Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 42, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after farewelling the last remaining other target in Swati, Tori was feeling very nervous on Ika and as such, beasted her way through the immunity challenge to guarantee her safety. Oh but not until after all of the idols were activated as Drea found Ika’s and Mike begrudgingly said his phrase. Knowing her vote was critical, Lydia didn’t bother to risk hers on her journey up the mountain with Rocksroy. Which was the right move, given she, Hai and Mike held all the power as Vati went back to tribal council and Daniel was booted from the game. Though not before Chanelle threw a random vote at Mike, making her all the more untrustworthy heading into the merge. Oh and Omar has no vote and Hai, Lindsay and Drea got an amulet advantage, in addition to the trio of idols activated last week.

Or non-merge, as the last season celebrated.

After tribal council, the Vati tribe were gagged to have pulled off the Daniel blindside, with Chanelle particularly thrilled to have bested Daniel in their feud. Though sadly for her, she threw out a vote against Mike to protect herself against any Shot in the Darks being played and thought he would be cool with it. Which he is NOT. Despite them hugging it out. Oh and while Hai would take a bullet for Lydia and Mike, Chanelle, not so much. So yeah Chanelle, you in danger girl. Meanwhile over at Ika Rocksroy was busy doing work around camp and picking fruits, while Tori tailed him like a hawk to try and find out what happened on the summit. Which annoyed the hell out of him as she wouldn’t accept his answers. Oh and as they fought, Drea and Romeo hid behind the bushes eavesdropping, agreeing that Tori is sketchy and not to be trusted. In the slightest.

We got to get a little whisper sesh from Jeff who explained that the merge twist would play out the same as last season, except for the fact they will know that the person going to exile will have a massive power and the victors are allowed to opt to go to exile instead of one of the sit outs. To further that sense of deja vu, the challenge was the same as last year too, where they will dig out a rock and then push it through obstacles to release a pair of keys and climb a wall before solving a puzzle. And the victors would get a massive Applebees feast, alongside a merge buff and immunity from the upcoming tribal council. Well, unless the exilee turns back time, that is. Lindsay and Rocksroy ultimately ended up pulling the grey rocks and landing on the sit out bench. 

Jonathan, Tori, Maryanne, Hai and Lydia formed the orange team, while Chanelle, Drea, Mike, Omar and Romero were on blue. And almost immediately, Jonathan took the lead for the orange tribe, coaching them through building a ramp and getting a massive lead as they quickly released their first key. While the blue team tried to close the gap, there is no denying this was team orange’s to lose as the group literally climbed Jonathan to get up the wall before he effortlessly pulled himself up. As Rocksroy and Lindsay rightly marvelled at his prowess. Maryanne and Lydia looked very zen as they calmly sorted their puzzle pieces while Drea held up blue as she struggled to climb the ball and ugh, it was tough to watch. Thankfully Mike and Romeo literally put their bodies on the line and they worked together to get up the ball and yeah, it was heartwarming.

Obviously the headstart proved insurmountable for the blue team as the orange group took out victory and the win, which likely means one of the five will be going home tonight giving this immunity means nothing. The group then cursed Lindsay, selecting her to join them on reward while sending Rocksroy to exile for two days. With only the game changing twist which will make him immune, for comfort.

The victors were giddy as they arrived at their island Applebees, smashing their burgs and delighting in the fact they had officially made the merge. Which is a lie they are tragically unaware of, while Jonathan admitted that he had considered opting to go to Exile which would have kept everyone that won safe. But before we could think about what could have been, Tori talked a bunch of shit about Rocksroy and their OG tribe and then aired all their dirty laundry. Which may endear her to them, or piss everyone off.

Meanwhile the losers ventured to the eventual merge camp where they were thrilled to smash the pity rice they received from Jeff before Drea rightly clocked the merge twist, which is honestly, so damn iconic. Drea then caught up with Mike and suggested that maybe since they both have idols, they should work together and as such, combine their individual alliances to take control. Leaving Chanelle and Tori well and truly on the outs in the process. 

We checked in with Rocksroy as he arrived at his desolate island where as predicted by Tori, he was absolutely thrilled to set up camp, whipping up a fire and shelter. And well, he was loving to have all this alone time to just live his best life and see all the vibrant colour the world has to offer (because he has a degenerative eye disease). Oh and he found the hourglass and hammer, but there were no instructions so he just moved them into his shelter.

The winners and losers reconnected at camp with Omar ready to befriend anyone and everyone to keep himself safe at the first tribal council. Lindsay meanwhile wanted to check in with Hai and Drea to discuss their amulet advantages and see whether they will stick together. And while they all said they would, Hai was nervous the women would eventually turn on him. Mike and Maryanne caught up, assuring each other they will work together before the iconic Maryanne started bonding with Romeo and assured him that the little people need to stick together. Oh and then she bonded with Tori too and while she looks well connected, I’m worried it will come back to bite her.

Mike and Jonathan meanwhile watched the sunset together on the beach, bonding over being gentle giants and agreeing to look after each other and ugh, I love them. And more importantly, how much they love each other.

The next day the tribe went hunting for food, collecting crabs and before Jonathan snatched an octopus, then almost grabbed a shark and well, it was iconic. While he is clearly a threat, Hai was still keen to work with him and use him as a meatshield. With everyone bonding around camp, Hai spoke about how he met his boyfriend which led to Romeo pulling him aside and opening up about being gay and wanting to be as open and honest as he is and ugh, I love them. Hai encouraged him to share his story and love himself as Romeo spoke about his fear of people not loving him or worse, needing to silence himself to be accepted. And ugh, once again, I’m crying.

Omar soon joined the boys and talk returned to the game, with Hai telling them both that Chanelle can not be trusted. Which confirmed to Omar that he doesn’t have a vote. And well, she doesn’t care enough for him to let him know he doesn’t have a vote and as such, he was ready for her to go too.

The next day Omar charmed Mike by telling him that he is saving himself for marriage and well, he is ready to marry his partner ASAP. Lydia and Maryanne bonded over being the younguns with the old lady gang names, while Hai officially locked in his alliance with Jonathan. They then pulled in Lydia, Omar, Drea, Mike, Lindsay and Rocksroy, and just like that, they had a majority. Oh and Chanelle or Tori are their number one targets, with Maryanne identified as the next to go from Taku. Though only because Jonathan didn’t want his new allies to think he wasn’t willing to offer someone up.

Oh and then Chanelle walked up to try and find some allies, with them all pretending they have no plans to take her out. Which made Chanelle more and more nervous as they assured her they will not take her out. As Hai, Jonathan, Drea and Omar caught up to further solidify their bond, Omar admitted that he may not have a vote at the upcoming tribal council. Though after confirming they are tight, Drea shared that she has an extra vote and would be willing to give it to him, should they need it.

We ventured back to Exile Island where Jeff arrived to announce the twist to Rocksroy, who was honestly buzzing with joy to be left on his lonesome for a couple of days. Probst then explained the twist to him and while he was nervous about potentially pissing a bunch of people off, he obviously then smashed the hourglass and earnt himself immunity. And guaranteed his place in the merge. And most importantly, left Tori in jeopardy.

The castaways joined Jeff for the first individual immunity of the season where they were gagged to learn about Rocksroy’s power and the fact that the winner’s of the last challenge are now at risk and would be competing in the immunity challenge to guarantee their safety. Which obviously delighted Chanelle, Drea, Omar, Mike and Romeo. Tori on the other hand was irate and told Rocksroy that she was pissed he took away her safety after she gifted him an advantage. Which only made everyone even more weary of her.

But back to the challenge, where they would each have to balance a table using a rope and walk back and forth along a lane, spell out immunity using wooden blocks. With the first person to finish guaranteeing their place in the merge and a spot on the jury at the minimum. Fuelled by her simmering rage for Rocks, Tori got out to an early lead in the challenge alongside Jonathan, until Hai picked up the pace and took out the lead. Until he dropped and handed the lead back to the duo. Then Jonathan dropped, giving Tori plenty of time to calmly walk the course and jag immunity. Despite a late breaking pursuit from Lindsay. And then Maryanne.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Tori on taking out immunity and assured Rocksroy there are no hard feelings. Before everyone quickly split into factions to come up with a plan, with Jonathan assuring Rocksroy he already has an alliance and has nothing to worry about. After Romeo and Tori bitched about the meatheads in the game, Romeo led the charge to get rid of Jonathan. While Maryanne, Hai and Drea weren’t overly keen, Maryanne also just didn’t want to lose her place in the game. Lydia tried to pitch Jonathan to Lindsay and Chanelle, which made go into protection mode and suggested Maryanne would be a better option because she is super strategic.

Chanelle meanwhile saw through her plan to protect herself and Jonathan, which made her more focused on rallying the troops to keep the vote on Jonathan. While Omar desperately worked to protect Jonathan, which gave him a crack as Lydia admitted that she isn’t sure about this new majority alliance. And as such, he went person to person to turn the tribe against her instead. Which obviously pissed off Hai.

At tribal council Hai admitted that this vote is very defining to their season, particularly since the game has been so fluid thus far. Romeo meanwhile spoke about trusting his gut and reading the cues, with Drea countering that sometimes people are just too nervous to make a move even if they want to. While Hai wanted to take this moment to take control of the game. Lydia once again spoke about how playing Survivor has helped her accept all parts of herself. Jonathan wanted to be able to say that he did all that he could do in the game when it was over, while Omar tried to be chill despite knowing people would come for him eventually. While Rocksroy spoke about his nerves over missing two days of the game.

Maryanne said that she planned to make the decision that will help protect her long term, which Drea said is not the right way to approach the game. Maryanne then tried to get her to agree they are on the same page, which Drea, again, iconically refused to agree. Maryanne spoke about being nervous about how charming and chatty she is while Hai spoke about everyone having a different perception of the game. Oh and then a beetle landed on Rocksroy, which is important, if you ask me.

With that the tribe voted, as Lindsay, Jonathan and Maryanne all received a few votes before the rest piled up on Lydia and sent her from the game. Just missing the jury, tragically. Despite the brutal way she went out – the twist, again, is not great – Lydia was still super calm and zen, happy to have been given the opportunity to play the game. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that while it sucks to go out in such an unfair twist, it does put her in the epic company of Sydney and she can always use it to justify needing a second go at the game. With that, he laughed and cried before smashing some Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes

I know, I know – red velvet is just chocolate, but the elegant drama they bring to the looks department always make me excited to eat them. Delicate and fluffy, these babies are the ultimate way to sweeten the bitter after-taste of getting the boot. Or a rough day, TBH.

Enjoy!

Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
150g flour
1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
150g raw caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
100ml buttermilk
50ml vegetable oil
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tbsp red gel food colouring
100g butter, softened
225g icing sugar
100g cream cheese, softened

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a cupcake tin with cases.

Combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in a bowl and pop the unsalted butter and raw caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the unsalted butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce to low and beat in the egg, vanilla, buttermilk, oil and vinegar until just combined. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry until just combined, before mixing through the food colouring. Again, until just combined but also a consistent colour.

Divide the batter amongst the cupcake cases and pop in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While they are chillin’, beat the butter and icing sugar on medium, or until pale and fluffy. Add in the cream cheese and beat for another minute or so, or until just combined. But for realsies, because the longer you beat cream cheese, the softer it gets.

Once the cakes are cool, piping the icing on top (or dollop with a spoon and hope for the best) before devouring. 


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Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iconic, brutal, stunning. I love them.

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

It. Is. Too. Damn. Precious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie
Makes: 1 cup

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

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

Shake well.

And down.

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


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Sister Blistered Corn and Bean Salad

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 2, Salad, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the top seven were delighted to be put through their paces in Snatch Game where Bimini absolutely destroyed the competition. Completely. While Lawrence and Tia tragically only destroyed the memory of both Miriam Margoles and Mel B, respectively. Obviously Bimini took out her second victory and firmly announced her arrival as a contender, while Tayce’s impersonation of THE Kath Day-Knight cemented her place in every Australian’s heart. As obvious as the tops were, the bottom was just as clear as Lawrence battled Tia for safety and given she already has three badges to her name, promptly sent sweet Tia home.

Backstage the queens toasted to Tia’s delightful performance, while throwing shade about her shoddy looks and penchant for bottoming. A’Whora was also shady about Lawrence getting lucky to face off against Tia before asking the girls to identify who should be the next to go. A’Whora started off saying that it should definitely be Sister, while Sister instead wanted Ellie to go for coasting throughout the competition. With Tayce, quickly taking the sole narrator role in stride without Tia, simply telling one of them to win the next challenge and that the other can go home, because without a badge neither of them stand a chance. The confessional queen is dead, long live the confessional queen.

Things were less tense the next day, with Bimini living for her RuPeter badge pasties and Lawrence sharing that she missed Veronica. Eliciting silence from the other girls. Which A’Whora broke by asking Sister who she plans to copy this week. Sadly before we found out, Ru arrived to put the girls to test with this season’s reading challenge. With 3D glasses, which is weird and I love it. Sister was surprisingly brutal in the best way possible, death threats notwithstanding. Ellie was very rehearsed, but was more mean than shady. Lawrence was a wee bit lighter and a lot more funny. Tayce was cute, A’Whora continued to destroy Sister for copying and joked about Tayce sitting on her face – swoon – before Bimini closed the show being hilarious, smart and as you know, I love her. 

Stan even, like the streaming service. That really should be paying me, no?

Ru rightfully crowned Sister as the winner of the reading challenge before announcing that this week, the queens would be using lockdown loot to make their runways as they turn into lockdown superheroes. And for winning, Sister got an extra 15 seconds to snatch her materials from the pile of hoarded trash. And boy did she make the most of it, stealing literally everything, leaving the other queens with nary more than scraps. Needless to say it was absolute bedlam as they destroyed everything in sight, with A’Whora falling over and Bimini left with nothing more than a pillowcase. Realising that she had nothing, A’Whora decided to go full spy and ventured behind enemy lines to try and charm some items off Sister Sister’s table. Sister’s price was simply some compliments, which A’Whora couldn’t muster, opting to be delightfully shady instead as she tried her best to snatch something. Sadly, with no success.

As Lawrence panicked about working with random materials, Ellie was confident in her abilities given she has used unconventional items to make outfits before. Sister asked whether Lawrence felt she had it in her to beat A’Whora again, while A’Whora and Tayce threw themselves over their items and gossiped. Without making a start. A’Whora was nervous about Tayce in the challenge, but assured us that she wouldn’t be helping Tayce as much in this second design challenge. Bimini meanwhile was in the corner seeing if she could rock toilet paper or foam, when the answer is clearly both.

Thankfully Ru and my dear friend Raven arrived to distract from this potential disaster, with Raven gushing over Ellie’s abilities to beat her mug. A’Whora meanwhile was gushing over Raven before sharing that she will be making an outfit out of a garden hose. Bimini continued her charm campaign, complimenting Raven. She couldn’t, however, sell her concept of Nobbin’ Hood, defender of toilet paper and questioned whether it would be easier to just prep for the lip sync now rather than wait around. Sister meanwhile got make-up tips from Raven before laughing about stealing all of the items and vowing to get a win. And Tayce, oh lord Tayce – she was going to make a gown out of steel wool like Baga Chipz. And that makes me nervous, despite Tayce’s assurance that beauty is pain and she doesn’t care that she may cut up herself rather than the runway.

Oh and Lawrence was still recovering from bottoming and vowed to not repeat the experience. On the show, obviously.

After Ru and Raven departed, we learnt that Tayce had already had to call for medical and was reduced to making her outfit with a cartoon character glove. Meanwhile A’Whora was positively focused, while Lawrence was reeling after learning that her chosen fabric wouldn’t sew and instead had to start over.

Elimination Day arrived with A’Whora fixated on a design victory before leaving, while Tayce and Bimini caught up over the former’s outfit. Which was decidedly unfinished at the bottom. Lawrence meanwhile hadn’t actually tried on an outfit, nervous about finishing it while Ellie and Sister were straight up beating their faces. Lawrence and Sister bonded over learning to sew while young and admitted that their drag is inspired by their weird, outsider younger selves. Lawrence broke down over people just laughing at her when she entered a room as a kid, before sharing that one time, she got so overwhelmed by her bully, she fought back before gag of the season, she made him laugh and it led to her ascension as the funniest person in school.

Which is so relatable, because it is the easiest survival mechanism when you’re queer, hate sports and run a little thick. Speaking from experience.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined on the judging panel by Maya Jama with Tayce opening the show looking far better than she should. If you didn’t look too closely at the base of her outfit. Or the fact a sponge fell off as she exited. Lawrence meanwhile looked like the blue and orange cousin of Divina’s bag outfit before A’Whora straight up destroyed the competition with a shiny blue outfit, complete with moving flared shoulders that could flip up at a moment’s notice. And hilariously rocking Sister’s signature make-up. Bimini abandoned her OG idea and looked all the better for it, glorious in a black and red number with plunger embellishments on the bum. Ellie, as always, looked stunning in a candy coated outfit while Sister Sister was a demented, overgrown garden from Princess Peach’s castle and I can’t tell if it is too much or just enough, too much.

Continuing to makeup for her tantrum, Ru praised everyone for elevating their looks before turning to Tayce, who was read by the judges for doing a subpar outfit. That being said, they lived for her flawless hair and face. Lawrence received universal praise from head to toe, despite the pom pom popping on her face. Then came A’Whora who got universal praise and then some, with the judges shocked by her ability to make such a killer outfit in so little time. Bimini received praise for her make-up, while Michelle didn’t live for her hair. And Graham felt she needed to edit the dress, despite it all working as a look. Ellie received praise for making such a delightful, sweet outfit while Sister was read for needing to edit the outfit and completely covering up her body and hiding her face.

Backstage Tayce was gagged to be read as badly as she was, annoyed that they couldn’t take into account how hard she worked. Sister Sister was expecting to land in the bottom two, despite living for her outfit while Bimini kindly reminded her that it is just a lot and that doesn’t mean they didn’t like it. Ellie congratulated herself for killing the challenge and called out everyone that thought she would be the next to go, with Sister admitting that she felt Ellie should land in the bottom instead of her.

Ultimately A’Whora took out her second, well-deserved victory, while Ellie was sent to safety. They were joined by Lawrence and Bimini, leaving Tayce and Sister’s gut feelings to turn into predictions as they battled it out to Don’t be So Hard on Yourself by Jess Glynne and girl, did they turn it out. The duo bounced and bopped around the stage, feeling every lyric but maybe because I love her so, but this was Tayce’s lip sync from the very moment, vogueing and dipping, and as such, she saved herself again while poor Sister sadly exited the competition.

Despite being pretty shady and dejected during Untucked, Sister took her exit with grace and was thrilled to have had the chance to shine on such a large stage. I pulled her in for a hug and congratulated her on doing so well, and for hilariously changing her entire face mid-season, continuity be damned. Providing an epic bookend with continuity queen Tia, of course. Speaking of courses, we then celebrated her run by proving the don’t make friends with salad rule wrong with a Sister Blistered Corn and Bean Salad.

I easily grow tired of the same old salads day in and day out and I guess glorious ones like this are the reason why. Sweet, charred, tart and packing a unami punch – thanks char! – it is both refreshing and robust, which is not an easy feat.

Enjoy!

Sister Blistered Corn and Bean Salad
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
4 corn cobs, cleaned and debearded (if that is the term)
200g green beans, trimmed and halved
2 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 French shallot, minced
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 cups baby spinach
1 beetroot, peeled and grated

Method
Place a griddle over medium heat and once scorching, rub the corn with some oil and cook, turning occasionally for about 15 minutes, or until charred. Remove from the heat and slice the kernels off in chunks and pop in a large bowl..

Toss the beans with some oil and a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes in the still hot griddle. Once bright green and starting to char, transfer to the bowl with the corn.

Meanwhile, pop the vinegar, shallot, seeds, honey, mustard and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a jug and whisk until well combined.

Arrange the spinach and beetroot in a bowl, top with the corn and beans and drizzle generously with the dressing before devouring. Smugly, since health.


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Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champion girls were riding high after blindsiding David, with JaQueen pointing out that they need to get rid of one more Contender to solidify their game. Daisy found a second idol and was hopeful it would be able to turn things around for her, though sadly found it in front of Luke and Pia. As the Champs plotted who to vote against at tribal council, Luke and Pia spilled the beans about the idol and gave the Champs an upper hand in the latest head-to-head battle. Despite Daisy trying to play it cool, JaQueen scared her into playing the idol for herself, which didn’t help to save her as the Champions banded together to take out my king, John who was booted by the rest of the tribe.

Fully clothed.

The next day JaQueen and Baden were bantering over the fire, with Baden happily hacking at a coconut and proud that he has learnt to communicate with others. He haphazardly tried to slice breakfast, almost becoming a double amputee in the process, which further endeared him to his tribemates. I mean, the hilarity almost killed Pia who is killing the game and honestly, that is his best plan ATM. Otherwise, he is not winning.

Later that day JaQueen was riding high from John’s boot, given it means that the Champion majority has without a doubt taken control. And as such, she was feeling confident and planned to push her allies to get rid of another Contender next. Speaking of the Contenders Daisy and Harry were sitting by the shore heartbroken about their predicament, though shocked about how close everyone had gotten. Daisy was rightly feeling stupid about misplaying a second idol, before hunting for a third idol to keep herself safe, her allies be damned. She and Harry went searching, desperately, followed by Luke and Simon who were tasked with keeping an eye on them, Daisy started to get strategic, pointing out that Luke told everyone about her idol and that some told her it happened. While it was fake, that made Luke and Simon feel very anxious about their place in the tribe, immediately blaming Pia and vowing to get their own form of revenge.

Before Luke could take a shot at the one true Queen of Australian Survivor, Jonathan returned for the next reward challenge where everyone was split into duos to do an upright version of Twister. It was for an overnight spa getaway, so everyone was shitting their pants at the thought of winning. Pia and Daisy found themselves as one pair, Luke and Baden another, Abbey and Harry together versus JaQueen and Simon. One person was responsible to remove the even numbered pegs, while the other had the odds with everyone surviving the first round before Luke almost gave Baden a wristy and flooded my basement. While that didn’t happen, he did reach around before Harry fell from the wall and eliminated himself and Abbey. Everyone survived the next few rounds while Luke and Baden plotted about how they will survive the next few rounds of votes in the niche they’ve created in the middle … while JaQueen’s bush-feet dominated. Out of nowhere Baden fell out, while his father Luke tried to keep his spirits up. The remaining pairs kept a dominant pace before Pia slid off, handing Simon and JaQueen the win. Jonthan then gave them the chance to invite another duo to share the reward, with JaQueen rightly sharing the spa to their runners-up.

At the spa the victors were shocked by how opulent the reward was, despite the fact the weather was miserable and Simon like JaQueen believes that it is palm frong, not frond. Daisy was the most hopeful, feeling like Luke being left back at camp is the best chance for her to make a dent at the Champions numbers with JaQueen. Speaking of JaQueen, she was wise and asked everyone to go through the remaining castaways and list their pros and cons, pointing out why Harry and Luke are dangerous, with nobody able to point how dangerous she is. Simon then shared that Luke was annoyed that Pia allegedly told everyone that he knew about Daisy’s idol, filling her with nerves and unsure who to trust moving forward. Simon then doubled down and pointed out that Luke needs to go ASAP, with Daisy jumping on board and sharing it is her best chance to survive.

Back at camp Luke was feeling salty about Daisy’s lie, pulling Abbey aside and sharing that that intel made its way back to the Contenders. Knowing he would be screwed if he sticks with the Champs, Luke pulled Harry and Baden aside to find out who was spilling the tea and low-key, how does he orchestrate a blindside with them. Harry knew what he was trying, so lied that Pia is the one that shared the idol intel. Harry and Baden made quick work of pulling him in, identifying JaQueen and Pia as the biggest threats before the trio plotted to get the rest to split the votes, while the three of them band together to take someone out. Someone named JaQueen.

Everyone reconveened for the immunity challenge where they would each have to do a bicep curl to hold a ball, with the last one standing without their ball on the floor, snatching immunity. As they speculated who would win, Baden dropped his ball and pretend to be shocked. Though I feel like he meant to drop. Harry almost drop is, before Daisy’s fell out of nowhere while JaQueen threw some casual shade. Like the icon she is.Out of nowhere Pia dropped, followed closely by Harry, who should have been the first to go. Abbey was the next to go, thanks to a former broken wrist while JaQueen, Simon and Luke battled into their second hour. JaQueen then felt a spider on her knee, requesting that Baden remove it for her. Baden being an icon chose to ignore her request, leading to Daisy getting up to help as Luke eliminated himself. JaQueen and Simon battled out with the former desperately trying to get Simon to drop and give her a win.Harry used this to his advantage, telling Simon that he would drop if her felt safe which backfired, led Simon to barter for a reward – should JaQueen win one – and hand JaQueen a well earned victory.

Back at camp Harry was feeling super nervous, given his number one target had immunity. This made him feel super salty and since he couldn’t get rid of her, he was hopeful that Daisy would have formulated a plan at the reward. She joined with Baden and Harry to point out that they were all planning on voting out Luke at their next chance, and while they like Luke, they were just hopeful it would be enough to save them. Meanwhile JaQueen was nervous about Simon wanting to get rid of Luke and since Daisy was on board with his plan, JaQueen wanted her gone as she could predict everyone else’s moves.

Simon and JaQueen went for a wander into the jungle to lock in the plan to take out Daisy and while Simone didn’t want to, JaQueen barrelled through and told him that they would take her out and tell her that Harry would be going. Daisy stumbled on the scene and while they tried to lie and tell her Harry would be going, she knew it was a lie. With that, she approached Luke and floated the idea of getting rid of Pia and him joining the Contenders.

Pia too was feeling nervous, worried about Daisy’s lie ruining her relationship with Luke slash the game. With that she approached Luke to clear the air, and pledge their undying allegiance. The entire Champion alliance then got together to lock in the Daisy vote, though Luke’s growing nervousness started to make JaQueen anxious and hot damn, we have a vote coming. Baden and Luke then caught up with JaQueen, Pia and Simon watching on and let’s just say Alibrandi was only looking for a reason to flip the vote, convincing the other two to get rid of Luke to guarantee their numbers.

At tribal council Luke acknowledged that the post reward divide could have impacted the game, given half the tribe were left out feeling like shit. Pia admitted it was pretty sweet, while Daisy was hopeful after making friends in the jacuzzi. She continued to push that the spa crew formulated a plan, hopeful that they could pull in one other for a blindside. Luke said that making a plan and missing is very dangerous before JaQueen jumped in and CEO’d to say that the reward plan was just misdirection, while Daisy sharing that it was a lie and they were planning. She then spoke about mopping and flopping, before Janine double down on saving her allies.

Pia joined the fray, assuring everyone that everyone was at least floating everyone else’s name and TBH they all agree with the plans, whether they intend to follow through or not. Harry thought that was bullshit, Luke was nervous, Abbey continued to espouse loyalty, Daisy was nervous and Janine wanted everyone to stay solid. Then Jonathan dropped the bombshell that they would not actually be voting someone out of the game and instead, the person would be sent to exile beach to await the next person to be booted from the game before they battle it out for a chance to return. With that the tribe voted and Daisy found herself sent to exile, filled with nerves about what she was going to face while awaiting her next opponent.

The next day we did a welfare check of Daisy on Exile Beach and honestly it looked pretty desolate and I would have been absolutely terrified. She then kind of broke down from loneliness, despite being grateful to still be in the game. To make it worse the rain started to bucket down which is usually her favourite thing. But then she lit a fire, steeled herself and vowed to not just return but win the game.

We dropped by camp where the tribe were busy doing chores and running errands, while Pia, JaQueen and Abbey joked about the lack of Instagram with their lives and whether they are actually in Fiji if they can’t prove it. Pia spoke about how strong their alliance is, though knew that she will have to channel her inner Joe Pesci in Goodfellas ASAP and start whacking people. Speaking of people that need to be whacked, we checked in with Harry who was nervous about joining Daisy on Exile and tried to find a way to send literally anyone else. He was hopeful that his chats with Luke are the key to fracturing the dominant Champion tribe, so rallied Baden to join him and try to fracture the alliance. And send his nemesis JaQueen to Exile … and out of the game.

Harry approached Luke and played into his nerves, explaining that as soon as they can, his allies will blindside him. He admitted that he has more trust in Harry at this point in time, and was keen to flip things up and make a move. They then laughed about JaQueen and Daisy spending time alone on Exile, given JaQueen was tiring of Daisy. Harry then approached Abbey to see what she is thinking, before pointing out why it is the stupidest move for her. This started to make her nervous, realising that riding coattails will not pay off in the end and hot damn, may she actually flip on her closest allies? Again.

Don’t tell Nova.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would lay on a steep ramp above the water, holding on to a pole. With the last one left hanging winning immunity. Almost immediately Baden dropped into the water – with a joyous weeeeee – before quickly being joined by Janine. Everyone else made it to 30 minutes before Harry couldn’t hold out anymore. Jonathan clearly grew bored, so after 45 minutes he forced everyone down to just one arm which made quick work of Abbey. After 90 minutes – which is honestly insane – Simon and Luke dropped one after the other, handing Pia her first individual immunity win. Which is just as ridiculously amazing as you would expect.

Back at camp Pia was relishing in her role as a challenge beast, thankful that she won’t have to suffer through Exile. Janine too was thrilled that Pia won immunity, as that meant they can power ahead with their plans and send Baden to exile to eliminate Daisy once and for all. She rallied her fellow Champs and told them that they have the numbers to split the vote and not worry, which made Abbey more sure that making a move against her was a good idea. Well when she wasn’t riddled with fear about Janine coming back to the game and destroying her. Abbey approached Harry and Baden to float flipping the vote to Simon, given the girls will be more forgiving of that deception. While Harry admitted that he would prefer JaQueen out of the game, he straight up didn’t mind so approached Luke to see whether he would be ok with voting out Simon. And you know he was.

Abbey approached Pia and JaQueen to do some yoga and allow JaQueen to continue the push to get rid of Baden. Getting nervous about Abbey’s movements, Harry approached JaQueen and Abbey to talk about the dwindling time remaining in the game and as such, the need to start locking in the right path to the end.

At tribal council Pia continued to be thrilled about her immunity win, particularly since it means that she won’t have to suffer through Exile. JaQueen spoke about the complexity of the vote ahead, assuming that should a Champ get booted and come back, they will be furious, almost talking directly into Abbey’s soul. Baden spoke about being nervous before Harry pushed hard for the Champions to finally make a move and take control of the game. Simon admitted that Harry’s pitch sounds good, though planned to stay solid. JaQueen agreed that she didn’t see anyone budging, before Harry said that they have the luxury of not feeling nervous. JaQueen then grew sassy and pointed out that the Contenders only have themselves to blame. Abbey tried to play coy, Simon admitted that somebody strong needs to face off against Daisy, with Luke, Pia and Abbey all agreeing that they fear an angry Daisy returning to the game.

Luke was confident that he was in on the real plan, Simon said that he was feeling confident while Abbey crushed Baden and Harry’s spirits, saying that the numbers speak for themselves. JaQueen mentioned the vote won’t really impact the tribe, and that the main concern it what happens the next day. With that the tribe voted, Abbey and Luke flipped to the Contenders and Simon found himself heading to Exile.

After randomly voting for Abbey.

Later that night Daisy was shocked to be joined by Simon, who was well and truly shocked himself. They caught up and Simon filled him in on Harry, Luke and Baden flipping the script, while Daisy silently started to panic about facing off against a former athlete in the upcoming duel.

The next day Daisy awoke and put her game face on, while Simon spoke about how difficult Exile was despite not having to spend any time there alone. My boy Jonathan and the remaining tribe waited for them to arrive at the duel, with Daisy talking about how difficult it actually was to be by herself for a couple of days while Jonathan threw some casual shade at Luke and Harry. Jonathan then told the duo that their battle would see them guiding ten discs through a suspended maze and balance them on top with the first person to build their tower returning to the game and the loser out for good. Simon got out to an early lead while Daisy took a slow and steady approach. Simon then dropped a disc, allowing Daisy to take a slight lead before she dropped a disc and handed the lead back to him. Just. They stayed neck and neck for much of the challenge before they both dropped on their eighth disc, leaving them both to start over. Since Daisy dropped first, she had a small lead on the second build however dropped at the last minute, allowing Simon to snatch victory and return to the game.

Daisy was pretty gutted to lose the challenge at the very last moment, but was thrilled to finally be in the arms of a warm, loving fellow Queenslander like me. Not wanting to kick her while she is down, I avoided pointing out that the wasted two idols which could have really helped her game, so instead served her a big ol’ Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad to perk her up.

 

 

I know, I know, you don’t make friends with salad. But when they taste this good, you can surely make an exception. The sweet, sticky dates work perfectly with the creamy cheese and earthy walnuts to make this salad something really special.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad
Serves: 4, or one broken exiled castaway and her besto.

Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp seeded mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
250g baby spinach or swiss chard, sliced
½ cup walnuts, roasted and chopped
6 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced thin
1 pear, cored and sliced
⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese

Method
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and a good whack of salt and pepper in a jug and whisk well to combine.

To make the salad, toss the dressing through the shard – or spinach – until everything is nicely coated. Add the remaining ingredients, toss again and serve immediately.

Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Michelle Branch Dressing ready to be guzzled down by Michelle Branch

Michelle Branch Dressing

Condiment, Dip, Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Michelle Branch waiting to chug Michelle Branch Dressing

 

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

Enjoy!

 

Michelle Branch mid chug of her Michelle Branch Dressing

 

Michelle Branch Dressing
Makes: 1 cup.

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

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

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

 

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Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger

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

Previously on Australian Survivor young, underestimated Baden had a hero moment at the reward challenge, proving himself to his tribe and helping them snatch their first reward. Things continued to get better for the Contenders – no doubt due to John’s nude scene – snagging another win at the immunity challenge. In no small part thanks to Janine’s idea to dig and trench over a hole. Which everyone agreed to, and don’t you forget it! Thankfully for JaQueen and her fellow outsiders, Luke and David found an idol, and then followed it up by working overtime to convince Abbey and Ross to flip on the athletes alliance, which worked, sending Susie out of the game and handing control of the tribe over to them.

The next day the new majority were living it up at Camp Champ, making jokes and having a great time. While Steven, Nova and E.T. sat around the shelter, sulking about the fact they were outplayed at tribal and wouldn’t be steamrolling their way to the merge. At the end of the rainbow the Contenders were still riding high on their back to back victories, none more so than Sarah who was overwhelmed by the beauty of Fiji and getting into the groove of island life. The tribe sat around the fire, roasting Sarah Harris and Studio 10 while flashing us back to John’s nude scene – how many times do you think I can bring this up, I wonder. There was an extremely hard pivot, with my Queen Sarah then talking about her experience surviving the Boxing Day tsunami. Honestly, just give her the money because she is the greatest and I’m sad we haven’t seen enough of her in the first three episodes.

We returned to Camp Champ where Nova was still running a tight ship in the kitchen … or protesting, I can’t tell. Though she was auditing bananas, then telling Ross he could cook his own damn rice (which is fair). We then followed Ross and Pia into the jungle who were snacking on ants, no doubt because Nova banned them from eating as she was seething after Susie’s blindside. As was Steven who was well and truly feeling the heat as the instigator of the athletes alliance, though he reminded us that he does not give up, ever, and will not go down without a fight. Given he talked about almost dying at least five times, I won’t make any jokes about winning Gold simply for not going down.

My love Jonathan returned for the next reward challenge – which coincidentally is a water challenge – aka Monika’s tower of belly flopping doom where people would jump off the tower one by one and snatch a flag, swim to a pontoon and then dive down to retrieve letters which they will use to solve a word puzzle … for HOT BLOODY CHOCCIE! Before Jonathan even asked the Contenders to sit someone out, Casey dived for the bench leaving tsunami survivor Sarah to face off against a huge body of water. When the challenge rolled around, Matt and David were neck and neck, while Hannah and Abbey both missed their attempts, while poor Sarah worried about screwing it up for their tribe. Luke got the Champs to a lead, before Harry closed the gap leaving Janine and Baden to arrive with the third flags neck and neck.

Daisy than followed in Monika’s footsteps and did a killer belly flop before John got the Contenders out to a lead. The Contenders then tried to coach Sarah through her trauma and TBH, I think the Champs should forfeit for her. Eventually it came down to just Sarah and Pia on the top of the towers, with Pia grabbing her flag on her third attempt while the Contenders gave up on trying to win and instead pushed Sarah to make the jump to prove it to herself and overcome her fear. Zaddy John then swam back to the tower to help Sarah, offering to hold her hand and jump with her. Matt too swam back, while the Champions slowly made their way to victory as the trio hugged at the top of the tower, agreeing not to push her outside her comfort zone. After the challenge Jonathan asked Sarah about her fears, giving her tribe the chance to publicly praise her and her bravery. Oh and then Jonathan gave the champs the chance to invite a contender to share in their reward, with them giving John a sweet treat for having Sarah’s back like the bloody icon he is.

Back at camp Sarah was still feeling guilty about losing the challenge and called the tribe around to explain what happened in the moment during the challenge and damn, all I want to do is give her a big hug as she is so much stronger than she is feeling. Shaun being the most beautiful man in the world, supported her and everything she’s been through and if John wasn’t John, I would be rooting for just Shaun.

Speaking of John, he was living it up over at Camp Champ, meeting new friends and most importantly, his childhood crush Pia aka the star of his fave movie, Looking for Alibrandi. I mean, does he get any better? While everyone was smashing marshmallows, Janine noticed a clue on the beach near the table, so slyly reached down to grab it, with only ally David catching her at the last minute. JaQueen wandered deep into the jungle where she learnt that she had picked up a clue, leading her back to the well where she snatched an idol … for the Contenders. The note explained that the idol was only good for a Contender to play at a Contender tribal council and that a Champion idol sits in the same location at the Contender beach. Given the highly specific wording, I assume a swap is a coming and this could be very good for her should she find herself becoming a Contender. She then debated whether it was a good idea to give the idol to John and hope he’d return the Champion idol to her, before ultimately deciding that patience is her best bet. It didn’t add anything to the narrative, but John returned to his tribe and then got down on one knee and gifted Sarah with a marshmallow for everything she has done for the tribe, and damn I love him so much.

Jonathan’s gun show returned for the immunity challenge where eight members of each tribe are tethered to ropes, wrapped around obstacles before releasing themselves and a pack of balls, which the final two have to roll up a curved wall and land them in a bucket. Hannah and Shaun got the Contenders out to an early lead over Abbey and David, much to Nova’s chagrin. While they managed to close the gap on the second obstacle, the Contenders still maintained a slight lead which only extended when Daisy and John hit the course, despite a killer run from Pia and Luke … until they tangled themselves on the second obstacle, alloying Baden and Sam to lap them. Casey and Matt started the course before the third Champion pair made it to the wall, until Casey started to fade and Janine and Simon slowly started to close the gap. Andy and Harry had a huge head start figuring out how to roll the balls in the bucket, landing three before the Champions even made it through the gate. While Nova’s hockey past helped her land her first roll, it was all for nought, as Harry landed the final ball, handing the Contenders third third immunity win.

Back at camp Pia was feeling extremely nervous after stuffing up the challenge with Luke and while they apologised, Nova looked like she wanted to kill them both. Steven went out into the ocean to cool down, both figuratively and literally, before assuring us that Abbey or Ross are the athletes target, rather than Pia or Luke. Abbey approached Simon to explain why she flipped, pointing out that Steven hadn’t bothered to ever talk to her. While he wanted her to join back with the alliance, she explained it was too hard. She then went to talk to Steven and Nova, with Steven making the situation worse for himself, cussing her out and calling her weak. Completely ignoring the point of Survivor, wondering why she dared not to tell them she was jumping. She then stood up for herself, explaining that he is the reason she flipped, given he never gave her the time of day.

She and Pia then walked down the beach where Abbey started to break down over the way Steven spoke to her. Janine, Ross, Luke and David stumbled upon them and asked what happened before going back to camp, asking Steven what the hell he said to her. While he was quick to deflect from the way he spoke to her, with Nova backing him up, the tribe rallied around Abbey. Steven eventually tried to smooth things over, finding her by the shore to apologise before returning to camp to joke about needing to pack his bag, knowing only a miracle will save him.

At tribal council E.T. seemed at a loss trying to explain how they lost yet again, while Nova pointed out that true Champions keep getting back up when things go wrong. Pia addressed the elephant in the room, saying that tensions flared after losing the immunity challenge before Abbey jumped in to rescue her, explaining that someone cussed her out – which Luke jumped in to point out was Steven – for flipping at the last tribal council. He admitted to it and reiterated his apology before Nova explained that she thought booting Steven was a bad, emotional idea and was salty about it. David explained why he defended Abbey so vehemently before Nova completely downplayed Steven’s behaviour. While Pia explained that he did get in her face, Nova continued to defend her friend while Pia pointed out that she too was there and saw everything. E.T. went back to talking about the initial alliance before Steven said that the tribe will be weakened without him, should he actually go home and no matter what, the divide will still be there if they don’t fix things.

With that the tribe voted and – to steal Jonathan’s joke – Steven lived up to his reputation and skated through once again, with his closest ally Nova getting the boot instead. While Nova was shocked to get the boot, she took her blindside like the legend that she is as she pulled me into a big hug. As you know, I’ve been involved with many an Olympics and while my specialty was swimming – hey Lisa and Steph! – like Nova, I was able to cross over and actually coached the Hockeyroos in ‘95-’96 which is where I first met the Australian hero. I always knew Nova was destined for greatness, and to see her going from strength to strength is one of the greatest joys of my life. That and celebrating her many victories with a big, juicy Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger.

 

Nova Peris celebrating her fourth boot Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger.

 

Hot, spicy and packing a real punch, there is no better way to honour the Queen of the Kitchen, dual-sport Olympian, Gold medalist, former senator and all around icon Nova. The burn of the chicken mixed with the creamy mayonnaise and sharp cheddar, honestly, is the only joy I can derive from seeing this hero booted.

Enjoy!

 

Nova Peris celebrating her fourth boot Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger.

 

Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 small bird’s-eye chillies (seeds in for additional heat, if you wish)
½  teaspoon chipotle chilli powder
4 cloves garlic
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp oregano
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup champagne vinegar
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, sliced into 4 fillets
4 Kirsten Bunst
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 cup lettuce, shredded, washed and dried
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
4 slices cheddar cheese

Method
Blitz the chillies, chilli powder, garlic, lime zest and juice, paprika, oregano, olive oil and champagne vinegar in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and rub over the chicken pieces. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

When you’re ready to rock, transfer the chicken to a lined baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and starting to blacken around the edges.

Split the buns, smear each side with the mayo and top with some lettuce, tomato and a slice of cheese. Add the piping hot chicken, close the burg’ and devour, greedily.

 

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Sosatie-Anne van Renen

Main, Party Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa wait, no, I’ve only dreamt about being alone in a tropical fantasy with Nico. We haven’t done this before. Deep in the South Pacific, Nico was was looking bae as he was about to dump 21 new castaways on the islands of Samoa. First up we met the Sa’ula tribe’s Nathan who was also a total babe and who was totally keen to play into his banging looks and pretend to be a dumb jock. Which I am here for if he is in on the joke, and preferably, is wearing a legit jock. On the Laumei tribe, typical first boot bait Laetitia was concerned about being an early target due to her age. Congratulations Laetitia, you’re immediately my favourite. Meanwhile the Ta’alo tribe was home to Jacques the superfan, who had a man bun but did not appear to be a total douche, making me wonder, maybe I actually can pull off a man bun if I can commit beyond the Rizzo phase my hair will go through?

Jacques’ tribemate Felix wasn’t feeling confident in their collective physicality and was concerned about their challenge prowess, despite them having a guy who’s guns and thighs were so built I would happily suffocate under them. Sorry, this is too much … but damn they have cast some banging men. On the flipside Geoffrey could see that the cast was stacked, but hoped to be able to navigate through them all given they look like the have throbbing … egos. Beauty Queen Nicole was clean to shed off the shine and get dirty, while Lee-Anne was confident her pageant past will help out her social game, Mike was interested to see just how rugged he will become, Steffi looked forward to winning and Rob was fearful about his passion to trust way too easily.

Oh and did I mention there is now an Island of Secrets which sounds like Ghost Island and New Zealand’s The Outpost had a child?

Finally the tribes arrived on shore to meet Nico where Ting Ting immediately won my heart by putting everyone into their stereotypical boxes of hotties and notties. Rob was feeling confident in Sa’ula’s prospects given they’re all built, which immediately makes me fear for their chances while Cobus was confident he will be able to dominate his tribe despite diplomatically saying how much he loves them all on site. Durao was happy to be on a tribe with the hulk, aka Rocco who was concerned that given he is so built he will be targeted as soon as the merge hits. And Laetitia was channelling Lisa, thrilled to tick off an item on the bucket list and with a full heart for the people sharing the mat with her. She is an icon and I stan her. Paul too was thrilled to be on a tribe with buff dudes, though was concerned that his age might put his on the outside straight away.

Not wasting any time, Nico asked each tribe to select a leader prior to the first reward challenge, with Paul, Rocco and Cobus immediately identified. Being a messy bitch, Nico then asked the three thrown under the bus upon taking the leadership mantle to identify their tribe’s weakest member with Paul giving Sa’ula’s title to Seipei, Rocco branding Laumei’s as Laetitia – because she’ll take the least offence – and Cobus giving the mantle to Jacques on Ta’alo. Nico then complicated things further by sending the leaders off to the Island of Secrets for the first day, while the weakest members were given the hero roll in the reward challenge, guiding their blindfolded tribemates to a bounty of supplies.

Given that he isn’t an idiot, Jacques noticed that there was a single item at the end of the course and realised it must be an advantage so sent Felix and Ting Ting to fetch it for him while everyone else focused on supplies. Given everyone is winners and losers, I will just focus on the fact that their weren’t really enough crotch smacks on the obstacles.

We quickly checked in with the zaddies of the Island of Secrets where they discovered a note which informed them to find a coloured station for each tribe offering them with a choice between flint or a clue to the hidden immunity idol back at camp. Rocco opted for the flint, while Cobus and Paul decided it was more important to focus on their own safety and went for the clue. Wait, no, Paul planned to find a tribe idol which you know is going to end terribly. After Paul stripped down, Rocco searched through his pants to read the clue giving him both rewards and damn, I love him.

Over at Ta’alo Ting Ting was thrilled to be playing the game, while Jacques wanted to do introductions. Tania though had no interest, desperate to get some water instead. We also but a name to the fine face that is Dante, who loves the ocean as much as I love the site of him. Meanwhile back at the well Tania was fast becoming my favourite, berating Jacques for getting married before 30 and then awkwardly hung around as Meryl casually dropped the fact she got married at 22. Oh and she is a proud rock climber slash stoner, and is the self-appointed strongest woman in the game. And yes, she is my favourite. Jacques quickly disappeared to learn that his advantage turned out to an extra vote that was only valid for the first tribal council after the merge.

We dropped by Sa’ula where they were all introducing themselves and Seipei was proving to be the icon of the tribe, explaining the pronunciation of her name as see it, you pay for it. Sadly her confidence was starting to wear on her tribemates as she directed them in building their shelter. While she and Lee-Anne were lugging supplies around, Nathan, Rob, Nicole and Steffi used the opportunity to form a tight alliance. We then learnt that Lea-Anne and Nicole had prior beef with each other as Nicole beat Lee-Anne in the Mrs South Africa pageant two years ago, and that she was out for blood now that she is the current reigning. Nicole wasn’t feeling as badly though, given that she was a winner. Oh and Steffi too is a beauty queen too. Lee-Anne and Seipei watched the four bond and despite the fact it should worry her, Lee-Anne wasn’t concerned about their obvious closeness on day one.

Finally we ventured over to Laumei where the tribe appeared to be getting on quite well, celebrating their wins and laughing about the absurdity of camp life. Geoffrey and Laetitia went to get water for the tribe, with the iconic Laetitia quickly checking for an idol without him noticing.

Back at Ta’alo Tania proved to be South Africa’s Debbie, working on fire and quickly annoying Felix, Ting Ting and Jacques giving that she doesn’t actually deliver on her promises. That night she continued to list an elaborate resume and background, including a bank-robber father. The next day Tania was confident about her mature brain, pulling the girls in to form an alliance as she has no interest in vote out women as she needs to further womankind. lInstantly Tania reneged on that deal, pulling Ting Ting aside to point out Meryl as their weakest and potentially icing her out and going with the strong boys that Tania is confident will want to align with her. Which obviously made Ting Ting nervous as you literally can’t predict what she will do. Before we could learn anything further, Cobus arrived to the delight of his tribe – until they discovered he didn’t come bearing a flint – as he covered the fact he took an advantage. Sensing a psychic link, Tania pulled Cobus aside to assure him that they will be allies if he can pull in Dante. And giving Dante is wearing speedos, I really need to pull … well, you know. Despite Tania’s intensity being a boner killer for Cobus and Dante. But those read jocks? No boners killed here.

Paul returned to Sa’ula and immediately shared the clue for the hidden immunity idol and suggested it be used to further their tribe when needed. Which Seipei loved, given it shows he isn’t the most cut-throat competitor. Rob, Nicole and Nathan pulled Paul aside to assure him that he is part of their alliance with Steffi. The tribe were busy hunting for the idol, with Lee-Anne feeling insecure as Nicole ultimately snatched the idol. The alliance of four and Paul were thrilled to have discovered the idol, however were annoyed that Lee-Anne was around and they couldn’t keep it a secret. They then handed it over to Paul for safe keeping, which is quite possibly the worst decision. But whatevs.

Rocco arrived at the Laumei tribe and immediately threw Cobus and Paul under the bus, pulling out his rock-hard flint and letting everyone know that the others selected a clue to the hidden immunity idol. Rocco continued to be swoon worthy, saying he loves Laetitia because that is his mum’s name and then asked everyone what they’d like him to help out with. He then followed Mike and Durao to collect supplies and float the idea of an all male alliance before sharing the  clue to the hidden immunity idol with him, which immediately makes me question him. Just like Mike, who knows all male alliances suck. Rocco then approached Geoffrey who was more keen on an alliance, not caring who the other members are as long as they’re in the majority. Mike and Geoffrey then caught up in the ocean, with Mike airing his concerns about aligning with Rocco since her wants a four with Rose, Mmaba and Geoffrey given it has the potential to be more stable. Sadly Geoffrey feels left right out in Mike’s alliance and would prefer to be with Rocco, which TBH is totally my vibe too.

Nico finally returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would start by disassembling a puzzle on a pontoon in the ocean and bringing the pieces to shore over obstacles, including a fuck-off-tall a-frame, before solving the puzzle on the beach. More importantly Dante was wearing speedos, so he is currently my favourite. Laumei got out to an early lead, with Ta’alo close behind while the physically stacked Sa’ula bringing up the rear. Ta’alo arrived to build the puzzle well ahead of the other tribes, while poor Laetitia struggled to cross the balance beam, sending Laumei into last place. Eventually all three tribes arrived at the puzzle stations, while Nathan appeared to have injured his ankle. The puzzle proved extremely difficult, as the tribes continued to work for over an hour and a half before Ta’alo finally put us out of our misery and took out the first immunity before Durao secured the second one for Laumei, sending the stacked Sa’ula to the first tribal council of the season.

Rob carried an injured Nathan back into camp, assuring him that he is not going to be targeted and he is still not the weakest person on the tribe. The tribe then handed off the idol to Nathan as a sign of good faith, filling Seipei with dread given she and Lee-Anne are clearly on the outs. She approached Nathan to assure him that she wants to stay in the game and will do what it takes. Steffi and Lee-Anne caught up by the well, with the latter throwing Seipei under the bus and suggesting Nathan as an option because of his injury. Lee-Anne then mentioned that she wanted to go to the final three with Steffi and Nicole given their shared pageant history, though Steffi questioned her as to why it took her until day three to actually talk to her and damn, Steffi is good. Real good. We then learnt that Paul was doing some teenager cosplay as he caught up with Nicole and Rob to debate the merits of keeping Lee-Anne or Seipei, with Nicole scared that she can’t trust her. Lee-Anne approached them to explain why she hasn’t spoken to them, as she was busy babysitting Seipei the first few days. Steffi broke things up and pulled Nicole, Rob and Paul to talk to Seipei about why they should target Lee-Anne rather than balls terrible attempt at modern streetwear. While Steffi didn’t like Seipei’s bossy, chatty approach, Nicole still wasn’t sure whether she could trust Lee-Anne. Lee-Anne was laying it on thick, breaking down talking about how much she looks up to her and that she will be loyal to the end. Which Nicole agreed with, neglecting to mention the ‘loyal to the end’ part.

At tribal council Nicole was quick to point out how much the bonds are already meaning to her, while Steffi pointed out that Lee-Anne has been struggling to bond with people which made her feel nervous. Lee-Anne sold it as adapting to her current situation, while Steffi, Rob and Nathan started whispering to each other about turning on Lee-Anne as she spoke about her struggles. Nico called out Nathan, who defended himself by saying it is just such a difficult decision. The whispering continued as Seipei spoke about the importance of diversifying their options, Rob admitted to being confused about the vote given everything has changed by the whispering.

Lee-Anne wanted to know what she did wrong, Steffi felt everyone needs to fight for their life at tribal and stay strong to avoid coming back, Nicole and Nathan admitted to being confused about the vote ahead before Nico opened the floor for everyone to discuss who to take out. Steffi laughed as no one spoke up, Seipei pointed out that she wanted to have these discussions back at camp before Nathan assured everyone that his vote hasn’t changed. Lee-Anne tried to convince everyone that she should stay as she lifts everyone up and wants to get to know everyone before Rob cut her off and just requested to vote. And vote they did. For Lee-Anne, who was heartbroken to find herself becoming the first boot.

While Lee-Anne was gutted to become the first boot, she was thrilled to hold the distinction of being the first South African castaway to join the party that is this here patch of cyberspace. Conveniently she is also a dear friend of mine, after we met on the pageant circuit. She hired me to coach her after her first Mrs. South Africa competition and under my tutelage, she finally snagged the crown. In no small part thanks to a diet of solely Sosatie-Anne van Renen.

 

 

Did I mention that this season is full of South African delicacies? Well it is. And thanks to this sweet number, I am well on my way to becoming a fan of the cuisine. Rich, tasty lamb, sweet apricots and a kick of spice are the perfect way to welcome Survivor SA to the fam.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sosatie-Anne van Renen
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 cup apricot jam
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 lime, juiced and zested with extra wedges to serve
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
4 whole cloves
1 tsp ground chilli
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg lamb, cut into 2.5cm cubes
24 dried apricots
2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
mint sprigs, to serve

Method
Combine the jam, vinegar, lime zest and juice, garlic, ginger, coriander, cloves, chilli, allspice, cumin and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss through the lamb and transfer to the fridge to marinate for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once almost ready to assemble, place the apricots in boiling water to plump up for half an hour and then drain completely.

Now to assemble, thread the lamb on a skewer, followed by apricots and onions, alternating until the skewer is full. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and repeat the process until done. Place the skewers in the oven and bake for half an hour, brushing with marinade every five minutes or so, and cook until golden and glorious.

Devour with a good squeeze of lime and some mint leaves.

 

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John Gemburgerling

Burgers, Four and Three and Two and Done: A Farewell to Broad City, Main, Street Food

We’ve reached the halfway point of my farewell to Broad City – sniff, I love you Abbi, Arturo and Hannibal – and TBH, I am starting to overstay my welcome like Bevers. So obviously I got John Gemberling to drop by and allay my fears, and celebrate him the way that poor Bevers never really has.

While I’ve known John for quite some time form the ol’ UCB days, we didn’t grow close until he started working on Broad City. After the gals asked me to coach him on how to be as annoying as possible. Which would be a slight, if I didn’t know how loveable they find me.

John’s career has really taken off over the last few years and I am so proud of everything he has achieved. Particularly since, no doubt, my coaching helped him reach the pinnacle of success that is a part in the greatest animated program of all time, Big Mouth.

Back on topic though, I am so happy that John was able to fit me into his busy schedule and free-load off me in honour of the finale, by smashing a John Gemburgerling or seven.

 

 

While I didn’t invent the concept of a gem burger, I will take ownership for the majesty of this little baby. Crispy potato slabs work well with In’N’Out sauce, bacon and sweet, sweet onions to create one of the greatest burgers of all time, right Kanye?

Enjoy!

 

 

John Gemburgerling
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
80 Potato Jems
olive oil
2 onions, diced
¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp gherkin relish
½ tsp champagne vinegar
500g beef mince
salt and pepper
8 rashers streaky bacon
American mustard, to taste
4 slices American cheese

Method
Heat a waffle iron over medium heat, and assemble 10 gems per plate. Press to close and cook for five minutes each side, or until you have golden, crisp waffles. Repeat the process until you have 8 waffles.

Meanwhile heat a lug of oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sweat the onions for five minutes before reducing to low and caramelising for half an hour or so, adding a small amount of water if needed to deglaze the pan.

Next mix the mayo, ketchup, pickle and champagne vinegar in a jug and whisk to combine.

Squeeze as much liquid out of the mince as possible and place in a large bowl. Add a generous whack of salt and pepper and combine with your hands. Divide into 4 patties, place on a plate lined with cling, cover and place in the fridge for about an hour or so.

Heat a large pan or griddle and brush with oil, and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove to some kitchen paper.

Brush the pan with some more oil, if needed, and when searingly hot place the patties on the pan, pushing down with a spatula until they are roughly 1cm thick. Squeeze some mustard on the top and cook for a few minutes. Flip the patties and cook for a further minute.

To assemble, smear some sauce on a waffle and top with bacon, followed by caramelised onions and the pattie. Top with cheese and another drizzle of sauce before closing with one final waffle. Devour immediately.

 

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Halifax Danair Levy

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Main, Side, Snack

While my boy Eug plays a wonderful straight man, Cath is the Queen and Ems plays the voice of the audience to absolute perfection, my boy Dan is the true heart and soul of Schitt’s Creek. Though maybe I am biased as he based the character on his oldest friend – me!

As you know – though may struggle to comprehend because of the multiple timelines inplace – I have been friends with his dad and the wider Levy family for decades. Dan, Sarah – who I tragically couldn’t fit in due to another celebration happening next week (you won’t want to wait, promise) – and I grew up together like three peas in a pod. On the assumption that three peas can fit in one pod, obvi.

It was difficult to stay in contact with my constant disappearance to rehab, other countries or being on the lam, but Dan – bless his cotton socks – always tracked me down and we enjoyed a wonderful friendship as pen pals when we couldn’t be together.

Was there an undeniable sexual chemistry? Sure. Did we act on it? Shockingly no … at least on my part. Is that because we look like we could pass as brothers with our stubble, thick brows and militant feyness? Potentially, though that is another drawcard

That being said, I am glad we’re yet to complicate our relationship by going down that route as he truly is one of my dearest friends. He is sweet, smart as a whip, funny as hell and created one of the best sitcoms on TV. And that has nothing to do with me wanting a part on the series. Not even when I got him cast opposite my girl Teens.

Anyway, Dan was thrilled to be able to make the trip down under – not to my down under – and toast to another fantastic season. And that was before he saw me whipping out my version of the Nova Scotian classic, Halifax Danair Levy.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing that fills me with more joy that seeing a big piece of meat slide into a warm, fresh bun, covered heartily with a tonne of special sauce … and filled with tomato, onion and lettuce. Where did you think I was going with that?

Anyway, enjoy sickos!

 

 

Halifax Danair Levy
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1kg beef mince
5 garlic cloves, minced, four for the meat, one for the sauce
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
370ml evaporated milk
2-3 tbsp raw caster sugar, to taste
¼ cup champagne vinegar
1 onion, diced, plunged in iced water and drained
2 tomatoes, diced
8 Pita Andre Breads

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.


Place the mince, four cloves of garlic, herbs, spices and egg in a large bowl, and scrunch with your hands until well combined. Shape like a large meatloaf, place on a lined baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Leave to stand for twenty minutes.

While your meat is doing its thang, combine the evaporated milk, remaining garlic and sugar in a small bowl. Gradual whisk in the vinegar until combined and just starting to thicken.

Slice the meat into thin – 3mm-ish – slices. Toast the pita on either side of a warmed skillet and fill with meat, donair sauce, onions and tomatoes … and then devour, messily.

 

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Feter Confit Tomato Crostini

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 new Australians were cast into the Samoan wilderness – for the second season of the third attempt of Australian Survivor – before whittling the numbers down to the final three after 53. While they weren’t as flashy as Luke, Henry, Locky or Queens Michelle and Jacqui, Peter, Tara and Jericho have fought hard to make it to the end and survive through a very unpredictable season.

We opened up with our final three commencing the fallen comrades – which needs to be brought back on OG Survivor – where Tara and Peter awkwardly had to dance around Joan, while Jericho tried to pretend he knew something about Adam, Kate and Tarzan. We then paid our respects to Aimee – aye – and lovebirds Sam and Mark, before being reminded by how much of a Queen Jacqui is. Tragically she was followed by Kent, then (thankfully) AK, Ben and Odette, the latter two who got more airtime now, than they did during the game. Jarrad then kicked off the jury portion, followed by super-idol victim Anneliese, before they all praised Henry for his game and fauxgi spirit. They then (awkwardly for Jericho) spoke about ex-juror Tessa’s logical, methodical approach to the game, Sarah’s ability to get down and dirty while playing the game and providing for the tribe. Jericho then described Luke as his other half which is a term I absolutely hate given that it implies people are not whole unless they’re in a relationship. We honoured Olympic powerhouse Ziggy, b-b-b-banging Locky – sadly no rehash of the nudity – and the true Queen of the season, Michelle.

Seriously, they flew through that.

The end of their walk led them to the same cliff Kristie dominated Lee and El last year for the final immunity challenge of the season. Tara was shocked to still be in the game, while Peter knew it was do or die and I assume, Jericho was thinking about kittens and puppies being washed out to sea. Jonathan hyped the challenge, telling them that unlike last year’s challenge, this year it will be conducted under the cover of darkness, making it even colder and miserable…r.

Jonathan spent the early stages of the challenge baiting the contestants to remember how uncomfortable the challenge would be, which truly is savage. Darkness fell by the hour mark where Tara took one in the face – I assume she was referring to a wave – before giving the blunt answer that she was feeling completely shit. Jericho then commenced gloating and playing mind-games with Tara and Pete. The latter then tried to channel Kristie, speaking about how much he loved Survivor and wanted to make it to the end.

To distract from the pain and to add some interest, Tara spoke about how diverse all of the castaways are before her emotions started to get the better of her. Showing true kindness and, shudder, mateship, Jericho and Peter tried to give her a pep talk and motivate her to not give up. She tried to talk through the pain while the boys came up with ways to distract her from the pain – and Jericho got some spelling tips – before she ta-ragically couldn’t hold any longer and stepped down from the challenge at the 3 hour mark. The boys managed to last an extra two hours which seemed not to have phased Jericho at all, while Peter was hunched over like a dead body on The Ring. Try as he might, Peter was in too much pain and asked for JLP to help him out of the challenge, handing Jericho immunity … and by the look on his face, the win. While Peter broke down, Jericho and Tara joined him and all sat, hugged together, comforting him by the fire. Then nature proved to be savage, and threw out a huge wave that wiped out their warmth.

Not wanting to waste any time, we lost the entirety of day 54 as the final three arrived at tribal council where Jericho was daunted by the decision in front of him. Jonathan then led the jury in a round of applause for the final three’s effort in the challenge before Jericho was forced to sit between Tara and Peter as they fought for their place in the game. Or to vote them out, I honestly can’t tell, as both their arguments were that they were not the easy one to take out … which is exactly what you want to do to win the game. Tara then proved she is saavier than I gave her credit for, throwing Peter’s logic to get rid of Jericho three days ago against him.

Peter then went all in for Tara’s game, outlining why she is a goat … and again, that is meant to be his case for getting rid of her. A fired up Tara then tore into Pete’s game, saying him winning is disrespectful to the game which is a better pitch when highlighting how easy someone is to beat. With that, Jericho cast his sole vote and sent Peter out of the game as the final juror.

While he was feeling pretty salty when he arrived at tribal council, he freely ran into the arms of his dear friend – me, we’re both totes homo in communications, of course we know each other – and lamented what could have been. I joined him in crying, though thinking about the tragic loss of Michelle at the previous tribal council. Thankfully I cooked through the pain and whipped him up a big, comforting batch of my Feter Confit Tomato Crostini.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of bruschetta … but this is where its at. I love tomatoes, but have always struggled with them in their raw state, so this is the perfect fix to the Italian classic. Rich and caramelised tomato, tart creamy feta and sweet basil? Sign me up!

Enjoy!

 

 

Feter Confit Tomato Crostini
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp champagne vinegar
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper, to taste
small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
200g feta, whipped
12 thick slices sourdough

Method
Preheat oven to 130°C.

Combine the oil, garlic, fennel, sugar, vinegar and tomato in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. And when I say good, I mean good. Ok? Transfer to a lined baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or until soft and caramelised. Fold through the basil leaves.

Grill the sourdough, spread with the whipped feta and top with the confit tomatoes … before devouring.

 

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