Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles awaiting my dear Sarah Ayles to eat while I rant about Andy surviving.

Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Jonathan threw a spanner in all of the works, forcing everyone to drop their buffs – sadly not John’s speedos, though – and switched up the tribes. The three Champion women lucked out and stayed strong together in a Champ majority on the new Contenders tribe, while David and Luke were royally screwed as the only OG Champs remaining on the Champions tribe. Oh and Daisy and Shaun’s alliance was also split up, though that only became relevant after the new Champions continued in the tradition and lost immunity. You see Shaun had told Andy about his idol, who then spread the information to the rest of the Contenders on the Champions tribe, with Daisy overhearing and deciding that he is no longer to be trusted. With that, she approached  John and Baden to flip to David and Luke with her and blindside Sam – who never got a freaking confessional – which they did, leaving the OG Champs alive for another episode with an idol in each of their pockets.

We opened up with at the new Contenders tribe where Abbey, Ross and Pia were still lamenting the downgrade of facilities from what they were useful at Camp Champ. While the girls struggled in the squalor, sweet angel Ross tried to find the bright side and honestly he is too pure for this world. I just get the goofiest grin whenever he is on screen and I hope he knows how much I appreciate him.The tribe sat around bonding and downing coconuts, while Janine was thrilled to have the majority on her new tribe. Though was struggling big time when it came to remembering Casey’s name. Or was it Cassie. Talk then legit turned to eating Harry, despite his fake child at home. Pia’s serving suggestion was to turn him into a kebab. Harry then vowed that he will be taking control of the tribe and was thrilled that Luke or David likely went home at last night’s tribal.

Speaking of the new Champions tribe, Andy – who looks more like Sonic the Hedgehog than the original movie version that they’re currently fixing – was still shell-shocked by the blindside while David was thrilled to have found his way into the new majority so quickly, thanks to Daisy’s vendetta against Sam. Desperate Andy approached David to pretend that he was trying to protect David at the last tribal and honestly, the desperation reeks of insincerity and I need him out ASAP. And if that performance keeps up, I think I’ll get my wish. Sarah too was seething after the previous vote, so approached Hannah to float the idea of wooing Baden back to their side to get rid of Daisy in a revenge plot which sadly seems shortsighted given the Contenders early domination. Shortsighted but good TV.

Jonathan summoned the tribes to a rolling river where the Contenders were shocked to find Sam was booted the night before, none more so than Harry who had just felt confident enough to get arrogant. But back to the challenge where someone from each tribe who swim against the flowing river, with the last person staying in the marked zone winning a point for the tribe. First to three winning a Survivor cafe experience, so everyone was as thrilled as I was given swimming calls for speedos. Once again Luke and Matt faced off against each other, with Matt making quick work of Luke. Again. Leading to even more arrogance from Matt. Ross and Baden went next and despite starting strong, poor Baden wasn’t a chance against the surfing champ. Janine got out strong against Andy, until the current washed her away and Andy – urgh – got the Champions on the board. Abbey and Daisy proved an interesting match up, with both women working hard as Daisy drifted into Abbey’s lane and Abbey almost wiped Daisy off the course before ultimately, Daisy won the point and tied things up. The final match-up between Hannah and Casey was far less interesting, as Hannah washed right out of the field giving Casey the point and handing victory to the new Contenders.

The Contenders arrived at their cafe reward where Shaun was thrilled to finally take out a reward, Casey got her first confessional and Matt was struggling to understand why he wasn’t miserable. While everyone was frothing over the food, King Ross smashed four coffees and quickly started to lose his mind before having a power spew and coming back for seconds. Harry meanwhile wasn’t so thrilled and couldn’t move past the fact that Sam was voted out, while Abbey and Janine quickly got all of the information out of Harry and Casey, finding out Sam and Daisy didn’t get along, meaning Harry likely won’t work with Daisy or her ally Shaun. While Harry desperately tried to make in rounds with the former Champs, he didn’t look to be having much luck and felt on the outs with his new closest ally Casey. The latter however had other plans, leaving him for dead and buddying up to Janine, Pia and Abbey to try and save herself while Harry wandered around until he found the damn idol.

And while it is exciting for him, I just want to know what happened to his eye and if it is what happened to Benji’s last year as it looks angry.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where two people from each tribe would be placed in chambers while their remaining tribemates would race over balance beams to collect buckets of water from the ocean to fill up the other tribe’s chambers. Given poor Sarah can’t catch a break, she was submerged in one of the Champion chambers with Hannan in the other while Casey and Pia were the potential drowning victims for the Contenders. It is pretty hard to tell who is leading at any given moment, so let’s focus on the fact Hannah seems super fun and entertaining and I hate that she is the last person remaining without a confessional. Pia was the first to be completely submerged, followed closely by Hannah while the two desperately tried to keep their noses above water before Hannah and Pia dropped out one after the other, leaving Casey and Sarah to battle it out. Tragically Sarah fought valiantly however it wasn’t enough as the Contenders kept a steady flow of water going into her bath forcing her to bow out, handing victory to the Contenders.

Back at camp the Champions assured each other that they did all that they could at the challenge before Andy tried to find a way to live to see another day. He then approached David as, to quote him, David is smart for a model and he himself is scary smart, so he thinks they will make good allies. Sadly for Andy, David could see through all of his lies though given he holds the power, he doesn’t really mind. Yet. He rallied his allies and suggested they get rid of Sarah, given she isn’t as agile as Hannah with everyone jumping on the plan quickly. Andy left the group and approached Sarah to see what she was thinking, with Sarah suggesting going to the top of the totem pole and get rid of Daisy. Andy then ran back to the shelter, lay next to Daisy and told her what Sarah and Hannah were planning, filling the icon with rage.

Sarah then wandered over to Baden and Luke at the well, telling them that Andy threw her under the bus before David and Hannah joined them. Sarah asked David what his plans were, with him admitting that he was going to vote her out … though would happily turn on Andy instead. David then said Andy was playing so badly he was planting landmines, forgetting where they were and then blowing himself off all up the beach and I LIVE. Daisy and Sarah then caught up with Daisy suggesting that she would be willing to get rid of Andy instead. The only certainty as they headed off to tribal council, is that once again David and Luke are safe and their two idols will remain in the pockets for another episode.

At tribal council Andy tried to downplay how shocked he was by Sam’s blindside before Jonathan congratulated David on surviving the insurmountable odds. David downplayed the OG tribes, reminding everyone it is a new game and they are one unit. Sarah admitted that the lines were well and truly blurred, while Daisy reminded them it is eat or be eaten. Hannah admitted it is too hard to trust anyone in a long term way, while Sarah alluded to Andy continuing to play the middle and Luke blurted out that there was some madness back at camp. Andy tried to be coy about the situation, where he shoved his hole leg in his mouth which everyone was aware of, before Sarah verbalised that she is the one that walked up on Andy’s dick move with the Sonic impersonator getting more and more nervous. Wait, no, cocky, as his fuck-up is only an issue for Sarah. John told everyone to pull their heads in, Andy spoke about the importance of trust – much to John’s disgust – while Sarah sounded defeated, warning them to all keep one eye open.

With that the tribe voted and despite me crossing everything in my body, praying to a wide range of deities and promising not to cuss anyone out tomorrow for asking stupid questions, it was my dear Sarah who was booted from the game as low-rent Sonic sped to smug another day.

Once again, I was a giant ball of rage as Sarah entered Loser Lodge and fearing that I was on the brim of freaking out, she took me in her arms and told me to breath through the pain. She assured me she was proud of the game she played, and glad to prove herself and while I fought back tears thinking of all the ways the game has tried to bring up memories of the tsunami for her and the fake that yet another woman was booted over a smug, beige male, I realised that all we needed – Sarah, I and the world at large – was a big comforting Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles to dull the pain.

 

Sarah Ayles joyfully eating Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles while I rant about Andy surviving.

 

Thankfully this rich casserole is glorious enough to wipe away some of the pain of seeing this icon leave the game. Earthy lamb, the tang of ale and the sharpness of some gruyere work together in perfect harmony to honour the ultimate survivor of this season who deserved so much better. #Justice4Sarah

Enjoy!

 

Sarah Ayles joyfully eating Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles while I rant about Andy surviving.

 

Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1.5kg lamb shoulder, diced
2 tbsp flour
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp tomato paste
345ml bottle ale
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced
100g gruyere cheese, grated
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to serve

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion, garlic, celery and carrot for five minutes, or until your kitchen is hella fragranced. Add the lamb and cook for a further five minutes or so before adding the flour and cooking off for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, mustard, tomato paste, ale, stock, bay leaves, muscovado sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Once the casserole is thick and gloopy, top with the baguette and all of the cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until the cheese is golden and glorious.

Sprinkle with parsley, serve and devour.

 


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Garry Shandyling

Drink, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing

Given it is the 70th anniversary of the Emmys, I decided to kick things off with an icon that has hosted the ceremony before in addition to being a victor. And as such, I also decided it was time to get the time machine back out of the garage and go celebrate Emmys’ milestone by hanging with my dear friend Garry Shandling.

I first met Gaz in the mid-70s; I was working as John Travolta’s stand-in – and definitely not lover – on Welcome Back, Kotter when Gaz wrote an episode. While I was fired during the filming of the episode after a major non-lover’s tiff with Travolts, the final straw really was my inability to stop laughing because it was the funniest episode of all time.

As such, Garry felt bad about me losing my job and took me under his wing. Given I am a crafty Hollywood strategist, the tables turn and I took his career to the next level. That level being working with Johnny Carson, two hit shows and eventually in ‘98, an Emmy.

Now I know the name of this game is to run odds and it is extremely difficult to run odds with a dearly departed friend, but my drive in the delorean gave me enough time for some much needed clarity. While Ted Danson and Bill Hader gave killer – oft literally – performances, I can’t see anyone beating Donald Glover for lead actor, give how freaking creepy he was as Teddy Perkins. And obviously the Fonz is going to score his first Emmy due to being an icon slash robbed some many times. For the Emmys and an Oscar as Principal Arthur Himbry in Scream, may he rest in peace. That being said, if Tituss Burgess doesn’t win an Emmy for Kimmy Schmidt next year, I will riot.

By the time I arrived I back in ‘98, I was ready to celebrate Gaz’s sole Emmy win and catch-up with a clear mind. Well, until the Garry Shandylings kicked in.

 

 

I used to mock my brother mercilessly for enjoying a shandy … until I drank one, and realised how freaky delicious they are. Light, bubbly and a little bit sweet, there is no better drink to toast a friend or while away a summer afternoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Garry Shandyling
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups of beer
1 ½ cups lemonade

Method
Split the beer amongst two glasses. Top up with lemonade.

Down. Repeat.

 

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Jud Beerza Battered Fries

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Nicaragua

Finally! We have a cast – complete with icon Elizabeth ‘flip da ma’fuckin’ bird’ Olson – and we can truly get to countdown to Survivor: David vs. Goliath. And TBH, there is no better way to mark the occasion than by hanging out with my dear friend and ex-lover Fabio.

Cast your mind back to 2010, riding high on the post Heroes vs. Villains wave, Survivor was a hit again, Sandra became the Queen, Parvati was an icon, Russell was an iconic mess … and Nicaragua landed with a thud.

Yes, we can all agree that the Medallion of Power was a joke and the double quit episode a week out from the end destroyed the pace … but I actually kinda loved the season. I mean, it was a trainwreck but that is part of the charm. Holly breaking down, burying shoes and rising from the ashes of her own creation to almost make it to the end was a thing of beauty. As was Jane’s tantrum upon finding out she was about to be booted and a loveable, ditzy underdog being verbally abused by an eventual quitter, only to outlast the rest and secure her vote for the victory.

And I am lucky enough to call said victor my dear friend Fabio aka Jud Birza.

I first met Jud in 2009 when I was searching for someone with the last name Benjamin or the first name Judd, so that we could marry and become either Benjamin Benjamin or Judd Judd like Brady Brady of SATC fame. While he was missing a D, he more than made up for it with another one and we fell into a quick love affair.

While we eventually broke up due to one of my deportations, I suggested Probst give him a chance to carry on Sandy’s legacy. And carry it he did. In my opinion.

Obviously all we could talk about was the iconic Elizabeth Olson and how if there is any justice in the world, she will be out victor. I mean, the cowboy hat, the shit eating grin and the knowledge that if anyone sees it, a team of interns of Sonia Morgan quantities will lose their jobs – this woman needs to win AND be the breakout character of the season.

Well, as far as we were concerned whilst smashing a tonne of Jud Beerza Battered Fries.

 

 

Super crispy on the outside, light and crispy on the inside, these are the most fun you can have with beer while cooking off the alcohol. Well, as well as Lucy’s balls obvi. Which reminds me, I need to watch Jud’s post-Survivor film …

Enjoy!

 

 

Jud Beerza Battered Fries
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1kg russet potatoes, cut into fries
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
375ml beer
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Place the cut potatoes into cold water and leave to sit for ten minutes or so. Drain and dry completely.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the beer until you’ve got a smooth, thickish batter.

Place the oil into a dutch oven until it is about 10 centimetres deep and and bring to 160C on a fry thermometer. Once at temperature, place a handful of potatoes in the oil at a time and cook until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to dry on kitchen towels.

Raise the temperature to 180C, dip the par-cooked fries into the batter and cook a few at a time for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to kitchen towel and repeat until done.

Sprinkle with kosher salt and devour, immediately.

 

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Lucille Meatballs in Beer Sauce

Main, Pasta, Snack

I was balls deep in this year’s Emmy Gold celebrations – after successful dates with Reets, Jackie-Boy and Chevs – when I was struck with a horrid feeling while driving away from Chevs’ … I’ve never documented a time-travel enabled date with the undisputed queen of television, Ms Lucille ma’ fuckin’ Ball.

Yes guys – how this kind of thing still comes as a shock to you, I will never know – I was a dear friend of Lucille Ball. I mean, probably even her best friend. The bestest.

I first met Lucille in the 30s while co-starring in the play Hey Diddle Diddle – where I was fired for diddling the director. While I was surrounded by scandal, Luce stood by my side and when the play was shut down after a week in DC, I escorted her to film the Too Many Girls which co-starred a friend of mine, Des.

Again, yes – of course it was me that introduced Lucy and Desi.

Anyway, given I wanted to see Luce at her best, I set the delorean for the ‘50s so we could catch up while they filmed a ep of I Love Lucy. It was such a joy to see them in a happy, successful time and it filled me with unending joy.

As this is the second date where I can’t reference the year, on account of the butterfly effect, I was left to run the odds all on my lonesome in the DeLorean. As she is the queen of comedy, I got to thinking about the female comedy awards. While I feel Pamela Adlon would prove an amazing person to end Jules’ streak, I can’t see anyone pipping her this year. Obviously Kate McKinnon is taking out supporting again, if only for her rendition of Hallelujah which made me cry for an hour.

Given that Luce was also the head of a production company – hallelu, desilu – I figured she’d be cool with me exploring the behind the cam odds. Donald Glover will win directing for a comedy, Jonathan Nolan (or the Duffer to hedge my bets) for drama, Don Roy King for SNL for Variety and Jean-Marc Vallée for Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.

Seriously – it was an action packed date, which called for an extremely special Judd family favourite – after Luce cooked it for us in the ‘70s – my Lucille Meatballs in Beer Sauce.

 

 

Moist, zingy and entirely sweet, these babies are the perfect thing to pop in your mouth while filling a hole … or catching up with a departed friend and running the odds in a defunct car.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lucille Meatballs in Beer Sauce
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 onion, grated
⅓ cup quick-cook oats
1 egg, lightly whisked
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tbs each of olive oil and butter
40g French onion soup mix
1 ½ cup beer
1 tbs brown sugar
1 pinch ground nutmeg
¼ cup sour cream
500g spiral pasta

Method
Combine the mince, onion, oats, egg and allspice in a bowl and scrunch to combine. Shape into walnut sized balls and allow to chill in the fridge for half an hour.

When raring to go, get a large pot of salted water on to boil and heat the oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat. Lightly fry the chilled balls in the hot, frothy liquid for a couple of minutes on each side, or until browned and glossy. Sprinkle with the soup mix and pour over the beer, stirring once the froth has subsided. Add the brown sugar, nutmeg and cook, stirring, for a further half an hour.

In that time, cook the pasta to packet instructions, drain and return to the pan with a small knob of butter. When the pasta is done and the balls cooked through, add the sour cream to the balls and stir to combine.

Serve the saucy, wet balls on a bed of buttered pasta … and devour.

 

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Alan Dale Sprouts

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Side, Snack

While Caleb Nichol is arguably the worst person to ever walk Orange County – barring all of the housewives, obviously – my dear friend Alan is as sweet as they could possibly come.

As you could probably guess from our down under connection – in both ways – I first connected with Alan in the mid-80s while working on the hit Australian soap Neighbours. Al was starring as Jim Robinson – stud of Ramsey Street – while I was working originally as the inspiration behind Mrs Mangel and eventually the character’s specific acting coach to ensure she was as awful as possible.

Despite the fact we were polar opposites – aka likeable and insufferable – Al and I quickly connected and became the best of friends, with me introducing him to his eventual wife Tracey (she was an ex-girlfriend of mine) and acting as Best Man Of Honour at their wedding.

With roles drying up for him in Australia – damn you type casting – I encouraged Al to take the leap and move to Hollywood. Thankfully it wasn’t long before I introduced him to Sorkin and his career took off.

I’d recently caught up with Al while he was back home filming Secret City (which FYI is actually pretty good) but sadly we were both to busy to take time out to reconnect over our favourite friendship feast of my Alan Dale Sprouts.

 

alan-dale-sprouts-1

 

So it may not be obvious given ale perfectly slots into dale … but these are beer and bacon fried brussels sprouts and they are freaking delicious. I promise.

Enjoy!

 

alan-dale-sprouts-2

 

Alan Dale Sprouts
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg brussels sprouts, ends removed and halved
200g pancetta, roughly chopped
1 shallot, finely sliced
375ml pale ale
pinch of dried chilli flakes
pinch of muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the pancetta and shallots for a couple of minutes.

Add the brussels sprouts and fry for about five minutes. Pour in the beer and add the chilli flakes and sugar and reduce for about ten minutes, or until it is a sticky glaze.

Season to taste, serve and devour.

 

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Beef and Keith N’Ale Pie

Main, Party Food, Pie, Snack, Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance

I was very sad to see Keith fall short of victory on Second Chances. As the affable, capable bloke that he is, he deserved to go far.

Ben and I first met Keith when we were scouting for the 1997 Shreveport Fireman’s Calendar. Obviously by scouting, I mean sneaking into the screening room and yelling smutty comments at some of the nation’s finest. I was mid disgusting sexual innuendo when in strolled a bastion of manliness and might – the glorious Keith Nale. I was so desperate to get Keith’s attention I made sure I wasn’t just looking hot that day, I was literally smokin’.

While setting myself on fire to get Keith’s attention was not my finest idea in hindsight, noble Keith rushed to the rescue and quickly put me out. A beautiful friendship, sadly non-sexual, has endured since that fateful day.

Now that Keith is back at Ponderosa, we are going to turn the heat up in the kitchen and cook something worthy of our old friend.

 

IMG_6656

 

The Beef and Keith N’Ale Pie literally has a heart of sweet, sweet bacon – dreamy and delicious, just like this fine man.

 

IMG_6663

 

Beef and Keith N’Ale Pie
Serves: 4

Ingredients
700g diced topside steak
4 tbsp plain flour
250ml dark ale
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small chillies, finely chopped
1.5 cups beef stock
1 brown onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
4 rashers streaky bacon
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 beaten egg for pastry wash
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and bacon. In a large saute pan, heat some oil and cook the chopped ingredients until starting to soften. Remove from heat.

Coat diced beef in flour and then brown in oiled saute pan in batches. Return all beef and vegetable/bacon mix to pan. Add garlic, chillies, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, stock and beer and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a pie dish and cover tightly with foil.

Preheat oven to 150°C. Bake for 90 minutes or until beef is tender and sauce is significantly reduced. Cover with thawed pastry and brush with beaten egg. Bake for additional 30 minutes until golden and puffed.

 

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