Shane Goulash

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 23 Aussies and 1 three-time American loser were marooned in the lush jungles of Fiji for the non-biblical battle between top dogs and underdogs. Despite getting out to a strong start in the opening challenge, the Contenders were first to suffer a loss with Matt giving an extremely patronising speech at tribal leading to him becoming the first boot. He was followed out of the game by self-appointed King Russell Hantz, Damien, Steve K, Jenna – yep, doing this – Moana, Anita, Zach, Paige, Jackie, Tegan and Heath.

In honour of the Spicys, two became one and the tribes merged, leading to the downfalls of Lydia, Robbie, Sam, Mat, Benji, Steve, Fenella, Monika, Shonee and Brian before Shane defeated Sharn the prosecutor in front of the jury.

Despite being fairly low down the totem pole early in the season, Shane managed to find her way into the main alliance and make it to the merge where she truly flourished, while not being able to be fucked with. From finding idols, to dominating around camp, spying for allies, fostering critical bonds, orchestrating pivotal blindsides and being a damn boss, Shane managed to defy expectations for the older female archetype and played, arguably, the showiest game of our three victors.

And prove that Shane Gould will always be a champion. Obvi one that is never to be fucked with.

The only fear I have about Shane’s victory, is that we’re going to have to suffer through Dawn Fraser next season and let’s be honest, Dawn is no Shane. And I don’t want to fuck(ing deal) with Dawn Fraser.

After giving a rousing toast as she left the island, I raised her arm in triumph and congratulated her with a big, hearty, piping-bloody-hot and victorious Shane Goulash. Huzzah for Shane Gould, iconic, Queen of Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders.

 

 

Packing a powerful paprika punch, this goulash is the perfect thing to renew your energy after 50 days starving on an island. Rich hunks of beef melt in your mouth, while the spicy sauce is like a warm hug. Throw in some mash, and you’re in heaven like Shonella smashing margs or Benji doing whatever he does to a plate of nachos.

Enjoy!

 

 

Shane Goulash
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg chuck steak, cut into large cubes
3 onions, quartered
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 of each red, yellow and green capsicums, cored, seeded and cut into chunks
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
400g canned diced tomatoes
1L beef stock

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Heat a lug of oil in a large dutch oven and season the beef with a whack of salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pan in a couple of batches and cook until sealed. Remove from the pan, reduce heat to low and cook the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and sweat for a minute.

Bring the heat back to medium and return the beef to the pan with any leaky juices with the three paprikas and the three capsicums and cook for a minute or so. Add the paste and bay leaves, stirring until well combined. Add the tomatoes and stock, stir and bring to a simmer.

Remove from the heat, chuck the lid on the dutch oven and transfer to the oven to cook for 2.5-3 hours, or until tender and your house smells like it is not to be fucked with. Like Shane Gould.

Serve with a shit tonne of Gabriel Mash, sour cream and chives. Then devour, like the ultimate champ that you are.

 

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Chicken Shomein Fairfax

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Sharn and Shane were well and truly on the bottom, desperate to find a way to save themselves. Thankfully for them Brian voted Fenella out and upset the other half of Shonella, so when he took Monika on reward and left Shonee back at camp, the three of them formed a new alliance. Despite winning a car – a curse as powerful as my pizza curse – and not winning immunity, Brian survived tribal council thanks to his idol, leaving poor Monika to be blindsided by the SH clique who had a feeling he was packing said idol.

The next day Brian was feeling a bit salty, while Shonee rejoiced in surviving this long and being the final Contender standing. The four congratulated themselves on a game well played and were giddy about their only being three days left. Grubby continued to sulk around the camp, while Shonee listed off her impressive resume from surviving the tribal swap, navigating the post-merge flip-flop and most impressively, Benji’s nachos eating. Hopefully this is start of the winner’s coronation and not a send-off, because I can’t handle a Michelle Dougan situation again.

Meanwhile Shane was dolphin-ing it up in the ocean, talking about the complexities of the mind games and her stellar, not to be fucked with social game. She then shared that her ideal final two would be opposite Sharn, despite the fact she is a killer lawyer and would have an easier time against the disliked blindside. She followed Shonee, listing her resume of blindsides and knowing that going up against Sharn would show that she can defeat the barrister at her own game. Oh and obviously pulling off the blindside of Brian, flushing his idol and his ally in one foul swoop. Given she thinks he is villainous and wants to take him down, however isn’t sure whether taking him out next is the best idea.

Sharn and Shane went for a walk, leaving Brian time to approach Shonee to find out why she flipped on him at the previous tribal. While he pretended to trust her and accept her rational, he vowed to take her down and do what it takes. With that, he followed in the girls footsteps and listed his villainous resume and hoped that his final tribal speech would be interesting and exciting enough to hand him the win. Trying to find new friends, he went for a walk to check treemail with Sharn where they discovered a moral dilemma where a meal was sitting in the jungle and they could either choose to share with Shane and Shonee, both split it or if they can’t decide, the person that wants it for themself gets it. While they debated back and forth for a while, Brian chose to keep the food for himself while Sharn opted to split and as such, Brian got it all for himself. Which he ate, giddily and without remorse.

My boy Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the castaways were required to weave discs through a maze suspended on a spring and then stack 12 on top of said maze without knocking them off. Brian and Shonee got out to an early lead while Shane started to close the gap and Sharn took the slow and steady wins the race motto. As you can imagine, this isn’t really something exciting to type about, let alone read … so Brian placed his twelfth and then dropped the stack, as did Shane … and Shonee, leaving Sharn to Steven Bradbury. Wait, nope, she dropped too leaving Brian to snatch immunity on his second attempt. This time with far less arrogance.

Back at camp the ladies congratulated Brian on his immunity win, while Brian was proud of taking out another immunity challenge and quickly identified Sharn as the next boot. He approached Shonee to lock in the vote against Sharn since they were each other’s best hope. Shonee was fairly confident she would be able to turn Shane against Sharn, so approached her to explain how well Sharn has played and how strong she will perform at final tribal. While Shonee would prefer to be taking out Brian, she continued to work Shane hard and assured her that if they are in the final three, she will take her to the end over Brian. Shane and Sharn went for a walk and marvelled at Brian’s luck in the game, before Shane spilt all the goss to Sharn and told her that they were planning to take her out. This allowed Sharn to explain to Shane that if there is a tie between their votes and Brian and Shonee’s, Sharn and Shonee would make fire and as such, they would win out in the end.

After locking in a deal with Sharn, Shane approached Brian to see where his head was at and told him that she would be interested in flipping to them and taking out Sharn as it is their best chance. They roped in Shonee and the three agreed they would vote together, which made Shonee feel even more nervous about the vote ahead. As such, Shonee approached Sharn as she felt she was the most trustworthy person left in the game and floated the idea of joining together to take out Shane instead. Sharn acknowledged that Shane was her biggest competition left in the game and as such was conflicted about which way to go at tribal council.

At said tribal council Brian spoke about only being able to trust immunity at this point in the game, Shane agreed that she doesn’t really know who she can trust, however admitted that she planned to stick with her loyalty and hope for the best. Sharn spoke about being nervous about tribal, though planned to trust her gut, while poor Shonee spoke about not being able to trust anyone until after the votes are read. She hoped that the people she spoke with during the day and felt on the same page as were being honest and things would work out for her.

Sharn acknowledged people needing to play for the jury, trying to sway Shane into staying loyal by painting the jury as not interested in an easy – sorry Steve, giving – win. Shane said that some of the jury actual prefer the villainous gameplay, though admitted that past loyalties would come into play in the final vote. This led to Brian admitting that all the contenders would potentially vote for Shonee and as such, she is a threat. Though he backed the game he played. Sharn spoke about not knowing if she can beat everyone in the end, while Shonee tried to sway her by talking about sticking with her gut. Fellow gut-gal Sharn said that she too would be sticking to hers and with that, they headed off to vote and Sharn and Shane stuck together while Brian and Shonee didn’t, leaving Shonee to be tragically felled in fourth place.

While I desperately wanted to scream at her for essentially 2-1-1-ing herself out of the game and not even trying to go to fire, I couldn’t stay mad at her and instead broke down in tears over the fact that not only were we robbed of a Shonella final two, she follows in the footsteps of Michelle and Flick of being the fourth place robbed goddess. She held me close as I sobbed for all that we, Australia, lost until I was strong enough to serve her a comforting bowl of my Chicken Shomein Fairfax.

 

 

Sweet, spicy and packed full of comforting carbs, chow mein is one of those dishes which look complex but are super easy. So easy you can cook while blinded by the combination of tears and rage.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Shomein Fairfax
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g fresh hokkien noodles
peanut oil
500g chicken mince
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 chillies, sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1 red capsicum, seeded and sliced
1 tbsp curry powder
¼ cup oyster sauce
3 tbsp tamari
½ cup cooking sake
⅔ cup peas
½ cup baby corn
100g oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 bunch choy sum, roughly chopped
½ wombok, shredded
4 shallots, sliced

Method
Seperate the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water for five minutes or so. Drain.

Heat a good lug of oil in a wok and cook the mince over high heat for five minutes, or until browned, breakin up any lumps as you go. Add the garlic, chilli, carrot and capsicum, and fry for a further minute. Add the curry powder, oyster sauce, tamari and sake and cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the remaining vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat, toss through the noodles and devour, piping hot, with plenty for hot sauce in honour of her spicy confessionals.

 

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Franks’n Beans

Breakfast, Main

Oh my – where do I start with my dear sweet Frances Bean?! As you know, I am a dear friend of her parents Kurt and Courtney and as such, have always taken a protective older brother role in her life.

Oh and FYI, I am her third godparent with Michael Stipe and Drew Barrymore for my exemplary morals, though that never seems to make the news, does it?

I always tried to look out for Frances growing up, as I have long known – thanks to LVP, no less – that the crown is heavy and as the Princess of a grunge empire, her crown was pretty heavy and I always wanted her to know that I had her back and support her unconditionally.

To the point where I followed her to Bard College to make sure she was ok slash see if I could ride her coattails. Shockingly, I had a rare moment of self reflection and realised that riding coattails was exploitative, so I left school and let her soar.

And soar she did..

It was such a delight to see her again, give her and hug and reiterate to her how proud I am in the awkward way your mum does. Thankfully she didn’t think it was too weird and we spent the afternoon catching up and laughing about our past … over a big vat of Franks’n Beans.

 

 

Sticky and sweet, earthy and a little bit spicy, this little baby was our go to meal at college. Like a combination of a childhood hug and nostalgia, it is everything you could want while reminiscing about the good old days.

Enjoy!

 

Franks’n Beans
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
6 rashers streaky smoked bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 tbsp chilli powder
⅓ cup ketchup
⅔ cup bbq sauce
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
4 cups vegetable stock
800g canned navy beans, you could try dried but TBH it is too hard
salt and pepper, to taste
6 skinless hot dogs, thickly sliced

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and cook the bacon, onion and garlic for about five minutes, or until fragrant and glorious. Add the capsicum and chilli, and cook for a further minute.

Stir through the ketchup, barbecue sauce, muscovado sugar, dijon, worcestershire, stock and beans with a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered and semi-stirring, for about an hour, or until the liquid is thick and glorious.

Add the hot dogs and cook for a further five minutes before serving generously on fresh toast.

And devouring.

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Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Matty boy took us all the way back to when they were marooning 18 Kiwi castaways on an island half way between Thailand and Myanmar where Dave saw Matt one of his best mates from school. Chani went on a losing streak, seeing Jose, Karla and Frankie exit the game back to back to back, the latter because she got too paranoid about Eve owning the hidden immunity idol. Last week Arun and Josh formed an alliance at the Outpost before Khangkhaw threw the challenge and – gag of the season – kept Dylan and booted Kaysha from the game … without looping Tara or Lisa in.

As such you just know a swap is afoot, no?

Back at Khangkhaw Dylan was still trying to process the fact he was still in the game and awkwardly tried to find anyone to talk to. On the flipside Matt was thrilled that his plan when off without a hitch because as much as he liked Kaysha, he knew she was more threatening and therefore needed to go. Sassy Dylan gave everyone a chance to verbalise any of their issues with him after tribal, with Tara offended that he threw her name out there while also being frustrated by being left out of the vote. Sooooo … hopeful she is feeling nice and scorned just ahead of that swap.

Chani awoke the next day, still appearing blissed out after avoiding tribal. Liam in particular is riding high, pottering around camp and making it feel more like home. Eve too enjoyed the time off, though was still worried about the fact everyone knows about her idol and that target could definitely come back to hurt her. Meanwhile Tess and Tara were enjoying fishing while Brad and Zadam chatted about Dylan being an outsider while the poor guy sat by himself and wished for that swap knowing he’ll be booted without one.

As such Matty Chis re-appeared for the reward challenge where Chani were shocked to see that Kaysha was booted before Matty finally acknowledged the horrific vagicide … AND THE FACT IT IS TIME FOR A TRIBE SWAP! What a damn surprise?! While it was telegraphed for the first fifteen minutes, let’s focus on the fact the had to body paint their way to divide into their tribes and that may get us some male skin. Wait, no – no one did an Ozzy. Anyway, new Khangkhaw was made up of Eve, Tess, Lisa, JT, Liam, Brad and Tara while Renee was the sole female on Chani with Dylan, Dave, Matt, Josh, Adam and Arun. Which Josh and Arun were thrilled about since they made an alliance on the outpost and Matt and Dave since they were best friends in school.

Anyway, we’ve got a reward to deal with which saw two members of each tribe forced to hold a pole on a platform, then get spun around as someone else grabs a rope off the base and runs it back to the start. They each then have to walk over a balance beam – dizzy as hell – and then join their tribe in getting between two points without touching the ground. Like the iconic time Sierra Dawn-Thomas lead her team to victory in Worlds Apart via barrel rolling. Given it was for comfort, peanut butter and flour though, it is well worth it.

Liam and Dave were neck and neck spinning Tess and Matt around super fast, so fast in fact, that the pole snapped right off Tess’s disc and flung her into the ground and appeared to break her neck. As is oft the case in Survivor NZ, the medics were called and while she looked concussed, paralysed and her buff flew clear off her head when she rag-dolled, she was given the all clear and allowed to continue. Sadly the same could not be said for the disc portion of the challenge, with it axed and the tribes minus Tess and Adam forced to work on the second portion of the challenge. While new Chani got out to an early lead Khangkhaw closed the gap and snatched victory for their tribe, giving Tess a pillow to lay her concussed head on.

We followed new Khangkhaw back to camp where Chani were thrilled to see what island luxury looks like, and JT excited to idol out one of the OGs. The knock to Tess’ head seemed to make her kinder to outsiders, telling Eve, JT and Liam that she was thrilled to have them in her life. On the flipside, Liam was hella nervous despite being the most useful and least threatening member of the ex-Chanis. Though given Eve left the damn idol back at Chani, maybe he is right to feel nervous. Meanwhile new Chani arrived at their camp where literally only Dylan seemed excited, since he is now the swing vote and their appears to be more food. Dave ran away from his tribe to snatch Eve’s idol before anyone noticed, before Josh shard how nervous he was despite having multiple connections and being physical. Arun being Arun offered to grab everyone water, before Dylan latched straight on to him, spilled the tea and all but signed his life over to Chani.

Matt Chis that cheeky devil called Eve away from camp to see a medic despite feeling fine … because he was dropping her idol off thanks to Dave. And by dropping off, giving her the option to gift it to someone back at new Chani or keep it for herself. Which she obviously kept for herself because she isn’t stupid.

New Chani sang Dave happy birthday before he and Matt found themselves a quiet spot to reconnect, which isn’t as good as it sounds. Instead of the fan-fic running through my head, Matt spilled all the Khangkhaw tea to Dave and then shared that he thinks he saw JT grab the idol at the challenge. Which he didn’t, but well played Matt. Meanwhile Brad was feeling confident in his place in the tribe, thinking he’d easily be able to get Tara and Lisa back on side. Well, until the ex-Chani members wanted to hear the post-tribal goss which only highlighted the fact they were left right out. As such, Brad pulled Lisa aside to make sure they were still tight and then locked in JT as the boot, should they lose the next challenge. Tara and Tess then caught up with Tara deciding it was important to stick together, despite not really trusting them. Lisa pulled Liam aside to see if he was ok, sensing he was upset about the tribe swap. They then bonded by the fire and had a chat, though it didn’t appear to touch on gameplay. But I ship the shit out of them.

The first immunity challenge as new tribes rolled around where Khangkhaw spoke about their glorious camp, while poor Chani could only counter that their camp was flat. That says it all, really. Anyway, two at a time people swam out to a suspended cage to release fish traps holding puzzle pieces. Chani got out to a huge lead thanks to Adam and Matt which Arun and Dave maintained despite Lisa and Liam’s best attempts. Brad and Tara continued to close the gap for Khangkhaw, though they were no match for Renee and Josh handing Dylan a handy lead on the puzzle over JT. Which he put to good use as her secured immunity for Chani and TBH, saved himself from certain doom.

We followed Chani back to camp with Dylan thrilled to have secured victory for the tribe, pissing off Adam who felt it was a lucky victory and it all came down to the lead they gave him. Side note: just fuck already, because the tension is making Dylan the good guy. The sexual tension was cut by the speculation about who would get the boot with Arun hoping for a big Khangkhaw name, with them agreeing that it depends on whether they’re playing a long game or a short game. And that booting Brad would mean certain doom for them.

Back at Khangkhaw Liam was concerned about their survival while JT tried to make inroads with Lisa. Brad and Tess and hooked up to look in a plan, concerned that JT has an idol – thanks to Matt’s bad intel. Liam started scrambling, approaching Brad to see if there are any cracks in the alliance before Brad hinted that they think JT has an idol, and as such Liam or Eve are in danger. Liam briefly considered flipping to Khangkhaw  but was too damn kind, so instead headed back to JT and Eve to share that they know about the idol giving them the idea to pretend JT does have the idol and attract the votes to Eve or Liam to give them a better chance of playing it correctly. As a back-up Eve and Liam approached Tess, who also didn’t give anything away making them unsure of who to play the idol on.

At tribal council Matt quickly got everyone to admit that despite becoming a new tribe, they were still split right down the middle. Tara defended themselves by saying that while they wouldn’t like that, when you don’t know them you can only base your decisions on numbers. JT tried to pretend he was lying about not having an idol which Tess and Brad fell for hook, line and sinker, before Lisa threw out a reference to being honourable to distract from her killer game thus far and JT said that he has always done what he said he would at tribal. Which TBH, is way to vague to save himself just before they headed off to vote. Thankfully for him though, Eve opted to play her idol for herself and his bluffing worked as poor, sweet Liam was voted from the game.

Given he is such a positive, delight, Liam wasn’t too annoyed to be the first victim of the swap – maybe he was proud to end the vagicide? – and instead focused on the fact he stayed true to himself the entire game and managed to make some wonderful friends. He was so damn nice and chill, it made me feel even worse when I pulled out my Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza and explained he was only booted because of my culinary curse.

 

 

Despite my pizza curse claiming its latest victim, it is hard to hold an ongoing grudge when they taste this good (or are as chill and kind as Liam). The spicy satay, the earthy gloriousness of broccoli and cashew and the sweetness of capsicum and onion … there is nothing more to say than dis good. Dis, real good.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
2 chicken breasts, diced
½ – 1 cup satay sauce
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
1 onion, sliced
½ red capsicum, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
a small handful of snow peas, top, tailed and cut into 1cm slices
⅓ cup cashews, roughly chopped
mozzarella, to taste … though you’d be mad not to drown it

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place a frying pan over medium heat and cook the chicken for a couple of minutes, or until starting to brown. Add the satay sauce and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until cooked through and the sauce has started to thicken.

Smear passata over the bases and sprinkle with the herbs. Heap on the onion, capsicum, chicken, broccoli, snowpeas and cashews, and drown with mozzarella.

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

Devour immediately, wallowing in the sadness that pizza is now my Reality TV kiss of death. My sincere apologies Steph, Brendan, Steph and Karla.

 

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Mongoliam Gallaghlamb

Main, Side

Now I know I ran my fucking mouth a bit on Monday, but I was so fucking excited to be seeing me mate Liam and getting things back to how it used to be that I simply couldn’t watch me fucking p’s or q’s.

And let me tell you, that fucking excitement was not misplaced as me and the lad are back to being the best of fucking friends.

I first met Liam in the ‘80s while attending The Barlow Roman Catholic High School together. While I tried to sell stories about him being expelled when he was 16, it was actually an elaborate ruse to cover up my own expulsion and criminal activities at the time. Liam is just a fucking legend and was willing to take the heat for me.

It should come as no surprise that I fucking love the guy.

While our relationship has been volatile at best and I’ve worked to play the brothers off against each other, he accepted me apology and we had the best fucking time catching up on what we’ve been up to.

Even when we refused to join me in reforming Oasis, I didn’t fly off the handle and threaten him and his career. Which is what I’m known for. Instead, I accepted his rational argument that we should keep our relationship as just mates and served him up a big bowl of Mongoliam Gallaghlamb.

 

 

This anglicised Chinese take-away dish has long been a favourite of mine, even before I realised Mongolian Lamb included lamb, which I hated at the time. A little bit sweet, packing the hint of a kick and full of tender meat, is there anything else you could want?

Enjoy!

 

 

Mongoliam Gallaghlamb
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp sunflower oil
600g lamb, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 tsp Chinese five spice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp black bean sauce
rice, to serve

Method
Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and stir-fry the lamb for a couple of minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, capsicum and celery and stir-fry for a minute or so before stirring through the five spice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Add the lamb back into the pan with the soy, Shaoxing, hoisin and black bean sauce, and simmer until reduced.

Serve piping hot with freshly cooked rice, or even Stephanie Fried Rice. She’d fucking love it.

Devour.

 

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Matt Cheeseballm

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand

Good news everyone! Survivor NZ returns in less than a week, and while Thailand is far less likely to result some butchered pronunciations – remember Knee-Coo-Argh-Goo-Ah? – my dear, dear, dearest friend Matty Chisholm is back on the case to carry the show to greatness once again.

While sure, it felt very old school compared to what we’re used to these days … and both Tom and Barb were egregiously robbed of a deserved win, Survivor NZ had its moments of greatness. And had the ability to fix some of its mistakes heading into the second season.

Or so Matty assured me before I was whisked away to share a villa with him in the Thai jungle for 40 days whilst cooking for the latest cast-offs.

(“I’d be too nervous unless we share Matt!” I lied through my teeth).

Anyway, as a fellow, classically trained journalist, Matt and I have been close friends for years. I was working on the 20/20 crew that was interviewing his family about his inspirational brother’s story, and took Matt under my wing after spotting a fellow storyteller.

While Matt is hella busy with press and the impending arrival of his second child, he was thrilled to be able to follow in Probst and Jonathan LaPaglia’s footsteps and countdown to the latest season / celebrate all things Survivor.

Obviously we can’t spoil too much other other than to say that this season is nik livil – dare I say it, school yard pick tribes are on the horizon to start – though after a belly full of my Matt Cheeseballm, why wouldn’t you be happy?

 

 

Now first things first, yes, this recipe sounds like jizz ball. But I will counter by saying, how doesn’t that sound appetising? Creamy, salty, meaty and packing a kick, what more do you want to smear on a cracker? I’m talking about the dip FYI. And a cracker, not a SAO.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matt Cheeseballm
Serves: I say one, you say 6-8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
1 ½ cup vintage cheese
1 red capsicum, diced
4 shallots, sliced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and drained
a handful of chives, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Blitz the cheese together in a food processor until well combined.

Remove to a bowl, fold through the capsicum, shallots, bacon, chives and a good whack of salt and pepper. Transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Once chilled, remove from the fridge, shape into a ball and roll through the roughly chopped parsley to coat. Place on a plate and chill in the fridge to fully set for an hour or so.

After that, it is open slather so demolish with you fave crackers.

 

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Erin Green Soup

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, Snack, Soup, TV Recap

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, the girls learnt to dance bringing out the worst in Jeana with she and her bestie Rio feeling upset about being on the outs … despite their attitude being the entire cause for it. That wasn’t the only drama going on though, with Brendi K’s inner saboteur getting the best of her and forcing her to walk away from the competition to look after her health. Thankfully though, her quit ended up saving Kyla and, ugh, Jeana.

On the way back to the house Kyla quickly reminded Jeana that they should both be feeling very lucky to still be there. When they arrived Shanice celebrated her best photo win and sympathised with Brendi K and her emotions, since they both came from similar backgrounds and she inherently feels responsible to be the one that makes it from her family. Erin and Kyla joined her for a victory dance, pissing off Jeana who feels that as she has much more experience she should be doing better than a novice. Quick question, does she know what the premise of this show is? She headed upstairs to have a breakdown with Rio and Khrystyana, and share her own shitty upbringing.

Tyra mail arrived teasing the girls with a trip into the outside world – which is totally for go-sees, right? – which made Erin release that she really needs to stop coasting and step up her game. Before she could come up with any tangible ideas, Law arrived to confirm the go-sees with three seperate designers who each had just one slot to fill in their upcoming shows. Law helped the girls get dressed and make sure their heads were in the game. While he was concerned about Rio’s fugly top, Khrystyana’s necklace and Jeana’s height, nothing was worse than Shanice’s walk.

He then brought out Jerrod Blackwell from Next Model Management to present them with their portfolios before they were split into groups – Erin, Kyla and Rio vs. Shanice, Jeana and Khrystyana –  and sent on their merry way. Kyla and Erin were a mixture of nervous and excited, while Shanice wanted to kill Jeana and pretend she wasn’t in her group. Jeana, Khrystyana and Shanice all did well at their first stop, Erin really sold her personality at their groups first stop, much to the annoyance of the designers. The groups switched designers where Jeana’s height was an issue and Rio, sadly, seemed to dominate. At the final stop, Rio, Khrystyana and Jeana slayed, however Rio and Jeana’s attitudes still totally sucked.

Law rejoined the girls to announce that the winning runways were actually happening immediately, with Kyla, Jeana and Rio dominating the castings with Rio ultimately scoring two and Kyla the other. On the flipside, Erin was called out for upsetting the buzz killingtons with zero energy.

Back at the house Jeana tried to help Shanice out with her walk, however since they hate each other it didn’t go down very well. Obviously.

The next day the girls arrived to shoot covers for Paper magazine, making Erin nervous that if she doesn’t perform she is definitely going home after the go-see disaster. Drew assigned each the girls themes – Kyla got Cyber Sexy Beauty, Khrystyana was Dark Slick and Androgynous, Jeana is showing off her Bald Beauty, Erin is channeling 90s Hip-Hop Music Video, Rio got ‘50s Dreamgirl while Shanice will be Red Carpet Ready. Erin went straight into character, though Drew was concerned she was forgetting to model. Rio slayed the shoot, Shanice was thrilled to finally get a wig … though complained about it the entire time. Though since Drew also hated the look, maybe she was right? While her second look was better, her attitude to Drew wasn’t cute and he looked about ready to cut her at any given moment. Lucky for her, she worked her 1970s Hooker look. Khrystyana and Jeana also slayed while Kyla struggled to channel cyber sexy and not give a fuck, angering Drew.

Arriving at panel Erin and Kyla were extremely nervous about their performances, quite rightly since Erin’s couldn’t bring it beyond the character and Kyla didn’t know how to work her features. Jeana’s photo received universal praise though her height issues at the go-sees concerned the judges. The judges loved Khrystyana’s photo however didn’t like her panel look, Rio was deservedly – ugh – beloved and while Shanice’s photo turned out, her attitude on set was called into question leading to Tyra showing off her glorious acting chops.

Backstage Shanice tried to defend her attitude but really didn’t seem to realise how she behaved and Kyla questioned whether she should be here. Thankfully Tyra started handing out places before another person could quit, handing Rio – rightfully, ugh – best photo, followed by Khrystyana, Jeana and Kyla, leaving Shanice and Erin in the bottom two with poor Mama Erin shown the door.

While she – and I, TBH – was disappointed to exit the competition, she was understanding and harboured no anger. Though given I was standing there with a nutritious Erin Green Soup – oldies love healthy food – how could she be angry?

 

 

Based on Sarah Wilson’s sugar free version, this soup is so hearty and warm … but drastically improved by the addition of chilli, garlic and leek. And while it is obvious I would always say that, it truly is near perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Erin Green Soup
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 leek, halved and sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
4 cups broccoli, roughly broken up and stalk sliced
2 zucchinis, roughly chopped
1 green capsicum, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 bunch baby spinach
1 bunch basil
1 bunch parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup grated vintage cheddar

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot and sweat the leek, garlic and chilli flakes for a couple of minutes. Add the broccoli, zucchini, capsicum and celery and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil, reducing heat once rollicking and simmering, half covered, for half an hour, or until all the veggies are soft.

Remove the lid, add the spinach, basil, parsley, and a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir for a couple of minutes.

Remove from heat and carefully blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Stir through the lemon zest and juice and cheese until combined.

Serve immediately with warm, fresh sourdough … or with a poached egg for breakfast. Don’t judge, it is amazing.

Oh and obvi, devour.

 

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Sandra Khebab

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

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, Rio continued her fall from my graces while taking out her insecurity on others. Then things took a turn for the emotional, with the girls doing a raw beauty shoot and filming an anti-bullying PSA, leading to a seven-way tie for best photo while Erin and Christina landing in the bottom two, with Christina’s attitude helping her straight out the door.

Back at the house everyone but Erin rejoiced in their best photos, and Khrystyana continued to be the absolute sweetest. Sandra, Shanice, Brendi K and Kyla pulled themselves away to discuss the growing buzz killington that is Rio. Kyla and Sandra shared that they had overhead Rio calling Kyla stupid when she didn’t realise she was still in the room. To make her look even worse, Kyla shared that she suffered a traumatic brain injury while playing volleyball at school and now does struggle to understand things that she used to. Even if that wasn’t the case, it is still rude. Jeana interrupted the conversation and then went to fill her ride or die in on the conversation, which Rio felt was nothing more than a cry for attention.

Tyra Mail arrived announcing this week was social media week, leading to a visit from Tyra where she gave them tips to take a mirror selfie or air her grievances about all things selfie, I can’t really tell. She then ran through her slays, ciaos and dils, and showed the girls how it was done before introducing Jourdan Dunn, who stroked her ego and tasked the girls with shooting a selfie promoting Jourdan’s label with the winning girl getting a shoutout to her 2 million followers and win their selected outfit.

Rio was super confident about her performance and opted to use that to call Kyla stupid again, while she struggled. Khrystyana spoke about her social media following taking off after posting most real photos of herself, then gave Erin some selfie advice against her will. Though TBH, and I know I just love Khrystyana, it kind of seemed like Erin was appreciating it at the time. Erin and Kyla struggled, while Sandra and Jeana slayed with the latter scoring the shoutout.

After getting shaded by Rio again, Kyla pulled her aside to clear the air and see why she called her stupid. Kyla wasn’t really buying Rio’s excuses, and Rio didn’t really ever seem to want to show any compassion.

We got another Tyra mail where the girls learned they would be posing with male models with dad bods, which made engaged virgin Sandra nervous about disrespecting her fiance and Rio disgusted about posing with ‘fat-arse dudes’, her words, not mine. When Khrystyana once again spoke about all bodies being beautiful, Rio got passive aggressive and waved at all the girls to let them know she isn’t that insensitive and to relax. Erin sat there and gave her killer side eye, and I loved it.

Rio, fuck off.

At the shoot, the girls learned that not only would they be sharing the frame with men. They would be casting their shoot partners from a bevy of thick (and juicy) men. Well except for Jeana, who won the chance to pose with brawny supermodel Zach Miko. Oh and they would all be dripping in gold paint.

At casting, Erin and Shanice flirted up a storm while Rio was disgusted by all the fat, ugly manses. Of topic, but does she realise she is being filmed … or is she just a fucking moron? Like she thinks Kyla is.

Drew arrived to coach them on the shoot where Erin slayed, Khrystyana was nervous about how the men would treat her after being triggered about her molestation last week, ultimately unable to get out of her head. Nor good Sandra, who was concerned people from her religion would be unhappy about her shooting with the men. Thankfully Rio’s repulsion showed, struggling to manage a decent frame before Kyla slayed the shoot, and asked the question everyone is asking, when does freaking Life Size 2 come out? Brendi K and Shanice were strong, while Jeana and Zach kinda seemed to struggle. But Zach’s insecurity was totally cute, so I’m sure he pulled it out.

At panel, the girls discovered that Law took the week off so the judges would be joined by Jourdan Dunn for the week. Jeana’s attitude started to creep up, though I can’t deny that she slayed the shoot. Brendi K did well, Shanice killed it and Khrystyana’s fear got the better of her, landing her her worst photo of the season. Erin looked flawless, Sandra’s (admittedly bad) photo was read for filth, Rio was owned by the ugly fat bastard disgusting her (again, she is fucked) and Kyla owned the shoot. While I feel like you really don’t need me to run through it, Kyla won best photo, Jeana got silver and Shanice the bronze. Tragically Rio only landed in the bottom three, while poor Khrystyana joined Sandra in the bottom two … and as Sandra knew from the moment they stepped forward, she was eliminated from the competition.

While I absolutely adore Sandra and think she is a complete sweetheart, I do agree with Ty-Ty that she is better suited to beauty campaigns. Obviously I did not tell her that when she ran into my arms backstage. And well, since I’m not actually a model scout … maybe my opinion doesn’t matter. Lols, of course it does. Anyway, Sandra was such a sweetheart and is beautiful in the holistic way that Rio seemingly never will able to be. As such, I whipped her up a delicious Sandra Khebab to honour her beautiful nature.

 

 

These little babies have it all … and then some. Spicy, sweet with a little bit of a kick, these kebabs are the perfect way to provide warming comfort, while still feeling like you haven’t been too naughty. I mean, kebabs are healthy no matter what, right?

Enjoy!

 

 

Sandra Khebab
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 cup natural yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp chilli flakes
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg chicken thighs, cut into a large dice
1 large red onion, cut into eighths
1 red capsicum, cut into 1-2cm squares
vegetable oil, for greasing the grill

Method
Combine the yogurt, olive oil, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chilli flakes, garlic, and zest and juice with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Chuck a piece of chicken on a metal skewer, followed by the onion, another piece of chicken, the capsicum … and continue until it is filled. Then continue doing skewers until all the meat and veggies are gone. Tightly place the kebabs into a baking dish and pour over the marinade. Cover in cling and place in the fridge for a couple of hours, but preferably overnight to allow the lemon juice to really permeate the meat. Don’t you just love permeating meat?

To cook, preheat the oven to 180C.

Place a wire rack over a lined baking sheet and line the skewers leaving about 1cm between them. Transfer to the oven and bake for about ten minutes before flipping, basting with leftover marinade – from in the baking dish, FYI – and cooking a further ten minutes.

Transfer to a platter and devour greedily as a side, or with some Michael Flatley Bread or Pita Andre Bread and some salad.

 

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Vecepia Baowery

Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor: Marquesas

Just like the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I’m about to be back, back, back, back, back again on a remote(ish) island in Fiji to cook-up some culinary commiserations for the 19 soon to be losers and 39 days, one sole survivor, of Survivor: Ghost Island. As has now become traditional, I am counting down to the premiere by spending time with past victors. And we’re kicking things off with one of my favourites – Vecepia Towery.

Now hold up – did I desperately want Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien to take out Marquesas? Without a doubt. But does that take away from the low-key brilliance that was Vecepia’s win, the likes of which we had never seen up until that point? No.

I mean, not even the kite flying challenge could diminish my love of the underrated Marquesas.

Not only did Vecepia land on the worst tribe in Survivor history at that point, but she overcame a three-seven disadvantage at the merge to lead (with Sean and Kathy, yes) the first ever shake-up in Survivor, rallying the minority to turn on the majority and overthrow the game. For that alone, you can’t count out Vecepia. Particularly when you take into account the journal she kept, that helped her snatch victory in the fallen comrades challenge.

Anyway, as you should probably have guessed by now, V is one of my dearest friends and I will defend her to the end of the earth. Knowing that, she was thrilled to answer my call and drop-by to honour the 36th season of the show … which Marquesas kind of set up to become what it is.

We laughed, we cried, we strategised about ways to get more people from early seasons brought back for returning player seasons and most importantly, we absolutely annihilated some four-weeks-to-go Vecepia Baowery.

 

 

I love me some bao buns. So, so, much. And these spicy little numbers do nothing to reduce said love. Spicy, sweet and a bun slathered in white creamy goodness? Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vecepia Baowery
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece ginger, sliced
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 long red chillies, chopped
½ cup Chinese rice wine
⅓ cup dark soy sauce
1L chicken stock
4 chicken thighs
½ cup rice flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice
vegetable oil
8 buns and the cucumber from Bret LaBao Buns
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
small handful of coriander leaves, to taste
kewpie mayo, to taste

Method
Prep your buns and cucumber as per Bretty’s recipe.

Place the garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, chillies, rice wine, soy and stock in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, reducing heat to low when rollicking. Add the chicken and simmer for twenty minutes or so. Remove and allow to cool before cutting across the thigh into short 1 inch wide strips.

Combine the rice flour and five spice in a bowl and toss through the cooled pieces of chicken to coat. Place enough vegetable oil to fill a pot up to 1cm and place over a high heat. When shimmery and starting to get that weird dancing appearance, reduce heat to medium and add half the chicken, cooking for a couple of minutes – flipping once – until they’re gloriously crisp. Remove to a paper towel and repeat the process.

To assemble, spread open your buns, slather with some kewpie, top with cucumber, capsicum, chicken, more kewpie and some coriander. Devour immediately.

 

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