Victoria Scones

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were challenged to become fitness instructors for Ru’s new business Dragoton. Which is awks, given Victoria busted her knee and was now forced to participate in physical activity. Something I find offensive on a good day. Elektra and Vanity were way ahead of the rest of the dolls in their team, while last week’s winner was terrified by the idea of a performance challenge. Thankfully Krystal overcame her lack of confidence to take out another victory, while Vanity and Elektra were forced to battle to survive before pocket-rocket Elektra was sent home.

Oh and then Victoria was summoned to the front of stage as Ru announced that her knee needs further medical investigation and as such, she would be pulled out of the competition temporarily before the doctors would decide whether it was safe for her to continue.

Backstage the dolls toasted Elektra’s killer lip sync, with Vanity admitting that while she deeply loves her, she was never not going to fight. And the rest of the queens best beware should they land in the bottom against her. As the girls split up to chat, Choriza checked in on Victoria who was desperate to continue to fight through the pain and make the most of the opportunity. After throwing some shade at Krystal’s fat shaming, talk turned to the gag that Charity avoided lip syncing with Scarlett admitting to being surprised while Veronica told her to just get out of her head and continue to fight.

The next day the dolls sans Victoria returned to figure out if there is anything Krystal can’t do, with her admitting that she was bricking it during the last challenge and as such, she planned to brick it for the rest of the season. Did I mention I love the phrase bricking it and thus included this pointless moment just to say bricking it? Bricking it.

Tragically, it was at that moment that Ru interrupted the dolls to announce that Victoria was officially out of the competition, much to the shock and disappointment of the rest of her sisters.

Thankfully I accompanied her to the hospital and while she was bitterly disappointed to be out of the competition, I assured her that her short stint would already have the world falling in love with her. Plus, Ru will totally have her back next season and if I have my way, she will become our first AFAB entrant in the Winner’s Circle. With that, I gave her a hug, dried her tears and we ate our feelings in the form of some Victoria Scones.

Ok, ok – this recipe is kind of a cop-out given you always have scones with jam and cream. But to that I say, I totes dusted them with icing sugar so they truly do look like baby Victoria Sponges. So, be grateful. I mean, I was so damn heartbroken to learn Victoria was Scone, so I could think straight.

Enjoy!

Victoria Scones
Serves: 2 dear friends or 6-8 peeps, greed dependent.

Ingredients
3 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter, cubed
1 ¼ cups milk
1 cup Raspberry Jam
600ml cream, whipped
½ cup icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Now following the Lisa Wilkinscone recipes exactly, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles wet sand.

Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk and using a butter knife, cut across the bowl until just combined. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, making sure not to overwork the dough.

Flatten the dough until it is roughly 2cm thick and cut into small, cookie-sized discs. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and puffed. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To assemble, slice each scone in half, top with a dollop of jam, followed by a dollop of cream and the top of each scone. Dust with icing sugar before devouring, as your melancholy washes away.


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Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Brad grew paranoid of his ally JD and how quickly things flipped at their first tribal council. Tiffany meanwhile was exhausted on Yase, leaving Xander plenty of free time to find the aware advantage – aka the three-way idol that is only powered if everyone says the same weird phrases at the same immunity challenge. Sadly for him, he was the only person that found one meaning it was powerless and he lost his vote. Oh and then Yase lost immunity again thanks to Tiffany struggling badly in the challenge. Despite this, it came down to the boys and while Evvie continued to explain Xander’s idol was powerless, Tiffany convinced them to boot sweet Voce instead.

The next morning Liana awoke bright and early, regretting the choice to get rid of Voce – I think – given it could cost her the game if the tribe continues their losing streak. As she tended to the fire, she missed an advantage sitting right next to her. Thankfully, Tiffany woke up not much later and found it under the watchful eyes of Evvie and Liana. As such, she beckoned them to follow her down to the beach where she learnt that later that night a boat would arrive to take her to another island where she would be faced with a choice. The failure to get on said boat would cost her her vote at the next tribal council. Which she was obviously thrilled about, while Liana questioned whether missing it will cost her the game.

Meanwhile over at Ua, JD was bonding with Genie, Ricard and Shan while Brad got up and started tending to camp. Thankfully for him, as the tribe partied together, he found the same advantage that Tiffany got and as such, the King and Queen of chaos are destined for a twilight meet-up and damn, I am excited! We then jetted over to Luvu where Sydney was telling the tribe that Naseer pulled her aside last night and suggested getting rid of Danny, while poor Naseer sat alone at camp. Breaking my damn heart, given he is so sweet and joyous. Thankfully he apologised to everyone and while everyone seemed great, Sydney was still very much against him. And then grabbed the hidden advantage in front of the tribe to avoid Heather or Naseer grabbing it.

We returned to Ua where JD was wandering around, searching high and low for a hidden immunity idol to add to his collection of advantages. Given he was struggling, he decided that someone else must have found it and then listed why every other person in the tribe had it. As the tribe reconnected, we learnt that Brad and Genie had found the idol together but half an hour earlier and while Queen Genie was disappointed to not be the owner of the idol, she was glad her closest ally had it. Brad started to feel guilty that their other ally Shan wasn’t in the know, so pulled her aside and let her know about the madness of the three-way idol before gagging her with the knowledge of his OTHER advantage. And while she pretended to be excited for him, she was also concerned about his growing power.

That night, Brad built a body out of supplies on the beach so that people would think he was sleeping away before he ventured out on his boat trip. While Tiffany and Sydney weren’t as elaborate with their escapes, they did meet him on a new island where they learnt that they would have to select themselves a tarp or ‘a steal a vote’. And like the other dilemma, if they all select the tarp they all get a tarp but if they all choose the ‘steal a vote’, they all lose their vote at the next tribal council. And then if the decision is split, those that choose tarp get nothing while the others get the ‘steal a vote’. Tiffany quickly suggested they all agree that one of them gets the ‘steal a vote’, while the others get nothing which made Sydney very nervous about her. After they discussed back and forth, they all made their decisions in private and returned back to camp.

The next day, Tiffany and Sydney learnt that they were empty handed while Brad was delighted to find his steal a vote. Which is the outcome Sydney was hoping for.

The tribes reconvened with Jeffrey for the latest immunity challenge where they had to swim out and cross a rope bridge over the water, run to shore, dig up sandbags and toss them on small shelves. Oh and the winning tribes also get a fruit platter. After Brad and Xander offered up their idol phrases, they sadly discovered that they were missing their third partner and they were now both without their votes. Deshawn got Luvu out to an early lead before Shan pipped him on the rope bridge and gave Ua the lead. The tribes continued to trade out the lead while Xander desperately tried to close the gap for Yase. Eventually all of the tribes caught up when it came to tossing the sacks, which proved to be Tiffany’s secret skill as she landed the first one for Yase. Xander quickly landed another two, while Deshawn tried to close the gap. Ua then got in on the action and landed a few but it was all for nought as Luvu took out immunity followed by Xander snagging a victory for Yase, sending Ua to tribal council.

Back at camp the tribe tried to process their loss, while Brad was more frustrated by the fact his idol isn’t powered and as such, he doesn’t have his vote and nor can he play any advantages. A factoid we only just learnt. JD ventured off to go to the bathroom before returning with his extra vote visible. As such, Shan and Ricard pulled him aside to give him the chance to come clean but given they forced his hand, neither of them really trusted him. The duo then caught up and discussed the merits of getting rid of either JD or Brad since they are both untrustworthy, though they argued that the latter does contribute more around camp. Knowing he was screwed, JD apologised to Shan and offered up the extra vote for her to mind until later to the game. We then learnt that Shan felt emotionally connected to both of the boys and as such, she is even more confused about what is the right decision for her game.

At tribal council Shan spoke about how disappointed she was to be back at tribal council while JD quickly took responsibility for their loss in the challenge. Ricard admitted that he is already at the point of the game where he would rather vote based on his allegiances rather than strength, while Genie was concerned she was getting his vote given she voted for him last week. Though wasn’t overly concerned, given she has a solid alliance. Brad spoke about the importance of building trust, which JD jumped on and assured them that while they may not trust him at the moment, he hopes to win back the trust. Brad reminded them that things always look up after tribal council as the joy of surviving comes to them. JD spoke about how Survivor gave him his confidence and built him up to the man he is today and ugh, the way Brad watched on with pride was just too precious.

With that the tribe voted and powerless, poor Brad was gagged to find himself booted from the game. But more importantly, does this mean that Xander will never get to stop talking about his dead flying relatives?!

But that is a question for another time, because as soon as I saw Brad wander into Loser Lodge, I pulled him into my arms and started to cry over his loss. You see, I’ve known Brad for years after hitchhiking my way across America working as a ranch hand in the hopes of finding my own Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. While I was tragically unsuccessful, Brad took me under his wing and tried to make me into a decent person, often looking on with the same pride he looked at JD with. The results may have been hit and miss, but he was always proud of me when I whipped out a batch of Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

There is no better combination than peanut butter and chocolate, a fact best proven by these little numbers. Smooth, chewy peanut butter, mixed with sharp, rich chocolate? I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

Brad Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
Serves: 2 dear friends, makes 36.

Ingredients
1 cup smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp unsalted butter 
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
500g melting chocolate

Method
Combine the peanut butter, butter and muscovado sugar in a saucepan and cook, stirring over medium heat until melted. Bring to a gentle boil before removing from the heat and folding through the icing sugar. Stirring until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to chill.

Line 36 mini-muffin holes with paper patties. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and salt together until smooth and shiny. Immediately pour a tablespoon into each muffin cup and swirl to cover the base.

Take the chilled peanut butter mixture out of the fridge and roll into 1 teaspoon sized thick discs. Pop one in each of the muffin cups, top with the remaining chocolate and transfer to the fridge to set.

Remove from the pattie liners and devour, joyously.


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Elektra French Onion Gem Bake

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK, 12 new dolls arrived in the Werk Room ready to slay the game and join the pantheon of UK Ru girls. To help the judges get to know them, the queens were tasked with serving two looks on the runway – one selling home town and the other, their favourite things. Ru gagged the dolls by making Victoria and Krystal lip sync for the win with the latter ultimately taking out the first victory of the season. On the flipside, Elektra and Anubis found themselves in the bottom with Anubis following in the footsteps of her fellow Brighton queen Joe Black, going out as the first boot.

The dolls returned to the Werk Room, gassed and shell shocked to have lost their first sister. And rightly acknowledged that Brighton is officially a cursed city for Drag Race UK. After Elektra climbed on to the desk to wipe off the message, we learnt that Victoria disappeared to see a doctor about a knee injury from the lip sync for the win. As the dolls kikied, Krystal shared how thrilled she was to take out the first win while Elektra vowed to never bottom again. Before clarifying, on the show. Victoria thankfully returned and explained while her knee was busted, at this stage, she would still be able to continue in the competition as long as she takes it easy   the next couple of days. Oh and fun fact, Kitty’s tits are as heavy as Krystal’s badge.

The next day Krystal was feeling her oats even more, confident that it won’t be her last victory in the competition. While Veronica was left to wonder how someone with such a tiny head could also have such a big one? The dolls congratulated River on her charming runway performance saving herself from the bottom, while Victoria told them that while she has to stay off her feet as much as possible, she will still turn it out. So beware.

They were interrupted by Ru, who arrived and put Krystal to task playing a game called ‘Rupermarket Sweeps’ where she would find superlatives amongst grocery items before handing them out to her fellow queens. First up, she identified Victoria as the biggest competition – denying she was threatened and only gave it to her due to her size – followed by River as having the worst taste, Ella as the trade of the season and Veronica as out of date. But not to worry Veronica, she thinks Elektra will be the next one to go.

With that out of the way – along with the casual fat shaming of Victoria – Ru announced that this week, the dolls would be put to work at Ru’s new fitness business – Dragoton. Choriza, Vanity, Elektra Fence were tasked with leading a spin class, Krystal, River, Veronica and Kitty will be working out their (exercise) balls, leaving Charity, Victoria, Scarlett and Ella to do a little mummy and me class. But always making it drag, obviously.

As the dolls split up into their groups, Veronica read Krystal for being a bit too harsh in her reads but encouraged everyone to put it all aside and embrace the fact they are all vastly different and make that an advantage for their werk out routines. Ella meanwhile felt typecast as a yummy mummy/trade of the season and was confident she and Victoria will lead the group, given they are trained dancers. Elektra was so excited by the challenge she was spitting on herself, while Choriza was just going to wing it and lean into the comedy given she was paired with two killer dancers. And has zero skills.

Mama Ru made her ruturn, immediately making Kitty nervous about how to act. As she watched on quietly, Veronica and River were shady about Krystal in their kiki with the latter admitting that she is ready to go with the pose every week if it takes her to the end. Kitty finally found her voice, and suggested she should have been the trade of the season and had Ru in hysterics. Which made her tell Ru to shut up, essentially. Oh and Krystal was nervous about the challenge. Up next were team yummy mummy, with Victoria doubling down on being a legit threat and was glad that she had the girls on her side, before we learnt Charity’s accent game is weak at best. Rounding out the chats, Choriza was charming as always while Elektra vowed to turn it out this week, given it plays to her strengths and ugh, that always makes me nervous. Very, very, very, very nervous.

As Ru left, the queens ventured to the mainstage to meet Oti Mabuse to get the choreography down. Or in Victoria’s case, she was DTF and well, relatable. Oti is gorgeous. Team Bike were up first and well, poor Choriza was immediately confused but as she suggested, she bought the personality. And more importantly, she vowed to ride it harder than a dick. While poor Elektra was just wishing they got her a toddler’s bike. The yummy mummies were next with my favourite twink Scarlet not sure what was happening, while Ella was just glad to be guaranteed not landing in the bottom since everyone else was falling apart. Rounding out rehearsal was Veronica in lycra with her mick out while River was terrified about keeping up with the tempo. And relatably, Krystal can’t figure out her left from right while Veronica gave her a peptalk to keep her from spiralling from nerves.

Elimination Day rolled around with Krystal still nervous while Victoria admitted that her knee had blown up and she was struggling through the pain. Though vowed to fight through. Kitty and Charity kikied as they got ready, admitting that they are ready to push outside of their comfort zones. Victoria and Krystal meanwhile caught up with the former suggesting they should clear the air, with Krystal immediately offering a genuine apology and admitting that she looks up to her and doesn’t ever want to bring her down. Victoria admitted that she has struggled with eating disorders and has been every size under the sun and as such, she has finally accepted it and is happy and healthy but found Krystal’s comments were triggering.

Ugh, I love Victoria so much and I’m so glad she was mature enough to have the conversation and work through it. Elektra then opened up about how much she hated her freckles growing up, though her boyfriend helped her learn to love them. She then opened up the floor for the rest of the dolls to share their insecurities, with Vanity talking about being told that she is too dark. And uggghhhhh, hearing them all be so vulnerable with each other was so empowering and gorgeous.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined on the judges’ table by Oti Mabuse for the debut werk outs of Dragoton. While I have no idea what was happening most of the time, I do know Choriza stole the show in the bike group with her unique and charming brand of ridiculous. Team Ball Busted were hilarious and a little bit frightening, with everyone getting a chance to shine. While poor Victoria was stuck performing on a stool with the yummy mummies, she was still charming enough to keep up with Ella.

On the Red Carpet Showstoppers Runways, Choriza was stunning in a spotted icy blue flamenco number. Elektra too was sparkly with an awkwardly matt black split while Vanity was stunning in a sheer lilac number. Kitty was full glamour in a Marilyn inspired gown, Krsytal was perfect – aside from the tits – in a green dress, River looked her version of glam in a purple number, complete with a few of her signature points while Veronica was inspired by our KYLIE in a frilly, saffron gown. Charity was a demented orange, fringed, Gatsby’s inspired number, Ella was an absolute peach in peach, while Scarlett was pale and perfect in a scarlett gown while Victoria desperately just tried to hide the fact she was wearing sneakers, while looking gorgeous.

Choriza, River, Ella, Scarlett and Victoria were sent to safety leaving the remaining queens to hear from the judges. And well, poor Elektra was once again read for filth for going out too hard in the performance and ended up looking out of place. And once again was read for a subpar runway, looking more wizard than red carpet. Vanity was read for having a wig that didn’t make sense, while Oti was more concerned about the lack of cohesion between them in the performance. Though they loved her outfit. Kitty was praised for the madness she brought to the work out and for serving too completely different looks. Once again, the judges ate up everything Krystal was serving though Michelle challenged her to start showing more of herself. Veronica too received universal praise for knocking it out of the park while making sure everyone in the team looked good. Charity meanwhile was praised for stepping outside of her comfort zone, though they felt her look felt like it was wearing her.

Backstage Victoria was thrilled to be able to sit down, which was a sentiment echoed by Scarlett before Ella shared how disappointed she felt to not be a top. River too was disappointed to not land in the top, though accepted she was the weakest in her team. While Choriza was just glad her personality kept her safe. The tops and bottoms joined them with the safe girls shocked that Krystal was in the top and while she agreed, Veronica cut in and told her to believe in herself given she listened and took advice and she needs to embrace her performer side. Veronica and Kitty shared that they too would be on the top with her. Charity meanwhile was feeling like she was in the bottom and was emotionally prepared to be lip syncing. Vanity too was feeling heartbroken to be in the bottom, though was ready to show the judges what she is made of. 

While poor Elektra was just nervous about facing off against her, given she slays.

Ultimately Krystal narrowly took out her second victory over Veronica while Kitty too was sent to safety. Charity Kase meanwhile narrowly avoided the bottom two, leaving Elektra’s fears to come true as she faced off against Vanity to M People’s Movin On Up. And damn, did the dolls live up to the song. Vanity was splitting and flipping around the state, Elektra was bouncing into splits and careening wildly with acrobatics. I mean, the girls came to play and ugh, what a lip sync! Elektra was break dancing and playing air flute before death dropping off the front of the stage. But tragically, her track record appeared to be the deciding factor as Vanity narrowly took out the win while Elektra found herself becoming the second queen eliminated.

As soon as she exited the stage, I screamed, started crying and ran over to hug her, reminding her that she is so damn talented and such an icon. You see, Elektra and I first met each other a few years ago at a casting. Given I am continually half a foot shorter than the general public, I was immediately taken by Elektra because she made me feel tall. Beyond that petty reason to start a friendship, I was quickly won over by her kindness and as such, I was so glad to be on hand to pay her back with a piping hot Elektra French Onion Gem Bake.

Tangy, creamy and oh so sweet, this dish is near perfection. Then you add a bunch of crispy, gorgeous little gems and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Elektra French Onion Gem Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
600g potato gems, cooked per the recipe or packet instructions
1 ½ cups milk
1 packet French onion soup mix
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup sour cream
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
3 tbsp chives, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the milk and soup mix in a jug. Meanwhile, pop the butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Once foamy, add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for a further two minutes, stirring, until the flouriness is gone. Remove from the heat, whisk in the milk mixture and sour cream before returning to the heat and cook for a couple of minutes.

Transfer the bubbly liquid to a 20x30cm baking dish, sprinkle with some cheese and top with a single layer of gems. Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes, before topping with chives and serving joyously. Like a champion. And devouring.


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Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits

Baking, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK, we were once again blown away by the talent, goopery and charm of 12 Bwitish dolls. None more so than Bimini, who is well on their way to becoming the drag Oprah or Beyonce, in my not-at-all-humble opinion. While I am a ride or die Bimini stan, all the queen’s bing, bang, bonged their way into my hearts and somehow pulled off an even better season than the first. Meaning this new batch of dolls have a lot to live up to if they want to join The Vivienne and Lawrence in the iconic pantheon of UK winners.

Speaking of which, first up was our tragically fallen Season 2 queen, Veronica Green who was green around the gills but thankfully no longer COVID stricken and ready to slay in full. And even mocking her drag race for being dead boring. She was quickly joined by Kitty Scott-Claus who has the greatest drag name of all time and I absolute live for her. Kitty is lyf, Kitty is love, she is the moment – I LIVE. Just as I wondered whether she was the second coming of Chez, she goes and mentions they work together and ugh, I love the girls. River Medway arrived, apparently full of shit and I love her too. Despite not being well known which is exactly how she likes it, given she will be underestimated.

Scarlett Harlett arrived and immediately slayed my heart, calling the Werk Room a piece of shit and well, she is a power twink and I want to borrow the flanno. We also have a lot in common. And by that, a passion for being bred. Vanity Milan arrived as a technicolour delight, charming, energetic and so happy. Second best drag name, Ella Vaday, arrived in full fembot realness, a West End babe and again, I love her. Choriza May was up next with the best entry line of all time and well, shut it down and give her the damn crown. I mean, her fave part about Newcastle is her boyfriend’s dick – what more is there to love?

Our first AFAB queen arrived in the form of Victoria Scone and ugh, I love her too. She is a little nerdy, so excited and well, has a strong vagina and that alone is why you should love her. She is grabbing the opportunity by the flaps, after all. They were joined by little twink Elektra Fence who got her name from literally touching an electric fence and falling in shit. So, wait for it, again, I love her. Next up was the delightfully cartoonish Anubis who is wacky and wild and well, she is just perfect. Krystal Versace was up next and is the poster of what kids that grew up with visibility look like, she is fierce, confident and I feel proud of her, for some odd, old-man reason. And then rounding out the cast is the demented and devilish Charity Kase and well I love her, for the murdered Maria Antoinette realness she served.

The dolls were interrupted mid-kiki by Mama Ru who arrived to officially welcome them to the competition … with a game of dirty charades. And well, given Choriza has no idea what that is, she is thrilled to participate. First up were Kitty, Ella, Chorizo and Scarlett with nobody getting Kitty trying to sign ‘booty’ before Choriza gagged everyone by getting it right. She then got the next point as well and damn, I’m so proud. River, Vanity, Elektra and Veronica were up next and well, Veronica struggled but honestly, she had the hardest clue. Anubis, Charity, Krystal and Victoria rounded out the game, and well Victoria slayed it, having Ru in hysterics from start to finish.

With that out of the way, Ru tasked the queens with bringing two runways to help the judges to get to know them. One explaining why they are the queen of their hometowns and the other dedicated to something they love. As the dolls de-dragged, Ella was falling over, Kitty was getting her wet titties slapped, Anubis was checking whether Victoria was comfortable and Krystal was going through her plastic surgery. River meanwhile opened up to Vanity about her supportive mother who tragically passed away from COVID, sharing that she would be wearing one of her mother’s outfits and ugh, I’m crying. River is life.

Elimination Day arrived, with the queens quickly splitting up to beat their mugs. Veronica opened up to Kitty about not needing to prove herself this time, which has taken a weight off her shoulders. Vanity and Choriza opened up to each other about their partners, with the latter talking about how lonely she has been during the pandemic as her boyfriend works away and coming into the competition made her feel so good by simply being around others. And then all the kumbaya was shattered as my love Kitty asked who people thought would be going home, with Victoria more nervous about proving herself as the first AFAB queen.

On the Queen of Your Hometown runway, Victoria slayed as a bloomin’ sunflower. Kitty was a chocolate cheerleader, Ella was a camp, mod delight and Anubis was gorgeous as a Brighton carnival ride. River slayed as a statue with a traffic cone on her head doing the same pose, having the judges – and me – in absolute hysterics. I mean, iconic, charming – RIVER IS MY FAVE. Krystal was a gorgeous, garden delight, looking like baby Raven, Veronica was killer in cotton while Scarlett slayed dotted in pearls, Elektra served coal miner realness, Vanity slayed in a Jamaican inspired, frilly delight, Choriza looked like Kita Mean in her All Blacks look and Charity was a stunning, demented rose.

On the My Favourite Things runway, Victoria scone was an iconic high tea, complete with a dropped sandwich. Kitty served ABBA realness, Ella was a vision in a patchwork of pride, Anubis was wacky as a squid, River was a disco diva, Krsytal was the glow-up of Gothy’s 50P face-paint, Veronica was a bright, delight in honour of video games, Scarlett too was dedicated to music, this time in a cheeky mini. Elektra Fence marked her birthday, jacked up on sugar in the most demented, demonic way possible. Vanity honoured Estonia, Chorizo was a bright pop-art delight while Charity was horrifically polished in honour of freak shows.

Ultimately Kitty, Ella, Veronica, Vanity, Chorizo and Charity were sent to safety before Victoria received universal praise for everything she brought to the runway. Anubis meanwhile was praised for her hometown look, though the favourite things runway was read for filth for being basic and a little sub par. River’s statue walk was loved by the judges, despite them not understanding WHY she was being so funny. Sadly though, her second outfit was deemed underwhelming, though Ru freely admitted that had she added her now signature pose, she would have been safe. Krstal meanwhile received universal praise for both looks while Scarlett was praised for selling two vastly different looks. While poor Elektra was read for not going far enough in the hometown look, though praised for being wacky in the second runway.

Meanwhile the safe girls were glad to be safe, though Vanity was looking forward to topping soon. Apparently. Charity was a bit disappointed to not be in the top, though glad to be safe. Talk turned to the tops and bottoms, with them speculating Scarlett would be in the bottom while Victoria would definitely be in the top. Speaking of which, the girls arrived with Scarlett talking about how much the judges lived for Victoria. The girls asked Scarlett what the judges felt about her, with them gagged that she was clearly in the top. With Charity going so far as to call her basic. Elektra felt she got the worst critiques while River just wasn’t sure who would be safe out of the three of them. Poor Anubis broke down, disappointed that she couldn’t explain her sea animal look to the judges, given it was a dedication to her dad since the last time she saw him, they went to an aquarium. Which is heartbreaking and I love her.

The queens returned to the mainstage where Ru announced that the top two queens would be lip syncing for victory in addition to the bottom two lip syncing for their lives. Scarlett however was not one of them, with Victoria and Krystal first up to battle for the win to Total Eclipse of the Heart by Queen Bonnie Tyler. But more importantly, I just got the pun of Victoria’s name. It was a battle from the very first bars as Krystal served killer, sexy lip sync while Victoria was a hilarious icon, chucking sandwiches and stripping off platters before falling to her knees. Ultimately though, it was Krystal that took out the first win of the season while poor Victoria looked like she was holding back tears.

The trio of bottoms were next up with River’s charm and personality enough to save her from the lip sync, leaving Anubis and Elektra to battle it out to Little Mix’s ‘Sweet Melody’. Anubis gave camp, glamour and hit every lyric, however that was tragically not enough compared to Elektra who straight up bounced and flipped around the stage, hitting every letter and serving all the emotion in the most demented way possible. As such, she saved herself and poor Anubis found herself following in Gothy and Joe Black’s footsteps.

Thankfully Boris Johnson was compelled to let me in – blackmail, what blackmail? – so I was able to be there for my dear friend Anubis in her time of need. I first met Anubis down in Brighton – aka the kiss of death for a UK queen – and was blown away from her talent and charm. And as you know, when I sniff out talent, I immediately hitch my wagon to them and vow to be their bestest friend ever. Meaning I felt it was only appropriate to pull Anubis in for a hug, remind her how damn talented she is and give her a big batch of Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits to celebrate her success.

Sticky, sweet and oh so perfect, these Donna Hay inspired numbers are the perfect way to dull the first boot pain. The crunch warms your heart, the gooey chocolate soothes your soul and the milo is well, milo. So buckle in and eat up!

Enjoy!

Choc, Malt and Pecanubiscuits
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup muscovado sugar
¾ cup raw caster sugar
2 eggs, 1 separated
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp water
2 cups flour
¾ cup malt powder (aka Milo)
¼ tsp kosher salt
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C.

Beat butter and sugars in a stand mixer for 5-10 minutes, or until sandy. Add a whole egg plus the extra yolk with the vanilla extract and beat on high for two minutes.

Meanwhile combine baking powder, bicarb and water in a little bowl and fold through the wet ingredients with the flour, malt powder and salt. Return to the mixer and beat on low until just combined.

Remove from the mixer and fold through the chocolate and pecans.

Roll ¼ cup dollops of batter into balls and flatten on a lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of space for the inevitable spread. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Repeat until done, then devour.


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Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie

Lunch, Main, Sandwich, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor we experienced the ultimate – not the best, that is still Micronesia or Heroes vs. Villains – battle with 20 former winners taking to the island to become the champion of champions. Or to Tony, the King to Sandra’s Queen. Then, well, Rona happened and the show was off air for a year and a half and well, let’s just say, it is a relief that Jeffrey L. Probst is back on the screen.

More specifically, back on the screen to welcome us back and share how much he missed us all. No prizes for guessing who was standing directly behind the camera when he delivered that monologue! (It was me, FYI). Anyway, after pointing out a new beware advantage we learnt that the shorter game came with smaller tribes, no food and a lot of risks to make the game even more dangerous.

With that, the three new tribes jetted their way through the ocean where we met Evvie from the Yase tribe, who was thrilled to kick off the new phase of the show. Danny meanwhile binged the show in lockdown and was ready to put his NFL past to work on the Luvu tribe. And well, Heather is my early fave, given she is an older woman and hella charming. JD meanwhile rubbed me the wrong way, given he is young and I am aging. As a frontline worker Voce was just glad to be away from the hospital, Shan was ready to give Pastors a bad name – I think – Sara was just glad to not be stuck in 2020, Deshawn was ready to leave isolation, Erica felt ready to be uncaged and Xander looks like he is going to be a wild twink. And that is a compliment. Think Shawn Mendes playing Survivor rather than being dopey and sweet?

Poor Heather was dropped as my favourite to make way for the iconic Genie, who is perfection personified. Hippy, happy and just so damn charming (I still love you too Heather). She was joined by 17 others on a ship in the middle of the ocean where Jeff officially welcomed them to the new season, with Abraham talking about how ecstatic he is to just not have to wear a mask. Erica meanwhile was grateful she wasn’t dropped from the cast due to the delay, while Naseer won my heart talking about learning English from watching Survivor when he came to America. I mean, what?! He is adorable. Heather spoke about watching the show from the start with her boyfriend, who became her husband AND now with their children. They are all just. So. Sweet.

Jeff then challenged everyone to grow and evolve and have difficult conversations, which led to him questioning his use of the phrase ‘come on in guys’. And after queer, female, icon Evvie told Jeffrey she was ok with, everyone agreed and the game was afoot. We learnt that the blue tribe would go by Luvu, the yellow tribe would be Yase while the green tribe is Ua. Jeffrey then put them to their paces in the first challenge where they would scavenge the boat for six oars for their boat before climbing in and paddling around a buoy to retrieve a key with the first ones to finish getting some meager supplies, while the rest would have nothing. While Luvu got out to an early lead, Ua was hot on their tail as Yase wandered aimlessly around the ship. Ua meanwhile dominated the rowing, pulling away and secured victory as Jeff read Yase for filth for their dodge performance.

Oh and we learnt that Luvu were so shit at paddling because they didn’t unclip the anchor which is hilarious and iconic and I love them.

We first followed Ua back to camp where we met Sara, who shared that her grandmother tragically passed away from COVID and she is out on the island for her, given she is a fellow Survivor fan. She was joined on the tribe with Queen Genie, rancher Brad – who is adorable and sweet – Ricard, JD and Shan. We learnt that Brad also lost his father a week before flying out for the game and ugh, this is going to be super rough if everyone has suffered COVID losses. On the more upbeat end of the spectrum, JD quickly put their flint to use and made fire for the camp and ugh, their joy was so pure.

The Yase tribe meanwhile were embarrassed to have bombed the challenge, though were glad to be together. In their shame. Yase was made up of Liana, Tiffany, Xander, Voce, Abraham and Queen Evvie, who discovered a challenge set up for them on the beach. They had the option to do a brain teaser counting triangles or two of them could gather enough water to fill two buckets and if they failed whichever one they chose, they wouldn’t get any supplies until after the first tribal council.  Voce obviously thought it was a horrible idea to do the bucket challenge, which he and Xander were forced to do while the rest of the tribe got to work setting up camp and searching for idols.

Over on Luvu they too opted for the bucket challenge, leaving Danny and Deshawn to get it done. Before immediately snapping bambo and losing their first buckets of water. Meanwhile at Ua, Queen Genie was opening up about her wife and the support she has always had from her traditional family and ugh, why am I crying so much? Ricard meanwhile was opening up to Sara about his husband and how they met just before he was due to foster a child. But given her husband is a total babe, he was smitten, they quickly got married and had a baby. But now he is guilty about leaving his pregnant husband at home with a toddler that doesn’t understand where he went and when he is coming back.

Back at Luvu, the guys quickly gave up on the bucket challenge and instead were hunting for an idol. Sadly for them, however, Naseer went to make sure they were ok and spotted them, making him backpedal on his plan to not talk strategy until the challenge was done, pulling in the rest of the tribe for a final four.

Over at Yase the boys were struggling with the challenge, though powering along as best they could. Meanwhile Evvie and Liana were catching up, suggesting that the boys would be bonded by the challenge and as such, they should form a duo and side with them. Liana then caught up with Abraham and instead of a generic getting to know you conversation, Abraham opted to shade Tiff for diving off the boat in the opening challenge and paint a target on her back. Sadly for him, Liana pulled her aside and filled her in on everything before we learnt that she had a preemptive mastectomy which ultimately discovered that she had early-stage cancer. Which is just honestly so mind blowing to think about.

We returned to Ua where JD was trying to lay low and not talk strategy in the hope of hiding his superfan status. Obviously that didn’t go unnoticed though as Ricard, Sara and Shan caught up by the well to talk about how hard he is trying to charm everyone and as such, they suggested they should get rid of him ASAP. Well, maybe not Shan, given she was actively forming a ride or die alliance with every single member of the tribe.

Deshawn and Danny meanwhile had given up on the hunt for their idols and returned to working on the challenge while Xander and Voce trudged away on their beach and honestly, all I know is that my basement is flooded. As were all the barrels, as both tribes secured themselves supplies. As soon as it was done, Sydney pulled Deshawn and Danny aside to fill them in on Naseer dobbing them in and DON’T DO THIS TO SWEET NASEER!?

The next day Sydney was living her best life at camp before a boat arrived requesting one person jump on with absolutely zero information. Imagine if someone just stumbled upon camp and suggested this and they went with it? Chilling. Anyway, obviously nobody wanted the target that volunteering would bring, leading to Danny throwing his hand up to avoid them debating all day. Meanwhile Xander gladly took the nomination over at Yase given everyone felt he was least likely to lie to them, leaving the duo to battle or join JD from Ua, thanks to him picking a white rock.

With that, the trio joined together on a new island where they learnt they would take a nice stroll up to the top of a mountain and well, this is a movie I could watch all night. On the way up, we learnt that JD was bullied growing up and that he has worked hard to change his image, inspired by Survivor icons Ozzy and Woo. At the top of the island we learnt that the trio would tragically split up to make a private decision before returning home. Wisely, Danny suggested they come up with a consensus decision so their stories are the same. Sadly for him, the challenge was simply to choose whether to risk or protect their votes. If everyone selected protect, nothing changes. If everyone selected risk, they all lose their vote at the next tribal council. And if it is split, the people that selected risk people would get an extra vote.

Before we could learn anything, we followed Danny back to camp where he quickly filled the tribe in on the truth and surprisingly, everyone believed him. Xander too opted with the truth route, pointing out he went for the extra vote so that come swap or merge, the tribe now have something in their pocket to get ahead. JD meanwhile sat his tribe down for a very in depth story time and while he almost told the entire truth – minus his choice – he gave so much information that they felt they couldn’t trust him.

The tribes reconvened with Jeff for the first challenge of the season where Ricard gagged everyone by announcing that he had more time to process Jeff questioning ‘come on in, guys’ and requested he drop ‘guys’ which makes so much sense given his family, so don’t even try giving him hate internet. Before getting to the challenge, Jeff announced the new ‘Shot in the Dark’ twist where they would each get a die that they can play once throughout the game at tribal council when it came time to vote, where they can forfeit their vote for a one-in-six shot at a piece of parchment deeming them safe.

But enough about the twist, in the immunity challenge they obviously need to traverse a bunch of obstacles to retrieve puzzle pieces, push said puzzle pieces up and down additional obstacles before ascending a tower and solving said puzzle. Oh and the two tribes that lose will both be going to tribal council AND losing their flints until the next immunity challenge. All tribes were neck and neck before Ua took the slightest lead and Luvu dropped one of their bags, costing them valuable time and leaving them to languish at the back of the pack. Ua were first to start working on their puzzle, quickly joined by Yase while Luvu desperately tried to close the gap. Which they did, whipping through the puzzle and snatching immunity for their tribe.

Back at Yase, Evvie broke down in tears over losing the puzzle for the tribe, knowing it may paint a target on her back. Thankfully for her, Liana and Tiffany were more focused on getting rid of Abraham given he was so quick to target Tiffany on the first day. Meanwhile Abraham was trying to rally the boys to join him in getting rid of Tiff as the weakest. They then took the information to Evvie and while she sounded on board, she knew it was a bad idea for her game. As such, she pulled Voce and Xander aside to point out Abraham is more of a liability, I assume in the broadest sense of the word. She took the information back to Tiffany and while the latter’s gut told her that she would be safe at tribal, she knew not to be complacent and as such went hunting for an idol. Tragically not spotting it when it was right in front of her.

At tribal council the tribe dipped their torches in the fire before Tiffany praised the tribe for being so harmonious and loving. Abraham meanwhile turned things to strategy, suggesting the vote needs to focus on strength, given the tribe is so small. Tiffany spoke about how great Abraham is at talking without actually saying anything at all which led to him highlighting his strength again for good measure. Evvie meanwhile suggested it was a different game, but agreed that strength is still important while Voce crunched the numbers and suggested the ‘Shot in the Dark’ twist isn’t really that scary. Because, you know, maths.

Liana spoke about how nerve wracking the twist is for those that don’t roll their dice, while Xander just wanted the tribe to come together and prove themselves as assets slash challenge threats. Which Evvie reminded them is important for setting up their end game. With that the tribe voted, Xander stealthily pocket his extra vote and poor Abraham found himself becoming the first boot of the new era.

As someone that has posed as a cyber security analyst, you know I am a former best friend of Abraham’s. Who, for the record, I call by her legal name Eric. Anyway, as I spotted him in Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and gave him a massive hug, knowing how painful it would feel to go home so soon after such a long wait. Then I learnt that by going home, the pre-juror’s were truly going home. Effective immediately and as such, I reminded him he is a sweet, charming guy, handed him a Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie and bid him adieu. 

There are so many jokes I could make about how much I love the pickle, hiding said pickles etc. but at the end of the day, those tart little numbers are something I just don’t joke around about. I mean, pop them on a toastie and you take it to the next level.

Enjoy!

Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 slices sourdough 
2 tbsp Shayonnaise Swain
6-8 slices English leg ham
1 cup vintage cheddar, as sharp as you can find, grated
2 dill pickles, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter, for spreadin’

Method
Lay out your bread on a chopping board and spread each with the mayo.

Top two slices with a quarter of the cheese each, followed by the ham, the pickle and the rest of the cheese. Season with a little salt and a good whack of pepper and top with the other slices of bread, mayo side down.

Spread a little butter on the top slices of bread and get a large skillet on the hob over medium heat. Once hot, place the sandies butter side down and cook for five-ten minutes, or until golden and crisp. Smear some butter on the top slices and flip over to cook for a further five-ten minutes. By which time that side should be crispy and the cheese, gooey and glorious.

Serve piping hot and devour.


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Butter Flicken Pielmateer

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pie, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways Mad Max-ed their way into the outback before being divided by smarts and strength. While the Brawns were victorious in the first immunity challenge and the iconic Phil tragically became the first boot, they soon settled for a string of rewards as Janelle, Gavin and Benny were booted from the game. Eventually the Brains returned to tribal council where Mitch found himself booted before Cara sacrificed herself for George. But, gag of the season, found herself saved by a twist sending her to join the Brawns.

This appeared to give them a run of luck as Joey soon followed before a switch gave both tribes a Brawn majority. Against all odds, the Brains took control as Cara accidentally voted Daini out before Shannon was ousted by her nemesis Simon. Georgia and Rachel soon followed due to a vengeful George before Dani decided that blindsiding Simon was urgent as he was sent from the game with two idols in his pocket.

After the tribes merged to become Fire – rather than Beauty, which is still a sore point – where Queen Kez was idolled from the game, thanks to George telling the Brains who to play it for. While Chelsea was on medical leave, Baden and Hayley were booted to Redemption Rock before Hayley won her way back to camp and Baden became the King of the Jury. Poor Chelsea was then officially medevaced, unable to join the jury, before Gerald, Laura, Emmett and Andrew were booted from the game and joined the jury. Aka Laura’s Angels.

Flick got lucky and picked an urn that stopped her from getting the boot, meaning we were officially out of non-elimination episodes. With that Dani was the next to go before George and Cara turned on Wai and after Flick played her hidden immunity idol, was booted from the game. Which brings us to the last episode where Flick won immunity and somehow Hayley convinced Cara and George to turn on each other so that she can beat Flick in the final immunity challenge, meaning she would take the other one to the final two. And given George was the most likely to listen to her Hail Mary, Cara was the lucky one to join the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess Club.

The final three awoke on day 47 with Flick thrilled to make the final three, particularly as the last Brawn standing. She was proud of the social game she played, attributing it to her longevity in the game. She reflected on how tough the game has been mentally, particularly after she tragically lost her mum.

On the walk to the final immunity challenge we checked in with George, who came into the game running it like a political campaign and was thrilled to execute it perfectly. He reiterated that luck didn’t play into him making it to the final three, but instead his determination and perfect planning to overcome all the obstacles. One of those being the fact he isn’t physical, but watch out, because he is going to win the final one.

Last up was Hayley who was giddy to make it to the end as a superfan, though knew both her competitors are not to be underestimated. While George was sneaky and tactical, Flick was a beast. Hayley’s secret weapon is the fact that she is the perfect mix of both and like the other two, she is ready to claim victory.

Speaking of the final immunity challenge, the tribe joined Jonathan where they discovered three cages of horror amongst the ruins of the outback. Each of them would have to stand on narrow pegs within a cage and hold on to spikes on a roof which would lower throughout the challenge until only one was left standing. But before we got to the challenge, Jonathan made us all cry as he wheeled out their families! First up were Hayley’s boyfriend and bestie, followed by George’s mum and sister – who were adorable – and Flick’s boyfriend and best friend, who made her feel safe enough to break down over the loss of her mother and ugh, you know I am absolutely sobbing.

Damn you Jonathan and your glorious guns.

With the warm and fuzzy moment of the episode out of the way, the loved ones were sent to the bench as the final three jumped on their pegs and settled in for hours of torture. After half an hour, shit well and truly got real as Jonathan lowered the roof slightly and all three immediately hunched over and started to feel the burn. After an hour, talk turned to why the final three were still fighting with Flick and George sticking it out for their families while Hayley was just a beast that wanted to do it to prove that she can. After two hours the roofs dropped forcing them into squats.

All three were still fighting as the sun went down and the challenge ticked over to three and a half hours long. Poor George started to dance on the pegs, holding on for another hour before dropping out and leaving the girls to fight it out for immunity. Both Hayley and Flick were like statues as Jonathan dropped the spikes for the last time after five hours, which immediately got both of them struggling. Hayley tried to stay zen while Flick was vocalising and breathing through the pain, holding back tears as she tried to hold on for her place in the game. As her best friend willed her on, Flick openly sobbed through the pain before finding a second wind as Hayley started to shake. Eventually though, Flick asked Jonathan to help her out of the cage, as a shocked Hayley took out final immunity.

After a brief moment congratulating each other on fighting so hard, the final three headed off to tribal council where Hayley praised George and Flick’s determination in the challenge, but was ultimately grateful that as a pain researcher, she knew exactly how to work through it. Eventually talk turned to who Hayley wanted to sit next to in the end, admitted that both Flick and George have played great games and as such, she is still unsure. Hearing this, Flick reminded Hayley that George has played a dominant game and as such, could easily convince the jury that he deserves the crown.

On the flipside, George went simple and pointed out that Flick has a bunch of votes already locked in in the Brawns and as such, Hayley has the best chance if she is there in the end with him. While Flick disputed that she doesn’t believe any of the votes are locked in, George simply asked Queen Hayley to sit opposite her King. Flick fought back tears meanwhile as she asked her to reward her for fighting hard and pushing through, though knew that ultimately Hayley needed to make the decision that is best for her.

With that, Hayley voted and as expected, Flick was booted from the game and became the final member of the jury. Despite the horrible feeling of being cut so close to the end, Flick took her boot in her stride and took me into her arms for a big hug. As you know, I’m a big part of the Big Wave community and as such, was Flick’s first coach in the sport. And while I knew she would be feeling down, I also knew that a delicious Butter Flicken Pielmateer would be the perfect thing to mark a game well played.

Like Michaelia Cash, I love curry – it’s my favourite fe-ood. I also passionately love pies, so it should come as absolutely no shock that I believe a butter chicken pie is where it’s at. Lightly spiced, sweet and creamy in a delicious flaky shell? Perfection.

Enjoy!

Butter Flicken Pielmateer
Serves: 4-8, depending on hunger.

Ingredients
1 batch Dusty Ray Butters Chicken
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C and get to work making your Dusty Ray Butters Chicken.

Once the oven is hot and your filling is good to go, start by cutting each sheet of shortcrust pastry in quarters and press into 8 individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture amongst the dishes and smooth the tops. Cut the puff pastry into quarters and press into the top of the pies, crimping the edges to seal. Pierce a hole in the top, brush with the whisked egg and transfer to a baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp. Remove and sprinkle with some turmeric and cumin, and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Then devour, sad to have lost our chill Queen.


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Laura Bakewells Tart

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Baking, Dessert, Pie, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani, Wai, Flick, Laura and Gerald scored a massive KFC reward which honestly would have made my damn life. High on fried chicken and tipsy from the beers, Dani quickly suggested they pull together an alliance to get rid of Emmett. Which is convenient, given he lost his first individual immunity challenge. However sadly for Dani, Flick and Gerald were more loyal to Emmett, so instead the Brawn trio decided to let the Emmett vote happen and instead idol Dani out of the game. Sadly for them, George had all the information and decided it was wiser to bring the Brains back together. And as such, they sent sweet, unsuspecting Gerald from the game.

Things had calmed down the next morning with Laura doing some marine inspired dance moves while George was duck walking around camp, hoping not to pop a ball. All while poor Emmett looked on, still smarting about George finally proving Hayley right and officially turning on the Brawn tribe. While he was saltily chatting to Dani in the shelter, he worked up the courage to suggest that maybe they should call a truce and figure a way out of their combined current situation. Sadly for him, Dani really wasn’t interested. And that was before George even told her that the Brains only flipped because they wanted to save her.

Flick meanwhile was frustrated at not only George, but also herself for deviating from Brawn strong and casting a vote against Dani. With that, she caught up with her and apologised for turning on her before sharing with us that she struggles with lying in the game and doing things that in the outside world would be considered bad. We then learnt more about her family, with Flick sharing with Wai, George and Hayley that her mother is living in a care home as she is suffering from early onset dementia. She broke down as she spoke about coming on the show to draw attention to the horrific disease and ugh, don’t make me cry on a Monday night, Flick!

We did an extreme pivot and checked in with Hayley who shared that while she voted with George and the Brains to prove her trust, she also knows that George likes to play a big game and while she appreciates it, playing against it makes things difficult for her to navigate.

Another thing making it difficult for her is the fact that George is the one that found yet another clue that everyone seemingly walked past that morning, directing him to go to the well. There, he promptly found a key to a hidden immunity idol locked under the voting urn at tribal council. And better yet, said idol could be played anonymously, meaning he doesn’t have to out a relationship, should he want to play it for someone else.

Like Cara for instance, despite everyone knowing how close they are.

As Hayley and Emmett fished in the billabong, Dani shared how grateful she is that everyone is in such a zen headspace. The tribe then realised that Flick had gone missing and while Dani worried about what it could mean, they eventually learnt that her mother had tragically passed away and again, I was not emotionally prepared for this episode. Poor Flick held back tears as she spoke so eloquently through her grief, talking about her beautiful, courageous mum. Thankfully the tribe rallied around her and raised her up as she announced that after speaking to her family, they encouraged her to stay in the game and damn, I need her to win for her mum now.

Taking an even more extreme pivot than earlier, the tribe met Jonathan by a hill where he sweetly paid his respects to Flick and gave her a genuinely warm hug before turning his attention to the immunity. Said challenge involved the castaways racing up a hill to grab four sets of puzzle pieces, one bundle at a time, before solving a puzzle. Oh and to make things even more interesting, only the last four to finish would be eligible to be voted out at tribal council that night. 

Meaning a twist is coming, right?

While Andrew and Emmett got out to an early lead, Wai and Cara languished at the back. Given they just kept running up and down, it was kinda hard to keep track however it was very obvious that Andrew and Emmett quickly started to lap poor Wai. Laura and Dani had also essentially given up, encouraging each other on the walk to just think about how to work it back at camp. Cara meanwhile was one upping them, just straight up begging everyone that passed her not to vote her out later that night.

Andrew was obviously the first back with all his pieces, though was quickly joined by Emmett and Hayley. While the trio cooled down with the puzzle, Cara started walking with George and suggested they should all push to vote out Wai, given everyone thinks she is going to win anyway. Meanwhile at the start of the pack, Andrew took out the first immunity, followed by Hayley and Emmett at practically the same time. Flick arrived and quickly secured the fourth immunity, while George, Laura and Dani battled it out of the final slot. Which eventually was taken out by George as sweet Wai encouraged herself to keep pushing for her last stack.

Back at camp Andrew was excited to be immune, but disappointed that two of the people in the bottom are his allies. But instead of worrying, he focused on locking in the vote for Cara and while Laura and Wai quickly go on board, me thinks George’s idol is going to ruin that plan. A nervous Dani caught up with Andrew, with her grateful to find out that the target is not on her back. Feeling confident that everyone was happy to get rid of Cara, Andrew announced it to the rest of the tribe to vote for her too and seemingly decided to call it a day.

Which did not sit well with Emmett. Sadly for him, he doesn’t have any power in the tribe. But someone who does? Her closest ally George. While George assured Laura and Hayley that he is happy to vote however the rest of the OG Brains want to – and eventually agreed to vote out Cara – he then obviously ran straight to Cara and while he wanted to assure her that she would be fine, he knew that he couldn’t risk people finding out about the idol. Instead, he just tried to get her target off Wai and instead encouraged her to vote Laura and idol her out of the game with a single vote.

At tribal council Andrew said that he would be voting for someone that has plenty of relationships. Cara spoke about everyone deserving to be here rather than identifying a target and trying to sway people to her side. Wai spoke about the fact that there is always hope in the game, with Cara admitting that she will still try and shift the target despite seemingly giving up. And just not knowing who that would be. Hayley spoke about needing to continue to build trust while Cara hoped that sticking Brawn strong, wouldn’t be her undoing. And poor Emmett, he was just trying to find new allies given his alliance was blown up the night before. 

By George. And Cara. And Dani. And the Brains too, I guess.

George gave a monologue about how strong his relationship with Cara is, praising her for sacrificing herself for him previously. Laura meanwhile was just hoping her luck avoiding eliminations wouldn’t run out – is there going to be another twist? – while Dani just tried to make jokes about her lack of running ability, smartly downplaying her other physical strengths. George meanwhile was not being very stealth, whispering to Hayley whether the vote had changed and when she asked him whether he was going to do something to save her, he sadly said that there is absolutely nothing he could do.

With that the tribe voted and what do you know, there is something George could do as he unlocked his hidden idol and secretly played it for Cara. Denying it yet again to Hayley as the votes were read, negating all but one of the votes, with Cara singlehandedly sending Laura from the game. Just as George planned. Again.

I did my best gay gasp when I saw Laura walk into the Jury Villa, shocked that once again George Gabon-ed the shit out of the season  – come on, he is boy Sugar – and sent the finally well positioned Laura home instead. I pulled her in for a hug and once again assured her that being booted in a memorable way is always better than a bland one, before catching up. You see, we’ve known each other for years after meeting while studying Marine Science. While I quit almost instantly upon discovery it wouldn’t make me Lori Petty in Free Willy, we became the firmest of friends. And I knew the only thing that could sweeten up her boot was a fresh Laura Bakewells Tart.

For some reason I spent my childhood assuming that bakewell tarts were disgusting but once I actually found out what was in one, I was hooked. I mean with the combo of frangipane, jam and glace cherries, how could you go wrong?

Enjoy!

Laura Bakewells Tart
Serves: 6 people or two dear friends.

Ingredients
250g plain flour, plus 1 tbsp for the frangipane and more for dusting
250g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs
120g butter, softened
120g raw caster sugar
115g almond meal
½-1 cup cherry jam
12 glacé cherries

Method
Sieve flour and 50g of icing sugar into a large bowl. Using hands, work the unsalted butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add an egg and work together until it forms a ball. If the dough seems too wet, add more flour until it is at the desired consistency. Don’t overwork the flour otherwise it won’t be short, as the name shortcrust demands.

Pat the dough-ball into a disc, wrap in cling-wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Dust a surface and a rolling-pin with flour and roll out the pastry until it is 5mm thick. Cut the dough into 12 10cm discs and press into a greased mini-tart tin (or a muffin pan, in a pinch)

Prick each tart base with a fork, cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge to set for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Remove the shells from the oven, line with pastry weights and blind bake for ten minutes before removing the weights and cooking for a further ten. Or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

While they cool, beat the regular butter and caster sugar in a stand mixer for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mix in the remaining egg, followed by the tablespoon of flour and mix until just combined.

Spoon a tsp of cherry jam into the base of each shell, smoothing as best you can to cover the bottom. Now dollop a tablespoon of frangipane and return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until the tart is golden and springy. Set aside to cool completely in the pan.

To make the icing, mix the remaining icing sugar with the lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over the top of each tart before pressing a glacé cherry on top. Leave to set for half an hour before devouring, sumptuously.


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Chilli & Herbaden Chooke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the producers continued to go balls to the wall with twists, loading up the tribe with three immunities which were won by Emmett, Dani and Andrew. They then learnt that they would be the only ones eligible to vote at tribal council before Jonathan gagged us with just what exactly he meant by eligible, as the trio were forced into a fire challenge with the winner being the sole person to cast a vote. Despite Andrew being a straight up ‘survival expert’ and Emmett having more bravado than the Golden God himself, Queen Dani took out victory and cast the sole vote to boot Baden from the game.

That is when we were gagged with one final twist from production, as he was sent to the majestic Redemption Rock where he awaited an opponent to return to the game. Caught up in the myriad of twists however, fate intervened and poor Chelsea was medevaced after tribal council. And while she is still technically in the game at this part of the story, *spoiler alert* her stay in hospital didn’t help and she had to be removed to make a full recovery.

But more on that later, ok?

While the Brawns tribe anxiously awaited to learn whether Chelsea would return, they got together to lock in their loyalty to each other while the Brains quietly sat back at camp wondering how to get themselves out of their current predicament. And in the middle were George and Cara, who were catching up by the shore and re-pledging their undying loyalty to each other. And only each other. With that, George pulled the Brains aside to leak more information to them about Kez leaving an idol for Flick. And while she already sold George and Cara out before the last vote, Hayley was unsure how she was going to use this to get herself out of her current predicament.

Back at camp poor Dani was really struggling, breaking down over missing her closest friend Chelsea and unsure who she could trust moving forward should she officially be pulled from the game. Emmett pulled her aside to make sure she was ok, with her admitting that in addition to worrying about Chelsea, she is also regretting sending Baden home over Hayley given she is sure that she can’t trust her moving forward. Particularly since George wandered by, right on cue, to point out that Hayley is busy hunting for an idol, just like he told her to.

Wanting to clarify things, Emmett pulled George aside and told him that Hayley told them that George and Cara have been leaking information to the Brains. And while George vehemently denied it, I don’t think this is ending well for George. Because while Emmett believes him for now, I can see the truth coming out with a little more cursory digging.

My love Jonathan returned to oversee the next immunity challenge and advised that Chelsea is not out of the game yet, however she also won’t be at the next tribal council. With that out of the way, Jonathan explained the tribe would each negotiate a wobbling curved beam while balancing a table with a rope and spelling immunity out in block form on top. Oh and you know Emmett was confident he’d be able to make it three from three. Andrew and Emmett were neck and neck at start, until Andrew dropped his stack. Hayley and Dani started to close the gap before Dani dropped hers leaving Hayley as the closest to catching Emmett. Until she dropped, while Emmett slowly and calmly focused on the task at hand. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shady about the confidence, given he is apparently a beast?

While everyone continued to close the gap and then dropped their stacks, Emmett was cool, calm and collected and earned another well deserved victory.

Back at camp Hayley was well and truly fed up with her current predicament, knowing that idols are not enough to make it to the end. That being said, while the Brains were out hunting for idols, George caught up with his allies to encourage them to vote for Hayley given she is the most threatening, despite them wanting Andrew out next due to his challenge prowess. And well, George’s persistence made Emmett wonder why he was so desperate to get rid of Hayley instead.

George ran off to find the missing Dani, with him convincing her that they all need to vote Hayley at the next tribal council rather than split it. With her in, he then decided to get all of the Brains to join in the fun and send Hayley out of the game in a landslide. He told Andrew she threw his name under the bus with the Brawns before Hayley watched him go person to person to ensure they were on his side. With that, she decided it was time to guarantee he can’t smear her name anymore and get rid of him ASAP. And she had just the information to get the Brawns onside – the fact that Kez handed off the idol to Flick after they executed her blindside together!

While George was trying to woo Wai to join the anti-Hayley train, Hayley approached Emmet, Flick and Gerald to spill all the information that George had been feeding her since the merge. After telling them about George tipping her off about the Laura vote and Kez’s idol, she agreed to join them to vote out Andrew if that is what they need from her to prove trust. She wasn’t sure if she could believe it however, catching up with Laura and Andrew who agreed that they should load all their votes on Gerald as the least likely to be protected by the rest of the Brawns. Andrew assured Hayley that George and Cara are definitely with them and the Brains are ready to run the game, however Hayley, obviously, was still not buying it. At all.

At tribal council George tried to downplay any complexity within the tribe, praising the power of the majority alliance. Hayley agreed that she and the remaining Brains are well and truly at a disadvantage before talk turned to trust, with George sharing that he likes to see how people react under pressure and that is what builds his trust. Gerald got sick of the non-talk, pointing out that Hayley came to them this afternoon and aired everything that George and Cara told them to do to save Laura. 

Hayley admitted to everything, while George denied it and said that it is all a lie and he will not buckle to the pressure Hayley is trying to put on him. Emmett pointed out that buckling under the pressure isn’t a confirmation or denial, so pressed him to just admit it or deny it rather than dancing around it. This got George spiraling, while Hayley calmly pointed out he is still acting like a politician, much to the delight of Emmett.

Dani whispered to Hayley that she believes her before Hayley asked her fellow Brains to either confirm or deny the information, with Wai and Laura backing her while Andrew wasn’t willing to throw George under the bus yet. Hayley stepped in and pointed out that George promised Andrew he was with them tonight, with George denying it, much to the frustration of Andrew. Dani continued to wrack her Brain, wanting to trust Hayley before Hayley tripled down, pointing out that she knows that Flick has Kez’s idol. And how does she know that? George told the Brains.

George continued to get more and more defensive, with Hayley admitting that she is truly fighting for her life and has absolutely nothing to lose. With that, the tribe voted and despite airy all of George’s dirty laundry, the Brawns stuck together and booted Hayley from the game. And by from the game, to Redemption Rock where she was reunited with her closest ally Baden.

Hayley caught Baden up on everything that happened and how unwavering the Brawns are when it comes to George. Baden rightly pointed out that it blew up in her face and that even though the Brawns probably believed her, they were always going to get rid of them ASAP given they’re the bigger threats. And well, I kinda love sassy Baden schooling her for ruining both of their games. Despite how much I still love Queen Hayley.

Things were less tense the next morning as Baden and Hayley assured each other that winning your way back into the game is good for the resume. Baden agreed that he is probably better placed now if he returns, rather than just staying. He then shaded Hayley saying if she gets back, she’d be well placed to take out second at this point as Hayley ranted about people lying when they way they aren’t playing to win.

Meanwhile at the Fire camp, the Brawns started to panic about what Chelsea’s lingering absence means before Jonathan arrived and shared that Chelsea has been diagnosed with temporary balance issues, meaning that she had to be removed from the game officially. With her one regret being that she couldn’ say goodbye to her tribemates. But you know, we already covered that.

Jonathan kindly assured them that she would be fine and not to worry about her before he left, leaving a crying Dani alone, heartbroken to have lost the one person she could trust moving forward.

The Fire tribe arrived to meet Jonathan by a stream where they learnt that neither Baden or Hayley had officially been voted out of the game and instead, the duo would be facing off in an endurance challenge to hold on to a pole suspended over water for as long as they can, with the victor returning to the game and the loser going home permanently. And while they were both desperate to get back into the game, it really isn’t the most interesting challenge to write about, other than to say that the Fire tribe were clearly rooting for Baden while Emmett pointed out that this is not something he would want to compete against Hayley on.

While Baden struggled the entire time, Hayley was like a statue as she focused on the task at hand. Ultimately winning her spot back in the game after only 20 minutes, as zaddy Baden definitively exited the game to become the King of the Jury. After casually burning his buff, obviously which just seems a tad cruel, but whatever.

I audibly – and theatrically – gasped as Baden arrived at the Jury Villa, given I had blown a month of my salary on an unnamed betting site to say that he would sit in the final two with Hayley. After processing my shock, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how heartbroken I was to see his game end. You see, Baden and I are dear friends as I’ve worked extensively in the cycling world. As is oft the case, I left the industry in a scandalous cloud after some of my medical practices brought down one of cycling’s biggest stars. But Baden being kind, he kept in touch. No doubt because he is just so kind and always abides by the rules, so he didn’t have to fear my reputation bringing him down with me.

After explaining to him the importance of being the King of the Jury and his requirement to set the tone of how they behave, we quickly disappeared to enjoy a Chilli & Herbaden Chooke.

Like Baden’s spicy personality on Redemption Rock, this little roast is delightfully packing a punch. Add to that the sweet, fragrant herbs and the glory of stuffing this little netted number is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Chilli & Herbaden Chooke
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
2kg chicken, butterflied and deboned but retaining the skin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced|
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
kitchen twine or butcher’s netting

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onion for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and breadcrumbs. All to cool before mixing in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay your butterflied chicken on a chopping board, skin side down and lay the stuffing down the centre like a long sausage. Roll the chicken to enclose before trussing the roast with twine, or my favourite, butcher’s netting. Mainly because I’m not great at knots.

Rub the roast with a little bit of olive, season with a whack of salt and pepper and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile combine the oil, sriracha, garlic, muscovado and salt and pepper in a jug. Once the chicken is on it’s way to getting hot, hot, hot, remove from the oven and baste with the chilli sauce. Reduce the oven to 180C and return the saucy chicken to cook for a further half an hour, basting every ten minutes or so to get it nice and sticky.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, pour over any of the remaining chilli and leave to rest for ten minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Like a King of the Jury, for instance.


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Nachoey Cheese McCann

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Cheese, Condiment, Dip, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Brawns continued their reward streak and to make matters worse for Andrew, he got whacked in the nads while losing another challenge. Meanwhile Simon found not one but two idols in the space of mere minutes and obviously grew in confidence. Shocking everyone Brawn turned things around, bucking tradition and winning their second immunity challenge. Back at camp George decided his best chance of survival was to target Laura while Joey locked the alliance’s vote on George. Until, you know, he walked into camp wearing an idol, and as such, Joey flipped things on Mitch instead, booting him from the game and flushing George’s idol with it.

We first checked in with the Brawns tribe where spiders were nesting in Shannon’s knickers. While that alone is concerning, the scariest part is the fact they were holding their own shape. Before we could explore that further, Flick explained that the tribe were living their best lives, focused on training to keep their winning streak up. Speaking of winning, Simon was thrilled to secure himself a path to the endgame with his two idols. That being said, Gerald knew about the idols and was extremely focused on getting him out toot suite. Gerald checked in with my Queens Kez and Flick, spilling all the deets on the idol. And just like that, the trio got to work planning to raise Simon up so that he was so confident that they could blindside him.

Over at Brains the tribe were soberly eating their prison food, with Rachel only happy with the fact she drew a line in the sand with George at the last tribal council. And well, let’s just say that George now had Rachel in his sights. His first move was to confront her in front of everyone and when she was unapologetic, they fought. With Laura and Rachel then muttering about him. It was a move, but I never said it was a wise one. We finally go to learn more about Cara, who in addition to real estate and her empathic abilities, is an expert in meteorology. And well, she and George have really been vibing and she is confident in her abilities to temper his worst impulses and keep things tight, hopefully going to the end together.

Joey meanwhile was growing cocky, catching up with Laura and Andrew to laugh about how screwed the minority are now that they’ve taken control. Which is never an endearing look.

Jonathan made his triumphant return to our screen for the reward challenge where the tribes would weave through a series of obstacles while tethered to a rope before digging up sandbags and tossing them to smash six targets. For choccy milk and lamingtons, which again, bloody iconic combo from the reward team. Brains quickly got out to an early lead, given their smaller bodies made it easier to work through the obstacles. Sadly Cara started to struggle, tying things up for the tribes. And well, then George and Wai literally tied themselves into a knot and well, all appeared to be lost for the Brains. As Rachel screamed at George from the side of the course, Emmett started to taste the chocolate milk in his mind. Then Joey and Andrew happened, smashing target after target in quick succession before Brawns had a last minute surge, stealing victory out from underneath the Brains.

Wanting to create some drama, Jonathan offered the Brawns the chance to invite one of the Brains over to share the reward with the Brawns opting for Joey, hoping his big mouth will give them enough information to create drama post swap.

The Brawns and Joey arrived at their bush cafe, with Joey continuing to be loud and energetic, unaware that they invited him over solely because of that. As everyone smashed their lamingtons and milk, Simon asked the obvious question, how in the hell did he land on the Brains tribe? While Simon softened him up with compliments, the girls went in for the kill, asking what happened at the previous tribal council and why George didn’t go since he clearly hates him. And well, once he popped he didn’t stop. Making Flick a very happy girl with all the free flowing information.

Back at Camp Brains, the tribe were heartbroken to have come so close to winning again with Wai promising to try her best in the next challenge. As everyone assured her that she is valued, Rachel opened up and said that George bitching about the tribe in front of the Brawns isn’t helpful before a challenge and creates disharmony, distracting from the task at hand. This obviously pissed off George, who stormed off with Georgia sent to follow him and try to keep him in check. The one positive of the scene is that we then finally learnt more about Georgia, who was using her forensic psychologist background to try and understand George a bit better. Sadly for her, all it did was piss him off, making her the new biggest target in his eyes.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the Brains were delighted to see a puzzle was in the mix, while the Brawns were obviously terrified. For the challenge, the tribe would paddle a boogie board out to an apparatus to release five keys before getting wheeled back in, one at a time. They would then use the keys to release puzzle pieces and then, you know, solve the puzzle. Importantly, Simon is in his speedo. As is oft the case, the Brawns got out to a sizable lead at the start of the challenge, powering through the physical side of things. While George reminded the Brains not to worry, given they have a puzzle to sort things out again. Sadly with Wai on the bench they had no real leader in the puzzle which allowed Simon to direct his tribe to yet another victory. 

Back at camp the tribe joined together to lament their loss, while George knew that his luck was about to run out. Joey meanwhile was feeling super confident, joyfully swimming in the billabong with Georgia and Laura, talking about how much better things will be once George is gone. That being said, this is Survivor and when people’s backs are against the wall, they get crafty. George joined with Cara, Baden and Wai, identifying Georgia as their best chance to get out. But to do that, he needs some luck. As such, he and Cara went hunting for idols and while the cool kids mocked them from the billabong, Queen Cara took the throne, finding her first idol. And you best believe she was ready to do whatever necessary to keep her alliance safe.

Cara, George, Wai and Baden caught up again, with George quickly suggesting she play the idol for him given he is their only target and as such, they can take out Georgia instead. That however made Cara nervous that the other alliance could opt to change the vote to her and as such, she wasn’t sure whether it was worth the risk.

Laura meanwhile started to grow suspicious about George or Cara finding the idol, rallying the troops to float the idea of splitting the vote JIC. That being said, there is no way they can do that without flipping someone over. And instead of getting Baden or Cara, Joey decided the Wai was the best idea, given she is logical. He, Cara and Hayley pulled her aside and while they were confident they did enough to charm her over to their side, she wasn’t sure who to go with. You know, since the person that saved her on day two is also the most volatile person in the game. 

She took the information to George and admitted she was thinking about flipping and as such, he emotionally begged her to cast him aside after this tribal council, not before. With that Cara, Baden and George got together, with George assuring her that he wants her to play the idol for herself and only herself. Before they decided the wisest move was to put on a massive display of pass-the-parcel with the idol and once they’re all confused, hope Wai is spooked back to their side.

At tribal council Cara kicked off the proceedings by wearing her hidden immunity idol, with George suggesting he may have something up his sleeve too. Joey wasn’t sure what the plan was with Cara’s idol, though he desperately just wanted to get rid of George. Aka the bad egg. Cara then continued to earn her Queen crown, admitting the tribe have nothing in common and as such, she is struggling to deal with the people that aren’t wanting to work together to let people flourish. As Wai started talking, the theatre commenced, with Cara whispering in Baden’s ear before passing the idol over to him.

While Hayley admitted their game was making her nervous, her alliance have definitely come up with a couple of different plans to counteract whatever they’re doing. George admitted that while he desperately wants to win the game, when watching Wai struggle on day two, he realised that winning at all costs was not him and as such, he is happy to exit the game with his head held high. George admitted there is no hope for him before Wai and Rachel admitted that there is a lot of tension in the tribe, but more importantly, Baden passed the idol off to Geroge. Wai spoke about the alliances changing day by day, admitting it has definitely changed for her from day two to now. This elicited more compliments from George, successfully guilting the hell out of Wai.

With that the tribe voted – Wai for George, calling him out for holding the day two stuff over her head like parents that tell their kids they should be grateful they have a roof over their head – before Cara played her idol for George. And oh God, Queen Cara, no. The votes rolled in for Cara and Georgia, ending in a 3-3 tie. As such, the tribe revoted and poor Queen Cara found her torch being snuffed. But gagatondra, all was not as it seemed, as she found a Brawn buff on her way out the door, directing her to head over to Brawn and join the new tribe.

As she stumbled through the bush in absolute darkness, she eventually arrived at her new camp and proceeded to dive on to her campmates. Startling them awake, either delighting or enraging them. Or potentially a bit of both.

We checked in with team Brains the next day, where George suggested that putting snake skin on a tree was the cause of all of their misfortune. As such, he removed it and tried to stay quiet while the majority rejoiced in their growing power. Joey spoke about the excitement of the last tribal council, despite the fact George was still in the tribe. Joey went to Laura and Andrew, pledging his undying allegiance to them and Georgia, meaning Hayley, Rachel and Wai were just numbers waiting around to be picked off after George and Baden. Speaking of George, he was heartbroken to have lost his best friend Cara, however was immensely grateful that she gave up her game for his.

Oh and now George was over Wai, given she betrayed the good guys.

Despite not being able to look at her for hours and hours, he eventually pulled Wai aside to find out why she turned on him. Wai called him out for being volatile and how it is hard to be around and as such, she opted for the more peaceful path. While George argued that he was iced out by Joey from day one, Wai still couldn’t see the value of realigning with him. Particularly because she doesn’t like to feel indebted to him for the entire game because she is playing her own, damnit. Like a queen.

The next morning Cara was getting a deep dive on the Brawn tribe as Simon sexily walked out of the billabong in a speedo and the rest worked out. Oh and then she got food with flavour, and ate off crockery. There were blankets, dance class and well, the Brains are dead to her. Officially. And she looks forward to spilling the tea on Joey and Laura’s bullshit to everyone that will listen.

With that, she pulled all the Brawns around to talk about how awful they are, while playing up how loyal George is. As she continued to talk smack, Simon quickly deduced that she has no intention of aligning with any Brains and as such, he can pull her in and take control of the tribe. Particularly since she just wants to raise people up. Sadly for him, Shannon also identified her as a priority ally and quickly went walking for firewood for her to bond.

The tribes reconvened to meet Jonathan where the Brains were gagged to see that Cara was still in the game, none more delighted to see her than George. Meanwhile Joey looked ready to kill and Rache continued to try in vain to get George to stop talking shit about the tribe. Cara meanwhile said that she was thrilled to finally be on a tribe with heart, while Simon agreed that she was a very welcome addition. In any event, this week’s reward challenge would require everyone to hold a barrel of water up with a tribe out if any person drops their bucket. Though they can pass their bucket off to others. Oh AND it was for BBQ. As you can imagine, this challenge isn’t overly exciting to write about however after Wai and Shannon tapped out, the latter used it as a chance to woo Cara who was sitting out of the challenge. Sadly for her though, Simon was watching the entire interaction.

Just as I say it isn’t exciting to write about, Chelsea accidently took her hand off a ring while passing one along and got herself eliminated from the challenge. And just like that, Brains were well positioned for victory. She was followed out by Dani before Gerald started to struggle under the weight of two buckets, as did Daini and Flick. After what felt like an eternity of struggle, poor Gerald couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping the buckets and handing Brains their first ever reward. Leaving Cara to once again starve.

Oh and was the snake skin actually cursed? I don’t want to say George was right, but George is probably right.

Back at camp Brains, the tribe were delighted to see their abundant feast awaiting them, quickly firing up the barbie and smashing everything in sight. We then learnt Laura is into angel golden showers, while George was just thrilled by how great he did in the reward. Talk soon turned to Cara surviving the previous tribal council and joining Brawn, with Joey disappointed to not be able to take out another target. As such, Joey followed Baden into the water and quickly got to work teeing up a new alliance. Tragically for the former though, it was right in front of Hayley who decided now was the time to make a move and take control of the tribe.

Slay Queen Hayley.

Over at the Brawn camp, the tribe lamented their loss while Kez encouraged everyone to just keep going. Gerald on the other hand was heartbroken to have lost the challenge for the tribe and as such, felt like a target. Cara tried to rally everyone around, putting her empath powers to use. She then straight up identified Daini’s broken jaw and Shannon’s reproductive concerns and damn, she is a witch. While everyone else was crying, moved by the experience, Simon was more focused on trying to build his own bond with her before they go to the next challenge.

As such, he asked when older women go through menopause, implying she is old and just, no. Simon, no.

My love Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race up a ramp to collect ropes, build a bridge with them, cross said bridge, climb a tower and retrieve an idol and then work through obstacles before untying a platform which they need to use to lift the idol up and hook it in a cage. Oh and in addition to the challenge, Jonathan announced that a hidden immunity idol is at the end of the course and if they want it, they can go for it. Though risk annoying their tribe, obvi.

While Brains started strong, the Brawns quickly pulled away before George disappeared to make a snatch for the idol. Sadly for him, Hayley and Gerald quickly joined him, with Queen Hayley snatching it and returning everyone’s focus back to the challenge. While Brawn was still out in front, Hayley worked furiously to make up for slowing them down. Again both tribes somehow caught up at the end, but they were no match for Cara who played a calm, critical role in helping Brawn secure another immunity win.

Back at camp Joey was very blasé about the loss before Rachel encouraged everyone to go for a swim to get all the dust off themselves. As she and the alliance of four caught up, Joey obviously suggested they finally get rid of George. As everyone agreed the tribe will be so much calmer without him, Joey suggested that they split the vote between George and Wai just in case he has an idol. Everyone joined back up at camp, with George congratulating Hayley on snagging the idol and cheekily asking if she would play it for him. Which Joey felt was insufferable, though Hayley did slyly suggest that anything is possible.

Preparing for his inevitable boot, George once again wandered around looking for a miracle. He first tried for the boldest, pulling Joey and Laura aside to float other names that would be decent targets given there are weaker people in the tribe. Like say, Wai or Rachel. Joey and Laura caught up with Hayley to reiterate his pleas fell on deaf ears, however that made her frustrated given the hierarchy of the tribe is blatantly obvious and frankly, boring, if someone doesn’t step up with a big move.

As such Hayley approached Baden, suggesting that instead of following along with orders they instead take control and flip the vote on Joey. While Baden felt it was a bold choice, he was also keen to stir up some drama and force the other group into playing. Next up in her plot was talking to Rachel, who felt it was too risky a move to make. Hayley then went to Wai and knowing that she would be a tough sell, told her about the plan to split the vote on her. As such, she wanted to vote for Joey instead. While Wai was scared about burning more bridges, Hayley pointed out that if George goes, she is clearly next and as such, they will just get picked off one by one. But Wai just wanted a little time to figure out her options.

By the fire George made things awkward, asking Wai if she reflected on the last tribal council and how horrible she made him feel. And ugh, that may have been enough to turn her off joining Hayley, isn’t it? And given Hayley didn’t even get a chance to talk to George, there is no way this plan will come together, is there?

At tribal council Hayley spoke about voting Cara out to try and improve the mood in camp, with Rachel agreeing it definitely improved things as they enjoyed their feast. Georgia spoke about it being hard to vote people out, while Baden shared that he wasn’t concerned about being voted out yet and is doing what he is told. That is, until he needs to turn the tables on someone. Joey admitted to having a solid alliance, while Hayley said that pecking orders always change but she hopes her relationships will make the difference.

Laura spoke about not having a pecking order within the alliance, while Jonathan pointed out that that is what the people on the top say. Wai admitted that there is a plan at this tribal council, while Andrew agreed that something can always happen and people can pull something out of their hats. Hayley shared that she believes the tribe will be united after this vote, before George reiterated that he is an asset to the tribe and he doesn’t believe that would be the case if he goes.

This made Laura smirk and while she agreed that he was good in the reward challenge, he doesn’t contribute much in camp. As George told everyone to look forward, Georgia reiterated past behaviour is the best indicator for where things are going. That being said, Hayley tapped George on the elbow and mouthed to vote for Joey, giving him a cheeky grin, while Hayley said that everyone has had the discussions they needed to to make their decision.

With that, the tribe voted, Hayley stood firm and held on to her idol while the cool kids split the votes on Wai and George, before the votes piled up on Joey and he was booted from the game. As Hayley ascended the throne and George dodged yet another bullet.

Joey being the most eager, upbeat and energetic person on the season, he was still peppy and positive by the time we caught up in Loser Lodge. Pulling me in for a hug and ready to celebrate his entertaining, albeit short run. Emphasis on run, which is how we first met. You see, I was formerly a champion marathon runner and had a startling rivalry before my career was derailed by a hit and run – the car hit and I ran away because I wanted to watch TV, true story.

Despite the rivalry, Joey took me under his wing and nursed me back to health to the point I can now go for a bit of huffy puffy at the speed of Kath Day-Knight. Needless to say, that kindness is something I have never forgotten and as such, I was thrilled to be able to celebrate his game with some velvety Nachoey Cheese McCann.

I know American food often gets a lot of shit, but if you’ve read more than five recipes on this patch of cyberspace, you know that I passionately love it. And this gooey cheese is no different! Spicy, creamy and oh so moreish, there is nothing better to eat when you’re down.

Enjoy!

Nachoey Cheese McCann
Makes: 2 cups.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 cup milk
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste

Method
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk until fragrant, 1 minute. 

Slowly add milk, whisking until no lumps remain. Add cheese and cook until melted, 5 minutes, then stir in salt and a pinch of cayenne. Serve immediately.


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Eggs Benny Burtots

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Breakfast, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Brains and Brawn arrived in the outback, with the former quickly dominating the challenges. Because, you know, they are packed full of muscle, which is how I’m described on the weekend, but that is another story for another time. Eventually the Brains kicked it into gear and sent the athletes to tribal council back-to-back. Thankfully Flick, Shannon and Queen Kez were slowly taking over the Brawn tribe after Janelle’s demise, despite Simon and the boys trying to snatch power. This meant that Big D was then caught in the middle, unsure who would be better for his game before he backed the girls and sent zaddy Gavin from the game.

The next day Camp Brains had fully transitioned to becoming a yoga retreat with Hayley calmly talking them through their moves and all around keeping the vibe zen. Not to be confused with Zen Hen. That was all shattered as George arrived moaning and loudly talking about his lack of undies, hoping nobody gets a sneaky peek at his balls. And damn, am I really starting to fall hard for George and his unique brand of weirdness? One nudie run and marriage awaits at this point.

We checked in on our Brawny friends where kangaroos were roaming freely and Gerald was creating a new notch on his belt. Benny meanwhile was feeling fatigued, wondering if it was Day 8 or 48, while reading the rest of his tribe for filth for constantly exercising. We finally got some background on Benny, learning that he was a former real estate agent slash entrepreneur and assumed that experience would help him control the tribe. Kez meanwhile was living her best life, thrilled to have played her idol and created some excitement at tribal. Simon and Emmett were also proud of how tribal went last night, impressed by the way they were duped and damn, do I love them too. I mean, that is humble and a completely likeable reaction. In any event, they knew that they needed numbers or a miracle and as such, started searching for an idol. Simon in donut speedos, so yeah, I do love him.

As Brawns gloated about their abundance of food, we returned to the Brains tribe where they were all serving Jan Sport’s face crack over yet another meal of rice and lentils. Baden shared that despite the lack of good food, the tribe are getting along well and have gotten into a great routine. You know, except for George who was still well and truly on the outside. That being said, Baden knew that George is not to be underestimated and as such, was keeping an eye on him. George meanwhile was loving Wai and Cara, and well, he just needed an idol to help make more friends. Sadly for him as he wandered around camp searching, there were always ten sets of eyes on him and/or a collection of people tailing him.

On one such tailing expedition however Baden ventured to the billabong and discovered a note amongst rocks and quickly snatcthed it out from under George’s nose. Said note directed him to search a tree overhanging the water. As such, he now ventured off to find the idol which was hidden directly in front of the entire camp.

Before we could get any resolution whatsoever, my love Jonathan arrived for this week’s reward challenge where the Brains were gagged to see Gavin voted out. As for the challenge, the tribes would be paired up and tethered together to crawl under a net to collect a ball with the first pair to shoot a basket winning a point for their tribe. Given it was for pillows, hammocks, blankets, bacon and eggs, they were all desperate for the win. Simon and Chelsea quickly scored their point over Hayley and Andrew, playing a bit dirty to get there in the eyes of the Brains tribe. Next up were Joey and Mitch versus Emmett and Kez, with Joey tying things up for the Brains. Dani and Shannon then quickly defeated Laura and Cara before Simon and Chelsea returned and won reward for the Brawns over Baden and Georgia. Aka it was a bit of a blowout and not really exciting.

The victorious Brawn tribe were overjoyed as they returned to camp, whipping up a fried rice with little care for the hate they received for their shady plays during the challenge. We then learnt a little bit more about sweet country boy Gerald who is a dairy farmer in addition to his woodchopping career. In addition to being sweet, he lives for a dad joke and takes cooking bacon and eggs very seriously. Like a total zaddy.

Oh and the tribe lived for their food, obvi, but it really doesn’t add much to the storyline.

Speaking of plot, back at the Brains camp the group returned to eating rice and lentils and while it meets their basic nutritional requirements, they weren’t loving it. Though Mitch did point out that as long as they’re winning immunity challenges, it doesn’t really matter. Speaking of immunity, Baden returned to his idol hunt but sadly for him, George and Wai saw him slinking off and as such, George deduced that he must have gotten a clue. With that, they joined him in the search and sadly for Baden, George quickly grabbed the idol from the arms of the tree from under Baden’s nose. He quickly called out to Wai and ran off to the side, unveiling the idol and they doubled down on their allegiance to each other.

Dear Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would race in a giant metal cube, carrying it through a series of obstacles to retrieve bags of letters. Once complete they climb over a wall, across a cargo net and release a walkway to use the letters to solve a word puzzle. Obviously the Brawns got out to a huge lead, climbing out of the cage before the Brains even got to the platform. As Brawns got to work on the puzzle – quickly isolating the word ‘survivor’ from the bag – Brains struggled with the rope. Eventually it came down to the puzzle with us learning that the Brawns can’t even actually spell survivor – instead going with surviver – much to the irritation of Big D, given Benny moved his precious letters. While Brawn pulled ahead, they put ‘Brains’ and ‘Brawn’ in the wrong part of the puzzle which was enough time for the Brains to place their words correctly and solve the last words, taking out victory while Simon yelled at Benny.

As an aside, how dominant was Queen Wai at that puzzle?! Swoon.

Back at camp the Brawns were all annoyed at Benny, despite the fact he only took letters from a pile that spelt an incorrect word. Knowing he was in trouble, Simon went off searching for an idol while the majority quickly locked in the vote against him. As he searched, Chelsea and Dani joined him by the water and the trio decided their best chance to flip some votes would be to target Benny. And like clockwork, he appeared, stupidly telling Dani that he and the majority are set on Simon. This irritated Gerald and filled Dani with hope, despite the fact her shield is the target.

Dani took the information straight back to Chelsea and Simon, with the trio doubling down on the vote for Benny being their only hope. With that, Simon approached Daini and started by lamenting over their loss by pointing out that the losing will only continue if Benny is left to stay. And given Daini was the most vocal about Benny causing the loss, me thinks Simon is in with a shot. They then approached Shannon and Flick to float the plan with them and given they are sick of losing, I think they actually might listen. They took the information straight back to Benny and assured him that they wouldn’t turn on him, but well, I just have a feeling this isn’t going to end well for my namesake.

Despite Shannon reiterating she isn’t here to play Simon says, which is a chef’s kiss soundbite.

Arriving at tribal council, Shannon whispered to Kez and Flick about switching their vote before Jonathan addressed the elephant in the room, being that the meathead alliance have their backs against the wall. Simon quickly jumped in to read Benny’s challenge performance for filth, with Daini agreeing that his mistake cost them valuable time. Benny downplayed the mistakes which seemed to frustrate the rest of the tribe who kinda just wanted an apology. Essentially. Benny pointed out that Simon is playing fast and loose, given his back is against the wall.

With that, Simon opted to lay it all on the table and pointed out that getting rid of the liability is best for everyone on the tribe, otherwise they won’t have any numbers at merge to make it much further. Benny meanwhile defended his challenge performance before Shannon admitted that she can see both sides of the argument. She then addressed her whispering as they arrived and admitted the discussion was about switching things up, which frustrated Benny but when Shannon asked him to pitch, he pointed out that he was offended and offered nothing else. 

Though he did rightly pitch that if Simon could flip the vote tonight, he will easily do it time and time again and that is threatening to all of them. With that the tribe voted with Daini flipping to Simon’s group and tying things up. That of course meant the rest of the tribe re-voted with Kez and Shannon joining Big D in flipping things over and as such, Benny found himself booted from the game. And boy was he irate.

By the time he arrived at loser lodge, he was pretty much ready to explode. That is, until her met his dear friend, me. You see, Benny and I met at a Ben convention – creatively titled a Conbention – where we fast became friends over the things we had in common, our names and the fact we were gifted with dark, luscious hair. And well, I quickly fell deeply in love with him due to my narcissism. While I quickly turned volatile, Benny was sweet and kind and we became the fastest of friends. So I was thrilled to be on site to bring him comfort in the form of some Eggs Benny Burtots.

Eggs Benny? Yeah, it is bloody stunning – be it Megs to a burger, there is nothing better. That is, until you find a way to do a loaded tots variation. Bacon, shallots, dripping in hollandaise with a tonne of halloumi and scrambled eggs, all ON TOTS. This is near as perfect as Benny’s gorgeous, shimmering hair.

Enjoy!

Eggs Benny Burtots
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
2 tbsp butter
6 eggs, whisked
1kg Potato Jems / tater tots, cooked until crispy
½ cup Halloumi Holbrook, fried and diced
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup Hollandaise Taylor

Method
To get things started, heat a skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon until crispy. Remove to drain on a paper towel.

Add the butter to the pan and heat until it is nice and foamy. Add the eggs and once rippling around the edges, sweep the pan with a spatula to form delicately cooked ribbons. Remove from the heat.

Prep everything else according to their recipes, then get to assembling by lining a bowl with gems and topping with a scattering of bacon, halloumi and shallots before dousing with hollandaise.

And you know, devouring.


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