curt after the way he broke my heart?

Soy embarazado, entonces ¡ que divertido !

Picture source: Unknown.

 

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Pita Andre Bread

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack

With Halloween now a distant memory, I’m balls deep in preparations for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, which of course means I’m desperately trying to fit in as many catch-ups as possible. Thankfully, I was able to fit in some time with my dear friend, fellow Gold Coaster and ex-lover Peter Andre.

Pete and I have known each other since the late ‘80s, after I hitched my wagon to his after his appearance on New Faces. I enrolled myself at Benowa State High, became his dearest friend and set him up to become the pop star of the ‘90s that he was destined to be. We also fell into a passionate love affair.

Our relationship was so beautiful and pure – well as pure as it could be – that he wrote a love song for me.

The song? Mysterious Guy.

Our break-up when he succumbed to the record company’s pressure to change the gender of his protagonist? Swift, brutal … and as vitriolic as the vengeful rage of Taylor Swift. For years after I couldn’t go to Thailand – where the film clip was made and we planned to holiday after – or the Gold Coast, as they triggered the painful memory of my broken heart.

Cut to a few years later and Pete, desperate to return to my good graces – flew down under to see me on the Tweed and try and reconcile. While he got lost while we went hiking on Mount Warning, stumbled on the set of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here and fell in love with Jordan, that few days we spent together before the show healed our wounds. And we’ve been the best of friends ever since.

Pete has been super busy with his young family the last year or so, so it was such a treat for him to take the time to catch-up before we got too busy with festive celebrations. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, devoured a shit tonne of Pita Andre Bread.

 

 

Light, soft and oh so good, these are the perfect thing for when you’re done with eating buns and what a carb alternative. I mean, who doesn’t love to stuff a good Peter?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pita Andre Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
7g dry yeast
1 ½ tsp muscovado sugar
450g flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper
⅔ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing if/as needed

Method
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a measuring jug and place in a warm spot for about ten minutes, or until foamy.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and oil and stir with the dough hook until all the flour is wet. Turn the mixer on and knead on medium for about five minutes, or until smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with cling and leave to prove for half an hour.

When it’s nice and puffy, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Punch back the dough and divide it into 12 balls. Roll them out into flat thin discs – a few millimetres max. Place a disc on the frying pan and cook for about 20-30 seconds, or until puffed. Flip and cook for another 20-30 seconds or so. Remove from the pan and repeat the process until done.

Then, devour.

 

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Karl Stroganovic

Main, Pasta

While he didn’t explicitly say it, my boy Karl desperately needed a cuddle and a catch-up to pick him up and get him through the final few weeks of the year. Given the stress he’s been under, he hasn’t been the breakfast mainstay that we’ve come to know and love this last year, and I am heartbroken to admit, that that has really gotten him down.

“Ben, my dearest best Ben-friend after Fordo. I just feel like I’ve let my Today family, and everyone, down.”

Gaaaahhhh, how heartbreaking is that?

I held him close and told him that everything would be ok and the public would soon be distracted by another shiny scandal … and that he is beautiful, looks like a model, like Linda Evangelista. Look at that smile etc. While he was confused about that little outburst before I explained that Stan, part of the Nine stable, is Australia’s RPDR champion, he held me for a few moments, soaking in the unconditional love of his dear friend. And surprisingly, that soaking is figuratively. For once.

I’ve known Karl for years, after meeting in the Nine News Brisbane newsroom in the early ‘00s. While the fact we both had the generic appearance of a young Ray Martin pitted us as competition, our sense(s?) of humour brought us together. We’ve been friends ever since and I’ve proudly celebrated his achievements after all these years.

After working through the darker parts of our years – did I ever tell you about the time someone tried to act offended that I didn’t want to attend a work lunch when I hate crowds/people? – we got to work bringing joy back to our lives. And there is nothing more joyful than my Karl Stroganovic.

 

 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I used to have some serious hang-ups about strog due to my mother. While she always tries her best, particularly in the kitchen, ‘90s Tweed Heads was not good for beef strips, nor did she help the sitch with strog. My dear, sweet grandmother used to tell her that me regurgitating the meat was ok because I was masticating the goodness from it, but I wish she just suggested cooking the meat in a manner that made it tender. Like this.

After submerging the beef in the sweet, sweet stroganoff sauce, the meat starts to melt away and make me wish the culinary memories of the ‘90s ent with it. Delicate, tender and oh-so-comforting, this is the perfect dish to get you excited for 2017’s end.

Enjoy!

 

 

Karl Stroganovic
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g butter
2 onions, diced
3 cloves garlic
250g white mushrooms, finely sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
½ cup beef stock
⅔ cup brandy
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
500g beef fillet, cut into strips
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup sour cream
small handful parsley, finely chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until nice and foamy before adding the onion and garlic, and cooking for three minutes, or until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of extra minutes. Add the paste, mustard and paprika and cook for a further minute, before stirring through the stock, brandy and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for about five minutes.

Add the beef strips to the bubbling sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Season, add the sour cream and stir to combine.

Remove from the heat, stir through the parsley and serve on a bed of buttered pasta. Then devour, obvi.

 

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Tomorrow is a notter today

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

As you know, my boy Karl has had a hella rough slash oft controversial last year. His marriage dissolved in an extremely public way, and his falling to second most popular Today personality – after Sylvia, obvi – lead to the unnecessarily scandalous exit for his co-worker Lis.

The year is coming to a close, we’re all fucking tired and Karl, more than anyone, could use a cuddle from his dearest friend. So I picked up the phone and asked him to drop by and reconnect.

For one of my famously comforting cuddles.

What says, I love you, I miss you and I’m more than willing to throwing 2017 in the trash and help you reclaim your breakfast TV throne?

Picture source: Unknown.

 

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Jericroquettes Malabonga

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Side, Snack, TV Recap

And after 55 days out in the Samoan jungle, we finally have a new sole survivor in the form of Jericho.

He and Tara managed to outwit, outplay and outlast Joan, Adam, Kate, Tarzan, Aimee, Sam, Mark, Jacqui – yes this is a shameless plug for all our other recipes – Kent, AK, Ben, Odette, Jarrad, Anneliese, Henry, Tessa – yep, still going – Sarah, Luke, Ziggy, Locky, Michelle and Pete, to battle it out in the final tribal council.

While his performance at final tribal was – like night and day with last year’s champ Kristie’s – rather subpar, Luke’s going into bat for him and Henry pushing him to get fiery were enough to hand him a win for a game well played.

I mean, sure, I am shook to see that sometimes nice guys do win after he worked his ass off around camp to provide for his tribe, single-handedly tried to save his tribe from crushing defeat and made some hilariously ridiculous metaphors to give people a laugh … I assume. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he did get pretty villainous on his way to the prize.

Now it is quite awkward, but Jericho and I aren’t the best of friends after he restrained me on a flight for “drunk and disorderly behaviour,” so I wasn’t thrilled to see him out in Samoa, let alone taking out the win … but he did manage to win me over while we shared his victorious Jericroquettes Malabonga.

 

 

It could be said that croquettes are quite simple, but there is no denying that they’re delicious and definitely have more than meets the eye. Plus – potato, bacon and cheese. How do you go wrong?

Congratulations on your victory Jericho – enjoy!

 

 

Jericroquettes Malabonga
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 potatoes, cooked, mashed and cooled
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and – you guessed it – cooled
2 eggs
3 shallots, thinly sliced
½ cup plain flour
½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
salt and pepper

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mashed potato, bacon, 1 egg, shallots, half the flour and the mozzarella in a bowl. Divide into 10 balls – I like a big fat croquette – and roll into a sausage shape.

Place the remaining flour in a bowl, with the remaining egg whisked with the milk in another and some seasoned breadcrumbs in another. Roll the croquettes in the flour, followed by the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking tray, chuck it in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven and devour immediately, with some Spicy TomaJones Sauce.

 

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Chilli con Tarane Pittza

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Pizza, Snack, TV Recap

After sending Peter out of the game to become the final juror, our final two awoke on the final day shocked and excited to have made it to the end and potentially hours away from being a hell of a lot richer. They then arrived at treemail to discover the final two breakfast, rather than cookies or lollies.

As they cooked the feast, Jericho shared his childhood growing up poor in the Philippines and spoke about being underestimated the entire game. He then outlined his entire game, using Luke as a meatshield, using the cookies to build alliances and avoided receiving votes until day 52. On the flipside, Tara spoke about her journey being voted out of Samatau – and saved by a twist – and somehow surviving her way through 21 tribal councils. They then packed up the camp and got quite emotional to be leaving the place they’ve called home for eight weeks … before heading off to the final tribal council.

Jonathan gave Jericho and Tara a quick rundown of how final tribal council plays out before they delivered their open statements. Tara spoke about how terrified she was by her competitors on day one and she knew that her social game was the only thing that could save her. She outlined how she spoke to everyone to keep her options open while riding her shield Locky, before slaying him and not taking the easy vote at the final four. Jericho then congratulated everyone on their gameplay before telling everyone he wasn’t as lovable as they assumed, with his usual eloquence. He then referred to his cookies as a shield before I started having horrific Amanda Kimmel final tribal bombing flashbacks.

Queen Michelle kicked off the festivities by congratulating the final two on sitting there – savage – before asking them to each point out their biggest move in the game. Tara singled out the Locky vote as her greatest achievement, orchestrating the boot while allowing her enough time to prove she could survive without him. Jericho’s big move was the cookie alliance. Amanda, can you hear me?

Anneliese was next, giving Jericho the chance to defend himself for riding Luke’s coattails. Once again, he gave a delightful metaphor about riding Luke like Santa in a sleigh, meaning he was whipping Luke to get him to do what he needs. She point blank told Tara that Jericho was currently above her in her mind, and questioned why she chose to save Jericho at the final four. Once again Tara clearly explained that she felt Jericho deserved to be in the finals … and knew that she needed someone strong in the challenges to battle Pete and carry her to final tribal.

Locky – still clothed – then congratulated Tara on getting him out of the game before asking Jericho if their swim in the deep water was truly personal, or just a game. Jericho told him it was his highlight of his time, and Locky deemed it enough. Ziggy then asked each of them to explain why the other deserved to win the game, which highlighted nothing more than the fact both of them aren’t very good at explaining their games but damn can they talk up their pal.

King of the Jury Jarrad arrived to talk smack about his whiny underlings before asking Jericho where his game went wrong, if he loses tonight. Thankfully he said that booting Tessa from the jury was what scares him the most. Finally adding some interest to the affair, Jarrad warned Jericho that like the merge vote, Jarrad would be underlining his vote to send a message to him. May the odds be ever in your favour, mwahahahaha.

Sarah then got involved, telling Jericho he played a skittish, confusing game before reminding Jericho that he let her, as a cat, drown. She then pointed out that he constantly contradicts himself, and asked him to explain himself better. Which he did not. Next up was Luke as the clouds opened up, dumping rain on everyone as he went in to bat for his friend. Kinda. Saying Jericho kinda deserves credit for some of their moves.

Peter arrives, terrifying Tara, before asking her the gentle question of what she did while still hiding under Locky’s wing. Sadly she outlined getting rid of AK, which happened after she was voted out of her tribe. Peter then asked Jericho to give him three words

Henry then fired up and rolled out his crazy eyes before announcing that he wasn’t a yoga instructor. He then asked Tara when she started playing the game, which she stupidly said was day 49. This pissed Henry off, so he cut her off and succinctly outlined her gameplay for the jury. He then tore into Jericho for his wishy-washy decision making, and booting Tessa from the jury despite the fact she said she wouldn’t vote for Tara … and then took Tara to the end. Jericho then seemed to get some fire, and defended his game and spoke about being proud of having Henry’s blood on his hands.

One by one the jury went out to vote before Jonathan dropped the bomb that unlike last year he wouldn’t be reading the votes on the island, instead taking them back to read in Australia VIA BOAT TO SYDNEY HARBOUR. YAS BISH, YAAAAAASSSSSS.

After some brief chit-chat, JLP got down to the business of crowning our winner. The votes rolled in for Jericho, followed by a second Jericho and a trio of Tara’s before a trio of Jericho’s handed him the win and the title of sole survivor. While Tara couldn’t convince the jury she deserved the title, she did play an extremely strong, flexible game and more than earned her place as the runner-up and a big fat, congratulatory Chilli con Tarane Pittza.

 

 

I have such warm memories of being fascinated by the kitsch ‘90s-ness of a Mexican Pizza. I mean, sure, spicy mince, bean and capsicum are delicious. But pile on some sour cream, guacamole and stab it with chips and you’ve got a hilarious pizza party.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chilli con Tarane Pittza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
passata and italian herbs, for the aforementioned bases
½ batch Chilli Con Kim Carnes
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 avocado, mashed
corn chips, hot sauce and sour cream, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Then prepare the Chilli as per Kimmy’s instructions – remember when she started it all? Such an innocent time.

Smear the dough with the passata and italian herbs, heap on chilli, splay with capsicums and cover with cheese. Bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Dollop the mashed avocado in the centre, spear with some corn chips and serve with some hot sauce and sour cream.

Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Feter Confit Tomato Crostini

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 new Australians were cast into the Samoan wilderness – for the second season of the third attempt of Australian Survivor – before whittling the numbers down to the final three after 53. While they weren’t as flashy as Luke, Henry, Locky or Queens Michelle and Jacqui, Peter, Tara and Jericho have fought hard to make it to the end and survive through a very unpredictable season.

We opened up with our final three commencing the fallen comrades – which needs to be brought back on OG Survivor – where Tara and Peter awkwardly had to dance around Joan, while Jericho tried to pretend he knew something about Adam, Kate and Tarzan. We then paid our respects to Aimee – aye – and lovebirds Sam and Mark, before being reminded by how much of a Queen Jacqui is. Tragically she was followed by Kent, then (thankfully) AK, Ben and Odette, the latter two who got more airtime now, than they did during the game. Jarrad then kicked off the jury portion, followed by super-idol victim Anneliese, before they all praised Henry for his game and fauxgi spirit. They then (awkwardly for Jericho) spoke about ex-juror Tessa’s logical, methodical approach to the game, Sarah’s ability to get down and dirty while playing the game and providing for the tribe. Jericho then described Luke as his other half which is a term I absolutely hate given that it implies people are not whole unless they’re in a relationship. We honoured Olympic powerhouse Ziggy, b-b-b-banging Locky – sadly no rehash of the nudity – and the true Queen of the season, Michelle.

Seriously, they flew through that.

The end of their walk led them to the same cliff Kristie dominated Lee and El last year for the final immunity challenge of the season. Tara was shocked to still be in the game, while Peter knew it was do or die and I assume, Jericho was thinking about kittens and puppies being washed out to sea. Jonathan hyped the challenge, telling them that unlike last year’s challenge, this year it will be conducted under the cover of darkness, making it even colder and miserable…r.

Jonathan spent the early stages of the challenge baiting the contestants to remember how uncomfortable the challenge would be, which truly is savage. Darkness fell by the hour mark where Tara took one in the face – I assume she was referring to a wave – before giving the blunt answer that she was feeling completely shit. Jericho then commenced gloating and playing mind-games with Tara and Pete. The latter then tried to channel Kristie, speaking about how much he loved Survivor and wanted to make it to the end.

To distract from the pain and to add some interest, Tara spoke about how diverse all of the castaways are before her emotions started to get the better of her. Showing true kindness and, shudder, mateship, Jericho and Peter tried to give her a pep talk and motivate her to not give up. She tried to talk through the pain while the boys came up with ways to distract her from the pain – and Jericho got some spelling tips – before she ta-ragically couldn’t hold any longer and stepped down from the challenge at the 3 hour mark. The boys managed to last an extra two hours which seemed not to have phased Jericho at all, while Peter was hunched over like a dead body on The Ring. Try as he might, Peter was in too much pain and asked for JLP to help him out of the challenge, handing Jericho immunity … and by the look on his face, the win. While Peter broke down, Jericho and Tara joined him and all sat, hugged together, comforting him by the fire. Then nature proved to be savage, and threw out a huge wave that wiped out their warmth.

Not wanting to waste any time, we lost the entirety of day 54 as the final three arrived at tribal council where Jericho was daunted by the decision in front of him. Jonathan then led the jury in a round of applause for the final three’s effort in the challenge before Jericho was forced to sit between Tara and Peter as they fought for their place in the game. Or to vote them out, I honestly can’t tell, as both their arguments were that they were not the easy one to take out … which is exactly what you want to do to win the game. Tara then proved she is saavier than I gave her credit for, throwing Peter’s logic to get rid of Jericho three days ago against him.

Peter then went all in for Tara’s game, outlining why she is a goat … and again, that is meant to be his case for getting rid of her. A fired up Tara then tore into Pete’s game, saying him winning is disrespectful to the game which is a better pitch when highlighting how easy someone is to beat. With that, Jericho cast his sole vote and sent Peter out of the game as the final juror.

While he was feeling pretty salty when he arrived at tribal council, he freely ran into the arms of his dear friend – me, we’re both totes homo in communications, of course we know each other – and lamented what could have been. I joined him in crying, though thinking about the tragic loss of Michelle at the previous tribal council. Thankfully I cooked through the pain and whipped him up a big, comforting batch of my Feter Confit Tomato Crostini.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of bruschetta … but this is where its at. I love tomatoes, but have always struggled with them in their raw state, so this is the perfect fix to the Italian classic. Rich and caramelised tomato, tart creamy feta and sweet basil? Sign me up!

Enjoy!

 

 

Feter Confit Tomato Crostini
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp champagne vinegar
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper, to taste
small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
200g feta, whipped
12 thick slices sourdough

Method
Preheat oven to 130°C.

Combine the oil, garlic, fennel, sugar, vinegar and tomato in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. And when I say good, I mean good. Ok? Transfer to a lined baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or until soft and caramelised. Fold through the basil leaves.

Grill the sourdough, spread with the whipped feta and top with the confit tomatoes … before devouring.

 

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Michelle Douganzola Pizza

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Pizza, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara and Locky were going through a tough break-up leading Locky to come up with a plot to use an old note to fake having an idol. He and the remaining castaways then discovered that in addition to immunity, they’d be playing for a car where Michelle – who Ziggy said was the worst physically – beat Locky and challenged the car curse to come down under. Then, tragedy struck, as Locky was unable to convince anyone but Michelle that he had an idol and was sent from the game completely clothed. How dare he not follow Jack from Survivor NZ’s suit, or lack thereof?

Asatoa returned to camp and celebrated making it to the final four, where Tara was feeling free after vanquishing her best friend. Celebrations continued the next day as the remaining castaways were proud to have made it to day 50, with Tara more shocked than anyone. Though not shocked enough to be in the middle pages of a dirty magazine, thankfully. She was proud that as a stay at home mum, she has been able to achieve so much as she has and to get out of her rut, which truly speaks to the crippling fear that controls me.

Jericho too is proud of himself, particularly given the fact no one has ever written his name down in 50 days. Despite this success, he decided that it was best to move on and become Jericho 2.0, which I can only imagine will be as successful as iSnack 2.0. Channelling Keith Nale, Michelle acknowledged that Survivor is not the holiday she was expecting. Obviously she is already spending the half a mil, also speaking directly to my soul. Rounding out the empowering journey section of this first finale week episode, Pete was missing his family and breaking down … which is exactly what I’d be doing on day 1, so I’m extremely proud he lasted 7 weeks before hitting this point.

With that out of the way Michelle turned things strategic, fostering her relationships to ensure everyone wants to take her to the finals. While Tara and Jericho were onboard, the former wasn’t sure how Michelle was feeling about her so whipped out her tub of lollies to sweeten the deal. Let’s not tell her how well knowing about the lolly jar went for Ziggy, right?

Given that the trio is tight, Pete was feeling completely on the outs and in need of immunity which he clearly said in front of a mirror three times because JLP appeared. Though not for immunity, instead the opportunity to eliminate a member of the jury. The challenge involved the final four holding on to numbered pegs on a wall, which Jonathan would tell them to remove one-by-one, until the drop one-by-one until we have a victor. Before even taking a peg out, Tara dropped. After losing a few more pegs, Michelle dropped out leaving the boys to battle it out before Pete dropped off trying to remove his fifth-last peg, giving Jericho the advantage and I assume, a pegging fantasy. Lol, he already had that.

Back at camp everyone was quick to congratulate Jericho before immediately getting to work convincing him to get rid of the juror they assume won’t vote for them. Michelle and Tara had a gentle conversation about who would vote for him in the end, with Tessa seemingly the only one identified as voting for someone else … in the form of Peter. Once again proving himself smarter than I’ve given his credit for, he convened a tribe meeting to see what everyone else was thinking to identify the potential threats they aren’t speaking about, and then getting rid of them.

Peter played – and I hate myself for saying this – right in to Jericho’s hand, trying to convince him that Locky was the best person to get rid of to keep Tessa and Jarrad on the jury, which you just knowing is going to backfire on Peter and a still-underdog-after-being-booted Tessa.

At the special Neal Gottlieb memorial tribal council, where the jury was shocked to discover that one of them would once again be voted out, this time from their luxury booze pad where I act as their personal chef’s. Jericho stupidly acknowledged he was smarter than the other players give him credit for, making his road more difficult moving forward. Jericho then had the opportunity to ask three jurors questions and while Jarrad danced around his answer, Tessa went in and said Tara didn’t deserve to be in the final four and Anneliese spoke about wanting a good person to win, as well as a good game player, proving her gameplay is still underrated, given Jericho’s pious spirit.

Calling his intelligence back into question, Jericho decided to vote out Tessa who just mentioned she would not vote for Tara. That being said, she was a pretty clear Michelle or Pete vote so I guess it makes sense … but she just mentioned she wouldn’t vote for Tara identifying your best goat. But honestly, poor Tessa – this is probably the worst thing that could happen to you on Survivor.

The next day Jerkicho and the others met JLP at an abandoned beach, which puzzled them as there was no challenge set up. Given the set-up yesterday, it was crystal clear that we were in for a family reward leading. The castaways broke down as Jonathan brought out Peter’s parents, Michelle’s sister, Jerkicho’s brother and Tara’s entire freaking family. Despite the fact not everyone got an equal number of visitors, I can’t hold it against Tara seeing her kids. We then got a rundown from the family members as the castaways sobbed to varying degrees, Peter being Kim Kardashian and Jericho being Jeffrey Dahmer or any other emotionless psychopath. JLP then gave them all the afternoon off to enjoy their families company instead of making them earn it and potentially cause some drama, the levels we haven’t seen since Brenda and Dawn in Caramoan.

We then got to experience the remaining castaways showing their families around the island. Tara’s kids were shocked and disgusted by the squalor, Jericho and his brother were Jericho and his brother, and of course, Michelle and her sister immediately started strategising. Kweens. Peter’s parents, like Tara’s kids, were shocked by the primitive surroundings and moreso, their loved ones ability to survive.

Breaking up the love fest, Jonathan returned for the most epic individual challenge of the season requiring them to pull themselves in a canoe to a tower in the ocean. They were then required to drop a bucket into the water and fill a tank until they reach a key before swimming to shore, unlock a rope and traverse a balance beam while untangling said rope. Once at the end, they use the weighted rope to try and shoot it through a hoop and pull down a bridge leading to a final puzzle.

Jericho got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Peter, with Michelle and a distant Tara rounding out the field. That is until the shoot portion, where Jericho sucked allowing everyone else to catch him. He finally scored and made his way to the puzzle with Tara and Pete following closely behind before Michelle finally joined them about five minutes later. Being the kween that she is, Michelle closed the gap and the puzzle came down to her and Peter, with Pete ultimately taking out immunity despite a last minute fumble as he lost a piece.

Back at camp the tribe gave their obligatory congratulations to Peter before those that didn’t win started to talk smack about him. Channelling Drag Race All Stars, Peter then had one on ones with each of the remaining castaways. He and Michelle agreed that Jericho needs to go because he already has locked in votes sitting on the jury. Tara was also keen on the plan to get rid of Jericho, offering up her name as the decoy boot for Jerkicho’s go-see with Peter. While he did buy it for a second, Peter and Michelle eventually made Jericho nervous, leading to an epic conversation between Michelle and Jericho where he tried to threaten her and she absolutely destroyed him. Then Tara happened. Despite siding with Pete and Michelle, she went for a walk with Jericho and spilled their entire plans before agreeing to force a tie with Jericho. Which would result in a fire making challenge between Michelle and Jericho.

At tribal council, Peter was extremely thankful to be wearing immunity before Jericho went all in campaigning for someone forcing a tie and going to a fire challenge. Michelle being Michelle defended herself, and gave another stellar tribal council performance and proved how much of a threat she is if she makes it to the end. While Michelle was secure in her scrambling, her trust was misplaced as Tara did in fact force a tie, twice, resulting in a fire making challenge – which is a term we’ve heard 6543 times tonight – between Jericho and Queen Michelle.

Despite a valiant effort from our Queen Michelle, Tara’s questionable decision allowed Jericho to win his way through to the final three and Michelle from the game as the ninth juror. Yes ninth, Tessa’s life still matters. As gut wrenching as it was to see her go, Michelle handled her exit gracefully, with a smile on her face like the killer person she is. We’ve long been friends, both meeting on the nannying circuit, before I was blacklisted for having one too many Irish coffees whilst in charge.

As is oft the case, Michelle stood by me and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. It was hard to see her arrive at the jury villa on the back of Tara’s stupid move, though she was in such good spirits she wouldn’t let me go into camp and burn it down, saying that my Michelle Douganzola Pizza was all she needed.

 

 

There is no better combination that sweetly caramelised onions and the earthy, sharp tang of blue cheese and this pizza is where is truly shines. Throw in some fluffy dough and garlic, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Like Michelle should be. Long live the Queen.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michelle Douganzola Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
passata and italian herbs, for the aforementioned bases
small knob of butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g gorgonzola, crumbled

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When as frothy as my shorts during one of Locky’s nude scenes, reduce heat to low, add the onions and cook until soft and sweet, about ten minutes. Crank up the heat to medium and add the sugar and vinegar and cook until caramelised, aka a further ten minutes or so.

Smear the dough with the passata and italian herbs and dollop out the caramelised onions. Sprinkle over the garlic and gorgonzola and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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Gnocchi Gilbert

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Pasta, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Jericho had the shits after his beloved Luke was booted from the game. Thankfully Locky was still public enemy number one … until he won his third immunity, leading to a battle between Ziggy, Tara and Locky, and Pete, Michelle and Jericho. Well, until the threat of rocks came into it and she flipped to guarantee her safety, sending Ziggy from the game in sixth place.

The tribe returned to camp where Tara quickly defended herself for flipping on Ziggy, rightly pointing out it saved her from getting Jessica Lewis-ed. Locky however was well pissed, given the fact everyone openly spoke about wanting him out at tribal, his closest ally Tara included. The next day he was still smarting, ignoring the rest of the tribe while they sat by the camp. Knowing that he is screwed if he doesn’t work through his issues, Locky spoke to Tara in the shelter about their issues, accused her of yelling at him while yelling at her and then dropped the L bomb to clear the air instantly.

While the love story was unfolding, Peter, Jericho and Michelle tried to come up with a plan B for if Locky wins his fourth immunity in a row. This in turn gave Locky enough time to fashion his own plan B, taking Anneliese’s idol message and rag, showing it to Tara to convince her that he has an idol and letting her spread it like wildfire to save him. Tara and Michelle bought it hook, line and sinker, but the boys weren’t buying it. Once again, Jericho proving himself smarter than I give him credit for.

Breaking things up, Jericho spoke about a traumatic experience from his childhood when he almost drowned while trying to surf, solidifying his rapidly expanding winner’s edit. Hell, it was so damn emotional I even welled up and rooted for him. Proving why I love Locky – other than his buns – he offered to go out swimming in the deep water with Jericho so he would feel safe and get to experience something he always wanted to. Fuck me dead – I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING. Can they go to the final two and one of them propose Boston Rob style?

As heartwarming as the moment was, him winning over Jericho and pulling at Tara’s heartstrings painted an even bigger target on his back, motivating them even more to pip him at the post at the next immunity challenge. Right on cue JLP returned for a combined reward and immunity challenge where they each had to line up dominoes on a suspended bar to ring a gong … without knocking them over. The reward? Well my friends, that is for a car – and picnic – meaning whoever wins immunity tonight is now out of the running for the win. Actually, does the car curse count on Australian Survivor?

In any event, Peter got out to an early lead though sadly was just short. Jericho thought he had it, missing by one block. Locky gave it a crack, missing after a couple. Then Tara failed, allowing Michelle and Locky to battle it out with the former taking it out by a couple of seconds. Fuck I hope the car curse isn’t applicable here. She was then given the chance to take the car for a spin and the obligatory picnic with two of her closest friends, taking Jericho and Tara. While Locky was pissed to miss out on immunity and a car, Pete was pissed about the picnic and spoke to me on the deepest of levels.

Michelle and her crew arrived at the beach to enjoy their picnic feast and before the basket was even opened, Jericho proposed them forming a final three alliance. While they all jumped on the idea, talk turned to Locky with his post-challenge reaction convincing Tara that he was idol-less, while Michelle was still unconvinced. Meanwhile back at camp things were decidedly awkward with Locky and Pete trying to make clunky chit-chat before Pete cut the crap and tried to get Locky to prove he had an idol.

Locky gave arguably the best deflection possible – we want you to question whether I have it so my vote can dictate the entire tribal – before the others returned and her started working on Jericho to flip and get rid of goat Pete to earn the respect of the jury. Jericho then rejoined Pete, Michelle and Tara while they debated whether Locky has an idol, while Locky hid in the bushes to make them think he was trying to find his idol. This somehow convinced Michelle that he has the idol as she followed him down the beach to plot about getting rid of Peter making me wonder, can he actually pull this off?

At tribal Michelle was quick to gloat about her immunity and car combo before JLP started to rub salt in Locky’s wounds. Pete quickly went in for Locky before Michelle started to defend him, before he and Locky started to bicker with Locky providing some much needed sass. Tara joined the fray to challenge the use of the term goat, explaining that sheep makes far more sense. After that brief interlude, Pete and Locky continued their fighting with Pete fighting hard, although not brave enough to say that Locky will vote for me anyway, so pile your votes on Locky and if he does have an idol, I’m out.

Tragically, albeit by no means surprisingly, Locky didn’t play his non-existent idol and found himself voted out of the game – despite Winchelle flipping – in fifth place. As heartbroken as I was to see my dreamboat go, I’m truly shocked that he managed to make it as far as he did so tried to keep myself grateful as we caught up in the jury villa.

Now I know you’d assume that I don’t actually know Locky, given how lecherously I speak about him each episode, but we’ve actually been the dearest of friends for years after he taught me to swim on an adventure trip, which I paid forward with Steph Rice via time travel. (Fun fact, me constantly suggesting nudie runs are why Locky was so comfortable getting nude in episode 2). How did I repay his kindness though? By whipping up a big bowl of my Gnocchi Gilbert, obviously.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about Locky, I think of white, pillowy mounds you just can’t wait to bury your face in. Add some spicy, salted meat and you’re living my dreams. I’m going, away, for a minute … enjoy!

 

 

Gnocchi Gilbert
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1.5 kg floury potatoes, peeled and chopped into a generous dice (larger pieces, less water absorbed)
large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
⅓ cup grated parmesan, plus extra to garnish despite how ugly it looks when not shaved
350g plain flour, plus extra to dust
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g speck, diced
1 tsp chilli flakes
800g diced tomatoes
2 cups baby spinach

Method
With that, place the potatoes in a pan of cold water – this is important – bring to the boil and cook until just tender. Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring, for a minute or two to ensure they are dry husks aka without moisture.

Allow to cool. Say it with me and remind me if you ever hear me mention gnocchi, allow to cool completely.

Pass through a ricer or mash aggressively until smooth and your rage sorted. Add a pinch of nutmeg, eggs, a pinch of salt and flour and gently bring together with your hands. Emphasis on gentle, the dough is like shortcrust pastry – you want to work it only as much as you need to.

Once it has come together, dust the bench and your hands with flour and take about a quarter of the dough, roll into a 1.5cm thick log. Slice into 2cm lengths, use the back of a fork to roll the gnocchi to give you the imprint – press the fork down into the length and pull towards you – and place on a floured baking sheet to rest. Repeat the process until all done and allow to rest for an hour or so.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a pot over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until softened. Add the speck and cook for a few minutes, or until crisp and fragrant. Add the chilli flakes and tomatoes, and reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

Cook the gnocchi in batches until they rise to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and repeat until they’re done.

The sauce should be ready to go, so add the spinach and cook for a minutes or so, or until wilted. Remove from the heat, toss – don’t you love tossing for Locky – through the gnocchi, cover in parmesan and devour, greedily.

Three cheers for Locky and his nudity!

 

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