Vecepia Baowery

Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor: Marquesas

Just like the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I’m about to be back, back, back, back, back again on a remote(ish) island in Fiji to cook-up some culinary commiserations for the 19 soon to be losers and 39 days, one sole survivor, of Survivor: Ghost Island. As has now become traditional, I am counting down to the premiere by spending time with past victors. And we’re kicking things off with one of my favourites – Vecepia Towery.

Now hold up – did I desperately want Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien to take out Marquesas? Without a doubt. But does that take away from the low-key brilliance that was Vecepia’s win, the likes of which we had never seen up until that point? No.

I mean, not even the kite flying challenge could diminish my love of the underrated Marquesas.

Not only did Vecepia land on the worst tribe in Survivor history at that point, but she overcame a three-seven disadvantage at the merge to lead (with Sean and Kathy, yes) the first ever shake-up in Survivor, rallying the minority to turn on the majority and overthrow the game. For that alone, you can’t count out Vecepia. Particularly when you take into account the journal she kept, that helped her snatch victory in the fallen comrades challenge.

Anyway, as you should probably have guessed by now, V is one of my dearest friends and I will defend her to the end of the earth. Knowing that, she was thrilled to answer my call and drop-by to honour the 36th season of the show … which Marquesas kind of set up to become what it is.

We laughed, we cried, we strategised about ways to get more people from early seasons brought back for returning player seasons and most importantly, we absolutely annihilated some four-weeks-to-go Vecepia Baowery.

 

 

I love me some bao buns. So, so, much. And these spicy little numbers do nothing to reduce said love. Spicy, sweet and a bun slathered in white creamy goodness? Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vecepia Baowery
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece ginger, sliced
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 long red chillies, chopped
½ cup Chinese rice wine
⅓ cup dark soy sauce
1L chicken stock
4 chicken thighs
½ cup rice flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice
vegetable oil
8 buns and the cucumber from Bret LaBao Buns
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
small handful of coriander leaves, to taste
kewpie mayo, to taste

Method
Prep your buns and cucumber as per Bretty’s recipe.

Place the garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, chillies, rice wine, soy and stock in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, reducing heat to low when rollicking. Add the chicken and simmer for twenty minutes or so. Remove and allow to cool before cutting across the thigh into short 1 inch wide strips.

Combine the rice flour and five spice in a bowl and toss through the cooled pieces of chicken to coat. Place enough vegetable oil to fill a pot up to 1cm and place over a high heat. When shimmery and starting to get that weird dancing appearance, reduce heat to medium and add half the chicken, cooking for a couple of minutes – flipping once – until they’re gloriously crisp. Remove to a paper towel and repeat the process.

To assemble, spread open your buns, slather with some kewpie, top with cucumber, capsicum, chicken, more kewpie and some coriander. Devour immediately.

 

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James Van Detray Bake

Baking, Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Main, Poultry

After starting things off with the dreamy Josh Jackson, followed up with the liberated Katie Holmes and my dear old friend Mary Beth Peil, we’ve arrived at the owner of the Creek. Yep – today is all about Dawth-son, my boy JVDB.

As you know – since this isn’t his first time on my patch of cyber-space – JVDB and I were lovers and then the best of friends. And most importantly, he is the reason I am married. Well technically it is thanks to the words of Fauxy on the series finale of Dawson’s Creek … but he made me watch it and as such, gets the points.

Given we’ve only recently caught up on the record – we have a monthly date and it is seminal to my happiness … this time, my meaning of seminal flies – I was surprised that he was able to make the trip down under. But I guess, how could you say no to honouring the 20th anniversary of the greatest role of your career?

JVDB has been hella busy of late, so was thrilled to be able to take some time to honour his work, while enjoying some R&R. Plus – I promised to cook up his second favourite food, my James Van Detray Bake.

 

 

Inspired by Nigella’s tray bake in Nigellissima, this little number – and I hate to say it – is even better than the OG. I mean, how do you go wrong with the addition of chilli and garlic?

Enjoy!

 

 

James Van Detray Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
4 washed potatoes, cut into chunks
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
6 sprigs of rosemary
6 few sprigs of thyme
small handful of sage, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 tbsp chilli flakes
10 chicken thighs, bone in
8 Italian sausages
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Chuck the potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon juice and zest and chilli in a large baking dish and toss together. Add the thighs and sausages, pushing them into holes, burying some and leaving others all exposed.

Drizzle with a good lug of olive oil, season generously and transfer to the oven to bake for about an hour, checking after 45 minutes to avoid burning the meat.

Once cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to stand for about ten minutes before serving. And in turn, devouring.

 

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Tyramen Banks

America's Next Top Model, Main, Poultry, Soup

Oh my GOD – you would not believe the week I have had! I was quietly resting off a post-boozing-with-Cath hangover on Thursday morning, minding my own business, when I received a call from my dear friend Tyra Banks.

“Ben, just wanted to check when your recap of our premiere would go live?”

I stayed quiet, hoping she would think I wasn’t there.

“Ben … Ben … BEN?”

“Um, you see, I wasn’t actu … ”

“I was rooting for you. We were ALL rooting for you.

“Tyra, you never invited me out to set so I couldn’t …

“Stop talking. Ben, stop talking. Be quiet, be quiet … STOP. I have never yelled at a friend like this before. I know you have a time machine, I
know zthat isn’t an excuse. I want us to work together to become next level fierce.

“When I yell at a friend like this it is because I care … “

“Sorry Tyra, I’ve got another call coming through. It is Naomi, she wants to … “

“Ben,” she said as sweetly as possible. “I love you, you’re fierce, you make me smize, you pop. Maybe I should pop … on the next plane and we should reconnect and discuss making this all work.”

True to her word, my girl Tyra arrived on my doorstep the next day, held me in her arms, apologised for yelling at me. Given we’re such old dear friends – we met whilst supermodelling, obvi – and the fact I was pretty cold bringing up Naomi Campbell, I forgave her. And yeah, I guess you could say this is happening. ANTM is joining the ranks of Survivor, Australian Survivor, Drag Race and Survivor New Zealand, and getting the whole culinary condolence treatment … and our friendship is renewed.

That, I guess, is the soothing power of my Tyramen Banks.

 

 

Crazy hot with a little bit of sweetness, this baby is everything you want from a ramen. And is super easy to whip up, making it look like you’ve been planning it for ages. Because I was, Ty, I was.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyramen Banks

Serves: 2.
Ingredients

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp tamari
400g egg noodle
500g chicken breasts
1L chicken stock
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
½ cup bean sprouts
½ red capsicum, finely sliced
5 spring onions, sliced
1 fresh red chilli, sliced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Method
Combine the soy, tamari, minder ginger and chilli in a large bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and leave to marinate for about eight hours or so. Or while you’re at work, for example.

Preheat the oven to 180C and prep all the ingredients.

When you’re ready to go, place the chicken on a lined baking tray and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile bring two saucepans of water to the boil and cook the eggs until soft in one, and the ramen noodles per packet instructions in another.

And in a third saucepan, cook the chicken stock and sriracha over medium heat until piping hot.

To serve, place the noodles on the bottom of your bowl, pour over the chilli stock and top with bean sprouts, capsicum, spring onion and chilli. Slice the chicken on an angle and place over the top before breaking the eggs in half and adding them to the bowl.

Garnish with coriander and a wedge of lime. Squeeze said lime in the broth before devouring, and curing all that ails ya.

 

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Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos

Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, new Levu was divided two-two after Alan was idoled from the game, while dinner-plate nips Cole replaces Patrick’s place in Lauren’s heart, driving her mental with his poor manners. Meanwhile over at new Soko, Ryan was caught between his OG ally Ali and her newer ally Chrissy, siding with the latter to send Roark from the game.

Back at camp Ali confronted Ryan about what happened and asked why he never told her about the vote, upset as she would have been willing to take out Roark. While he admitted that he was concerned about how close she and Roark had become, she got emotional and couldn’t see any logic. This also upset Ryan who had hoped that he’d be able to work with Ali into the future, though that was clearly out of the picture.

The next day, Mike the dick doctor became the provider at Yawa … and boy was he proud of himself. Tragically he then dropped his entire haul in the fire – like a combination of Sandra’s first two sabotage attempts – though was kind enough to give everyone some of his charred fish. Ben was then compared this to Cole, who had cooked a couple of his larger fish and not shared them. This coupled with the fact Lauren tried – and failed – to explain why they needed to share to better the team, started putting more nails in his rapidly growing coffin. Cole then went for a walk to calm down with Jessica, leaving Mike, Ben and Lauren to strategise, talk smack and align to take them out.

My main man Jiffy Pop returned for a pizza reward – which is hopefully for Snickers, for grumpy Cole – where the tribes were required to balance their ball with a big, hard rod and release a boat before rowing out and shooting their loadballs at a target. Soko got out to an early lead, thanks to JP and Ali’s ball-handling skills, quickly getting out to their boat before the others complete the course. That is until Chrissy forgot to undo the second knot, resulting in Yawa catching up. Ben and JP both struggled to aim their balls, allowing Levu to catch-up just as they each hit their first. Mother nature then decided to make it a little tougher, whipping the waves up and making the targets even harder to hit … though JP and Ben prevailed, securing reward for Yawa and Soko.

We then got a killer crotch shot as JP exited, though sadly he was still wearing pants. Sigh.

Soko were thrilled to return to camp with their pizzas thanks to JP’s physical prowess. That, obviously, made Ryan nervous given the merge is imminent. Add to that the fact he is quiet and doesn’t really bother talking about strategy made things seem safer for Ali. Meanwhile over at the losing Levu, Ashley and Devon solidified their alliance and debated whether they felt Joe or Desi would be willing to go for rocks for the other. Devon then took Joe for a walk, allowing Ashley to get to work on Desi who in fact, was more than willing to get rid of Joe as she know his loyalty is all on his terms. He then found the idol despite being babysat, this time without anyone – with a huge fucking mouth (swoon) – knowing.

Meanwhile over at Yawa, Cole started to get the shakes before passing out while Mike was offering him worms. Doctor Mike and nurse Jessica went straight into action, with Jessica cooking up her portion of rice to give him sustenance. While it made her realise how much she wanted to keep him in the game, Mike and Ben saw it as a liability, vowing to take him out if they head to the next tribal.

With all targets identified, Jeff returned for immunity where the tribes would all have to suspend a disc using four ropes … and then spell immunity vertically on said disc using blocks, from the bottom – kween – to the top. RIP Joe Del Campo. Levu and Yawa both appeared extremely strong, while poor Soko struggled and restarted after only a couple of blocks. Then out of nowhere Levu dropped, followed again by Soko … and then Yawa as they were two steps from immunity. Levu and Soko then battled it out for immunity before Yawa came out from behind – my favourite – with a new strategy, overtaking the others and taking out immunity as Soko dropped again and Levu snatched second place.

Back at camp, JP was confident that Ali would be the next one out the door while Ryan was still questioning whether it was better to take out JP, the man that has literally carried him through a challenge. Knowing that Ali is key to his plan working, he went and apologised to her and to try convince her to take out JP. That was obviously an easy task, with Ali offering to talk to Chrissy about getting JP out … which is probably the worst plan for them, given she trusts Ryan and not Ali. Chrissy then pulled Ryan aside to discuss who was the better option, with them only vowing allegiance to each other before heading off to tribal.

They arrived to some light shade from Jeff before Ryan and Ali spoke about getting past their post-last tribal drama. JP then gave a smug look, either meaning he knows something we don’t or is heading for a downfall. Jeff then called him out for being hella laid back, and acknowledging why he could be voted out rather than why he shouldn’t. Jeff gave him a backhanded compliment – dude and dem nips, I clearly like nips, really is made from granite – before he acknowledged that this was a wake-up call and he needs to be more social. While I’d argue her needs to be more naked, potato, po-tar-toe. They then went to vote where once again, Ryan flipped on Ali … and sent her from the game and one of the biggest physical threats to the merge.

Given Al’s career as a celebrity assistant, it should come as no shock that we’ve known each other for years. On account of my many, legitimate celebrity friendships, remember? While I won’t spill on her employer – they’re one of my best friends, obvi – I will say that Ali is the sweetest and like Roark, will dominate the next Second Chances. Particularly if she lives on a diet of only my Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos until then.

 

 

Spicy and sweet, these babies go a long way in proving the importance of pineapple in cooking. I mean, why they get so much hate? Like iceberg lettuce, they aren’t classy, but in the right place are true perfection. And the right place is here with the smoky chicken tacos.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ali Pastelliott Chicken Tacos
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken mince
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 orange, juiced
1 cup chicken stock
200g pineapple chunks
2 chipotle chillies in adobo, roughly chopped
12 corn tortillas
iceberg lettuce, shredded
shredded cheese, ladies choice … you being the lady, obvi
2 avocados, mashed
coriander, to taste
sour cream, to taste

Method

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until soft, fragrant and sweet. Add the chicken, paprikas, cumin, coriander and oregano and cook, breaking up with the wooden spoon, for a couple of minutes, or until cooked through. Add the juice, stock, pineapple and chillies, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook until reduced.

 

When you’re ready to devour, heat the tortillas in a hot, dry frying pan, thirty seconds per side, top with lettuce, chicken mixture, cheese, avocado, a sprinkle of coriander and dollop with sour cream. Devour.

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Massamanda Peet Curry

Main, Poultry

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but for the second week running I’ve put an end to one of my most vicious and longest running feuds with Amanda Peet. I also can’t believe I’m saying this, but it turns out Mandy never actually did anything wrong and we’ve been feuding for five decades for no reason.

Well actually, not even five decades. Just the one.

You see, our feud started in 1966 after I was Harvey Weinstein-ed out of our joint company, Peet’s coffee after we time travelled back to build our empire. Only it never actually happened and *gasp* Peet’s Coffee has absolutely nothing to do with Mandy or I.

While time travel exists and Annelie and I most definitely invented it, gloated about it to Michael J. Fox and had our lives turned into the Back to the Future series, time travel had nothing to do with this saga.

I should have first been tipped off to the fact that it wasn’t time-travel related, is because Mandy and I were catching up for coffee at Peet’s Coffee near Haight-Ashbury fifteen years ago joking about the company being hers and how we should fight them for ownership. I then had a dickload of mushrooms and dropped some acid, before hallucinating our entire journey back to the sixties. I probably should have also been tipped off by the fact my memories looked like the Yellow Submarine and Annelie and I had vowed to never time travel with anyone else, which is a promise would never break. It also explains why Mandy spoke about her concerns for my mental health in the press and her fear that her ‘best friend’ was losing his mind.

Given the absurdity of what she was saying, I wasn’t quick to believe her but gurl, knowing me so well, had receipts. She pulled the Peet’s security footage and played me my entire breakdown and hallucinated feud, before pulling me in close and crying, telling me how much she has missed me.

We spent the afternoon laughing and crying – she said Dave had actually wanted to cast me as a gender flipped Khaleesi, given how beautiful Jon Snow and my babies would look – as we plotted the perfect end to our feud, making her the face of Peet’s Coffee. Which sounds like the most perfect marketing move for them, though that could be the Massamanda Peet Curry.

 

 

Warming, spicy and full of kick, this curry ticks all the boxes and leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled. Plus – it is the perfect thing to represent the fiery rage of our one-sided feud, and the hearty, nutty nature of our love.

Enjoy!

 

 

Massamanda Peet Curry
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
coconut oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
a chunk of ginger, grated
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 red chillies, sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of ground cardamom
3 bay leaves
⅓ cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped plus extra to garnish
500g chicken thighs, roughly diced
1 cup chicken stock
400ml can coconut milk
2 potatoes, roughly diced
1 capsicum, thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a lug or large dollop – depending on your current temperature – of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion for a couple of minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, tamarind, chillies and lemongrass and cook for a further minute, or until nice and fragrant. Add the dry spices, bay leaves and cashews and cook for a further minute.

Add the chicken to the deliciously stanky pan, and lightly brown before slowly adding the stock while stirring until well combined before adding in the coconut milk. Add the potatoes, capsicum and tomato, bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered for about half an hour or so.

Remove from the heat and stir through the fish sauce, palm sugar and a whack of salt and pepper. Serve immediately with rice, preferably of the coconut variety, topped with coriander and/or extra cashews. Then devour, of course.

 

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Zinggy Burger

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Burgers, Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara finally realised that my dear Locky needs to go if she has any shot at the end. She then discovered some lollies to sweeten the deal with Ziggy to flip, joining literally everyone else to get rid of Locky. Sadly for them – and great for my hope he’ll give us buns again – he then won immunity, causing everyone to scramble leading to (self-proclaimed) King Luke to exit the game and give someone else some screentime.

Jericho was devastated when he returned to camp, though harking back to his first confessional vowed to bring chaos to the tribe. He then went in for Tara, telling Locky all of her plans to turn on him to get further. Locky felt it sounded true – because it is – so pulled Tara aside to clear the air. While she seemed to get herself out of the mess, Locky still seemed paranoid.

The next day Ziggy replaced Luke as the manic person that oft appears to be a junkie, as she reminded us that she and Tara are the lolly bandits. She then spoke about getting a hit and the fact it is constantly on her mind which makes me extremely concerned for her welfare. Are we getting a sugar crash medevac tonight?

Tara continued to try and do damage control at camp, while a sadly clothed Locky told us he was still feeling anxious about what Jericho said, despite believing Tara. He then told us all how he was dominating the game, and I didn’t love the look on him. To put his mind at ease, Locky and Ziggy caught up in the jungle, with Ziggy convinced that Tara wasn’t flipping on them … because, sugar rush? YAAAAAAAHHHHH.

Oh wait, sorry, sugar-junky Ziggy made me forget she was completely onboard with getting rid of Locky.

Given the fact Locky was still feeling uneasy, he tried to forge a connection with Jericho to break the alleged 3-3 split. For the second time this episode, Jericho appeared to be smarter than I gave him credit for, barely humouring Locky and throwing some epic shade in his confessionals. I mean, I don’t want to like him, but the sass is glorious.

Sensing defeat, Locky moved on to Michelle who proved that she is truly the biggest threat left in the game, because if she makes it to the end, she would Kristie the shit out of the questions. His attempt to woo her quickly became a fight, gaining the attention of Jericho and Pete with the latter deciding he needs to reconnect with Tara and pull her in to get rid of Locky or Ziggy. But let’s be honest, Locky is winning immunity again, right? Otherwise we are Alecia Holden-ing our way straight from immunity, to tribal council.

Putting me out of my misery JoJo returned for said immunity challenge which required everyone to keep their balls in the air … by keeping a single ball spinning within a circular track. As quickly as it started Michelle was out, followed by Tara as the rain arrived to give us some JLP wet T-shirt action. I mean, if he keeps this up, Locky is expendable. Oh Ziggy then dropped out, followed by Jericho leaving the hopes of the tribe weighing on Pete’s shoulders. Sadly for him, the weight became too much and Locky once again took out immunity and crushed the hopes and dreams of the tribe.

Side note: how good did JLP’s nips look while handing the necklace back to Locky?

Back at camp everyone was pissed, with Tara particularly concerned about his immunity run continuing and the fact she needs to fashion a plan B. Meanwhile Pete already had his plan B lined up, deciding that Ziggy needs to go as she is the second biggest threat left in the game. Tara was not sold on this, rationalising that Ziggy is the best person to end Locky’s immunity run. Tara took the Ziggy plan back to Ziggy and Locky to see what they should do, with Locky wanting to target Michelle and bully someone into flipping with them for fear of going to rocks.

Locky tried to work his magic on Jericho and Pete to spook them into flipping rather than playing rocks, with both of the boys hilariously preferring to go to rocks and put their game to chance rather than voting with Locky. Pete then pulled Tara aside to run through the competing plans, trying to sway Tara to their side to avoid rocks.

They arrived at tribal council where the tribe struggled to pretend to be happy about Locky’s hat trick. Jericho threw some light shade, Pete admitted he wanted Locky to lose so they could vote him out, Tara gave a better acting performance pretending she doesn’t want Locky out, Ziggy said she wished she had immunity before Michelle brought some excitement to the festivities. Channelling Ciera ‘she voted out her MOM’ Eastin, she then announced that the vote is currently deadlocked and that they will be voting for Ziggy. Pete then joined the fray, promising Tara that they will stick with her if she flips to their side to get rid of Ziggy. Locky and Ziggy tried their best to talk Tara back but Michelle and Pete went in hard, tag-teaming her – not in a good way – until she had a throbbing headache as she joined them in sending Ziggy to the jury … with an extra large side of shade.

I don’t want to say Steph Rice is a jinx, but it is hard to ignore the fact that she kicked off a hat trick of my catch-ups with my favourite female aquatic Olympians. It really should come as no shock that I worked for the AIS coaching the Australian water polo teams how to be extremely aggressive and rip off their rivals’ swimmers. While I far preferred working with the men’s team – for obvious reasons – I quickly bonded with Zigs and we became the fastest of friends.

While Zigs was disappointed when she arrived at the jury villa, she was thrilled to see me – one of her favourite people – waiting to give her a hug and huge platter of my Zinggy Burger.

 

 

Tragically this recipe arrived two episodes late to coincide with the popcorn chicken alliance as it is my blatant rip-off of KFC’s Zinger Burger, which totally ruin my plans to sell myself as a psychic. As I oft say when making Burgers or Pizza, there is nothing better than a homemade version – succulent chicken, a big kick of heat and a crunch that could burst an eardrum, these babies are perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Zinggy Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp rice flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 cup corn flakes, crushed
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup vegetable oil
4 Kirsten Bunst
4 slices high-melt cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup iceberg lettuce, sliced
Kent Nelsonion Rings, to serve

Method
Combine the Worcestershire, chilli and mustard powders and a good whack of salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

When the chicken in almost done, combine the flour, cornstarch, rice flour, baking powder, egg and milk in a bowl. Combine the corn flakes, bread crumbs and teaspoon of salt in a second bowl.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, dip in the batter, followed by the coating and place on a plate. Cover and return to the fridge to chill for a hour.

Once that is done, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once sizzling, add the chicken fillets and fry for about five minutes each side, flipping once, or until golden and crisp.

Split the buns, smear the mayo on the bottom, top with lettuce, followed by the fillets and topped with some cheese and a little extra mayo. Close the burger and devour, like an Olympic champion.

 

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Luke Toquinoa Bowl

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Poultry, Side, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the OG Asaga were the closest alliance in the game until Michelle was left out of the Tessa blindside causing tension between Michelle and Sarah. After a glorious reward of dirty bird, Locky continued his winning streak and took out his first individual immunity. Back at camp, Michelle continued to seethe at Sarah and rallied the tribe to send the strategic model to the jury.

Given Sarah’s boot was unanimous, we returned to camp the next day where the castaways were so delirious you could be forgiven for thinking Australian Idol was rebooted. Michelle was extremely happy to have taken out Sarah and reaffirmed her desire to win, promising us and I assume herself, that she has not lasted 45 days to stumble in the final ten. She then shared that she was in a tight pair with Pete – seriously, when did that happen – and they agreed to go to the end together, plotting to join with Jericho and Luke to take control. The boys, obviously, agreed instantly, without question.

Jericho and Luke then took a turn to the shore to confirm that they will join with Michelle and Pete, though completely believe that they will win out in the end. Locky, Ziggy and Tara however were not to be outdone, seeing that the other four were planning to work together they vowed to join together to try and get further. Sadly Locky’s assertive planning – which was the right idea – irked Tara and she realised that getting rid of Locky is probably in her best interests. Which would piss me off a lot more if he’d been nude since episode 2 (oh to be Mark in this picture!).

After a brief winner-esque scene from Luke about his life back at home and – ugh, obviously – being the king, Locky was feeling down at camp and tried to assure Tara and Ziggy that sticking together was their best chance. Tara then wandered down the beach to think and find allies to take out my babetown when she stumbled upon a moral dilemma, to take two quilts for the comfort of the tribe or a huge ass lolly stash for herself. She then suggested using them to pull people in and I think it has triggered my Jericho-the-cookie-monster six episode arc PTSD.

While on her sugar high, she stumbled upon the aforementioned cookie monster and Luke and got them onboard to take out Locky. She then approached Ziggy about aligning with her, Jericho and Luke to take out Locky, before showing her said lollies to try and secure her loyalty. Thankfully their lolly scene was far less insufferable than Jericho’s epic saga.

Tara then told us that the only thing she needs to worry about, is Locky winning immunity … which is apparently like saying bloody Mary in the mirror three times. Jonathan appeared as summoned for the immunity challenge which is essentially a more complex musical chairs slash memory hybrid where the tribe mates had to collect covered items, with one person eliminated each round until someone takes out immunity. Tara was first out, followed by Pete, Jericho, Ziggy and Michelle, leaving Locky and Luke to battle it out for immunity. JoJo changed it up, requiring the boys to each find five items in order. Locky got out to an early lead, securing two before Luke was on the board. Despite a valiant effort to catch up, Locky powered ahead and secured his second immunity, much to the chagrin of literally everyone.

Everyone was quick to congratulate Locky when they arrived back at camp, despite how furious they were. Tara decided on an as yet undecided Plan B, taking Ziggy into the jungle to figure it out. They decided that strength was needed to beat Locky in challenges, so kind of committed to getting rid of Michelle, I guess. Ziggy approached Luke to raise the idea, which he agreed to instantly, which is oft the way.

Tara and Luke approached Locky to get rid of Michelle, however he thought it was pointless to get rid of Michelle and instead they should get rid of Luke and make a big move in front of the jury. While Ziggy was quick to jump onboard with the plans, Tara wasn’t convinced as Locky went on his merry way to convince Pete to trust him. While that was happening? Oh, Tara went and told Luke their plans which lead Luke, Jericho and Michelle to get rid of Ziggy instead. Jericho then told Pete the Ziggy plan, leading him to discuss who is the better option – Luke or Ziggy – with Michelle.

At tribal council Ziggy announced that everyone was scrambling – which shouldn’t come as a shock except for the fact everyone pretends they don’t – before Pete mentioned that despite desperately wanting immunity, people winning multiple immunities is dangerous and they need to be taken out ASAP. This made Ziggy extremely nervous, though kind of seemed defeated. Michelle, Jericho and Luke all spoke extremely cryptically before Pete and Michelle started whispering about who they should target. While Pete wanted to take out Luke, it seemed like she wanted him to stay leaving me more confused than I was about Jericho’s driving talk … which was more confusing about yesterday’s kitten story. Obviously death was the end result, though.

The votes rolled in and despite her best efforts, Pete got his way and Luke was sent packing to my hot-and-cold embrace at the jury villa. While I have been kind of harsh about Luke – and then extremely supportive in the next breath – we are the dearest of friends, having met while I was working in the mines. I was obviously there to research for the lead role in my upcoming remake of the Coal Miner’s Daughter, so had little interest in doing any work. I noticed Luke’s mammoth work ethic, hitched myself to his wagons and survived as long as I could before they caught me out.

Given his kindness, I repaid him each night the only way I know how – well, one of only two ways I know how – by making him a big, fat Luke Toquinoa Bowl.

 

 

Don’t let the ugliness of my photos fool you – quinoa and I are not a dream team, ok – this meal is delicious. Spicy, fresh and packing a whole lot of heat, the quinoa and veggies almost cancel out the sour cream and dickloads of cheese. Almost.

Enjoy!

 

 

Luke Toquinoa Bowl
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 cup white quinoa
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
500g chicken breasts, diced
200g canned chipotle chillis in adobo sauce, blitzed
400g can crushed tomatoes
400g can black beans
1 cup corn kernels
avocados
1 lemon, juiced
2 shallots, finely sliced
6-12 tortillas, depending on the size of your bowl
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
sour cream, sriracha and coriander, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Rinse the quinoa under cold water until it runs clear. Transfer into a pan and add two cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil. Once rollicking like a night out with Lukey, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain off any excess liquid and fluff with a fork like you would cous cous.

While the quinoa is getting plump, chuck the sweet potato on a lined baking sheet with a lug of olive oil, the cumin, chilli, coriander seeds and a good whack of salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Place it in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

After that, heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and brown the chicken breast. Once almost cooked, add the chipotles, tomatoes, black beans and corn and simmer until completely cooked through.

Now for the last semi-difficult bits, mash the avocadoes with the lemon juice and shallots. Press the tortillas into Texan muffin tins or the serving bowls, brush with some olive oil and place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes to crisp.

To serve, put some quinoa in the bottom of the bowl – I mixed it in with the chipotle chicken because I was drunk cooking, thus it looking like a turd – top with some chicken, spiced sweet potato, guacamole, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, sriracha and coriander.

Then devour, smugly, knowing the quinoa makes it healthy. Right?

 

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Mikesican Polloway

Main, Poultry

Given Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers is but a week away – I mean, Franny will already have another member of her first boot gang – I decided to bury the hatchet with Mike Holloway to celebrate its return.

While I generally reserve these countdown dates for my most favourite victors, I’ve never really appreciated Mike’s game and feel it is time to apologise for trying to ruin his reputation in the Survivor community.

Say what I do about his at times questionable gameplay, he did make a compelling underdog and made it to the end by equalling the individual immunity record. Obviously that doesn’t make up for the fact he horrifically misplayed the auction advantage situation, nor the fact that he was at times overbearing … but without him, nobody would have stood up for Shireen while she was being abused and that moment is enough for me to overlook the rest.

I’m not going to lie, it was an extremely awkward phone call to make when I called to invite him. And yes, it took him an extremely long time believe I wouldn’t throw acid in his face on arrival but he did, eventually, agree to drop by and let me apologise while counting down to next week’s premiere.

Again, it was super awkward for a hot minute after Mike’s arrival but we eventually got back into the swing of our friendship – we met while working construction together in Texas – and had a delightful night together. As friends, thankfully for both of us.

We laughed, we cried and reconnected as we gossiped about who took his place in the cast of Survivor: Second Chance (we both agree it was Andrew ‘at least you made the jury’ Savage). We then distracted ourselves from throwing shade on Savage by toasting to upcoming season, over a delicious Mikesican Polloway.

 

 

Sure this name is clunky but once you’ve tasted this Mexican inspired roast chicken, you will no longer be passing any judgement. Fresh, spicy and packing a punch, this tender roast makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside … and wanting to say God bless Merica. Well, that is what Mike said, anyway.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mikesican Polloway
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 large free-range chicken
olive oil
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 limes, zested
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 onions, quartered
3-4 potatoes, quartered
2 red capsicums, quartered
a small handful of coriander

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Combine the cumin, ground coriander, paprika, lime zest, oregano and salt and pepper with a good lug of olive oil and rub on the outside of the chicken. Prick the two limes with skewers, then stick them up the chicken’s bum.

Place the garlic, onions, potato and capsicum in the bottom of a baking dish, toss through a lug of olive oil and place the chicken on top. Place in the oven, reduce heat to 200°C and roast for an hour and fifteen minutes.

When the chicken is golden and crisp, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a plate to rest for 15 minutes … before carving, serving and devouring with the veggies and a sprinkling of coriander.

 

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