Patty Melt Cusack

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

Previously on Austra … hang on. The weather is miserable, Shonella aren’t playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the background and Shane Gould isn’t around to not be fucked with. It’s original flavour Survivor, with less cursed objects – though I did line-up some pizzas this season, so maybe that one will continue – and hopefully more excitement and blindsides. Oh and no more final four fire challenge. But enough with dreaming, Probst is on a boat with 20 people who are split into two tribes that I assume were named by Roma Downey after years of wearing down Tom Arnold’s nemesis Mark Burnett; David and Goliath. This season a tribe of bosses will battle with ten underdogs, and hopefully we aren’t swept up in a religious fever dream like Sophie in South Pacific.

We met the first David, Christian who is a total nerd, Elizabeth who is the country icon who flipped the bird on the cast photo and Pat who is big, burly and looks to be a total sweetheart. Who knows not to trust a book by its cover. They’re up against the Goliaths who include publisher and CEO Natalie – who is an icon – and Angelina loves all that comes with being a Goliath.

Anyway the two tribes converged on a barge with Probst and the Goliaths quickly realised that the cards are definitely in their favour when they saw the Davids rolling in. Probst confirmed their suspicions, announcing that this year’s theme is a battle of the privileged versus the underdogs. The David tribe were thrilled to be the underdogs, knowing they are instantly the favoured tribe for a decent narrative. We met Nick, who grew up poor in the south and fought tooth and nail to achieve his dreams of being a lawyer – public defender now – and on Survivor. Swoon. Gabby too was feeling her underdog roots, knowing the Goliaths can only fall while they are destined to rise.

The Goliaths however were quick to try and deflect from being labelled a Goliath, except for pre wrestler John, who knows he is a boss … though just wants to find himself and downplay his intelligence. Swoon. Allison was the most vocal to oppose the label, saying she worked hard from her upper-middle class family to follow in her father’s footsteps. Probst, the shady bitch, asked to hear about Pat’s upbringing, with him talking about living paycheque to paycheque, without even the option of going to get an education. She was pretty cool to stick with the Goliath label after that.

Wanting to get the bad blood brewing like Taylor Swift keeping control on her squad, Probst got the Goliaths to pick two people from each tribe to compete in a reward challenge. With Enlightened creator Mike White selecting Lyrsa and Christian, who he deemed Big Bang Theory in a moment of corporate synergy that made CBS beam. Lyrsa knew she was selected because she is tiny, a little chunky and stands out, while Christian was cool to be labelled the weakest. They then selected Allison and John, who are huge and look strong. To even things up, Probst gave the weakest peeps – sorry, allegedly Christian – the chance to pick the route each pair took to get to a giant shelter making kit. Obviously Lyrsa and Christian got out to a huge lead, almost finishing the second stage before Allison and John finished the first. Being Goliaths however, they caught up at the puzzle leaving a bat … nope, Christian is a genius, solving the puzzle in five seconds and snatching the kit for the underdogs. While it was impressive, Christian admitted it really wasn’t a fair fight as he had written algorithms for solving slide puzzles at uni, which he tried to explain in great detail and completely lost me.

We followed the Goliaths back to their tribe where Mike was feeling completely out of place as he isn’t as buff as the rest of the tribe, and is a nerdy Hollywood type. Dan and Natalia immediately gravitated to him, knowing that he looked familiar before he shared that he was a two-time Amazing Race contestant and completely neglected to mention School of Rock and the greatest show of all time, Enlightened. Have I mentioned I love Enlightened? Dan continued to make friends, sharing that while he is a babe now he used to be bigger and he put on a tonne of weight while working as a cop, though worked hard to lose weight to join the SWAT team. Natalie applauded him on looking fine and hot damn, I already love her. Speaking of love Dan and Kara bonded over Supergirl and the fact he named his dog Kara. She swooned, as did I when I saw his lycra pants. He was smarter though, knowing it was dangerous and hoped to downplay their bond.

Meanwhile over at the Davids, Pat was quick to take charge of the tribe and got everyone to split up tasks and work together while he leads them in building the shelter. Everyone seemed to be extremely cohesive, trusting Pat’s knowledge, laying foundations and weaving fronds for shelter. Sadly he started getting a bit too strong, shouting at Christian, making awkward jokes and generally frustrating the hell out of his tribe. Which will haunt him, once it is done.

Alec was trying to bring a bit of light to the tribe, knowing how difficult it is to build a shelter with only a machete to help. Natalie however was bringing some doom and gloom, bossing Natalia and the rest of the tribe around whilst worrying about having nothing in common with her tribemates.

Back at the David tribe Elizabeth was worried Pat was going to die as he leaned out of a tree with the machete. Jessica and Bi started to bond while weaving the roof of the shelter, wanting to lie about being 19. She then floated an alliance which Bi was into, as was Carl. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth and Lyrsa got a quiet moment in the jungle and bonded over being super different and wanted to align, as nobody would expect it. And just like that, Natalie is dropped and Lyrsa is my number two to Elizabeth. Lastly Gabby and Christian bonded over being insecure nerds – their words – and hot damn, they are in the lead to be my third and fourth.

John and Mike got together by the tribe flag and bonded over their fame and I assume, all the different nicknames or characters they’ve played. Natalie continued to lose friends and alienate people, as Natalia complained to Dan and someone else – first episode, don’t judge – about her not doing anything and bossing people around. Not wanting to leave her alone as a target, Mike went searching for an idol and was super obvious which immediately made people paranoid. We then met Jeremy who looks delightful in his jocks, while the tribe spoke about Mike being sketchy. Natalie went out to find Mike and warn him to pull his head in, which he vowed to knowing that he was hunting for an idol because he wanted it and now he needs to find it because he needs it.

The next day the rain started to drive in as the Davids worked tirelessly to finish their shelter and find some sort of relief. Elizabeth spoke about how they are instantly at an advantage, because they have grown up with adversity and that makes them fight harder and care for others more than their rivals would. While everyone work, Nick disappeared to try and reserve his energy slash avoid it. He then sidled up to Christian and Elizabeth to form alliances and then come up with names for said alliances. Meanwhile back at camp, Pat put the finishing touches on the shelter much to the delight of Carl who was proud of his hard work. And pissed by Nick’s lack of.

The Goliaths however weren’t as lucky, with no shelter and freezing. Not to be deterred Allison and Angelina got together by the well where Angelina suggested they go find the idol before Mike does and even the historic gender spill of idol ownership. Sadly for them, Mike was still working hard which then made Jeremy and Alec – swoon x 2 – go searching, followed by John, Natalie and Dan, who shared that the idol is in his pants. Oh and no, he isn’t talking about his penis. He was out searching for the idol with Kara and Natalia, and found the idol earlier that day and he was storing it in his pants.

The Davids were less interested about idols, though maybe that had something to do with Davie finding a huge octopus which they will be able to smash ahead of the upcoming immunity challenge. Davie shared that people will likely underestimate him, given he is a total blerd and was proud of himself. Jessica then started to break down on day two, upset about how her mum was in a domestic violence situation and she feels like she has left her alone and she has been responsible for her her entire life. Bi too spoke about the fact she had been in a domestic violence situation and encouraged Jessica that she saved her mum’s life, and she should be proud. Later that night, Nick decided to share that he has troubles opening up with people and wasn’t brave enough to share the fact his mum died of an overdose a couple of years ago earning the support and trust of his tribe. That made him feel like he has had a relief and has truly bonded with his tribe, potentially negating the fact he did shit all at the challenge.

By day three the cyclone had well and truly hit and the sea swelled and the rain pelted on the tribes as they arrived at their first immunity challenge. Each tribe would sprint through an obstacle before someone would dig under a log and chop a rope to release a ladder, with the second place tribe penalised and forced to release their ladder by untying knots. Each tribe would then ascend a platform and use a pole vault to leap to another before completing a puzzle. Carl got out to a huge lead while John and Pat focused on wrestling in the obstacle. Carl and Alec worked on the log, Alec quickly getting under and releasing the Goliath ladder. Things only got worse for the Davids from there as the Goliaths started working on the puzzle before they even got to the pole vault. Allison led the tribe through the puzzle, before Christian desperately started to call instructions in the hope of catching up. The rain started to pour while Allison screamed instructions to her tribe, securing immunity just before the Davids. Who were all cohesive and supportive of each other and I love that.

Well except for Lyrsa, who was planning on voting out Nick before even leaving the challenge. Out of nowhere however, the tribe were back at the challenge beach as Pat was stretchered off the boat in extreme pain, unable to see. Dr Joe and the team swarmed around him as Gabby broke down, worried about Pat as all she heard was a giant crack when they hit a giant wave when they were on a boat back to camp. Probst arrived to figure out what happened, with medical worried about the extent of his injury. As it became evident that he would be medevaced from the game, Pat begged them to allow him to stay while sobbing whilst sucking down oxygen in pain.

As the helicopter flew in, his tribemates started to breakdown and worried about his injury. When given the ok, they all rushed around and told him how much love they had for him and how their hearts are with him. Jessica hoped that he was still grateful for the experience as they were grateful for him and dammit, now I’m crying. Throw in Gabby’s guilt about misjudging him at first and I’m sobbing. Probst checked in with the tribe, with Jessica saying she feels like they just keep getting kicked down. Clearly feeling sorry for them, Probst cancelled tribal council and told them a flint would await them back at camp.

It honestly was one of the most heartbreakingly cruel exits up their with Wanda and Jonathan, and just below Queen Kourtney Moon who was at least medevaced for an ingame incident. Even more cruel, knowing that Pat is the one that inspired this year’s theme, worked like a boss around camp and was someone that you’d really just want to succeed in life. Given I have a messiah complex, I obviously went into full nurse mode – paging future healer tribe member – and ushered him back to health within a couple of days, in no small part thanks to the sustenance provided by my Patty Melt Cusack.

 

 

Now I must confess – not anything about my loneliness, or its potential to kill me – that the idea of patty melt used to disgust me. I mean, why wouldn’t I just have a burger or a toastie? One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, slapped myself repeatedly over the head like Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and realised how stupid I had been. A patty melt is perfection! Dripping cheese, a thick juicy patty and the addition of sweet, buttery onions? Swoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Patty Melt Cusack
Serves: 2-4, broken-back-ed people.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 slices white bread
8 slices American Cheese

Method
Combine the beef, Worcestershire, sriracha and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Divide into four, shape into patties, cover with cling and place in the fridge to chill while you work on the onions.

Melt a small lug of butter in a small saucepan or medium heat until foamy and sweat the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and golden. Add the muscovado, balsamic and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes, after which they should be sticky and glorious.

Heat a skillet over low heat and when nice and piping, add the patties and cook for a couple of minutes each side until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, and wipe the skillet clean.

To assemble, place a slice of cheese on four slices of bread, top each with caramelised onions, followed by the patty, the remaining cheese and the last slices of bread.

Melt another knob of butter in the skillet and fry the sandies on each side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, filled with boundless joy. Despite a major back injury.

 

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Marg Helgenberger Pizza

Burgers, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: The Gold Wing, Main, Snack

While I ventured into the pass to explore the male comedy nominees, I returned to the present – or went Back to the Future, if you will – to celebrate the Emmys with the iconic Marg Helgenberger.

Funnily enough, I didn’t meet Marg until she already had an Emmy to her name … on the set of The Larry Sanders Show. Yep – I met Marg through Garry Shandling. Talk about a small world, no?

Anyway, we became the fastest of friends and I decided she needed to be a bigger star. While it took me a couple of years to get there, I snagged her CSI and Erin Brockovich in the space of a year and I don’t mean to gloat, but that is a pretty big deal.

Marg was thrilled to finally drop by for a visit – talk about making it! – and even more more excited when she learnt it was in honour of the Emmys.

We laughed, we caught up and most importantly, we got to discussing the female drama and limited series noms. We both agreed that Sandra Oh will likely take Best Actress in a Drama, despite it being Claire Foy’s last shot. Marg felt Regina King would take the Limited Series gong, while I of course was backed Laura Dern. In arguably one of the most competitive categories of the night, we agreed that Thandie Newton will snatch Best Supporting Actress just over Yvonne Strahovski. And last but certainly not least, Judith Light will take Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series.

I knew there was only one thing to serve that would sustain us for the long deliberations, and that was my delicious Marg Helgenberger Pizza.

 

 

While I assume you thought I was going to go with a burg, I like to zag instead of zig … and serve a good old culinary-gangbang. I mean, how do you go wrong by throwing all the gloriousness of a burger, on a pizza base. The answer is, you can’t.

Enjoy!

 

 

Marg Helgenberger Pizza
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 base using Zsa Zsa’s recipe
250g beef mince
tomato sauce or paste
Italian herbs, to taste
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
2 pickles, sliced
American mustard, to taste
grated cheese, to top

Method
Prepare base as per Zsa Zsa’s recipe.

Preheat oven to 180°C and cook the mince in a frying pan over medium heat, forming into small meatballs as you go.

Spread the base with tomato paste and sprinkle over Italian herbs. Layer with onion, tomato, pickles and the mince. Drizzle with American mustard and sprinkle generously with grated cheese.

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

Serve and devour immediately.

 

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Chris McDouble

Burgers, Main, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the second tribe swap put a pin in the long-simmering Chris and Dom feud with Naviti dwelling Dom amassing a collection of real and fake idols, a legacy advantage and complete control of the tribe. He wielded said power and influence to fell the greatest player of the game – lol, though greatest villain in forever – Bradley, sending him out to Loser Lodge before the real game ever got started.

Bucking with tradition, we opened to Yanuya and Malolo boating their way to Naviti, with Kellyn thrilled about the potential damage she could do. The Navitians arrived at the beach to welcome the rest of the merge tribe and discovered a note leading them to the other side of the island for a feast. Kellyn was thrilled, Michael felt he could finally find his feet and Dom quickly got the upperhand on Chris, giving a rousing speech to the tribe. Which TBH could paint a target on his back if Chris’ rap wasn’t so grating.

Chris and his nip-slip – swoon, I’m back – hung in the shelter when he discovered a note hidden inside his buff directing him to go to tree mail. Once there he discovered that an idol was his … if he is willing to jump on a boat in the middle of the night and participate in a quick challenge at Ghost Island without anyone noticing. Given his extreme confidence, he was all in and I love it. Though that could be the gratuitous butt and nip shots talking.

Back at camp Kellyn reacquainted herself with Chelsea, Dom and Wendell with Dom quickly saying he is Naviti strong aside for Chris. Wendell however isn’t ready to cut Chris, instead wanting to take out Michael or Libby first before the tribe goes Trump v. Kim Jong Il. Wendell played the UN role and tried to diffuse the tension between Chris and Dom and while the latter was confident, the sua-vay Chris refused to give them anything, shut it all down and firmly locked Wendell in the pro-booting-Chris camp.

That night Chris snuck away from camp as the tribe slept, arriving at a lit – literally – Ghost Island where he discovered he would be playing for J.T.’s Game Changers immunity idol, though this time it was only good for one tribal council. The game is that he can pick bamboo shoots and extend its life by one tribal … or lose his vote at the next tribal. While he was successful the first round, he lost his vote on the second round finishing with only safety at the next tribal.

The next day Chris channelled Bradley and ordered his tribemates to wait on him hand and foot. While Dom worked to rally Libby and Jenna over to his side, Chris got to work on securing Angela, Des and Laurel to his side. Dom thinks Chris is a joke, Chris thinks he is great, Dom thinks Chris is annoying, Chris loves Chris. Libby and Jenna weighed up who was the biggest threat out of Dom, who is strong and strategic, and Chris who they felt was loyal and easy to manipulate. In any event, they were both just glad to finally have a piece of power. Though that could always blow-up in their face, I suppose.

My boy Probst finally made an appearance for the first individual immunity challenge where the tribe would be required to balance on a beam and balance an idol on a long, hard rod above their head. Almost immediately Jenna was out, followed by Donathan – neither reverse the Malolo curse. Des and Angela soon followed before Probst made the tribe move to the thinner section of the beam which spelt trouble for Sebastien. Everyone else made the final section, Domenick barely … followed by Michael, Chris, Laurel and Wendell, leaving Kellyn, Libby and Chelsea to battle for immunity. The other girls continued to struggle after Chelsea dropped until Libby couldn’t hold on any longer, handing Kellyn the first immunity individual immunity of the season.

Back at camp the scrambling finally kicked it into high gear, with Chris summoning everyone but Domenick and Wendell to the well to get water and figure out how to split the vote between them. While Dom’s allies Laurel and Donathan agreed to the plan, and Chris rationalised it was the safest move for everyone … I don’t see it happening that easily. Meanwhile Dom and Wendell discovered they were alone, strengthening their resolve to get rid of Chris with the latter planning to use his idol if needs be. Thankfully Donathan and Laurel went straight to Dom and filled him in on the plan, with Donathan advised Dom stays away from Libby and Jenna despite the fact he thinks he has an in with them. While they spoke, Wendell approached Jenna, Libby and Sebastien to stop following Chris and find another option. On the flipside, Kellyn, Des, Chelsea and Angela reconvened at the vacated well to discuss taking out Libby instead while everyone else splits the vote.

The newly formed Lavita tribe finally arrived at tribal – Chris for the first time – with Probst trying to get some drama and Donathan continuing to be adorable, talking about all the new friends he made with the merge. Sebastien was a bit stoned and then Dom, finally, brought the excitement, talking about his simmering feud with Chris. He outed his fake idol which I think he sold as real, and spoke about Chris holding a grudge for him disagreeing with his first day decision. Chris said he was annoyed by Dom targeting Angela, Wendell countered he tried to go for them first. Chris was happy to finally draw a line in the sand, Dom and Wendell spoke about the well incident, which Angela defended as just wanting to stick with the majority. While Dom was terrified, Libby spoke about the stakes being high though doesn’t appear to be overly concerned for her safety. Kellyn on the other hand was super grateful to have immunity and Chris was just following his gut.

Chris’ ‘no vote’ followed a series of mysterious votes and one of the most iconic voting confessional, with Donald Glover’s cousin Wendell destroying Chris and his supposed rap skills. When it came time for idols, Dom decided to get rid of his Sierra Dawn-Thomas legacy advantage. Ultimately it was unnecessary, as the votes rolled in for Chris and Libby, with King Chris sent from the game and straight to the jury with J.T.’s idol in his pocket. Definitely not reversing the curse.

Thankfully I managed to stifle my laughter before the Noble One arrived at Ponderosa to take his place as its King for the year. While he took his exit from the game with grace and humility, he got a few licks in about Domenick as we reconnected – we met each other when he asked to be mentored as a rapper – and he waited for his post-boot Chris McDouble.

 

 

Yes, it’s another copycat burger recipe … but be honest, can you ever get enough? Perfectly seasoned beef, mustard, pickles, ketchup, perfectly melted cheese and the zing of some onion – don’t fight it, make it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chris McDouble
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
4 Kirsten Bunst, halved
American mustard, to taste
ketchup, to taste
1 onion, finely diced, refreshed in iced water and drained
4 pickles, sliced
8 slices American Cheese

Method
Drain as much blood from the mince and scrunch in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and form into 8 even patties.

Heat a large skillet over high heat, reducing to low when scorching. Lightly toast the halved buns before cooking the patties for a couple of minutes. Flip the patties and cook for a further minute.

To assemble, smear the top half of the bun with ketchup and the bottom half with mustard. Place onion in the ketchup on the top and layer pickles on the bottom, place a patty on the bottom top with cheese, a second patty and a second piece of cheese. Close with the ketchupy-oniony bun and devour.

 

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Chicktina Big McDonald

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, Tyra and Co celebrated pride. Well, except for Liberty who was struggling with the culture shock since she is used to the bias against gay people in her community. Christina continued to create drama and Brendi K was overwhelmed by the thought of representing her community. The models posed with Drag Race royalty – Manila, Katya and Valentina – where Khrystyana slayed, and Kyla and Liberty bombed, with Liberty ultimately sent back to her small-minded community. Hopeful to change minds.

The models returned from panel where Erin contemplated slipping Khrystyana a little something to bring her back in line with the other girls. JK, Kimora – Erin is a saint and would never do that. Kyla reflected on the humbling experience of landing in the bottom two before she accidentally bumped into Brendi K, setting off some mild rage before stewing in her sadness. Thankfully Christina was on hand to give some solid advice about Brendi maybe just stopping being poor and not being offended by the judges critiques.

It is hella meaningful, since Christina is so good with human interaction.

Erin, Rio and Jeana took time out by the spa to talk about their lives, their choices and how people view their modelling dreams. Erin then broke down about her ex, who she left while he was dying from cancer … WHICH IS WAY TOO HEAVY FOR A MODELLING SHOW.

Tyra Mail arrived the day announcing that this week, everyone would be getting manicures. Thankfully Tyra arrived to offer some clarity … no, nope, no clarity. She just wanted a manicure and to spill some tea. Once again Christina proved adept with human interaction, sharing that she was trying to open up to the girls and form bonds. Then she shared a sad story about her dad’s heart stopping, being put into an induced coma and the fact he should have died. To reiterate, TOO DAMN HEAVY FOR TOP MODEL. Give me a booty tooch while smizing.

Ty-Ty continued to act as Oprah with Kyla sharing her nerves about being in the bottom, Sandra and Erin spoke about never wanting to be a part of a nude shoot and Khrystyana spoke about being molested. Once again and I know I sound like a broken record, THIS IS WAY TOO HEAVY FOR A MODELLING SHOW. Won’t someone bring Tiffany back to get yelled at? Thankfully for Sandra and Erin, Tyra wasn’t going to make them face their fears instead this week’s raw shoot is actually just make-up free … while being cradled by the hands of the other models.

Christina seemed to be in her head throughout the shoot, Brendi K felt the process was cathartic, Kyla put the judge’s’ advice into action and Khrystyana’s soul was captured by Tyra. While we didn’t really see much, it seemed like literally everyone nailed it.

The next day, the models met Drew and Director X to film videos standing up to bullying with the winning one forming part of a National Crime Prevention Council campaign. The models split into three groups, with Brendi K electing to work with sworn nemesis Christina and Shanice as the referee, while Erin, Rio and Jeana, and Khrystyana, Kyla and Sandra were the less dysfunctional groups. Stacey McKenzie arrived to provide advice to the girls while filming the commercial, with Christina wasting no time to bringing up her experiences being bullied in the house. Obviously without naming names.

We were then treated to a screaming montage while the models filmed their videos, and once again, it was way too emotional to actually throw any shade at. All the videos were powerful, well maybe not Christina, Shanice and Brendi K’s, with Kyla, Sandra and Khrystyana’s ultimately taking out victory.

At panel, Kyla received universal praise, as did Sandra, and Shanice … and Brendi K. Khrystyana shared her experience being molested, and explained it fed her release in the photo which was perfection. Hold up, literally everyone was beautiful and their photos received universal praise. Well except for Erin, whose face was completely covered by her hair and Christina who once again argued with the judges, making Tyra question whether she is in the competition to learn or get attention. For the first time in Top Model history, Brendi K, Jeana, Khrystyana, Kyla, Rio, Sandra and Shanice tied for best photo, really putting salt on the wounds of Erin and Christina who really had it driven home to them, that their photos were balls. Despite arguably having the worst photo – wait no, Tyra said it was definitely worse – Erin was saved, while Christina was eliminated because of her bad attitude and the fact she isn’t willing to learn.


Make no mistake, Christina continued to rail against the judges and her fellow models by the time she met up with me backstage, and despite being a lifelong friend … all I could do to shut her up, was smack a Chicktina Big McDonald into her gob.

 

 

The Chicken Big Mac has been a hallowed thing popping up on Aussie Maccas menus for the last year or so. Essentially, it is our McRib. And this little number is as close as you can get, when they aren’t trying to lure your into stores. Crispy chicken, the tang of mac sauce, pickles, cheese and iceberg? I damn near creamed my shorts just thinking about it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicktina Big McDonald
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
1 egg
1 cup water
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp French dressing
1 tbsp sweet gherkin relish
1 onion, finely minced – ½ for the sauce, ½ for the burgers
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder, plus a pinch for the patties
8 slices American cheese
pickles, thinly sliced
4 sesame seed Kirsten Bunst
iceberg lettuce, chopped

Method
Place the chicken mince in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Divide into eight patties and place in the fridge to set for at least an hour. While you’re refrigerating things, combine the sauce ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

Beat the egg and stir with the water in a large, shallow bowl and combine the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder and a pinch of garlic powder in a second bowl.

Grab the patties out of the fridge and coat each with the flour mixture, remove and dredge each filet in the egg mixture, before coating in the flour mix again. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for an hour.

Remove and repeat the flour and dredging process again and leave to rest for about ten minutes.

Heat a generous lug of oil in a large frying pan, I mean crazy generous but not enough to technically consider it shallow frying as you know it scares me. Cook the patties for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until light brown and crispy.

Combine the mayo, French dressing, sweet gherkin relish, half the onion, white vinegar, sugar, smoked paprika and garlic powder in a small bowl with a good season, stir and place in the fridge to chill.

To assemble, cut each bun in three and place the base on a plate. Smear generously with special sauce, top with a pinch of the reserved chopped onion, add the lettuce, top with a slice of cheese and a chicken pattie, followed by the middle of the bun. Then smear with more sauce, top with onion, lettuce, a few pickle slices, cheese – because I believe it needs two slices – a chicken pattie and the top of the bun.

Smoosh as thinly as you can and devour, greedily.

 

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Bento Driebergen Box

Burgers, Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, 18 strangers were stranded in Fiji before Katrina, Simone and Patrick were sent packing before the triple H’s were split into three new tribes. After the little switch, Alan, Roark and Ali found themselves on the wrong side of the numbers. At the merge, sweet Jessica found herself becoming the final pre-juror before Desi, Cole, JP, Joe, Lauren, Ashley, Mike and Devon found their way to the jury, and they vote Ryan and Chrissy as the runner-ups of the season.

Ben got an absolute roasting from the jury when they spoke about how he outwitted and outplayed the rest, seemingly giving up after being the underdog for the last few weeks of the game.

When it came time for Ben to wrap up his game, he spoke about being involved in booting each member of the jury as they were hurdles to his victory. That of course puzzled everyone, as Mike was booted thanks to Devon throwing a vote as insurance, Ashley would have been booted no matter how Ben voted. Mike called bullshit and asked him why he should win, rather than why he booted them. Joe then used the d-word – disappointed – as he said that for someone that had their back against the wall since day one, he seems to have given up. He then spoke about overcoming PTSD and broke down, earning back some respect from the jury … enough to secure five votes and hand him the title of Sole Survivor.

While you could argue about the ease with which Ben found idols and then, when they were no longer valid, was saved by a new last-minute twist, he evidently did enough to convince the jury that he was the most deserving player. Plus – his ability to fool everyone when playing the double agent was amazing and truly changed the course of the game.

That alone is worthy of a Bento Driebergen Box.

 

 

First up, yes, I am aware that this is not served in a bento box but the principles remain the same … so just stay quiet ok? In any event, these babies are delicious so use your imagine if you’re concerned about it. I mean, how do you go past bacon, beef, sweet potato fries and some delightful aioli – and dare I say it, all the fixin’s – in any combination you want.

Congratulations on a game well played Ben and to everyone at home, enjoy!

 

 

Bento Driebergen Box
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into matchsticks
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
8 slices streaky bacon
1 onion, roughly diced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 slices high-melt American cheese, cut into quarters
1 tomato, thinly slice
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
4-8 pickles, sliced
4-8 mini Kirsten Bunst, split open
Coolaioli, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the sweet potato on a lined baking sheet and toss through some extra virgin olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes or so, or until crisp and golden.

Combine the mince in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper until well combined. Form into 16 balls and flatten to form small patties. Place on a lined baking sheet with the bacon and cook them all together for fifteen minutes, or until the mini-patties are just cooked through.

Heat a lug olive oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion over medium heat, or until soft and sweet. Add the sugar and muscovado, and caramelise for about five minutes. Remove from heat.

Now to serve you could use an actual bento box to help the name of the recipe make sense … but where is the fun in that? So scatter everything into tiny mounds on a plate, assembling as you see fit as you eat with your hands … like a toddler. One man’s bento is another man’s deconstructed slider. Either way, they’re good for devouring.

 

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Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger

Bread, Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the final three battled it out in front of the jury to explain why they outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the rest. While Ryan tried his darndest to explain how dominant his social game was, the jury didn’t buy it and he landed in third place with only Devon’s vote.

Chrissy, of course, dominated her speech about outlasting everyone else – seamlessly weaving from talking about being an underdog, kicking ass in challenges, making genuine connections and playing a solid game that was both heroic and didn’t leave a trail of destruction like Ben.

She then spoke about mother’s being the ultimate heroes, always putting people first and being the heroes, healers and hustlers of their families … and that she would be the ultimate ambassador for their season. Despite the fact she completely nailed the final tribal speech and played an extremely strong game, she only managed to secure Ashley and Mike’s votes and finished in second place.

You could argue that without her so called advantage on day 38, Chrissy would have been crowned the sole survivor and be a million dollars richer. Whatever the case, that didn’t happen and she was stuck in the finals with Ben, who was able to convince them that being an underdog was enough to secure him the victory.

In any event, Chrissy played a killer game and truly did dominate the game from day one and was more than worthy of a delicious Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger.

 

 

A little bit sweet, a shit tonne of spice and the juiciest pork and crispiest skin work together to create a killer burg. And that is before you even add Slawren Rimmer to the mix, which truly elevates it to greatness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
750g pork belly, skin scored in a 1cm-wide crosshatch
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
125g palm sugar, shaved
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 red chilies, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 Kirsten Bunst
Coolaioli, to serve
Slawren Rimmer, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Place pork belly on a rack over a roasting pan and pour 1L freshly boiled water over the skin to open up the hatch. Combine the pepper, chilli, salt and oil in a bowl and rub into the freshly opened skin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours, or until tender. Once it is cooked through, crank the temp to 240°C and cook for a further ten minutes or so, or until the skin is very crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the pork is resting, chuck the palm sugar and ⅛ cup water in a medium heavy-based saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rapidly boil and cook, with minimal stirring because I can’t judge, for about five-ten minutes, or until it just starts to caramelise. Remove from the heat and whisk, carefully because it is hot as balls and will splatter, in the juice and fish sauce, chillis, ginger, garlic and zest. Set aside to cool.

Cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices. Split and toast the buns, smear each half with aioli, place a small mound of slaw on top, add a couple of slices of pork, drizzle with some chilli caramel and devour.

 

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Zinggy Burger

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Burgers, Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara finally realised that my dear Locky needs to go if she has any shot at the end. She then discovered some lollies to sweeten the deal with Ziggy to flip, joining literally everyone else to get rid of Locky. Sadly for them – and great for my hope he’ll give us buns again – he then won immunity, causing everyone to scramble leading to (self-proclaimed) King Luke to exit the game and give someone else some screentime.

Jericho was devastated when he returned to camp, though harking back to his first confessional vowed to bring chaos to the tribe. He then went in for Tara, telling Locky all of her plans to turn on him to get further. Locky felt it sounded true – because it is – so pulled Tara aside to clear the air. While she seemed to get herself out of the mess, Locky still seemed paranoid.

The next day Ziggy replaced Luke as the manic person that oft appears to be a junkie, as she reminded us that she and Tara are the lolly bandits. She then spoke about getting a hit and the fact it is constantly on her mind which makes me extremely concerned for her welfare. Are we getting a sugar crash medevac tonight?

Tara continued to try and do damage control at camp, while a sadly clothed Locky told us he was still feeling anxious about what Jericho said, despite believing Tara. He then told us all how he was dominating the game, and I didn’t love the look on him. To put his mind at ease, Locky and Ziggy caught up in the jungle, with Ziggy convinced that Tara wasn’t flipping on them … because, sugar rush? YAAAAAAAHHHHH.

Oh wait, sorry, sugar-junky Ziggy made me forget she was completely onboard with getting rid of Locky.

Given the fact Locky was still feeling uneasy, he tried to forge a connection with Jericho to break the alleged 3-3 split. For the second time this episode, Jericho appeared to be smarter than I gave him credit for, barely humouring Locky and throwing some epic shade in his confessionals. I mean, I don’t want to like him, but the sass is glorious.

Sensing defeat, Locky moved on to Michelle who proved that she is truly the biggest threat left in the game, because if she makes it to the end, she would Kristie the shit out of the questions. His attempt to woo her quickly became a fight, gaining the attention of Jericho and Pete with the latter deciding he needs to reconnect with Tara and pull her in to get rid of Locky or Ziggy. But let’s be honest, Locky is winning immunity again, right? Otherwise we are Alecia Holden-ing our way straight from immunity, to tribal council.

Putting me out of my misery JoJo returned for said immunity challenge which required everyone to keep their balls in the air … by keeping a single ball spinning within a circular track. As quickly as it started Michelle was out, followed by Tara as the rain arrived to give us some JLP wet T-shirt action. I mean, if he keeps this up, Locky is expendable. Oh Ziggy then dropped out, followed by Jericho leaving the hopes of the tribe weighing on Pete’s shoulders. Sadly for him, the weight became too much and Locky once again took out immunity and crushed the hopes and dreams of the tribe.

Side note: how good did JLP’s nips look while handing the necklace back to Locky?

Back at camp everyone was pissed, with Tara particularly concerned about his immunity run continuing and the fact she needs to fashion a plan B. Meanwhile Pete already had his plan B lined up, deciding that Ziggy needs to go as she is the second biggest threat left in the game. Tara was not sold on this, rationalising that Ziggy is the best person to end Locky’s immunity run. Tara took the Ziggy plan back to Ziggy and Locky to see what they should do, with Locky wanting to target Michelle and bully someone into flipping with them for fear of going to rocks.

Locky tried to work his magic on Jericho and Pete to spook them into flipping rather than playing rocks, with both of the boys hilariously preferring to go to rocks and put their game to chance rather than voting with Locky. Pete then pulled Tara aside to run through the competing plans, trying to sway Tara to their side to avoid rocks.

They arrived at tribal council where the tribe struggled to pretend to be happy about Locky’s hat trick. Jericho threw some light shade, Pete admitted he wanted Locky to lose so they could vote him out, Tara gave a better acting performance pretending she doesn’t want Locky out, Ziggy said she wished she had immunity before Michelle brought some excitement to the festivities. Channelling Ciera ‘she voted out her MOM’ Eastin, she then announced that the vote is currently deadlocked and that they will be voting for Ziggy. Pete then joined the fray, promising Tara that they will stick with her if she flips to their side to get rid of Ziggy. Locky and Ziggy tried their best to talk Tara back but Michelle and Pete went in hard, tag-teaming her – not in a good way – until she had a throbbing headache as she joined them in sending Ziggy to the jury … with an extra large side of shade.

I don’t want to say Steph Rice is a jinx, but it is hard to ignore the fact that she kicked off a hat trick of my catch-ups with my favourite female aquatic Olympians. It really should come as no shock that I worked for the AIS coaching the Australian water polo teams how to be extremely aggressive and rip off their rivals’ swimmers. While I far preferred working with the men’s team – for obvious reasons – I quickly bonded with Zigs and we became the fastest of friends.

While Zigs was disappointed when she arrived at the jury villa, she was thrilled to see me – one of her favourite people – waiting to give her a hug and huge platter of my Zinggy Burger.

 

 

Tragically this recipe arrived two episodes late to coincide with the popcorn chicken alliance as it is my blatant rip-off of KFC’s Zinger Burger, which totally ruin my plans to sell myself as a psychic. As I oft say when making Burgers or Pizza, there is nothing better than a homemade version – succulent chicken, a big kick of heat and a crunch that could burst an eardrum, these babies are perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Zinggy Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp rice flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 cup corn flakes, crushed
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup vegetable oil
4 Kirsten Bunst
4 slices high-melt cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup iceberg lettuce, sliced
Kent Nelsonion Rings, to serve

Method
Combine the Worcestershire, chilli and mustard powders and a good whack of salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

When the chicken in almost done, combine the flour, cornstarch, rice flour, baking powder, egg and milk in a bowl. Combine the corn flakes, bread crumbs and teaspoon of salt in a second bowl.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, dip in the batter, followed by the coating and place on a plate. Cover and return to the fridge to chill for a hour.

Once that is done, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once sizzling, add the chicken fillets and fry for about five minutes each side, flipping once, or until golden and crisp.

Split the buns, smear the mayo on the bottom, top with lettuce, followed by the fillets and topped with some cheese and a little extra mayo. Close the burger and devour, like an Olympic champion.

 

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Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton

Burgers, Main, Side, Snack

After the highs of the Emmys and the lows of being reminded that intolerance is still alive and real, it was such a joy to reconnect with my dear friend slash ex-lover Blue and see what he and his beautiful family are up to.

I first met Blue while working together at Warner Music Group and love quickly blossomed. While it sadly didn’t work out for us romantically in the long run – he is too damn nice and couldn’t overlook my rage blackouts and scams – it slowly turned into a dear friendship.

A couple of years after our breakup, I visited Blue while on holidays and decided to set him up with a friend of mine. Cut to a few years later, he and Matt are married and fathers to a beautiful little boy. You’re welcome, both Blue and members of the public that get to watch them on social media.

Anyway – Blue answered my hysterical calls asking for some emotional support while working through the homophobia incited by the Australian government, jumped in the car and met me in L.A. to talk through the pain and catch-up.

While I was a mess when he arrived, he quickly cheered me up reminding me that the world is not that bad a place and our community is stronger than a vocal minority empowered by an ineffective government. Plus – he reminded me that our best friends’ meal is a Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton and that is all the repayment he needs for supporting me.

 

 

It is no secret that I love me a burger, and this is up there with my faves. The huge whack of blue cheese, mixed with the glorious bacon and the sweet onions? I just came a little while thinking about them.

Enjoy!

 

 

Blue Cheeseburger Hamilton
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter and olive oil
4 onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
500g beef mince
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
8 rashers of streaky bacon
4 Kirsten Bunst
200g blue cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat the butter and oil in a medium frying pan, adding the onions when the butter is nice and foamy. Reduce heat to low and sweat for about half an hour, stirring to avoid them sticking. Once they are really soft, crank the heat to medium and add the balsamic, muscovado and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are sticky. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Meanwhile combine the mince, garlic, yoghurt, Worcestershire and a heaped tablespoon of caramelised onions and scrunch with your hand to combine. Form into four patties and chill in the fridge for about half an hour.

When you’re ready to eat, heat a lug of olive oil on a griddle over medium heat and cook the patties for a couple of minutes each side. Transfer to a plate and cook the bacon for a couple of minutes each side before transferring to a plate.

Split the buns – my favourite pastime – and lightly toast them on the grill before getting down to assembly. Place a dollop of caramelised onions on the base of the burger, followed by the patties, then the bacon and a good crumble of blue cheese – I obviously used more than blue cheese – before devouring.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.