Chinese Handsay Dolapiewich

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

Previously on Survivor the final six grew more and more nervous about making it to the end, as everyone sized up who would make the easiest opponents in the final three. With Omar outed as a strategic mastermind at the previous tribal council, Maryanne was also focused on usurping his power and concocted a plan to take him out using her extra vote to swing a 3-2-2 vote. And while everyone continued to panic about her plan and who to take out should it fail, she stood firm and held everyone together to perfectly execute it and take Omar out of the game. In a very iconic fashion.

We followed the final five not back to camp, but instead to a new rain soaked beach to set up a new camp for the remaining days. Tarpless and with nothing, let’s just say the final five were well and truly gagged. Ultimately though, nothing could bring Maryanne down after taking out Omar with a massive move. Sadly she was the only one as Romeo was annoyed to have received votes, while Jonathan sassed out Lindsay for voting for him, despite the fact they both turned on each other. And ugh, this isn’t a good look for Jonathan.

Romeo meanwhile was an icon and interrupted the fight to announce that since they’re all being honest with each other, he has an idol and will be playing it at the next tribal council. So yeah, good luck to the rest of ya’s. Essentially.

The next day Jonathan was still focused on getting rid of Lindsay with the boys, while Maryanne was busy assuring Lindsay that Mike would be playing his idol for her at tribal council and as such, they would both find a way to keep going. Mike and Lindsay then caught up, with Mike assuring Lindsay that he will totally play the idol for her at tribal council and while it is the same promise he gave Maryanne, it was the only glimmer of hope she had, so she took it.

The tribe then received treemail, complete with a clue for an advantage at the upcoming immunity challenge. And while Lindsay was first to solve it, she could not find the advantage while the rest of the tribe worked together to solve the clue to block her. While Maryanne desperately tried to undermine the boys so that Lindsay could find the advantage before anyone else, guaranteeing the girls make it to the final four together. And what do you know, Queen Maryanne was successful, as Lindsay snatched the advantage and was that much closer to the end. Much to her and Maryanne’s delight.

While Jonathan looked to be boiling with rage.

The final five met up with Probst in the middle of a clearing for an epic immunity challenge where they would each have to race out to six stations to collect puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle. And while it sounds easy, the stations were guarded by obstacles and the pieces tied up by multiple knots. For Lindsay, she would only have to untie a single knot at each station, while the rest would have to work through six. Oh and the victor would also win a huge dinner of pasta, garlic bread, salad, cake and wine. So yeah, they were all very pumped.

Despite Lindsay’s advantage, she spent most of the challenge nipping at Jonathan’s heels as he absolutely destroyed the obstacles. While it is always hard to keep track of who is in the lead, Jonathan was the first to start working on the puzzle with Lindsay in a very close second place. Mike quickly joined them, while Romeo and Maryanne closed out the pack. While Jonathan and Lindsay were piece for piece at the start, Mike quickly closed the gap as he and Lindsay battled for first place. He continued to methodically work through the puzzle and despite a late-breaking push from Lindsay, he managed to snatch immunity. And tragically, doom one of our queens.

Mike started to break down over his win, overwhelmed to finally jag individual immunity and make his kids proud. Oh and then Jeffrey gave Mike a chance to fuel one of his competitors, with him stupidly opting to give Jonathan food which is a wild choice given he is the biggest competition to win final immunity challenge, assuming he survives the night. Even if they are aligned. 

Back at camp the boys went off to smash their feast, pledging their undying loyalty to each other while Lindsay spat fire about how terrible Jonathan is to Maryanne and Romeo. As the boys ate, Mike meanwhile was debating who he should play his idol for at the upcoming tribal to stack the final four with the people he wants. As such, he assured Jonathan he would be playing his idol for him too and just like that, he has now pissed off two potential jurors. The hungry trio meanwhile were busy locking in their votes for Jonathan, with Maryanne assuring them both that there is no way Mike would go back on his word to her. Despite knowing for a fact he also gave his word to Lindsay.

Lindsay meanwhile caught up with Mike to play on his emotions, begging him to stick to his word and not betray her, and while her argument was compelling – and frankly, so great – the fact that she can talk her way into anything, shows how big of a threat she is. Mike then caught up with Maryanne, with her trying to convince Mike to stick to his word to her so that she could protect Lindsay. Though when she caught up with Romeo, he cautioned her that both Jonathan and Lindsay are threats. Leaving Maryanne to worry who Mike would be playing his idol for, given everything hinges on his decision. And could make or break all of their games.

At tribal council Lindsay caught the jury up on her final advantage, while Jonathan spoke about how much they were all struggling. Lindsay admitted to knowing she is likely to go home tonight due to her allegiance to Omar, while Jonathan tried to downplay how much everyone wants Lindsay to go. Maryanne spoke about trying to find the balance between her emotions and playing intelligently, while Lindsay shared how she spent the entire afternoon scrambling and pleading her case, before a quick pivot as she tried to downplay her threat level. 

Jonathan stepped up to praise Lindsay for the game she played, while Lindsay said she is continuing to fight for her place in the game until the moment her torch is snuffed. Jonathan spoke about finding the balance between playing a good game and minimising your threat level, with Mike assuring everyone that if you have a solid alliance, it makes working around that a lot easier. Maryanne opened up about her need to not only find people she thinks she can beat to face off against at the end, but that also think they could beat her. And well, Lindsay was just happy that if she is getting booted for being unbeatable, that is the best way to go out.

With that the tribe voted, Mike made a big show of playing his hidden immunity for Maryanne for being so loyal to him. Romeo then announced that he would not be playing his fake idol and instead, threw it into the fire while Maryanne quietly sat on her hidden immunity idol. Jeffrey then finally read the votes with poor Lindsay tragically felled by a united tribe for being too much of a threat.

As she promised at tribal council, she was super chill and excited to be taken out for being too much of a threat, as the other option is making it to the end, getting no votes and having a shocking legacy. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she left a massive mark on the seasons and truly did play out of the best games this season and as such, is a shoe in for another go. But until then, she always has Chinese Handsay Dolapiewich.

I bet you thought I was going to take the easy route with a cheeky sandwich, but surprise, I pivoted! And when the pivot tastes as good as a slightly tweaked version of Brendan Pang’s Chinese Hand Pies, you really can’t go wrong. Spicy, warming and packing a kick, these are, in a word, perfection.

Enjoy!

Chinese Handsay Dolapiewich
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra
1 cup water
500g beef mince
3 celery stalks, finely sliced
4 spring onions, finely sliced
a large handful of coriander, finely chopped
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp raw caster sugar
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp Chinese five spice
vegetable oil, to fry

Method
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and slowly mix in the water with a fork until combined. Dust the bench with a little bit of extra flour and turn out the dough and knead until nice and elastic. Oil a bowl and pop in the dough, cover with some cling and leave to rest for half an hour or so.

Pop all the other ingredients in a large bowl with a good pinch of salt and scrunch with your hands – or use a wooden spoon, I don’t mind – until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge for the flavours to meld until the dough is ready.

To assemble, divide the dough into 8 equal parts and roll out until they are 15cm rounds and divide the filling between each disc. To close, gently stretch the dough around to seal at the top, pleat into a circle to give the look of a money bag.

Heat a couple of tablespoons in a large frying pan over medium heat and once nice and hot, add four to the pan, pleated side down and press with a spatula to flatten. Cook for five minutes or until nice and golden before flipping and cooking for a further five minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to rest on some paper towel while you cook the others.

Serve immediately, dripping in Sechuanyx Chilli Oil and devour.


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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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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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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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Buffaloana Chicken Hopizza

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

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 All Star players returned to the game with Lydia out for revenge, Henry lived to be messy, Brooke was a challenge beast and David claimed a suite of idols. Amongst the chaos Queen Shane followed Tina Wesson’s first-to-worst trajectory (despite almost avoiding it), followed by Jericho, Daisy – in a brutal blindside from Dave – Michelle and Henry before Shonee kicked off an epic revenge arc by eliminating Lydia, Abbey and John back-to-back-to-back. They were followed by Mat, Phoebe and Flick before Nick tragically missed the jury.

Locky ultimately became the first to go post-merge, followed by Harry and the tragic exit of Lee. Zach, Jacqui, Shonee and AK soon followed before Brooke’s immunity run forced the dominant majority alliance to turn on each other to boot Tarzan. Which was tragically followed by Brooke losing immunity and heading to the jury as one of our icon fourth placed robbed-goddesses, leaving Moana, Dave and Sharn to battle it out for victory.

The final three awoke on Day 49, with Dave shocked to still be in the game despite entering All Stars with a huge target from his previous season. Though thankfully, he learnt from his previous mistakes and this time forged strong bonds to keep him in the game. He then praised Moana and Sharn for being such strong competitors, though reminded himself that he is not there to make friends and he is playing to reunite his family and move back to Australia. And yeah, there is no way he is losing right?

Wait, no – we do get to hear from the other two. Sharn spoke about how important it is to win final immunity and to get to choose your opponent. While she only made it to the end with the help of her allies, the alliance would break tonight and as such, she needs to make sure she has control. Rightly, she congratulated herself on making it to the final three twice in a row and as such, she more than anyone, knows the pain of losing and as such, she isn’t going to suffer through that again. We finally checked in with Moana, who shared that she came into All Stars to pick up where she left off, after having to exit the game because she was sick. She highlighted that she played a stealth, strategic game and has never been in any real danger because she has been across literally everything that happened in camp. Which again, is true.

The final three arrived on a very windy cliff where they met Jonathan who explained that they would each stand on small pedestals with one hand holding an idol on a post and the other pulling a ring, pulling them in the other direction with the last one standing taking out immunity. As is tradition, Jonathan then wheeled out everyone’s families to distract them and make their heart break before physically destroying them. Sharn’s kids all still look exactly like their father, though hopefully the kids didn’t get his personality. But I can’t even be mean because her oldest son was super sweet about her and now I am crying. Then Jonathan wheeled out Moana’s wife of 53 days and her sister Vinnie and hot damn, I’m sobbing. Vinnie is life, Mo’s wife is hot – it is perfect. Oh and then Vinnie hugged Dave as Isabella’s crying made her sad and damn, I forgive the final three for making the merge boring. Can Vinnie be a write-in winner? I mean, Edge of Extinction is a thing, so anything goes now. Oh and then Dave’s wife and daughter arrived and see, he isn’t an arrogant jerk, he is delightful and such a kind family man. Also, can we circle back to the fact Moana’s wife is straight up beautiful? As beautiful as Dave’s sons calling him to wish him luck.

After drying their tears and hugging their families, the final three climbed up to their craggy perches while their poor families sat on a cliff and quietly wished that the challenge would be as short as possible. Well except for Vinnie and the younger kids who disappeared and honestly, Vinnie better be getting good money to babysit those kids because she is precious and needs to be protected at all costs. Anyway, as Australian Survivor is wise enough to stick with endurance challenges for final immunity, they aren’t the most exciting to recap. That being said, Jonathan said ‘It’s All Stars Baby’ in Caitlyn Jenner’s voice and honestly, I live. Moana started to struggle early in the challenge, but she showed so much personality in her interactions with her wife and now I am rooting for her.

Sharn spoke about it being more difficult than her OG final immunity challenge, while David spoke about how much he wants it and as such, while it is painful, he won’t back down. After more than an hour, out of nowhere Moana slipped off the pegs and literally fell out of the challenge, panicking everyone and leading to her wife heroically coming to rescue her and honestly, I ship them so hard. Left alone in the challenge for a further hour, David decided to try and make a deal with Sharn, suggesting that no matter what, they’re going to the end because they both want to face off against the best in the final tribal council. Sharn agreed how much of an honour it would be to go to the end with him, however neither seemed to be willing to back down. A torrential downpour then rolled in for dramatic effect and while David looked to be struggling, it was Sharn that collapsed out of nowhere, handing David immunity. And more likely, the title of Sole Survivor.

At tribal council David spoke about how amazing it was to see all of their families and compete in the final immunity challenge, though was saddened to be bringing an end to one of his closest allies’ games. Moana highlighted how close she and Dave have been from the start which immediately led to Sharn cutting her off and talking about how she was just as close with Dave. She then pointed out that she isn’t really loyal to her bestie Moana by saying that she and Dave agreed that they wanted to go to the end together during the immunity challenge. Obviously because this is All Stars and they need to have the best facing off. Moana laughed at the thought and pointed out that they all made deals with each other and as such, that deal means nothing. She then pointed out that she has played a strong game and more importantly, she doesn’t address a jury for a living. 

Sharn laughed about her previous final tribal – lol – before smartly pointing out that the duo had played similar games, while her game and David’s are clearly distinguishable and as such, the jury can easily pick a winner. Oh and then Moana got sassy and honestly, where was she all season – she said that Sharn had her shot in front of the jury and now it is time she has hers. Oh and if Dave thinks she is an easy beat, take her to the end and prove it. With that David voted and tragically Moana was sent from the game as the final juror, not because she was the weaker opponent, but because she was the stronger one.

As soon as I saw Moana enter the Jury Villa, I ran to her to give her a massive hug and to praise her for playing such a dominant game alongside David. Yes, yes, I spent a lot of time complaining about how boring their alliance made the show, but that doesn’t take away from their stellar, controlling games. That being said, David had something working in his favour that Moana tragically didn’t and that was the fact I planned to make Moana a pizza. Yes, the Fame Hungry Survivor Pizza curse strikes again and it is my fault Mo lost the prize and instead had to settle for a Buffaloana Chicken Hopizza.

Like burgers, buffalo chicken is one of those things I am very passionate about shoe-horning into other culinary forms. From burgers to meatballs, buffalo chicken just works in so many forms and despite being the curse that ended Mo’s game, there is no denying this is perfection. And maybe a little worth it.

Enjoy! 

Buffaloana Chicken Hopizza
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 cup hot sauce
2 tbsp butter
3 cups shredded roast chicken (or Chooke)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup passata
handful of fresh Italian herbs, roughly chopped
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
2-4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, thinly sliced
⅔ cup blue cheese, crumbled
Michelle Branch Dressing, to serve

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

When they’re almost finished proving, combine the hot sauce and butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat until combined. Remove from the heat and fold through the chicken. Season to taste, probably more pepper than salt, in my opinion.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To assemble, smear the bases with passata and herbs. Top with the mozzarella, carrot and celery, followed by the spicy chicken and blue cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devouring immediately with a good lashing of ranch dressing in honour of my menu choices ended my favourite potential winner (of the final three).


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Roast Chooke Jowett

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Brooke was all alone, with only the love and dreams of the nation to keep her company. Well, that and the immunity necklace, which she won for a record breaking fifth time, despite the fact we’re all forgetting the pre-merge victory. Back at camp David and his bland (well, dominant) alliance realised that they needed to flip on themselves, splitting down gender lines with Tarzan pushing to get rid of Sharn and Moana suggesting they get rid of Tarzan in the hope that David could defeat Brooke at the next immunity challenge. Ultimately though, David sided with the girls, while Brooke tried to vote for Dave – despite his idol – and poor Tarzan was booted from the game.

The next day Sharn was doing ASMR about Tarzan to David to make sure he knows just how much she really, truly valued him and everything he did. Though love me, David, LOVE ME is all I heard. Thankfully Brooke was acting as the voice of the public, calling out Moana and Sharn for playing a boneheaded game and not trying to take a shot at David when they had the chance. Though once again, she was hopeful to win immunity, fuck up their plans and force them to send him out of the game and start writing her winner’s cheque.

Meanwhile Dave joined Brooke near the shelter and after coughing like you would pre-COVID, sat down with her to ask if she is still hellbent on facing off against him. Brooke laughed it off, saying she literally has no options and nobody wants to work with her, so he is safe … unless he is interested in working with her. Knowing that he is completely falling apart after back-to-back seasons, he said that he would be interested to work together since whoever loses the next challenge is going home. But if they work together, they can save themselves and make this interesting.

After putting the idea out into the universe, Dave approached Moana to reiterate the importance of getting rid of Brooke at the next tribal council. Moana then spoke about how much she, David and Sharn need to win the game, which honestly annoys me, because this game shouldn’t be about need. I mean, that is what GoFundMe or my fellow high school alumni Celeste Barber is for!

We then got some generic filler supercuts with Brooke reminding us that Sharn and Moana dogged her at the last tribal council, Dave reminded us that he is playing his game for his kids and to be able to spend more time with them. He then started to cry about spending so much time away from them playing two seasons and just like that, I am back to wanting Dave to win. Or well, being ok with it … if Brooke can not.

My love Jonathan arrived for the penultimate immunity challenge of the season and hot damn, it’s a doozy! The final four would race to roll a ball down a shoot, race through obstacles and catch it before it hits the ground. They would then shoot the ball into a cup before shooting coconuts at a wall to break two tiles, then crawl under a ladder dragging a bag, building a ladder and scaling a wall before collecting three bags each containing a ball. Which they would then guide to the top of an upright maze to land them in three holes. And then they win immunity. As has become the way, David and Brooke were neck and neck at the start of the challenge with Brooke the first to catch her ball on the obstacle. Sadly while she struggled to land her ball in the cup, David made it past the first obstacle and quickly landed his ball. He then continued to extend his lead, crashing through the first tile as Brooke landed her ball. She quickly cracked her first tile, evening things up and making things more interesting than Jonathan’s spicy commentary. That being said, I do love David busting nut after nut. Brooke cracked her second tile just before David, as they went neck and neck under the net.

Oh and Sharn and Moana were absolutely nowhere. That isn’t relevant, but lol.

David made it over the wall first and had a slight lead going into the maze, before Brooke caught up. Both of them shaking from fatigue as they worked on the maze as Brooke landed her first ball which was quickly followed by David’s first. Brooke tried to play it fast to get a lead, though dropped right at the top giving David a lead as he landed his second. And while she fought valiantly, he landed his third and secured immunity. Back at the start of the challenge, Sharn and Moana were just thrilled to be able to stop while David and Brooke hugged, both crying as he congratulated her on being a beast and apologised for crushing her dreams. Well since it is obvious that Brooke is joining the elite group of fourth place robbed goddesses, I guess I am thrilled that it is Dave that will be taking out the win.

The final four returned to camp where David couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, praising Brooke on her continued challenge prowess. She then went to quietly reflect on the end of her game, while Dave worked to assure Sharn and Moana that they too are safe. Knowing that she needs to dig deep, Brooke caught up with Sharn by the fire and suggested that she is ending her own game by voting out Brooke, given that Moana and David will both take the other to the end over her. This made Sharn paranoid and contemplated her options, giving Brooke enough ammunition to approach Moana and let her know that Sharn, once again, is playing both sides. Because Brooke wants to battle Moana at final tribal council

While they were chatting, Moana and Dave caught up about the fact that they don’t have anything to worry about given at worst, it will be a tie and she and Brooke will need to face off in a fire challenge. That being said, Moana was hopeful that her real world friendship would be enough to stop Sharn from flipping. Brooke didn’t even need to talk to Moana, as Sharn’s growing cockiness at the thought of having the game locked up made Moana nervous about what her friend was planning. As such Moana approached Brooke to find out what Sharn was playing at, with Brooke pointing out that Moana truly needs to make sure she is in the final three with two other people that want to take her to the end and keeping her in the game means both she and Dave would take her, guaranteeing her a shot at final tribal. Which honestly is the best possible pitch because Moana is literally the only person that would be guaranteed to make the end in that situation. And realistically won’t go if she is in the final three with David and Sharn who would take each other, for some weird reason in Sharn’s case.

At tribal council – which was interrupted by another confusing, meandering presser from the PM (just tell us to stay inside and act like we hate COVID like Jacinda, please) – David spoke about his shock at making it to this point, a guaranteed shot at the final immunity challenge. While he was elated, he was kind of surprised that nobody went after him despite the mammoth target on his back. Continuing to play to the jury and the audience, David rightly lavished Brooke with praise and said that playing against her has been the biggest honour and joy for him. On the flipside, Brooke was disappointed to have lost immunity though took it with grace. But not lying down, advised Moana and Sharn that whoever joins her tonight will be the one she takes to the end. She then read them both for filth, pointing out they both told her that they can’t win at the end against Dave, and nor can they beat him at final tribal and as such, they’re stupid not to at least try going against her.

This annoyed Sharn who said that while that was Brooke’s pitch, she never actually said that she didn’t think she could beat Dave and lol. I mean, I loved Sharn in her first season but how in the hell can she not see that she has – to quote Spencer – zero percent chance of winning the game? Brooke called her out for lying and told her that she has admitted that she has no chance against Dave, then went in on her and continued to paint her as a shady liar. Brooke then heaped praise on Dave as the best Survivor player in the world, trying to scare Moana into action. This led Sharn to step in and fight, reminding everyone (read: Moana) that this is the only path for Brooke and honestly, she will win final immunity if she gets there. Sadly that logic is flawed, given she has said time and time again that Dave will win in the end, so if she does win final immunity, she will take anyone but him. And while they’re both kind of guaranteed to lose unless they are against each other, they surely have a better chance against Brooke.

Moana jumped in and said that while Brooke doesn’t think either of them have the ability to beat Dave, it is up to them to prove her wrong. And while I admire the confidence, I don’t know if they are accounting for who is sitting on the jury. That being said, if Moana didn’t think she could beat everyone left, she would have blindsided them. Sharn agreed that she also thinks she can win – lol – before David admitted that he is fully aware that should he lose final immunity, he knows that he is going to come in third. Smelling blood in the water, Brooke said that taking someone strong to the end is the boldest play you can make and already, she would award Dave the title knowing what he is visibly done. Though she knows that he has played harder than that and will have a compelling case.

Moana said she was confident in the direction she has chosen to take, while Brooke said that people have suggested they may vote with her, they all need to realise that loyalty won’t get you to the end. More specifically, it won’t give you money to buy your family a house, Mo. With that the tribe voted and tragically Brooke was finally felled from the game, though thankfully she joined the illustrious ranks of our fourth place robbed goddesses – Flick, Michelle, Shonee and Luke.

Through tears, I stood at the doors of Jury Villa and applauded our newest queen as she arrived to officially join the ranks of the iconic fourth placers. Please note that every fourth placed robbed-goddess has also played the game twice, which is a testament to their skillz and charm. Given I was overwhelmed by emotion (and knowing that Brooke’s loss likely put us on the trajectory we’re currently on in corona-ville) and I knew Brooke would be in need of some much needed nourishment, I quickly whipped up a Roast Chooke Jowett and toasted on playing the best losing game of the season.

Like her underdog journey, there is something so nourishing and wholesome about a perfectly roasted chicken. Your home is filled with a gorgeous aroma, there are leftovers for days and honestly, you feel a little bit smug because it always seems much more daunting than it is. Essentially, it is a culinary hug, which is what Brooke deserves.

Enjoy!

Roast Chooke Jowett
Serves: 4-6, depending on the amount of leftovers you want.

Ingredients
1 large free-range chicken
2 medium onions, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled (or just washed, no judgement) and cut into 3cm lengths
2 sticks of celery, just into 3cm lengths
1 bulb of garlic, peeled and bruised
olive oil
1 bunch of mixed fresh herbs, ideally thyme, rosemary and sage
1 lemon, pierced with a skewer
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp flour, ¼ cup vermouth and 2 cups of chicken stock, should you want to make an accompanying gravy

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C and take the chicken out of the fridge for about half an hour to come to temperature.

Throw the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a large baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and toss to combine. Grab the chicken and shove the herbs and lemon inside the carcass. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, rubbing over to make sure it is well coated. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, reduce the oven to 200°C and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.

Remove chicken from the oven, transfer to a plate, cover and rest for fifteen minutes at which point, mash all the veggies in the pan juices should you be making a gravy. Add the flour and cook over medium heat on the stove until bubbling. Whisk in the vermouth and stock and cook, stirring, until a thick, glorious gravy is formed. Season with pepper.

Serve the chicken with your fave roast veggies, drowned in gravy with some white crusty bread for sopping up – like a queen – as you devour.


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Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles awaiting my dear Sarah Ayles to eat while I rant about Andy surviving.

Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Jonathan threw a spanner in all of the works, forcing everyone to drop their buffs – sadly not John’s speedos, though – and switched up the tribes. The three Champion women lucked out and stayed strong together in a Champ majority on the new Contenders tribe, while David and Luke were royally screwed as the only OG Champs remaining on the Champions tribe. Oh and Daisy and Shaun’s alliance was also split up, though that only became relevant after the new Champions continued in the tradition and lost immunity. You see Shaun had told Andy about his idol, who then spread the information to the rest of the Contenders on the Champions tribe, with Daisy overhearing and deciding that he is no longer to be trusted. With that, she approached  John and Baden to flip to David and Luke with her and blindside Sam – who never got a freaking confessional – which they did, leaving the OG Champs alive for another episode with an idol in each of their pockets.

We opened up with at the new Contenders tribe where Abbey, Ross and Pia were still lamenting the downgrade of facilities from what they were useful at Camp Champ. While the girls struggled in the squalor, sweet angel Ross tried to find the bright side and honestly he is too pure for this world. I just get the goofiest grin whenever he is on screen and I hope he knows how much I appreciate him.The tribe sat around bonding and downing coconuts, while Janine was thrilled to have the majority on her new tribe. Though was struggling big time when it came to remembering Casey’s name. Or was it Cassie. Talk then legit turned to eating Harry, despite his fake child at home. Pia’s serving suggestion was to turn him into a kebab. Harry then vowed that he will be taking control of the tribe and was thrilled that Luke or David likely went home at last night’s tribal.

Speaking of the new Champions tribe, Andy – who looks more like Sonic the Hedgehog than the original movie version that they’re currently fixing – was still shell-shocked by the blindside while David was thrilled to have found his way into the new majority so quickly, thanks to Daisy’s vendetta against Sam. Desperate Andy approached David to pretend that he was trying to protect David at the last tribal and honestly, the desperation reeks of insincerity and I need him out ASAP. And if that performance keeps up, I think I’ll get my wish. Sarah too was seething after the previous vote, so approached Hannah to float the idea of wooing Baden back to their side to get rid of Daisy in a revenge plot which sadly seems shortsighted given the Contenders early domination. Shortsighted but good TV.

Jonathan summoned the tribes to a rolling river where the Contenders were shocked to find Sam was booted the night before, none more so than Harry who had just felt confident enough to get arrogant. But back to the challenge where someone from each tribe who swim against the flowing river, with the last person staying in the marked zone winning a point for the tribe. First to three winning a Survivor cafe experience, so everyone was as thrilled as I was given swimming calls for speedos. Once again Luke and Matt faced off against each other, with Matt making quick work of Luke. Again. Leading to even more arrogance from Matt. Ross and Baden went next and despite starting strong, poor Baden wasn’t a chance against the surfing champ. Janine got out strong against Andy, until the current washed her away and Andy – urgh – got the Champions on the board. Abbey and Daisy proved an interesting match up, with both women working hard as Daisy drifted into Abbey’s lane and Abbey almost wiped Daisy off the course before ultimately, Daisy won the point and tied things up. The final match-up between Hannah and Casey was far less interesting, as Hannah washed right out of the field giving Casey the point and handing victory to the new Contenders.

The Contenders arrived at their cafe reward where Shaun was thrilled to finally take out a reward, Casey got her first confessional and Matt was struggling to understand why he wasn’t miserable. While everyone was frothing over the food, King Ross smashed four coffees and quickly started to lose his mind before having a power spew and coming back for seconds. Harry meanwhile wasn’t so thrilled and couldn’t move past the fact that Sam was voted out, while Abbey and Janine quickly got all of the information out of Harry and Casey, finding out Sam and Daisy didn’t get along, meaning Harry likely won’t work with Daisy or her ally Shaun. While Harry desperately tried to make in rounds with the former Champs, he didn’t look to be having much luck and felt on the outs with his new closest ally Casey. The latter however had other plans, leaving him for dead and buddying up to Janine, Pia and Abbey to try and save herself while Harry wandered around until he found the damn idol.

And while it is exciting for him, I just want to know what happened to his eye and if it is what happened to Benji’s last year as it looks angry.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where two people from each tribe would be placed in chambers while their remaining tribemates would race over balance beams to collect buckets of water from the ocean to fill up the other tribe’s chambers. Given poor Sarah can’t catch a break, she was submerged in one of the Champion chambers with Hannan in the other while Casey and Pia were the potential drowning victims for the Contenders. It is pretty hard to tell who is leading at any given moment, so let’s focus on the fact Hannah seems super fun and entertaining and I hate that she is the last person remaining without a confessional. Pia was the first to be completely submerged, followed closely by Hannah while the two desperately tried to keep their noses above water before Hannah and Pia dropped out one after the other, leaving Casey and Sarah to battle it out. Tragically Sarah fought valiantly however it wasn’t enough as the Contenders kept a steady flow of water going into her bath forcing her to bow out, handing victory to the Contenders.

Back at camp the Champions assured each other that they did all that they could at the challenge before Andy tried to find a way to live to see another day. He then approached David as, to quote him, David is smart for a model and he himself is scary smart, so he thinks they will make good allies. Sadly for Andy, David could see through all of his lies though given he holds the power, he doesn’t really mind. Yet. He rallied his allies and suggested they get rid of Sarah, given she isn’t as agile as Hannah with everyone jumping on the plan quickly. Andy left the group and approached Sarah to see what she was thinking, with Sarah suggesting going to the top of the totem pole and get rid of Daisy. Andy then ran back to the shelter, lay next to Daisy and told her what Sarah and Hannah were planning, filling the icon with rage.

Sarah then wandered over to Baden and Luke at the well, telling them that Andy threw her under the bus before David and Hannah joined them. Sarah asked David what his plans were, with him admitting that he was going to vote her out … though would happily turn on Andy instead. David then said Andy was playing so badly he was planting landmines, forgetting where they were and then blowing himself off all up the beach and I LIVE. Daisy and Sarah then caught up with Daisy suggesting that she would be willing to get rid of Andy instead. The only certainty as they headed off to tribal council, is that once again David and Luke are safe and their two idols will remain in the pockets for another episode.

At tribal council Andy tried to downplay how shocked he was by Sam’s blindside before Jonathan congratulated David on surviving the insurmountable odds. David downplayed the OG tribes, reminding everyone it is a new game and they are one unit. Sarah admitted that the lines were well and truly blurred, while Daisy reminded them it is eat or be eaten. Hannah admitted it is too hard to trust anyone in a long term way, while Sarah alluded to Andy continuing to play the middle and Luke blurted out that there was some madness back at camp. Andy tried to be coy about the situation, where he shoved his hole leg in his mouth which everyone was aware of, before Sarah verbalised that she is the one that walked up on Andy’s dick move with the Sonic impersonator getting more and more nervous. Wait, no, cocky, as his fuck-up is only an issue for Sarah. John told everyone to pull their heads in, Andy spoke about the importance of trust – much to John’s disgust – while Sarah sounded defeated, warning them to all keep one eye open.

With that the tribe voted and despite me crossing everything in my body, praying to a wide range of deities and promising not to cuss anyone out tomorrow for asking stupid questions, it was my dear Sarah who was booted from the game as low-rent Sonic sped to smug another day.

Once again, I was a giant ball of rage as Sarah entered Loser Lodge and fearing that I was on the brim of freaking out, she took me in her arms and told me to breath through the pain. She assured me she was proud of the game she played, and glad to prove herself and while I fought back tears thinking of all the ways the game has tried to bring up memories of the tsunami for her and the fake that yet another woman was booted over a smug, beige male, I realised that all we needed – Sarah, I and the world at large – was a big comforting Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles to dull the pain.

 

Sarah Ayles joyfully eating Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles while I rant about Andy surviving.

 

Thankfully this rich casserole is glorious enough to wipe away some of the pain of seeing this icon leave the game. Earthy lamb, the tang of ale and the sharpness of some gruyere work together in perfect harmony to honour the ultimate survivor of this season who deserved so much better. #Justice4Sarah

Enjoy!

 

Sarah Ayles joyfully eating Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles while I rant about Andy surviving.

 

Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1.5kg lamb shoulder, diced
2 tbsp flour
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp tomato paste
345ml bottle ale
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced
100g gruyere cheese, grated
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to serve

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion, garlic, celery and carrot for five minutes, or until your kitchen is hella fragranced. Add the lamb and cook for a further five minutes or so before adding the flour and cooking off for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, mustard, tomato paste, ale, stock, bay leaves, muscovado sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Once the casserole is thick and gloopy, top with the baguette and all of the cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until the cheese is golden and glorious.

Sprinkle with parsley, serve and devour.

 


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Alison Raybouldy Mary

Drink, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor yada yada yada, Davie was blindsided. This is a six person finale people and I have a teeny puppy fighting for my attention, I can’t give you more than that. How hard is my life, right?

Back at camp poor Nick was feeling betrayed by his allies, confused as to why they would choose to lie to him and chucking the shit that they couldn’t bring themselves to give him one vote. Angelina followed him as he stormed down the beach, trying to allay his fears and remind him that they will be going to the final three together. Nick was concerned that Mike would target him next despite Angelina assuring him that he is safe, yelling at Mike, Kara and Alison that Mike has no shot against Alison. Mike tried to go and talk to Nick and while he reassured him that Alison will be the next to go, he vowed to take it Nick if he didn’t simmer down and threatened his game.

Probst returned for the final five immunity challenge where the tribe would be required to stand on a tall pole in the ocean and fill a tube using a bucket of water to release a key … which is used to release puzzle pieces for them to solve. Poor tall, skinny Alison struggled to maintain balance while Nick took the lead. Somehow Alison managed to close the gap and overtake him despite being struck by fear, allowing her to start solving the puzzle before anyone else made it to shore. Nick and Kara soon arrived, followed by Mike as poor Angelina struggled with the challenge. Despite being first to the beach, Nick soon overtook Alison and snatched immunity before anyone got close.

Everyone congratulated Nick on his back-to-back immunity win before Angelina pulled Nick and Mike aside to lock in the vote for Alison, though did ask that they jump on board to create a huge show at tribal council to win the jury over. She decided that Mike should convince Alison and Kara to vote for her before she plays the idol and saves herself. Given Mike doesn’t want to help build her resume nor piss off Kara, he approached Kara to tell her about the plan and generally talk smack about the absurdity of Angelina’s plan. Sadly that appeared to backfire as Kara approached Alison, filled her in and suggested they get rid of Mike instead. Alison then took the plan to Nick in the hope of swaying him after being blindside, which he was obviously open to … however he and Kara then caught up and they vowed to vote together though weren’t sure who would be tougher to beat in the final three out of Alison and Mike.

Oh and Angelina then made a fake hidden immunity idol and led Alison to find it, just to rub in her potential demise even further which is evil. But really good television and will totally see her get torn to shreds, should Alison go and she makes the end.

At tribal council Nick admitted to being shitty about being left out of the last vote before Angelina explained that she comforted him and reminded him that everyone has felt that at one point or another. Probst reminded them that Davie challenged them to make a bigger move than his blindside, which appeared to piss off Mike since there goes a promised jury vote. Angelina and Alison acknowledged their friction, Mike and Alison appeared to now have friction while Nick and Kara sat pretty, realising that their decision will decide the final four and get rid of the biggest threat. With that the tribe voted, Mike gave an extremely sassy voting confessional and Kara voted to ensure Angelina’s idol play is unsuccessful. Alison played the fake idol, pretty certain that it is fake while Angelina snickered, admitted she made it and then played her idol, over explaining the process much to the disgust of the jury.

Oh, did I mention Alison was voted out?

Despite Angelina’s nasty slash hilariously catastrophic idol theatre, Alison arrived at Ponderosa as happy and delightful as she has been all game. Except when she is hangry, obviously. After getting a brief check-up – I like free medical care, ok – and checking each other’s pulses, Alison deemed me needed a drink to calm our nerves. Which is convenient, since I had a pitcher of Alison Raybouldy Mary ready to distract from her end-game loss.

 

 

I don’t know why, since alcohol, but I’ve always been against bloody Marys. Maybe it has something to do with Kirsten Cohen’s battle with alcoholism, I don’t know? In any event, they are totally delicious and let’s be honest, allow you to drink before midday without judgement. Which is enough.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alison Raybouldy Mary
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
½ cup tomato juice
2 shots vodka
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 lemon wedges
ice, to taste
2 stalks celery

Method
Divide the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper between the glasses and stir to combine.

Squeeze the lemon wedges into each and leave in the glass.

Top with ice, garnish with the celery and down.

 

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