Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto

Main, Survivor, Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water

I know I have been a bit of a Debbie Downer when it comes to the twist of the upcoming season of Survivor but I am still excited because, well, it is Survivor. And for every One World or Redemption Island, there is a China or Heroes vs. Villians, which is something I am eternally grateful for. Plus – One World gave us Kim and Redemption Island gave us Russell’s pimpled, ingrown-haired armpits.

But I’ve been waylaid – I am here to celebrate one of my favourite Sole Survivors slash two-time The Amazing Race contestant and the cherry on top of San Juan Del Sur’s twinnie bookends, my girl Natalie Anderson.

Like Bob before her, I didn’t meet Nat until after her first reality TV stint – I am a close, personal friend of the Beekman’s – however the friendship quickly blossomed. And I played a critical role in getting her a spot on San Juan Del Sur and her well deserved win.

While people tire of the constant bartering and handing out rewards as treats, San Juan Del Sur is an unpredictable season and Natalie’s arc from wounded surviving Twinnie to vengeful powerplayer after Jeremy’s boot is one of the greats.

Add to that a beautiful idol play, a masterful ‘accidental’ blindside to save Keith and dragging him along as a meatshield to guarantee a path to the end puts her in my top ten favourite winners. And more than worthy of a hearty Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto whenever she damn wants!

 

 

There is nothing quite as comforting and glorious as a risotto. I don’t know if it is the creamy rice or the liquor, but it always fills me with joy when I’m feeling blue. Add in mushies and bacon, and I’m in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Bacon, Mushroom and Nataleek Andersotto
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
1 ⅓ cups arborio rice
250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
200g baby spinach leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup shredded parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring the stock to a simmer over low heat and heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Once nice and foamy, add the leek and garlic and sweat for five minutes. Add the bacon and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the kitchen is fragrant and glorious.

Add the rice to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to get translucent around the edges. Working a ladleful at a time, add the stock to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, waiting until the stock has been absorbed before adding the next.

Once all the stock has been used up, add the mushrooms, spinach and thyme, and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir through the parmesan and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, slathered in more cheese and then devour.

 

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Tray Baker

Grammy Gold, Grammy Gold: Somebody That I Used to Gold, Main

Like Gaga and ONJ before him today’s Somebody That I Used to Gold visitor, my dear friend Trey Parker dabbles in all corners of the entertainment industry. And if it weren’t for my frenemy Phil Collins, who be a proud EGOT recipient.

#JusticeforBlameCanada.

I’ve known Trey for years when I got hired to model a character on South Park. Sure Big Gay Al was controversial – you don’t need me to tell you that my primary school principal felt compelled to write a four page essay about the horror character in place of a newsletter – but he brought so much joy to my life, and gave me the most beautiful friend in Trey.

While I haven’t seen Trey in years, he was thrilled to catch-up and strategise a way to finally snag himself an Oscar – obviously a Big Gay Al spin-off movie, starring me – and help me run the odds on my favourite Grammy categories – musical theatre, comedy and the big one, SPOKEN WORD!!!!!

Sorry – too many exclamation points. I’m like a chain email from your mother!

Obviously we agree that the erstwhile singing voice behind Jasmine and Mulan, Lea Salonga, will take The Book of Mormon’s Best Musical Theatre Crown for Once on This Island. Comedy I’ve gone with Dave Chappelle while Trey thinks Fred Armisen is the hot money. Obviously my boy David Sedaris is going to take out my fave category Spoken Word and I refused to hear any argument to the contrary. Like how Tiffany Haddish is the darling of the entertainment industry and Jimmy Carter is old, which is why Chad Michaels and Raja won their seasons of Drag Race.

JK Kimora, they both slayed and deserved their victories.

Anyway, it was exciting to think that our Big Gay Al movie may sweep the Awards Pool. So much so that we didn’t realise how famished we were until my Tray Barker had filled the house with glorious, happy smells.

 

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but you know I have a passionate love for sausage. You may be surprised to learn, however, that I am just as passionate about apple and sweet potato. Chuck em in a tray, add some booze and you’re in for a glorious meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tray Baker
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
1kg pork sausages
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
250g sweet potato, cut into chunks
2 red apples, sliced thickly into rounds
300ml apple cider
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
½ parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 160C.

Heat a decent lug of olive oil in a skillet and cook the sausages until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a baking dish. Add a lug of oil to the frying pan and cook the leek and fennel for five minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Transfer to the aforementioned baking dish.

Add the sweet potato and apple to the baking dish and pour over the stock and cider. Cover with foil and transfer to the oven to bake for half and hour, or until the potato is tender and the liquid reduced.

Sprinkle with sage and parmesan and return to the oven, uncovered, to cook for ten minutes or until the cheese is golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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Novak Gnoccovich

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

Oh my goodness, Novie is just the sweetest damn thing in the world.

He ran into my arms at the secret security exit of Brisbane Airport – the one made famous by Schapelle Corby, FYI – and said, “I’m so glad you invited me to appear on your anthropological study! I feel like time spent with you will be what pushes me to another grand slam victory.”

I mean, come on. That is adorable and brings a tear to my cold dead heart.

I’ve known Novak for years, meeting in 2005 at the Australian Open. As you know, I am well respected in the tennis community and I was on hand to offer unsolicited advice to people that lost their matches. To help them be better, you know?

While most people balked at my advice and labelled it useless, ill conceived and offensive, Novak appreciated my efforts and we became the best of friends. Well second-best of friends, because Rog.

Nov hasn’t had the best run at the last couple of Opens so was excited by the prospect of my magic touch helping him to glory and hand him the Male Singles record outright. And given how magical my Novak Gnoccovich is, I have a good feeling he’ll be taking out the win.

 

 

Earthy mushrooms and delicate gnocchi bathed in a rich creamy sauce … and THEN covered by a tonne of parmesan and cut by lemon juice. It is heaven. HEAVEN I tell you!

Enjoy!

 

 

Novak Gnoccovich
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
3 tbsp butter
500g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup ricotta
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp sage, roughly chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
500g fresh gnocchi
parmesan, to garnish

Method
Heat a tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally for ten minutes or so, or until the liquid has all absorbed. Add the remaining butter and flour and cook for a minute, or until it has lost its flouriness.

Remove from the heat and slowly stir through the chicken stock. Return to heat and bring to the boil, before reducing heat to low and simmering for ten minutes. Add the ricotta, lemon zest and juice, sage and chilli, and cook for a further five minutes.

At this point, cook the gnocchi as per the packet instructions or recipe. Once done, drain and add to the creamy sauce. Serve immediately and top with a generous handful of parmesan.

Devour!

 

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Christian Hubisquie

Main, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor four Davids and four Goliaths remained in the game, however Nick and Gabby realised that they needed to turn on fellow David Christian – confusing, no? – if they wanted to have a chance of winning. Sadly for them Davie warned him of the plan allowing him to play his idol and save himself, resulting is Gabby herself being blindsided from the game.

Things were relatively calm when Kalokalo returned to camp with everyone congratulating Christian on his well played idol. Despite voting for him at tribal, Nick went and congratulated him and tried to clear the air – again – and while he was sad the plan failed, he was glad to be able to hide a fake immunity idol in the hopes that he could get them to stop looking and snag himself the rehidden one. However while he, Angelina and Mike caught up with Christian by the raft, he decided to find the fake one. Mike took the intel back to Kara and Davie, and while Kara believed it, Davie didn’t believe that it would be hidden under the raft and figured out Nick was faking it (clearly he’s never heard of Ben)! The next morning Davie went searching for the idol the next morning, hoping to avoid Nick getting a second and powering to the final three. He then pulled in Christian and told him that Nick did have two idols and that they need to deal with him ASAP.

Confused? Same.

My boy Probst returned for this week’s reward challenge – for a helicopter ride to a luxury feast – where the tribe would be required to untangle themselves from a rope, gathering enough to make it through obstacle and throw bags to knock over all their blocks. The challenge was a complete blowout, with Davie knocking off most of his blocks before anyone even started throwing. Sadly for him he didn’t have enough rope, leaving him only two bags to throw with as Nick closed the gap. He and Nick continued to throw with one block remaining each before Davie just snatched victory. As Probst is want to do, he gave Davie the chance to invite one person along with him, paying Nick back for the family visit. He then got a second opportunity, leading to Angelina doing what she does best, begging to come along on reward for giving up her shot at immunity for the tribe’s rice. Sadly Davie gave zero fucks, taking Kara as she protected him during the swap. Much to Angelina’s chagrin.

When the losers returned to camp Angelina continued to seethe and shared her feelings with everyone. She then made a massive pot of rice, and TBH I am scared for Davie’s safety. Meanwhile Davie and his frenemy Nick and bestie Kara arrived at the reward where they quickly got to work smashing a tonne of food. After Nick went to have a food nap, Davie filled Kara in on Nick’s idols and the two vowed to blindside him at the next tribal. They returned to camp well fed, before Kara pulled Alison aside to bring her in on the Nick blindside, bringing joy to Alison as she finally feels safe. Alison then approached Mike to see if he would join them and while he agreed that Nick is a big threat, he isn’t sure he is the most pressing one at this moment.

Davie got up early the next morning to go hunting for the real rehidden idol, which he quickly found. Wait no, it was a note for an advantage which told him to go to the end of the beach where he was greeted by a Ghost Island set up which handed him an idol and gave him the opportunity to risk his vote to extend its power, like the great Chris Noble. Thankfully Davie isn’t an idiot, knowing it is too late in the game to risk his vote, sticking with its single-tribal power.

Probst returned for this week’s reward challenge where everyone would have to stand on a narrow perch and balance a bunch of balls on a disc, which you know is my favourite as I live for Probst ball puns. Everyone survived the single ball round, however Kara and Angelina quickly dropped when they added a second, Davie’s separated – which is uncomfortable – and he soon followed them, as did Christian, leaving Alison, Mike and Nick to battle it out for immunity. Nick dropped just before they moved to the three ball round where they both struggled almost instantly as Alison’s dropped out of nowhere handing Mike individual immunity and continuing the no repeat winners streak.

Back at camp Mike was feeling confident and ready to make a big move and take control of the game. Meanwhile Nick felt taking out Alison is the most pressing issue, while Kara is still pushing to get rid of Nick. And I just remembered that Christian is here since he has been non-existent this episode. Mike must have had the realisation too and decided that it is still critical to target Christian since he doesn’t have immunity nor an idol, trying to convince Alison and Nick to join his cause. Meanwhile Nick and Davie caught up, with Nick admitting his idol find was completely fake and as such, Davie was back being aligned with Nick and was ready to take out Alison. Mike noticed Nick talking to Christian and Davie, and decided it was time to make sure Nick was loyal to him. This led to Mike telling Nick about the plot against him leaving the votes split and hopefully, Mike can rally enough to send Christian home.

At tribal council Nick spoke about the game not slowing down, Angelina admitted to focusing on keeping the right people to take her to the end and Davie was confused about how to figure out who he trusts. Christian worried about who was willing to work with him, rather than whether they’ve voted against him before, while Alison and Davie brought up the fluid nature of the game and needed to adapt tribal to tribal. Mike agreed, hoping that he can play with everyone, Nick praised everyone for playing a good game and Alison tried to deflect being a threat. Which Christian agreed was a difficult label to shake, not wanting to break Laura Morrett’s vote record from Blood vs. Water. Mike admitted that immunity made him confident, making people nervous look around as they headed off to vote.

Before Probst had a chance to tally the votes, Davie played his idol for himself which led to Nick playing an idol. Psyche it was fake, he just wanted to read the room and while Angelina assured him he was safe, he opted to play his real idol as well. Two votes rolled in for Davie – which obvi did not count – while two also fell to Alison and Christian, with Mike’s plan coming together and a third vote ultimately taking Christian out of the game. And burning the remaining idols – YAS!

While he was obviously disappointed to be out of the game, Christian took his loss in stride and was happy to be voted out in a complex manner with vote splits and multiple idols. With that, we laughed, cried and ran some puzzle codes before sitting down to a piping hot bowl of Christian Hubisquie.

 

 

My favourite colour of Nutrimetics lipstick owned by my mother was Lobster Bisque, obviously, because to a four year old, bisque is a hilarious word. In any event I always thought that one day I would have lobster bisque, until I learnt that lobster was seafood. Which is the long way of telling you, lobster is out, tomato is in and all is right so in the world.

Well except for the fact Christian was booted. But enjoy!

 

 

Christian Hubisquie
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, halved and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken stock
800g can diced tomatoes
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat with the oil until well combined and a little foamy. Add the onion and sweat for five minutes, stirring occasionally allowing it to get charred to add to the flavour. Add the garlic, carrot and celery and cook for a further five of minutes.

Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, or until it loses its flouriness. Add the stock, tomatoes and herbs and quickly stir to combine. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Stir through the cream, season and return to heat until cooked through. Serve immediately with a dash of fresh cream.

 

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Brian Lakesa

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

Previously on Australian Survivor 11 champions, 1 dud-Survivor player and 12 contenders faced off in an epic battle between underdogs and champions before Matt, Russell, Damien, Steve K, Jenna, Moana, Anita, Zach, Paige, Jackie, Tegan, HeathLydia, Robbie, Mat, Sam, Benji, SteveFenella and Monika were voted out. The final four rejoiced in making it as far as they did, though Brian vowed to get revenge on Shonee. Tragically Brian managed to take out immunity after literally everyone dropped their stack, leaving the Shhhhhhs to turn on each other, and Brian as Shonee’s only hope. Try as she might to convince Shane and Sharn to turn on each other to avoid making fire, the Champion women held strong and poor Queen Shonee was brutally taken from us in fourth place, leaving Brian, Sharn and Shane to battle it out for the win.

The final three kicked off the next day with a walk past the torches of all their fallen comrades, with Shane feeling misty about how well she has played and how much she loves the game. She then reminded us she is an icon, and in lieu of Shonella winning, this has to be Shane’s game. Brian spoke about feeling lost after retiring from AFL and that Survivor gave him the chance to clear his head and find out what is important to him, which hits waaaaaay too close to home. Sharn too was proud of her performance, though desperate to make it to the end and do what she does best, close out the case.

They finally ran into Jonathan on the shore where he announced that they would each get a cheer squad for the final immunity challenge. Sharn broke down as her entire family was brought out to visit before casually introducing them to Shane ‘don’t fuck with me’ Gould and Brian. Shane’s husband swaggered out from behind the bushes and damn, I love him too, as they hugged and Shane simply shared how fucking hard it was and that she wanted to kiss him. Jonathan then made Brian cry, offering him the chance to return his daughter’s bunny to her as he brought her, his son and wife out to visit. He then spoke about having a renewed focus of what is important to him, and damn, my cold dead heart is warming up.

Jonathan then explained that the final three would hold on to an idol on top of a pole, bobbing in the middle of the ocean, with the last person standing without removing a hand or foot, would win final immunity and decide who they’ll face off against at final tribal. Brain, Shane and Sharn made their way out to their perches, mounted the pedestals and grabbed their idols. As is oft the case, this isn’t really the most thrilling challenge to write about so after 78 minutes, Shane opted out of the challenge – I assume to pash her husband – leaving Sharn and Brian to battle it out. Though given Sharn looked like a statue and Brian was clearly struggling, it didn’t seem like much of an even fight. After almost two hours Brian tried to even things up, heckling Sharn and making her so confused he could potentially back her into a final two deal. When that didn’t work, he dared her to take him to final tribal which is sadly his only hope after he let go of the idol to take his hat off, handing Sharn final immunity. Making it even worse for Grub, it was his wife that dobbed him in after Jonathan missed him dropping. Poor Brian then broke down about his lapse in concentration, and damn I am finding him way too relatable tonight.

At tribal council Jonathan praised Sharn on winning her fourth immunity challenge before checking in with the losers, with Mat and Steve delighted in Shane lasting as long as she did in the challenge. Sharn admitted to being unsure who was the better option to take, as sticking with loyalty is less of a guaranteed win than going up against Brian, who the jury appear to hate. Shane reminded Sharn that she fought hard and played a sneaky game, though was loyal and played with integrity. Brian said that he had played the better game and as such, he should be taken to the final two … which is kinda not the best argument, though Sharn is totally the kind of person that would buy into beat the best to be the best. After more back and forth between Shane and Brian, Sharn went to cast the sole vote and sent Brain to the jury.

Poor King Grub was pretty disappointed when he arrived at the Jury Villa after dominating the game following Mat’s blindside. Though given that literally happened to everyone that assumed power of the course of the season, he quickly moved on and happily sat down to a soothing, spicy Brian Lakesa.

 

 

Packing as bigger punch as one may allegedly throw in Japan, this laksa is the perfect thing to take away the burn of becoming the final boot. Creaminess, spice and all things nice, you can help but slurp it down joyfully. Despite being crushed to lose.

Enjoy!

 

 

Brian Lakesa
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
vegetable oil
⅓ cup laksa paste (don’t judge me using the jar, we’re feuding)
2 red chillies, sliced
3 shallots, sliced
400ml coconut milk
1.5L chicken stock
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves
800g chicken breasts, diced
200g flat rice noodles, cooked per packet instructions
coriander leaves, shallots and sliced red chilli, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large pan and cook the laksa paste for about five minutes, or until uber fragrant. Add the chillies and shallots, and cook for a further minute before slowing pouring in the coconut milk, while continuously stirring. Once combined, add the stock, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves, and bring to the boil.

Once rollicking, add the diced chicken, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

To serve, place a mound of noodles in the bottom of four bowls, spoon over the laksa and garnish with the coriander and extra shallots and chilli.

Slurp it up, immediately.

 

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Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine

Main, Poultry, That Is So Fetch Week

As you will soon start to notice is a pattern, like Amanda – though unlike Dan or Jon – I am the reason that Lizzy Caplan scored the role of Janis Ian and as such, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join me and help celebrate this year’s Mean Girls’ Day celebration, That’s So Fetch Week.

Not that it wasn’t optional though, of course. Honestly.

Anyway, I met Lizzy through Seth Rogen and current Survivor cast-member Mike White on the set of Freaks & Geeks. While it was only her acting debut, she completely blew me away and I deemed her worthy of my tutelage.

Given I am an excellent teacher – don’t you dare say anything about those unable to do, teach – I finesse her skills and within a couple of years, she was knocking on Teens’ door and making her way onto the A-list.

Lizzy’s career has absolutely blown up following her breakout performance in Masters of Sex, so we sadly haven’t been able to pal around as often as we’d like. Thankfully as soon as she heard Mean Girls celebration, she dropped everything, ran into my home and giddily reminisced over a big old Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine.

 

 

There is nothing I love more than a tajine, if only for the general festive look of a tajine. Add in succulent chicken and the tart kick of lemon and olives, and I am in heaven. Heaven I tells ya!

Enjoy!

 

 

Lizzy Caplemon Chicken Tajine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
¼ tsp saffron threads
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste
8 chicken thighs, bones in
olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 cinnamon quill
⅓ cup green olives, pitted and halved
2 Preserved Lemonika Radulovic, flesh removed and cut into strips
2 cups chicken stock
½ lemon, juiced
parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish

Method
Combine the garlic, ginger, saffron, paprika, cumin, chilli, coriander and turmeric with a a good whack of salt and pepper and blitz with a stick blender to form a thick paste. Rub the chicken thighs with the fragrant glob, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready to rock, heat a lug of oil in the base of our tajine and sweat the onions on low for about ten minutes. Add the chicken thighs and seal on both sides. Add the cinnamon, olives, preserved lemon and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for half an hour.

When the chicken is completely falling off the bone, remove from the heat, stir through the lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve immediately on a bed of couscous and devour.

 

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Jonathan Dan Bennoodles

Main, That Is So Fetch Week

Hey, do you know what day it is? Of course you do! It’s October 3rd aka Mean Girls Day aka the entire reason for this year’s That’s So Fetch Week going public. I know you were probably hoping that Tina or Linds would be dropping by, but they have both already gone here … and Linds is still busy stopping that child trafficking ring. So following in Mands and Dan’s footsteps is none other than Aaron Samuels himself, Jonathan Bennett.

Aka the entire reason we have Mean Girls day.

As I alluded to yesterday, Dan Fran and I had a tragic break-up on the set of Mean Girls due by my infatuation for Jonathan which culminated in our torrid affair. Tragically it ended too – maybe because I am too much like Regina George – but Jono and I have been the best of friends ever since.

Hell, I even forgave him for writing the Mean Girls Cookbook without me, that is how close we are. Though considering he chose to go with an actual chef over someone that tries things he finds only and quadruples the garlic content and adds chilli, I really had no right being offended in the first place.

Giving how busy he has been successfully writing a cookbook and hosting a baking show, Jon and I haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like lately. I mean, as besties we Skype each day, particularly since I introduced him to his Amazing Race-r boyfie Jaymes, but there is nothing like the real thing of hanging out with your friends in the same room. Smashing some Jonathan Dan Bennoodles.

 

 

Once again proving my non-chef credentials, this dan dan was inspired by a couple of recipes I found online though hella simplified. And probably nothing like how it should taste. Rich, nutty, spicy and fresh, this baby will fill you with joy and put a fire in your belly. Given the heaping of chilli, obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jonathan Dan Bennoodles
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
500g pork mince
3 tbsp Chinese chilli oil
1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp shaoxing wine
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp raw caster sugar
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
400g udon noodles, cooked as per packet instructions
1 cup baby spinach
1 bok choy, quartered
1 shallot, sliced

Method
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat and cook the garlic and ginger for a minute. Add the mince and cook for a further couple of minutes before reducing the heat to medium and adding the chilli oil, spices, sauces, sugar, stock and peanut butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce reduces.

Cook the udon as per packet instructions and add a tablespoon of cooking water to the pan if it starts to get too thick. Add the baby spinach and bok choy to the pan, and cook until heated through before tossing through the noodles.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with shallots and devour. Because it’s October 3rd.

 

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Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara

Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: One World

Given we’ve had a string of alpha-male dominated seasons, I decided that Liz Olson and Natalie need to dominate this season. And as such, I needed to pull out (one of) the most dominant winners Kim Spradlin to bring some good juju as we continued our countdown.

Say what you will about how awful and insufferable Colton made One World – and Kourtney’s broken arm didn’t help either – Kim had an absolute stranglehold on that game and is one of the best winners we have seen. Actually, her dominance probably didn’t help the excitement levels of the game … but I thoroughly enjoyed watching her string everyone along and dominate the game.

Sadly we haven’t had a return from Kim on account of her having multiple children since her killer game, but I am hopeful we will see her again for a legends season where she, Cirie and Sandra run the game.

Could you imagine?

Anyway like me, Kim has high hopes for the success of icons like Natalie, Elizabeth and Mike White who we can stan for creating Enlightened. Bonus points for thinking Gabby could go well, if only for her being a superfan.

With our David vs. Goliath chat out of the way, we caught up on what we’d been up to in the last couple of years, and while she rebuffed my offer to help tee up the legends alliance – though to be fair, she probs don’t need my help – she more than earned a big bowl of Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara to celebrate the impending premiere.

 

 

Let’s quickly run through everything; pasta? Delicious. Pumpkin? Glorious. Cheese? YAS. Bacon? Hot damn. Put them together and I damn near cream my shorts. In layman’s terms, this dish is perfect.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkim Spradlinguine Carbonara
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
a good knob of unsalted butter
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 shallots, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry vermouth
600g butternut pumpkin, roughly chopped
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
½ cup pecorino, grated
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
500g linguine

Method
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and once foaming, add the bacon and cook for five minutes or so. Once crisp, add the shallots and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes or until fragant and soft. Add the vermouth and cook, bubbling, for five minutes or so.

In another pan, bring the pumpkin and stock to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Blitz with a stick blender until smooth and add to the bacon and shallot mixture. Stir through the cream, pecorino and nutmeg and stir until combined.

Cook linguine as per packet instructions. Drain, reserving ½ a cup of cooking liquid. Stir the pasta through the sauce and loosen with some pasta water if needed.

Serve, slathered with additional pecorino and then devour.

 

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Chicken Tetrarazzini Thorowgood

Main, Pasta, Poultry, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Lisa’s epic 3-2-1 caused chaos for Tess and Adam’s friendship as the former raged against the latter for voting for her as he assumed there was no hope. Thankfully all was forgiven after she won the reward challenge and shared it with Adam, moving past the (technically unsuccessful) slight and turning their attentions to getting Lisa – aka the undisputed queen and actual threat – out of the game. Sadly for them Dave and Tara held strong and sent Zadam from the game, and the queen stays queen, so to speak.

Back at camp Tess was once again feeling the sads upon her return from tribal council, though since she lost her best friend slash closet ally I’ll give her a pass. Everyone joined to discuss the massive blow up between Adam and Lisa at tribal, with Lisa concerned that it will cost her the game and Tess hopeful that despite being blindsided week after week, Adam’s influence on the jury will hand her an undeserved win. And since they keep hyping what is happening at the Jury Villa, me thinks it may tragically come to fruition.

The next day Dave worked to gut a fish and I am honestly struggling to keep down my dinner, so I’m glad we quickly pivoted to see Lisa. Well until she spoke about the fact she is shocked people are trusting her. This was followed by Tess talking about being confident in her chances of swaying Tara or Dave to her side, and Tara talking about being disappointed that Lisa has lied to her … and now I want to vom at the thought of Queen Lisa not winning.

Before I can actually blow chunks – which I feel like is a direct quote from Matt way back when Zadam and Kaysha vommed in ep 2 and contestant Matt flashed his buns – Matt arrived for the final reward challenge. The challenge required everyone to build plank bridges between two platforms and collecting puzzle pieces which they use to complete a table maze and landing balls in a hole. My fave pastime. Desperate to enjoy a night away in a hotel, Tara got out to an early lead with Dav, as is oft the case, coming in second. Once again a puzzle proved to be Tara’s undoing, as everyone overtook her and Dave won his first challenge … without using an advantage. He was then given the chance to pick someone to go with him, surprisingly choosing Tara. Though it was to ensure Tess couldn’t scramble, so well played Dave.

Dave pulled Tess aside before departing for his reward to find out what her final three plans were, vowing that he will vote with her for whoever she wants if she wins the next immunity challenge. And while she could see right through it, she had no other options so agreed to boot Tara with him if he wins and went on their jolly ways. His a bit jollier, as he and Tara were collected to go enjoy their luxury hotel digs. Which TBH didn’t look that luxury, but maybe I am a snob? After a quick tour of their digs they made their way to the pool before discussing who was the biggest threat moving into the final three. With both of them looking to be unshakeable in their support for Lisa. Thank fuck.

Tara returned to camp rejuvenated while poor Dave wasn’t able to sleep as he couldn’t stop thinking about losing the next immunity challenge. Tara and Lisa spoke about the importance of one of their alliance taking out immunity, Dave said that a Tess win screws them all and Tess said winning is her only option. As such Matt returned for the final immunity challenge, where the final four would each have to hang upside down on a pole for as long as possible. Lisa was the first out after 12 minutes, followed closely by Tara leaving Dave as their alliance’s only hope. Despite being bitten by a wasp early on Dave battled it out for well over an hour … before dropping out, handing Tess immunity and keeping his tradition of coming second right up until the end.

Back at camp Tess was ecstatic to have taken out immunity, while the remaining three got to work scrambling. Tess pulled Tara aside to talk about who to take out, with Tess preferring to get rid of Dave as the biggest threat. Tara shared that there was no way she could vote against Dave, shocking Tess as it meant Tara could only vote for her closest ally Lisa. With the other two away, Dave and Lisa discussed who would be their most likely target with both of them assuming they were on their way out. Tara returned and Dave joined Tess to talk about options, with Tess being cagey and Dave getting super edgy and angry, which is awks since Tess has all the power. Rounding things out, Tess and Lisa got together to discuss options with Lisa pushing Dave as the biggest threat to throw the scent off of her. Out of nowhere, Tara seemed to come up with a plan to blindside Tess and vote herself out of the game and TBH, I am super confused as they head off for tribal.

At tribal council the jury were delighted to see Tess wearing immunity, who herself admitted that she was super proud of making it to the end. Lisa was once again in the hot seat, saying she was glad that she Adam cleared the air at the previous tribal and she hoped that people would focus on game if she makes it to the end. Dave spoke about the ever evolving nature of the game, Tess tried to figure out who she could beat while Tara tried to play things super cagey. Lisa said she was feeling fairly confident in those that she trusts while Tara looked super awkward when she spoke about not throwing in the towel, much to the rage in Matt’s eyes. The votes rolled in and Matt’s rage started to make sense as Tara orchestrated her own boot, blindsiding Tess one final time.

I was quite bamboozled when Tara arrived at the Jury Villa, unsure why she threw away a shot at the prize for her friends. I mean, sure, she knew that she had no shot at said prize, but damn – that is wild. And I guess for that, I’ve got to be impressed. As such I whipped her up a Chicken Tetrarazzini Thorowgood and toasted to her giving the deserving winner the chance to argue for the crown.

 

 

After thirty-eight days out on an island, there is nothing more enticing than carbs. Or dairy. Or hunks of chicken. Add them all together, and you’ve got this glorious American bake. Gooey and hearty, it is the perfect thing to perk you up for the final tribal council. Which you quit to avoid.

For some reason. Which I am grateful for.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Tetrarazzini Thorowgood
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
500g chicken breast, diced
¼ cup butter
500g button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
½ cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry vermouth
3 cups parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp chilli flakes
500g linguine, cut in half and cooked as per packet instructions

Method
Preheat oven to 180C and bring a large pot of water to the boil for the pasta.

In a second large pot, heat a lug of oil over medium heat and cook the chicken for five minutes, or until browned. Add the butter, mushrooms and peas and cook until the mushroom is tender. Stir through the flour and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the meat and stir through the milk, stock and vermouth. Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes or so, or until starting to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir through 2 cups of parmesan, and the thyme and chilli.

Once the pasta is cook, stir it through the pan, transfer to a baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden.

Devour immediately.

 

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Matt Hamhock Soup

Main, Soup, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, when Dave found his idol a couple of episodes back he quickly shared the intel with his school friend slash ally Matt. On the flipside, when Matt and Lisa found an idol last episode the both vowed not to tell anyone, not even Dave. The idol find and immunity win by Matt derailed Lisa’s plan to vote him out, leaving Eve to make her heartbroken exit from the game as the next biggest challenge threat.

Back at camp the tribe discovered that the storm during tribal council had broken their shelter, leaving everything drenched and everyone completely annoyed. Zadam hated everyone and bamboo, Dave was sick of not having any control in the game and Tess shone like a shining beacon of hope while trying to cheer them up. And now I’m back to being team Tess. The next day everyone was still feeling down because of the weather and how heartbroken Eve was when getting voted out. While Tara was proud of giving her friend a heads up before getting cut, Matt felt it made her even shadier and as such he felt she needed to go.

Well, that is until he went to the well with Adam and Tara and told them that Tess was the one that needed to go next as she was trying to get rid of him. This didn’t sit well with Adam who was sick of people coming and telling him who was going next the morning after a tribal council, particularly since they’re closely aligned. While Tara tried to stir some trouble between Adam and Tess, that made him want to get rid of Tara … despite admitting she is an easy person to beat in the end. Meanwhile on the other side of camp Lisa approached Dave to see how he was feeling after tribal and attempted to comfort him. Which seemed to work as he spoke about how he only trusts Matt and Lisa. Which is great for Lisa, except for the fact she needs someone to trust her more.

The tribe ventured deep into the jungle to meet Matty Chis for the first ever Survivor New Zealand auction, much to the delight of everyone. Particularly Matt, who wanted some food and an advantage. Though since he kicked off the bidding on a shit tonne of donuts, me thinks he will spend up before said advantage appears. Adam spent all his money on pizza before Matt spent $300 on beer, chips and nuts … and blew any shot at snatching an advantage. Tara snatched up bolognese and wine with all her cash, leaving Dave and Lisa the only ones waiting to snatch an advantage … wait, no, Lisa spent all her cash on a covered item. Which was tragically white rice … except for the fact she switched it for the second option which was a huge toasted sandwich, fries and soft drink. Dave then snatched an advantage for $300 and tried to pretend he was heartbroken before the auctioned closed with Tess buying a cake for everyone to share.

Back at camp Adam was furious about Dave’s obvious performance about not wanting an advantage, which would have been unfair had Dave not tried to lay his disappoint on very too thickly. While Tara and Matt were more sympathetic to Dave’s plight, them wondered what his advantage could possibly be before abruptly changing the conversation to taking out either Tess or Dave. While Matt was sick of working hard to keep Dave in the game, he continued to hustle and pointed out how well connected Tess is on the jury. Not to be outdone, Tess was starting to feel like everyone is against her and wasn’t sure who to trust.

Matt and Lisa caught up in the jungle with Lisa pretending that she wasn’t still pushing to take him out and use said move to prove her case to the jury. They continued to discuss their options to get to the end before Matt admitted that he wanted to go to the end with Lisa and Adam, giving her an in to out him. Maybe.

Before we could find out Kiwi Jeff returned for the next immunity challenge where everyone was required to balance dishes on the end of said pole. You know that advantage Dave purchased? Well it bought him the ability to sit out the first for dishes on the challenge, which is huge TBH. Tess dropped on the twelfth dish followed closely by Lisa. Adam tragically dropped on the fifteenth dish immediately followed by Matt and Tara, handing Dave a long overdue victory.

*coughs* thanks to an advantage *coughs*

Back at camp everyone but Tess disappeared to lock in the vote against her, while poor Tess tried desperately to befriend a lizard. Lisa played the role of dutiful number in front of Matt, joking that at least everyone can have normally conversations it is an easy vote. Matt then caught up with Adam to make sure he is ok with getting rid of Tess, which he was … despite preferring Tara to be the next to go. Meanwhile Lisa finally had her chance to talk to Dave and convince him to join her in taking out Matt. She then lay all her cards on the table and admitted that she and Matt found an idol, making Dave feel extremely betrayed and in that moment the breakneck speed of the episode started to make sense. With Dave seething, Lisa brought out the Cirie Fields patented 3-2-1 split vote, suggesting she, Dave and Tara vote for Matt, leave Matt and Adam to vote Tess and Tess can vote for whoever she damn well wants. While Dave wasn’t sure whether he could betray his friend, he appreciated how honest Lisa was with him.

Dave being Dave, he told Lisa he would talk to Matt and see whether he would come clean and if he wasn’t honest, he would join her. Making her and everyone watching extremely nervous about it falling apart. Lisa quickly found Tara and looped her in while Dave and Matt discussed the plan to vote Tess before Dave clumsily tried to give him the opportunity to admit to finding an idol. Which he eventually did admit to and Dave begrudgingly told him that if he felt nervous, he should play his idol tonight. Stupid. Fucking stupid.

Lisa and Dave approached Tess to see what her thoughts were, with Tess suggesting Tara as a possible option. Adam and Tess went off to discuss options, Matt told Lisa he felt like he should play his idol while Lisa tried to insinuate he will need it next week and poor Dave continued to seethe about Matt’s betrayal, despite essentially ruining the plan because he is stupid and can’t separate life from the game. Though his tears did soften my stance, the move was idiotic.

At tribal council Tess shared her shock about how far everyone has come, Tara was sad about her at the challenge, Matt admitted to being nervous about the upcoming vote and Dave spoke about being nervous about what he says at tribal council. Dave gave Matt stankface as he spoke about wanting to play his own game, Adam said he’d be shocked if anyone had an idol and Tess joined the chorus of people nervous about their chances at surviving tribal. With that everyone went off to vote and despite the anxious look on his face Matt decided not to play his idol, no doubt convinced Tess was going due to Adam’s sobbing voting confessional. Despite Dave’s stupidity Lisa’s 3-2-1 split to come to fruition and Matt found himself booted from the game as Lisa giddily watched on.

While I found it ridiculous that he didn’t play his idol – and more importantly was cast opposite a school friend – I couldn’t bring myself to rub salt in the wounds because he is such an absolutely sweetheart. And … he gave me nudity in episode two and I am always grateful for that! As such, I kept my mouth shut, congratulated him on a game well played and served him up a big ol’ Matt Hamhock Soup.

 

 

Like Eve’s recipe before him, I had never really been a fan of hamhock soup on account of the huge bone sticking out of my meal as a child. I would sit there, sadly slurping around wondering whether my mother confused me for the family pet, rather than the child. Thankfully I have worked through said trauma and can appreciate the hammy slop for all its goodness.

Slop. Doesn’t that make you want to enjoy it?!

 

 

Matt Hamhock Soup
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onion, diced
4 celery stalks, sliced
3 carrots, diced
500g split peas, rinsed and drained
800g smoked ham hock
2L chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a stockpot and cook the onion, celery and carrots for a couple of minutes. Add the split peas and hock with a good whack of salt and pepper, gently flipping the hock to try and brown. You won’t be successful, but I’m convinced the process enhances the flavour.Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for an hour, or until thickened.

Remove from the heat and allow the hock to rest on a chopping board for fifteen minutes, or until cooled. Pull the meat from the bone and shred.

Serve immediately, generously topped with the ham and a whack of pepper. Then devour.

 

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