Lentil Pie Giang

Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Jeffrey opted to keep the twists coming, this time going with the old faithful of splitting the merged tribe into two groups. Then offering out an immunity for someone on each group before they head to back-to-back tribal councils and each boot someone from the game. After trying to rally a sausage fest alliance earlier in the episode, Rocksroy was living his dream on group one where he was stuck with his allies Mike, Hai and Omar, and they were primed to get rid of Romeo. Sadly for him, Omar and Hai weren’t so keen on the all male alliance and everyone joined together to boot Rocks from the game instead. Upon seeing another African American had joined the jury, both Maryanne and Drea were nervous that unconscious bias had seeped into the game. As such, they each played their idols leaving Tori as the only option to be booted. Not because Lindsay was immune, but because she is a queen.

Back at camp Hai was thrilled that their tribal council went to plan, particularly grateful that Mike was on board and he doesn’t have to worry about him getting annoyed and blowing up their alliance. Despite Mike being a little salty to have had to do it. Sadly as he complained to Omar, the latter saw an opening to get Mike to ditch Hai in favour of him and as such plotted to absolutely trash their bond. The two groups then reunited where the latter group were still reeling from the emotion of their tribal council, though given it was Tori that went, not many people were actually bothered.

The next day Lindsay pulled Omar aside to talk shit about how bossy and stupid Jonathan was the day before as he was willing to risk Maryanne. And needless to say, Omar was just as unhappy to be aligned with Jonathan and was very keen to try and figure out how to make a break. Knowing that a new idol should be hidden around camp, Lindsay left Omar to go for a hunt. Sadly for her, she literally touched it in her search though missed it and kept on moving. Which gave Maryanne enough time to stumble on it while hunting for twigs and well, she was absolutely thrilled.

As the wind and rain whipped across the beach, the tribe met up with Jeff for the latest reward challenge. Which would have been tough if they had to stop shivering. Instead, they just had to balance a sack on a pole and manoeuvre through obstacles before tossing it at a target. The first one to finish winning an overnight reward complete with shelter, a bed and pizza. And did I mention pizza? While Jonathan got out to an early lead, Lindsay and Hai were nipping out his heels. And well, Lindsay straight up landed her bag on the second toss and it was so exciting to watch her cute reaction. Probst, being cheeky, then gave Lindsay the chance to take someone with her, opting for Omar since he has not received a reward yet. Feeling kind, she was then given one other spot, opting to take Mike to further build their relationship. And shit, they are ruining Hai on this reward, aren’t they?

Back at camp the tribe were miserable, in pain from how cold and exhausted they are. Showing far more strength than I could muster, everyone rallied around, pulling the shelter apart to fix it up and try to give them a much needed reprieve from the weather. We then learnt that Hai had a difficult upbringing as an immigrant, and hearing him talk about how this pain is only temporary, well, I fell in love with him again. Particularly when he and Lindsay whispered about banding together to get rid of Jonathan.

We then fast forwarded through said misery to when Lindsay, Omar and Mike arrived at the sanctuary, smashing pizzas before they were distracted by the sound of their loved ones. A wall of TVs then lit up, with photos and videos from home and ugh, I’m crying, they’re crying and well, it was just beautiful. After drying their tears and hugging it out, talk turned to the game with Omar quickly throwing Hai under the bus and well, Mike bought it hook, line and sinker and while I live for cheeky little Omar, I am heartbroken. As Mike seethed, Lindsay opened up about her amulet and as such, admitted she would be very willing to turn on Hai to increase her power. Despite being pissed with Jonathan.

The tribe regrouped with Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to stand on a narrow balance beam and balance a ball on the curve of an upturned bow. Almost instantly Mike and Hai dropped out, while everyone else stood still like statues. Out of nowhere Romeo dropped his ball, followed by Omar before the final four moved down to a narrower stretch of beam. That saw Maryanne drop straight away, while Jonathan continued to struggle through. Drea dropped her ball out of nowhere while Jonathan defied the odds as he and Lindsay made it to the final round. Sadly for Jonathan, his giant feet couldn’t handle the twig-like beam beneath him and finally dropped his ball, handing Lindsay immunity.

And more importantly, kept her challenge run alive!

Back at camp everyone was thrilled by the fact Lindsay took out immunity, meaning they could finally take their shot on Jonathan. Hai caught up with Mike, assuring him that they are 100% solid and that getting rid of Jonathan is the best for all of them. Sadly Hai did not realise Mike now hates him, as such immediately taking the information from Omar to Jonathan and floated the idea of getting rid of Hai instead. Meanwhile Lindsay was pulling Drea over to her side before she realised that every single person would be happy to just get rid of Hai and call it a day.

Oblivious to his impending doom, Hai caught up with Jonathan and assured him that he doesn’t need to play his Shot in the Dark tonight as he will gladly play his non-existent idol on Jonathan instead. Thrilled to have fooled him, Hai happily pottered around camp while Omar and Jonathan caught up over the plan. Which sadly made Omar nervous about getting rid of Hai, given he is actually loyal to him and that there is always the fear of Jonathan going on an immunity run to the end.

At tribal council Lindsay was feeling her oats over winning back-to-back challenges with Mike particularly thrilled to have had the chance to get warm for even one night on reward. Lindsay articulated how they are all a little mad for wanting to play the game, given it is so miserable though they are also living for it. Hai admitted that he was worried about what was discussed on the reward, though felt that every single one of them have no idea whether they were out in front or at the back of the pack. And one stumble could switch everything up in an instant anyway.

Omar agreed it was hard to decide on the right decision at any given moment while Mike shared that most of his decisions are based on what his gut is telling him. And then Maryanne likened the entire game to playing Jenga, with constantly moving pieces making it difficult for everyone. Lindsay then threw down the gauntlet, saying that her vote would be based on evening the playing field which immediately made Jonathan nervous. Luckily for him it was all for show as the tribe banded together to get rid of Hai instead.

Thankfully Hai is an absolute, pure delight and entered Ponderosa with a smile on his face despite being brutally blindsided by the entire tribe. Though I guess that is arguably the best way to go out, if you are voted out. I congratulated him on playing such a killer game and while I was disappointed to see him go, I am thrilled to have given him some loving comfort. In the form of Lentil Pie Giang.

A little bit spicy and oh-so-warming, this pie is not only life affirming – don’t tell me food isn’t – but it also is healthy, since it is vegetarian. So why have one, when you can have them all. You know?

Enjoy!

Lentil Pie Giang
Serves: 8. Or, as I mentioned, 1.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
300g brown lentils
2 potatoes, cut into 1cm dice
400g can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup peas
½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, carrot and celery, until soft and sweet. Stir through the mustard seeds and spices, and cook for another couple of minutes, or until fragrant. Add lentils, potato, tomatoes and stock,  and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring infrequently, for 1 hour or until lentils and potato are tender. Stir in coconut milk, peas and coriander, and season to taste and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and cut each pastry sheet into four squares.

Press the shortcrust pastry into the bases of eight individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture between the pie dishes before brushing the pastry with some egg. Cover the pies with the puff pastry, pressing the pastries together to steal. Neaten the edges, or scrunch it up, depending on if you love a little excess pastry around the edges.

Brush the tops of the pies with more egg, cut a little steam hole in the middle and pop them on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Allow to cool for five minutes or so before devouring.


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Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Soup, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the top seven roasted Ross despite, in a lot of ways, life already doing a stellar job (I joke, I love friend-of-the-blog, Ross!). On the (echoy, billowing) (w)hole, Bosco was hilarious, Jorgeous was delightfully demented and bad, Daya was nervous and DeJa was a straight up mess. Ultimately Bosco won her third challenge of the season, while Ru gagged the dolls by having the bottom three lip sync before sending DeJa and Jorgeous home, giving Daya one final reprieve.

Backstage the dolls were gagged to have lost not one but two of their sisters, while everyone was quick to praise Daya for turning it out in the lip sync. She admitted that she was nervous about facing off against the duo given DeJa had already beaten her once before and Jorgeous had straight up sent half the cast home. After congratulating Bosco on yet another win, Angeria asked everyone to confirm their win numbers with Willow confident it is still anyone’s game despite her and Daya only having one win each. And while I agree it could still be her game, I’m not so sure about Daya.

The next day the top five were truly jubilant to have made it this far, with Angeria talking about their groundbreaking status as the first top five with two eliminated queens. Which is shady boots and I live! Before Daya could kill anyone, Ru arrived to task the girls with their final Maxi Challenge where they would be starring in the music video for Ru’s song Catwalk. Oh and to make things more difficult they will write and record their own verse, learn the choreo and design a catwalk gown to feature in the video. All after chit chatting over tic tacs with Ru and Michelle.

The girls were feeling very serious as they split up to start working on their runway outfits with Bosco assuring everyone her look will be more than corsets and panties. While her verse would mock that exact penchant. Angeria meanwhile would be rapping her verse instead of singing and uh, she is so damn cute. Willow however was struggling and threatened to scat her way through the verse – which would be an absolute serve – with Angie just desperate for both of them to make it to the end. While Bosco just wanted to keep up with her sickening sisters.

Speaking of Bosco, she was first to lunch with Ru and Michelle, talking about how proud she was of her run. Admitting that she was glad to stumble and almost go home as it helped reinvigorate her. She opened up about being shocked about how well she has done, while Michelle was shady as hell about her bra and panties love. Daya meanwhile was super confident about her place in the competition, while Ru joked that she was shocked she was still here. Until she came out in Daytona Wind. She opened up about her journey with diabetes, which delighted Ru and Michelle who lived for quoting Steel Magnolias. Angeria opened up about her love for her parents and her 8 drag kids, and again, she is adorable and I live for her. Willow Pill’s discussion was opened with a monologue about Ru’s love for her before Willow spoke about her illness and she was so open and uplifting that, well, I was crying. Oh and then Camden was sweet, kind and vulnerable and ugh, winner winner, FIVE chicken dinners!

Shoot day arrived with everyone delighted to see their outfits come to life, though Willow was concerned about Bosco designing a soccer-mum-does-space look. They quickly ventured to the set where Michelle assured them that the pace will be super fast and they need to step it up, which terrified Angeria since she struggled with choreography. As she got more and more in her head, Michelle tried to remind her that dancing is but one component of the challenge and to just trust herself and sell it. Oh and then they were immediately put to the test shooting the video with Angie oh so charming, while Bosco was fierce. Before she had to pick up her space kids, obviously. Willow was sleepy, Camden’s legs were burning and Daya was a damn star. And ugh, do I love to see that now?

Elimination Day arrived with all of the girls struggling to comprehend the fact that they are finally at the end of the competition. Feeling wistful, Angie asked everyone how they felt about her when they first met with both Daya and Willow admitting she was such a threat to them, though Willow pointed out that out of drag, she found her to be wild. Angie admitted that she found Willow to be shy but knew to be patient and now they’re in love. Bosco admitted to being impressed by Daya fighting from being a first out to still be here, while Camden joked about the fact everyone underestimated her until the Daytona Wind. And ugh, they’re such cuties, I love them (or have had too much wine, TBH).

It was family only as Ru, Michelle, Carson and Ross took their places for the You’re a Winner, Baby runway where Bosco looked a million bucks giving a Marilyn, Madonna and Bosco hybrid. Despite it being a little too big. Angeria gave full glamour in a shimmering black gown and ugh, it do take nerve. Daya was a burnt out mess in yellow, Camden was perfect in a shimmering, silver ball gown and damn, she looked expensive. While Willow stole the damn show as a rat princess. And just crown her now. As far as the film clip went, Camden was an absolute star and slayed the game. Willow was charming and fierce, Angeria was delightful, Daya was ferocious and ate everything up while Bosco gave wit and glamour.

The judges lived for everything Bosco served this week, while they worried she was a bit nervous in the music video. The judges were thrilled by her track record, coming in as a burlesque queen though she only won comedy challenges and ugh, I love her. Angeria too received universal praise, particularly for being so damn consistent on the runway over the season. And despite the fact she struggled in the music video, they loved her. Daya received universal praise for all that she did this week with the judges thrilled to see her step out of Crystal’s shadow over the season. Camden was praised for going outside of her comfort zone in the final challenge, along with slaying the game. Oh and they felt she was a star from start to finish. Willow meanwhile was praised for absolutely destroying the competition and being a star, despite not giving face or hitting her own lyrics in the performance.

When it came to talking to six year old Bosco, she encouraged herself to just accept who she was and to be completely, unapologetically herself. And to shut out the haters. Baby Angeria was adorbs and she rightly praised the hell out of him for being a star, reminding him to say fuck you to the bullies and appraciate her parents. Baby Daya Betty was so damn cute, with big ol’ Betty encouraging her to stop worrying about everyone and everything and to just let go. Lady Camden told her younger self to hold on to her dreamer energy and cut out the hateful shit that people will say to her and not let dark moments take you over. Willow immediately started sobbing as she reminded her younger self to just focus on letting go and embracing what the world has to offer. And like Ru and Michelle, I was in damn tears.

Ultimately Daya Betty was sent through to the grand finale before Camden was gagged to take out her third win of the season. Bosco was then deemed safe leaving besties Angeria and Willow to battle for the final place in the finale. To Telephone by my dear friends Lady Gaga and Beyonce and damn, the dolls were equally desperate to make it to the end. They put on such a fucking show, working together, that it was only right that for the first time in Drag Race Herstory, both queens were going to the finale and the TOP FIVE would be competing for the crown.

And while I was glad to see it, I have quotas to meet and had hit my limit with the non-eliminations of the season. As the top five were celebrating their success backstage, I went backstage with a trusty clip board and looking like the confused lady in the prison show I figured out this thing called alphabetical order and requested Angeria come with me to celebrate her successes. I mean, since Daya already received culinary comfort and she scares me, I’m already not planning a new recipe for her, so what does it matter if our winner gets a recipe a little early?

Confused and a little nervous by our pre-elimination catch-up – I make the queens think I have a lot more power over the season than I do – I explained this all to Angeria before praising her on being such a consistent performer this season. I mean, over the course of the first five weeks Angeria could have won every single challenge and while the other queens have raised the bar to meet her in recent weeks, her few stumbles have never been major. I mean, I for one lived for her take on Tammie Brown, but that was because it was bad. As such, I whip her up a Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels to toast her success and wish her well for the finale.

While I love me some potatoes, Half Baked Harvest’s version of this soup with tortellini truly changed the game. So with a few minor tweaks and changes, I knew I had something worthy of honouring Angeria’s run. Warming, spicy and oh-so-smooth, this is the perfect soup for a race well run.

Enjoy!

Tortellini Zuppa Toscangeria Paris VanMichaels
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 Italian sausages
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
1 carrot, peeled, halved and sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
8 cups chicken stock
½ cup Toni Basil Pesto
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
500g tortellini, I went with chicken but honestly, do whatever you prefer
¾ cup cream
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for eatin’

Method
Pop the bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat and fry for about five minutes, or until starting to crisp. Remove the sausage skins and pop the meat into the pot alongside the onion and cook, breaking up with the wooden spoon, for a further five minutes or so, or until the meat is cooked through. Add the celery, carrot, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the stock, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer before stirring in the spinach and tortellini. Cook for about five minutes before stirring through the cream and parmesan and removing from the heat.

Serve immediately with a generous sprinkle of extra parmesan. And devouring. Like a star.


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Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor David finally lived up to his juicy name as he relished his role as the swing vote. After promising to take the girls with her to an overnight spa reward, Jordie convinced Shay to make herself a target instead as she opted to take him and Josh with her. And oh girl, Chrissy was angry to miss out on the pampering and KJ once again, was ready to get rid of Shay. Josh dominated at the immunity challenge before joining up with Jordie to finally flush (one of) Mark’s idol(s) while blindsiding Dave so that Josh could keep Jordie thinking they were nice and bloody tight.

Back at camp the tribe were thankfully not feeling intense for once, with Jordie and Shay thrilled to still be in the game and to have blindsided Dave. Well Jordie was thrilled by all but the fact KJ tried to vote him out on the revote and as such, pulled her aside to see where they stood. KJ explained that she assumed everyone was coming for him and as such, she was sticking with what she assumed were the numbers. And while that is logical, it also made Jordie nervous about what she and Mark may do next since everyone else appears to be on his side.

The next day Chrissy was shocked by how much she was loving her time in the bush, enjoying the rice and bean life before she straight up brutalising a tree knot in the ground that she stubbed her toe on. While Chrissy was thriving, Mark was fading fast, exhausted by the game and unsure whether he can trust Josh much longer. But sadly for him, he has no other option should he want to get rid of Jordie.

Speaking of Jordie, he was opening up about getting a lot of smiles from Jesse at tribal council, though he felt like Jesse could tell he was nervous about the revote. Jordie then opened up to us about how he has played the best game of anyone remaining and was confident in his chances should he make it to the end. Which totally means he is going tonight, right? He caught up with Josh, with them each pledging their allegiance to the other again. While Josh weighed up whether it was better to go to the end with Jordie or Mark. When I would argue, it is with neither.

The tribe met up with Jonathan for the final six immunity challenge where they would each race through a bunch of complex obstacles before swinging to a frame, untying a ladder, climbing up and over a tower before unlocking a treasure chest and, yes, solving a puzzle. Jordie got out to the earliest of leads while Mark and Josh tried to stay in the game. And Chrissy was just confused about how to get over her frame. Eventually Jordie, Mark, Josh and Shay all made it to the puzzle while KJ and Chrissy tried to keep each other motivated. Mark then started to pull away on the puzzle, which led to Jordie and Shay starting to copy off him before Chrissy straight up stopped doing her puzzle and instead started helping Josh solve his. Which proved enough to give him immunity once again.

Back at camp Josh was feeling super confident now that he was immune, weighing up whether to go to the final three with Jordie or whether he should try and regain some trust with Mark. Jordie meanwhile was also feeling super confident, given it is their last chance to burn Mark’s idol and as such, everyone would be stupid not to take the shot. Mark meanwhile washed off his defeat before going to hunt around the bush with Josh. Mark’s pitch to the tribe was to load up the votes on Jordie to get rid of him so that he can keep his idol for the next round. Which, dude, is only good for you and nobody else. Sadly though, KJ saw merit in getting rid of Jordie and as such Mark dropped by Josh and Chrissy to lock in the vote against him. Despite the fact Mark still didn’t know whether he could trust Josh.

Jordie and Shay meanwhile were tending fire by the camp before catching up with Josh to float the idea of getting rid of Mark. While Jordie straight up assured him that he will definitely go to the top four with him should he win immunity in the next round, Josh still was unsure and erring on the side of keeping Mark. This made Jordie feel nice and nervous, so he approached Chrissy to try and convince her that at least flushing Mark’s idol is their only move. Which she seemed very interested in following through on. Well, if Josh was ok with the idea too. As such, Jordie tried to keep Mark calm so pitched a fake plan to vote out Shay in the hopes of making him not play his idol.

At tribal council Jordie spoke about the ever more blurred lines within the tribe, though admitted that the closer they get to the end the harder it is to trust people given they all want to get to the end. Mark admitted that Jordie approached him during the day and even had pitched some good ideas, while Josh reiterated that he and Jordie had been working well together for the last few rounds. Jordie spoke about the fact they need to focus on keeping people around that aren’t threatened by you while Mark shared that if he has a second idol, it may come into play tonight. Which Chrissy admitted she didn’t believe. 

Mark once again told her that he definitely doesn’t have an idol, while Jordie suggested that should Mark have an idol he could only hold on to it if he could find a plan that he trusts. Josh admitted that while he and Jordie have trusted each other, the closer they get to the end the harder it is to see clearly while Mark reiterated that he is focused on moving forward in the game with people he can trust. Josh meanwhile debated whether to stick with those he can trust or make a move with those he thinks he has a better shot against. Oh and whether it is important to vote out people that could likely win the final immunity. Like Shay.

With that the tribe voted before Mark made a massive song and dance about playing Jesse’s idol and using it to knock out Jordie. Which would have been good if he received any votes at all, instead he just looked like a smug man that misplayed an idol. As Sam looked enraged that Mark literally wasted all of her hard work, which is essentially heterosexual relationships. No?

As Jordie arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled him in for a hug and thanked him for trying his darndest to keep the season interesting by giving us such a compelling underdog. Plus, I am a sucker for a man in overalls – Luke Perry in early 90210, swoon – so I congratulated him on a game well played, laughed over Mark’s idol faux pas and then smashed a tonne of Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls.

Fresh, sweet and packing a hidden kick, these babies are so damn good with an icy cold beer after more than 40 days living in the bush. Or you know, whenever, because they don’t need an excuse.

Enjoy!

Jordie Hoisin Spring Rolls
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
400g chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 bunch shallots, sliced
1 carrot, grated
⅓ cup hoisin sauce
1 tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp flour
16 x 20cm spring roll wrappers
vegetable oil, for brushing

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the shredded chicken, shallots, carrot, hoisin and chilli flakes in a large bowl. Then, mix the flour in a small bowl with three tablespoons of water to form a paste.

To assemble, place a wrapper on a clean bench and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of mixture along the edge. Fold the bottom over to form a sausage, then fold in the sides and roll up the spring roll. Smearing with a little bit of the flour and water mixture at the end before sealing. Repeat until all the spring rolls are made.

Pop them on a lined baking sheet, brush with vegetable oil and pop in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with some more hoisin or chilli. Or you know, whatever sauce floats your boat.


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Vegetable Samontha Gash

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the trio of returnees were ready to create some chaos, though sadly, were still tragically outnumbered. Thankfully, at the auction, KJ scored herself an advantage after bidding on a pot of tea. After the alliance locked in the vote against Jordie, Mark and Sam left their idols back at camp before KJ gagged the tribe by announcing her advantage was to send three people back to camp prior to the vote. After shoo-ing away Chrissy, Mark and an immune Josh, the purgatory trio finally had the numbers but after Sam convinced them all she had an idol in her pocket, they flipped the vote to Jordan and sent him from the game instead.

Back at camp Chrissy, Mark and Josh were shocked to discover that Jordan went home, with Josh particularly seething and as such, was ready to get revenge on anyone involved. As Josh straight up threatened Dave, Mark jumped in to tell him how stupid he is while Sam rightly praised him for making a move. She tried to calm down the enraged duo and Chrissy, while Josh just focused on how stupid their move was. When it was literally the only bloody option. Get a grip, man!

The next day the mood was still super tense, though Jordie was living his best life. Full of pride to have gotten KJ out of her shell and ready to dominate the game. He opened up about the logic to target Jordan, while Chrissy was telling the tribe how she originally thought three people were going home, so admitted to being a little relieved to have just lost Jordan. While KJ was telling Sam about how proud she was to have gotten the full Survivor experience, Josh continued to carry on, muttering about how she just painted a target on her back and that he would be getting her back ASAP.

Sam and Mark caught up to celebrate being the last couple left in the game, while Sam questioned whether they should get rid of one of their idols by burying it. She opened up about doing a double degree in law and acting, which yeah, shows she can argue a case and is a good liar but mainly I just find it a super fun fact. The marrieds agreed that while Josh desperately wants to take out KJ, that is not in their best interest and as such, they need to keep what is left of their alliance together and get rid of Jordie.

Josh meanwhile continued to be angry, but assured us he will use that rage to take out immunity again and get rid of that newly pesky KJ. Chrissy dropped by to chat to Josh, and admitted that she had time to think and suggested now would be the right time to take out Mark and Sam. But try as she might, laying out logical argument after logical argument, Josh just couldn’t bring himself to even try to flush their idol(s). And now would be a great time to remind everyone that he was sold as a mastermind for a couple of episodes.

The tribe joined Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge where they would roll a ball up a ramp and try to build a line of blocks at the bottom so that once built, the ball knocks them over like dominos until it is long enough for one of them to drop in a bucket at the end. Mark, Josh and Jordie got out to the earliest of leads, while Shay straight up smacked herself in the face with the ball before Jordie knocked over his stack. As Dave tried to close the gap, KJ dropped hers, followed by Mark and well, I’ll cut to the chase. Everyone was back and forth, knocking over their stacks before Mark rebuilt and secured himself immunity.

Back at camp things were once again intense as Sam, Mark, Chrissy and Josh joined together to plot a new move. While Mark rightly pointed out that he doesn’t want to align with anyone that had already been voted out, he suggested that Josh or Chrissy would be able to lure Dave back to their side and take back control. Speaking of Dave, he and the purgathree were continuing to plan to get rid of Sam. Jordie pulled Josh aside to float the idea of him joining their side and get rid of the final couple and then continuing to work together until the end, alternating being the one to decide who should go home.

While Josh agreed that neither Sam or Mark would be willing to take him to the end, he still felt it was a ‘dog move’ to turn on them. Which again, is the game. But him turning on them, based on his history, is the perfect cover to avoid the idol being played. Dave traded out with Jordie, apologising to Josh for voting out Jordan before throwing Sam under the bus as the one person that pushed for Jordan to go home. And as such, Josh finally felt angry enough to make a move. A very logical, and arguably the only move he can make if he has any interest in winning. Josh started to simmer based on this new information – which again, shouldn’t have been needed – and seriously considered turning on Mark and Sam.

Even though Sam was solely acting out of self-preservation. But who cares, we’re getting a move, so let’s ignore the facts.

Speaking of which, the couple left the shelter to figure out their plan of attack. Sam rightly pointed out that tonight’s tribal council will decide how the endgame will look. And if they lose, their alliance will go out back to back to back. Mark meanwhile felt that Dave will gladly flip back to their alliance, given he doesn’t even like Jordie. Though they did agree to take the idols to tribal council as insurance, while Sam was confident they wouldn’t vote for her out of fear of the idol. Which is exactly what they were locking in, as Jordie met up with his allies to tell them that he is hopeful Josh may finally flip to their side.

At tribal council Josh spoke about his pain at having lost his cousin, though was grateful to have an alliance that he trusts. He continued to talk about his desire to get revenge, and was grateful to not have to worry about any stupid advantages. Dave spoke up, talking about how Sam played everyone at the last tribal council which confirmed her fears that Dave wasn’t with them. This led to a lot of whispering back and forth, with Josh starting to get paranoid about not being on the right side of the numbers and as such, questioned whether he and Chrissy should flip.

Sam started to worry and suggested that they will need to play an idol, which Mark quickly shut down though did admit to Jonathan that tonight’s tribal council is very important. Mark and Josh then whispered about whether they should be concerned, with Josh assuring him to just play it safe. Jordie praised Josh for playing a good game and reacting appropriately to Jordan’s boot, while Sam reminded everyone that Josh has been completely loyal throughout the game. Chrissy and Josh then whispered, with Chrissy pointing out that Jordan appeared to be giving Sam deathies and willing them to vote her out. Before Jordie and Sam each reiterated their last minute pitches.

With that, the tribe voted, Josh told Mark to play the idol for Sam but when he didn’t give them a reason, they hesitated and missed the opportunity which proved to be a huge mistake as Josh had joined with the outcasts to boot Sam from the game.  Much to the absolute delight of the jury.

As soon as I saw Sam walking into the Jury Villa, I ran to her and pulled her in for a massive hug. While at times the game has been boring, it was in no small part due to the absolute dominance of Ms. Samantha Gash, our paranoid queen. I congratulated her on returning to the game having learnt her lessons from her first (iconic) season, which led to her controlling the entire pre-merge portion of the game and wisely not targeting Sandra. While yes, her post-merge game was essentially falling on her sword for Mark, it is hard to fault in a Blood vs Water season as the duo have to decide what path gives them the best opportunity to win. And given the amount of alphas on the jury, it makes sense to prioritise Mark because sexism will always come into play (read: Chrissy losing to Ben).

She was so moved by my words, we quietly sat down at the table and smashed a big batch of Vegetable Samontha Gash.

Lightly spiced and packed full of my favourite veggies – namely peas and potatoes – these babies are near perfect. Crispy pastry and piping hot potato. Need I say more?

Enjoy! 

Vegetable Samontha Gash
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
150g potato, finely diced
100 carrot, finely diced
100g frozen peas
1 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ cup vegetable stock
3 cups flour
1 tsp ground cumin
⅓ cup melted ghee
¾ cup warm water

Method
Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft. Add the potato, carrot, peas, curry powder and chilli and cook for a minute before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for half an hour, or until the potato is tender. Leave to cool.

While that is getting real cool boy, combine the flour with a good pinch of salt and the cumin. Slowly add the ghee and water, kneading as you go to create a smooth, firmish-not-sticky dough. Cover and leave to rest for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

To assemble, split the dough into ten pieces and roll into discs. Cut each disc in half and shape into a cone. Pack with the filling and seal the ends with a dab of water to form a triangle. Place on a lined baking sheet and continue until the filling and dough are all gone.

Brush the samosas with vegetable oil and place in the oven to bake – because I’m still scared of frying – for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.


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Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the top five fought hard to snag immunity and guarantee this safety, with Hayley once again coming out on top. As such, the tight Brains alliance decided to load all their votes on Flick and rid themselves of the final Brawn. That is until George realised Flick wasn’t hunting for an idol, and as such, he grew paranoid that she already has one. With that he joined Cara and loaded their votes on Wai JIC. While Flick thought she was gagging the rest of the tribe as she played her idol, her sole George vote was rendered useless as the beautiful Queen Wai was sent from the game.

The next day George was lounging about quietly in camp before Cara snuck up and scared the shit out of him. The duo then mucked around all cute like, as they praised their unbreakable bond, grateful to have had each other to navigate the game. Cara desperately wanted the two of them to make it to the end together, but also knew that that would be a very difficult task. 

And well, already this feels like the ads about turning on each other won’t be like SuE’S bIG m0v3!?

Meanwhile Flick and Hayley were tending to camp as Flick shared with us that she is pretty much just planning an immunity run to the end because, well, that’s her only real option. Despite that, she pulled Hayley aside and once again pitched that the two of them join together and break up the duo of George and Cara. And given George is the chattiest of Kathy’s, she thinks he is the biggest threat to both of their final tribal councils. Once again, Hayley agreed that it was a wonderful idea despite intending to stick with the duo should Flick not win the next immunity since she can easily beat the others in the final immunity challenge.

Undeterred, Flick approached Cara and pointed out that she needs to make a move for the jury by taking out George if she wants any chance of winning. And well, Cara was not interested at all. As such, she went for a walk with George with them having a good old laugh about not voting each other out next which TBH does make me more and more nervous. As does the fact George just wants anyone but Flick to win immunity. Which is where this is ending up, right?

The duo quickly worked out that should Flick be immune, it would likely finish in a tie between Hayley and George meaning the duo would need to compete in a fire challenge to continue in the game. Knowing that George has no fire skills at all, Cara pulled him aside and coached him how to use a flint and while it was a bit slapstick at the start, she did prove to be a decent teacher.

Dear Jonathan arrived for the massive final four immunity challenge where the group would face off by racing over a net to collect balls which they will use to release puzzle pieces. They would then build a ladder with the puzzle pieces, untie a bucket and then fill it with water and walk it through hurdles before using the water to release even more balls which they then have to land in a ball puzzle.

Desperate, Flick got out to an early lead, whipping through the challenge as the others just tried to keep up the pace. Hayley overtook her with some killer throws however, quickly building her stairs as Flick and Cara lagged slightly behind. George eventually joined the fun on the stair puzzle as Cara joined Hayley on the bucket section. Well, briefly. As Hayley started landing her balls while Flick finally finished with her stairs. Hayley had landed three balls by the time Flick closed the gap and joined her at the puzzle. As Hayley landed her fourth ball, Cara joined the fun and quickly landed a ball just after Flick. Flick and Cara methodically landed their balls as Hayley grew more and more desperate before Flick slipped in and snatched immunity.

Back at camp Flick was thrilled to finally have a bit of power in the game, before realising that the final immunity challenge is usually endurance and as such, Hayley is the biggest threat to her game. With that in her mind, she approached Cara and quickly locked her in on the Hayley vote.

But all was not lost yet, as Hayley realised she was the biggest threat and Cara and George flipping Flick would send her home immediately. Hayley pulled Flick aside and shared how grateful she was to have spoken the day before, doubling down on the need to get rid of George if any of them want to have a chance at winning. Obviously Flick agreed with this plan too, so off Hayley trotted to chat to Cara where she learned that Flick was playing her and was planning to vote her out as the only threat to winning final immunity. Which obviously panicked Hayley, asking Cara if she was truly considering turning on her. Rather than say, pointing out that Cara needs Hayley there in the final challenge if Cara wants any chance of winning, given Flick has the jury stacked in her favour.

As Cara laughed about the absurdity of Flick suggesting Cara help her win the next challenge, she rightly pointed out that Hayley would take her to the final two if it was the three girls at the end. Hayley reiterated how important it is for Cara to make a move and get rid of George to give herself a shot, but she just wasn’t sure whether she could do it emotionally. Hayley then found George and made the exact same plea to him, pointing out that if he is in the final three with Flick and Cara, he has no shot of making it to the end and has to settle for third place. She then locked in her vote for Cara and told him that she hopes he joins her but understands if he doesn’t. And then up and left him.

George and Cara then caught up, pledging their love for each other and praising each other for the games they have played. They then joined Hayley and the trio gave each other a group hug to celebrate their successes before heading to tribal council for their official break up.

At tribal council the jury were delighted to see Flick wearing immunity before she shared that it is nice to feel calm and secure after a good week or two of being the target. George admitted that without immunity, Flick would be a goner but instead, one of the close trio is going out. Hayley admitted that while she, Cara and George all have different compelling stories, they need to get to the final two and given neither of them are great in challenges, they need her. She pointed out that Flick is definitely going to win in the final two, given the jury loves her, but their chances are better against her and whoever is in the final three with her and Flick would be the one she would choose to take.

George reminded Cara that Hayley is the ultimate challenge threat, while Cara simply praised Hayley’s killer pitch. George tried to create doubt, pointing out that Hayley winning final immunity is guaranteed if she gets there with Hayley pointing out that that isn’t the worst thing, given Flick beats anyone at the end. Flick pointed out that she will be going strategic with her vote, while George and Cara both said that they would be sticking with their final two leaving poor Hayley to once again reiterate that they need to think beyond three now and instead look to two and who they would have the best shot against.

With that the tribe voted and both George and Care turned on each other, with Hayley banding with George to send Cara out of the game to join the far-better-than-winning Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses Club.

As Cara walked into Jury Villa, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and ran out to pull her in for a big hug. You see, the empath Real Estate community is quite small and as such, Cara and I quickly bonded and became the best of friends. I didn’t tell you I was a Sydney Real Estate Tycoon? Oh, I was. Anyway, Cara and I are dear friends, so I was gutted to see her felled so close to the end. Until I remembered the aforementioned placement as a FPRG, after which, I toasted to her success and whipped up a comforting Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs.

Despite my passion for all things balls, I never got the appeal of Spaghetti and Meatballs as a kid. I think it probably has something to do with the fact I felt there was less sauce involved and as such, resented it. But then I woke up to myself and realised that those big juicy balls, dripping in sauce and covered generously with the sharpest parmesan are perfection. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Enjoy!

Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
¼ cup breadcrumbs
small handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
100ml milk
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
500ml passata
100ml water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
500g dried spaghetti

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by combining the minces, four garlic cloves, the egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and milk in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch together until well combined before rolling into 12 large meatballs. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot and celery over medium low heat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the oregano, basil, passata, water and sugar. Bring to the boil before reducing heat to low and simmering for 15 minutes.

Once glorious and thick, stir through the meatballs, pop on a lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

While that is simmering, cook the spaghetti as per pack instructions before draining, serving and topping with the big, saucy balls. And then coating in parmesan.

And then devouring.


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Simon Meeso Ramen

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Hayley continued to be an absolutely dominant icon, pulling Dani aside to float the idea of booting Simon from the game with an idol in his pocket. Unaware there are actually two idols in his gorgeous pockets. After Brains once again lost immunity, Rachel and Laura tried to get George to see sense and flip back to the Brains to give himself the best shot. He didn’t, which tragically led to Queen Rach leaving and poor Laura left all alone on the Brains tribe.

We checked in with the Brains who were waking up from the coldest night, which honestly is how my heart feels now that the legendary Rachel is gone. But since I wasn’t aligned with her, I guess things were frostier for Laura who was all alone on the tribe with nobody. Though being a determined fighter, she was going to find a crack whether it kills her. After going for a walk to get everyone’s water, George suggested someone should follow her and obviously he then immediately chased after her. He realised that he was almost as screwed as her, so suggested they should finally start working together to take control. Which is really something he should have done when the Brains would have had a majority. And given that, she wasn’t really buying it as an option. Though she was buying into finding an idol.

He then returned to camp and let a massive fart rip which is important, if you ask me.

There was less gas going on at the Brawn camp where Simon was proud to make it to the halfway point of the game and glad that he arguably has the strongest alliance left. An alliance that is working with the Brains and has an easy boot lined up in Flick. Oh and his two hidden immunity idols. And while he looked happy sparring with Dani, the fact that she jabbed him in the gut is meant as foreshadowing, right?

To make me more nervous that we’re about to lose our speedo king, he told Dani and Chelsea about his second hidden immunity idol. And you just know that means Dani is ready to get the ol’ Sandra Bullock going because two idols making the merge in someone’s pocket is a very dangerous thing.

My love Jonathan returned for the latest – or is that last, thanks to TV listings – tribal reward challenge where the tribes would row out to pontoons to collect rings and then race to land said rings on to oars that when flipped, spell out reward. And should they win, they get to visit the survivor candy and store and well, I don’t love sweets but those brownies looked delightful. And the maltesers too, TBH. As is oft the case, Brawn got out to the earliest of leads until Baden straight up snapped his oar due to brute force. Then Emmett happened, coaching everyone through the challenge and pushing himself to the absolute limit. Quite literally, as he pushed them to shore. Both tribes were neck and neck when it came to tossing the rings, until Emmett pulled away, landing all six rings and winning reward for his tribe.

And Laura is finding an idol at the reward, isn’t she?

After arriving at the site of the reward the tribe were gagged to learn that they would each be visiting solo and while George wanted to be strategic, Kez quickly suggested they draw straws. And well, fate was on Laura’s side as she was up second after Cara and that much more likely to find an advantage. Particularly since Cara could only focus on the sweets, quickly smashing everything in sight. Wait, no – she found the advantage in a tube of lollies! And what an advantage it was, giving her a VIP ticket to the next tribal council, including two votes that she could use to swing things in her favour.

By the time Laura made it to the store, she went searching through everything for an idol but tragically came up empty handed and instead, realised that she just needs to guarantee the tribe wins the next immunity challenge. She was followed by Emmett who smeared extra candy over his body for later, Gerald just smashed strawberries, George finger banged every vessel and then Kez straight up destroyed everything in sight.

We returned to camp Brawn the next day where Dani was still focused on blindsiding Simon ASAP, pulling Hayley aside by the billabong to finally get things moving. While Hayley was terrified about the prospect of him making the merge, Dani assured her that they can pull it off. She then suggested they throw the next immunity challenge and Hayley needed to get her troops on board, given Dani has already convinced Chelsea. Aka, her people. Which Hayley quickly did, telling her fellow Brains and Flick about the idols. 

The first pressure point being that they need to throw the immunity challenge without making it obvious.

As such Jonathan made his triumphant return for the immunity challenge where everyone on the tribe would stand on balance beams and hold a rope to keep a disc steady while trying to balance balls on it without dropping. And well, SImon offered to sit out and damn, this is just going to be too easy, isn’t it? And by that, something will go wrong, won’t it. While Brawns were wanting to throw it, they took an early lead in the challenge as Gerald and Kez struggled for the Brains. Thankfully for team ‘throw the challenge’, Chelsea successfully made Brawns need to reset while poor Simon kindly cheered them on from the side, encouraging them to keep focused and not be hard on themselves. Obviously Brains started to pull away as Brawns successfully looked frustrated by their failings before Brains put everyone out of their misery and snatched immunity.

Before they departed the challenge, Cara opted to play her VIP ticket advantage to the upcoming tribal council for her and a friend to cast votes. But obviously not be eligible to receive them. In any event, she chose to bring George along with her and well, you just know this is going to spook Simon into playing his idol, isn’t it?

Back at camp Simon was heartbroken to have lost the challenge, though was glad to finally be able to get rid of his other nemesis Flick. After spotting her chatting to the Brains, Chelsea offered to break up the conversation and stop them from planning something. And by that, she went up to keep Simon calm enough to not play his idol. Simon then went to lock in the Flick vote with Andrew and Baden, though was willing to throw out the fact he will play his idol to keep them scared. When they returned to camp, Flick ran off to hunt for an idol with Chelsea pretending to tail her to make it look more authentic. 

Chelsea then pretended to be sent back to camp, forcing Simon to follow her instead and unwittingly left everyone else talk and solidify the plan. Dani meanwhile was reminding everyone that if it was her, she would play one of the idols which appeared to make Hayley nervous. Though Baden just gave them the ol’ Gene Cousinaeu, telling them that they just need to give the acting performance of their lives. And honestly, I love him. Almost as much as Hayley, who was nervous Dani was building this up as her star move and as such, wanted to build a counter plan to throw some votes on Dani just in case to guarantee Flick’s safety.

Like the brutal icon she is!

Hayley then caught up with Baden by the billabong and they agreed to load their votes on Dani, with Baden offering to talk to George and Cara as soon as they arrived at tribal council to guarantee they vote for Simon too. Given he is the only person they trust. Baden meanwhile returned to camp and worked to ensure that the Brawns were still feeling good and not realising that he and Hayley were actually staging a coup and guaranteeing the numbers for the Brains post merge.

At tribal council Cara and George admitted that they aren’t sure where their two votes would be going tonight and as such, wanted a full performance from the tribe. Dani being an icon told them that Brawn don’t play like that and as such, they need to calm down and relax because their votes won’t mean anything. As Baden whispered that their votes would make a difference. Flick gave the perfect performance as the woman on the bottom, with Dani and Simon both agreeing that she is going home tonight. As Baden continued to try and get Cara and George’s attention, despite talking about it being a straightforward vote.

Dani continued to play up her confidence in booting Flick from the game, while Hayley spoke about her fears that votes don’t always go where they need them. Baden continued to whisper to Cara and George about Simon and his idols and while things were going well, Simon caught them and asked if they had anything to add. With that Simon spoke about always being nervous and damn, Dani and Chelsea looked like they were ready to snap. Simon continued to talk about blindsides and Flick still having a chance until her torach was snuffed. And damn, this is blowing up, isn’t it?

With that Cara, George and the tribe voted, Hayley continued to be a savage icon who I stan and Simon blew out his thong on the way to cast his, which is super ominous. And while he noted it, he calmly held on to both of his hidden immunity idols as everyone started to smirk. And those smirks turned into full blown smiles as the votes were tallied, piling up on him before Dani was gagged to see three votes come in for her. Ultimately though it was my speedo king who was blindsided with two idols in his pocket.

Given Simon is such a fan of the game, he took his blindside in his stride and was so damn upbeat and kind when he arrived in loser lodge. You know, despite having his dream brutally ended. I pulled him in for a hug and reminded him that while he was booted, it was in an iconic fashion and as such, he will always be remembered in the series. And well, I’d gladly welcome him back next season already.

After catching up – we’re dear friends, training at the same Brisbane gym, obvi – we laughed, cried, plotted out his story for the next All Stars. But most importantly, I then got to work whipping up something nourishing to lift his spirits. Aka my Simon Meeso Ramen.

This take on the Antoni modern classic is near perfectionly, full of umami goodness, but all at once sweet and salty. You know, all of the good things. Add in a kick of chilli and a punch of fresh herbs, you’ve got a dish as perfect as Simon looks.

Enjoy!

Simon Meeso Ramen
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 tsp sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g pork mince
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup miso paste
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2L chicken stock
4 large eggs
400g udon noodles
2 medium carrots, julienned
4 shallots, sliced
½ cup corn kernels
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
Microgreens, sprouts and coriander, to taste

Method
Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a stock pot over medium heat and cook the garlic for a minute or two. Add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go, until browned. Season with salt and pepper before adding the miso, ginger and stock. Stir until well combined before bringing to the boil, then reducing heat to low and simmering.

Meanwhile, soft boil the eggs – aka drop them into rapidly boiling water and cook for 5 minutes – and cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

While the rest is happening, add the carrot, shallow, corn and sriracha to the ramen and stir. When the eggs are done, run them under cold water and peel, and drain the noodles.

To serve, place the noodles in four bowls, top with ramen and then split the eggs and place one in each bowl. Top with microgreens, sprouts and coriander, and if you’re spicy like me and Simo, more sriracha. And edible flowers, which i did before King Simon kindly told me to eat the prettier one, while he takes the ugly dish. Thus, the ugly photos.

I mean, isn’t Simon the sweetest? I mean, he is as sweet as this!


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Kale Shannon Slawson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Salad, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, well and truly on the outs Laura and Rachel went for a cheeky walk and what do you know, they found an idol. Sadly for them, it was under the watchful eye of George. Jonathan decided to cause a little chaos and switched up the tribes, with new Brawn still taking out immunity despite now having Wai and Hayley – self proclaimed not-Brawns – in their midst. Cara returned to the Brains tribe and along with Geroge, joined the Brawns to get rid of one of the Brains girls that were formerly controlling their tribe. However George confused the hell out of everyone while teeing up the split vote and after Laura correctly played her idol for Rach, Cara’s accidental vote for Laura inadvertently sent Big D from the game.

Back at camp the tribe was in absolute shock, none more so than Kez who was heartbroken to lose her friend Daini. Standing around the fire, Cara eventually admitted it was her mistake that cost him the game and while everyone appeared to laugh it off, me thinks Queen Kez may hold a grudge. And well, I hate the thought of my two Queens feuding.

The next day things were moderately less dramatic as the tribe napped, George meandered the camp and Cara was straight up embarrassed by her stuff up. Her plan was to lay as low as possible and avoid anyone holding it against her. Sadly for her, George was desperate to raise her up and spin the situation – very vocally – to take the heat off her and in turn, keep their new alliance safe.

Meanwhile in the billabong Rachel and Laura were celebrating their lucky win, though realised they were still in a shitty situation. And as such, decided to try and turn the former Brawns against Cara ASAP. Sadly for them, they had their own situation going on as Georgia became painfully ill and well, the poor thing looked like death.

Over at the Brawn Camp, Andrew was joyously fishing while Hayley worried about their extreme numbers disadvantage. As such, she got together with Andrew to renew their bond and make sure he was willing to put everything aside and find a crack in the old Brawn tribe. Speaking of the former Brawns, Shannon was ride or die with the Brawns, though did assure us that she was still looking to get rid of Simon ASAP and make sure she beats him. Which, TBH, doesn’t bode well for her survival tonight, right? Or his I guess.

In any event, we’re getting some form of resolution to this storyline tonight – I feel it in me waters, Kim.

My love Jonathan arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes were gagged to discover that not only did Cara’s mistake screw Daini, but that tribal immunity is on hold for the episode and instead they would all be competing as individuals. As both tribes are going to tribal and both of them are voting someone out, with two winners from each tribe getting champagne in addition to immunity. The challenge? Well they have to make their way through an obstacle course and then pair up to cross parallel balance beams before tossing sacks and landing them on a table. First two to finish from each tribe scoring victory.

Before the challenge even began, Georgia opted out due to her illness. When it came to the challenge, both tribes were neck and neck through the obstacles until everyone on Brawn powered ahead, leaving Wai alone on the balance beam. Until Queen Chelsea came back and kindly helped. While everyone on Brains continued to work together until the end of the challenge, Brawns started to split off as Baden and Simon started tossing their sacks.  Andrew and Baden were first to sling a sack on Brawn, while Kez soon followed on Brains. They were joined by Gerald, Dani and then SLAY, Wai! It was back and forth as people landed their bags and knocked them off until Andrew scored one of the first immunities followed by Wai, much to the delight of the rest of her tribe. Which is just so nice.

Oh and on the Brains, Emmett won immunity and then started gossiping with Simon while Hayley joined Georgia on the bench to do the same. More importantly, Queen Rach was next to jag herself immunity. As the victors exited stage left to enjoy their champagne reward, poor Georgia was loaded into an ambulance to get checked out, much to the fears of her tribemates.

Arriving at the bush bar, the group were delighted by their tasting plate more so than the dranks. Which is concerning, but whatever. In any event, Rachel was planning to use her time at the bar to charm Emmett and try to get him to get rid of either Cara and George. And he immediately agreed, so I guess we can just call this episode a day, then. Go home Jonathan, one of the tribals is all sorted!

Back at Brains Laura was thrilled her mate Rach was living it up with the champagne, though was worried about what was going on with Georgia. And just like that, Jonathan appeared to announce that Georgia is being temporarily pulled from the game for observation and as per rules, has 24 hours to return before forfeiting her place. And as such, won’t be voting at tribal council and also can’t be booted.

While it is good that we can make sure she is safe, Laura realised that meant that she was the only target left now, so needed to desperately find a crack. She started working with Gerald and Kez and after barely even trying, had Kez on board given she is still enraged to have lost Daini. Before we could learn more, Emmett and Rachel returned from the reward with Rach thanking everyone for giving her the real reward, seeing how they all lifted each other up at the challenge. Ugh, isn’t she the sweetest?

After noticing Georgia was gone, Rachel and Laura went for a walk to exchange all the latest intel, glad that everyone was seemingly ready to get rid of Cara. Emmett and Kez meanwhile had their own chat, with the former admitting that all he cares about is the two of them and Gerald making the merge and as such, he doesn’t actually care who gets voted out between Cara and Laura. And given Cara fucked up, they were more interested in getting rid of her.

We next checked in with the Brawns with Hayley glad that both of their immunities went to former Brains and as such, have more leverage despite not having the numbers. As such, she went for the most bold move and told everyone that the Brains were planning to vote four strong and since two of them are immune, she plans to do scissor, paper, rock to decide who she plays the idol on between her and Baden and as such, the Brawns should start a conversation with them to decide who to get rid of out of their group.

She and Baden then went for a walk, with Baden excited to just lock in a name while Hayley cautioned him to wait and see who is the first to break ranks and talk to them. Speaking of which, Shannon and Flick were catching up with Simon and talking about how to proceed with both suggesting they play his idol and join with them to the Brains and sacrifice Chelsea instead. Which he readily agreed to after they assured him that they can bring Dani back in after the vote.

But psych, he didn’t plan on following through with that at all, taking Dani and Celsea to the well to let them know everything. And then suggest they all load their votes on Baden, which annoyed Dani, because she feels like this would actually be the perfect time to get rid of Shannon instead. And you know, assert her dominance on the tribe. 

Meanwhile Shannon and Flick were first to get to Hayley and Baden, immediately offering up Chelsea as the boot. As they left, Simon, Chelsea and Dani replaced them and pitched getting rid of Shannon. And just like that, Hayley and Baden were spoilt for choice. Both options being good, because Chelsea and Dani are a tight pair, while Shannon is a big threat. But to Hayley, keeping a threat around isn’t the worst thing at this point.

Once Wai and Andrew returned they were pulled aside by Hayley and quickly caught up on all of her and Baden’s handiwork, with them excited to take power just by instilling them with enough fear.

Both tribes descended on tribal council with Jonathan catching the Brawns up on the situation with Georgia before getting right down to business. Cara spoke about her guilt in sending Daini home due to her stupid mistake, not wanting anyone to think it was deliberate move on her part. Emmett meanwhile denied getting chatty at the reward, given they were too busy eating. Rachel on the other hand was just glad to be safe and wanted to contribute to the conversation to help them keep the tribe strong. 

On the flipside, Laura was shitting her pants as the odd one out on the tribe, fully expecting to go home next. Particularly since Emmett is confident that the alliance have a strong plan that they will execute perfectly. Despite that, Cara was still nervous and while George tried to raise her up, the Brawns weren’t so forgiving. Dani was emphatic about the fact she would have immediately booted Cara for her mistake, with Cara assuring her tribe that she knows the plan and will not make a mistake again. 

We checked in with the Brawn tribe with Shannon excited to see where things stand post swap. Hayley gagged Jonathan by yet again announcing her plan to the entire tribal council, delighting Emmett and George while making the OG Brawns on her tribe very nervous. Flick herself was worried about making a mistake at tribal council and going home, while Simon was straight up terrified, though continued to highlight how strong he is in the hope that nobody targets him. 

To keep things interesting, Shannon outed Simon’s idol and said that should he play his idol, Brains too could have their plans blown up. Dani just spoke about being Brawns strong while Shannon was confident they would make things work. Hayley admitted that she is getting very nervous, with Shannon telling her that all the conversations she had today are truthful. And Dani just said that she can trust her. While Baden was just hopeful that the division in the tribe won’t be down tribal lines after tonight.

With that the tribes voted, Baden and Hayley hung on to their/Hayley’s idol before Laura found herself voted out of the Brains tribe. But then when Jonathan immediately started reading the Brawn votes – and given there were still ten minutes left – it was obvious a twist was afoot, despite the Brawns voting out Shannon.

We then learnt that while Laura and Shannon were both voted out, only one would be booted from the game and that decision will be made by the four immune people. With that, Rachel, Emmett, Wai and Andrew were required to make a unanimous decision on who to boot and should they not be able to, the girls battle it out with a fire making challenge. And while Andrew and Rachel were keen to save Laura, Wai gagged everyone by voting for Shannon to stay. And while Emmett wanted fireworks by way of the challenge, he also wanted Shannon to stay to keep OG Brawn strong. Something Simon, Dani and Chelsea clearly don’t care about anymore.

Then Simon happened, stepping in to tell Emmett that Shannon threw all the former Brawns under the bus as soon as the challenge ended and as such, Emmett was the one making a shit move. Which miraculously led to both Wai and Emmett backpedalling on their decisions, saving Laura and instead sending Shannon from the game as the eighth boot for her disloyalty. Even though, yes, that is the point of the game. But so is using it to further yourself. 

Why did I go on that tangent? You know that.

Anyway, I saw Shannon arrive at Loser Lodge and while I was heartbroken my dear friend’s dream was over, I was glad to be able to hang with each other. You see, Shan and I are the absolute best of friends, given we’re both influencers – remember, I am the OG Celeste Barber … who also went to my school but that is a story for another day, ya’ dig?

So Shan and I are best friends and spoiler alert, this season was meant to be Blood vs Water and we were scheduled to compete but then ‘rona happened and they went in a different direction. And since there is no beauty tribe and there is no way you can spin me as strong, I was dropped. But given I’m so critical to the health and wellbeing of the casts, that is probably for the best.

Seriously, what is with the tangents today? You know the drill, I told Shan she played a killer game, she is an absolute star and I love her. Then got down to nourishing her soul with a big ol’ Kale Shannon Slawson.

I know, I know. You don’t make friends with salad. But when they taste this good, you HAVE to make an exception. Tart, fresh and packed full of flavour, this is just what you need to dull your post boot pain.

Enjoy!

Kale Shannon Slawson
Serves: 2 stunning influencers, but would also suffice for 6 people for dinner as a side.

Ingredients
4 cups kale, washed and shredded
1 cup red cabbage, washed and shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 small red onion, diced
⅓ cup craisins
½ cup slivered almonds
3 tbsp pepitas
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
1⁄4 cup tahini
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the kale, red cabbage, carrot, red onion, craisins, almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, whisk literally everything else together in a jug.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to combine and then serve.

And then devour, obvi.


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Serena ChaChagine

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 5, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on … hang on, wait a minute. Why do I always do this?! I mean, the ads even told us it was a Ru dawn and a Ru day. And now, well, that day is here. At midnight in the US, which honestly is perfect for me Down Under

But I digress.

A’Keria C. Davenport was the first to ru-turn to the Werk Room looking like a vision in all gold, she was joined by Jiggly and ugh, I live for her and am so glad she is back, fully embracing herself as a strong, gorgeous woman, in a little black dress to boot. Next up was Jan, living her Jantasy despite the jandemic and I hate myself for loving her and her jan-do spirit as much as I do. Particularly since she knows she was an 11 at all times last season. She was joined by Ra’Jah O’Hara in a gorgeous purple and blue jumpsuit and she is happy, friendly and ready to prove that she is a damn icon. Then Ginger Minj arrived looking a mess as a toad, but damn am I thrilled to see her back after her sub-par performance in All Stars 2.

Particularly for her warts joke.

Yara Sofia arrived for her third turn, manic, crazed and barking like a dog and OH SHIT, have I missed her. Despite not loving Silky very much, her entry was iconic with a full glass of milk in her titties and ugh, will I actually love them all this season? Supporting that theory, my love Pandora Boxx returned looking stunning, complete with butt puns and gah, it is so good to have her back. Particularly if Rob Anderson manifested her being paired with Serena and there being no other pairs. Scarlet Envy was next to join the fray, with her season 11 nemesis Ra’jah living and well, it makes me so happy. Oh and speaking of Serena, she is back and damn, did she have a glow-up because it is time to cha-cha bitch. 

Sonique finally arrived and owned the entries, quoting the transphobic entry line and reclaiming it as her own. It is powerful, she is funny and damn, I am SO glad to have her back. Next up was Trinity K Bonet, still charming and ready to slay, with Bianca’s encouragement playing in her head this go around rather than her inner saboteur. Last up was Eureka for her sixteenth attempt at the crown, this time with All Stars lips. And thankfully, still serving killer looks.

With that, Ru finally arrived to inform the largest All Stars cast EVER that they would still be a democracy this season, with everyone voting. And then alluding to a game within a game. But then changed the subject to the 14th queen, who it turns out was just the legendary Miss Piggy, who would be overseeing the reading challenge.

Kylie Sonique Love kicked things off reading A’Keria for being another losing Davenport, TKB went in on Ra’Jah for being an early out and Silky for being a mess, Jiggly destroyed Pandora for having no fans and Serena for being an alternate. Ra’Jah then arrived and savaged former-nemesis Scarlet’s beard, Eureka went in on Ginger’s relationship and then Pandora killed reading Eureka for being there. And then Ginger rightly got a supercut of destroying all of them. Serena was given the rattlesnake edit before Yara was demented and delightful, Jan tried to read Sonique but was read back in return before A’Keria was mean about Ra’Jah’s chances in the competition, Scarlet went for A’Keria butt implants and Silky was confusing but eventually got one in on Eureka.

Obviously Ginger took out victory, before Ru announced that they would be competing in the traditional premiere variety show. Which saw them all quickly split up, snatch a station and kiki. Ra’Jah and Serena were both ready to rewrite their narrative this season and prove that they are stars, before Ra’Jah celebrated the diversity of the cast. Besties Ginger and Jiggly caught up and were delightfully ridiculous, with Ginger knowing that she shouldn’t join the bitter old lady brigade again. Silky meanwhile praised Serena’s glow-up and celebrated her return, while Ra’Jah admitted her strategy was to get to the top and then stay there. And I am living for this version of Ra’Jah.

Elimination Day arrived with Eureka sharing that she’d be doing a song about her mother, while Sonique was doing a song to reintroduce herself to the fandom. Meanwhile Trinity K Bonet was just hoping to break the comedy show curse, given it was her choice to do stand-up. As they got ready Scarlet and Sonique spoke about what the game within a game could be, with all the girls derailing it by talking about whether they have a strategy. Silky laid out that she is not planning to play games and wanted to be fair, while TKB was nervous about being a bit of an island in the cast since everyone had friends or former castmates joining them.

At the variety show Jan mocked her face crack moment after being announced safe, then slayed her vocal performance about living her Jantasy. Pandora was charming and stupid and ugh, THIS is the Pandora I love, as she lip synced like a maniac, complete with titty confetti. Jiggly’s song and dance, to her own Jiggly-centric rap was a bop, Kylie was GORGEOUS as a golden burlesque singer – sans Wagon Wheel Watusi.

Oh AND THEN RA’JAH SEWED A DRESS IN 60s, I SHIT YOU NOT. I CAN’T GET OVER IT.

A’Keria gave a technicolour lip sync that had Michelle gagging, despite the green lighting. And then, ugh, Trinity bombed her comedy show. Badly, despite reading her grandma for filth. Eureka had a surprisingly good voice while singing live, complete with projections on her dress. Scarlet then dazzled with a bubble burlesque number which was both fresh and iconic. Silky then straight up played piano and sang gospel, Serena promoted her wig line, Ginger gave a poppy performance of perfection and then Yara was ridiculous as she bounced her titties all over the stage. Which was iconic, despite nobody knowing what was happening.

After Ru reiterated the rules, Eureka, A’Keria, Jiggly, Jan, Kylie, Scarlet and Ginger were sent to safety. As the dolls untucked backstage, Jiggly was thrilled to have survived the first week while Ginger was happy to at least have won the reading challenge and to prove herself. Again. Jan threw out another Jan pun, while Eureka asked the girls to help her strip off to take a seat. She then charmed the girls by saying that she was shocked they weren’t the tops, while Ginger expected Silky to win despite Scarlet being sure it was Yara’s on lock, giving how much Ru was living.

Jiggly identified TKB as a bottom, while Eureka felt Pandora would be joining her along with Serena. Ginger loved that she got a plug in for her wig line, before Jan celebrated that she wasn’t even annoyed about being safe. And Scarlet was thrilled to be feeling joy this time, as was A’Keria. Kylie shared that she was sprialling before starting the competition, though was ready to show that she had grown thanks to Ru. Eureka then broke down about losing her mum and was so endearing, leading to Jiggly talking about how much Eureka’s tribute to her mum meant to her. 

Jiggly then spoke about how she spent so long doing sex work to survive, that she didn’t even realise that she was broken on her first season. She and Kylie told the group about growing after coming out as trans and it was such a beautiful, loving conversation to have and I am so glad they are so open to sharing. Ginger spoke about how she didn’t even recognise who she was on Season 7, talking about how much hate she got that she still doesn’t even know how she processed it. Eureka praised her for being a trailblazer for big girls, before Sonique gave them all a pep talk about how them being so vulnerable and open is what makes them special. 

Oh and Ginger then spoke about the positives of meeting fans, with Scarlet admitting that she was one such fan of Ginger’s in the past. And then Jan reminded us that season 12 really had the worst experience, given she hasn’t even toured as a Ru girl so is still waiting to meet fans.

Back on the mainstage,  Silky was read for not fully taking it there in her performance, despite looking gorgeous and literally playing the piano live. Trinity’s look was praised though she was read for her obvious bomb. Ra’Jah received universal praise for her dress in 60 seconds number, as did Yara for her ridiculous tiddy-shaking performance. And I am so happy for her. Pandora’s joyous brand of ridiculous was praised for serving comedy, while poor Serena was read for not exactly executing the performance given everything else looked so beautiful and polished. Ultimately Yara took out the first victory of the season, while Pandora and Ra’Jah were deemed safe, as was Silky. Meaning either TKB or Serena were going home.

Talk turned to the voting backstage, with the girls talking about their strategies with Kylie admitting that she knows well enough not to share her strategy. They were interrupted by the tops and bottoms returning from their critiques, with Yara giddy to announce her victory to the safe girls, before Trinity and Serena shared they were in the bottom. Yara pulled Serena aside, with the latter sharing that she is heartbroken to be in the bottom after all these years. Meanwhile TKB shared that she doesn’t even know what happened at the variety show, though plead her case to the girls, reminding them she is here to prove herself. The bottoms switched places – how versatile – with Serena telling the girls she is here to fight too, while TKB reminded Yara about how much she wants to be there.

And Yara was just straight up confused. 

With that, the dolls voted and Yara made her way to the mainstage where she learnt that she would be facing off against Coco Montrese and oooooh, gurl – you in danger Yara! As soon as Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk started, both the dolls were ready to fight, but honestly, Coco is just SO good at lip syncing. Even while Yara was stripping and bouncing her titties, Coco was hitting every letter and proving why she is arguably THE lip sync assassin of the franchise. Again, she is just so good. With that, she took out victory and had to reveal that the group had voted to eliminate the delightfully redeemed Serena ChaCha.

Serena was crushed to unanimously be booted from the game by the group, particularly since Yara voted for Trinity and could have changed things with her victory. That being said, my dear Serena was delightful as she wrote her farewell message, before breaking down to discover the other queens’ notes praising her for her growth and charm. Oh and seeing the massive Serena ChaChagine I had waiting to celebrate her rudemption.

Rich and hearty, despite not having a meat in sight, this tagine is a pure delight. And while that was an accidental rhyme, you know I deliberately left that in. Because like the tagine, it is fun and full of flavour. Right?

Enjoy!

Serena ChaChagine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 pinch of saffron
olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ras el hanout
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ butternut pumpkin, diced
1 eggplant, diced
2 carrots, sliced into coins
1 onion, cut into segments
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
1 yellow capsicum, cut into strips
1 potato, cut into eighths
salt and pepper, to taste
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
couscous, mint, flaked almonds, yoghurt and harissa, to serve

Method
Place the saffron in a cup measure and infuse in 1 cup of boiling water.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of oil in a tagine over a medium heat and sweat the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and ras el hanout for a minute or two, or until nice and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook it off for a few minutes before loosening with the saffron infused water.

Stir in the myriad of diced and sliced veg before adding the tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and apricots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Give a good stir, bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour or so, or until the veg are tender.

To serve, layer your bowl with a dollop of couscous, followed by the tagine and whatever combination of herbs, yoghurt, harissa and almonds float your boat. And then devour, like a rudeemed champion.


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Carrot From Finance Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the top five were tasked with showing off their impressive talents, by way of a talent show. Despite never having pole danced before, Scarlet put on an impressively dangerous show, thankfully avoiding falling from the top and cracking her skull. Elektra meanwhile performed a powerful contemporary dance, but due to her thirsty wig somehow landed in the bottom despite Art’s talent involving her eating things. Which is far more iconic than that sentence gives it credit for. She was joined in the bottom with her boss Kita Mean and despite being the undisputed lip sync assassin of the season, Elektra found herself exiting the competition just before the finale.

Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.

Backstage the girls were thrilled to make it to the top four, with them discovering Elektra was proclaiming Kita as the winner of the season on the way out of the door. Art and Scarlet admitted that they felt Elektra kind of gave up in the lip sync, which felt like it was kind of them trying to be nice about how much Elektra loves Kita rather than saying she couldn’t have won the lip sync otherwise. Hopefully. The girls celebrated making it to the top, though were shady to Art about being eliminated and coming back to the competition. That being said, Art wasn’t bothered and still thought she could take out victory. Particularly since Karen pointed out that Scarlet had half a beard when she snatched her third victory, so anything truly is possible.

The top four jigged back in the next day with Kita still jumping out of her skin with excitement, giddy about potentially bringing the crown home to New Zealand. We were then treated to the girls flashing back through moments of the season before Ru arrived and tasked them with their final challenge of the season, where they would be writing their own verse on the rumix of Ru’s You’re A Winner, Baby. And then, you know, performing it live on the mainstage with full choreography. After a light lunch with Ru and Michelle. The usual.

We were then gagged by Dame Olivia Newton John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi who gave the girls a little bit of advice in a pre-recorded but made to not look pre-recorded message, but who cares given it is ONJ, dammit.

Just like that, the queens split up to work on their verses with Scarlet oozing confidence, while Karen had written two verses, one from her boy self and the other from Karen. Not to be confused with a Karen, since it is a loving verse telling all the eliminated queens that they’re all winners too rather than the poster child of middle aged, white privilege. In any event Art thought the loved-up Karen idea was a shit one and as such, encouraged her to run with it. Kita meanwhile shared that she was going with a heartfelt verse that she was going to sing. Full power ballad style, I assume.

Scarlet dropped by for lunch with Ru and Michelle, praising her mother as the person that has shaped her life the most. She said that being away from her loved ones was the most difficult part of the competition, but her partner organised a pack of letters from home, which she has been opening episode by episode to keep her focused. Ru advised that Scarlet not engage with the comment section and get distracted by the noise and given the backlash, it definitely is good advice for young Scarlet.

Meanwhile backstage Kita, Karen and Art were imitating each other and living their best lives and I love everything about it. And them.

Art excused herself to chat to Ru and Michelle, with her thanking them for giving her a second chance. She admitted that it taught her to let go given she supports everyone in her life, which made Michelle give her a pep talk and tell her that she needs other people to turn around and look after her too. Otherwise she is going to burn out. And ugh, this is why I love Michelle. Ru joined in and suggested that she remember she exists without people needing her and to focus on letting go.

Karen from Finance shared that her deceased mother did work in finance, but wasn’t the inspiration behind her. Talk turned to the pressure of living up to the name of Karen from Finance, given she is an internationally recognised thanks in no small part to how much Trixie and Katya love to talk about her.

We checked in with Art who was still processing the fact that she spends so much time looking after others, which has led to her burning out and not letting people in. She caught up with Karen and they had a really nice chat about freeing themselves and the way the show has made them reevaluate their lives and ugh, I love them both! And well, despite the criticism, proves that this show has still got it.

Kita then rounded out the interview portion, joking about not being shocked that she made it to the end. Though she did admit to getting into her own head throughout the season. Ru and Michelle reminded her that she needs to deal with whatever issues she had which led to her putting on the weight, now that she has lost it. Michelle then told Kita that her need for love comes from trauma, before they let her marinate on what her trauma was and helped her start to work through it. NO JOKE. Did Michelle get a psychiatry degree in lockdown, because she is amazing?! She then fit two jaffas – aka balls – in her mouth and had them in stitches, and please let this be the start of her coronation.

The top four then joined Lance Savali on the mainstage to learn the finale choreography, with Karen admitting that she is well and truly out of her depth. Kita was charming despite struggling to pick up her’s, Art was patting the puss and slaying her sexy choreography, while Karen got the Trixie in All Stars 3 choreography, complete with baseball bat dad dancing. And then Scarlet nailed the entire rehearsal, despite getting the easiest moves.

Coronation Day arrived with Kita sharing how her sisters and he and her brother were split up when her parents divorced. Karen agreed that growing up in a house full of boys was a struggle for her too and how they both needed to let their families in. Scarlet spoke about how she has never met her father as he reached out to her as a teenager but stopped talking to her when she found out that she was gay. Art shared that she had the same story, but loved how her father now has to see her on ads and hear her on the radio given she is famous. Which is an iconic and amazing way to look at things. Talk turned to the dangers of being queer, though all of them agreed that they wouldn’t change anything as that is what has made them strong. 

Kita then summed things up, explaining about how much bigger the journey was than she was expecting and was so grateful to make it to the end. And again, please let this be part of her coronation edit!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places for the debut of the Down Under remix of I’m a Winner Baby with Kita coming out looking just like one. She was shimmering in white and sang beautifully, Art was hilarious and charming, dripping in technicolour neon. Karen owned her awkward dance moves though definitely had the weaker of the verses, despite the really sweet and kind message. Scarlet oddly looked a mess, though nailed the choreography and gave a classic finale verse.

On the Best Drag runway Art was beautiful in a teal ball gown fit for a princess, Karen was classic Karen in a shimmering boardroom eleganza. Kita was a gorgeous angel with blue hair, complete with moving wings. And Scarlet was inspired by Princess Grace in a rose gown, looking gorgeous.

The judges lived for everything Art did in the finale, looking stunning on the runway and nailing the performance. Ru praised her as the future of drag and ugh, I love her. Michelle lived for Karen’s Elvis style look in the performance, with them all loving her runway. Kita too was praised for everything she did, with Michelle loving her singing voice and living for how diverse she has been throughout the season. And how she has slayed the entire time (kinda proving her bottom placement was bogus). Scarlet too received universal praise, killing the dance moves and looking stunning in the finale. And then Ru gushed about everything she has done.

Art was first to give advice to her younger self, learning from her chat with Ru and Michelle, telling his younger self to look after himself as well as others. And to wear his fucking retainer. Karen told herself to remember that love will always be in her life and to power through the moments she doesn’t feel it. Cute young Kita was told to grow from her weird relationship with herself but to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and know that you have strength to get through anything. Bringing everyone to tears. Scarlet meanwhile cautioned herself to own her mistakes and use them to grow. And that she is worthy of love and isn’t alone.

When it came to laying claim to the crown, Art pointed out that she has been a champion for Down Under Drag her entire career and wants to invest in its future. Oh and just fucking loves drag. Karen said that she is the future of drag and a little bit of coin would really help her grow. Kita spoke about how drag has shaped her entire life and wanted to make Ru proud, as the victorious music started to play. And Scarlet said that she has proven her versatility and won the most challenges and would love to continue to push drag into the mainstream.

We didn’t get to see what went down backstage, but the top four exited as the judges deliberated and then returned to learn that they were required to complete the final lip sync solo, one after the other, to ONJ’s Physical. Which is truly iconic. Scarlet channeled sexy, Karen cleaned her glasses, Kita was filthy and ridiculous while Art was truly polished. But let’s be honest Kita’s sexed up ridiculous performance, complete with rubber gloves to give the judges a literal  physical was far and away the best performance.

And thankfully, she rightfully was crowned and we didn’t have to suffer through another Bimini situation!

That being said, the finale really cemented my love for Karen from Finance. She was vulnerable, polished and like Ru and Michelle, I feel the next two years are going to push her further than she could even imagine.

As we sobbed in each other’s arms after I gushed about her performance, I remembered that losing isn’t the new winning and as such, she needed something to sweeten the deal. Which thankfully, is where my Carrot From Finance Cake comes in to play.

Full disclosure, carrot cake is my favourite cake. Most likely because of its pairing with cream cheese icing. That being said, the sight of carrot in raw cake batter is kind of disturbing but work through it. Spiced, moist and fluffy, this truly is culinary perfection.

Enjoy!

Carrot From Finance Cake
Serves: 8-12, greed dependent.

Ingredients
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
200g raw caster sugar
200g muscovado sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
300g carrots, grated and peeled
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
350g butter, at room temperature
800g icing sugar
100g pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the bottom of two 22cm cake tins with baking paper and greasing up the edges.

Working with two bowls, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in one and the oil, sugars, one teaspoon of the vanilla and eggs in the other, whisking well to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until a smooth batter forms. Followed by the carrots.

Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 45 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the cakes are chill, place the cream cheese, butter and remaining vanilla in a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, or until fluffy. Fold through the icing sugar, and return to the mixer for a couple of minutes or until smooth and velvety.

To ice, dollop a bit of icing on the top of one of the cakes and smooth to form a ½-1 centimetre layer of icing. Top with the second cake and use the remaining icing to cover the surroundings. Decorate with the chopped nuts before placing in the fridge for an hour or so to set.

Then, confusingly, remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and then devour. 

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Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Pie, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Final Three arrived at the final immunity challenge, ready to face a no doubt brutal and traumatic bout of endurance to win their way to the final tribal council. Though not before their loved ones were wheeled out to make us all cry. While it was sweet to see everyone soften at the sight of their families, reminded of what they are playing for, Moana wins best family thanks to the iconic one-two punch of Queen Vinnie who is pure joy and love personified and her sweet wife Isabella. Tragically though, Moana was the first to fall out of the challenge and after David eventually took out the final victory, she was sent to become the final juror of the season.

The final two awoke on Day 50, shocked to have made it all the way to the end while Dave was still feeling guilty about having to blindside his friend Mo. Despite it not really being a blindside since she was one of two options. In any event, David reiterated how much he wants to win before listing his entire resume and hot damn, this is going to be a complete and utter blow-out, isn’t it? I mean, I forgot about the fire from scratch thing it was that long ago.

As they settled in for their final breakfast and mimosas – treat yo’ ‘self – by the shore, Sharn told us how big of a mistake Dave made by taking her to the end, given she is the first and only player in Australian Survivor to make it to 100 days in the game. Which yeah, it is super impressive. She spoke about how hard the first loss was on her and she assured us that she had a fire in her belly and was not going to lose again. And oh Sharn, I am starting to feel bad about you losing again.

At tribal council Sharn kicked things off with her opening statement, reminding them that she is the only person to have played 100 days in the game and the only one in their season that has never had their torch snuffed. She said that after the winners were booted first, she knew that runner-ups would be targeted soon after and as such, she kept things quiet. She highlighted that she played both sides all season, told them that not going to rocks was a huge move and her plan as the puppet-master was to ride the Golden God before turning him into her golden ticket. And well, it all just felt a little bit too staged no?

David followed that up with a super sweet, relatable speech, fanning over the jury and charming the shit out of everyone. He admitted to being the mole, he told them how he found his idols – playing Phoebe in the process – blindsided Locky out of a necessity, voted Harry out because he wanted more days played than him before switching tacts and apologising for voting out Tarzan because he loves him, but loves his family more.  Oh and then he welled up talking about how much of a beast Brooke was and how much he loved Mo. Hell, is Sharn going to vote for him too?

Things turned over to the jury, with Locky asking Dave why his desire for a big game disappeared at the merge and he started to hide in a big alliance. Dave explained that being the Golden God got him to tenth last time, and as such he had to pull his head in if he wanted to make it to the end. Shonee then savaged Sharn by asking why she would bother voting for Sharn this time, when she didn’t the last time she was in this situation. Sharn spoke about how well she played this time and built up the alliance that dominated the merge, but didn’t really add anything else. A.K. spoke about the fact Sharn talked him out of going to rocks, and suggested that she can pick rocks for a chance to win his vote. Or leave it up to her game alone and damn, Sharn, the fact Zach laughed should tell you everything about the lack of votes coming your way.

After what felt like an eternity, Sharn opted to back herself and her game and as such, lost another vote.

Brooke decided to add some messiness to the proceedings, asking Dave why Sharn doesn’t deserve to win. Ignoring the question, he spoke about how he was the idol whisperer of the season before circling to the point, I think, by saying his relationships are what brought him to the end. Harry dragged Sharn for constantly pretending to be in alliances with people and pretending she was going to flip and while she tried to highlight it as good gameplay, Brooke reminded her that she burnt a lot of people in the process and as such, she was too focused on going to the end, rather than winning.

Oh and then Tarzan reminded Sharn that she told him to vote Mo in the near-rock tribal and while she tried to pretend that she was testing Tarzan’s loyalty, he thankfully pushed and said it wasn’t a test because if he did, Moana would have gone. This pissed off Moana who joined Tarzan in dragging her and while Sharn tried to dance around it and said it turned out to be her biggest move, Mo pointed out it was actually just her doing nothing. Harry then told her to keep telling herself that – slay – before Moana pointed out that Dave voting her out proved him to be weak, given he preached non-stop of competing against the best. She then asked the boldest question, asking whether he felt she played the bigger game. David expertly praised her and her game, apologising for ruining her dreams, reminding her that taking her to the end weakened his chances and ultimately they are playing for the title of SOLE survivor.

Dave then listed why everyone played killer games, praising them for their moves which is the exact reason why he made sure they all ended up on the jury. I mean, hot damn – that is a Todd Herzog level tribal council performance!

With that speech sealing the deal, the jury voted and then because of COVID-19, we awkwardly got to experience the single weirdest winner reveal of all time – potentially until Winners at War, I guess – as Andrew G was wheeled out to talk to Jonathan who was trapped in the US because of travel restrictions, before he tallied re-written votes in the US … which ultimately crowned David the winner of the game. Much to poor Sharn and her family’s bitter disappointment via satellite from their lounge room.

Tragically poor Sharn’s biggest fears came to a reality and while once again she came second, she does hold a tonne of records which prove her to be one of our best players. Despite how messy her second game may have been as her fears started to play on her mind. As such, I am so glad I was able to be on hand to once again provide her culinary comfort with a hearty batch of Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies!

Now lamb shanks and I have a complicated past. I mean, despite what you may think, I’m not a fan of sucking meat off a bone (well, in the kitchen). But in pie form? Sign me up! Earthy, rich and encased in a gorgeously buttery pastry, there is no better may to eat your feelings.

Enjoy!

Lamb Sharnk Coombes Pies
Serves: 4-8.

Ingredients
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 lamb shanks
2 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, finely sliced
4 celery stalks, finely sliced
2 onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 ½ cup red wine
1 ½ cup beef stock
6 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
2 bay leaves
2-4 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 sheets butter puff pastry

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss through the shanks to coat. Heat a good lug of the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and add the shanks, cooking for five minutes or until nice and caramelised on the outside. Transfer to a plate to rest.

Add the remaining oil to the dutch onion and saute the carrot, celery, onion and garlic for five minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process with the wine, followed by the stock before adding the thyme, bay leaves and shanks to the pan, covering and popping in the oven to cook for 2 ½-3 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Once cooked, remove from the oven – leaving it on – and carefully remove the meat from the bone and roughly chop into largish chunks. Return the meat to the pan, remove the bay leaves and cook over medium heat until the sauce has reduced. 

To assemble, line 8 individual pie dishes with a square of shortcrust pastry to fit the mould. Line each and fill with some baking weights. Pop them on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to cook for ten minutes, or until the pastry is starting to cook. Remove from the oven and remove the baking paper and weight combo.

Fill each dish with some of the shank mixture and brush around the rim of each dish with some egg, followed by closing with the puff pastry and cutting a little slit into the top. Brush the pie tops with more egg and transfer to the oven to bake for about half an hour, or until golden and puffed.

Then devour.


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