David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey was inspired by Sasha Velour by way of my girl Whitney, getting so emotional as he welcomed us back to the majestic islands of Fiji for the OG Survivor. Oh but while it is the 41st season, he warned us all to be ready – not because the winners are coming for you – as the game has evolved while in lockdown and is shorter but more dangerous than ever. The first change being that only one tribe won the first immunity challenge, with Yase and Ua attending back-to-back tribal councils with Abraham and Sara becoming the first and second boots of the new era.

We checked in with Ua the next day where the tribe was still recovering from tribal council. Brad was paranoid about how quickly JD switched things up and as such, worried he could no longer trust him. And then when he spotted JD and Ricard heading off to get water together, he obviously ran along the beach to beat them to the well and eavesdrop. After hearing them innocently speak about him for a bit, he darted back to camp where Shan was now more concerned by Brad as an ally rather than worried by JD now being calm. Shan took that information back to Ricard, with him admitting that he said nothing bad and assuring her it was all good. Oh and that Brad needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile at Luvu, Deshawn was growing tired as he desperately continued to try and start fire for the tribe. Eventually the iconic Naseer got sick of watching on, jumped in and got the fire started in no time at all. Immediately making the tribe love him, given they would probably die without him according to Sydney, the de facto proxy for the audience. Oh and we also learnt that grew up without electricity or running water in Sri Lanka but he was always happy and damn, I couldn’t love him more at this point.

We finally checked in on Yase where Tiffany was absolutely exhausted, sharing that she would give anything for even a cup of rice. Back at camp, Xander was busy trying to finish the shelter before he pointed out that Voce had been gone a long time to Liana. With that, they suggested they split up to try and find him, with Xander putting this time to use finding the ‘Beware’ advantage, which told him to accept the risks and do everything it says, or put it back and leave it for someone else. Obviously he took the risk and learnt that he had found one third of an idol which will only gain power if the same idol is found at both of the other camps. To activate it, he simply needs to say a weird phrase and wait for the other two to say theirs at the same immunity challenge and voila, they all get idols. Sadly for him, he won’t have a vote for the rest of the game unless the other two idols are found.

Knowing it is fairly dangerous, he pulled his closest allies Evvie and Voce aside to fill them in, with Voce nervous about now being down a vote. While Evvie was more concerned about Xander’s growing power and not wanting to go to the end with men and then have their game disregarded which always seems to happen on Survivor. With that, Evvie took that information back to their true allies, Tiffany and Liana, and damn Xander, you in danger girl.

The tribes joined up with Jeffrey over the ocean for the immunity challenge where someone would dive in and retrieve a key before bringing it back to two others who would race over a series of obstacles and then swim to the end where the other two people will unlock puzzle pieces, which they obviously use to solve. Oh and in addition to immunity for the first two tribes to finish, they will also get either a massive bundle of fishing gear or just enough fishing gear. 

Xander got Yase out to an early lead, though couldn’t retrieve his key on the first go giving Sydney time to take the lead for Luvu. Danny meanwhile made quick work of the obstacles for Luvu while Brad and Tiffany struggled on the balance beam. Eventually Brad made it to the end while Naseer continued to power Luvu ahead while Shan joined him in lapping Tiffany. While poor Liana waited for her turn on the obstacles for Yase, Luvu and Ua quickly worked through the puzzle before Tiffany finally made it to the end. Sadly for Yase, however, Liana couldn’t overcome the disadvantage as Erika powered through another puzzle and took out victory for Luvu while Ua took out second place, sending Yase back to tribal council.

As winners of the challenge, Luvu were given the power to send someone from Yase for a special journey, quickly sending Evvie before they learnt they could send someone from either of the remaining tribes, with Deshawn quickly volunteering to go.

Back at camp, Tiffany quickly apologised for costing the tribe so much time in the challenge though she was quietly confident that she would still be safe at tribal council, given she and the girls were planning on getting rid of Xander. Speaking of Xander, he and Voce were worried about the girls sticking together and saving Tiffany given there are no guarantees a swap will save the tribe from themselves. Knowing they were mildly screwed, Voce approached Liana to see if she would be willing to get rid of Tiffany with her quickly agreeing that after the challenge it makes sense. Sadly for him however, Liana took the information back to Tiffany and while she assured her she was safe, she was still nervous Tiffany would do something stupid and screw it up for them.

Meanwhile Evvie and Deshawn arrived on the same island as last week and they quickly bonded as they ventured to the top. Knowing Yase will be at a disadvantage come merge, Evvie got to work charming Deshawn so that they would have an ally moving forward. They then shared that there is no way they can risk their vote with tribal council coming up and as such, he can safely take the extra vote and know that they won’t screw him over if they work together moving forward.  We then learnt a bit more about Deshawn, who worked hard to overcome all obstacles to become a doctor before pivoting back to Evvie’s charm offensive. They started by explaining that they plan to boot Xander over Tiffany at the upcoming tribal council before explaining in detail how the idols work this season.

Evvie returned to camp with their vote intact – you’re welcome for the extra vote, Deshawn – and quickly explained that the rules of the journey were the same as last week. They then went for a walk to the well with the girls, quickly locking in the blindside on Xander before returning to the boys and assuring them that they will join them to get rid of Tiffany. While Evvie was chatting with the boys, Tiffany was suggesting they should get rid of Voce instead, given Xander may play his idol, given she just doesn’t want to believe the situation with the idols. While Evvie calmly tried to explain the situation to her, assuring her that they read the note and it is actually powerless, Tiffany’s paranoia started to get to them, given it will be difficult to navigate around, should they stay aligned with her.

At tribal council Tiffany spoke about how disappointed in herself she was in the challenge, admitting that in the moment, she wanted the world to swallow her up. Xander spoke about how raw and exhausting it is to live the Survivor experience. Voce likened it to being in surgery and implored the tribe to find the wound and save their lives. We then learnt that his drive comes from his hardworking mother. Liana admitted that where the ‘bleeding’ Voce was talking about varies from person to person and as such, they need to find who they trust. This inspired Tiffany to remind them that challenges aren’t the only part of Survivor and as such, they need to vote with loyalty in mind. Evvie spoke about the fact the tribes could switch tomorrow and as such, strength means nothing and that is why the decisions are tough. Xander agreed that there is so much unknown and as such, there could be no switch in which case, strength becomes that much more important.

With that the tribe voted and somehow Liana and Evvie bought into Tiffany’s fear, joining her to send Voce out of the game against all odds. As he wandered into Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I mean, I didn’t want any of the tribe to go, but it was still heartbreaking to lose my dear friend Voce so early. You see, we first met while working together as interns at the hospital that inspired Shonda Rhime’s to write Grey’s Anatomy and became the fastest of friends.

David is kind, wise, calm and most importantly, is a total babe and as such, I was absolutely shook to see him go so soon. But after catching up and splitting a David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake, everything seemed right with the world again.

I feel like I say it a lot, but Milk Bar is the greatest place on earth and every damn recipe is near perfection. Tragically, there isn’t any down under and as such, I need to try my best to recreate their cakes. And well, this one is pretty damn great! Earthy, sweet and oh so moist, this is the perfect way to mark a shocking early boot.

Enjoy!

David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake
Serves: 2 dear friends or 16 normal people.

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g raw caster sugar
60g muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
110g buttermilk
75g grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butterscotch chips
240g white chocolate
25g light corn syrup, warmed to soften
55g double cream, cold as possible
75g pumpkin puree
60g milk powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
55g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Dulce de Nick Lachey
⅓ cup milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Combine the 115g butter , 250g of the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and cream on medium speed for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and return to the mixer on low for a further minute before adding the eggs one at a time, allowing to mix for a further minute between each addition. Scrape down the side, crank to medium and beat for a further few minutes or until delicate and light.

Whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a jug and with the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture in until it is all in and just combined. Scrape down the sides once again and then beat on high for five minutes or until homogeneous and airy.

Combine 185g of flour with the baking baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Fold the mixture through the wet ingredients before returning to the stand mixer on low for a minute or two, or until it is just coming together. Remove and fold through the butterscotch chips.

Pour into the lined sheet pan, smooth out the top and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cake is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.

Reduce the oven to 120C.

While the cake gets chill, combine 150g of white chocolate and 25g of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 15-second bursts, stirring after each go until velvety and smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz while adding the corn syrup in a steady stream.

Once combined, add the heavy cream as the blender is still going until it comes together. It may look curdled for a bit, but it will come back together. Finally blend in the pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of salt and the remaining cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Combine the 40g of the milk powder, the cornstarch and the remaining flour, caster sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands – or a spatula if it is too hot – until it starts to come together into large clumps. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until dry and sandy.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and leave to cool slightly.

Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining milk powder and white chocolate for five minutes or until the clumps firm with the chocolate. Transfer to a baking sheet to set completely.

To assemble, cut the sheet cake into two 20cm circles and leave to the side. Using a 20cm cake ring lined with acetate, press the remaining cake crumbs into the base and soak with a third of the milk. Top with a third of the ganache, some crumbs followed by half of the dulce de leche.

Top with one of the discs of cake and repeat the process with the milk, ganache, crumb and ganache. Top with the remaining disc of cake, follow with the remaining milk and ganache before decorating with the remaining crumbs.

Cover, transfer to the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge, take out of the ring and acetate and leave to come to temperature for half an hour or so before devouring, joyously.


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Andrew Pucles Chips

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the top eight fought it out for a car, with Dani taking out the reward but unwittingly cursed her own game. At the immunity challenge Hayley took out her first victory over queen Flick, much to the delight of Hayley. Everyone was finally realising that Cara and George only cared about each other, with Emmett trying to rally everyone together to target them. Thankfully Queen Cara found a hidden immunity idol which they were able to use as leverage to try and woo Wai and Hayley back to their side to boot the conveniently vulnerable Emmett. Which is exactly what they did, continuing George and Cara’s epic streak of somehow evading certain doom.

The next morning the dwindling tribe slowly started their day with Wai and Andrew catching up about her flip, with Wai explaining that she is simply at the point of voting to make it to the next step rather than joining with anyone per se. Hayley joined them to explain the flip, with Andrew annoyed by the fact they rightly made a move to better their place in the tribe given the alliance he wanted them to join left them at the bottom. George obviously arrived on the scene to make it awkward enough for them to stop the conversation, leading to Andrew catching up with Dani and bitch about the fact Hayley continues to flip every few votes, rather than brainstorming ways for them to move forward.

Speaking of hustlers trying to make their way to the end, George and Cara took a moment to celebrate their status as the underdogs and the fact that they have an idol in their back pocket to help propel them to the final two.

The tribe joined Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where they would break into two teams to release poles from a frame, cross a balance beam, retrieve sandbags, cross a mud pit and then add sacks to the end of their poles and shoot the sandbags into the sacks. First team to land three securing a massive Italian feast. Oh and the person that doesn’t compete gets to bet on who they think will win and joins them if they are correct. Andrew, Hayley and George were facing off against Flick, Dani and Wai, with Cara backing the girls to take out victory and score the four of them some food.

While the girls got out to an early lead, Hayley and the boys quickly managed to close the gap. Well, until George crossed the balance beam in a positively glacial pace and the girls pulled away again. Wai struggled over the mudpit, giving the other team the slightest of leads as they got to shooting their baskets. Sadly for them, Dani quickly got her eye in, landing two baskets before Andrew landed his first. Eventually Andrew closed the gap, leaving the teams desperately fighting for victory before Dani landed her final basket and sealed victory for the team.

And Cara.

Dani, Flick, Wai and a very lucky Cara arrived at their massive feast, delighted by the overwhelming smell of garlic. The girls toasted their success, with Dani quickly suggesting that they push for an all female final five and while Cara and Wai agreed that they want to see a girl win, me thinks they aren’t at the point of turning on George yet. Wai admitted that she has been playing it day by day and really only decided to get rid of Emmett on the way to tribal council. Dani told Wai that George had told them that Hayley and Wai were going to vote out the Brawns next, which Wai immediately denied. 

Dani then pushed for Cara to stop playing George’s game and instead make a move to get to the end. This fired Cara up who said that they are both making decisions and she is trying to temper the chaos that he loves. Though she did admit that she would turn on him, but only when it was at the point that she didn’t immediately become the next to go home. And given he is the only one that hasn’t lied to her, she needs to build trust with others before that will ever happen.

The next day George decided to dress up for the latest immunity challenge, while Cara, Hayley and George caught up by the fire. Cara admitted that she was confident with their trio, but was worried Wai would quickly flip on them should something spook her and as such, George needs to be quiet and listen to Wai when she floats plans and start relying on Hayley to help get the information to her. Wai joined them and explained that she would like to see Flick be the next one booted from the game, given she is protective of Andrew. Cara pointed out that that makes her and George vulnerable the further they move along the game, but didn’t push her point and wisely left Wai to talk through her logic.

Meanwhile Flick and Andrew were catching up about the Italian reward, with Flick explaining that she and Dani pushed to see whether anyone would be interested in getting rid of George. Flick explained that while Wai would easily flip, there is no way that Cara will follow along with any of them. Andrew reiterated that he doesn’t want to play for the others and the only way to break up George and Cara is to win immunity challenges and force their hands.

The tribe caught up with my love Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would each hold a platform for themselves to stand on using a rope and ring above their heads. Last one standing taking out immunity, obvi. Bucking tradition, George didn’t drop within the first seconds of the challenge, instead Cara dropped after a few minutes with Wai just behind. After a long battle, George and Dani were the next to drop, leaving Hayley, Andrew and Flick to once again battle it out for immunity. After 90 minutes, Jonathan made the trio go down to holding the ring with only one hand which quickly took out Flick before Andrew dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley her second victory in a row.

Back at camp Andrew regretted his choice to go down to his left hand rather than his right before saltily suggesting the majority should instead be tending the fire rather than him and Dani. Speaking of the minority, they caught up to try and figure out who the majority would target with each of them listing compelling reasons why it would be them. As such, they locked in their votes for George and as such, Dani decided to try and flip Wai to help their cause.

Meanwhile George wanted to take out Andrew however was more concerned about doing something that would cause Wai to flip given he worried that would spell his doom. As such, he caught up with Hayley, Cara and Wai, talking about how Andrew just flipped out at him, suggesting that Wai is the most dangerous person and as such, needs to go. Surprisingly, Wai bought all of it and all of a sudden was less protective of Andrew, instead ready to join the others to vote him out.

The foursome split up, with Dani hunting for an idol before catching up with Wai and checking whether there is any point talking to her with Wai admitting that she is always open to talk, but she will also always be frank. Dani implored her to play her own game before they split up, with Wai admitting that she could ultimately go with either side, however going with George keeps a bigger target around.

Speaking of Geroge, he was eavesdropping on the minority trio and discovered that they haven’t had any success in finding the idol and as such, they’re good to go. Wai finally admitted to us that she doesn’t buy that Andrew was going to turn on her. As George praised Hayley for becoming the Queen of the tribe, Wai quietly looked on and really started to think voting out George would be best for her game. But TBH, she seemed like she was flip-flopping back and forth every few minutes.

At tribal council the tribe were surprised by a table with four urns sitting next to them which JLP explained would provide one of them safety once they are voted out. The catch being, they need to select the correct urn otherwise they’re booted for good. Hayley admitted that it is always nerve wracking to see someone come back after they were booted. Cara agreed that getting a second chance helps put a fire in your belly before George said that at this point in the game, you should just keep voting people out until it sticks. Dani opted to tell the majority alliance that they each need to start thinking about their individual games, unaware that sticking as a four for now – until say, top five – is the best option for all of them.

Andrew spoke about his nerves at the vote ahead, while Flick sold herself as a number that the majority alliance can use if and when it’s needed. Andrew played up George’s penchant for doing what is best for himself, though George admitted that even if he is the last man standing, there is no way he is a physical threat. Dani shadily said that once it is just him and the girls, they can come together and take him out then. George spoke about always feeling nervous, with everyone agreeing that only Hayley should actually feel ok. Wai shared that this tribal council doesn’t feel simple and easy for her and as such, anything could happen.

With that the tribe voted and George found himself becoming the last man standing as not only was Andrew booted but he also selected one of the unlucky urns and as such, officially exited the game and joined the jury. Given Andrew has been pretty even tempered throughout the entire game, despite being irritated by George, he took his boot in stride, with a big beaming smile.

Even when I smuggly made fire with a flint to prove that I am the ultimate survivalist, threatening to come for his gig. Given we’ve been friends for years – influencers and Youtubers go hand in hand, you know – he quickly told me I wouldn’t last a night in the wilderness without a bed or shower (so true) and as such, I should head into the kitchen and make us some Andrew Pucles Chips to smash while we catch up.

So, you know, I did.

Tangy and salty, crisp on the outside while gooey on the inside, these delights are oh so moreish. Though I do caution you, you will need a drink because these fried coins of perfection will make you thirsty. I recommended pairing with an icy IPA.

Enjoy!

Andrew Pucles Chips
Serves: 2 best mates.

Ingredients
vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup flour
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups dill pickles, sliced into coins and well drained

Method
These babies are pretty easy to make, so you can do everything all at once.

Start by heating 2 inches of oil in a pot over medium-high heat until it is about 180C.

Combine the flour, buttermilk, paprika, chilli, oregano and cayenne in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper until smooth.

Pop half the pickles in the batter and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden and crisp. About a minute either side. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until all cooked.

Season with salt and serve with some Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie. Then, you know, devour.


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Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Condiment, Dip, Sauce

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes battled it out in a dusty immunity challenge with Simon narrowly besting his former tribemate Emmett. While Simon was supported by the rest of his tribe to get to the end and score the win, it was truly a one man show on Brains. Speaking of Emmett, he wasn’t too bothered to lose the challenge given he was leading the Brains tribe’s majority alliance. With an iron fist, if you ask the Brains trio. Speaking of them, they decided their best hope was to woo Kez to their side, given she desperately wants Cara out and Emmett isn’t listening to her. While she vowed to go to rocks to get what she wanted, she ultimately stayed with the alliance and joined them to boot Georgia from the game.

The peace of the outback was disturbed the next day as Gerald snored by the fire as George wandered around wide eyed, glad to still be in the game. Though he admitted that it isn’t luck that got him this far, it was his hard work to finally win some people over. On the outside are his remaining nemesis, Laura and Rachel. And frankly, he doesn’t care who goes next out of the pair of them.

Rachel meanwhile was collecting a tonne of wood despite being tired and on the outs. While Laura was sleeping. We then finally got an intro package for Queen Rach, who was Queenslander of the Year last year and is essentially an icon. She then took that positive attitude to the billabong, teaching Cara how to fish and damn, is this what hope feels like?

Meanwhile over at Brawn Hayley was feeling her oats, in charge and generally living the dream, forming a tight bond with the girls and generally being the boss. They were fishing, tending the fire and making friendship bracelets and honestly, I am just as jealous as Simon to be missing out on the experience. Speaking of Simon, Hayley can see how large his target is and as such, got to work finding cracks to get him out before they get to merge. While Dani and the boys bonded in the shallows – Simon in his speedos, swoon – Hayley realised building a relationship with her would be critical to her long term game and as such, got to work bonding with Dani.

The duo caught up and went fishing, while Hayley started soft, asking about the Brawns on the other tribe, she then got straight to the point, asking Dani when she thinks would be a good time to get rid of Simon. With Dani straight up spilling her entire strategy to align with the alpha and then cut them from the game. A move that she called ‘The Sandra Bullock’, which is as iconic as her asking Hayley if she’d be interested in helping to pull off the move. Which Hayley giddily responded by announcing that blindsides are even sweeter when the person thinks they’re in control.

Iconic, brutal, stunning. I love them.

Hayley then went for a cheeky little wander, lamenting about the pain of not seeing or hearing from their loved ones. And right on cue, she discovered letters from home in treemail, instantly reducing everyone to tears. We learnt about Hayley’s beautiful boyfriend Jimmy who was ready to propose when she returned home. Andrew meanwhile got a cute painting from his nephew, Wai heard about her cat, Dani’s partner roasted her for being stubborn and then Baden sobbed over missing his daughters and ugh, I’m not crying. You’re crying. I mean, one of them sees his face in the moon each night AND HOPES HE CAN SEE HERS.

It. Is. Too. Damn. Precious.

Over at the Brains, we learnt about George’s beautiful bond with his dog, Emmett missing his fiance and well Rach, she finally had her fire back. Ready to fight for her wife back at home. As such, she pulled Cara and George aside to talk. But sadly, we weren’t privy to that as Emmett, Gerald and Kez realised that losing challenges isn’t the worst thing right now and as such, they should consider throwing a challenge to get rid of another Brain or two.

My love Jonathan finally returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would face off sliding a series of blocks to untangle ropes and releasing a key. These tribes would then traverse a series of obstacles, collect some balls, wade through a mud pit and then slide some balls down a ramp to land in a dish. Queen Wai obviously directed the Brawn tribe to quickly untangle the ropes and release the key while the Brains grew more and more confused. Even without Emmett trying to throw the challenge, the Brawns tribe powered all the way to the end of the course and landed their balls in arguably the biggest blowout of all time.

As the tribes celebrated together everyone tried to whisper to each other with Andrew telling Laura to just get to merge while Hayley encouraged Rach to throw all the mud around and make a mess. While Emmett and Kez could barely hide their excitement to be going back to tribal council. So, maybe they did throw it?

Back at camp Emmett was pumped to continue the decimation of the Brains before firing up some rice and relaxing. Despite knowing full well that the Brains still have enough people to take control of the tribe if they put their differences aside. That being a pretty bloody big if. After quickly locking in Rachel as the bigger target, with the girls loading their votes on Laura as a back-up. Emmett then shifted his focus to the next step once Cara and George left, that being to flip Laura and then take out Cara and George.

Knowing that she is screwed, Rachel opted to put her emotional feelings about George and Cara aside and instead try and work with them to make a big move against Emmett and weaken the Brawn tribe at large. Obviously Laura was on board, so wIth that, Rachel powered off to find George and pitch him the plan with him calmly agreeing that he knows what happens next if they don’t mix things up. George then shared that he wanted to split the vote the way the majority did so that he could ultimately make the decision to flip on someone like Emmett without anyone knowing it was coming. And buy him more time to figure out which option is best for his game, with or without Cara’s support.

At tribal council Gerald admitted that nothing has really changed with the power dynamics of the tribe, with Rachel agreeing that she and Laura are definitely the dead women walking. George meanwhile spoke in political speak, confusing Rachel and Laura about whether he would flip. Emmett admitted he is just wanting to get to the merge and take control, though also alluded to the fact that he is always going to put Brawns first. Rachel pointed out that Brains currently have the majority if they were merging and coming back together is better for all of them. While George agreed that Laura and Rachel made some valid points, Emmett and more so Gerald, made some very complimentary arguments to bring them together.

Laura called it out for what it is, blowing smoke up Cara and George’s arse leading to Kez needing to step in and point out that Brawn is also a fractured tribe and they actually need some Brains to help get further as they navigate their own complex dynamics come merge. Aka the Simon and Emmett faction versus her, Flick and Gerald. With that the tribe voted and despite the promise that big things were happening this week – SuE’s bIG mOvE, right? – the majority held together and Rach was tragically booted from the game.

As soon as I saw her turn the corner into Loser Lodge, I burst into tears, heartbroken to see my fellow Queenslander of the Year booted from the game. And by fellow, it happens in like a decade, remembering I invented time travel. That is not what I win for either. But anyway, Rach and I are dear friends and I was so disappointed that she couldn’t turn things around, particularly since we’re so close to the merge.

Given Rach is an absolute delight however, she took it in her stride and calmly held me until I stopped crying. After that, we did the usual laugh, cry and reconnect before I searched the fridge and found enough ingredients to whip her up a Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie.

I know ranch is often looked at as a pretty basic dip/dressing/condiment – at least by me and my paranoia, I guess – but I am basic and proud. Add in a little chipotle, however, and you elevate it into the stratosphere. Fresh and tart, but packing a good whack of heat, this delight will have you slathering it on anything. Or gulping down like water.

Enjoy!

Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie
Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients
2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
⅔ cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chives, thinly sliced
½ tsp paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Now try and keep up because this is tough. Place everything in a jar. 

Shake well.

And down.

Or refrigerate until ready to serve with something else. But, why?


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Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brawn continued to take out victory after victory, with George sure that if he was put into a physical battle he could have changed their losing ways. That being said, he and Wai then single handedly took out immunity for the tribe earning their respect and saving George by the skin of his teeth. Back at camp, Janelle quickly became the target however for some reason Simon wanted Shannon gone instead. While he and the big guys targeted her, Janelle was having none of Emmett’s arrogance and instead tried to flip the vote on him. And while it failed and she found herself booted, she was still iconic and I love and miss her.

The next day the Brawn tribe were warming up by the fire and preparing to plan for the day ahead, while Simon was awkwardly trying to come to terms with the fact his plan is not the one that was executed. He then tried to dig his way out of the hole, putting it down to a simple miscounting situation. While Gavin quietly watched on as he and the rest of the alliance searched their minds for an answer before sharing with us that he booted Janelle because that was the last thing someone told him and as such, he thought it was the plan.

Flick, the other turncoat, was not unwitting and instead was glad to draw a line in the sand and save her friend Shannon, given she knows that going with the boys, she’d be forth at best. She was kiki-ing with Gerald and the girls and honestly, again, I love them all. Particularly since Flick was ready to take out a meathead at the very next opportunity.

Meanwhile over at casa de Brains, Laura was feeling her oats to have had the night off as the team woke up and enjoyed breakfast. That being said, she was starting to get desperate for a fire. Instead of focusing her energy on that, George suggested the group rest up so that they’re best placed to take out victory in the reward challenge and potentially win a flint. Rather than have their strongest player blister their hands and get weak. Given he has zero capital in the tribe, as soon as he disappeared the tribe got to work trying to start a fire. And given Andrew – aka not-Tommy Little – is a straight-up survival expert, I’m not actually sure why they haven’t had fire for the first five days. In any event, as George washed off in the water, Andrew and Baden started a roaring flame and just like that, the Brains are back in the game.

Well, the Brains minus George who was plum tuckered from his walk.

Dear, sweet Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where the tribes would face off to hold a trough up the longest as the other tribe attempted to fill it with water and weigh it down. All for coffee, tea, sugar and Iced bloody Vovos. Rachel and Baden valiantly held it up for Brains as Daini and Gerald looked super chill and steady for the Brawn. Surprising Dr Mitch I assume, who was super shady about their brain power, Emmett and Simon lead the Brawn tribe to strategically fill the trough as quickly as possible and damn, Brains, you’re in danger. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a contest and once again, Brawn took out the reward giving them the most plush camp in Cloncurry.

Brawn were obviously overjoyed to return to camp to find their afternoon tea set-up, complete with a collage of photos of them with their loved ones. As everyone sobbed, Gerald popped the kettle on and whipped up their drinks before they settled in to talk about their families. Chelsea spoke about her close bond with her dad, Gerald opened up about his pride for his sister, Big D broke down in tears sharing how he and his mum had nothing growing up and her tenacity is what pushes him to work hard.

Kez felt like the reward brought everyone together before we learnt about her journey to becoming a bodybuilder after being bullied throughout school and ugh, I love Queen Kez and her lack of jumper so, so much. Particularly since she stumbled upon an idol clue while collecting sticks in front of everyone and like an icon, she quietly pocketed it and went to the bushes to learn where she needed to look.

Back over with the Brains, the tribe were feeling far from joyous but hey, at least they have fire? Oh and Andrew, who quickly dammed off their water and got to work deoxygenating the water to force the fish into the net and hot damn, they’ve got a bit of fight left in them as they’re heading into the immunity challenge.

Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race to solve a giant brain teaser to release a ring, which they would then use to climb a wall before crossing rope steps, knocking over a tower, then immediately rebuilding it on the end of a seesaw. Wai quickly took charge of the brainteaser for the Brains tribe, while the Brawn tribe just straight up struggled. Wai decided the Brains tribe needed a bit of muscle and despite George wanting in, Joey slotted in while Georgia tried to keep him calm. But thankfully for them, he was persistent and Baden finally listened and suggested the tribe switch him out and damn, George immediately solved the puzzle. As such, Brains quickly worked their way through the course and won the challenge, just as the Brawn tribe made it across the rope steps.

And once again, was George the hero of the challenge?!

The defeated Brawns returned to camp and while they appeared down, Flick was pretty pumped to be able to take a shot at Simon, Emmett and Gavin. She was already aligned with Shannon and Kez and as such, the girls got to work bringing in Gerald, Daini and Benny to form a majority alliance. Which they appeared to quickly secure with the vote locked in for Gavin. Shannon was excited to get her revenge on the boys and as such, suggested they talk up voting for Simon to throw the others off the scent.

Meanwhile Simon could see the writing on the wall and as such, got to work trying to flip Big D and take back the numbers and get rid of the eternally charming Shannon. And ugh, poor Big D, he was just feeling both anxious and spicy to find himself in the middle. Speaking of finding, Kez got nervous after witnessing Big D talking to the boys and instead turned her attention to the idol. Which she quickly found, the catch being that it was buried under a rock right in front of everyone in camp.

Unsure what to do, Kez enlisted Flick’s help, pulling her aside and sitting in front of the tomb to collect the idol. The catch being that since she didn’t pack enough clothes, she had to pretend to sunbake in the scorching sun until Flick rescued her and brought her some shoes to finally hide her idol in. And you best believe that she is willing to play it should she feel worried for her girls.

And given Big D is still unsure which side to go with, she just might have to. Particularly since he suggested they instead vote for Kez rather than Shannon and they all just folded to his preference. While Simon and Gavin were confident he was with them, Emmett was still nervous and well, I hate to agree with him but I am nervous. But for my girl Kez instead.

At tribal council Jonathan shaded them for being back so soon before Chelsea spoke about how hard it is to lose being so damn competitive. Shannon admitted that they overcomplicated the puzzle which ultimately cost them the challenge, while Simon doubled down on them voting out Janelle being the right move. Despite not actually voting that way. Kez coyly suggested that there is always a chance of a blindside and that she hopes this tribal council identifies the snake in the grass within their tribe. Emmett agreed that it is challenging trying to find your footing, though he knew who he was voting for and that is half the battle. Big D admitted that he naturally goes for people he vibes with, though in the game he will make his decisions based on strength for the tribe.

Immediately filling Kez with fear. 

Emmett was arrogant and cocky about his alliance having the numbers while Simon admitted that there can always be a spanner thrown in the works. That spanner usually being an idol. Big D suggested that the vote would be the one to draw a line in the sand, while Simon shared that he was shocked it wasn’t drawn sooner. Which immediately riled up both Queen Flick and Queen Kez, who said it was pretty obvious that Simon drew a line in the sand, but nobody else was that pigheaded. Essentially. Big D admitted that trust changes throughout the game, while Gavin and Dani were just wanting to prove loyalty.

With that the tribe voted and feeling nervous, Queen Kez pulled out her idol and played it for herself as the rival alliance looked like they were shitting their pants. That being said, it was unnecessary as Big D stuck with the good guys and Gavin was booted from the game by the new 6-person alliance. And ugh, he is so damn sweet it is almost hard to see him go.

As you know, I’m highly influential in the sporting world and as such, have known Gav for years and we’ve been the best of friends. We locked eyes with each other across loser lodge and I pulled him in for a hug, assuring him that being the third boot isn’t anything to sneeze at. Particularly when it comes with a side of sweet, sweet Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes.

I know, I know – you hear green tomatoes (which you’re inexplicable pronouncing tom-a-toes right now, aren’t you) and think, that is disgusting. But hear me out, because these are delicious. Salt, sweet and packing a kick of heat, they’re the perfect snack for whiling away an afternoon. Or processing post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Gavin Fried Wangagreen Tomatoes
Serves: 4 dear friends, two of which are obviously Jessica Tandy and Mary-Louise Parker.

Ingredients
3 firm green tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
⅓ buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup polenta
1 cup vegetable, canola or another appropriate frying oil

Method
Cut the tomatoes into 1cm slices, sprinkle with a good whack of salt and leave to rest on a chopping board for five minutes.

Meanwhile, place the flour and spices in one bowl with a good whack of pepper, the buttermilk and egg in another and the polenta in yet another.

Bring the oil to heat over medium heat and once nice and hot, dip the salted tomatoes in the flour, then in the egg wash followed by the polenta and into the oil three or four at a time. Cook for three minutes, flip and cook for a further three minutes, or until golden and brown. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until down.

Serve piping hot with a bit of hot sauce and savour every bite.


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Simon Black and White Cookie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champions continued to extend their lead after getting Daisy to burn yet another idol while Zaddy John was sent to join my harem in the Jury Villa. Jonathan then dropped a bomb at the next tribal council and announced that the next two people voted out would be sent to Exile Island before battling each other for the chance to return to the game, with that Daisy was then voted out to spend a miserable night in the rain. The next day Abbey started to crave a big move for her resume and after Pia secured immunity, joined Harry, Baden and Luke to blindside Simon from the game. Well, temporarily, as he destroyed Daisy in the challenge and sent her to Jury Villa and rejoined the game.

The tribe returned to camp with the same final seven as the day before, with Abbey awkwardly hugging Simon and the silent King finding his voice, talking to us about his rage at being voted out. Instead of finding allies, he decided that an idol would be his best shot so went searching, digging up much of the island and leading to – probably – the deforestation of 90% of Fiji.

The next day Abbey was feeling nervous about her place in the game, knowing Simon would be upset with her and concerned that JaQueen and Pia won’t ever forgive her. Which is a fair judgement, given Pia and JaQueen were seething about her lies and bitching about her by the shore.

Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to balance a platform using a rope and move back and forth up the length of the course collecting letters to spell immunity on said platform. While everyone raced out to start, Baden stayed behind to reorder his blocks. That didn’t seem to slow him down however as he joined Pia, Luke and Abbey at the front of the pack, while poor Simon sat in last. The four continued to power ahead, with Abbey and Luke firmly fighting for first while their platforms slowly swayed. Pia was the first to drop her stack, followed by Baden who was sympathetic to Pia’s loss. Abbey dropped her stack on the last block, allowing Luke to place his last block and slowly make his way back to the start to secure immunity, with Simon now breathing down his neck and Abbey cheering him on. Thankfully he held firm, maintained his stack and snatched immunity, while JaQueen admitted that she was just hoping to pull a Bradbury.

Back at camp Simon recommenced digging up the entire island while Abbey was just thrilled that anyone but Simon took out immunity. She checked in with Harry, Baden and Luke to lock in their latest vote for Simon to guarantee he doesn’t go on an immunity run. Luke and Abbey went for a private chat while Pia and JaQueen sat nearby and saltily speculated what the new duo could be up to. Sick of speculating, they approached them leaving Luke to straight up ask them to join them in getting rid of Simon. Again.

While they sat there strategising JaQueen started to realise that Abbey was the bigger threat and as such, she and Pia went hunting for numbers. JaQueen approached Simon who quickly fell in line, while Pia once again used her acting skills to improvise and pulled Harry aside with JaQueen and played into his desire to make a big, bold move. They outlined that while none of them can win against Luke he is immune and as such, taking out Abbey would be the next biggest move to impress the jury. While Harry agreed that getting rid of Abbey is a logical choice, he was lucky enough to have countless options and just needed to decide whether teaming up with JaQueen and Pia was in his best interests.

At tribal council Janine spoke about the feeling of deja vu heading into tonight’s tribal council, while Abbey tried to downplay the fact that nothing has changed since the previous vote. Despite the fact her flip was outed and her two closest allies aren’t on board with her anymore. She then pushed for everyone to band together and get rid of Simon again, which led Simon to finding his voice and congratulating Luke, Harry, Baden and Abbey for outwitting him. JaQueen admitted that she too felt blindsided and was paranoid that she would be next, leaving Abbey to assure them that she would have said something if it really would have impacted them.

Harry spoke about the uncertainty of moves at tribal council leading to major, continued change while Pia hoped the flip didn’t leave her on the outs. Simon returned to talk the only thing he has left, the fact that he can be a loyal number, while Harry spoke about everyone’s paths to the end intersecting in different ways. Pia agreed with him and mentioned that that means things will shift a lot more frequently, before JaQueen and Abbey mentioned that they would be voting with their head tonight and honestly I have no idea what it happening.

With that the tribe voted and for the second time in a row, silent Simon was booted from the game. The reason Simon barely appeared in any episodes this season is because all of his confessionals were him talking about how excited he was to get booted, see his dear fellow Brisbanite – not a good episode for Queenslanders, no? – and smash some Simon Black and White Cookies together.

 

 

These classic New York biscuits are a favourite of my husband, who first got Simon to try one when we were travelling to NYC together. Soft and fluffy, almost cake like biscuits, smothered in a thick choc v. sugar crust, they truly are a magical creation. Like Simon, which you would know if he or Sam actually appeared this season.

Enjoy!

 

 

Simon Black and White Cookie
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter plus 2 tsp for the icing, at room temperature
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups icing sugar mixture
30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt in a bowl, and whisk the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a jug.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

To making the dough, cream the butter and caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium for about ten minutes, or until pale, creamy and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low and working slowly and carefully to avoid the kitchen looking like a crime scene, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture in thirds, stirring until just combined.

Place heaped large golf-ball sized dollops on lined baking sheets, allowing plenty of space for spreading. Press them down to flatten a little and transfer to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool on the tray for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine the icing butter remaining butter and vanilla in a heatproof bowl with a tablespoon of water. Place over a double boiler and stir until combined and soft. Spread the icing over half of each cookie before adding the chocolate to the bowl and heating until combined. Spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each biscuit and leave to set for five minutes.

Then devour, chattily, like Simon is in real life.

 

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Biscuits & Gravid Genat awaiting the model blindside victim David Genat after he was brutally cut from Australian Survivor.

Biscuits & Gravid Genat

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the first post-merge tribal council gave Andy one more time to be wrong, thinking he was lying about David’s idol when dropping a bombway out. While David legit had one. Classic Andy. Thankfully that mistake only made Pia more resolute about taking him out ASAP. While JaQueen spent a couple of days rallying people to blindside an exceedingly cocky David, he won a hard fought immunity challenge over Shaun and saved. After being sent directly to tribal council, without even passing go and collecting $200, everyone scrambled outside with Shaun desperately trying to swing the vote on to Luke given he is a social threat that nobody can beat. Sadly for Shaun however that didn’t work with JaQueen and co’s plans, as they signalled their intentions and flipped the vote back on the sexy, strapping Shaun.

Back at camp the tribe were hunkering down as they were battered by torrential rain for over twelve hours, with Pia realising that the game is so much tougher than she was expecting. She was grateful however to have her dear friend JaQueen, trusting each other implicitly. As they sat around debating whether a palm has a frong – JaQueen, I’m disappointed – or a frond, they watched David flirting his way along the sure with Abbey and once again was focused on the need to get her former ally Dave out of the game.

Luke was once again feeling excited to have escaped certain doom, getting biblical and making jokes about blindsides and again, I hate that he annoyed me his last season. Given he has been through it before, he was acutely aware that they’re getting at the pointy end of the game and as such, alliances are going to break every tribal council. Meanwhile Daisy was still moping about tribal, given she had to get in line and vote out Shaun to try and save herself from JaQueen’s golden tongue. Speaking of golden, this time God, David was feeling super confident, having the numbers advantage, an idol and a team of allegedly loyal soldiers and he is looking forward to steamrolling his way to the end.

And to that I say, David, you in danger girl.

David was grateful for his tight alliance with Luke, who tells him everything that is going on, and as such, he knows it is safe to get rid of Daisy next. He then approached Pia, Abbey and JaQueen to fill them in on his plan to boot her and then told them not to tell anyone and keep everything quiet before tribal council. Which you know none of them are interested in. This led to even Abbey getting annoyed by his confidence, so the trio solidified their plan to blindside him as soon as possible. Knowing that getting David out will require them to keep it super quiet and play into his ego, inflating his confidence to unheard of levels. Pia then once again gave a masterclass in fake friend acting and again, David, you’re in danger as the Australian Black Widow alliance has finally arrived.

Jonathan and his guns arrived for the immunity challenge where they would race to dig a big sack of walls which they would then use to roll down a long, hard shaft and land them in waiting holes. Little Baden was the first to unleash his balls, rolling them down his shaft and trying to get a handle on the challenge before Luke joined him with his balls. Baden finally mastered the challenge, landing two balls with Luke nipping at his heels. Abbey finally joined the balls as Luke started to overtake Baden, landing his fourth and fifth balls while Baden started knocking his off. David joined them at the paddle but it was all for nought as Luke landed his sixth ball and secured individual immunity for the first time in his Survivor career.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Luke on a job well done at the immunity challenge before he dedicated victory to his kids and again, he has really won me over. As they started to pick at fruit, David quickly locked in the vote for Daisy, pulling everyone aside and feeling on top of the world. But we all know pride comes before a fall and he approached the Champion girls to talk about the plan to split the vote on Daisy and Harry, with JaQueen and Pia assuring him that they love the idea and have no reason to worry about big, bold moves as yet. Which he bought hook, line and sinker.

With that Pia, Abbey and JaQueen split up to bring in allies, with Pia quickly pulling in John before joining JaQueen to pull in Harry who knows that David is a threat and not Daisy. Despite not knowing whether the move will be enough to keep him, he felt like he had no other options. Meanwhile Abbey approached Daisy to get her up to speed on the new plan and told her that while it will sound like everyone is getting rid of her, it is only to keep Dave confident enough to not play his genuine hypothetical idol. While Daisy was nervous to be the decoy vote, she knows that that is her only hope to stay in the game. Pia was hopeful that the blindside will come together, carefully avoiding telling David’s nearest and dearest about the plan, with JaQueen wishing that the sun would hurry up and set so nobody can fuck it up. Right on cue Daisy pulled Luke aside to talk to him about the vote ahead, filling Pia and Abbey with a horrible feeling of dread as they were about to leave.

At tribal council Jonathan was joined by Zaddy Shaun who was looking stunning all scrubbed up before congratulating Luke on his first individual immunity. They then joked about Luke becoming the new challenge beast of the season and dominating the game. JaQueen deflected Jonathan’s suggestion that the focus would now be on a new challenge threat, assuring him that she will be sticking with her alliance this time. David jumped in to agree that allies are more important, particularly if the challenge threat is amongst them as they can keep the target off your back. Dave then went in on Daisy for flipping on him at Champions 2.0 – or 3.0 – with Daisy dutifully playing the hapless next boot, apologising for not talking to him prior to flipping on him pre-merge.

Harry joined the fray to talk about his nerves about old tribal lines dictating the vote ahead and that all he cares about is self-preservation. Zaddy John agreed that all he cares about is making it another day, with Baden agreeing that he wished another Contender wasn’t about to go home however he doesn’t have any say. Simon finally spoke however it clearly wasn’t too memorable as I honestly just know that he said something. Though maybe that was because Jonathan pivoted back to Zaddy John who spoke about cracks showing in the Champion alliance, which immediately made the Champion ladies shit their pants as David appeared to grow more and more nervous. Before heading off to vote Daisy wished that she had scrambled harder before tribal, while Dave asked everyone to stick to the plan, unaware that those magic words are what killed the man, the myth, the legend Keith Nale. And killed him, as Pia’s plan played out perfectly and he was blindsided from the game with an idol in his pocket.

While I do love a Survivor downfall, I also love everything that David has brought to the game this season, from his spunky attitude to his aggressive gameplay and his glistening torso, I would watch him on repeat. He was bummed to be voted out, sure, but was thrilled to see his old runway coach – I go by Miss Benny-J – on hand to comfort him. After I worked through the excitement of having Shaun and David to myself in the jury villa, all I could think about was getting him alone in a room to gorge on some Biscuits & Gravid Genat.

 

David Genat waiting to smash Biscuits & Gravid Genat after he was brutally blindsided from Australian Survivor.

 

Is it lazy to throw together two recipes that I’ve previously done? Sure. but when you’re faced with staring at a cooktop and staring at David’s beautiful face, I think you would err on the side of simple. Plus, this creamy sausagey gloop, slathered over buns is a delicious way to celebrate our model contestant. Or him to celebrate with me, I don’t mind.

Enjoy!

 

David Genat smashing Biscuits & Gravid Genat after he was brutally blindsided from Australian Survivor.

 

Biscuits & Gravid Genat
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 batch Jenna Lewiscuits
1 batch Sam Schoesage Gravy

Method
Cook the biscuits as per Jenna’s recipe.

Cook the gravy as per Sam’s recipe.

Split the biscuits, top with gravy and devour.

 

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Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the battle between Champions and Contenders reached its crescendo as the two tribes merged with six OGs apiece, thanks to some impressive work from David and Luke to survive a mega-minority after the swap. After the merge Daisy snatched victory at the first reward challenge, and with it an idol, while Shaun took out immunity which gave the former Contenders the upper hand at the first tribal council. Sadly for them, David once again proved to be the master and convinced the tribe to target Andy and get rid of him as an easy vote before the jury commences. While Shaun didn’t like giving up the potential numbers advantage, there was nothing he could do to convince the Contenders it was a bad idea. After being made to feel nervous at tribal, Daisy played her idol just in case as Andy was booted unanimously. And then got one thing right, finally, by dropping the bombshell that Dave has an idol. Even though he didn’t think it was true, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The next day we checked in with the tribe as Zaddy John was growing more and more annoyed by David’s peacocking around camp. I assume because he isn’t stripping off enough, which John, PREACH. The tribe then critiqued the model’s island looks, with most people reading him for filth thanks to his penchant for a bare chest and copious amounts of accessories. Though his passion for going to challenges at least shirtless is something I am grateful for, so I won’t shade him too much. Plus, his confidence is kind of endearing as he assumes that once again Andy’s attempt at playing the game and blowing (accidentally) up his idol secret will be a fail. Which sadly, I don’t agree with.

Meanwhile Luke was thrilled to still be in the game and somehow have the numbers advantage back after getting everyone to turn on Andy. He and his dear ally Janine were discussing how she expected to go before leaving for the game, with him sharing how much he respected her given she is so open to pushing herself. They then spoke about their tough upbringings and she told him how much she respected him and WHY AM I CRYING. They are honestly a duo I ship hard and I hate that Luke annoyed me so much in his first season. That being said Janine knows that a good social game is key for her and as such, being warm and engaging is her way to deflect from the target on her back. Though I choose to believe her love for Luke is as pure – or impure – as mine for John.

Luke and Baden then caught up to discuss their potential alliance, with Baden sharing that his plan is to ride the middle and use his bond with Luke to keep abreast of what is going on. They then spoke about the importance of getting rid of Shaun and/or Simon as soon as possible, before Shaun sauntered upon the scene just as they were bitching about him. Thankfully for him Baden has no intention of getting rid of another Contender, so planned to use the information to get rid of a Champion ASAP. Baden caught up with Daisy and Shaun who were concerned about his role as a double agent, though were grateful that he could spill the tea and help them find a way to take out David next. Shaun then attempted to dabble in some comedy, joking about David being slimy and while they kinda fell flat he is super pretty, so whatevs.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would hold themselves up between two poles on ever decreasing footholds … FOR A BRAND NEW CAR. Everyone survived the first stage of the challenge before poor Shaun became the first person out. He was followed by Daisy and Baden in quick succession. The rest transitioned to the skinniest perch, which immediately claimed Zaddy John, Luke, Pia and Harry, before Janine excused herself after an hour leaving Simon, Abbey and David to battle it out for a car they could easily buy themselves. At 75 minutes Simon stepped out of the challenge, with Abbey and Dave fighting it out for another 25 minutes before Jonathan grew tired, told them they could no longer use their hands which proved to be Dave’s undoing, handing Abbey the car. Not to rest on his laurels, Jonathan told Abbey that the boot was complete with a picnic and as such she could invite two people to join her, with the earnest AFL player selecting Dave for trying hard and John for being sweet.

At the picnic Dave gritted his teeth through the disappointment at losing the car, having to tolerate smashing the abundance of food under a waterfall in Fiji. The trio got to celebrating their luck, with Abbey happy to reward Dave’s hard work and form a bond with John. Who was looking forward to getting to know her, which instantly made me jealous. Growing tired of the bonding David decided to bring up the game, suggesting the three of them would be a solid alliance that could control their way to the end game. And while David didn’t want to go to the end with them, he’d be happy to be dragged by them. Sadly for him John had zero desire to work with him, sick of how hard Dave is playing and knowing full well that he needs to go. Abbey then turned the conversation to who should go next, with him placing the target on Shaun’s back and while the logic is solid, his aggressive gameplay irked her too.

Back at camp Shaun was understanding of Abbey taking Dave on reward, given she is so sweet. Instead of dwelling he searched for an idol and stumbled upon a mandarin tree. He was then sprung by Janine and the two of them tried to shake fruit free, while the two discussed how critical it is to get rid of Dave ASAP. Which JaQueen was all in on, vowing to blindside him at the very next chance she gets.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge which is the full blown water torture event, with everyone submerged under a grate in rising water with the last person to remain under the grate snatching victory. Almost instantly a terrified Daisy and Abbey dropped out of the challenge as the sun started to set and the rest of the competitors started to freeze. As the water covered everyone’s eyes Baden dropped out, followed by Harry, Pia, Harry and Janine, leaving Shaun, Luke, David and Simon to battle it out in the dark. After a brief struggle – which sounds like a death notice – Luke was the next to go, followed by silent Simon leaving the battling babes to hold on for dear life. With Shaun dropping out after being fully submerged, leaving a nearly drowned David to secure immunity,

Oh and then Jonathan dropped the bomb that instead of going back to camp, the tribe would be heading to a lit clearing straight outside tribal council.

The tribe frantically scrambled to identify a target, with the Champions plus Harry immediately excusing themselves to confirm that they would once again split the vote on Daisy and Shaun. Meanwhile Shaun rallied the Contenders and shared that he would be voting for Luke, since David isn’t an option and nobody can possibly beat him at the end. And while everyone agreed, they know Luke is too likeable to get anyone to flip on him at this point in the game. Shaun and Daisy then approached Simon and Abbey to see how they were feeling about things, with Shaun making the pitch to get rid of Luke … as he approached the group and stopped everyone in their tracks. Harry too added some drama, running to John with Pia, JaQueen and Daisy, to float the idea of getting rid of the biggest threat aka Luke. Simon then joined the group as the weighed up who is the bigger threat out of Shaun and Luke. While Pia was open to the flip, she was once again worried about an idol being in play.

The tribe finally arrived at tribal council where David admitted that the previous hour was complete and utter bedlam as everyone tried to draw a line in the sand once and for all. Pia shared that everyone has finally realised that it is well and truly and individual game, while Luke started to whisper to anyone near him to reconfirm the vote against Shaun. David tried to redirect the focus back to Shaun and his strength, while Shaun then pointed out that relying on immunities isn’t enough and as such, Luke and his strategic gameplay is far more threatening and is far harder to get rid of. David tried to sell his immunity victory as one for all of his allies, while JaQueen admitted that the minimal time to scramble has really complicated their games and forced people to ignore a lot of glaring issues with their plans. She then straddled the centre pointing out that getting rid of a challenge threat is something that needs to occur when you have the chance.

Shaun pointed out that getting rid of him is a shitty move and not something that would help build your resume for the jury, while someone like Luke who will beat all of them is a smarter, game-building move. JaQueen tried to reiterate that they need to get rid of strength, with Harry pointing out that they will have other chances and getting rid of Luke makes oh so much sense. John then joined the fray to remind everyone that when Shaun goes, the next strongest will become the biggest threat and as such, those people need to think carefully about how they frame their votes. With that the tribe voted and tragically the stallion himself Shaun was booted from the game.

In any normal season Shaun would be the number one person I lust after between his penchant for speedos and being gorgeous. And while I love John, I assured Shaun that he is my solid number two and I only held back on my love for him thanks to my relationship with his partner Megsy – aka Megan Gale, who I really need to catch-up with soon. Fun fact, I am godfather to their eldest. While Shaun and I were heartbroken to see him eliminated this early, we were grateful that he landed in the fourth best place – behind winner, runner-up and fourth-place robbed goddess – as the King of the Jury. I mean, how reassured are you that such a calm, nice person is setting the tone for this year’s jury. I mean, it almost makes me feel as good as filling my gob with Shaun Cheese & Hampscones.

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

There are not many ways you improve on something as wholesome and perfect as Shaun, sorry scone, but adding ham and cheese is definitely one of them. Salty ham, sharp cheddar and a kick of capsicum work together to make these babies even more perfect … er.

Enjoy!

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
100g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
200g ham, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
½ green capsicum, finely diced
2 cups vintage cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and whisk in the chilli flakes. Add the butter and press together with your fingertips until it comes together and resembles moist sand. How much do you love the word moist? Fold through the ham, shallots, garlic, capsicum and ¾ of the cheese into that moist mix with a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour in the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until the dough has just come together.

Portion the dough into 8-12 even mounds and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush with excess buttermilk and a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and glorious.

Spread the fluffy little buns, slather with copious amounts of butter and devour, as the sweet butter melts and drips all over you.

Maybe Shaun is my number one?

 

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Jenna Lewiscuits waiting for our fellow fame hungry Survivor All Star Jenna Lewis.

Jenna Lewiscuits

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: Island of the Idols

Well lookie here, can you believe we’re almost back for another season to see whether we can do a more elaborate shark jumping than last season? I mean, sure, Chris broke the pizza curse by returning to the game and securing victory, but can we be sure if pizza won’t be a curse when you don’t have a safety net? Who knows.

In any event, I stick by the old adage that bad Survivor is still better than no Survivor and last season did give us the majesty of Chris’ package and flashy – not in an Australian Survivor way, sadly – end game if something I will defend until my last breath.

Given last season’s countdown finally caught me up on having the suite of victors dropping by on record, I decided that it was time to celebrate some of the non-winning icons of the game. And while Jenna may not be remembered fondly for turning on the winners in All Stars, I will always hold a special place for her in my heart.

I mean, she was one of the few people to try and break apart the tagi alliance in Borneo, famously missed out on a video from home as her family forgot and then returned to All Stars and famously set the tone, cutting Tina first and making all winners targets.

She was thrilled and honestly, kinda shocked, to receive a call asking her to drop by and help me countdown to Island of the Idols since as she put it “I’m not what most people would consider a legend of the game.” Which truly kinda broke my heart.

I explained to her as one of the few people to vote for Rob to win All Stars, I considered her a rational gamer and felt wistful wondering what the timeline would look like had he won that game. I assume no Mariano duo in the potential and definitely not confirmed by spoilers season of winners at war … with each other, for instance.

With that, she giddily accepted the fact that being a returnee was enough to get and invite while we smashed some culinary sacrifices in the form of Jenna Lewiscuits, to guarantee Rob and Sandra don’t help the contestants on their island and instead troll them into making bad mistakes.

 

Jenna Lewis moments before smashing some Jenna Lewiscuits.

 

Fluffy and melt in your mouth, biscuits truly are a thing of glory – just ask Latrice ‘Slop-It-Up-With-A-Biscuit’ Royale! Not quite bread, not quite a scone, these babies are the perfect accompaniment for sausage gravy. If only Sam knew!

Enjoy!

 

Jenna Lewis smashing some Jenna Lewiscuits.

 

Jenna Lewiscuits
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
⅓ cup milk powder
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 ½ tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tsp kosher salt
125g butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for brushing
½ cup shortening, melted
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and press through the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers until it resembles wet sand. Add the shortening and stir to combine before adding in the buttermilk and folding through.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until just combined. Flatten into a one inch thick slab of dough and cut into two inch wide circles. Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with some melted butter and repeat the process until the dough is all used.

Place the biscuits in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Serve immediately – with or without sausage gravy – and devour.

 

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Michelle Branch Dressing ready to be guzzled down by Michelle Branch

Michelle Branch Dressing

Condiment, Dip, Sauce

It really is true what they say about when it rains, it pours – not the famous Survivor challenge which Shi-Ann won in All Stars, upsetting the apple cart – as no sooner had Keke Palmer left my apartment, was my phone ringing again with Michelle Branch inviting herself over to join the fun.

While I am ashamed to admit that I oft get her and my other friend Vanessa Carlton mixed up, I was happy to oblige and welcome her to this ‘ere patch of cyberspace.

I first met Michelle almost two decades ago when she did a set visit to American Pie 2 to sell her hit song Everywhere. While my dearest Tara and Eugene weren’t sold on it fitting the narrative flow of the movie, I soon convinced them it would work perfectly during the scene where Jason Biggs superglues his hand to his dick.

And the rest, as they also say, is history.

Given I am the one that pushed to get her big break, Michelle trusted my judgement and agreed to fall under my tutelage. That lent to a couple of more singles, a Grammy winning collab with Santana and you could say, I was successful.

We tragically haven’t caught up in the last few years, given she has been busy with a wee bebe at home, so it was a treat to catch up, share a few laughs and jug vats of Michelle Branch Dressing. Which is weird but totally our thing, you know.

 

Michelle Branch waiting to chug Michelle Branch Dressing

 

A little sweet, kinda tart and silky smooth, ranch is the perfect accompaniment to any salad, hot wings or anything spicy, TBH. Or, you can drink it like nectar. No judgement.

Enjoy!

 

Michelle Branch mid chug of her Michelle Branch Dressing

 

Michelle Branch Dressing
Makes: 1 cup.

Ingredients
⅔ cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chives, thinly sliced
½ tsp paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Place everything in a jar. Shake well. And down.

Or refrigerate until ready to serve with something else. Though it doesn’t really need it, you know.

 

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

Bobcorn Chicken Crowley

Main, Poultry, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Gabon

We’re less than two weeks away from someone joining the Francesca Hogi Memorial First Boot Club – well technically, who knows with extinction in play – and as such it is high time to corral another Sole Survivor to drop by and celebrate.

Side note: can you believe I am one victor away from completing the winner’s circle? Well, two given Brian Heidik shoots puppies and will never appear here.

Anyway, given that our best shot is for this season to be an epic disaster that manages to be entertaining, I thought it was finally time to catch up with my dear friend Bob Crowley. Aka victor of one of the most chaotic and beautifully entertaining seasons of all time, Gabon.

While I didn’t know Bob until after his win, we became the best of friends as soon as Sugar introduced us. Some may say it was his out of the box buff wearing that saw him snatch my heart, and well, they are totally right. And that is why we’ve never fought a day after our beautiful friendship.

Despite being one vote away from being bested by Susie, Bob’s win is one of the greatest possible outcomes for a season as insane as Gabon. I mean, it would be like Angelina winning David vs. Goliath. Sure Matty dominated physically, the onions were nasty and Sugar controlled the game, Bob managed to find his footing against all odds, made a stunning fake idol and leveraged Sugar’s emotions to get to the end.

And if that isn’t worthy of a bowl of Bobcorn Chicken Crowley, I don’t know what is.

 

 

You know I love me some fried chicken slash take-away copycats, so this baby pretty much has it all. Spicy, crunchy itty-bitty pieces of chicken – the perfect way to feel like you’ve eaten less, while getting optimal batter to meat quantity. Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bobcorn Chicken Crowley
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
⅔ tsp salt
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp basil
⅓ tsp oregano
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp white pepper
500g chicken breast, cut into popcorn sized chunks
1 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Combine the flour through white pepper in a large bowl and place the buttermilk in another. Toss the chicken through the buttermilk, then in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly.

Bring 1 inch deep oil to heat – around 180°C – in a large pot. Once shimmering with heat, add the chicken a handful of pieces at a time – size, not literally with your hands since the oil – and fry for about five minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain slightly and repeat the process until done.

Devour immediately. With or without your fave sauce.

 

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