Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken

Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 43

Previously on Survivor the Vesi tribe finally started to turn things around with a dominating win in the reward challenge. Sick of seeing Coco win, they opted to use their reward to steal from them, setting off their downfall. At the immunity challenge Vesi continued their streak and then helped Baka solve their puzzle, sending Coco to their first tribal council. That set off a chain of events where paranoia got the best of Lindsay as she spiralled and despite the target being between Cassidy and Geo, the tribe opted for calm and booted her from the game. Thankfully earning her a place in Second Chances due to her iconic flame out.

Back at camp the tribe rallied together as Cassidy reflected on how Lindsay’s nerves alone caused her downfall. That being said, she was super disappointed to have received one vote and requested that whoever did it talk to her to explain their process. And while mastermind Ryan wanted to smooth things over, Geo owned up and went for a walk and straight up made the entire situation worse, accusing her of voting against him – despite Lindsay clearly being the one to do it – and showing no remorse. After debriefing with Karla however, the girls were galvanised and once again ready to take out Ryan or Geo.

The next day Elie and Jeanine were busy hunting for the Baka hidden immunity idol, finally finding it, covered in ants. Jeanine threw caution to the wind and grabbed the Beware Advantage, learning that she now had to go through the bead saga. While filling in Elie though, they were caught by Owen, their second option for third place in their alliance. As such, they filled him in and while he considered holding on to his bead to screw her out of her vote and take control with Gabler, he ultimately handed it over to build trust. Elie then took the information straight to Sami, pointing out that he is actually the one they trust over Owen. Sami meanwhile was feeling safe with his place in the tribe, though he was concerned for Gabler, who had no idea what was going on. 

Oh and despite Gabler wanting to hang on to his special bead, he ultimately gave it over to Jeanine and powered her idol. Thankfully, Sami woke up and chose chaos this morning, pulling Gabler aside and pointing out that he just powered Jeanine’s idol and um, is Sami actually a savvy player that is going to win this?

The tribes reconnected with Jeffrey for the next immunity challenge where they would be tethered together to run through a series of obstacles carrying buckets of water to release a gate. And then, instead of the usual puzzle, they would roll three balls up a ramp and land them on a platform. Oh and the victors would get a tarp each. While Coco got out to an early, massive lead, they struggled to roll the balls, leaving Vesi and Baka plenty of time to close the gap. As the three tribes faced off, Dwight and Sami quickly got their eye in, overtaking Ryan – who knocked off his two balls – and secured immunity for Vesi, followed by Baka. Kinda proving Vesi’s strategy to weaken Coco was a good idea, given they would now be down two people by the end of the episode. Before heading out, Vesi was given the power to send people on this week’s journey, opting for Geo, Jeanine and Jesse. 

Oh and we then learnt that Ryan threw the challenge to get rid of Cassidy. Back at camp however, he pretended to be disappointed in himself while locking in the vote against Cassidy with James and Karla. Sadly for him, James took that information straight back to Cassidy and assured her that they can load their votes on Geo with Karla and get rid of him without Ryan noticing. Cassidy approached him to talk things through, with each pretending that Ryan would be the next one out, with neither of them deviating from their supposed scripts. And while Ryan thought he was playing it all expertly, it was looking more and more like the group would be targeting him and Geo, just in case he gets an advantage on the journey.

Speaking of which, we caught up with Jesse, Jeanine and Geo where they discovered they had to row a boat through very rough seas until they reached an island to get their risk options. Geo used the very long row to talk about how close he was to being voted out the night before to garner sympathy and while Jeanine didn’t buy his story, the fact that Geo was confirmed to be risking his vote, makes it dangerous for them to play. Sadly for Geo, neither of his fellow journey-ers cared about him and ended up taking the risk. But turns out, he did get lucky, given he was the one that jagged the Knowledge Is Power advantage on his return to camp.

While Jesse and Jeanine sadly discovered they were now without votes at the next tribal council, Jesse reading his note in public while Jeanine learned the news in private. And then admitted what happened to the rest of the tribe, though pretended it was her first time reading it. Which annoyed Sami, given they all knew she already risked her vote the day before to secure an idol and now they know just how hard she is willing to play.

We ventured back to Coco where Geo filled the tribe in on the journey, lying to them and explaining he didn’t risk his vote. Before pulling each of his allies aside to share the truth, showing them his Knowledge Is Power advantage and while he thought it would build trust, it made Karla and James nervous enough to turn their attention to him, rather than Ryan, who had somehow become the actual target. While filling in Cassidy, she then started to get nervous about her doing a Lindsay and starting to spiral, which made them actually consider voting out one of their allies. Again.

At tribal council Cassidy spoke about the fact that while their momentum has waned, she believes they can swing it back. Ryan spoke about synergy – corporate buzzwords for the win, I guess – before opening up (in lie form) about feeling like he is the target tonight, given he bombed the challenge. Which Cassidy pointed out was noble, but kind of hard to believe. As he continued to play the aw shucks role, Karla admitted that easy votes are always tempting and given he offered himself up, it could make things good for the rest of them. Geo spoke about feeling uneasy given he missed so much potential scrambling time though was hopeful he had done enough, while James praised him for being so honest after the journey.

Probst then made Geo nervous about how to vote, while Karla – after a brief mental blank – slyly told him that he should trust in his alliance rather than being nervous. Oh and then Ryan asked everyone to say what they liked best about him as they voted, while Cassidy was just looking forward to having another chance for the tribe to prove trust by doing what they planned. With that the tribe voted before Ryan and Geo were shocked as the latter was booted from the game, with an advantage barely in his pocket.

While Geo was both surprised and disappointed to find himself booted from the game, he is such a delight that he took it all in his stride. I pulled him in for a massive hug as soon as he arrived at Loser Lodge, assuring him that he played a strong game and while I love the three tribe format, it truly is the hardest one to navigate given there is no room to hide. So between that and his personal story, I was thrilled to be able to toast his success with a big fat bowl of Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken.

I am normally a basic girl that lives for a good old honey chicken or something of that ilk when it comes to Chinese take away, but this little number has that trumped. Complex, spicy and sweet, it is the perfect comforting dish to eat through your feelings or finish out the week.

Enjoy!

Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
2 star anise
3 tbsp coriander seeds
4 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
¼ cup kosher salt
8 black tea bags
1kg chicken breast or thighs, diced
2 shallots, sliced, to garnish

Method
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Once shimmering, add the ginger, garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the peppercorns, star anise and coriander seeds and stir until fragrant, before stirring in the water, soy and salt. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and add the tea to steep for ten minutes or so. Remove the tea bags and the brine to cool completely. Pop the chicken in the large bowl and pour over the chilled brine. Cover and pop in the fridge to marinate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, drain the chicken and heat the remaining oil in a wok over high heat. In batches stir fry the chicken until cooked through and repeat the process. Serve piping hot with a garnish of shallots and devour, regally.


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Justerrine Brennan

Lunch, Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, 18 new castaways were dumped on the now traditional isles of Fiji to put themselves to the test in the ultimate game. And by ultimate, we’d all far prefer it to still be 39 days, but once again, I digress. Despite having some new editing tricks – hello drones – the dramas were the same at the three tribes as everyone had varying degrees of success setting up camp and starting fire. After Baka lost the first immunity challenge, Elie quickly flipped on her plan to lead a strong, all female alliance and instead decided to target Morriah for being weak. With Gabler immune, hair-goals Owen became the target for the other side, though thankfully his locks lived to see another day, as Elie ended the chances of the women taking control of their tribe.

Back at camp – or Baka at camp, specifically – Owen pulled the tribe together to apologise for his nervous scrambling and thanked everyone for saving him and trusting in him. Leading to Elie and Gabler admitting tribal council was a trust exercise and now that they’ve been able to prove it, the five should be unbreakable. Now Gabler was solely focused on getting the tribe fed, spirits lifted and ready to win challenges. Right on cue, an epic storm rolled over the islands and while everyone didn’t look to fare well, the fact that Baka was without a flint, means they are truly at a disadvantage. Though bless, the next morning, they used it as a learning moment and quickly decided to work on getting the roof of their shelter secured. While Owen was also very concerned about Gabler’s health, given he was clearly on struggle street after three days.

Over at Vesi, Jesse and Dwight were far less concerned about repairing after the storm and instead were hunting for an idol and talking about the dynamics of their tribe. They noticed it was kinda split into three pairs, with Nneka and Cody close, Noelle and Justine closer and as such, Jesse decided that Dwight should be his island wife. We then learnt a bit more of Dwight, who was essentially a child political journo which is iconic. After that detour, Dwight suggested to Jesse that Cody is the biggest threat and that he would prefer to align with the girls, while Jesse definitely wasn’t threatened by him, giving Cody is clearly just here for a good time. And therefore, super easy to navigate around. Someone he wasn’t vibing with was Justine who was busy making eye contact with spiders and as such, also seemed a wee out of her element.

And just like that, a duo is already divided.

Over at Coco the tribe were doing a little ballet or yoga or something, followed by some back cracking from Ryan. Karla reiterated she is literally aligned with everyone in the tribe, though she would most like to take out Geo first. The only concern being about how his bestie zaddy-Ryan would react. As the duo went hunting for nuts, Geo opened up about his coming out experience and how it ended with his parents kicking him out of home. Which is absolutely fucked and I am so glad he used it to make a life for himself that he could be proud of. And well, to put it simply, fuck his parents. Ryan meanwhile was gushing about how close he and Geo were and ugh, give Ryan the win, in addition to my heart.

Back at Vesi Noelle was talking Cody through putting on her prosthesis, which he explained to Nneka and Jesse was important to him as he watched one of his friends lose their leg and then die from cancer in High School. Which goes a long way to explaining why he is so upbeat, silly and adventurous. Flipping to Baka, Owen went for a walk to get water for the tribe where he shared to us that he was trying to keep his old-grump personality under wraps. Particularly if he were to find out everyone was hunting for idols instead of helping him keep everyone alive. Right on cue, Jeanine and Elie were busy looking for said idol while trying to decide whether they should focus on adding Sami or Owen as their third. Elie likened Sami as her responsible, independent older child while Owen is her needy baby, and given the boys don’t appear tight, she was confident pulling one in would be an easy win. Which obviously meant Sami was floating the idea of an all male alliance at that very moment.

The tribes reconnected with Probst for the next immunity challenge where they would swim to a cage, climb in and release a large snake containing number tiles, use the tiles to solve a combination and then release puzzle pieces, which they would need to solve. With the winners getting immunity and a full fishing set, second getting a few fishing items and the losers getting some face time with Probst at tribal. Given the snake was ridiculously heavy, everyone struggled to get through the first phase until Elie fell off while holding on to it which gave them the lead, while Coco and Vesi were left to nip at their heels. Well, Coco at the very least, as Nneka kinda gave up on helping with the snake at Vesi, leading to them falling way behind. So far behind in fact that Jeanine and Elie secured the win for Baka with ease, just ahead of Coco. Sending Vesi to tribal council, while Noelle looked on angrily from the sit out bench.

Which, relatable.

Back at camp the tribe got a quick little pep talk from Cody, before pivoting to scrambling with Cody knowing he would have his work cut out for himself to protect his bestie Nneka after bombing the challenge. As the girls locked in their plan against Nneka, she approached Jesse and Dwight to see if they’d be open to keeping her. We dabbed out and checked in with the triumphant Baka who were riding high on their first victory, with Elie particularly thrilled to have had the hero moment in the puzzle given she struggled at school growing up due to her ADHD and dyslexia. As the tribe discussed how best to use their fishing gear, Gabler ignored everyone’s suggestion to pop a rope on the Hawaiian sling given he had never used one and immediately put a target on his back. That somehow led to Jeanine going through his bag to get confirmation whether his idol expires after the second tribal council or his second tribal council. Which ended up being the latter, meaning she, Elie and Owen needed to figure out a way to navigate around it should they actually want to take a shot.

We returned to Vesi for the more pressing scramble with Justine approaching Dwight and Jesse to figure out a split vote plan to navigate Nneka potentially playing her shot in the dark. Sadly for her, she needed Jesse to pull it off and given Justine had already made him more nervous than Nneka, Justine girl, you in danger. Jesse caught up with his island wife Dwight to see how he was feeling about the upcoming tribal council and while Dwight was more interested in aligning with the girls to weaken Cody, by way of taking out Nneka, Jesse was also aware that Dwight does not have a vote and as such, he can’t help either way. Justine approached the duo and admitted that she wasn’t sure she could trust Jesse, which made him want her gone ASAP. And Dwight? Well, he wasn’t bothered.

Jesse approached Cody and Nneka to discuss the upcoming tribal council, giving them the deets and straight up vibing. Feeling good about getting rid of Justine, Cody turned his attention to idol hunting where he quickly stumbled across the Beware Advantage. And despite the risk, took it and immediately lost his vote unless he was able to convince each person in the tribe to give him a unique bead from their bags to activate his idol bracelet. He got to work, admitting to Jesse what happened and they set to work securing the rest. Cody decided he would wear a palm frond hat at tribal council and as such, needed to bedazzle it with beads, asking everyone to give him theirs. Which worked, for everyone but Noelle, who had already made a bracelet out of hers.

At tribal council Cody admitted they were crushed to lose immunity, before gushing about his iconic hat to Probst and how the tribe all helped by gifting him their beads. Justine admitted she would like a hat, with Cody offering to make one should she survive. She opened up about knowing she is on the block given everyone is paired up in the tribe and she hasn’t talked strategy with Cody at all. Dwight opened up about the fact everyone knows he doesn’t have a vote tonight, while Jesse and Nneka admitted that it may seem silly for him to have shared that intel, in the game it makes sense. Talk turned to the potential idol, with Nneka trying to distract while Noelle was genuinely in the dark about the situation.

Cody admitted that Dwight losing his vote likely won’t impact tribal council while Noelle felt that nobody had done anything wrong and as such, tonight was a tough decision for everyone. Though she was planning to vote for strength so they don’t have to come back. With that the tribe voted – including Cody, who was able to get the last bead from Noelle in a flashback – which tragically led to her friend Justine being booted from the game. JUST LIKE I PREDICTED BY ANOINTING HER THE MODERN ERA JESSIE CAMACHO?!

Which was not something she delighted in when I gave her a hug at Loser Lodge. She was understandably super bummed to be out of the game second but I reminded her that an iconic early boot – that is gorgeous to boot – will live on in the hearts of us gays for decades to come, just like Jesse, and as such, she should be proud of herself. And while I don’t know if it was that or the Justerrine Brennan that cheered her up, all I know is that she was happy when I exited.

While this terrine gives off big turducken energy, I assure you the pork and chicken combination is damn near perfection. Sweet, succulent and packed with a juicy-earthy punch, this is the perfect thing to feast on for dinner, or have cold at a picnic. She. Is. Versatile, mama.

Enjoy!

Justerrine Brennan
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to brush
1 onion, diced
12 rashers smoked streaky bacon
2 chicken breasts, diced
500g pork mince
⅓ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
⅓ cup dried cranberries
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp sage leaves, roughly chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the oil in a large frying pan and sweat the onion over low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl.

While the onion gets chill, use 10 of the bacon rashers to line a 1kg loaf tin, leaving excess to hang over the sides. Add the chicken, pork, pistachios, cranberries, nutmeg, thyme, sage and chilli with a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir until well combined. Press the filing into the tin and fold the overhanging bacon over to seal tightly. Oil some foil – lol, rhyme – and cover the terrine. Again, tightly.

Transfer to a roasting pan and half-fill – the roasting pan, obvi – with boiling water and pop in the oven to bake for 90 minutes. Once cooked, gently remove from the water bath, uncover, drain excess fat and leave to cool.

Once cool, transfer to a baking tray and cover with foiling and pop something heavy on top – filled tin cans work best – and transfer to the fridge to chill overnight.

To serve, unmold the terrine, brush with a little oil and pop in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Then, finally, devour.


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Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss

Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the top six gave us a late-breaking rusical in honour of the iconic girls trip movies of the ‘10s. And while everyone was solid, given it is so close to the end, it was the back-up dancers showing their buns that stole the show. Well, the buns AND Vivian who absolutely devoured the performance and finally secured her first, very well-deserved victory of the season. Tragically while one half of my heart was shining, the other one faded as Irma landed in the bottom opposite Giselle. And in my opinion, was sent home solely for having the weaker track record. On paper.

Backstage Vivian was disappointed that her shining moment coincided with her bestie going home. Same, girl, same. As they read Irma’s farewell message, Fiercalicious grew annoyed that yet another queen was rooting for Vivian to take out the win before she departed. Which, obviously. As the dolls sat down, they praised Giselle for absolutely slaying the lip sync which led to Vivian realising she is now the only one to not have to do so in an adorable little humble brag. Oh and then Fiercalicious and Kimmy started shading each other, but thankfully it stopped before they stumbled into real feud territory again. I think, because these icons love to pop off.

The next day the top five were exhausted after the rusical, though ready to push through to make it through to the end. They spoke about how diverse they are as performers and how they have each brought something different to the competition, while Vivian worried what Fiercalicious would do once she developed pores. Brad dropped by to reward the dolls with some video messages from their family with Giselle’s boyfriend being super cute, while more importantly, their dog Vicky is absolutely gorgeous, as Giselle – and I – started to sob. Kimmy’s mum is a sweet, perfect angel who must be protected at all costs, Vivian’s dad is the most adorable, energetic, kind man and I live for him, while Jada’s bestie Baby Bel Bel gave her a delicious pep talk and Fiercalicious’ mum was so gentle and lovely that I just want to give her a hug.

With everyone’s hearts nice and full, Brad announced that this week they’d be going big with the challenge by throwing a Masquerade Ball. The first category would be Masc for Mascara, then they would stomp the Incog-she-to runway followed by walking in a designed outfit that is inspired by five masks. And since Vivian took out the last challenge, she got to give them to her sisters, this time matching them with ones that she thinks they will excel at.

Everyone split up to get to work on their outfits, with Fiercalicious very nervous about having to sew a look while Vivian and Giselle were thrilled to be the only sewers left. Team Glue Guns meanwhile were busy shading each other while Giselle tried to help out her sisters where she could. Which was 99% of the time. When focusing on herself however, she was planning to go big and dramatic in her look while Jada was just shocked that she was sewing. Brad returned to kiki with the dolls about their looks, with Fiercalicious confident in her workmanship (once she goes from the machine to the glue gun, obvi). Kimmy was sewing against type by giving a dramatic gown, rather than a bra and panty combo, Jada meanwhile was playing it safe with Brad cautioning that she needs to give them more while Vivian was struggling to edit down her look and to give it polish. While Giselle was reminded to focus on her own outfit first, like oxygen on a plane.

After Brad exited, Vivian put the advice to work and decided to whip up some statement pants, while Giselle ran into disaster as she tried to line her gown WITH SHEETS OF GLUE. And let’s just say, it did not like the steamer. Jada too was on the struggle bus as she discovered she hadn’t left a head hole in her gown, while Kimmy questioned her ruffle choice and instead tried to Kaos her gown with cardboard shards.

Elimination Day arrived as the dolls spoke about the importance of ball culture in educating and leading the way for the LGBTQIA+ community. It then took a very heavy turn towards consent when Kimmy opened up about how often she, and all trans women in general, are sexually assaulted. Which visibly shocked all of her sisters as they rallied around her and reiterated how strong and powerful she is and thanked her for being some open with them. And ugh, the dolls are just so damn loving and beautiful, despite how often they have brought the drama this season! 

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined on the panel by Lesley Hampton before Giselle opened the Masc for Mascara runway giving sexy Gaultier sailor, Kimmy was a gloriously regal king, complete with nipple tassles, Fiercalicious was PERFECTION in mint with a pink beard and wig in honour of Mathieu Anderson. Vivian was a gorgeous, androgynous camp delight, while Jada looked like Cruella de Vil’s pimp boyfriend. On the Incog-she-to runway, Giselle went from school girl to glamazon showgirl, Kimmy went from anonymous profile on Grindr to club kid clown, Fiercalicious went from glamorous villager to golden Josephine Baker, Vivian went from chef to Italian vixen while Jada went from evil queen to shimmering fairy.

When it came to their Masquerade Eleganza, Giselle was stunning in a glamorous Cinderella gown – minus the unfinished hem – Kimmy was a carnival delight, Fiercalicious was stunning in a purple velvet gown, Vivian was a glamorous Sandy Olsen on the way to the ball while Jada was all drama is a stunning black gown with golden ruffles. Giselle was praised for giving three vastly different looks, despite a clunky reveal in the second category and the fact she didn’t hem such a perfectly designed look. Kimmy received universal praise for wearing pants in the first runway and looking stunning in the other looks (despite not making much sense, obvi). Fiercalicious received universal praise for knocking each and every look out of the park, Vivian was praised for the vibe she brought, despite Brooke wanting her to stop hiding behind the camp on the runway and to bring more drama in the designed look. While Jada gave us the Meatloaf treatment, aka two out of three were winners while her Incog-She-to was read for not bringing enough of a reveal.

Oh and then Brooke announced that this was the final elimination, as this year, they would be having a top four!

Backstage the dolls were gagged by Brooke’s pre-exit announcement that there is only one more week of the competition, while the hot glue girls were shocked that one of them is likely to win the challenge. Well, were shocked, until they started to bicker amongst themselves over who used less glue. Vivian meanwhile was well and truly in her feels given the judges felt she didn’t give them enough drama, while Kimmy was accepting of her designed look being read for filth, though was pissed about the rest. They one thing they could both agree on, is that neither wanted to lip sync against their sister.

Ultimately it was Fiercalicious that took out her second win of the season, while Giselle and Jada were sent to safety, leaving Kimmy and Vivian to battle for safety. Just as they expected. As soon as Ctrl, Alt, Dlt by Rev kicked off, the dolls were ready to fight. Kimmy was a full on showgirl, hitting every lyric and nailing everything. Vivian meanwhile was camp, high energy with a little bit of edge and well, it was perfect. Sadly, not perfect enough for her to make it through to the finale as Kimmy was saved and my love Vivian exited the competition.

And well, I was not happy about it. She followed the sound of my wailing screams and heaving tears to find me backstage cutting up Brooke’s wardrobe and wigs in an act of revenge for breaking my heart two weeks in a row. Vivian being a delightful cat-mom, she gently pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok and she is happy with making it to the top five. Her calm soothing presence was enough to talk me off the edge, allowing me to pivot into the bargaining phase of grief by demanding she and Irma live out my dream for them to become the Canadian version of Trixie and Katya. Which she agreed to, but maybe that was because she was starving for some Taragon Chickian Vanderpuss.

Rich, creamy and packing a herbaceous punch, this comforting main is the perfect winter meal. The tarragon perfectly cuts through the creaminess to dance across your palate alongside the earthiness of the chicken. Just like our sweet Vivian in a rusical.

Enjoy!

PHOTO 2

Tarragon Chickian Vanderpuss
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 tsp olive oil
4 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried tarragon
2 chicken breasts
80ml dry vermouth
½ tsp sea salt
60ml double cream
pepper, to taste
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

Method
Place the oil in a frying pan with a lid over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and dried tarragon for a couple of minutes, or until the kitchen is nice and fragrant. Push it to one side and add the chicken breasts, smooth side down and cook for five minutes or so. Flip and immediately pour over the vermouth. Allow to bubble up for a minute before sprinkling over the salt. Reduce heat to low, pop on the lid and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Bring the juices to the boil, stir in the cream and add a good whack of pepper and the fresh tarragon. 

Serve the chicken immediately on a bed of rice or mashed potato, followed by a generous drizzle of sauce and some fresh tarragon. Then devour, like the winner you should be.


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Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink

Main, Poultry, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa with Toni out of the way both factions within the tribe weren’t sure how to proceed or take control. While the OG Yontau tribe were still focused on getting rid of Dante, the fractured OG Masu group weren’t sure whether to band with them or take out Dino. After Meryl won immunity and ventured off to the Outpost, she scored another advantage for the small cost of her vote at the upcoming tribal council. Which thankfully proved to be unnecessary anyway, as the tribe banded together to eliminate all of their threat, Dante. My Speedo King.

The next day things were rather zen at camp with Felix disappointed to have lost his friend though he knew that he needed to adapt and move on, should he want to make it to the end. Marian meanwhile pledged her ongoing friendship with Dante. Talk turned to Tejan highlighting the Steffi, Meryl and Marian faction, with Dino pointing out it was hardly new information to anyone. Killarney approached Shane about splitting up the trio, suggesting Steffi needs to be the next one to go while Shane cautioned her that it is actually Meryl pulling the strings and as such, she needs to be their focus.

Speaking of Meryl, she was busy catching up with Phil and floating the idea of working together while Phil jokingly called her the kingpin. Which you just know is dangerous for her in the long run and oh god, don’t take out my queen Meryl!

The tribe reconvened with zaddy Nico for the latest immunity challenge where they would first spin a ball in a hoop while traversing a balance beam with the last six standing moving on to a table maze. With the last one standing, getting one of their holes plugged. Then the first three to finish that, would move on to an upright maze with the first to navigate three balls to the top winning immunity and a brand new car, test drive and picnic. So immunity, but zero shot at winning the game. Just like Kass, I guess. Felix dropped almost instantly, followed by Marian and Steffi leaving the rest to move on to the table maze. Shane, Killarney, Meryl and Tejan all dropped, leaving Dino and Phil to battle for the advantage on the table maze. Which wasn’t much of a battle, as Dino just as quickly jagged the advantage.

When it came to the second round, Tejan quickly booked his place on the upright maze, soon joined by Dino and Meryl. While they all kept getting close to the end, they kept dropping until Tejan landed two balls in quick succession with Dino nipping at his heels. Mere centimetres from immunity and the car, Tejan dropped his third ball, giving Dino enough time to calmly work his final ball up the wall to score himself immunity and reward. Though again, he just cursed his game. Before Nico even offered Dino a chance to invite anyone to join him on the picnic, Tejan started begging Dino to take him given he was so close. Sadly for him, he instead invited Phil, Steffi and Meryl as they all gave up on the chance to eat last episode. After already missing out on food at the merge.

Oh and the five left behind would get the chance to draw rocks for a trip to the Outpost. Which was promptly won by Marian. Leaving Tejan feeling even more enraged to have missed out, given he is guaranteed nothing.

Back at camp Tejan was disappointed to have just narrowly missed out on victory, with Marian quickly growing annoyed with his sense of entitlement. Particularly since he is a challenge beast and being hungry only makes him easier to beat. While Killarney tried to distract him and perk him up with some illegal rice, Felix and Marian went to the well to discuss who should be the next target at tribal council with Marian suggesting Meryl is the most dangerous person left in the game. Tejan joined them to get to work on making the aforementioned rice, which annoyed them both though Felix wisley cautioned her from saying anything, given it only paints a target on Tejan’s back. 

We ventured off to reward where Dino explained to us that he took Steffi on reward as it means she can not forge new alliances and is unable to go to the Outpost. While the four of them suggested getting rid of Tejan next, Meryl knew that both of her alliances are close to death and as such, she needs to make a strike on Steffi and Marian before they go after her.

Returning to camp, Killarney was smashing rice while Tejan joined the other two in refusing to eat and as such, she promptly threw him under the bus when the victors returned to camp. He came back where Killarney confronted him in front of everyone before they all left to avoid the drama. When it was just the two of them, she told him how disappointed she felt to have been left out to dry. Oh and then he snuck a spoon of rice and hid in the jungle to eat it.

Steffi meanwhile was busy catching up with Felix, floating getting rid of Meryl first followed by Dino and while he was safe in her pecking order, her confidence made him more nervous about her. As such, he approached Phil about getting rid of Steffi instead, given she appears to have more power and is far more dangerous, should she make it to the top eight. While Phil realised Steffi was still a threat, he was concerned about which decision would be best at setting up his end game. Felix next approached Dino, telling him that he is the next one to go in Steffi’s head and just like that, he was on board to blindside her instead.

At the Outpost, Marian was given the choice between rice and a clue to a hidden immunity idol and despite not feeling confident in her choice, she felt a single idol wouldn’t be what wins her the game and instead, took rice back to camp given they were all starving. Upon her return, she told everyone she was given the choice between a dessert buffet and a bag of rice, before getting the rice out and sulking. With Meryl pulling her in for a hug, while Phil was shocked that Marian could be so close with Meryl while simultaneously plotting her demise. After Meryl disappeared, Marian confirmed they were still blindsiding her with Phil lying and saying nothing had changed. And then realised he needs to start coming up with a way to repair that relationship after getting rid of Steffi.

Steffi and Marian caught up by the well with Marian telling her the truth about the Outpost with Steffi reassuring her that she has her back and to not worry about losing out on an idol. Sadly for them, Felix was continuing to work the Steffi vote, telling Meryl that she and Marian are targeting her and as such, she should join them in taking out Steffi instead. Knowing they still need one more vote to get it done, Meryl then promised Tejan her reward steal advantage should he vote with her and just like that, shit is about to get real.

At tribal council Meryl spoke about blindsides occuring due to everyone having killer poker faces, while Marian agreed that everyone is playing a very strong game. Steffi opened up about the fact that just because she has a plan, doesn’t mean that nobody else has a different plan and that hers may be the wrong one. Shane said it all comes down to blind faith, while Tejan was confused about the prospect of the Meryl, Steffi and Marian trio breaking up with Steffi adding they all just need to stick with the plan. Meryl said that promises aren’t really her thing in the game, not wanting to write cheques she can’t cash before Steffi spoke about driving or piloting and confusing everyone. Tejan felt like he wasn’t sure what was happening at tribal council, while everyone else gave the vibe they were in on the plan.

With that the tribe voted and it turns out that Steffi and Marian were not in on the right plan – or driving the car, before flying the plane to the destination – as Steffi was narrowly booted from the game. And while Steffi was obviously gutted to be voted out with an idol in her pocket, she quickly perked up upon seeing me at Ponderosa. While I wasn’t a massive fan during her first season, Steffi’s second run was far more enjoyable as the edit allowed us to see more of her kind heart. And as such, I was thrilled to cheer her up with some comfort in the form of a Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink.

There is something so nostalgic and warming about a chicken parcel. Maybe due to the fact they were a big bloody deal back in the ‘90s. Crunchy pastry, moist chicken and a glorious hot, creamy filling? That sounds like a nice way to spend the evening to me.

Enjoy!

Chicken Spinach Steffilos Brink
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 leek, sliced
250g frozen spinach
200g Danish feta, mashed
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest
4 chicken breasts
8 sheets filo pastry
¼ cup unsalted butter

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a skillet and saute the leek on medium for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the spinach and cook until defrosted and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Once chill, add the cheeses, egg and lemon zest to the leek and spinach and stir until well combined.

To assemble, lay the flattened breasts out and spoon over a quarter of the cheesy filling. Season with salt and pepper and fold the breast over to enclose the filling, like a big, meaty cigar.

Place two filo sheets on a clean surface and place a piece of chicken in the centre of one end. Roll the pastry over to cover, fold in each end and then wrap the rest of the sheet up. Repeat the process until you have four parcels.

Brush with butter and place on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until they are golden and crisp. Oh and cooked through.


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Tandooria Chickeland Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, Treat Yo' Self Week, TV

Previously on Survivor South Africa the pre-merge returnees on Yontau managed to avoid the first tribal council. Sadly for them, it gave them plenty of time to create drama in the absence of scrambling. We had Pinty overeating and yelling at people, Tania righteously standing up to her bullying and most importantly, Thoriso lying about Tevin finding an idol. Though she was safe, given Tania kindly took the fall for her. After Yontau won immunity, Toni tried to rally the troops against Marian. Sadly for her, the threat of the Season 6 alliance loomed large and instead they blindsided Toni’s bestie PK.

Back at camp Tejan was disappointed to be on the wrong side of the numbers while Toni started to flip out on the alliance for making the wrong decision by voting out PK instead of her. This annoyed Dante who then yelled at her to calm down given she and PK being close is what put them in this position. She then pulled herself aside to try and calm down, with Meryl going to comfort her. Despite not really wanting to hear what was bothering Toni. They rejoined the tribe where Toni continued to talk about them making a bad decision before Marian spoke up and called her out for saying she is the weakest in the tribe, when she would actually describe Toni as such.

We then checked in with Yontau where Tevin was leading a discussion about where to sleep which obviously pissed off Pinty, given people now wanted to take her place by the fire when they spent the first few nights in the shelter. And well, everyone was kinda over her shit. Or maybe it is just me.

The next day we learnt Dino had fallen asleep and fell into the fire, burning his hands quite badly, though thankfully able to continue in the game. Though he will have to sit out some of the challenges. In non-burn related drama, Tania continued to complain about Pinty to Tevin and while he cautioned her to not let it bother her, otherwise she will be the one painting a target on her own back. And while she agreed that was the best move, she also worried she wouldn’t be able to stay quiet. Particularly since the rest of the tribe were also frustrated by Pinty’s attitude. Proven by the fact her allies Tevin and Seamus already questioned how long they’d be able to babysit her and keep her anger at bay.

Back at Masu things were slightly less dramatic as Toni and Dante apologised to each other, before they started a new argument and grew angrier and angrier. Toni exited camp in a rage, deciding that the best case was to swap ASAP and play at the bottom of a new tribe rather than deal with them anymore. On the flipside Meryl, Marian and Steffi hung out by the well, thrilled at their ability to play in the middle of the tribe and ready to go to the end together.

We finally checked in with my love Nico who returned for the latest immunity challenge where two people from each tribe would hold on to nets while the rest of their tribe would try and weigh down their rivals’ with sandbags. Dante and Steffi faced off against Thoriso and Felix as sack-holders, with the latter quickly becoming a target and dropping his bags first. This made Yontau turn their attention to Dante, who was loaded up while Steffi relaxed without a sandbag in her basket. As Dante struggled, Thoriso tried to stay zen and keep her tribe in the game. After Dante dropped, the girls battled it out as Thoriso edged closer and closer to the ground, eventually dropping and handing immunity to Masu.

The victors headed off to enjoy their breakfast reward, feeling nourished and energised. While they all tried to play it calm as they searched for an idol hidden at their table. Before throwing caution to the wind and openly hunting in front of each other. Sadly for them, it was pointless as everyone left empty handed.

Back at camp Yontau were on edge about their first tribal council, with Phil wanting to focus on keeping the tribe unified rather than strong. Which means Tania and Pinty are well and truly in trouble. Tevin pulled Tania aside to encourage her to clear the air with Pinty and lessen the target on her back, though given she wasn’t really interested in hearing what Tevin had to say, it could spell trouble for Tania. That being said she did try to talk to Pinty to apologise, while Pinty straight up ran away to leave Tania to further spiral in front of the tribe.

Felix admitted that he sees Pinty is quite the bully and is making camp difficult for everyone else, while Pinty tried to suggest Tania was making decisions based on her unstable emotions. Which is not cool. Everyone in the tribe quietly admitted both of them are causing chaos, though given they haven’t been to tribal council yet, the uncertainty of tribal lines made them nervous about which person was the safer option to take out.

The next day Tania was ready to fight and save herself by shutting up, while Killarney, Shona and Thoriso worried about her unpredictability. Right on cue Tania hid in the bushes behind them as they locked in the vote against her, but agreed they couldn’t be bothered dealing with the fallout of telling her. Not to worry though, as she then followed them back to camp and immediately didn’t shut up, calling them out for not having courage and tried to tell them that that will be what costs them the game. Rather than say approaching them with a counter plan.

Thoriso caught up with Seamus to fill him in on Tania’s latest chaotic moves, while Shona quietly put finishing touches on a fake hidden immunity idol which she planned to leave at tribal council for future use, should she need it. Seamus then caught up with Pinty, talking about the fact they were both the first boots from their tribe in their season, with Pinty trying to snatch the idol away from him to guarantee her safety. Meanwhile, out of nowhere, Phil and Felix started to float the idea of flipping the vote on Seamus instead. Oh and Tevin calmly watched on leaving Tania one final chance to flip the vote on Pinty, in which case he would gladly flip to get rid of her too.

At tribal council Tevin spoke about not loving being back at tribal council, particularly since nobody in their tribe has had the pleasure of enjoying the individual game. He spoke about Seamus having the idol and being glad he is guaranteed to survive a tribal council. Dino spoke about the obvious drama back at camp, identifying Tania as the biggest problem. This gave her the chance to throw Pinty under the bus, talking about how Pinty’s attitude is causing most of the drama. Pinty fought back, saying that Tania called her a greedy fucking pig, which was untrue due to the addition of fuck. As Tania remained calm, Pinty continued to fight back and was pretty harsh to poor Tania, which was really uncute.

Tania spoke about it needing to be either her or Pinty that goes home tonight, given their tension is an issue. And since most of the tribe walks around Pinty on eggshells, she thinks it should be her. Pinty continued to get super sassy as Tania made a last ditch plea, reminding people that one vote could mean everything in this game. Sadly though, it was all for nought, as Seamus played the idol on himself and the tribe banded together to get rid of Tania. Presumably to keep Pinty’s attitude around as an easy target for a swap. I assume.

As Tania arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she can exit the game with her head held high as once again, she stuck to her morals. And well, I can totally relate to not being able to hold my tongue when someone is being a jerk. I then had to admit something to her. Something tragic, which explains why the tribe opted to keep Pinty over Tania – the damn pizza curse. Despite loving Tania, I thought maybe someone iconic like her would be able to overcome it, but alas, instead, I cursed her game with my Tandooria Chickeland Pizza.

Hot and spicy, with a healthy slathering of raita, this little fusion is near perfection. Add in some chilli and sweet capsicum, and well, it is as wonderful as my love Tania.

Enjoy!

Tandooria Chickeland Pizza
Serves: 2-4 dear friends, or Pinty.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
4 tbsp tandoori paste
1 cup natural yoghurt
500g chicken breast, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
mozzarella, to taste
2 tsp mint, roughly chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 lebanese cucumber, seeded and grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the tandoori paste, two tablespoons of the yoghurt and chicken in a bowl, tossing to coat and leaving to marinate for 15 minutes. Once done, heat a lug of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken until crisp and gorgeous.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle of the herbs, onion, capsium and chicken, followed by a generous dose of mozzarella. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

While that is getting all hot, combine the yoghurt, mint, chilli flakes, cucumber and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Once the pizza is ready, drizzle with the raita and devour, greedily. Though not like a greedy little pig.


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The Vivikorean Fire Pockets

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 7, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on All Winners the dolls were challenged with creating viral TikTok dances to sell their brand. Before that star-rich Trinity joked about wanting another star to poor single-starred Shea and Monet. While the last girl without being blocked Raja just desperately wanted to join the club. While everyone was strong in selling themselves and their brand, it was Jinkx with the least dance moves that stole the show as she hilariously made a sandwich. After following Ru’s Monet shone brightly, while Yvie gave moves that will totally be going viral. And obviously Raja was an icon. Because she is. Ultimately though it was Jinkx and Monet that landed in the top before they slayed the iconic spoken word lip sync from Designing Women. Monet’s usual schtick was enough to snatch the win over her sister before she gladly blocked an equally happy Raja.

Backstage the dolls were living their best lives, none more so than Monet who was just excited to finally have another star. And ever the competitive optimist, now she was looking to finish with the most. The Viv was proud of her sisters for serving spoken word, with Trinity more jealous that she couldn’t participate rather than not jagging a win. Talk turned to how Raja would take the fact there is no plunger secret, which obviously cued her entry. And damn was she hilarious as she entered pissed, frustrated and so cute as she called them all cunts. I feel like a broken record, but the moment was iconic. Trinity then pointed out that Jinkx and Jaida are now in front with three stars each before congratulating Jinkx on winning 4 mother tucking challenges. Shea and Monet meanwhile were talking about their uphill battle to make it to the end before Jinkx sweetly dropped by and told them that if anyone could win the last two challenges and make it, it is Shea.

And Monet, which obviously made Shea feel less special.

The next day Kennedy Davenport hijacked Rumail to announce that the Kennedy Davenport Center Honors nominees were about to be named. Which was all explained when Ru arrived, as for this week’s Maxi Challenge they were all tasked with roasting their fellow nominees – or sisters – in honour of the iconic Kennedy Davenport. In front of Ronan Farrow, no less. More importantly, the order would be decided by fate as the pit crew arrived for a little mini challenge where the queens would have to pop a balloon against one of the zaddies bums. With the colour of the confetti in their balloon deciding their position. In the challenge, obviously.

Jaida topped her way to 7th place, Trinity thrust into 5th, Jinkx struggled her way into 4th – insert they’re all bottoms joke here – Monet quickly fucked into 6th, Yvie jagged 2nd, Shea busted into 3rd, while Raja brought sexy back before dominating her man into first. Leaving The Viv to close the show without even needing to pop her cherry. Though bless, she was still allowed.

After everyone had a cigarette and calmed down, they split up to work on their sets with Jinkx confident to be playing within her wheelhouse. Though kindly asked her sisters if there was anything off limits she should avoid. Jinkx admitted she was struggling to write for The Viv, while The Viv was more concerned about her jokes getting lost in translation. Shea, Trinity, Yvie and Jaida caught up, with Shea scared about getting enough stars by the finale, while Jaida and Yvie were terrified about popping their roast cherries. Though Yvie was ready to do her best. Jinkx and Monet joined the fray, with the latter reminding everyone she won the All Stars roast. And that Trinity lost. Badly. She meanwhile was nervous about overcoming one of her weaknesses, with Jinkx offering to pay her back for her design challenge kindnesses and help her out in any way possible.

Shea was first to run through her set with Ross and Solomon Georgio and was so damn charming. While Jaida just tried to flatter her way through it all, Monet was in her element, Raja was cruel and totally silly and I love it. The Vivienne unwisely looked to be reading Ru, while Jinkx was having the time of her life. Trinity slowly started to get out of her head and power through the nerves, while Yvie was just being Yvie. In the highest of all compliments.

Performance Day arrived as everyone split up to beat their mugs, with Yvie ready to be read though unsure what people will be able to find to say about her. Monet meanwhile wanted everyone to go in on her, hard, while Shea was just terrified given if she doesn’t win this challenge, it is highly unlikely she has a path to get to the end. Monet and Trinity meanwhile pulled themselves aside to strategise who to block and while they thought they were being super subtle, everyone knew what was up. And well, Jinkx was thrilled to call them out about it. Again. Raja and Yvie meanwhile wanted to catch their way up, while Jinkx grew panicked about potentially being blocked tonight, given it could cost her making it to the end. And she really wants to beat her competition bestie Monet in the end.

Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined by Ronan Farrow on the judges panel as the dolls made their way to the stage to open the Kennedy Davenport Center Honors Hall of Shade. Where icon Peppermint’s daughter Wintergreen gave the introductory address, a monologue delivered by Kennedy herself during her runs on the show. Which was everything. Raja opened the show and as usual, she was absolutely delightful and living her best life, as she just straight up vibed. Yvie went low and was oh so good and Shea was stunning as she charmingly destroyed her sisters before Jinkx absolutely dominated from start to finish, weaving big dicks and incest into an epic set. I mean, that timing! Trinity meanwhile did a killer job with zinger after zinger before Monet read her for filth for it, and then eviscerated all of her sisters. And it was so damn good. Jaida was cute and charming, despite her nerves. Well, until she just started reading herself, then she was gold. Before The Viv closed the show in brutal fashion. And it was perfect.

On the All Glowed Up runway Raja was stunning as an iridescent butterfly, Yvie was perfection as an illuminated mushroom patch, Shea was a gorgeously shimmering sunflower and Jinkx was a gloriously burning witch and ugh, it was amazing. Trinity was a neon carnival delight, Monet served sexy solar system realness, Jaida was a beautiful mermaid, though after dark, before The Vivienne closed the show as a gorgeous rainbow angel.

Before critiquing the dolls, Ru announced that this week the rules would be changing and nobody would be getting blocked. Since they want everyone on a level playing field for the final challenge. More importantly, the judges lived for how mean Raja was in the roast and for looking architectural and stunning on the runway. Yvie received praise for sticking to her vibe and serving a gorgeous runway. Shea meanwhile received universal praise for her stunning runway and for bringing power to her roast. Jinkx was obviously universally beloved, even though the judges had epically high expectations for her. Oh and they lived for her concept on the runway. Trinity too was universally beloved, from the roast to the runway and well, this was redemption. The judges lived for everything Monet gave them in the roast and for serving something classy and creative on the runway. While Jaida was clearly nervous in the challenge, they lived for how she powered through but more importantly, they thought her runway was absolutely perfect. Oh and the obviously adored The Viv for being dominant in every facet of the week.

Backstage Trinity was thrilled to finally deliver in a roast on the show while Wintergreen straight up shot the show in drag. Until the girls convinced her to join them for a kiki, and encouraged her to take Wintergreen out on the road. Wintergreen in turn praised the girls for all that they do and how hard they work. Everyone donned their dressing gowns, grateful to be out of the runways given they were so uncomfortable. Yvie thanked everyone for being such killer artists and making them all better. Everyone praised Trinity for finally turning things around, while she pointed out that everyone is great. Particularly Shea, who didn’t even have notes. Shea in turn pointed out that while she is last place when it comes to stars, she has had such a fun journey with everyone that it doesn’t even matter to her.

Ronan Farrow then dropped by and well, I want his suit so badly. It was killer. As was Jinkx wanting to bone him. So badly.

Ultimately it was Jinkx and Trinity that landed in the top before battling it out to Ava Max’s Kings & Queens. And well, Jinkx was a camp and poppy delight and it was oh so unexpected, I lived for every damn minute out it. Trinity was obviously on point with the comedy and all the lyrics, but there was no taking your eyes off Jinkx. I mean, she even did a damn cartwheel. Almost. Which proved to be enough to give her the ultimate win and net her another $10K.

Given how well she did in the challenge, it was kind of awkward to pull The Vivienne aside for some commiserations. Given she did THAT. That being said, she was disappointed to not land in the top, though the sight of her favourite scouser – me – made her feel so much better. I reminded her that like Raja, Shea and Monet before her, the number of wins and stars really don’t matter, given she has been so damn strong all season. I mean, the level of talent has been insane and The Vivienne has been the one to shine brightest. Which gave me the perfect excuse to reward her fire with equally fiery The Vivikorean Fire Pockets.

Another Brendan Pang number from Masterchef, these barely tweaked delights are the ultimate snack. Earthy, sweet and oh-so-spicy, they are the perfect snack for a cold rainy day or with an ice cold beer in the sweltering heat. So, like, whenever, I guess?

Enjoy!

The Vivikorean Fire Pockets
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 cup water
salt, to taste
500g chicken mince
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp gochujang
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp Korean chilli flakes
½ tbsp minced ginger
½ tsp raw caster sugar
½ tsp sesame oil
1 cup grated vintage cheddar
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Combine the flour and water in a bowl with a good pinch of salt, mixing with a fork until it has all come together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until nice and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rest for about half an hour.

Pop the chicken, shallots, garlic, gochujang, soy, vinegar, pepper, chilli, ginger, sugar and sesame oil in a larger bowl and scrunch with your hand until well combined.

Divide the dough into 8 portions and working one at a time, roll them out into a 20cm round. Place a couple of tablespoons of filling into the centre and top with a tablespoon of cheese. Working with your index finger and thumb, fold the dough towards the centre on top to enclose, pleating as you go until sealed. Place on a lined plate or baking sheet and repeat the process until done.

When it comes time to cook, heat a couple of tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once nice and hot, place half the pockets in, pleated side down, and cook for about five minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and repeat the process for another five minutes. Transfer to a lined plate and add a little extra cheese to gently melt over the pleats and repeat the process with the remaining pockets.

Then obviously, serve immediately with a drizzle of Korean chilli oil. Before devouring. Greedily.


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Pizza Puttaneskahena au Poulet

Drag Race France, Drag Race France 1, Main, Pizza, TV, TV Recap

The lights came up on the City of Light – well, I assume, I was just whisked from CDG to set, so I’m not 100% sure – as Nicky Doll narrated the triumphant opening of Drag Race France. And well, Nicky is iconic, she is the moment and gurl, she is truly the Ru of Drag Race France. I mean, she even has her own headshots all over the Werk Room! Speaking of the Werk Room, Kam Hugh was the first one to make her debut giving Aquaria and Veronica Green’s love child, but with Farrah’s general vibe. She was joined by La Big Bertha who could have me any way she wants out of drag, serving sexy bearded queen, dripping in raclette and ugh, crown her now. Because I am crowning. Whatever that may mean. They were quickly joined by Elips giving full old school glamour with the fun of Grey Gardens, so obviously I stan.

Though sidebar, I don’t actually think the Edie’s were living their best lives, were they?

Lolita Banana made a loud and proud entry and well, I love her already. And her skills at deepthroating a banana and showing all her man chest in confessionals. So yeah, my basement is flooded. Despite Bertha feeling she was giving off dachshund vibes. Soa de Muse arrived and was giving me Tayce vibes, in all the right ways. And well, she can sit on my face. Alongside Bertha. Le Grande Dame was up next serving beaded sex and well, I live. As much as she was living for herself during her entry. They were joined by Lova Ladiva who arrived giving Stacy Layne Matthews and Porkchop’s love child, so obviously she is destined to vamp her way into icon status in a matter of minutes.

THEN LA KAHENA ARRIVED AND LITERALLY LIT HER HAND ON FIRE and well, this is the energy I need in my life. She also looked like a beautiful gladiator, so yeah, I love. La Briochée arrived giving camp, cakey delight and well, I live for everything she is bringing, like a love child of BenDeLaCreme and Blair St Clair. Rounding out the cast is the iconic Paloma giving red hot, demon sexpot and well, I am ready for the dolls to turn it out because this cast looks strong.

A cock crowed – yes – announcing the arrival of Nicky Doll to officially welcome them to the competition and announce they’re competing for 40,000 Euros, a holiday courtesy of Tinder and make-up from Mac. Which is pretty iconic, TBH. As is the hunky Pit Crew who joined her, decked in navy and white striped speedos and berets, so yeah, my basement is flooded ten times over. 

Oh and the zaddies would also be joining the dolls for their first mini challenge, a photoshoot celebrating all things France. Soa was up first and gave full glamour and face while cycling through all the emotions as Nicky kicked out the pit crew and replaced them with cancan girls. Briochée was cute and camp, Kahena was wild, Paloma stayed focused on a killer shot, Grande Dame was fun, Lolita was stupid in all the right ways and Elips was adorable. Bertha lived her best life with both the boys and the girls, while Kam gave full Farrah while Lova was just a delight. Ultimately though there could only be one winner, with Lolita splitting her way to the front of the pack and gurl, I live for her confidence. 

Barely having time to recover, Nicky wheeled out the Pit Crew to give her her prize before announcing that their first Maxi Challenge would be a cheeky little Talent Show followed by a Jean Paul Gaultier runway, in front of Jean Paul himself. And well, fuck, that’s a gag. Everyone split up to untuck and claim a space in the Werk Room with Bertha opening up about being insecure about her body in the past and how drag gave her the confidence to take on the world. And again, she can sit on my face. Briochée and Lova bonded with their fellow big queen, given they felt they had similar journeys growing up. La Kahena followed suit and opened up about drag saving her life, giving her and outlet and freeing her from the oppression she has felt from her culture.

We quickly ventured to the mainstage where Nicky was joined by Daphné Bürki, Kiddy Smile, Iris Mittenaere and Jean Paul Gaultier – I’m still shocked – as Lolita opened up the Talent Show with a feisty salsa, complete with wig reveals splits and a sexy zaddy dance partner who easily gives her an extra point. Kam Hugh did a ridiculous banana peel strip before singing a sexy song about how it should be done and well, it was like a less fun version of Blu’s talent show. But I love it all the same. Briochée straight up belted out a song like the second coming of Edith Piaf and it was iconic. Paloma did a little skit about being a hippy and I love it despite it making no sense, because it was ridiculous. La Grande Dame gave sexy golden robot as she lip synced – perfectly – to an original song. And then played the saxophone. No joke. With a champagne flute attached to her head, no less.

Elips slayed a moody lip sync number as she stripped from camo to a flaming bodysuit before Soa stole the damn show with a moody song and well, she is an absolute icon. She hit every note, was camp and delightful and oh so moody and well, I live. I mean, it was like John Leguiziamo in Moulin Rouge! Lova gave an inspirational speech and frustrated her sisters while La Kahena gave a camp, absurd skit and delighted the hell out of everyone followed by lighting her hand on fire again before Bertha shut it down giving a camp little strip, serving comedy and acting, and well, I love it and the pasties flipping the bird and the bare arse.

On the Liberté, Égalité, Jean Paul Gaultier runway La Briochée gave Dita Von Teese butterfly corset in all the right ways and looked like an absolute star. Lolita went with the iconic conical bra, complete with taps dripping in diamond underneath. Lova was perfection in honour of the perfume bottles, Soa gave a conical corset covered in braids and yeah, she looked absolutely perfect. Bertha gave furry conical titties, La Kahena was stunning in a nude gown with red hands around the bodice, Paloma gave biblical realness as a living Madonna before Kam Hugh served icy mint architecture and was absolutely stunning. Elips gave cabaret conical realness made of ties, while La Grande Dame was perfect in a white harnessed look, complete with a keyhole over the butt.

La Briochée, Lolita, La Grande Dame and Paloma were sent to safety before Lova was read for not giving talent, despite being so vulnerable with everyone. Though the judges agreed that they all lived for her runway. Soa received universal praise for everything she served this week, giving camp, stunning looks and absolutely destroyed the talent show. Bertha too was universally beloved, letting them know exactly who she is and for being so damn polished. La Kahena was encouraged to let go and stop being hard on herself because they could tell she was nervous. All the time. Kam’s looks were adored, though her talent show was read for being basic. While they all lived for Elips’ magnetism.

Backstage the safe girls toasted to making it another week, before the tops and bottoms joined them to kiki. Elips opened up about being overwhelmed by the judges liking her, while Lova admitted she kind of just wanted to hide after receiving her critiques. Kahena was just confused, while Kam was simply disappointed in herself. Though bless Briochée, she did give them a sweet little pep talk!

Ultimately Soa took out the first win of the franchise, while Bertha and Elips were sent to safety, with Kam narrowly joining them, leaving La Kahena and Lova to lip sync for their lives. To French Canadian icon Céline Dion’s Prière Païenne and well, it was a show. Though maybe that is because I live for Céline. Kahena was camp while Lova was giving all the emotion and hit every lyric. While Kahena had fire and fought valiantly, wearing a gown kinda felt like it held her back a little, as she couldn’t get into it as much as Lova and as such, she found herself immortalised as the iconic Porkchop of Drag Race France.

Which honestly is the best place to finish if you aren’t going to win any damn season. Which is exactly what I told her as she returned to the Werk Room. I pulled her in for a massive hug and reminded her how well she truly performed, despite her apparent nerves. Thankfully she wasn’t too hard on herself, taking the loss on her chin and proud to join the international collective of iconic first franchise boots as we smashed a piping hot Pizza Puttaneskahena au Poulet.

As hot as the fire that she lit on her hand, this chicken puttanesca pizza is breathtaking and iconic. Salty capers and olives pair perfectly with the sweetness of the chicken that by the time you add in the heat, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy! 

Pizza Puttaneskahena au Poulet
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
1 base as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
1 tbsp capers
2 tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup black olives, sliced
4-5 button mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions preheat the oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared base and sprinkle with the herbs, capers, chilli, olives and mushrooms, before blanketing – I mean, you don’t have to but who wouldn’t – in mozzarella.

Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Serve immediately and devour, careful not to burn your mouth on the piping hot cheese.


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Mikaraage Chicken Turger

Burgers, Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after Mike defeated Jonathan in the firemaking challenge and won his spot in the final three, the trio enjoyed one final day in Fiji before heading to tribal council. After copping a respectful grilling, Maryanne dominated the Q&A with equal parts charm and wisdom while Romeo was surprisingly confident in articulating why he deserved to be here. Sadly for him, it wasn’t enough to secure him any votes as he finished in third place.

Jeffrey then read the votes and despite playing a strong game, only one vote turned up for Mike as he took out second place, handing Maryanne a near unanimous victory as the jury crowned her the Sole Survivor. 

Once Mike was done smashing pizza on the after show, I pulled him aside to perk him back up after just coming up short. Mike had played such a dominant game, controlling his tribe before the merge and managing to form meaningful bonds that carried him far into the game. Never mind the fact he was smart and knew when to make a move, all while minimising the fact he was super buff and a massive threat.

Really the only major flaw was his game was not owning it and like Sharn in Australia – who suffered her third loss in the recent election – the jury couldn’t respect it and it cost him the game. While he was disappointed at the outcome, Mike being Mike, he was super upbeat and proud of Maryanne. Though it is easy to work through the pain when you’re smashing a Mikaarage Chicken Turger.

Super crispy chicken, velvety mayonnaise and creamy avocado, smooshed between two soft buns, how can you go wrong? Oh and did I mention crunchy lettuce and a punch of kecap manis. It is, so, good.

Enjoy!

Mikaraage Chicken Turger
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
½ cup kewpie mayonnaise
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
100g cornflour
sunflower oil, for frying
3 avocados, mashed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
8 burger rolls
1 butter lettuce
2 tomatoes
¼ cup kecap manis

Method
Combine the mirin, soy, garlic and ginger  and 1 tbsp of the mayo in a bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat, before covering and popping in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.

Pop the cornflour in a bowl and heat about 5cm deep of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Take the chicken out of the fridge and press the chicken into the cornflour to coat before transferring the chicken into the pot to fry, two at a time, for about 4-5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to some paper towel to drain and repeat the process until the chicken is done.

To assemble the burgers, mash the avo with the lemon zest and juice and a good whack of salt and pepper. Split all the buns in half and toast on a griddle pan. Spread the avo on the base, followed by some lettuce and tomato, then the chicken, followed by a drizzle of kewpie and some kecap manis. Then devour immediately, greedily. Messily. Happily.


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Chicken Dianiel Strunk

Main, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor despite blowing up his game at tribal council as he threw anyone and everyone under the bus, Daniel opted against apologising to his former allies. While they were all busy forming bonds with each other despite the fact they had just tried to vote each other out. Taku continued their winning streak before Ika narrowly lost the immunity challenge, leading to absolute chaos back at camp. Despite wanting to work together, both Tori and Swati busily tried to turn the tribe on the other. Then at tribal council, Swati played her Shot in the Dark and once again, it came up without safety and she found herself booted from the game. While a shocked Rocksroy looked ready to explode with rage.

Back at camp Tori was very grateful to still be in the game while Rocksroy tried to stay calm and find out what the hell changed between camp and tribal council to result in Swati going home. Romeo explained that she was busy playing both sides with Rocksroy appearing to be genuinely grateful to them for taking her out, while suggesting he can ride their social coattails through the game as a strong four. Which is something that Tori has zero interest in, instead looking to jump ship ASAP as she pulled faces about him in the dark.

The next day Maryanne was busy gloating about how great she is at Mario Kart at Taku, with her and Lindsay’s incessant conversation driving Jonathan absolutely mental as he desperately wished for a moment of peace and quiet. And well, the editors definitely picked the best clip to highlight this because even I was confused and frustrated and i’m a Chatty Cathy myself! Instead of completely blowing up, he got to work fishing and chopping wood until Maryanne popped her foot under the bamboo he was cutting and she made a very big deal about it. While they tried to clear the air, it was clear things were going nowhere so Jonathan instead suggested they just move on. And then went to the well with Lindsay and suggested they get rid of Maryanne should they go back to tribal council, given she is annoying. Which is what Maryanne was telling Omar she was worried about at that very moment, while he just wished everyone would get along!

Meanwhile over at Vati Hai was nervous about lingering tensions, knowing that he is still well and truly on the bottom of the tribe. Daniel and Chanelle were busy assuring each other that their last tribal council won’t come between them as they know they need each other, while Hai and Lydia caught up to figure out how they will get themselves out of the minority and make the merge. Just like that, Daniel tried his hand at fishing which allowed Hai and Lydia to question how he was able to fish for the tribe given he keeps sitting out of the swimming challenges due to his dislocated shoulder. Which well and truly pissed off Mike once the duo pointed it out to him.

Back at Ika, Drea and Romeo were busy trying to find their as-yet-unfound idol, with Romeo opening up to us about how he wanted to align with Drea initially because he wants to support strong women in honour of his mum. And the women he coaches to pageant glory back at home. Right on cue Drea then found the Ika idol, celebrating how advantage rich with advantages she is and knowing that Maryanne already has the Taku idol, it means she could have an active idol very quickly.

To womp-womp that though, we pivoted back to Vati however, where Mike was assuring the tribe that he has no plans to activate his idol at the immunity challenge given the idol is automatically powered at the merge and at which point he also gets his vote back. Which must be in very fine print because that has never been mentioned before.

We obviously then headed to meet up with Probst for the immunity challenge where Maryanne opened the show with her bunny line. Drea skillfully spoke about her potato-ness before Mike gagged even me by saying his damn line, activating all of their idols and locking in everyone’s vote for the tribal council ahead. But first, the immunity challenge, where each tribe would race up and over a net and untangle ropes to release a key. Then unlock a machete, chop free some sandbags and then knock over targets. Oh and the winning tribes would also get a tarp.

Following Sandra’s lead, Daniel once again sat out as Ika got out to a very early lead as Taku nipped at their heels. While calling out Jonathan for being a beast last week, it was Tori that absolutely dominated the challenge, burning through the key and machete portion giving Ika a huge advantage shooting at the targets. As Omar made Taku fall further and further behind, Ika took out the first immunity while Vati started shooting at their targets. Sadly for them, Taku finally joined them with Jonathan quickly knocking out the targets and narrowly taking out immunity for the tribe.

Ika then got to select someone from Vati to go on the special journey, opting for Lydia, with their very own Rocksroy offering to be the one to join her. 

Back at camp Hai reminded everyone that they are a family and to keep that in mind while they scramble. Daniel admitted that he felt nervous and asked for everyone to meet with him, which is a sentiment that Chanelle echoed. As Hai and Daniel caught up, the former admitted that he believes Chanelle is the least trustworthy of the two and that she is the most likely to flip come merge. Mike and Chanelle meanwhile were busy locking in the vote against Daniel. We finally got a clearer picture of things as Mike and Hai caught up, debating the merits of each of them while they both agreed that it is critical that Lydia holds on to her vote on the journey.

Speaking of which, Rocksroy and Lydia were in awe of their surroundings as they climbed the mountain, with Lydia sharing that the game has truly changed her as a person and made her feel more confident in her own skin. At the top Rocksroy tried to find out who would be the target on Vati, while Lydia tried to dance around the facts and admitted that she wouldn’t be shocked if she was in trouble again. Both of them admitted to us that neither had any interest in sharing too much information about their respective tribes and as such, the awkward as hell conversation made a lot more sense. After splitting up, the duo faced their dilemma with Rocksroy worried about Lydia’s nerves getting the best of her and as such, opted to protect his vote. Which is the same decision she made, given her PTSD from their last tribal.

Lydia returned to camp and quickly admitted that she felt there was too much at stake to risk her vote. She then caught up with everyone one by one to figure out what she missed with both Chanelle and Daniel pledging their undying loyalty and praising her for being in charge. Thankfully Hai gave her the real run down and assured her that they are safe and not to worry.

At tribal council Mike admitted that while somebody had to go home tonight, they are still a strong unit. Daniel praised him for being such a team player which is necessary at certain points during the game. Hai said that while they may be tight, somebody has to be being lied to right now given they still need for someone to go home. Daniel pointed out that Mike means the tribe are a team until the end of their lives, not just the game which made Chanelle point out that he is clearly playing into Mike’s affection for him. Lydia meanwhile pointed out that after tonight, each tribe will have four people remaining and should they merge next week, they need to guarantee their four is a solid one. Which is a sentiment echoed by Hai and Daniel, while Mike reiterated that his vote is based on game and he still cares for the person getting booted.

With that the tribe voted and somehow was split 2-2-1 between Chanelle and Daniel, with a random vote cast against Mike. Mike, Hai and Lydia then revoted and officially sent Daniel out of the game. While Mike angrily acknowledged Chanelle’s vote against him.

As soon as Daniel arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled him in for a massive hug which elicited massive screams from the sweetheart as I held tight on his busted shoulder. Proving definitively that yeah, he hurt! Given Daniel is a delightful superfan, however, he took that and his boot in stride, grateful to not just have had the opportunity to play the game, but also to get culinary comfort from me in the form of some Chicken Dianiel Strunk.

Yeah, yeah, Steak Diane Keaton is great – and oh so kitsch – but have you ever tried it with a chicken rissole? Because damn, does it taste good. Packing a lightly herbaceous punch, the juicy rissoles pair perfectly with the diane sauce to create a delicious and quick meal.

Enjoy!

Chicken Dianiel Strunk
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly whisked
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnishing
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
⅔ cup cream
roughly chopped parsley, to serve

Method
Combine the chicken mince, breadcrumbs, shallots, egg, parsley and half the Dijon and Worcestershire in a bowl. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper and stir until well combined. Divide into 8 rissoles, pop on a lined plate and cover with cling. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Once the rissoles are holding it together, heat a lug of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook half the rissoles at a time, cooking for a few minutes before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Transfer to a lined baking tray and pop into the oven to keep warm.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and saute the onion over low heat for five to ten minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before stirring through the tomato paste and the remaining Dijon mustard and Worcestershire with half a cup of water. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until gloriously fragrant, before stirring in the cream.

Remove the rissoles from the oven and pop them into the pan to simmer for a further fifteen minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glorious. Sprinkle with the extra parsley and serve immediately, ideally with a glorious mash for optimal devouring.


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Shayelle Larbjoie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, Poultry, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the final four met Jonathan on a cliff over a watering hole in the middle of the outback, ready to hang over the edge for their final immunity challenge of the season. Because surprise, as we’ve expected, there was going to be a final three this year! As everyone has speculated throughout the season, Shay took out the final endurance challenge of the season, leaving the boys and Chrissy at risk. Despite assuring Chrissy that she had her back, the boys tried to run interference and confusion. Or at least Josh did, as Mark quietly joined the girls to eliminate Josh as the final juror AND Fourth Place Robbed Goddess of the season.

The next day Chrissy was heartbroken to discover that she had burnt her socks while trying to dry them on the fire before Shay interrupted her bickering with Mark to pull them aside for a walk. Mark admitted that he is proud to have made it to the end though is super grateful to Sam, given she played a massive part in him making it all the way. And PREACH, because she was an absolute powerhouse this season. Mark then opened up about his time in the military and how tough it was and that living in the bush had reminded him of some of the situations he had encountered, leading to him breaking down.

And again, congratulations Mark. But damn, Chrissy was so sweet as she told him that he will now have memories of his time on Survivor when he sees a creek, rather than the trauma of war, and helped him process his emotions. So he can win the competition and Chrissy just gets our hearts, I guess?

The trio headed back to camp where they discovered a huge basket of food for the traditional final three feast as we heard from Shay, who was proud to show that women can be strong icons and ugh, I love her. While Chrissy was just completely shocked to have made it to the end, she reminded us that her name has never come up and that proves that she has played a strong game, though the fear is that a jury may not value it enough to reward her with a vote. Though trust and believe she was ready to tell Khanh how bloody good he has looked, rocking his fashions on the jury.

The final three arrived at tribal council where Jonathan introduced the jury and ran through how this evening’s proceedings would go. Each member of the final three would get to make their pitch, followed by the jury asking questions followed by an open forum. Oh and then they will vote for a winner.

Mark kicked things off talking about how stepping out into Samoa changed his life, though lost the game of Survivor, making him and Sam enter this game with a steely focus. He highlighted that he has been playing a strong strategic game from the very first tribal council by taking out Andy as a threat. He then chose to stay away from Sam at the swap before ruining the season for me by taking out Sandra. He then praised Khanh for playing such a strong game which is why he blindsided him at the merge before praising Jesse as one of the biggest threats, which is why he had to go. He then continued the praise game, explaining he has been pumping Josh up all season to have a meat shield at the end of the game and as such, his departure is why he is sitting there.

Shay meanwhile spoke about how she has fought hard throughout the entire season, losing her allies before merge came and at her lowest after being sent to Purgatory. She then fought her way back and has pushed herself all season. Oh and she also won the most immunities throughout the season. Chrissy went a different route, telling the jury that she has played a far stronger game than any of them even realised, relying on her biggest strength, her personality. One by one she formed bonds with everyone in the tribe, before she went against Croc to save Jesse post-swap which ultimately cost him his place in the game, leading to her taking out Ben. She then said that while she loves Josh and sees him as her family, getting rid of him was her big move.

She then finished it off by praising the jury for being icons that taught her a bunch too, just for good measure. And damn, may she will actually take it?

Jonathan then opened the floor to the jury with Khanh questioning Mark over how he felt about screwing his wife over to get to the end with him admitting that they were always playing the game for one of them to win and they had to do what they had to do. Jordie jumped in to question why he made Jordie feel like shit for sending Jesse from the game when he did the same thing, which led to Mark apologising for making him feel a bit shit to get himself further. KJ meanwhile asked Chrissy whether putting the needs of those she loves in the game ahead of herself ruined her game with Chrissy explaining she did end up turning on Josh. In no small part thanks to her kids.

Michelle asked Shay how she would rate her game with Shay giving herself a solid 8 – no 8.5 – explaining that she always played from the minority and as such, she couldn’t pull the big moves like everyone else but she fought tooth and nail to get to the end. Josh meanwhile cussed out Chrissy for voting him out despite the fact he voted against her too. She explained that things felt off with him after the immunity challenge and as such, she knew he was making a move against her. He then asked Mark why he also turned on him with Mark essentially giving him the, too bad so sad, it was what I had to do to give myself the best shot at the win. Since that is why he is here, for his family.

Speaking of family, Sam was up next, who spoke about how much the jury loves the game and while it is obvious she is voting Mark, she wants to know what winning would mean to Chrissy. She opened up about coming into the game having zero clue about the journey she was signing up to and well, yeah, the jury didn’t like it. Jesse followed it up asking Mark how managing his threat level got him to the end, with Mark opening up about trying to make as many friends as possible and then essentially laying as low as possible. And then when Jordie identified him as a threat, he just agreed that he was so that it kind of disarms the issue. Leading to Jordie praising him for being a role model to him and his brother and damn, they really are telegraphing this win, no?

With that the jury voted before Jonathan wheeled out a TV to Skype with their loved ones with poor tired little Harry just wanting to go to sleep while Sam and Mark held back tears over how much they missed their son. Jonathan then wheeled out his dad and stepmother in the flesh before the tears really started flowing. Shay’s parents and Ben arrived on the scene with her mum rocking pink hair like an icon and well, her dad is adorbs, so I love them too. Chrissy’s daughters were then wheeled out and once again, I am crying. I’m also crying to see Croc again, given he was the iconic alpha male winner that we deserve. Most importantly, her daughter Lulu is a Jonathan stan too and well, I love her. Particularly since she felt sad for Chrissy having to sleep in the dirt for almost 50 days.

Chrissy admitted that it is what it is at this point, while Mark was grateful to have his parents here while Shay would be honoured for the jury to crown her as their winner. Sadly for her though, they did not, as the votes all piled up on Mark and handed him the win.

As soon as she wandered out of tribal council, I pulled Shay in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a job well done. While the jury clearly didn’t appreciate her gameplay, there is no denying that she dominated physically and when nobody is willing to play with you on a strategic level, what else do you do? As such, I toasted her success and celebrated her with a piping out Shayelle Larbjoie.

Piping hot and packed with flavour, there is nothing quite like a perfectly cooked larb. And while I may not be perfect (at cooking larb, at least), this is still a glorious punch of flavour. Hot, salty and sweet, it fills your palette with joy. Basically.

Enjoy!

Shayelle Larbjoie
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup jasmine rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 shallots, sliced
500g chicken mince
1 tsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 tsp lemongrass
2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
¼ cup coriander, roughly chopped
½ cup mint, roughly chopped
salt, to taste

Method
Place a wok over low heat and toast the dry grains, stirring frequently, for about five minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, grind and set aside to cool. Add the oil to the wok and fry half the shallots until crisp. Scoop out and transfer to a sheet of paper towel.

Crank the heat to medium and once scorching, add the chicken and cook until browned and crisp. Add in the sugar, fish sauce and lime zest and juice and stir until sticky. Add the ground rice, raw shallots and herbs and cook for a further minute before seasoning to taste.

Serve immediately, with a sprinkling of fried shallots and then devour.


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