Pia Mintanda Soup

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

After fifty days in the Fijian jungle, after Anastasia was booted from the game first thanks to Pia’s machinations, Laura was booted in lieu of Baden. They were followed by – yep, happening again – Susie, Nova, Steven, E.T., Sam, Sarah, Hannah, Casey, Matt, King RossAndy, Shaun, David, Zaddy John, Daisy, Simon, Janine, Abbey, Luke and Harry, leaving Pia and Baden to battle it out at the final tribal council.

And to say Pia dominated is a bloody understatement.

She clearly articulated her game, stood up to people that downplayed her achievements and really drove home to Baden how bad his final decision was as she claimed the first unanimous victory of the series.

Bow down to Pia Miranda, the one true Queen of Australian Survivor. Nay, Australia. Ever since she smacked that bitch Carly Bishop in her film debut, Pia has held a special place in my heart. I first met her on the set of Alibrandi when I was part of Anthony Lapaglia’s entourage slash personal security detail to protect him from Matthew Newton. Pia and I quickly bonded, so I vowed to protect her as well free of charge.

A few months later we were catching up and decided to tune in for the finale of this new little reality show called Survivor, and while watching Rich defeat Wiggles we fell in love and both vowed to both play and win the game some day.

While my moment in the spotlight is yet to come – I am growing my man bun first to make people think I’m relaxed rather than driving my anxiety and strung higher than Everest – I am so proud to have born witness to Pia’s game. From narrowly escaping becoming the first boot, her charm quickly found her solid allies that she could use as a shield while dominating the game socially. Which is ultimately what handed her the game and title of Sole Survivor. And the Pia Mintanda Soup prize that goes along with it.

 

 

While pea and ham soup is enough to make most people shudder at the thought of peas in soup, this baby is so good it will win you over. Like Pia. Glorious sweet peas and a good whack of mint work perfectly with some salty prosciutto to fill your heart with joy and make you feel like a Champion. Again, like Pia.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pia Mintanda Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g frozen peas, defrosted
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
8 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup thickened cream

Method
Combine the peas and stock in a dutch oven and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour. Add the mint and a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for a further ten minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Heat a lug of oil in a fry pan and cook the prosciutto for a couple of minutes, until glorious and crispy. Transfer to some paper towel to drain.

Meanwhile blitz the soup until nice and smooth. Return to the heat and stir through the cream. Season if required, going lighter on the salt than the pepper, and cook for five minutes.

Serve immediately topped with a cross of prosciutto and devour. Victoriously.

 

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Abbean Holmes Soup

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Luke and Abbey were playing the middle of the two duos, with the former unaware that everyone – but Abbey – was plotting his demise. When he took out immunity and saved himself, Harry pivoted and put the target back on to his nemesis JaQueen. This put Luke and Abbey back in the middle and try as JaQueen and Pia might, they were unable to swing them back to their side, and JaQueen was tragically beheaded. Not literally, but it felt hard to watch. As Janine is a bloody icon.

Back at camp Pia was disheartened to have lost Janine though explained to the tribe that as an award winning actress, she could tell that it was coming since they’re shit actors. Abbey was proud to make it to the final five, and have the chance to show the jury that she can pull off a big blindside in getting rid of Janine. And since she has grown to enjoy a cheeky blindside, looked forward to rolling Pia next. Which can’t happen as my heart just couldn’t take it.

The next day Harry was thrilled to have Janine’s scalp in his collection like a munted Hannibal Lector. The rest of the tribe lazed about – Abbey not keen on having another bean, don’t tell John – while Harry decided that Luke is the last person left that could beat him in the final two, and as such, needs to go. He pulled Abbey and Baden aside to lock in the vote against Luke, and then quickly lined up the back-up target of Pia should he win another immunity. Given they can all see that she was the mastermind behind the boss lady. Speaking of Pia she wasn’t feeling it after losing her island bestie, though focused on her family who she was fighting for. She then put a smile on her dial, pretended to be happy and got to work winning people back without them noticing that she is coming for revenge.

She knew that Luke was her best shot, so huddled with him in the shelter and assured him that she has no desire to vote him out and as such, is his best bloody shot at staying in the game. He assured Pia that she has nothing to worry about as he knows he will be booted the moment he doesn’t have immunity or an idol. As such he went searching for another idol and after days of meandering the jungle, finally spotted a clue hidden in the tree. It led him to the other end of the beach where another clue was hidden within a coconut. This in turn led him back to camp to grab a machete before heading back to the coconut where he learnt that he didn’t find an idol and instead, won the power to send someone out of tribal council before the vote which makes them safe and robs them of the right to vote. At the final five. Which is fucking huge.

My dear Jonathan and his guns of steel returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would stack dominos along a beam tethered to a trip obstacle, with the first person to stack their dominos and have them clang – is clang the right word? – into a gong snatching immunity. Harry and Abbey got out to an early lead, while Luke trailed closely behind. Luke dropped three blocks, followed by Harry dumping a bunch handing Abbey the lead, with Baden close behind. Everyone kinda caught up, while Abbey, Baden and Pia tried to respace their blocks to give them a shot at victory. Baden then knocked all of his off the beam, allowing Abbey the chance to snatch victory however she didn’t space hers enough bringing it down to a fight between Luke and Pia, with Luke actually snatching a record equalling individual immunity.

Back at camp Harry was super grumpy about Luke’s winning streak, knowing full well that he and his fake son don’t stand a chance against him in the final two. He and Abbey went for a walk to lock in the plan B to take out Pia, with Harry sure that there is no way she will win anything and as such, will not help them get rid of Luke. Baden joined the duo and they all locked in the plan, worried about getting caught and then straight up giving each other pinky promises under the watchful eye of Pia and Luke. Pia laughed about them clearly planning to vote her out, though vowed not to go down without a fight. Unaware that she was charming the shit out of her biggest hope.

Abbey caught up with Luke, completely unaware that he knows she is gunning for him and Pia. He assured Baden, Harry and Abbey that he was with them until the end, though he was hopeful that he would be able to swing something to save Pia. He approached her and promised that no matter how it looks at tribal council, to trust him and she will be safe. He told us that his plan is to send Baden back to camp and force Harry into turning on Abbey with him and Pia. Knowing they needed to lull her into a false sense of security, Pia and Luke approached Abbey to float getting rid of Harry. Pia said she would be putting her acting skills to use at tribal, Abbey was unaware of the plot against her and Luke was honestly so far down a rabbithole that he worried that he would end up blindsiding himself.

Again, like a fucking icon.

At tribal council Luke interrupted Jonathan’s praise of his immunity streak by standing up, handing over the note and immediately sending Baden straight back to camp. He exited in utter confusion, thrilled to make it to the final four but shocked about what will go down in his absence. Abbey and Harry were shocked about the turn of events, while Pia pretended to be disappointed that he didn’t choose to save her. Luke then started whispering to Pia, which made Harry and Abbey nervous, though Harry admitted that it is unlikely that Luke would leave his plan to the very last minute and as such, it was all for show. Jonathan tried to rub salt in their wounds about being left out, leading to Luke whispering to Abbey while Pia whispered that Harry was awesome.

Sensing his imminent doom, Harry started to burn everything down and told them all that Luke is in control and unbeatable. He then mentioned that there is one way that they can save themselves, unaware that he is only burning himself given Luke isn’t going to flip on Pia to keep a fellow immunity threat around. Pia reminded everyone that staying focused on Luke is forcing others to make stupid decisions, while Luke said that only one person needs to worry this tribal council and it is about time they take the garbage out. Pia admitted that she is kind of shocked to potentially making it through the tribal and Harry tried to remind everyone that he is not the biggest threat left in the game.

With that the tribe voted and Luke and Pia’s hail Mary plan worked perfectly, with Abbey voting Harry, Harry voting Pia and Pia and Luke banding together to blindside Abbey from the game. And impressing the hell out of the jury with their flashy move. While she was overshadowed by her former closest allies Pia and Janine’s dominant games, she formed one third of Australian Survivor’s answer to the Black Widow Brigade and that is something that makes me immensely proud. Particularly after she blindsided her childhood hero and one of the aforementioned closest allies slash queens. In any event, she did me proud and surprisingly I told her that, took her in my arms and gave her a clearly island appropriate bowl of Abbean Holmes Soup. Despite the fact she wished to never eat another bean.

 

 

Essentially flavoured just like a can of refried beans, this isn’t going to be something that everyone loves. But if you love refried beans like Ab (used to) and I, roll right up. Earthy, spiced and pack with simple charm, this baby proves that sometimes plain(ish) can be your favourite flavour.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbean Holmes Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 chipotles in adobo
800g canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp thyme leaves
a small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
100g queso fresco, crumbled

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic, tomatoes and chipotles, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pinto beans and cook off any excess liquid from the rinsing before adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and simmer for half an hour, stirring infrequently.

Once the liquid has reduced to be just under the solids, add the herbs and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat, season and blitz until smooth.

Return to the heat and cook for another five minutes, adding some extra stock if it is too thick. Serve, top with queso and devour through the tears of your life.

 

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Chickenico Panangio Curry

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Main, Poultry, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets

Well, well, well, look what we have here! Another international version of Survivor with a hot host – hi Jeff, Jono and Matt! – is begging for me to head to the filming location to provide culinary comfort for their crushed castaways.

Yes, Nico Panagio has finally reached out to me to see if he could leverage our close personal relationship to get me out to Samoa for the latest season of Survivor SA.

While I played hard to get for a couple of minutes, I knew there was no way I could say no to such a dear friend. Particularly when they are as hot as Nico and the tropical location is always conducive to some shirtless action.

I’ve known Nico for a couple of years after fleeing to South Africa and trying to break into the entertainment industry over there. While all my scenes were cut from our co starring vehicle Semi-Soet, I couldn’t be too mad given it brought us together.

I invited him over to Australia on his way to Samoa to formally give him my answer, bringing him to tears of joy that I would be joining him on set of Survivor SA over a big vat bowl of delicious Chickenico Panangio Curry.

 

 

Given how delicious this sweet, spicy curry tastes, maybe the tears of joy were related to such a glorious meal? I mean, delicately cooked juicy chicken with the earthy peanuts, a kick of chilli and the zing of lime? There is nothing better.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chickenico Panangio Curry
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
coconut oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
½ cup panang curry paste
2 tsp chilli paste
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
12 kaffir lime leaves
400ml coconut cream
1 cup chicken stock
750g chicken thighs, roughly diced
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped

Method
Heat a good lug of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the capsicums and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir in the curry paste, chilli, peanut butter and kaffir lime leaves and cook for a further minute.

Stir through the coconut cream and stock, bring to the boil and add the chicken. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through and the sauce has thickened up.

Add the fish sauce and cook for a further minute before adding the Thai basil leaves. Remove from heat and serve immediately on a bed of fluffy rice. Then devour, with your favourite, sexiest friend.

 

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Chickwendy Empanadiaz

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Tapas, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, two became three but the OG Manu’s still couldn’t seem to catch a break, with Wendy isolated with only her chickens for comfort, while the rest were shipped off to a new island and promptly continued their losing streak. When all hope appeared lost, David managed to snatch a come from behind immunity win, sending NuManu back to tribal council. And while it appeared Big Wendy was down for the count, Victoria pulled off an epic blindside by sending Queen Aubry to the Island of Extinction with an extra vote and idol in her pocket. And quickly ascended the throne to become Queen Victoria.

Or Queen Vicky, I can’t decide.

On the Island of Extinction Aubry was feeling the pain of following in JT’s footsteps, by being blindsided with some many advantages in his pocket. Despite being broken, she was hopeful as the only way is up for her, and she is going to wait around and get back when she can.

Before we could learn anything else, Jeff returned for this week’s reward challenge where the tribes would leap over tables, release some sandbags and then throw them at a target until flags are released. Given it is for coffee and snacks, I would literally destroy everyone if I was on that island. Surprisingly all three tribes were neck and neck by the time it came to tossing the sandbags, though hold Wardog’s beer, because he cannot throw and Lesu are back in last. Obviously Joe snagged Kama first place, while Gavin just snatched victory for Manu despite a late push from Lauren.

Back at Kama the tribe continued their vacation courtesy of Joe with Julie really struggling to comprehend what it would mean to lose. She then praised him for being so damn amazing, though reiterated to us that she has zero interest in working with him and is just blowing smoke up his arse. Speaking of Joe, he was breaking down about Aubry being voted out, knowing that the returnees are public enemy number one and he feels super alone. Unlike at home, where fan favourite, game changer SDT is waiting for him. Joe caught up with Julia and pointed out that he isn’t the only threat and that all the strong people will need to band together if they want to have any hope of staying around. Particularly since their winning streak has no doubt pissed people off.

Speaking of which, Lesu were lamenting their loss and wishing that they could be Joe for just one minute. While David was keen to go try and kind food, Lauren and Wardog opted to sit around and complain about being starving and over their shitty camp. If only they could muster enough energy to help him get the massive clam that is on the shore! Instead of helping, Wardog pulled Kelley and David aside to talk about getting rid of Lauren, which made the returnees nervous given he just won’t pick a lane. The only glorious thing to come out of it, is the fact that Kelley and David are now aligned.

Back on the Edge of Extinction, Chris discovered a basket with five maps full of holes. Reem requested everyone stay calm which Keith agreed to however it is Keith, so who knows. After folding the maps, the tribes wandered up the hill before Rick figured out that the reward was back on the beach and that they’ve wasted their time. Despite his location was wrong, Reem discovered the reward in the beach … only for Keith to snatch it from under her, earning him the chance to penalising someone in the upcoming returnee challenge. Pray circle (jerk) for Chris. Particularly after he pointed out that Reem gave the reward away, setting her off on a tirade against him which may get physical. All I know is, I feel sorry for Rick, Chris and Aubry.

Probst returned for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes would be required to climb a ladder, manoeuvre a bag through a frame, open said bag, release a ball and open a gate. Then solve a puzzle, obvi. Oh and only one tribe would secure immunity, and the other two forced to attend tribal together and get rid of a single player. I have Malcolm PTSD. No surprises Kama snatched an early lead however they all eventually caught up at the puzzle. Despite David thinking he was close to victory, Joe proved adept at puzzles too and solved it just in the knick of time, handing Kama immunity and sending the other tribe to tribal council.

Back at Manu Eric was feeling the loss hard, concerned about the potential for a tied vote and no doubt, concerned Wendy will flip back to her original tribe. Victoria rallied the troops and told them to stick together, while Wendy suggested they don’t target David since he doesn’t have any allies and as such, they should go for Lauren, Kelley or Wentworth. Eric then changed his no rock stance, and told everyone to stick together and threaten to go the rocks, since returnees aren’t likely to waste their shot. Eric and Gavin then went for a chat, reconfirming their relationship and locking in the rocks option. Sadly for them, Victoria is less inclined to go to rocks for these bozos as she is a Queen and wants to win. But thankfully for her, no one appears to have figured that out yet.

Meanwhile over at Lesu Kelley was confident that the other tribe would stick four strong and while targeting the big guys is the best idea, Victoria could be the safest move given they won’t expect it. Wardog had other ideas however, saying that they should vote Wendy because in the event of a time, the others will likely flip on her given they haven’t been together that long. While this is the only correct move for the tribe – outside of pulling Wendy over to their side – Kelley was annoyed that Wardog continues to ignore everyone else and push forward with his ideas. David suggested that he should tell Wendy to vote for someone and hope that it doesn’t go to rocks, while Lauren was confident that they will vote for her and as such she was worried. Even though being the person locked in the tie is literally best case for rocks, which the tribe were keen on.

Wardog went to relax by the beach and questioned going to rocks for Lauren, who is clearly breaking down and as such, went hunting for an idol. The other three figured it out and grew more frustrated with him, deciding they needed to find the idol first. Which Wentworth did, while right next to Wardog. Kelley ran back and filled in Lauren, while Wardog continued to climb trees desperate for the idol. Lauren too wanted to share some intel, sharing that she won’t go to rocks for Wardog and will flip if it comes to it.

The tribes arrived at tribal council and both admitted that they all planned to stick with their tribe, Wardog reiterated that he is ready to battle for his group while Eric admitted that neither knows the others dynamics and as such, it is going to be unpredictable. Kelley offered Manu loyalty were they to flip, which Gavin too offered. Wendy shared that she feels trapped in the middle, with David talking about his love for Wendy while Eric mentioned that Wendy told them otherwise. Kelley started whispering to Wardog while David reminded everyone that he has no qualms going to rocks, which Victoria thought was bullshit. Wendy whispered to David that if he flipped, he’ll be safe, Wardog whispered to David, Gavin whispered to Eric and David asked Wendy to go aside for a little chat. With that the tribes voted and despite all the whispers, the votes rolled in four a piece for Lauren and Wendy. With that the whispering started again, this time with Eric joining Lesu while Kelley and Lauren spoke to Victoria and Gavin to come up with a plan, while poor Wendy sat alone in the middle. Before being booted unanimously.

While she was upbeat upon discovering the Edge of Extinction sign and discovering that she would get a meal to accompany her boat ride, her mood soon deflated.

“This is delicious Ben, what are we eating?”

“Well Big Wendy, I wasn’t sure what to make you originally however I found three chickens wandering the island and was hit with a brain wave.”

You could pinpoint the exact moment her heart broke, and while I kind of feel bad that her rescue was only temporary, when it tastes as good as my Chickwendy Empanadiaz, she can’t really hold a grudge. Right?

 

 

In my defense, since Annelie got cage-fight induced amnesia, I have been unable to make another empanada, but when I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make some tweaks and move past my fears. And oh how glad I am that I did, smokey, sweet and packing a hell of a punch, they’re the kind of thing you can’t stop eating. Ever.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chickwendy Empanadiaz
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 large onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1kg chicken thighs, diced
2 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
1 green capsicum, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
4 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions for five minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and chicken, and cook for a further five minutes. Add the stock, bay leaves, capsicum, tomato pastes, paprikas, oregano and cayenne, with a good whack of salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for half an hour, or until the sauce is thickened. Leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Cut each piece of pastry into 9 equal squares.  Place 1 tbsp of filling in each and scrunch the egse to form little half moon pockets. Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with the egg and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp.

Devour immediately, in honour of those poor, briefly freed chickens I cooked.

Don’t tell Sia.

 

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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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