Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champion girls were riding high after blindsiding David, with JaQueen pointing out that they need to get rid of one more Contender to solidify their game. Daisy found a second idol and was hopeful it would be able to turn things around for her, though sadly found it in front of Luke and Pia. As the Champs plotted who to vote against at tribal council, Luke and Pia spilled the beans about the idol and gave the Champs an upper hand in the latest head-to-head battle. Despite Daisy trying to play it cool, JaQueen scared her into playing the idol for herself, which didn’t help to save her as the Champions banded together to take out my king, John who was booted by the rest of the tribe.

Fully clothed.

The next day JaQueen and Baden were bantering over the fire, with Baden happily hacking at a coconut and proud that he has learnt to communicate with others. He haphazardly tried to slice breakfast, almost becoming a double amputee in the process, which further endeared him to his tribemates. I mean, the hilarity almost killed Pia who is killing the game and honestly, that is his best plan ATM. Otherwise, he is not winning.

Later that day JaQueen was riding high from John’s boot, given it means that the Champion majority has without a doubt taken control. And as such, she was feeling confident and planned to push her allies to get rid of another Contender next. Speaking of the Contenders Daisy and Harry were sitting by the shore heartbroken about their predicament, though shocked about how close everyone had gotten. Daisy was rightly feeling stupid about misplaying a second idol, before hunting for a third idol to keep herself safe, her allies be damned. She and Harry went searching, desperately, followed by Luke and Simon who were tasked with keeping an eye on them, Daisy started to get strategic, pointing out that Luke told everyone about her idol and that some told her it happened. While it was fake, that made Luke and Simon feel very anxious about their place in the tribe, immediately blaming Pia and vowing to get their own form of revenge.

Before Luke could take a shot at the one true Queen of Australian Survivor, Jonathan returned for the next reward challenge where everyone was split into duos to do an upright version of Twister. It was for an overnight spa getaway, so everyone was shitting their pants at the thought of winning. Pia and Daisy found themselves as one pair, Luke and Baden another, Abbey and Harry together versus JaQueen and Simon. One person was responsible to remove the even numbered pegs, while the other had the odds with everyone surviving the first round before Luke almost gave Baden a wristy and flooded my basement. While that didn’t happen, he did reach around before Harry fell from the wall and eliminated himself and Abbey. Everyone survived the next few rounds while Luke and Baden plotted about how they will survive the next few rounds of votes in the niche they’ve created in the middle … while JaQueen’s bush-feet dominated. Out of nowhere Baden fell out, while his father Luke tried to keep his spirits up. The remaining pairs kept a dominant pace before Pia slid off, handing Simon and JaQueen the win. Jonthan then gave them the chance to invite another duo to share the reward, with JaQueen rightly sharing the spa to their runners-up.

At the spa the victors were shocked by how opulent the reward was, despite the fact the weather was miserable and Simon like JaQueen believes that it is palm frong, not frond. Daisy was the most hopeful, feeling like Luke being left back at camp is the best chance for her to make a dent at the Champions numbers with JaQueen. Speaking of JaQueen, she was wise and asked everyone to go through the remaining castaways and list their pros and cons, pointing out why Harry and Luke are dangerous, with nobody able to point how dangerous she is. Simon then shared that Luke was annoyed that Pia allegedly told everyone that he knew about Daisy’s idol, filling her with nerves and unsure who to trust moving forward. Simon then doubled down and pointed out that Luke needs to go ASAP, with Daisy jumping on board and sharing it is her best chance to survive.

Back at camp Luke was feeling salty about Daisy’s lie, pulling Abbey aside and sharing that that intel made its way back to the Contenders. Knowing he would be screwed if he sticks with the Champs, Luke pulled Harry and Baden aside to find out who was spilling the tea and low-key, how does he orchestrate a blindside with them. Harry knew what he was trying, so lied that Pia is the one that shared the idol intel. Harry and Baden made quick work of pulling him in, identifying JaQueen and Pia as the biggest threats before the trio plotted to get the rest to split the votes, while the three of them band together to take someone out. Someone named JaQueen.

Everyone reconveened for the immunity challenge where they would each have to do a bicep curl to hold a ball, with the last one standing without their ball on the floor, snatching immunity. As they speculated who would win, Baden dropped his ball and pretend to be shocked. Though I feel like he meant to drop. Harry almost drop is, before Daisy’s fell out of nowhere while JaQueen threw some casual shade. Like the icon she is.Out of nowhere Pia dropped, followed closely by Harry, who should have been the first to go. Abbey was the next to go, thanks to a former broken wrist while JaQueen, Simon and Luke battled into their second hour. JaQueen then felt a spider on her knee, requesting that Baden remove it for her. Baden being an icon chose to ignore her request, leading to Daisy getting up to help as Luke eliminated himself. JaQueen and Simon battled out with the former desperately trying to get Simon to drop and give her a win.Harry used this to his advantage, telling Simon that he would drop if her felt safe which backfired, led Simon to barter for a reward – should JaQueen win one – and hand JaQueen a well earned victory.

Back at camp Harry was feeling super nervous, given his number one target had immunity. This made him feel super salty and since he couldn’t get rid of her, he was hopeful that Daisy would have formulated a plan at the reward. She joined with Baden and Harry to point out that they were all planning on voting out Luke at their next chance, and while they like Luke, they were just hopeful it would be enough to save them. Meanwhile JaQueen was nervous about Simon wanting to get rid of Luke and since Daisy was on board with his plan, JaQueen wanted her gone as she could predict everyone else’s moves.

Simon and JaQueen went for a wander into the jungle to lock in the plan to take out Daisy and while Simone didn’t want to, JaQueen barrelled through and told him that they would take her out and tell her that Harry would be going. Daisy stumbled on the scene and while they tried to lie and tell her Harry would be going, she knew it was a lie. With that, she approached Luke and floated the idea of getting rid of Pia and him joining the Contenders.

Pia too was feeling nervous, worried about Daisy’s lie ruining her relationship with Luke slash the game. With that she approached Luke to clear the air, and pledge their undying allegiance. The entire Champion alliance then got together to lock in the Daisy vote, though Luke’s growing nervousness started to make JaQueen anxious and hot damn, we have a vote coming. Baden and Luke then caught up with JaQueen, Pia and Simon watching on and let’s just say Alibrandi was only looking for a reason to flip the vote, convincing the other two to get rid of Luke to guarantee their numbers.

At tribal council Luke acknowledged that the post reward divide could have impacted the game, given half the tribe were left out feeling like shit. Pia admitted it was pretty sweet, while Daisy was hopeful after making friends in the jacuzzi. She continued to push that the spa crew formulated a plan, hopeful that they could pull in one other for a blindside. Luke said that making a plan and missing is very dangerous before JaQueen jumped in and CEO’d to say that the reward plan was just misdirection, while Daisy sharing that it was a lie and they were planning. She then spoke about mopping and flopping, before Janine double down on saving her allies.

Pia joined the fray, assuring everyone that everyone was at least floating everyone else’s name and TBH they all agree with the plans, whether they intend to follow through or not. Harry thought that was bullshit, Luke was nervous, Abbey continued to espouse loyalty, Daisy was nervous and Janine wanted everyone to stay solid. Then Jonathan dropped the bombshell that they would not actually be voting someone out of the game and instead, the person would be sent to exile beach to await the next person to be booted from the game before they battle it out for a chance to return. With that the tribe voted and Daisy found herself sent to exile, filled with nerves about what she was going to face while awaiting her next opponent.

The next day we did a welfare check of Daisy on Exile Beach and honestly it looked pretty desolate and I would have been absolutely terrified. She then kind of broke down from loneliness, despite being grateful to still be in the game. To make it worse the rain started to bucket down which is usually her favourite thing. But then she lit a fire, steeled herself and vowed to not just return but win the game.

We dropped by camp where the tribe were busy doing chores and running errands, while Pia, JaQueen and Abbey joked about the lack of Instagram with their lives and whether they are actually in Fiji if they can’t prove it. Pia spoke about how strong their alliance is, though knew that she will have to channel her inner Joe Pesci in Goodfellas ASAP and start whacking people. Speaking of people that need to be whacked, we checked in with Harry who was nervous about joining Daisy on Exile and tried to find a way to send literally anyone else. He was hopeful that his chats with Luke are the key to fracturing the dominant Champion tribe, so rallied Baden to join him and try to fracture the alliance. And send his nemesis JaQueen to Exile … and out of the game.

Harry approached Luke and played into his nerves, explaining that as soon as they can, his allies will blindside him. He admitted that he has more trust in Harry at this point in time, and was keen to flip things up and make a move. They then laughed about JaQueen and Daisy spending time alone on Exile, given JaQueen was tiring of Daisy. Harry then approached Abbey to see what she is thinking, before pointing out why it is the stupidest move for her. This started to make her nervous, realising that riding coattails will not pay off in the end and hot damn, may she actually flip on her closest allies? Again.

Don’t tell Nova.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would lay on a steep ramp above the water, holding on to a pole. With the last one left hanging winning immunity. Almost immediately Baden dropped into the water – with a joyous weeeeee – before quickly being joined by Janine. Everyone else made it to 30 minutes before Harry couldn’t hold out anymore. Jonathan clearly grew bored, so after 45 minutes he forced everyone down to just one arm which made quick work of Abbey. After 90 minutes – which is honestly insane – Simon and Luke dropped one after the other, handing Pia her first individual immunity win. Which is just as ridiculously amazing as you would expect.

Back at camp Pia was relishing in her role as a challenge beast, thankful that she won’t have to suffer through Exile. Janine too was thrilled that Pia won immunity, as that meant they can power ahead with their plans and send Baden to exile to eliminate Daisy once and for all. She rallied her fellow Champs and told them that they have the numbers to split the vote and not worry, which made Abbey more sure that making a move against her was a good idea. Well when she wasn’t riddled with fear about Janine coming back to the game and destroying her. Abbey approached Harry and Baden to float flipping the vote to Simon, given the girls will be more forgiving of that deception. While Harry admitted that he would prefer JaQueen out of the game, he straight up didn’t mind so approached Luke to see whether he would be ok with voting out Simon. And you know he was.

Abbey approached Pia and JaQueen to do some yoga and allow JaQueen to continue the push to get rid of Baden. Getting nervous about Abbey’s movements, Harry approached JaQueen and Abbey to talk about the dwindling time remaining in the game and as such, the need to start locking in the right path to the end.

At tribal council Pia continued to be thrilled about her immunity win, particularly since it means that she won’t have to suffer through Exile. JaQueen spoke about the complexity of the vote ahead, assuming that should a Champ get booted and come back, they will be furious, almost talking directly into Abbey’s soul. Baden spoke about being nervous before Harry pushed hard for the Champions to finally make a move and take control of the game. Simon admitted that Harry’s pitch sounds good, though planned to stay solid. JaQueen agreed that she didn’t see anyone budging, before Harry said that they have the luxury of not feeling nervous. JaQueen then grew sassy and pointed out that the Contenders only have themselves to blame. Abbey tried to play coy, Simon admitted that somebody strong needs to face off against Daisy, with Luke, Pia and Abbey all agreeing that they fear an angry Daisy returning to the game.

Luke was confident that he was in on the real plan, Simon said that he was feeling confident while Abbey crushed Baden and Harry’s spirits, saying that the numbers speak for themselves. JaQueen mentioned the vote won’t really impact the tribe, and that the main concern it what happens the next day. With that the tribe voted, Abbey and Luke flipped to the Contenders and Simon found himself heading to Exile.

After randomly voting for Abbey.

Later that night Daisy was shocked to be joined by Simon, who was well and truly shocked himself. They caught up and Simon filled him in on Harry, Luke and Baden flipping the script, while Daisy silently started to panic about facing off against a former athlete in the upcoming duel.

The next day Daisy awoke and put her game face on, while Simon spoke about how difficult Exile was despite not having to spend any time there alone. My boy Jonathan and the remaining tribe waited for them to arrive at the duel, with Daisy talking about how difficult it actually was to be by herself for a couple of days while Jonathan threw some casual shade at Luke and Harry. Jonathan then told the duo that their battle would see them guiding ten discs through a suspended maze and balance them on top with the first person to build their tower returning to the game and the loser out for good. Simon got out to an early lead while Daisy took a slow and steady approach. Simon then dropped a disc, allowing Daisy to take a slight lead before she dropped a disc and handed the lead back to him. Just. They stayed neck and neck for much of the challenge before they both dropped on their eighth disc, leaving them both to start over. Since Daisy dropped first, she had a small lead on the second build however dropped at the last minute, allowing Simon to snatch victory and return to the game.

Daisy was pretty gutted to lose the challenge at the very last moment, but was thrilled to finally be in the arms of a warm, loving fellow Queenslander like me. Not wanting to kick her while she is down, I avoided pointing out that the wasted two idols which could have really helped her game, so instead served her a big ol’ Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad to perk her up.

 

 

I know, I know, you don’t make friends with salad. But when they taste this good, you can surely make an exception. The sweet, sticky dates work perfectly with the creamy cheese and earthy walnuts to make this salad something really special.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad
Serves: 4, or one broken exiled castaway and her besto.

Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp seeded mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
250g baby spinach or swiss chard, sliced
½ cup walnuts, roasted and chopped
6 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced thin
1 pear, cored and sliced
⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese

Method
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and a good whack of salt and pepper in a jug and whisk well to combine.

To make the salad, toss the dressing through the shard – or spinach – until everything is nicely coated. Add the remaining ingredients, toss again and serve immediately.

Then, obvi, devour.

 

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A delightful third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Pasta, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the new Champs and Conts – errr, I mean Contenders – met in the Fijian jungle, with the Champs living up to their name by taking out two of the first three challenges, sadly for them, however that one loss was the first immunity. This led to the athletes banding together due to their auto majority, opting to get rid of iconic Roxette impersonator Anastasia. Well and truly on the outs, Luke found his first ever idol clue, which he, David, Pia and Janine plan to use to woo Ross and Abbey to their side and take control. Before we could find out whether they were successful, they snapped up the second immunity sending the Contenders to tribal council where sweet Baden survived against all odds and the sweet, spunky Laura heading home.

Things were looking up the next morning at the Contenders tribe where sexy, sexy John decided to do a nudie run and hot damn, I am moister than an oyster. Or sea cucumber, which he picked up on his travels, much to the disgust of his fellow tribemates. Speaking of those tribemates, I think Hannah is still yet to utter a word and I worry about her and want her in our lives ASAP.

Meanwhile over at the Champions Susie was having a bit of a wake-up call, shocked by how dirty they all are, the lack of food and the misery that comes from sleeping in the rain. While E.T.  continued to push for an Escape With reboot, catching minnows for the tribes. The tribe sat around eating fruit, talking about their lives at home with Queen Janine completely loving the fact that she hasn’t had to make massive decisions for the thousands of people that rely on her to live for a week. And she is zen, her hair is wavy and natural and this icon makes me so damn happy. Oh and she is totally ready to make some deals to break up the athletes alliance and take control. See? She is iconic.

Not to be outdone, Nova continued her push for next year’s Masterchef handing out bananas – fresh from Nova’s Kitchen – to her tribemates. Though the way she was barking out that they aren’t allowed any more, or else, due to rations was grating on Ross. Which, of course, Luke planned to use to his advantage. That night, Ross took time away from his busy snoring schedule to hang out with Luke before stealing an extra banana with which they solidified their loyalty.

The next day the Contenders awoke to take in the sunrise together – John, sadly in pants – before gathering around to share in some breakfast. Daisy and Sam went for a wander through the jungle before realising that Shaun is Megan Gale’s partner, before we learnt more about the zaddy who tragically never reached the pinnacle of his AFL career and how he desperately wants to prove himself. He then did a slow-mo walk down the beach dressed in a speedo, so you know he proved himself to me. Swoon.

My boy Jonathan – and obvi, his guns – arrived for the reward challenge where someone from each tribe would face off in an alley, running at each other to ring their bell at the opposite end. The first to ring their bell snatching a point with the first tribe to five winning a box of mystery comfort items. As is oft the case, Luke and Matt were first to face off with Luke finally getting a win, despite losing his shirt in the process. Daisy and Susie were next to battle it out, with Daisy taking it out despite Susie’s aggressive defense. David and Shaun faced off and while Shaun got the point, we are the true winners because them snuggling is the hottest thing I’ve seen today. Minus John’s butt, obvi. Simon evened things up against Harry, before zaddy John destroyed Bradbury despite taking a fall. Abbey evened things up again, running right past Casey on the way to her point before Baden proved himself a hero, destroying Ross and earning the adoration of his tribe. I love him and I’m crying. Oh and then Shaun returned to the alley to face off against Luke, secured reward for the Contenders and I am still crying. Now because Shaun is so damn beautiful.

Back at camp the Contenders were riding high on their win before even discovering they won a crate of 11 comfort items, with John tasked with handing out an item to each person. Baden got a choccie croissant, Casey got a toothbrush, soap went to Harry, Shaun got tweezers, Andy got moisturiser, the others got rando items and John gave himself a coconut. Andy returned to rant about the breakdown of alliances on their tribe, with Shaun, Daisy, John and Matt in control, Baden, Sarah and Hannah on the bottom and he and the rest stuck in the middle. Though looking to change that.

Meanwhile the Champions were decidedly less chipper after their loss, which David decided was the perfect time to win over Abbey. While he flirted with her and she looked thrilled, it was Simon rubbing sunscreen into his back and TBH, it is my new ship. Luke took a break from trying to find a crack in the athletes alliance to find his idol, pulling in David to help search without being noticed by anyone else. They searched far and wide, walking past a stump that David believed was home to Luke’s idol four times before he finally convinced Luke to have a second look at before they ultimately found it. And hopefully a way to keep themselves, Janine and Pie alive.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes had to dig under a log, carry a plank through a series of obstacles, using the plank to see-saw someone to retrieve sandbags before two tribe members throw said bags onto five of their tribemates’ poles. The Contenders went hard at the gate with zaddy John barrelling through before the Champions had even attempted to get anyone under the log. The Contenders moved onto the second obstacle while only Pia and Janine had gotten through the log for the Champions. By the time the Contenders made it to a tower, the Champions had finally gotten their shit together and commenced closing the gap. Well until the got stuck and the Contenders pulled away again and Hannah and Andy landed two bags before the Champions even started throwing them. E.T. and Nova started to close the gap but Andy once again proved too strong at throwing shit, snatching victory for the Contenders almost single handedly.

While I’m impressed by his challenge strength, he is still kinda annoying. I mean, John knows he is amazing and doesn’t need you to get in his face about it.

Back at Camp Champ, Nova was quick to point out that it was Janine’s idea to dig a trench, rather than a hole under the log and as such, she needs to be the next to go. The athletes all got together to discuss how stupid her idea was and how she shouldn’t advise them on athletic pursuits, deeming that enough of a reason to get rid of her. Susie and Steven went for a wander through the jungle, happy with their place in the alliance. Abbey then approached Ross to find out what their plans were, concerned that nobody had bothered to talk to her and ask her opinion.

Meanwhile Luke, Janine and Pia got together to find a way out of their predicament, deciding that Abbey is still the key. With that, Janine and David approached her by the well and Janine spoke about how inclusive and supportive their alliance is and you could see the point that Abbey’s eyes lit up at the prospect of somebody listening to her before suggesting they get rid of Susie instead, since Abbey sees her as weaker than Janine. With that Luke floated Susie’s name with the men, which Steven was quick to dismiss though Ross kinda, sorta did appear conflicted. Luke then decided to return to Abbey who was worried about upsetting the tribe harmony, while David approached Susie to let her know that he would be voting for her in an attempt to rattle her enough to throw a tantrum at tribal.

Speaking of tribal council, Jonathan was quick to throw some shade at their losing ways before I got distracted by David looking hot in his leather jacket, sans shirt. Susie then spoke about how tough the survival aspect is before denying the extremely obvious athlete alliance, that everyone is aware of. Steven dug a hole for himself, admitting to not speaking to Abbey until the day before. E.T. reiterated the importance of keeping the tribe strong before Jonathan asked Janine whether that made her concerned. She said it did, but not as much as the fact that her name was thrown out. She then went in, pointing out that she isn’t the actual weakest link, pushing hard that everyone should vote the weakest, not the weakest that isn’t in their alliance. Abbey loved the team-strong mentality, proving Janine is a damn icon.

Steven spoke about loyalty before Susie spoke about her name being thrown out and David having the hide to tell her that he was voting her out. She then kinda danced around whether she is or isn’t strong, before mentioning Janine’s digging faux pas. Janine pointed out that it was a suggestion that everyone agreed to, which annoyed Nova as she wanted Janine to just admit that she screwed up. Abbey was confused about the vote ahead, Steven said it would be an easy one and Ross shared that he didn’t have a plan, though knew he was voting for. Janine doubled down on her strength and loyalty just before the tribe headed off to vote, which clearly proved very convincing as both Abbey and Ross flipped on the athletes, and Susie was sent from the game.

While I love Susie dearly and dearly, I did tell her how thrilled I was that it Ross and Abbey flipped as I pulled her in for a hug. In retrospect, that was a highly insensitive, cruel thing to do, but the athletes alliance didn’t contain Queen Janine, Pia, David and his beauty or Luke, and as such, I needed something to give. Plus Susie has achieved so damn much in her life, that I knew she wouldn’t let it get her down. Particularly when she has a Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic to give her a culinary hug.

 

Susie Maroney smashing her third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

 

You know, or at the very least should be well aware, that I firmly believe that every dish can be improved with the addition of lemon and chilli. I mean, picture it, your belly tonight, risoni bathed in cream with a touch of garlic and spinach. Bit of a womp-womp, right? Now add in the tang of some lemon and a kick of chilli. It’s good right? Real good.

Enjoy!

 

Susie Maroney smashing her third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

 

Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
400g risoni
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp flour
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup cream
200g baby spinach
½ cup parmesan cheese, plus extra, obvi

Method
Get a pot of salt water on the boil and cook the orzo per the packet instructions. Drain and set aside, hopefully not for too long.

While you’re prepping the pasta, heat a good lug of olive oil in a saucepan and cook the garlic with a good whack of salt and pepper for a minute. Add the flour and chilli, and cook for a further minute. Quickly add the zest and juice and give a good whisk before removing from the heat and slowly whisking in the cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes, or until starting to thicken.

Add the spinach and cook until perfectly wilted before stirring through the parmesan. Remove from the heat, fold through the risoni and serve immediately, covered in more parmesan and a good whack of pepper.

Then devour, obvi.

 

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Linda Perry Peri Chicken Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Street Food

What a difference a few days can make, right? After witnessing Glenn’s seventh and Amy’s sixth snubs – no matter how deserving the delightful Olivia and Regina are, it still stung – I started to rage about all the things this Oscars failed me on like Shallow muse Timothée Chalamet and my girls Dolly and Linda Perry getting snubbed.

By the time Linda arrived at my house I was in such a state, alternating between crying and screaming, that she had to pull me into her arms and hold me until I calmed down.

And thanks to her warm, loving friendship, I’ve been in a state of zen since.

I’ve known Linda for years and years, first meeting as teens in San Diego. Fun fact: she taught me that San Diego didn’t actually translate to mean whale’s vagina, which I passed on to Will Ferrell to use as a joke in Anchorman.

But anyway, she was always so patient and kind with me, despite my many foibles, so I jumped at the chance to move to San Francisco with her in the ‘80s and I of course, vowed to make her a star.

Given how insanely busy she has been recently, Linda and I haven’t spent as much time together as we would like, so it was wonderful to be able to just have time to reconnect. And smash a piping hot Linda Perry Peri Chicken Pizza.

 

 

A crunchy base, sweet tomatoes and the fiery spice of peri peri chicken work together to form the perfect pizza for warming up a surprisingly cold evening in Brisbane. FYI, it got down to 25°C.

Enjoy!

 

 

Linda Perry Peri Chicken Pizza
Serves: 2-6.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
½ cup peri peri sauce
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup baby spinach
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
mozzarella, to taste

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

Heat a lug of olive oil in a skillet and cook the diced chicken for five minutes or so, or until cooked through. Add the peri peri – more if needed – and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until well coated.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle of the herbs, onion, spinach, spicy chicken and cherry tomatoes, before blanketing – I mean, you don’t have to but who wouldn’t – in mozzarella.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Before devouring, thinking about how wrong it is that Lind and Doll still don’t have Oscars.

 

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Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto

Main, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water

I know I have been a bit of a Debbie Downer when it comes to the twist of the upcoming season of Survivor but I am still excited because, well, it is Survivor. And for every One World or Redemption Island, there is a China or Heroes vs. Villians, which is something I am eternally grateful for. Plus – One World gave us Kim and Redemption Island gave us Russell’s pimpled, ingrown-haired armpits.

But I’ve been waylaid – I am here to celebrate one of my favourite Sole Survivors slash two-time The Amazing Race contestant and the cherry on top of San Juan Del Sur’s twinnie bookends, my girl Natalie Anderson.

Like Bob before her, I didn’t meet Nat until after her first reality TV stint – I am a close, personal friend of the Beekman’s – however the friendship quickly blossomed. And I played a critical role in getting her a spot on San Juan Del Sur and her well deserved win.

While people tire of the constant bartering and handing out rewards as treats, San Juan Del Sur is an unpredictable season and Natalie’s arc from wounded surviving Twinnie to vengeful powerplayer after Jeremy’s boot is one of the greats.

Add to that a beautiful idol play, a masterful ‘accidental’ blindside to save Keith and dragging him along as a meatshield to guarantee a path to the end puts her in my top ten favourite winners. And more than worthy of a hearty Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto whenever she damn wants!

 

 

There is nothing quite as comforting and glorious as a risotto. I don’t know if it is the creamy rice or the liquor, but it always fills me with joy when I’m feeling blue. Add in mushies and bacon, and I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 ⅓ cups arborio rice
250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
200g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup shredded parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring the stock to a simmer over low heat and heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Once nice and foamy, add the leek and garlic and sweat for five minutes. Add the bacon and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the kitchen is fragrant and glorious.

Add the rice to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to get translucent around the edges. Working a ladleful at a time, add the stock to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, waiting until the stock has been absorbed before adding the next.

Once all the stock has been used up, add the mushrooms, spinach and thyme, and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir through the parmesan and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, slathered in more cheese and then devour.

 

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Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza

Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor my boy Probst met 20 new castaways in the middle of the Fijian for a biblical battle, with the underdog David tribe taking out the first reward of the season. Meanwhile over on the overachieving Goliath tribe hot cop Dan and Kara met each other and instantly fell in love because they are beautiful. Their luck continued, with Dan then finding the first idol of the season. Meanwhile over at the David tribe things were looking bad for Nick, who was left right out and set to be the first boot after they lost immunity. Thankfully for him – and horrifically for everyone – there was a freak accident in the boat after the challenge, doing such a number on Pat that he was evacuated as the first boot.

That night back at camp things continued to be miserable as the weather took its toll on everyone, unable to start a fire or stay dry and TBH. Things were just as bad, if not worse, at the Goliath tribe they too were pelted with rain and their tribe flag was lucky not to blow away. Things were no better the next day as everyone shivered and started to break down as they desperately tried for a fire. Thankfully there were glimmers of hope as Christian and Nick went out in the wet to try and find something to find something to start fire with and/or eat. That obviously led to them talking strategy and lamenting being out of the loop on the potential last vote, and as such quickly aligned. And while I’m already loving this underdog story, Nick then spoke about the fact he was probably meant to be voted out last night and as such he is going to fight to win or die trying and damn there is something likeable about him. Probably his eyes. They then geeked out finding bamboo to reinforce the shelter and naming their alliance, unaware this isn’t Survivor. They arrived back at camp to discover that Bi had dropped by treemail where they discovered a fire making kit and tarp to ensure nobody dies.

The Goliaths too, recieved said kit and tarp and the mood appeared to champ instantly. Dan and Kara took a moment to discuss finding the idol and partake in some generic flirting. Which did not go unnoticed – much to Kara’s chagrin – with Jeremy and Alec plotting to split them up and Natalie warning her to tone it down for her safety. Wanting to work around the situation, Kara approached Angelina and Natalia to assure them that she is interested in forming a black-widow brigade, stringing their respective men along and taking them out one after the other. After taking out Queen Natalie and Mike, obvi. Speaking of Mike, he was keeping watch as Jeremy rifled through peoples drying clothes and found Dan’s idol, which Kara had warned him to be more careful with. As such, Natalia and Kara are not the only two other people that know and as such, Mike and Jeremy’s stock just went up.

Things were looking up at the David tribe too, where Davie had decided to continue providing for the tribe after his epic octopus catch.  Whilst hunting for more food, he inadvertently found a hidden immunity idol and bless him, he deserves it. Particularly for saying this smells like authentic idol leather, begging the question, is that what my couch smells like? Meanwhile Carl was lamenting the loss of Pat and decided that the no longer can afford to lose Nick, instead wanting to take out Lyrsa, who he decided was the weakest. While Nick loved that idea, Elizabeth was pissed that her best buddies name was being thrown about. As was Lyrsa who desperately wanted to scream them all down, explaining she is the reason they won the first challenge.

Over at the Goliaths Jeremy and Alec continued to look sexy in their underwear before Jeremy instantly became my favourite by stripping down. And hot damn, I need a minute. Back in the camp Natalia was getting a nose and teeth booger check from Angelina, under the watchful eye of Natalie who obviously thought it was fucking stupid. Boogers in your teeth? Childish. Queen Natalie continued to lay low, watching everyone work and sassing them as much as possible. Sadly for her, people did actually notice her and were growing tired of her bullshit. Except for King John, the George Bushy of Tushy, who thought she was a great person to work with. John pulled Natalie aside to warn her about her attitude, leading to her approaching people one at a time and questioning their decision to target her, given she is a non-threat. While everyone decided the drama was too much for them, Jeremy pulled her aside to tell her some hard truths about her lack of self-awareness. Which she refused to accept, driving Jeremy mad and locking in his resolve to get rid of her.

Dear Jeffrey finally returned to screen for the immunity challenge where he explained to the Goliath tribe that Pat was injured after the last challenge, and therefore, someone is still potentially going to be the first one out. Anyway, the challenge. One person from each tribe was required to climb up a ladder to release a key, which would be used to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle on a wobbly table. Given that in addition to immunity they would get a huge fishing kit, Davie the provider was totally pumped. Alec got the Goliaths out to a huge lead over Bi and the David tribe, allowing they to go out and grab the puzzle pieces and return to shore before Bi reached the top of the ladder. The Goliaths continued to work on the puzzle while Bi was abandoned at the dock collecting puzzle pieces while their boat drifted away. Given the puzzle seems insanely hard the Davids quickly caught up as everyone dropped their platforms and destroyed their work. Thankfully the Goliaths put everyone out of their misery after an hour, solving their puzzle and snatching immunity much to everyone’s exhausted relief.

Back at camp the Davids lamented their loss before Bi desperately gave them all a peptalk to get their head in the game. Bi and Jessica locked in their vote for Lyrsa, though given how cagey they were being when Gabby approached them to discuss tribal, she decided to go and find a plan she feels safer with. Speaking of feeling safe, besties Elizabeth and Lyrsa desperately tried to find some for the latter, identifying Jessica as the better target. They then approached Gabby who was concerned they wanted to target her, so was all in when they suggested getting rid of Jess instead and taking out Bi and Carl’s closest ally. Elizabeth pulled Christian in with a hug – literally – and locked him in for the vote against Jessica. Christian and Gabby discussed the plan and locked in their alliance together, before Christian approached Nick. Who tragically wasn’t interested and would prefer to take out Lyrsa.

With that we obviously arrived at the insanely beautiful, grand tribal council where Jeff questioned how they could handle the cyclonic weather, which they all said brought them together. Elizabeth admitted that those bonds would make the upcoming votes more difficult, though Lyrsa admitted that you can cut the tension with a knife back at camp. She then spoke about having heard her name for being a weak link, which made Jessica sass her for not playing the game hard enough if that is the case. Gabby suggested people shouldn’t underestimate anyone, Bi said she was voting on performance despite bombing the immunity challenge, Christian spoke about the votes all being organised and Nick admitted that the game was built on deceit so that they need to build trust where they can. After a discussion of the battle between playing a tribal vs individual game, everyone shared our nervous they were though Jessica did admit that it was exhilarating. With that, they voted and it turns out tribal wasn’t as exhilarating as she would have hoped, becoming the second – slash technically first – boot.

To be honest, I shouldn’t be shocked by the turn of events that led to her demise. Despite such a strong start last episode, I had menu-planned for her to be devouring pizza in Ponderosa and as such, she would be doomed to be a pre-juror because of my curse. I held her in my arms while I cried uncontrollably while repeating sorry, which let’s be honest would have been a terrifying experience for our child contestant. Thankfully she took her boot in her stride – no doubt thanks to the extreme pity she felt for me post meltdown – and said that while the curse definitely doomed her, she couldn’t be grumpy when it is delicious as my Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza.

 

 

Just like the majestic Scot Pollartichoke Dip before her, there is no greater culinary pairing that spinach and artichoke. Particularly when in the company of cheese. Add in the glory of fresh, pillowy pizza dough, and it is hard not to be in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza
Serves: a sad second boot and her best-o.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sour cream
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of a lemon
1-2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
200g marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
½ cup parmesan
mozzarella, to taste

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

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mayo, sour cream, parsley, garlic and lemon in a bowl and generously smear over the pizza bases. Top with spinach, artichokes and parmesan before adding some mozzarella for good measure.

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

Devour immediately, hoping not to burn our mouth with some scalding cheese. Because that would just add too much unwanted salt in your wounds.

 

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Jonathan Dan Bennoodles

Main, That Is So Fetch Week

Hey, do you know what day it is? Of course you do! It’s October 3rd aka Mean Girls Day aka the entire reason for this year’s That’s So Fetch Week going public. I know you were probably hoping that Tina or Linds would be dropping by, but they have both already gone here … and Linds is still busy stopping that child trafficking ring. So following in Mands and Dan’s footsteps is none other than Aaron Samuels himself, Jonathan Bennett.

Aka the entire reason we have Mean Girls day.

As I alluded to yesterday, Dan Fran and I had a tragic break-up on the set of Mean Girls due by my infatuation for Jonathan which culminated in our torrid affair. Tragically it ended too – maybe because I am too much like Regina George – but Jono and I have been the best of friends ever since.

Hell, I even forgave him for writing the Mean Girls Cookbook without me, that is how close we are. Though considering he chose to go with an actual chef over someone that tries things he finds only and quadruples the garlic content and adds chilli, I really had no right being offended in the first place.

Giving how busy he has been successfully writing a cookbook and hosting a baking show, Jon and I haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like lately. I mean, as besties we Skype each day, particularly since I introduced him to his Amazing Race-r boyfie Jaymes, but there is nothing like the real thing of hanging out with your friends in the same room. Smashing some Jonathan Dan Bennoodles.

 

 

Once again proving my non-chef credentials, this dan dan was inspired by a couple of recipes I found online though hella simplified. And probably nothing like how it should taste. Rich, nutty, spicy and fresh, this baby will fill you with joy and put a fire in your belly. Given the heaping of chilli, obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jonathan Dan Bennoodles
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
500g pork mince
3 tbsp Chinese chilli oil
1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp shaoxing wine
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp raw caster sugar
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
400g udon noodles, cooked as per packet instructions
1 cup baby spinach
1 bok choy, quartered
1 shallot, sliced

Method
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat and cook the garlic and ginger for a minute. Add the mince and cook for a further couple of minutes before reducing the heat to medium and adding the chilli oil, spices, sauces, sugar, stock and peanut butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce reduces.

Cook the udon as per packet instructions and add a tablespoon of cooking water to the pan if it starts to get too thick. Add the baby spinach and bok choy to the pan, and cook until heated through before tossing through the noodles.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with shallots and devour. Because it’s October 3rd.

 

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Libbean Vincek Soup

Main, Side, Snack, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the three tribes became one and the war between Dom and Chris reignited. While the Naviti women wanted to stick Naviti strong and take out the more threatening Libby first, they couldn’t put an end to the pissing match to sway the numbers. Instead Dom threatened to play his fake idol, denied having an actual idol then played Sierra Dawn-Thomas’ legacy advantage – despite not getting any votes – as poor, bad rapping Chris found himself booted to become the King of the Jury.

Back at camp the tribe processed the first merge tribal, with Libby confused about why people keep targeting her and how she should work to change their perceptions of her. Or find an advantage, obvi. Meanwhile Dom was feeling relieved, thankful to no longer have Chris on his back and able to distract people from his threat status. Maybe.

The next day Wendell continued to be a God, quickly pulling together an island kitchen  – off topic, could you imagine he, Brad and Monica on a season together, him building a killer home, them decorating with found objects? It would be iconic, make it happen – while confirming with us that he is still firmly aligned with Laurel, Dom and Donathan, though wasn’t sure how things will play out with Chris around. He checked in with Laurel to make sure them were feeling ok and to reassure her, confirming Dom has an idol and hoping to win back her trust … before locking in a top four deal. To solidify that, he shared that he too had an idol which seems to have had the opposite effect, with her no longer sure she can trust him and debating whether she should pounce.

My boy Probst arrived on the scene for the reward challenge where the tribe would be split into teams of six, and then run across a floating bridge to the shore before shooting bags at tiles. It was for a Survivor Taco bar, but let’s ignore the fact that Jeff got creative with his pronunciation like Matty Chisholm, ok? Team Angela, Laurel, Wendell, Chelsea, Libby and Donathan got out to a quick lead and damn he looks good in his jocks. While Domenick evened things up, Laurel extended their lead while Sebastian, Donathan, Angela and Chelsea struggling to connect. The orange team evened things up before Libby had a turn and Wendell and his cakes heading back in to snatch the lead. Laurel went out for another turn, followed by Wendell before Laurel just missed the target, leaving Wendell to snatch victory for the purple team.

Before heading off for tacos, they opted not to select someone to attend Ghost Island, with the Survivor Gods instead channeling the white rock to send Jenna. She arrived hopeful for an opportunity to play for an advantage before quickly being disappointed to discover she was one of the unlucky visitors. While she was feeling dejected, her fellow outside Libby was feeling herself at the taco bar. They loaded up their plates, grabbed some fresh margs and toasted to their success. Wendell was thankful to find himself on reward with Laurel and Donathan, wanting to reconfirm their bond. Libby quickly asked them when she was targeted at the last tribal, with Angela and Chelsea assuring her it was simply an easy option and they wanted to break up her and Michael.

The next day Angela and Michael, who is young enough to be her son, joined together to float the idea about breaking up actual power couple Wendell and Dom. Angela was feeling her freedom from Chris and his inability to follow anyone else’s idea, she then took Michael’s concerns to Kellyn and Chelsea before stirring things up with Wendell, Dom and Des. While I love Michael, come through queen Angela and welcome to the game!

The tribe reconvened by the beach to discover an ominous table – yas yas yas, it is the gross food challenge! The first round required three people to scoff down two fish eyes, with Michael, Des and Laurel progressing and Libby, Donathan and Jenna eliminated from the competition. Probst lined up the rest of the castaways for their eyes, with Angela, Sebastian and Domenick moving on and Wendell, Kellyn and Chelsea eliminated. The next course saw the remaining castaways downing three live grubs, with Sebastian, Michael and Angela dominating the rest. For their third course, they had to down two massive sea slugs with Angela shoving them down her throat like a damn boss while Michael’s slow and steady approached kept him alive. The final round saw Michael and Angela downing some mother of pearl with Angela completely dominant with poor Michael struggling with each bite, ultimately securing herself immunity and showing the most personality she has all season.

Back at camp the tribe congratulated Angela on slaying dem slugs before quickly getting to work scrambling for the tribal ahead. Laurel and Donathan got to work finding an in with Des, Chelsea and Kellyn to figure out what they’re planning to do and try and come up with a counter plan. They took the plan to target Michael back to Michael and Jenna, with Michael wanting Malolo to stick together while Naviti splits the votes allowing them to take out the bigger threat of Wendell. Laurel and Donathan got together to weigh up their options, with Donathan feeling it is time to take out Wendell to even up the numbers a bit though scared it would make him a target. Dom then told Libby she was safe tonight before being contradicted by Donathan who fleshed out that the plan involved splitting the votes between her and Michael. Kellyn then joined Wendell and Domenick, with Kellyn lamenting she can’t get a read on Laurel and Donathan which made her feel insecure.

At tribal council Chris scrubbed up extremely well before Probst praised Angela for stepping things up and coming out of her shell, with Sebastian congratulating her ability to swallow a sea slug whole. While it was impressive, who can’t? Anyway Des said that big moves where critical to everyone’s game allowing Probst to remind them of the new round-table final tribal format, with Dom and Wendell praising it for favouring the big players. Once again, Michael got to work blowing things up at tribal reminding everyone that they can’t rely on safe – which Milk obvi agrees with. Laurel wants the Naviti tribe to use her while they have a chance, the Navitis acknowledge sticking together required some cult-level convincing. Again, Kellyn continued to harp on about Naviti strong while Michael continued to push to be used, to which I say, yas gawd.

The votes rolled in and Michael’s fear got the best of him, opting to play Ozzy’s fucking stick – not this one (NSFW, obvi) – which glowed the fuck up and saved him from the boot, negating the seven votes against him. Instead poor Libby found herself off to the jury, while Michael congratulated Wendell on a move well played to lowkey paint a bigger target on his back rather than his own.

Poor Libs was feeling quite down to be out of the game so soon, but was thankful to be one of the few Malolos to make the jury and therefore still a viable option in the love stakes. After perking her back up, I managed to get her to cloud nine as soon as she saw I was packing a piping hot Libbean Vincek Soup.

 

 

Packed full of hearty bean goodness, fresh creamy pesto and the warmth of a soothing, carby broth. How could you stay sad?

Enjoy!

 

 

Libbean Vincek Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery, thinly sliced
1 potato, finely diced
2 tbsp Toni Basil Pesto
2L chicken stock
400g canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
400g crushed tomatoes
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup orzo
bunch of baby spinach
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large dutch oven and sweat the onion, garlic, celery and potato for a couple of minutes. Stir through pesto for a minute before adding the stock, beans, tomatoes and parsley. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and add the orzo, and simmer for about fifteen minutes.

Once the orzo is cooked through, stir through the spinach and parmesan and serve, devouring immediately … covering in extra parm-parm. Though obvi being careful because soup is hot as balls.

 

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Nico Tortellini

Main, Pasta

Sorry for the delay with this week’s recipe, I am only just coming down from my wonderful week at a private villa with Nico. While it was only meant to be a friendly catch-up between friends, Nico is truly intoxicating … and like Joni Mitchell, I couldn’t help but drink a case of him.

As you know, I first met Neeks through Mich and Corbs on the set of the egregiously shortlived TBL, and while I’d love to say it were his brains and many talents that drew me to him, our sexual chemistry is what brought us together.

Thankfully it didn’t take long for me to see him as the kind, wise and talented individual that he is, and we became friends after being lovers. Which kinda flips Bolton’s rule, no?

Anyway … let’s get to the good stuff. I picked Nico up from the airport, it was hot and humid and we drove to a private villa not far from the scene of the cage-fighting accident with Miley that rendered Annelie out of action on here.

We swam, we laughed and we literally ticked all the boxes. It was, as you would expect, glorious.

When it came to nightfall, we were absolutely ravenous for something carby and glorious, that could easily be eaten off a body Samantha-in-SATC-style. Which meant I obviously went for a Nico Tortellini.

 

 

“It is so thoughtful,” he said as I brought it to the table.

“Creamy, hot and spicy, and packed full of sausage – it is everything this week has been.”

Enjoy!

 

 

Nico Tortellini
Serves: 4-6 … or 2 starved lovers on Valentine’s Day.

Ingredients
1 cup ricotta
½ cup emmental
½ cup grana padano
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg, lightly whisked
salt and pepper, to taste
60 gow gee wrappers
olive oil
6 spicy Italian sausages, excluding your lover’s
3 garlic cloves, minced
small handful mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1-2 cups baby spinach
300ml double cream
½ cup grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

Method
Combine the ricotta, emmental and grana padano cheeses in a bowl with the nutmeg, egg and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Grab your gow gee wrappers, a pastry brush and a half-filled mug of water. Spoon out a large teaspoon of mixture into the centre of each gow gee wrapper, lightly brush the edges with water and fold the pastry in half leaving you with a filled semicircle. Take the two edges and turn them into to each other and press together to form a large tortellini … because I love his large tortellini.

Once they’re all ready, get a big pot of salted water boiling over high heat. When bubbling as aggressively as your chemistry, add the pasta and cook for five minutes, or until they are all floating. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

While the pasta are cooking, heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and push meatball-sized pieces of meat out of the sausage and cook for a couple of minutes, or until they’re all cooked. Add the garlic and mushroom and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until the mushies are softening and the kitchen fragrant. Add the chilli, sundried tomatoes, spinach and double cream and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, stir through the parmesan and season well.

Return the tortellini to the pasta pan, pour over the sauce and toss until well covered. Serve immediately, in a bowl, on your sexy lover or both, the latter two after they’ve adequately cooled, ovbi.

Sprinkle with even more cheese – sausage’s best accompaniment – and devour.

 

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Gaten Ratarisoni

Main, Pasta, Stranger Feasts

You want to know the scariest thing about our Halloween spooktacular, Stranger Feasts? The joy and kindness of the Stranger crew – like Shan and Mil before them – makes me want to be a happier, kinder person.

I mean, it make me feel so violently sick I want to vomit up slugs like Will in the season 1 cliffhanger!

Anyway, my dear friend Gaten Matarazzo is arguably the most infectious happy person you could ever be around, so I knew he was the best person to help me honour premiere day. Plus, he is one of my oldest friends in the cast.

We first met in 2011 when he was starring in the Broadway production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I was working as a consultant on the show after lying about my involvement in the film – my mum went to school with Sarah Chadwick, so it wasn’t hard to fabricate the work history – and dare I say it, was integral in its success.

And its abrupt closure.

Given that, I felt bad and vowed to help further Gaten’s career. Not that he needed any help landing the role of Dustin, given his killer audition. But once again, I’d love to take full responsibility for his success.

Gats arrived almost bouncing, full of excitement and energy for the wider community – which he didn’t like me referring to as plebs – to see season 2. I’ve already binged the entire season, of course – which I can’t prove, lest I were to spoil things – and wholeheartedly share his excitement for the cracking to get the attention it deserves. Though maybe that was the big bowl of Gaten Ratarisoni talking … because again, that sounds nice.

 

 

Spicy, rich and dotted with ghastly (looking) halloween delights, this rat infested risoni is the perfect comfort food as you buckle in for the return of Stranger Things.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gaten Ratarisoni
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
600g spicy Italian sausages, skins removed and shaped into baby rat-sized
balls (aka, pinch one end)
250g mushrooms, stalks removed and sliced into a bat shape
1 tbsp chilli flakes
⅓ cup pitted black olives, sliced into ghoulish eye balls
⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, left whole to resemble bloody brains
500g risoni
400g can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
250ml cinzano rosso
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup mozzarella

Method
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding the sausage rats to brown for five minutes or so. Add the mushrooms and chilli, and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the olives, sundried tomatoes and risoni. Give a good stir to coat before adding the tin tomatoes, paste and cinzano, cooking for a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken stock – yes it seems out of place, but beef is too rich for this – reduce heat to low, stir through the spinach and simmer for about ten minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and the the risoni cooked through.

Remove from the heat, stir through the mozzarella and serve immediately, with the stringy mozzarella creating a mess of cobwebs as you serve. Which I am aware, mine didn’t … I was waiting for a new couch for the show.

In any event, devour.

 

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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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