Karlic Lagerbread

Bread, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

In case you haven’t noticed I have a real affinity for the elderly, particularly when they are as kind and sweet as my dear friend Karl Lagerfeld.

As soon as our eyes locked in his interview to replace my as Pierre Balmain’s assistant in the 50s – using my calculation, Stockard Channing would have been well into her 60s at the time – I knew that I had found a lifelong friend. I also had the inkling he was destined for greatness, and as such, would need a powerful muse to help him on his way.

After three years in the job, I convinced him it was time to move on and landed him a job with Jean Patou where I proudly inspired two collections per year, for five years. While his first collections were poorly received, I told him to stand by his skin-baring silhouettes (and get my goods out there for the world to see).

My trick to being such a successful muse? A constant state of nakedness to inspire them with my beauty … or to make something to simply cover me up.

Given how busy he is with all his labels, we haven’t caught up in just over a year so it was a delight to just hang and relax in our sunglasses and high starched collars.  We laughed in a sophisticated manner, gossiped, I tried to inspire a few collections – it is winter here, so expect fur to feature next season … I looked great on my rug – and devoured his favourite Karlic Lagerbread.

 

 

Fun fact: despite what the book The Karl Lagerfeld Diet would have you believe, this is the only thing Karl ate in his pursuit of losing 42kgs in 2001. Maybe the dickload of garlic cut through all the carbs, butter and cheese – who knows?

In any event, it packs a punch and is oh-so-delicious. Enjoy!

 

 

Karlic Lagerbread
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 baguettes
100g butter, at room temperature
6-8 cloves of garlic, crushed (I did say it was a lot!)
¼ cup parmesan
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the butter, garlic, parmesan and parsley in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

Cut the baguettes into 2cm slices, leaving joined at the bottom. Spread the garlic butter generously between the cuts and wrap each baguette in foil.

Place the garlic bread in the oven and bake for about  twenty minutes, or until golden, crisp and glorious. Devour immediately.

 

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Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs

Breakfast, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

After 39 – or 40 days, depending on whose narration you trust / whether you go off the titles, rather than the final day supers – surviving a rough start on the weaker tribe, gaining some power and allies at the swap and navigating the post-merge with ease – aside from the Sala blindside and never being able to win a challenge – Avi landed in the final three with Tom and Barb.

Thanks to his dominant social game, the final tribal council was a complete Avi love fest – with a Barb roas-t as the supporting act. The jury then all piled their votes on Avi, except for Jak, handing him victory over Tom … and the runner-up prize for the US seasons.

While Avi’s game wasn’t as showy, exciting – or physical – he made extremely strong bonds early in the game, that carried him through to the final tribal council. What is most impressive about this, is that he was able to stay in the game despite everybody knowing they would lose to him in the end.

J.T., meet you kiwi equal.

I mean, as much as Barbs’ game impressed me strategically, the way she was willing to play the game to get Avi to the end and almost give up to guarantee him one vote at final tribal is a testament to his social game. Sure it is boring to watch, but it is no less artful.

Given the fact that I was hardcore fangirling over Tom, I wasn’t as gracious and congratulatory as I could be when we met up post game.

“Hey Ben – are you going to cook something for me like everyone else,” he asked like a victim of my rage.

“Make your own fucking eggs,” I screamed … before breaking down in tears and then laughing maniacally. I mean, what are the odds that I’d make eggs – more specifically Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs – for the inaugural Sole Survivor of Survivor New Zealand?

 

 

Like Avi, these babies are hard to fault. Perfectly boiled eggs, butter slathered toast and a hearty spoon of dukkah. It isn’t a showy meal, but it feels right for Survivor NZ. I mean, at least it isn’t melted funsized chocolate in a ziplock bag?

Enjoy!

 

 

Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 eggs
2 tbsp dukkah
4 slices of bread, toasted and slathered in butter to serve

Method
Heat a saucepan of water over high heat. Once bubbling, add the eggs and boil for five minutes.

Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking.

Peel the eggs, slice in half and generously sprinkle with butter before devouring.

 

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Tom Paterscone

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

After a rough final tribal council, particularly for our third place finisher Barb, my dear friend Tom sadly wasn’t rewarded for his physical dominance landing as the runner-up. While it was kind of expected after the Avi love fest, I was shocked – and of course angry slash out for vengeance – to learn that he only mustered one vote.

Consider yourselves officially out of my little black book, Lee and Mike.

While Avi’s social game took him over the line, Tom played the game on the back foot from day one and needed to work harder to survive day after day. He had a brief period of luck post-swap, before ending up back on the bottom – swoon – at the merge.

He then won challenge after challenge, buying him enough time to build the relationships that took him through to the final three.

Sadly though, the jury couldn’t see that – or did, and didn’t think it was worthy – with only Jak voting for him to win. Which is tragic, but it at least gave him the runner-up title outright.

He arrived in loser lodge where I completely flipped out because of his loss. After about an hour or so, he managed to calm me down enough – with clothes on, most shockingly – to whip him up a batch of my delicious Tom Paterscones.

 

 

I love me some bacon. I also love chilli and live for cheese, throw it in a scone, slather it in butter and you’re in for a dreamy treat. Almost as dreamy as the babe-town that is Tom.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tom Paterscone
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
125g chilled butter, cubed
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced and fried
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
200g aged cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
200ml milk, plus extra to glaze

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour until it resembles wet sand. Stir in the bacon, spring onion, chilli, tomato and ¾ of the cheese.

Whisk the eggs with the milk and combine with the flour mixture using a cutting motion, with a round bladed knife until a soft dough forms. Turn into onto the bench and knead until it just comes together, ensure not to overwork it.

Roll out the dough until it is 2-3cm thick, cut into rounds and place on a baking sheet. Brush with milk, sprinkle with leftover cheese and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffed.

Devour, slathered in butter.

 

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Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, 16 kiwis were dumped in the Nic-ar-ag-ew-arn jungle, where they were surprised by a tribal council on day one, where Dee and Hannah were each voted out of their tribes. While it felt like all hope was lost, Matt introduced redemption island where Hannah won the first duel … only to be bested by Tony in the next. She was followed out of the game by Tony, Izzy, the medically evacuated Lou, and Georgia who was beaten by Shay who returned to the game at the merge.

Shannon flipped on the young boys at the merge, sending Lee and Mike to redemption island where the latter went on a streak, sending Lee, Sala, Shannon, Shay and Jak to the jury, returning to the game with Nate … before both being voted out again, leaving Queen Barbs in the final three with Tom and Avi.

The finalists returned to camp where they congratulated each other on a game well played, and marvelled at how surreal an experience it has been. Barb then quickly filled us in that the only reason she made it to the end, is because Nate told her she needed to back herself and that she deserved to make it to the end.

Conversation quickly turned to the jury where Avi was concerned that keeping Barb means he is down one guaranteed votes, Barb felt all the jurors hated her and Tom felt it was going to come down closely between him and Avi.

The next day the final three were feeling calm and noticing the beauty of their soon-to-be-former jungle home, before Avi went into an extended monologue, speaking about playing Survivor being a high school dream of his, making it feel like victory is rapidly approaching. They soon discovered a final three breakfast set up by the beach … leading into Barbs’ monologue about deserving the win and playing the game to prove that she could do it and to focus on herself, rather than just being someone’s wife or mother.

What happened next? You guessed it – Tom had a monologue! Talking about how Survivor was also a childhood dream of his and that he fought to stay in the game the entire time, though was concerned that Avi being a nice guy will soak up a large number of votes.

At final tribal council, the finalists kicked off the show by telling the jury why they deserved to win. Tom spoke about his lifelong love of the game and wanting to be a role model for his students. Avi told them he gave it his all in the game and he fulfilled all of his goals, which sounds arrogant … as does telling the jury he trusts them.

Then came Barbs, who went for the jugular telling them she achieved her goal of sitting opposite them, rather than next to them, and navigated the huge personalities, survived the noose around her neck and played the best game of the three, whilst being underestimated by their inability to be perceptive.

I love queen Barbs, but fuck – no one is going to give her the votes she deserves.

Shay kicked off the jury portion asking Barb if she is kind – she thinks so, which shocked the jury – she asked Avi what he wants the children of New Zealand to know from his game before Shay used the opportunity to clear the air between her and Tom, turning it into Dr Phil.

While I thought Jak would bring some humour to the occasion, he sadly didn’t, instead applauding Avi for being nice, Tom bro, for being a great bro friend bro … and then told Barb he was impressed by her, but felt disrespected by her the entire season.

Mike threw Barb a ditto, what Jak said before telling Avi he doesn’t feel he wants to win the game and needs to be convinced. I’d love to say it was a good question, but it wasn’t, nor was asking Tom to convince him he has morals … despite being a teacher which is probably the noblest profession known to man.

Nate congratulated the final three before reminding them that they all took the opportunity to vote him out twice before asking why Avi didn’t take him to the final three. Spoiler alert, he never committed to the plan. Shannon as a superfan was disappointingly bitter, telling Barb there was nothing she should say to make her vote for her, asked Avi why being nice deserves a win and whether Tom was carried to the end by Avi … despite dominating challenges.

Then came Sala. While he started out being his usual, sweet self by congratulating Tom and Avi for being nice guys that he is proud to have played with. He then lay into Barb, calling her disrespectful, selfish and lazy – just observation, soz not soz – shat on people and was rude. What a sanctimonious dick.

Lee then told them all that they only made it to the end because of luck, despite Tom dominating the game physically, Avi dominating socially and Barb dominating strategically.

As was expected after the roasting she got from the jury, my girl Barb couldn’t muster a single vote from the jury finishing in third place. Despite being destroyed by the bitter Bettys of the jury, she was thrilled to see a friendly face in loser lodge. Particularly one holding a freshly baked Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie.

 

 

A little bit sweet and a little bit tart, this pie is the perfect culinary representation of my dear equine loving friend. Wrap it in some soft pillowy dough and you have pie-fection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
450g plain flour
125g icing sugar, sieved
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs, 2 for the dough and 1 lightly beaten for the glaze
325g butter, diced, 225g for the dough, 100g for the filling
1kg Granny Smith apples, cored, thickly sliced
1kg rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 3cm lengths
500g raw caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
2 lemons, rind and juice
60g panko breadcrumbs
20g demerara sugar

Method
Combine the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor to combine, add butter, vanilla and 1 tsp of cinnamon and blitz until it resembles wet sand. Add the eggs and blitz until the dough just comes together. Form into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Melt the remaining butter in a pot over medium heat, add the apples and stir for about five minutes. Add the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon quills and vanilla paste, and cook for a further ten minutes before adding the lemon juice and rind, stirring and removing from the heat. Once the mixture is cool and you’re just about to make the pie, stir in the breadcrumbs.

Roll out two thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 3-5mm thick. Drape over a pie dish, and shape the pastry into the dish. Trim the edges and pour in the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough, drape over the top and press the edges to enclose. Poke a hole in the centre for steam, brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Chuck it – not literally – in the oven and bake for an hour, or until golden and cooked through. You may need to cover with foil for the last twenty minutes, but trust your gut.

Once ready, allow to cool in the dish for a couple of hours – preferably on a window sill, obvi – before devouring with fresh vanilla ice cream, or a spice custard.

 

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Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Pie, Snack, Sweets

Oh how my heart is heavy! I mean, yes, I am heartbroken that our Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations are coming to a close today … but my agony has more to do with that fact I’m whipping out the time machine to celebrate with Brittany Murphy just prior to her death.

And fuck do I miss my Brit.

We first met on the set of Clueless where Amy Heckerling said, and I quote, “we need Brit to look less pretty, more dirty and disheveled … so Ben, can we model pre-makeover Tai on you?”

While that one comment set off a feud with Ames that lasted until a few years ago – when I embraced my homeless-toddler looks – I took Brit under her wing and gave her the typical teen movie make-under. Fun fact: she could be a farmer in those clothes was a line inspired by the fight with Amy, as I staunchly defended my sexy-farmer look.

Anyway, Brits felt for my pain and we quickly bonded. Soon after I introduced her to Allison and helped her make her Broadway in A View from the Bridge, before convincing them both to join Drop Dead Gorgeous.

I still can’t believe that she has been gone for almost eight years now, and not a day goes by where I don’t miss the ability to pick up the phone and have a gossip and a laugh. Thankfully though, my invention of time travel allows me to involve her in the celebrations, pre-posthumously.

I’ve been racking my brain about when exactly to catch-up to avoid making too many changes to the timeline, and the only time that really makes sense is to drop by in 2009 aka the 10th anniversary of the movie. But tragically that also means it is five months before her death.

When I arrived in her late noughties Hollywood home, I ran into her arms and held her so hard I thought I may break her. While I wanted to scream at her to get out of the house and that girl, you in danger … I knew I couldn’t, filling the entire catch-up with a melancholic tone for me.

Thankfully my supreme acting talent didn’t let it show, as we joked and caught up on what we’d been doing recently over a Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie.

 

 

While it may not fit with the whole cook-out theme I had going to celebrate DDG and Fourth of July, there is nothing more American than a Mississippi Mud Pie. A crunchy (sop it up with a) biscuit crust, delicate cake, velvety chocolate custard and freshly whipped cream? You really can’t go wrong.

Happy Fourth of July ya’ll, now enjoy, ya here?

 

 

Brittanissippi Mudphy Pie
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
Crust
500g chocolate biscuits, crushed
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
Cake
¼ cup unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
¼ cup strong coffee, cooled
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated and at room temperature
1 cup muscovado sugar
Pu-dang
¾ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup dark cocoa powder
¼ cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
2 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate
(Ben de La)Creme
1 cup double cream
3 tbsp raw caster sugar

Method
Preheat oven 120°C.

Combine the crust ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a pie dish and press all the way up the edge. Transfer to the freezer and chill for half an hour. Transfer straight into the oven and bake for ten minutes, or until dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Crank the oven to 180°C.

Combine the butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt via double-boiler. In a different bowl, combine the espresso powder, coffee, salt and vanilla, and allow to rest. Meanwhile, place the yolks and ½ a cup of sugar in a stand mixer and whisk until combined and doubled in volume. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the side and add the coffee mixture, and beat until just combined.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites until they foam. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Combine a cup of the stiff peaks by folding through the chocolate. Add the remaining whites and fold through until combined. Pour into the crust, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until set but still a bit jiggly in the middle, caliente style.

No, you can’t call me fucking jiggly.

Allow to cool on a rack for an hour, before transferring to the fridge for a few hours.

While that is chilling, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt and yolk in a medium saucepan before slowing whisking through the milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Boil for a minute before transferring to a bowl. Add the butter, vanilla and chocolate, whisking until combined. Allow to stand for half an hour before pressing some cling to the surface and chilling for a few hours. Once chilled, stir the pudding before transferring to the pie on top of the cake. Return to the fridge and chill.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream and caster sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop over the pie and spread to coat. Chill for half an hour before serving, generously, and devouring.

 

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Kirsten Bunst

Baking, Bread, Burgers, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Party Food, Side, Snack

The star and true heart and soul of Drop Dead Gorgeous – and my life, TBH – is my divine friend Kirsten Dunst. Like all American girl Amber Atkins, Keeks has always been destined for greatness.

Given these facts, I simply knew that there was no better person to kick off our Independence Day / Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations … plus, we met via my friend slash nemesis slash star of Born on the Fourth of July, Tom Cruise. Which is even more meaningful because we both survived him and avoided scientology.

Anyway, I met Keeks on the set of Interview with the Vampire where I was juggling both my lovers of the time, Brad and Tom. It was so fucking exhausting and stressful trying to keep everything secret that I broke down one day. It was Tom’s day on my schedule and he took me out for a walk and before he could push me into a van to the Scientology headquarters, I was introduced to Keeks and we quickly bonded over our mutual superiority to those in our vacinity.

My words, not hers – she is a damn saint.

I quickly dumped both the boys and vowed to make my gal-pal the biggest star the world had ever seen, getting her a role in Jumanji and getting Sof to cast her in The Virgin Suicides before snagging her the career making roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous and Bring It On, both of which I wrote about my teen years.

Given how busy she has been with the 1, 2, 3 punches of Fargo, Hidden Figures and The Beguiled, we haven’t been able to hang out as often as we used to, so she jumped at the chance to celebrate the season with me.

Knowing she is the damn star of the entire event, I couldn’t go past whipping up my Kirsten Bunst … because you just know they be reappearing later in the week.

 

 

Soft, sweet and insanely delicious, these rolls are the best thing since sliced bread, which is kinda awkward given that they are bread rolls. You know? In any event, these are the perfect rolls for burgers and hot dogs, and will make you regret the years you spent buying store bought like a chump.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kirsten Bunst
Makes: 10.

Ingredients
675-700g 00 flour
7g dried yeast
3 tbsp raw caster sugar
generous pinch of salt
125ml water
50g butter
1 cup milk, plus extra to glaze
4 egg yolks
sesame seeds, to top

Method
Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Meanwhile, heat the water, butter and milk in a saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted and the liquid is 50°C. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Knead the dough on medium, adding the yolks one at a time, allowing the dough to come together before adding the next … if you need more flour, add it here, though you want the dough to be soft, it shouldn’t be sticky. Once the yolks are done, continue kneading for about 10 minutes or until beautifully elastic. Form into a ball and transfer to a large, oiled bowl, cover with cling and allow to rise for 2 hours.

After the dough has proved, smack it down and separate into 10 portions. Shape them into burger buns or hot dog rolls, and place on a lined baking sheet. Dust with flour, cover with cling and leave to prove for another hour and a half, or until they have doubled.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Once they are beautifully puffy, lightly brush with extra milk, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown but still soft and spongy.

Devour as is, or complete with your favourite burger filling.

 

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Shannon Quince & Prosciutto Tarts

Party Food, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand Barb continued to dominate from the comfort of the hammock, whipping up the troops to blindside Sala … who was tragically felled by Mike in a memory challenge.

Back at camp the tribe were speaking about Mike’s redemption dominance before Shannon randomly broke down in tears over being branded the villain. Hey – ask Abi-Maria, they have more fun, so suck it up … or you’re dead to me? She then gave a very raw confessional about being someone that needs people to like her, which is super relatable and has softened me up a little bit.

Given that she is a genuinely nice person, Shay took Shannon for a walk to make sure she is ok. Sadly for Shay, no one was buying that it was genuine, laughing about her scrambling from the comfort of the shelter. That being said, she would totally use Shannon as a number if she were so inclined … and you just know she’d love an opportunity to flip once again.

Not wanting to be left out of the action, Avi pulled Nate aside to see how long the plan had been brewing and where they stood. This set Nate’s tears off, as he cried about missing Sala and still feeling guilty. Fucking hell, I’ll root for you too Nate. Damn, is it only Shay I’m not rooting for at the moment? I mean, Jak is annoying … but he wears a loincloth which is a plus.

Wanting to keep things moving quickly, the tribe was summoned to a one of my favourite immunity challenges – the nighttime cultural story and quiz challenge! I mean sure, it isn’t the most exciting thing to write about, but the mood lighting and fires just get me feeling lit … which I think I’m using correctly. In any event, Tom made quick work of the challenge and after Matt took an excessively lengthy time verifying the discs were gold, took out immunity.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Tom, though really didn’t seem genuine. I assume concerned about Matt’s battle with colour-blindness?

The next day, Shannon, Avi, Shay and Nate played cards which made Barb thrilled since she was keen for a bit of down time, evidently desperate to finish off the book she’s been reading so far. With the queen away, Nate and Avi decided now was the best time to target Jak to continue weakening Mike’s numbers … and to get some peace and quiet.

Back at the camp, Jak was blissfully unaware that he was the next target and as such, locked in the chance to wear his loincloth to tribal, which TBH would be a hilarious way to go. Avi then decided it was important to pretend that he was expecting to go, to lull them into a false sense of security and I assume, to keep plan loincloth on track.

Given that Barb was taking a break from the hammock and people, Avi started to get nervous that maybe he wasn’t as safe as he thought. On the flipside, Barb was feeling hella confident and spoke about how predictable it was with everyone rolling over and following her plans. Jak then decided to follow her around like a puppy, spooking the shit out of Shay, Shannon and Avi before tribal.

Jak slipped out of his clothes and into something more comfortable, heading off to tribal like a low-rent George of the Jungle making he wish that Lee had been inspired to go with this ensemble instead. He then butchered pronouncing Nicaragua and I stopped feeling oddly aroused.

Matt then set Avi up to win over the jury, talking about how hurt he was by Sala’s boot. Nate then gave a completely non-committal statement, Barb spoke about how it was a necessary evil to take out Sala. Avi said he felt shitty about the game requiring people to turn on the kindest, which Barb brushed aside as naive as they headed off to vote.

At the sight of his first vote, Jak started to shit himself – thankfully not literally. The votes continued to roll in as he found himself booted from the game, with his booty on display but that wasn’t all, he also had a very cheeky grin.

Mike was thrilled to see Jak arrive, but I don’t know if that was because he was happy to see his friend … or caught a case of my confusing thirst? Laying on the praise, the tribe returned from tribal to talk about Jak’s ability to be laughed at.

The next day Shay and Avi talked about how screwed they are and threw some shade at Barb, talking about how she was a threat as a goat because everyone wants to go with the end with her and she is controlling the game but not aware of what is going on. Confused? Same because from where I’m sitting, Barb is killing it and is the most deserving of taking out the crown. Shannon on the other hand was mildly more aware, talking about Barb’s threat level while talking to Nate about taking either Barb or Tom out, should either miss out on immunity.

Speaking of which, Matty boy returned for the latest immunity challenge which involved scaling some hard poles to collect sacks which you then had to toss into boxes. Just pause to think about how much smut my dear Probsty could add to this event. Shay got out to an early lead, quickly followed by Shannon and Avi … but when it came time to tossing sacks, the boys really shon. Challenge beast Tom took the lead, with Shannon, Nate and Avi close behind. Tom’s sack-handling shone supreme, landing him his third immunity in a row.

Everyone but Tom was feeling extremely nervous and as such, got to work scrambling. Completely shocking me, Tom decided his best move would be to align with Avi and his island nemesis Shay. Barb was gunning for Shay, while Shay, Tom, Shannon and Avi were targeting Barb. Shannon told Shay that neither she nor Tom wanted to sit next to Avi at the end, while Avi and Tom continued their reconnection with the latter suggesting that getting rid of Shannon is the best move. Nate however felt nervous about Tom’s newfound power and was concerned about keeping Shay in the game.

The boys then approached Barb to float the idea of getting rid of Shannon and while she thought Shay is the better idea, she was more than happy to get rid of Shannon if it means she can stay another day. Shannon on the other hand was just desperately trying to sell herself and her trust worthiness to stay in the game. Shay was feeling nervous for Shannon before hell froze over and she and Tom buried the hatchet and agreed to work together to further their games. Shay then took it one step further and agreed that going to the end with Avi is a losing decision, giving Tom the ammo he needs for when he wants to dig up the aforementioned hatchet.

Which he did, moments later … leaving me hella confused as the tribe rolled into tribal. Even more confused by Professor Sala’s look in the jury. It may shock you to know that I find his loo ba-ba-bangin’.

Tom told Matt how much he’s needed to win these immunities, Shannon spoke about changing her gameplay and being concerned that it would be her undoing. Nate then spoke about the Sala blindside also having a profound impact on the game. Shannon made up for her early flubs, pointing out how little chance she has of winning considering the boys all hate her, which Shay agreed with … making the target on her back just a little bit bigger than Shannon’s. Thankfully for Shay, it didn’t cost her the game as Shannon found herself going to redemption island for an extremely awkward reunion with the boys.

Despite my and Shannon’s expectations, Mike and Jak were rather welcoming when Shannon arrived at redemption. Though it could have been due to the fact that she was voted out and they were just happy to see her lose. She was still thinking it best to duerme como las delfinas aka sleep with one eye open.

Meanwhile at camp, Tom was quick to confirm that Shay wasn’t blindsided by the Shannon boot before they all spoke about how important it is for Shannon or Jak to get rid of Mike, for everyone’s sake. None more so than Avi, who is in the best position and can’t afford someone back in the game that won’t take him to end / lay down for his victory.

The next day Shannon was thrilled to have not been murdered in her sleep by a vengeful Mike and was thankful that they were getting along. They then talked smack about the people left in the game, particularly Barb and her hammock … the ultimate alliance. Jak then made a pun worthy of this patch of cyberspace, which I’m super impressed by.

Back in the game, Tom, Shay and Avi spoke about Barb appearing flat and just wanting to sit in the hammock with her book … which is literally what she has been doing the entire game. Tom decided to check in with her to see how she was handling the votes in the previous tribal when she decided to drop the bombshell, that she has zero interest in making the final three. Barb, in the screaming words of Tyra, HOW COULD YOU?! I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU. WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU. I HAVE NEVER YELLED AT A GIRL LIKE THIS BEFORE.

We then found out Shay eats peanut butter and tomato on toast. That is so fucking disgusting that it broke me out of my Tyra-nce.

Nate was feeling homesick and on the outs, so was completely in the dumps. Given he is super kind, he decided to approach Avi and check in and see where he stood with the tribe. Showing a fair bit of skill, Avi quickly told Nate exactly what he needed to hear and gave what genuinely sounded like a solid plan. Shay and Tom continued their reconnection by the fire, talking about how they trust Avi which means they trusted each other … which they immediately contradicted in confessionals.

Back on redemption Jak and Mike were playing mind games … but all I took away from the situation is that Mike’s nips were on point.

In the land of the living, Tom pulled Nate aside to discuss their plans which spooked Shay who dobbed on him to Avi. The boys then had a heart to heart on the beach, where Tom appeared to win Avi over – despite the fact Shay was telling the truth – though Avi was smart enough to suggest all three of them discuss it later, to force it on them. Avi then approached Shay to tell her he trusted Tom and was sick of her stirring the plot, which is either a brilliant move … or an absolutely terrible one. So yeah, literally one of the two options.

Matt finally returned to preside over one of my favourite challenges, where the tribe need to writhe around in mud before wiping the mud off their bodies into a bucket … for an overnight spa reward. The boys got out to a quick start, though the girls seemed to be playing smarter with Barb piling the mud in her hair. Given we can’t see into their buckets and the commentary would be super boring even if I could I’ll cut to the chase, Avi won and elected to take Tom for never winning a reward and Barb … because Shay and Nate need to bond to further Avi’s game.

They returned to camp and washed off the filth of the challenge while Avi and Tom read Shay for filth – boom tish – before agreeing it is important to check in with Barb and make sure they’re on the same page. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, Avi approached Nate to make sure he was ok with his decision. Since Nate saw it as the closest decision to indecision, he didn’t seem to mind. Meanwhile Shay approached Tom to apologise for overhearing his plan to get rid of Avi to reconfirm their alliance before they went their ways.

After a brief interlude of journalling, horseriding, feasting, drinking, relaxing and making final three pacts – albeit with Barb going out in fourth – Avi, Tom and Barb returned to the depleted Shay and Nate. They then decided it was a great idea to rub the reward in their faces and talk about how great it was to be clean and well rested.

Putting an end to the gush fest, Mike, Jak and Shannon were brought in for their battle, which the latter two weren’t feeling very confident about. Shannon and Mike spoke about burying the hatchet, which made Avi nervous given the fact Mike has been able use redemption island to win the favour of the jurors on their way out.

The battle is another one of my Survivor favourites, where they each had to hold their arm above their heads tethered to a bucket of water until someone drenches themselves … which generally favours women. As expected, Jak struggled from the get go, while Tom and Shannon looked strong. After 15 minutes that would have been about two on screen which ultimately felt like hours, Shannon dropped out of nowhere sending her out of the game as the ninth boot.

While she was insanely gutted to be wiped out of the competition, she was thrilled that her booby prize was a delicious Shannon Quince & Prosciutto Tarts.

 

 

Make no mistake, these babies are small but they pack an absolute punch. The quince and prosciutto are both robust, but work perfectly with a bit of fig and some blue cheese … just to really up the ante of strong flavours.

Enjoy!

 

 

Shannon Quince & Prosciutto Tarts
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
25g butter
1 onions, finely chopped
100g quince paste
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
200g prosciutto, sliced
2 figs, thinly sliced
125g hard blue cheese, like Stilton
2 eggs
⅓ cup cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat and sweat the onions for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the Quince Paste and vinegar, and stir heat until melted. Season and remove from the heat.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press into a muffin pan. Divide the onion mixture evenly amongst them, top generously with some prosciutto, a slither or two of fig and some blue cheese.

Whisk the eggs and cream together and pour amongst the tarts. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and set.

Allow to rest for five minutes, before devouring.

 

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