Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties

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

It was such a treat to see this year’s GO recipient Lady Gaga to kick off this year’s Grammy Gold celebration – Somebody That I Used To Gold – that I couldn’t quit the film world completely. As such I grabbed the phone and as a twist of fate, my dear friend Olivia Newton John was free to catch up.

Despite being on death’s door according to the tabloids.

I’ve known Liv since the mid-70s while she and Pat Carroll where working the nightclub scene. Unbeknownst to them, they were once booked for a strip club and while it came as a shock, it led to us meeting. Which gave her “the most beautiful friendship of my life,” so she is pleased by how things turned out.

Given she is most well known for her star making turn in Grease, Liv was thrilled to help me run the Music for Visual Media odds. While she thinks our Hugh will snatch Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media, my heart will always for for Call Me by Your Name though the clarinets of Lady Bird do fill my heart with joy. For Best Score Soundtrack I think Black Panther  has it in the bag, while Liv is rooting for The Shape of Water. And rounding things out, we agree that Gaga will continue her sting of wins for Shallow in Best Song, however a Mystery of Love win would make me sob happy tears by a fireplace.

With the most important job of all out of the way, we hung out in the kitchen, laughed, cried and smashed a huge batch of Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties.

 

 

If you haven’t realised by now, I have a passionate, unadulterated love for rissoles. And these babies are no exception, sweet, tarty and packing a punch, they’re the perfect nourishing mid-week meal that doesn’t make you want to cry. Doesn’t everyone cry during dinner on hump day? No, just me? Awks.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken & Olivia Newton John Patties
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
small handful basil leaves, roughly chopped chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine everything in a bowl, scrunching with your hands until well combined. Divide into 8 patties and place on a lined baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven to bake for fifteen minutes and devour immediately with a salad. Despite not making friends with it.

 

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Novak Gnoccovich

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Novak Gnoccovich
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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

Devour!

 

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Richard Linkslater

Breakfast, Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldy Bird, Main, Snack

Holy hell, can you believe I’ve made it four posts without disappearing from the internet without a word? New year, new me, same old bullshit it seems.

After zigging over to the television side of the globes with Katey yesterday, I decided to zag back to the Motion Picture side of the runsheet – which we kicked off with Ry, remember – for day three of my Golden Globe Gold: Goldy Bird celebrations by having a date with the divine Richard Linklater.

I first met Rich in the ‘90s when I was hired as a paddling consultant on Dazed and Confused – a role I also held on the set of the hit Jerry O’Connell vehicle, Tomcats. While our relationship started off as boss-employee, we fast became friends and I encouraged him to make collaborate with my friend Julie Delpy and the rest, as I do like to say, is history.

Given my gentle nudge lead him down the award circuit path, Rich has always felt that part of his success is due to me – while I obviously think that too, I don’t tell him that given we’re the dearest friends) – and as such, was honoured to be showcased this year.

Since he has all the writing, directing and producing cred, we focused on those races with him backing The Favourite for screenplay – while I believe it is Roma’s to take. We agree that the HFPA will honour Bradley Cooper as Best Director – rather than Actor – Roma will win Best Foreign Film and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will take Animation, however that is where our consensus ended. He sees A Star is Born sweeping Best Drama while I think Black Panther will surprise, while Blackkklansman deserves it. Rich thinks The Favourite will win Best Comedy or Musical, while I think Vice has it in the bag. While we disagreed more than we agreed, we finished with a hug and sat down to a hearty plate of Richard Linkslater.

 

 

Given my passion for all things sausage, I had always wanted to try my hand at making my own but never had the courage. Until this year, and I couldn’t be happier. Bursting with flavour and melt in your mouth, these little babies – which is a minimally tweaked recipe I found – prove that there really is nothing better than homemade.

Enjoy!

 

 

Richard Linkslater
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2.5kg boneless pork butt
¼ cup sage, roughly chopped
5 tsp thyme, roughly chopped
2 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp chilli flakes
2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
ice water
4.5m natural sheep casings, soaked and thoroughly rinsed

Method
Cut the pork into 1/2 inch chunks and freeze them for about 45 minutes to get them to a temperature 0°C. Chill a large bowl of the stand mixer during this time.

Grind the pork using a 6mm die directly into the bowl, and then put it through a second time.

Combine the mince with the herbs and spices and mix using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer for five minutes or so, or until you pull a clump of meat apart and threads appear as you pull them. You may need to had a tablespoon or two of ice cold water, though use your judgement.

Chill the mixture in the fridge while you set up the sausage stuffer and thread the casings on the end. Place the chilled mixture in the stuffer and fill the casings to avoid an air gaps forming, but making sure not to overstuff them. Twist the sausages into links and prick any air bubbles with the end of a sharp knife.

You can then either cook the sausages in a frying pan – that is scorching and then immediately reduced to the lowest heat – until browned through, poach in lightly salted water or bake in the oven.

Then devour.

 

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Chicken Angelinguine Keeleek

Main, Pasta, Poultry, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the final six battled it out for a combination immunity and reward challenge after Angelina almost died in pursuit of being the sole female to snatch one this season. Thankfully she lived long enough to share in Nick’s reward and a drunk Mike quickly figured out where said idol was, allowing her to snatch it. After that the tribe voted out Davie and a still-tipsy Mike’s request, before Nick snatched another immunity win and Angelina concocted a plan to embarrass Alison on the way out the door using the idol. We didn’t get to hear anyone’s take on her tribal council spectacle as we went straight to the final immunity challenge, where Nick secured the hat trick before dragging Angelina to the end and Hollywood player Mike winning the fire challenge and sending Kara to become the final member of the jury.

The next day the final three sat by the shore to watch the sun rise and celebrating making it to the end over breakfast. Angelina was still struggling to comprehend the fact she made it to the end, though was proud of herself for making it to the end and the way she has handled herself. Nick was proud of being an underdog that came from nothing which was mirrored in the game, almost being the first boot before slowly building relationships and making it to the end. Mike too was overwhelmed by making it to the end, proud of the game he played and leaving it all out on the island at his age. When he is used to the Hollywood life.

At tribal council Probst spoke about the fluidity of the gameplay this season and echoes Mike’s sentiments about storytelling and I am putting on my tinfoil hat, deciding it is sign Mike wins. With that the jury commenced their roundtable discussion with the outwit portion of the game as Elizabeth congratulated them on making the end before telling them to cut the crap and be honest for everyone. Christian asked them to articulate how they outwitted with Nick talking about his penchant for naming his two person alliances, though John sassed him for peaking when he voted him out and asked for more recent information which Mike called bullshit on when he explained he was sad that Carl and Davie were blindsided. John then asked for Mike to outline his game, which Angelina decided was her time to speak, talking about being public enemy number one before working her way through the game. And did you know she gave up immunity for rice? Well that reminder pissed off Davie.

After being shushed by Davie and told to move on, she handed the floor to Mike who explained he made so many relationships and that was his strength. Gabby questioned their lack of relationship, though congratulated him for getting rid of her as he couldn’t trust her. Alison asked him to apologise for being a dick when she was voted out – which he did – before he explained how he went back to his anxious, nerdy roots in the game and ultimately, he used it to his advantage to downplay his threat level. Nick jumped in and said he tried to do that, however ultimately had to play the game to survive. Gabby focused on the different treatment of women, Kara agreed and congratulated Mike for making it to the end.

Dan kicked off the outplay portion of the game, asking Mike how he contributed around camp. Mike completely shut him down, explaining her played to his strengths and also always gave it his all. Davie asked them to articulate how Nick and Angelina were a Goliath and David respectively, with Angelina focussing on her disastrous idol find. Alison then asked if the fake idol was to embarrass her, which she denied before Nick shut her down and told Alison it was definitely to embarrass her and show off to the jury. Nick then spoke about his Goliath ways when it came to challenges and puzzles,

Rounding things out Angelina spoke about her way outlasting the competition, hitting rock bottom on the island before rising to the challenge and being the most triumphant, battle-tested member of the final three. Nick spoke about being an underdog the entire game and talking about how his life experience – his mother died of a drug overdose leading to him working with addicts to avoid prison – galvanised him to make it to use every advantage he could find to take people out and survive one more day. Mike rounded things out talking about how he wasn’t scared being out on the island or being voted out, focusing on the journey rather than the win. Which was far more powerful than I made it sound, as Alison welled up.

With that the jury voted, John proud of Nick, Gabby started to cry, Christian shocked me and voted for Mike. None of them, however, voted for poor Angelina who landed in third place. While I loved her for the drama and for calling out the sexism that exists within Survivor – Dawn should have won Caramoan and don’t at me – her game was definitely flawed. I mean, she managed to go from being on the bottom, to finding a strong alliance and controlling the merge. But then decided to embarrass someone that knew they were getting booted on their way out the door, and that has more to do with her loss. Which I told her as we smashed a Chicken Angelinguine Keeleek together, huddled for warmth under my jacket.

 

 

Landing in third place can be a pretty depressing thing. You can argue that you were robbed if you were taken out in the final days, but third place means you were the worst option at final tribal. This I opted not to tell her, and focused on the comforting carby, creamy goodness of this pasta. And given how her mood quickly changed, I think that was a good choice.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Angelinguine Keeleek
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g linguine
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken breast, sliced
2 tsp chilli flakes
300ml cream
1 lemon, juiced and zested
small handful tarragon, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan, to serve

Method
Get a pot of salted water on high heat and once boiling, cook as per the packet instructions.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and once foamy, add the leek and garlic and sweat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chicken and cook stirring for a further five minutes, or until browned. Add the chilli, cream, lemon juice and zest and tarragon, and cook for a further couple of minutes.

At this point the pasta should be done, so drain and add to the saucy pan, season and serve. Cover in parmesan and devour, thankful to be alive despite scaling the largest cliff in the southern hemisphere without any support.

 

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Rissole Hantz

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Redemption Island, Survivor: Samoa, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, JLP introduced us to the 24 new castaways by way of the Locky Gilbert Memorial nude challenge where the tribes faced off against each other one at a time for supplies, though tragically remaining clothes. Over at the Contenders, poor Steve K was getting himself into trouble, searching through their loot and skittishly running around camp looking for idols. Much to Matt D’s chagrin. Meanwhile over at the Champions, the misplaced Russell found an idol in sub-twenty seconds while everyone else became friends. The first immunity challenge rolled around and poor Jenna found herself getting injured before Matt D struggled on the puzzle and led to the Contenders losing immunity. Despite Steve K being the obvious target, Matt D got super paranoid and spent the afternoon hunting for idols before completely reading his tribe for filth at tribal council before they sent him out of the game as the first boot.

Proving once again that The Secret is real, we opened up at the Contenders the next day with Benji, Zach, Steve and Robbie wanting to snatch my heart by providing an extended nude scene as they frollicked in the waves in their uncensored, homoerotic glory and just like that, Locky was usurped as my Australian Survivor crush and those four snatched my heart, while making up for the pain for the opening challenge. That is a quadruple I could ship.

Things were tragically more clothed at the Champions camp, with Steve sharpening a machete in his jocks the sexiest thing we got. But anyway, this isn’t just about the sexy tragically and I was trying to tone it down … but FOUR BUNS. I mean, swoon. Anyway, the champs were pulling together to finalise their camp and continue to get to know each other. Shane continued to work her way into my heart, going person to person making friends and being super cute. Even falling for Jackie’s lie that she is a rubix cube champ, rather than our best poker player and trying to better than Adam last year.

Back at the contenders the boys had tragically put their clothes back and the tribe got to work finalising their camp, now with fire. And unity following Matt’s departure. As much as everything was experiencing peace and love at camp, poor Tegan was starting to miss her babies and was feeling down. Thankfully Heath was also missing his young child and that is an alliance I can really get behind, particularly since Tegan was determined to take down the Champions one-by-one. Hopefully they pull in Jenna who is also determined to destroy the champs, and I am here for her.

Oh, wait, no – Brian and Mat just helped Damien out of the water and now I love them. The only person not feeling the love on the Champions tribe was Russell, with Lydia and Shane concerned about him running around and whispering to people. Not to be outdone, Russell was angry at his tribe, feeling like he is the easy one out and so instead called a camp meeting, announced that he had an idol and challenged them that the game was on. And while I love that it spooked the hell out of his fellow tribemates, I … just … wish he didn’t find a damn idol.

Distracting from the drama, JLP returned for the reward challenge where the Champions gloated about their plush digs and the Contenders sassed the shit out of them. Thankfully that was the perfect attitude leading to the Sumo at Sea challenge where two people face off and then they need to pummel each other until one falls off. As someone that has competed in the challenge before, Russell tried to coach Steve as he went to face off against Zach however once again Zach game up victorious. Paige quickly destroyed Monika and Jenna dominated sweet Queen Shane, before poor Anita faced off against Lydia, who smacked her straight into the drink. I mean water, this isn’t Survivor NZ. Robbie and Mat faced off again, with Mat’s fast feet once again coming up victorious. Jackie tied things up by smashing Shonee before Heath and Brian faced off again, with Heath tragically losing. Again. Sharn beat poor Tegran, Moana narrowly beat Fenella – what?! – before Steve K faced off against Russell. Despite my high hopes, Russell smashed Steve K and took victory for the champions, who elected for the comfort items – including tarp – over option B of fishing gear.

Back at the camp the Contenders were licking their wounds after another loss, with Robbie smarting to lose to Mat again while Zach was proud to be the #CommandoKiller. One thing they all agreed on is the fact that they hate the Champions and desperately want to beat them, so joined together, did a cheeky workout before Jenna continued to be the Contender Queen by leading them in a chant and vowing to snatch immunity.

Meanwhile over at the palatial Champions camp, they struggled to figure out where to put their hammock and other rich people problems. Even Russell was feeling like he should keep hope alive – spew – pulling Jackie aside to try and align with her and take control of the tribe. While Jackie believed that working together could be beneficial, I’m not convinced she was sold. Even when he swore on his non-existent wife’s life. He then ran to Mat, Steve W and Damien to try and make an alliance in his faux-wife’s name, and while they seemed to be more receptive to the idea … I still feel there is an epic flameout coming. Russell then spoke to Damien while the tribe slept – well except Moana who heard everything – about Jackie wanting Damien out and them needing to take over. Thankfully Moana straight up hates Hantz and ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found his Queen SDT of Australian Survivor and I am thrilled.

JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to swim out to a an A-frame to release four buoys, climb up a huge platform and diving for four more buoys … before shooting said buoys from the top of the platform to goals on the surface below. Benji – sadly clothed – got the Contenders out to an early lead, functioning as a solid unit and snatching all their buoys before the Champions even released one. Tegan extended their lead making quick work of the first submerged buoy until zaddy Steve W and Lydia started to close the gap. Poor Shane however struggled to untie their last buoy, allowing the contenders to shoot – and miss – eight baskets before she returned to the platform. While Mat got the Champions out in front, Heath finally got his eye in and scored eight goals in quick succession and snatched victory for the Contenders.

Things descended into chaos back at camp as everyone split up into groups and tried to come up with a plan for tribal council, since their number one target has an idol. Queen Shane was still keen to vote out Russell in the hope he doesn’t play his idol, while Jackie rallied the troops to get a majority on Russell with Shane or Damien as the back-up. Lydia too was keen to take out Russell, while Russell ran around trying to paint a target on everyone’s back and make them so confused that they don’t know who to vote for. Russell spotted Jackie and Monika plotting together by the shore and quickly scurried over to spook them and turn the vote on Shane to preserve his idol.

As Russell’s ego continued to grow as he praise his masterful gameplay, Queen Moana stepped up to the plate and said she was sick of Russell and was desperate to get him out. While Mat was on Russell’s side and willing to take out Jackie, Moana tried to sway him before going to Lydia, Monika and Sharn to form an alliance against Russell as a back-up.

Russell arrived at tribal council wearing his immunity idol to intimidate his opponents, while Damien wondered why the hell he elected to once again starve and be cold. Mat was surprised about how quickly the game changed after losing immunity, Shane lamented about the pain of voting someone out before Russell sassed her told her that was part of the game. Russell then continued to gloat about his Survivor history and how this was the best camp he’s ever had, though the tribe were slow to play the game. Thankfully Sharn called him out and said that he told her they’re all terrible at the game, before Moana started heckling every single thing that came out of his mouth. Until he mentioned the fact he is definitely playing his idol and one of the others will be going out. Jackie, Damien and Sharn admitted to being scared about going home, with the latter reminding them that the disharmony started that morning and surprise, surprise, that lead to them losing the challenge.

While things started to look like Russell’s play worked, Moana was still pissed about his general attitude and started whispering to others that she still planned to take him out and tried to get them on her side. Russell once again confirmed that he would be playing his idol no matter what, before everyone went off to vote. Moana, with the best vote confessional since Wendell’s rap at Chris … telling Russell he lost three times and maybe he should review his games before trying again since he has never won. JLP gave him the chance to play his idol which, surprise surprise, he declined, before he was shocked to see that the tribe made up of majority of athletes were able to hold their nerve, pile their votes on him and BOO tie it between him and Jackie (with some on Shane and Damien for good measure). With them sitting out, everyone else went off to vote and YAAAAAS send him out of the game WITH AN IDOL AROUND HIS NECK!

Now given how bloody close I am with Queen SDT, I absolutely relished the opportunity to see Russ fresh off becoming the first boot from his tribe – particularly with an idol around his neck – and rub his face in it like Moana, Lydia Shane and Monika while voting him out. But … then it kind of lost some of its joy as he didn’t seem to be as bitter as I thought. So instead, we sat down to a fairly civil meal of Rissole Hantz … before I threw his new hat in the fire after he went to, I assume, cry himself to sleep.

 

 

I had a huge, aggressive plan for his meal saying that rissoles are basic and ugly, and while you can respect their purpose and sometimes they taste really freaking delicious – hey Ross! – they’re still a rissole and you’ll always be embarrassed for liking the ugly meat nugget.

But again, he was semi-pleasant and so I instead told him that the fact that they taste so damn good and melt in your mouth is a metaphor for the fact that even though he is hated, there is some good in him. I mean, at least he woke up the tribe, Pearl.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rissole Hantz
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chilli flakes
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, for fryin’

Method
Combine everything but the olive oil – obvi – in a large bowl and scrunch with your hands until well combined. Shape into 8 inch-thick rissoles and place on a lined plated.

Heat a small lug of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and brush over the pan. Once scorching, cook a couple of rissoles for 3 to 4 minutes each side, or until cooked through.

Serve immediately with Gabriel Mash and peas, and be thankful that sometimes basic can be pretty decent.

Devour.

 

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Gregk Meatballouganis

Main, Party Food, Snack

Well do I have a gag of the season for you – and surprisingly that is neither what he or I said – I came clean to Greg about only reaching out in ‘88 to try and snatch the rights to his story that eventually lead to Breaking the Surface starring Mario Lopez. And not only that, he laughed, told me he always knew that and was just pleased to have my friendship once again.

After meeting at the University of Miami in the late ‘70s, I was immediately drawn to Greg’s talent on stage and in speedos and I made it my goal to get together and live out our twincest life. I was successful and for a beautiful couple of months, I was known around campus as Greg’s lubed anu … well, let’s just say people knew I was always ready for him to dive in.

As I mentioned, things got ugly when he found out I was mainly pushing him in to diving to make room for me to star on the stage. Thankfully three decades on, he appreciates the fact that it inadvertently motivated him to succeed in diving and as such, he should be thanking me for making him the success that he is.

Which I quickly told him I wouldn’t just appreciate, I required it before he got to eat anything.

He laughed it off as a joke though his thanks and praise seemed genuine enough that I opted against starting another feud and instead, enjoyed his company and reconnected. We laughed, we cried and most importantly, we got to fill our mouths with as many big, meaty balls as our hearts desired. In the form of my Gregk Meatballouganis.

 

 

Honouring both our love for ball play and his father’s Greek heritage, these big morsels are near perfection. Spicy, sweet and packing pockets of creamy feta, these lamb meatballs work well as a snack, in a yiros or – gasp – accompanying a big ol’ salad (what have I become).

Enjoy!

 

 

Gregk Meatballouganis
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup oregano leaves, roughly chopped
100g feta, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place everything in a large bowl and scrunch until it is well combined and thoroughly mixed.

Using meat hands, shape into golf ball-sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet until all the mixture is gone. Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until cooked through and crispy on the outside.

Allow to rest for five minutes before devouring, preferably covered in tzatziki.

 

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Jose Tikka Maasdama

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

Previously on Survivor N … o wait a minute, Survivor NZ is one-upping Australian Survivor and has ditched Knee-coo-argh-goo-arua and has headed to a new location in the form of Thailand – yes, pronounced Thailand. While that makes me mildly misty for Brian Heidik’s porno past – he is a garbage person though, I know that – Tanya Vance’s illness and Shi-Ann’s robbery with the fake merge, I am mostly thrilled to have an inland location and thirsty after the Kiwi camera angles. Sigh, Lee and those up-short confessionals – swoon.

Anyway 18 Kiwi castaways boated their way through the Thai waterways – JT, Josh and Adam being particularly babin,’ and Tess speaking for all of us (or maybe just me) shocked by the fact tigers are in Thailand – before meeting Matt on a tiny remote island in the middle of a lake. Despite assuming they had already been split into tribes, the castaways arrived on shore en masse with Renee already terrified by the youth and physicality of her competitors. Though what everyone should really be worried about is the fact that Dave and Matt are High School best friends and in all likelihood will be a strong pair.

After Matt gave the laundry list of changes for the season – hidden immunity idols are a yes, redemption island is a no – Kaysha said she was ready to play, Jose shared she would love the money and Liam felt they would be more cutthroat. Putting that theory to the test, Matt announced that they would be kicking things off differently this year with everyone competing in an individual reward challenge for the, psych, he didn’t tell us … but they pick the tribes, no? Anyway, the challenge kicked off with Jose, Franky, Matt, Renee, Josh, Eve, Kaysha, Arun and JT dominating 20 knots and moving on to the second, now shirtless, round. Josh is still my fave, though Matt is coming through. Anyway, they swam out to a platform in the leak to find another bag of tiles, with Arun, Matt and Jose the lucky three to find tiles despite Franky’s dominance. The final three then swam back into shore before literally ordering tiles from 1-100. Despite being neck and neck with Matt’s glistening torso, Jose took out victory only to discover her victory won her – and Matt, who she selected for coming second – the opportunity to select her tribe. Jose selected Arun, Eve, Dave, Franky, Liam, Renee, JT – who was thrilled to be picked late – to form Chani, with Karla rounding it out as the only remaining female. Matt asked Tara, Josh – swoon – Tess, Brad, Kaysha – shocked she wasn’t first selected – Adam, Lisa forming the Khangkhaw tribe with Dylan completing the tribe by default.

Arriving at the island Chani’s spirits were up, until they discovered the food supplies were scarce and then opted to drink water without caring about whether they needed to boil it. Jose took on a leadership role by default, suggesting they clear a path to limit the risk of snakes and get to work building a fire and shelter closer to the shore. Despite admitting that selecting the tribe kind of made it obvious for her to take the lead on the tribe, Eve warned us that it could easily come back to bite her. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw, Tess and Adam were overwhelmed harsh location while Josh and Brad made quick work of putting together a shelter.

Despite being on the island less than an hour, Karla slashed her hand with a machete and almost bleeding out which made her feel even worse, already feeling on the outs of the tribe. While people were distracted by the drama, JT noticed Arun looking for clues to the hidden immunity idols and decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and forming an alliance. While Liam felt nobody was worrying about playing the game yet, JT followed up his two-person alliance by pulling in Eve and Dave, and Dave rounding out the majority with Franky.

Tara decided to play up the mum-card, despite Barb killing the competition last year with that exact strategy. While she was out sorting the bathroom amenities for her new kids, superfan queen Lisa shared that she was also going to play the mum card and pretend she just wanted to make her kids proud. While she wanted to downplay her passion for the game, she took Tess under her wing and gave her a list of dos and don’ts in the game. While Lisa felt it was all a rouse and didn’t buy it, Tess was hoping the lack of knowledge would allow her to dominate without making herself a threat. Soooo, Tess will eventually blindside Lisa, no? Back at Chani, Arun was hoping to avoid being seen as a leader, leaving Dave and Jose to focus on building fire. That was contrasted with Khangkhaw who decided it was a good idea to soak some rice overnight so they’ll have some mildly moist rice ahead of the next challenge, hopeful it would be enough to get the jump on their competition. Jose was concerned about the target she painted on her back, though was proud of winning the challenge and felt she had selected a strong tribe that would keep her safe. Sadly for her, Franky was sick of her running her mouth which is an easy excuse to get rid of someone early.

The tribes arrived at a muddy field to meet Matt for the first tribal reward of the season for tools and a flint to help sort the fire sitch and make their live easier. The challenge would involve pairs running out into the mud, finding a bag and touching their mat with it … before the other tribe’s pair snatch it. Jose and Renee made quick work winning the first round over Lisa and Tara. Matt and Adam evened things up thanks to the dominant blocking of Adam over Dave and Arun … I think. It was sexy mud wrestling and my thirst is real. Tess and Kaysha owned Franky and Karla, leaving Josh and Brad to battle it out against Liam and JT for the win. Once again, the dirty shirtless men were writhing and hugging before Brad made a break and secured victory for Khangkhaw. Matt then wished Adam happy birthday, his flowing locks look glorious in the mud and damn, everything was right in the world.

Particularly knowing the God filled himself with botox to keep his fellow castaways guessing.

Back at camp Khangkhaw made quick work getting fire thanks to Tara’s passion for pyromania, while poor Chani struggled to make fire with sticks rubbing salt in their wounds. Chani decided to follow Khangkhaw’s lead and cook some rice in the sun to try and turn things around for themselves. Thankfully the winning ways of Khangkhaw ran into a problem as they loaded their fire with rocks to aid cooking … only for them to start exploding everywhere and almost killing the tribe. With that, Dylan extinguished the flames and they were back at square one. Adam felt people were yet to pick up on the fact he was avoiding work as much as possible, while Dylan and Kaysha went hunting for rocks, idols and building an alliance with them, Tara, Lisa and Adam. Slay queens. Khangkhaw then sat down to Adam’s birthday dinner of actually cooked rice, sang him happy birthday and it was fucking delightful. Poor Chani then tried to eat their sun-rice and started to feel even worse about themselves.

Matt returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would be required to use long, hard poles to build a staircase and then run through an obstacle course, unlock puzzle pieces and complete said puzzle. Khangkhaw got out to an early lead while Jose started barking at her tribemates, though somehow they caught up which I assume says the strategy works. Matt then dominated the key maze, giving Khangkhaw back the lead from Franky allowing Dylan and Lisa to secure immunity for their tribe.

After their second loss, Jose proclaimed the strategy to blindly follow her worked well, despite the loss which immediately made me nervous since that isn’t really having any results. On the flipside, Franky was nervous about the vote after letting the tribe down. She went to get water with Renee and Dave, with them deciding they need to keep the tribe strong at this stage, though unsure what exactly that meant. While Franky identified Karla as an option and she felt like she was on the bottom, it didn’t really feel like it as they arrived at their iconic cave tribal council.

Eve felt disappointed to be at tribal council, while Renee felt that they were no weaker than their opponents despite their track record. Franky was nervous after blowing the competition, Dave thought the suffering was bringing everyone together. Renee and JT thought you should never feel safe in the game, Franky downplayed her scheming, Liam thought there had been no scheming, Jose felt they were outliers for being positive and not plotting while Karla was nervous and felt that no one should feel blindsided since everyone should be feeling nervous at their first tribal. That however was completely false as the votes rolled in for her and Jose, with Jose finding herself becoming the first boot to her and Karla’s utter disbelief.

While Jose was feeling her feels when she arrived back at loser lodge, she was thrilled to see me – her mentor and friend from Blenheim – there with a warm, slightly patronising smile. Given her dominance in the challenges, she was surprised to find herself becoming the first boot … until I reminded her that Ulong did it to Jolanda in Palau and we can always channel my pettiness into sabotaging them. Tragically she still wished her tribe well, though I suspect it had a lot to do with my Jose Tikka Maasdama.

 

 

Given she was kicked in the guts, I knew she would need something to give her back her spice … and let’s be honest, a Tikka Masala is the best way to do it. A little bit of heat and a shit tonne of spice, I had Jose back in top form in a matter of mouthfuls. Which is meant to sound less sexually aggressive than it does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jose Tikka Maasdama
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp garam masala
salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup natural yogurt
600g lamb, diced
vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
800g can diced tomatoes
1 cup double cream

Method
Combine half the garam masala with a good whack of salt and pepper, the cumin, coriander, chilli, lemon zest and juice and natural yoghurt in a bowl. Add the lamb and toss to coat before covering and placing in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.

Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. When starting to soften, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute before stirring in the tomatoes and remaining garam masala. Once bubbling, add the lamb and marinating liquid. Stir to combine and bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering for fifteen minutes.

Once the lamb is cooked through, add the cream and stir to combine and heat through. Serve immediately with rice, poppadoms and all the fixins’ … which Jose will never hear as the first boot.

Don’t be sad though. Devour!

 

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