Baked Emmetta Pughsta

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor poor Flick received the tragic news that her mother had passed away from early onset dementia, with her opting to continue in the game after talking to her family who encouraged her to fight until the end. After a grueling immunity challenge left only four eligible to be voted out, the tribe rallied to boot Cara and weaken the immune George. That is until George found a secret hidden immunity idol, which he played without anyone knowing, meaning Laura was booted with just Cara’s vote. Much to everyone’s shock, none more so than Cara’s.

The next day Emmett was praising Cara for once again avoiding certain doom before catching up with the rest of the tribe, trying to swim away their shock. Cara and George meanwhile were celebrating in the shelter, reinvigorated and ready to continue the game as a powerful duo. Cara meanwhile was just glad that they both managed to play an idol to protect each other, given it is beautifully full circle. After Cara went for a walk, George chased her down and passed off the key for the idol so that she could claim the move as her own, ensuring that the Brains alliance still trusts him and it doesn’t blow up in their faces.

As Cara went person to person sharing the clue and key everyone appeared to believe her. That is except for Andrew, who saw right through it given it was all just way too convenient. Andrew went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Flick and Emmett so they could all share their theories on what actually went down at the previous tribal council, with the one consistent part of each theory being George. Conveniently, he joined them under the guise of filling up his water bottle allowing Andrew to ask him pointblank who played the idol the previous night. And while George continued to deny it, Andrew reiterated that Cara’s body language the night before was screaming defeat and as such, she definitely didn’t play it.

Being an icon George continued to loiter around and talk about how parched he was when he woke up. Andrew however had had it, OFFICIALLY and asked him to respectfully leave so that the four of them could continue their discussion. And after he eventually left, the four confirmed that George and Cara definitely have been playing everyone all game and as such, the entire tribe should unite to get rid of them. Which Emmett and Flick were obviously thrilled to hear, despite not actually caring that Laura went given she and Andrew were so close and they needed to be broken up  eventually.

The tribe reconnected with zaddy Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where the tribe would need to hold a lever to balance a board on which they will build a house of cards using their free hand. For a damn car, so you know they were all thrilled despite, you know, the Survivor car curse. But whatevs. Dani and Emmett got out to early leads, before both of them dropped. Every time someone started to pull ahead, they quickly dropped their stack until Dani started to pull ahead again before she dropped with one card to go. Hayley and Andrew started to pull away before Andrew dropped. Hayley then ran out of blocks before dropping her stack trying to get more, while Emmett returned to the lead as Flick and Cara nipped at his heels. As Emmett’s stack blew over, Dani powered back into the lead and put everyone out of their misery as she took out victory.

Sadly for her, that also means that she isn’t winning the game. Better luck next time Queen Dani!

Jonathan then announced that in addition to winning the car, she was able to take three of her tribemates for a joyride and a cheeky picnic. Obviously picking Flick and Emmett before gagging the Brains by selecting Andrew. Which George read as being the end of his and Cara’s run.

Dani was giddy to have won the car and praised everyone for how they’ve been playing the game, despite all trying to vote her out previously. That was all forgotten however as they arrived at the picnic, gorging on sandwiches and quiches before Dani started to push for Andrew to flip over to the Brawns. Clearly unaware that Andrew, Emmett, Flick and Hayley were already spearheading the downfall of George and Cara.

Speaking of the wonder twins, they returned to camp with Wai and Hayley with George quickly working the girls to come back to their side. Wai was obviously cool, calm and collected, as he talked in circles before straight up admitting that he was the one that played the idol. And that is exactly what he does for the people he cares about, like Hayley and Wai. While Hayley told George that she understands why he denied playing the idol to an angry Andrew, she was happy to get all the information from him and pay him back for voting her out. Oh and the information? Just George’s entire planned bootlist up to the final four.

The tribe reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where they would each stand on narrow footholds on two stumps like you would try to hold yourself up in a door frame as a kid. Last one standing taking out immunity. After mere moments, George asked Jonathan to help him down and exited the challenge. This annoyed Andrew, who speculated it was all a ruse to downplay his threat level. With Emmett hilariously telling him he sounds paranoid. Dani was next to drop, as Flick, Andrew and Emmett agreed to drop as soon as Cara left the challenge. Sadly Wai was the next to drop before the remaining five made it to 30 minutes, at which point they had to transfer to the narrower footholds.

Meanwhile on the sit out bench, George was asking Wai who they should vote out tonight between Andrew and Emmett, as Wai suggested they just wait and see what happens with the challenge. After an hour the remaining competitors had to transition to the narrowest footholds, at which point Cara dropped out of the challenge. Almost immediately Andrew dropped out, before Emmett suggested the remaining three make it tougher on themselves and remove their hands from the rope they had to steady them with Emmett quickly dropping before Flick dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley individual immunity.

Back at camp Emmett and Flick were glad that the last four competing were the group that wanted to get rid of George, with Flick wisely pointing out that removing their hands from the rope was a great way to solidify trust given they didn’t grab  them again to save themselves. The group caught up with Wai and Dani to lock in a split vote between George and Cara, with everyone fighting to be the one to get to write down George’s name. Speaking of George, he and Cara were talking about how stupid everyone would be to let Emmett survive another day given it is rare moment he isn’t immune. With that he approached Wai and Hayley to float the plan, with both of them obviously agreeing to join him to his face.

As Hayley and Wai removed themselves to decide which way to go, Hayley was leaning towards booting Emmett, while Wai felt it was still the better move to get rid of George. Oh and speaking of George, he was hiding in the grass behind them eavesdropping on everything. And the only thing worse than having someone hear your plan, is having the person with nothing to lose hearing your plan.

George made a beeline for Cara and filled her in on the fact that they are all alone. With that, they desperately wandered around camp in search of an idol with Cara eventually finding one in a tree right as Emmett walked passed. George immediately pressed Cara to play another idol for him as it guarantees Emmett goes and while I understand it, I’m not sure I trust his maths on this one given the other plan was to do a split vote.

Speaking of Emmett, he was getting nervous about George and Cara catching up with Hayley and Wai, so pulled Hayley aside and laid everything out on the table. He shared that he wanted to go to the end with people he actually wanted to see win and as such, he was planning to go to the end with her, Flick, Dani and Andrew. Which told Hayley she was fifth place in his alliance. Which makes me start to trust George’s maths again.

At tribal council Hayley was thrilled to be immune, shocked by how emotional it made her. George doubled down on the fact that Emmett and Andrew are the alphas of the tribe, which made both of them scoff at him. Andrew said that Hayley was always winning the challenge today, though he and Emmett did admit to feeling a little bit nervous to be here without immunity. George said that Emmett was clearly speaking in code and that he thinks there are some snakes in the tribe, and that he is not sure he can trust anyone other than Cara.

Emmett calmly admitted that he has managed to make new friends since Gerald’s boot and that he wants to work with people that he would be happy to see win. But if they don’t want to work with him, so be it. Hayley spoke about how making new friends and alliances are part of the game and when one door closes, you need to find new options if you want to make it to the end. While George said that he had nothing more to say to the tribe, he doubled down on the fact he has always put his allies first and worked to further their games, often to the detriment of his own. 

With that the tribe voted – George loudly reading Emmett for filth for all the tribe to hear – and Cara held on to her idol, which it turns out was a good move given Hayley and Wai flipped to their side, sending zaddy Emmett from the game.

Despite being savaged by George on his way out the door, sweet Emmett took his boot in his stride and pulled me in for a massive hug when he spotted me in the Jury Villa. You see, before I was cancelled for my lies as a health influencer – no horrible cancer lies like Belle Gibson, I assure you – Emmett and I were the best of friends. Even doing the Rottnest Island swim together. You think the yellow swimmers got tired, you should have seen my white pair! Anyway, we’re dear friends and Emmett being upbeat and kind, stood by me. And as such, I was proud to stand by him with a Baked Emmetta Pughsta.

I know he is the self-proclaimed plant based superman, but he always makes an exception when it comes to the delightful viral feta pasta from Tik Tok (see kids, I’m hip!). While we were sceptical about the recipe at first, I admit that this spicy, salty delight is not only delicious. But so damn simple, you’ll be making it over and over again.

Enjoy!

Baked Emmetta Pughsta
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g cherry tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, bruised
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp chilli flakes
200g Greek feta cheese (aka hard feta)
500g rigatoni
small handful of fresh basil leaves, for serving

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper and toss together the tomatoes, garlic and half the oil. Sprinkle it with some salt, a whack of pepper and the chilli flakes. Place the feta in the centre and pour over the remaining oil. Transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

When the tomatoes and feta are almost done, cook the pasta as per packet instructions and reserve a cup or two of pasta water when it’s done.

To assemble, mash the feta, tomatoes and garlic with a fork or masher and mix until combined. Loosen with ½ a cup of the pasta water before tossing through the pasta. Add more water as needed until you’ve got a nice coating on the pasta. Adjust the seasoning, fold through the basil leaves and then serve.

Before devouring, obvi.


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Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor – doesn’t it feel good to say that again?! – 24 new castaways Mad Max-ed into outback Queensland to find out whether brains or brawn is what is needed to prevail. They were immediately thrown into a challenge where Brawn destroyed Brains. Though clearly wanting to give the competition a leg up, Simon encouraged the tribe to choose a survival kit as reward because he had fire on lock, which he obviously didn’t. As such, they shivered through the first night. Thankfully for him, he redeemed himself by leading the tribe to victory in the immunity challenge. All hope seemed lost for Wai on the Brains tribe until George found a massive advantage, saved her and four others and then my love Phil found themselves tragically felled as the first boot.

The next day the Brains tribe were slowly trying to process George’s massive move, mainly just glad that they were the ones to survive despite none of the people that remained at tribal being on anyone’s radar. That being said, those that stuck around were angry about how it all played out and as such, vowed to get rid of George at the first possible chance. Wai meanwhile was just shocked to still be in the game and as such, opted to get to work making the most of her second chance by making friendships. First she checked in with George and shared her gratitude that he saved her, with him admitting that he sees potential in her and as such wanted to change both of their destinies. Like a modern day Jesus.

George moved on to Rachel and Georgia and well, Rachel didn’t feel happy about it being saved at tribal given George called her out as weak in explaining his move and as such, she realised that he just wants power and that is it. And well, she isn’t a monarchist, so good luck on him being King. And just like that, she is my queen. Oh and then she went to kiki with Joey and Hayley and well, I ship the hell out of this trio.

Over at the Brawn tribe, poor Simon was still focused on getting fire and well, still wasn’t having much success. I mean, even Queen Dani couldn’t get it going and well, if she can’t, I don’t have hope for any of them. And honestly, everyone’s mood was so down I feel like they mustn’t have any hope either. The Survivor Gods/editors continued to immediately prove me wrong, as Emmett stepped in, confident in his ability to rub sticks together (relatable) which, combined with his plant based diet – direct quote –  did the trick as he earnt everyone’s love by building a fire, despite really leaning the David flair for the theatrical in a less charming way.

My love Jonathan made his return to the screens for today’s reward challenge where the Brawns were gutted to see Phil gone, as they bloody well should be. Still grappling with said shock, they learnt that the challenge would see them facing off one at a time under a net to retrieve a sandbag and then wrestle their opponent to land it in their tribe’s square, with the first to three winning. And given it was for a huge fishing kit, spices, bread, honey and let’s say other misc supplies, everyone was well and truly pumped to fight it out. 

The first duo to face off were pain researcher Hayley and MMA fighter Chelsea and well Chelsea could murder me in my sleep, so I fear for Queen Hayley. Thankfully she had a huge head start thanks to her speed and hot damn, with grit and determination, she snagged the first point for the Brains. Like a boss. Simon then faced off against Dr Mitch, who was carried with the bag by Simon to score a point for Brawns, no doubt to the chagrin of George. Georgia and Dani fought extremely hard before the prison guard snatched the lead for the Brawns, meaning Baden had to beat Gavin to stay alive. Which he did, after the ultimate battle of the zaddies was barely taken out by the Brains. As such, it was up to Emmett or Joey to snatch victory for their tribe and given the way Emmett cockily showboating almost cost them victory, I don’t see this as a good advertisement for a plant based diet or his stocks in the game.

But anyway, Brawn won again and I need the underdogs to score a win in the immunity challenge otherwise this will get old very quickly.

Back at the Brawn camp, the tribe were giddy from their latest victory and quickly got down to making a cheeky honey sambo as they surveyed the loot. The tribe then went for a swim, with Emmett assuring them that he was never at risk of losing the challenge for them despite everyone feeling nervous about the way Joey tackled him mid-taunt. Janelle meanwhile was the only one that rightly wasn’t having any of it, given his egocentric displays can cost everyone in the tribe. We then finally learnt more about Janelle, who is a hard working cleaner and highly competitive hockey player and well, she is now my new Queen. She then aired her frustrations with Benny and sweet Gerald, suggesting that Emmett, Gavin and Simon have banded together and they all need to watch out so they don’t find their footing and take over. Which is 100% correct.

Over at camp Brains, the tribe were reading George for offering to battle it out against AFL legend player, with Hayley pointing out that volunteering at the last minute when you know you can’t win isn’t helpful and just designed to cause disharmony. And if that isn’t what he wanted, that is what he got as Baden was well and truly sick of him and ready to take him out. George meanwhile was talking about how much quicker than Gavin he would have been in front of Baden, fed-up Baden point blank asked what his strategy was in doing what he did and how he believed he would actually beat Gavin. And when George wouldn’t back down, they started to argue back and forth with Baden ultimately telling him that they need to make decisions for the team and can’t get offended about it. When George countered that they need to end their losing streak, Baden pointed out that losing earlier is certainly not going to help the situation.

And oh was George feeling on the outs after being read for filth.

We pressed pause on the drama as Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would swim out to a deck, climb over some obstacles, release some balls, release a key and then solve a hanging puzzle. With George and Wai taking the hero role of the puzzle, meaning he just might get the chance to prove himself. Brawn obviously got out to an early lead, but given Simon was in budgie smugglers, I am now rooting for them, so yay team! Again, this immediately jinxed them as the Brains caught up and both tribes were neck and neck all the way through the physical part. The Brains started to pull away and quickly released their key and gave them a slight advantage as they headed into the puzzle. Not that they needed though, given Wai took charge and George trusted his gut, proving to be a winning combination as they went piece by piece and quickly scored the win for the Brains. 

And joyfully lapped up the praise of their tribe, which was honestly as heartwarming as the end of any Lifetime movie.

Back at camp the Brains were far less joyous with Big D feeling like the target would be on his back given he and Janelle lost the puzzle. Knowing that, he went hard on throwing Janelle’s name out to anyone and everyone that would listen. She too was feeling nervous, particularly because she saw Daini going person to person and whispering. As such, she was fired up and pulled Dani, Benny and Flick aside to further highlight the growing trio of Gavin, Simon and Emmett to knock them down a peg and, you know, stop them from finding their feet. Benny and Flick appeared to be all in on the Emmett vote, leaving Janelle to chat to the other girls and rally them around.

Simon noticed the girls whispering quietly and as such, he, Emmett and Gavin decided to pivot and pull the numbers together to get rid of Shannon instead. For some reason I’m not 100% sure of. As such, the boys decided that they should align with Dani, Chelsea and Flick to guarantee the strongest tribe members gain the numbers. This made Flick feel well and truly in the middle, not wanting to get rid of strength just yet but also not wanting to burn her bridges with Shannon, making her contemplate Janelle as the only other option in her mind.

So to summarise, Dani nervous, suggested Janelle. Janelle nervous, suggested Emmett. Emmett threatened, suggested Shannon. And then Flick circled back to Janelle.

At tribal council Simon was disappointed by their first loss, though ready to deal with the consequences. Which as we know, is never a good thing to say openly. Daini meanwhile wished they had some more smarts amongst them and admitted his vote will be about keeping the tribe strong. Janelle meanwhile was feeling the heat after losing the challenge, with Simon quickly telling her that she said puzzles were her strength and as such, it is on her. This fired her up like a damn icon, as she defended herself and the strengths she brings to the tribe, quickly calling Emmett out for being cocky. This annoyed Emmett, who tried to defend himself but given she is absolutely right, he should be worried.

He then was really patronising as he mocked her for firing up and as such, I don’t like Emmett and would die for Janelle.

Janelle then pointed out Simon, Emmett and Gavin were already a strong trio which lead to Emmett calling it out and admitting that he knows that his name was thrown around back at camp. This led to more fighting back and forth before Jonathan dragged Flick into it, asking if she was scared of the three votes, with her admitting that yeah, it is a concern but there are nine other votes so at this stage, it isn’t that concerning. Emmett continued to be confident, Shannon admitted that the fact they can’t sit anyone out in the next challenge just changed things for her before Emmett gave a last ditch plea for everyone he trusts to stick to the plan. Basically. Flick meanwhile was focusing on sticking with the majority and guided solely by not wanting to come back to tribal council.

With that the tribe voted and despite it being far closer than anyone in the tribe expected, Janelle was narrowly, and tragically, booted from the game. And damn, you know there are going to be fireworks back at camp as the boys appeared just as shocked to see her go as she was.

As soon as Janelle arrived back at Loser Lodge, I pulled her in for a hug before raging over the fact that OF COURSE, the tribe votes out its oldest woman. You see, I’ve known Janelle for years and we became the best of friends as we systematically dominated the Townsville hockey scene. But that isn’t why I love her. No. I love her because I am convinced she is a time traveller, given she looks EXACTLY like my favourite barista from my favourite cafe in 2007, but as a grown-up. And, you know, I want to annoy her with my love until she admits that she is the second time-traveler to compete in Survivor after Malcolm/Jimmy Tarantino. My go to way to show my love? Whipping up a batch of Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls.

I love croissants and sausage rolls almost equally, but shamefully had never thought to combine them before. But damn, not that I have, I finally know what true joy is. Perfectly seasoned sausage and crumbly pastry? I challenge you to find a better way to dull the post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls
Serves: 12.
Inspired by these little numbers from Taste.com.au

Ingredients
500g beef mince
500g sausage mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
⅓ cup tomato sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground sage
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
a dash of milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C and line two baking sheets.

Combine the minces, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, chilli and an egg in a bowl with a large whack of salt and pepper, and stir, scrunching with your hands until well combined.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, followed by each half into two triangles. Using about a quarter of a cup of the mixture, form into a small sausage and place against the longer end of the triangle. Whisk the remaining egg with the milk and brush the exposed parts of the pastry before rolling from the long end to the tip to form a croissant. Shaping into a half-moon, if you can be bothered. Continue the process until it’s all done.

Brush the assembled pastries with remaining egg wash and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then, you know, devour covered in a gallon of tommie sauce.


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Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta

Main, Pasta, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Given Art already had an episode of my love, I’m going to keep things brief.

Art truly is the future of drag.

On top of being funny, filthy and oh so fierce! She was an absolute joy to watch all season, providing hilarious commentary, giving us heartfelt moments and while she never took out a win, I’ve got a feeling that she will have a triumphant run on a future All Stars season.

You heard it here first!

And obviously I told her of this as I pulled her into my arms, cast aside the snag rolls and gave her a fresh bowl of more finalist friendly, Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta.

Salt, creamy and packing a kick, this very basic pasta tastes anything but! Plus, you can whip it up in sub-twenty minutes – genuinely, Jamie Oliver – which is very important to me as I age.

Enjoy!

Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g rigatoni
700g marinated artichoke hearts, drained
⅓ cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 cup parmesan, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat. Heavily salt and add the pasta before cooking per packet instructions.

While the pasta is gettin’ al dente, place the artichoke, oil, lemon, chilli and half the parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz to form a smooth, velvety paste. 

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Combine the cooked pasta with the puree and stir to combine, adding as much liquid as required to make it saucy. Fold through the remaining cheese and again, add more liquid as needed.

When at the desired consistency, serve immediately, top with more parmesan just because and then devour. Triumphantly.


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Coco Jumbalaya

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the queens were put through their paces in the inaugural Down Under Snatch Game. And while Anita slayed the game and stamped herself as a frontrunner, pretty much everyone else bombed. Hard. There was a Dolly without an accent, a Coolidge without the jokes, Lizzo without energy and Bindi Irwin without the Bindi, despite the fact the bogan take was still funny. Ultimately the latter two performances landed Coco and Art in the bottom two, and the remaining girls – and us at home – gagged, gooped and broken as Art was shockingly eliminated from the competition. Sobbing her way out the door.

Backstage the queens were in absolute shock, not only to have lost Art but I assume trying to grapple with the raw emotion they just experienced. Karen was speechless to have lost her bestie slash fellow front-runner, while on the flipside Coco was glad that winning the lip sync proved some drunk bogan lady married to her boss who said she would never compare to Art wrong. The one thing everyone could agree on is how the  departure of such a big name means the competition is well and truly wide open, with Etcetera desperate to leverage that opening – who wouldn’t – to put herself at the front of the pack.

The next day things were less shell shocked as the girls celebrated still being in the competition, with Kita pointing out she is now terrified to lip sync against either Coco or Elektra given they can both turn it the hell out. Bless, Etcetera suggested they could just both land in the bottom together and send each other home and save everyone else the worry!

They were interrupted by Ru who dropped by to put the queens to the test as full-bushed, sexy lifeguards. Etcetera was obviously demented and syched for the Gods before popping her balloon titties mid-rescue. Karen served clown realness with the fullest of full bushes, while Kita was giving the Pit Crew something to suck on. Elektra was hilarious, giving pube reveals as she saved all the lives. Coco meanwhile was giving me life as a slutty lifeguard. Anita then came out as lifeguard Yetta and I still stan her, while Maxi burnt her feet on the sand and Scarlet popped both tits and stole the show as the dumbest lifeguard of all time. 

Ultimately – and somewhat obviously – Scarlet and Elektra took out joint victory in the mini challenge. As such, the duo were team captains in a girl group battle for the premiere of the maybe-gonna-be-a-hit song Queens Down Under. You know, the iconic one from the one trailer the show got. Not that I’m bitter or anything. With the two pulled aside, Scarlet grabbed Etcetera Etcetera, Coco Jumbo and Anita for her team while Elektra went with Karen and Kita, with Maxi joining them by default. Which didn’t bother her in the slightest. Like a damn icon. Anyway the queens would write their own verses, record them with Michelle and then debut them on the mainstage with their own choreo. Because we are not ready for Jamal Simms to land Down Under, as much as I want him to.

The groups quickly split up with Elektra desperate to prove why she is here and show off her dance background, while over on team Scarlet she was focused on killing it with sharp choreography despite Etcetera and Anita wanting to take it easy so they could all shine. That being said the choreography is the least of their problems, given Coco was on struggle street with the first part of the process, her lyrics. Things were then interrupted by a massive blow up between Karen, Elektra and Kita but psych, it was fake to get into the other girls heads. But nobody really batted an eyelid after the initial excitement died down.

Another siren went off with Drag Race songwriter Leland and Troye Sivan Zooming in to encourage the girls. And just as I was about to write it off as a boring way of including celebrity guests in this COVID world, Troye Sivan dropped all the ways he wants it up the arse in such a filthy way, I blushed, flooded my basement, took notes on new positions and then silently pledged to stan that hero until the end of times. They then encouraged everyone to give all the personality in their performances, but nothing will ever show more personality than the mouth of my King.

Team Elektra – aka Three and a Half Men – was first to record their lyrics with Michelle. Karen kicked things off very flat, before Kita absolutely blew Michelle away with her energy and lyrics before Elektra knocked out some hilariously self-deprecating lyrics ripping on her basic drag. And then Maxi, girl, you in danger – she struggled to find a beat, let alone stay on the beat. Instantly making her teammates shit themselves. Though not in the Scaredy Kat way.

Team Scarlet introduced themselves as the Outback Fake-Hoes – is that a play on Queen Sandra’s favourite chain?! – with Anita continuing to knock everything out of the park, Etcetera feeling her oats while working her way further into my heart. Scarlet too was great but then again, anyway looks perfect next to Coco who really struggled to find any key, despite how much I love her charm and how hot she is as a boy.

Three and a Half Men were first to learn the choreography with everyone feeling great about Elektra’s work and grateful about how patient she was while teaching everyone. Backstage she shared that she hasn’t taught dancing in such a long time, opening up about how she lost her dance studio and then her home. The rest of the dolls rallied around her as she broke down about her pain and loss and ugh, now I am an Elektra stan as well as my lusting after her.

The Outback Fake-Hoes were less streamlined in their rehearsal process as Scarlet tried to be nice and let everyone have an opinion. Etcetera used the opportunity to help by leading from behind, which led to them spending most of the time fighting over what to do while poor Coco and Anita stood off to the side of stage, looking on in utter confusion.

But will it all be a massive fake out?!

Elimination Day rolled around with Etcetera stumbling upon a note in Coco’s workstation telling her to ‘watch out.’ While everyone was speculating about who could possibly have written it, Kita lamented sadly that she wished it was her to cause some drama. That being said, it was painfully obvious that it was Art. Which is the perfect kind of messy I love and now miss.

UPDATE: Art has confirmed it was she who left the note. Like a shady little producing icon!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys strapped themselves in – with Rhys fearlessly ripping on Ru and Michelle with hilarious results, swoon – as Outback Fake-Hoes took the stage. Anita’s filthy lyrics delighted the judges, Scarlet hit every beat of the choreography, Etcetera oozed charm and Coco really kicked it into gear from rehearsal, though still seemed out paced by her team. Three and A Half Men kept things more even as Karen served Australian Trixie, Kita was an absolute high-energy delight, Elektra was an absolute star and Maxi was the exact right kind of slutty-demented, working around any of her perceived weaknesses with ease thanks to her killer characterisation.

Am I now a Maxi stan as well? This is getting exhausting.

On the Bogan Prom Realness runway Etcetera was a total slapper in a pink juicy tracksuit fresh from gittin’ her nails done. Coco was full bush after pulling herself away from the man she was doing in the shrubs, Anita was demented and truly sold bogen chic. Scarlet slayed in a goon sack gown with ciggie necklace, offering gobbies to her teacher to further lock up this week’s victory in my eyes. Elektra was a total golden bogan babe with a tonne of accessories and then some. Kita meanwhile went a different route, serving neon rocker realness. Maxi was a damn star as the bogan chaperone, while Karen was a mess as her ruffly daughter, in the greatest way possible.

Ultimately Etcetera and Karen were sent to safety, leaving the judges to read Coco for messing up the performance despite looking like perfection. Ru liked her look on the runway but wished it was more elevated. Anita meanwhile was praised for not letting her stumbles in the performance hold her back and therefore slaying from start to finish. Particularly with her filthy lyrics. Scarlet received universal praise for everything she did, with Ru feeling more in touch with Australiana from witnessing her runway. Elektra was read for trying to be the Beyonce of the group, with them not loving the fact she is continuing to be basic on the runway. Kita was universally beloved, despite the fact she didn’t really serve the category. Maxi was read for struggling with the record, though praised for being so damn stunning and magnetic. With Michelle reminding her she is so much more than funny to boot, and encouraging her to lean into her beauty.

As the queens untucked Coco resigned herself to her fate in the bottom two, while Elektra gagged her team with the knowledge that she too is in the bottom. The only thing more annoying than being in the bottom for Elektra though, was how smug Scarlet was to receive universal praise.

Back on the Mainstage Anita and Kita were quickly sent to safety as Scarlet took out her first victory of the season, despite the fact Ru made it sound like she had already won multiple. Meanwhile Elektra was gagged to find herself in the bottom with Coco, thanks to her basic runways while a shocked Maxi was sent to safety. And as suggested at the start of the episode by Etcetera, both of the potential assassins were ready to fight tooth and nail to survive to Peaches & Herb’s Shake Your Groove Thing. Elektra once again let out her full Beyonce while Coco felt the song and damn they bounced off each other so damn well. Elektra gave the most fluid death drops to ever grace the mainstage, was high-kicking and an absolute ridiculous delight and damn, this is where she shines as the hilarious, scrappy fighter.

Despite Coco’s magnetism, Elektra bouncing in a split for an entire verse was too fierce to overcome as she once again saved herself, sending my love Coco out of the competition. While my arms were wide open ready to embrace my northern-ish NSW friend, she was less happy to see me on account of the fact I forced her to dress as a gorilla in week one.

As one of her dearest friends, Coco came to me for advice on how best to impress Ru, Michelle and my king Rhys, and I suggested celebrating the jewel of Coffs, the big banana. Other than the iconic Maccas you’d stop at on a drive to Sydney at Christmas when it was still in the ‘90s location, but I digress. You see, my young gay loins were well and truly girded in the coastal hub when I saw the Wallabies in the pool while staying at a resort in Coffs Harbour. The moment went on to inspire the scene in the second Sex and the City movie but also washed away any doubts of potential heterosexuality and ignite my passion for a big banana.

It was a truly touching coming of age story, in more ways than one, and Coco agreed to do me proud. And well, we all watched episode one so the less I say about it the better, though I do think the judges would have loved to hear my touching story. 

After apologising profusely for being out of touch – who knows how to do human interaction after COVID?! – Coco warmed to my tears and was just grateful to have a friend by her side. I reminded her that she gave good talking-head for the three episodes she was in and was a babe out of drag and as such, will always be beloved by the fandom. And will probs win an All Stars season if and when it happens, I can just feel it in me waters. With that, we sat down to dinner hand in hand and giddily ate up our friendship while smashing a fresh Coco Jumbalaya.

Ya ya yi, you thought I was going to cocoa our jumbo, didn’t you? While it was the more obvious option when creating a recipe for a friend as sweet as Coco, I instead wanted to highlight her spicier side. Like Coco, this baby as the rich velvety sweetness of the tomato and capsicum with some delightful depths from the chorizo and chilli kicking it into gear.

Enjoy!

Coco Jumbalaya
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red capsicum, sliced
2 chorizos, skin removed and filling pinched out into small meatballs
500g chicken breasts, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup basmati rice
400g tin diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and saute the onions and capsicum for five minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the chorizo and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until they release some of their flavourful oils. Stir the chicken through the pan and cook for another five minutes, or until starting to brown on the outside.

Add the garlic, spice, chilli and a good whack of salt and pepper – more so off the pepper, but that’s my preference – to the pan and stir for a minute or so before stirring in the rice. Pour in the tomatoes and stock, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is plump and rouged.

Serve immediately and devour, thinking of the biggest bananas you’ve been lucky enough to see.

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Amber Marinara Sauce

Condiment, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: The Australian Outback, Survivor: Winners at War, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor – which yes, yes, was minutes ago – 20 former champions of the game arrived in Fiji for the 20th anniversary special edition, battle royale, all winners season. While the opening didn’t have the majesty of dislocated shoulders or Sugar running around topless flipping the bird at the heroes, seeing winners like Amber, Ethan and Danni, who I never thought I would see again, was so exciting and grand, my gay little heart almost exploded. Mainly because Ethan is a zaddy and can get it. But anyway, the victors were split into two tribe Dakal and Sele, with the former taking out the opening immunity, meaning Queen Sandra lived to avoid becoming the first boot. Over at Sele, Rob, Parvati, Ethan and Danni joined together to form an old school alliance, taking control and deciding whether to split up Adam and Denise – who got lost together – and Natalie and Jeremy. Given the latter two were such close allies, and Jeremy’s blindside literally pushed Natalie to victory, they targeted them and sent Natalie to the Edge of Extinction.

We followed Natalie off to the Edge of Extinction, which she was now a massive fan of given it gives her the chance to return to the game. Despite following in her sister’s footsteps and getting booted first in The Amazing Race All Stars, she was still shocked to have been voted out of the game, describing the feeling of picking up a torch at tribal as weird.

The next day we checked in with Dakal where Sandra and Sarah were talking to Yul by the well, finding some common ground on their lack of connections and not having family. Sandra told the duo how hurt she was by Rob lying to her about playing, after denying it while spending 36 days together on the Island of the Idols. And honestly, I don’t know if this is a brilliant lie to get the target off her own back, or whether she was genuinely hurt … but I live for my vengeful queen. I just wish it didn’t mean she was likely going to take it out on Amber, instead of her hubby. Seeing a chance to split up the poker pals, Yul asked Sandra and Sarah if they would be willing to split up the marrieds and their card shark chums, which the Game Changers both quickly agreed to. Yul was mainly thrilled that the ladies were trying to pull together the same people he was. Aka the one time players that don’t have any connections on the tribe. Yul took the information back to his allies Sophie, Wendell and Nick and they were obviously keen to snatch the majority.

Over at Sele Michele was smarting over being left out of the vote at the previous tribal council, given she has so much pressure to prove that she deserved her first win and is actually a good player. She and Ben caught up, agreeing that Rob is in control of the tribe, no matter what he says, and that they need to hook up with Adam to make sure the new school kids aren’t led to the slaughter by the oldies. Firmly in the middle of the factions, Jeremy excused himself to a quiet section of the jungle where he learnt that Nat had bequeathed him her Fire Token and as such, he was the richest man in the game.

Speaking of Nat, she discovered the price list for items on Edge of Extinction which was accompanied by a note, offering a chance to earn herself a Fire Token. With that, she went hiking around the island to find the last place you would see the sun set. Where she discovered an immunity idol that is good for the next three tribal councils, which she could sell to someone from the losing tribe at the next immunity challenge for one Fire Token.

Speaking of the immunity challenge, Jeffrey arrived to lord over it. Each tribe was required to paddle out to retrieve a bag of number tiles, race over a series of obstacles, use the numbers to release three rings and then toss three rings to raise three flags. Both tribes were neck and neck getting into the water, until Sele straight up paddled into a pontoon and gave Dakal a huge lead. Which only extended as Sele over shot the dock with the number tiles. Sele desperately tried to close the gap but Dakal proved too strong, extended the lead as Rob single handedly flipped his tribemates over an obstacle. By the time Sele made it to the last obstacles, Yul had managed to release the rings giving Tyson and Wendell a massive head start tossing their rings. Wendell scored the first point before Adam finally released the rings. While Wendell continued to struggle, Jeremy quickly landed three rings in a row and handed Sele a massive come from behind win.

Back at camp Tony decided to simply ask if anyone wants to go keep Natalie company on the Edge of Extinction. With nobody jumping at the chance to exit the game, the tribe quickly splintered to find a target – not calmly, as Yul requested – with Sandra and Nick keen to take out Amber, while Kim, Amber and Tyson suggested those two and Tony to Wendell, unaware that they were aligned. Wendell, Nick and Yul caught up, Amber was feeling confident in her alliance with Tyson and Kim, though the pace made her nervous and she knew that she needed to keep up. Amber approached Sophie to see whether they should be getting rid of Sandra, given she spreads information to keep the target of herself. Speaking of Sandra, she was spreading information to her allies, to solidify the target on Tyson, Kim or Amber.

Sandra was feeling particularly confident, given she discovered and accepted the immunity idol in her bag. Stirring the pot with safe, glee, Sandra told Tony and co that Tyson now wants Tony out, pissing Tony off and getting his allies to change the plan to get rid of Tyson instead. Particularly since Amber isn’t scrambling, and keeping the married couple together keeps the target off him. Meanwhile Yul and Nick approached Tyson to let him know that everyone is terrified about the poker alliance, and as such, Tyson immediately flipped his game from dictating a vote, to assuring them that he will be a loyal number and vote whichever way they want him to. Kim and Amber be damned. Speaking of Kim, she was feeling nervous for the first time in her Survivor career, approaching Sandra and Wendell to find out who the target is, quickly realising that it may just be her.

Knowing that her presence was causing a lot of silences, she desperately tried to find someone to talk to and started announcing herself before entering any populated areas. She felt awful to finally be left out in her Survivor career, and was just hopeful that she wasn’t the one that was punished for the alleged poker alliance.

At tribal council Probst continued to make Amber feel super old, reminding her that she hasn’t played in over 16 years with her admitting that the speed of the game is overwhelming. Tyson spoke about the differences in each of the eras of Survivor, with the oldies sitting back and observing while the newer victors seem to act first, think second. Amber felt that Tony was running around erratically, with he and Sandra defending him because they were going to tribal council. And if she can’t keep up with the pace, she needs to get out of the way. Sophie said that the scrambling dropped off throughout the day, and as such, people should be nervous that their last conversation is correct. Which Sandra agreed with, given it was whittled down to a small group. Kim admitted that she was part of the small group because she played in a poker game which everyone believes is an alliance, which Tyson agreed was also putting him in danger.

Kim desperately tried to convince everyone that she is not close with the poker group and if it is, she isn’t a part of it. Wendell agreed that there are so many connections that the game is a mess, while Amber said that with $2 million dollars on the line, everyone was playing for themselves. Which Sandra gladly agreed with.

With that the tribe voted, Sandra held on to her hidden immunity idol and Kim and Tyson were spared as Amber became the second person and first Mariano voted out of the game to the Edge of Extinction. After bequeathing her Fire Token to Rob, I jumped out from behind the Edge of Extinction sign and unlike Natalie, she wasn’t terrified nor surprised to see me. She simply threw her arms around my neck and told me how glad she was to at least see me in her moment of crushing defeat.

Like Sandra said while voting for her, it was heartbreaking to see Amber’s third chance cut because of Rob’s threat level, rather than her own. And that thought made me start to break down in tears. Immediately, she went into mum/mom mode, pulled me in for a hug and reminded me that everything will be ok. And that while Edge of Extinction sucks, I can at least watch her in every episode. With that thought bringing a smile to my face, she got a fire going and I quickly whipped her up an Amber Marinara Sauce for the road.

 

 

Rich, robust and versatile – am I describing the perfect man or a simply beautiful marinara sauce. Por que no los dos, amirite? Smooth and lightly herbed, this marinara is the basis for all that is good in Italian cooking – from pizza to pasta, this baby has your back.

Enjoy!

 

 

Amber Marinara Sauce
Serves: 4-6 in a Dolognese, or about 1L if chugging.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
2 tsp chilli flakes
800g can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper, ground
½ tsp raw caster sugar
¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped

Method
Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and sweat the garlic for a couple of minutes, or until fragrant and starting to catch on the bottom. Add the chilli and cook, stirring, for a further minute.

Add the tomatoes, and a cup of water that has been swilled around the can to get every last drop of ruby, delicious goodness. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, sugar and herbs and cook – stirring occasionally still, FYI – for a further 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat to cool completely, before bottling.

 

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Jericho Maloo Bonda

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 giants of the game returned to the island to get revenge, redemption or to detain their crown. John still loved speedos, Shonee is still a queen and Locky is still bae. After a gruelling opening reward challenge the Mokuta tribe got to claim a pre-built luxury camp, leaving Vakama to suffer through their first day. Thankfully though it lit a fire under them, or more specifically Locky, as he dominated the challenge and secured immunity for the flailing tribe. Back at camp Lydia quickly got to work getting revenge on Shane, rallying the numbers to take out our queen despite her valiant efforts to save herself.

The next day Mokuta were decidedly more upbeat, though mainly because Shonee was telling an iconic story where she pulled over an uber to pat a dalmation, bonding with its owner and then getting employed as his personal assistant. I mean, thank you Shonee. And thank you editors for making up for the severe lack of Shontent leading up to the season.

While everyone was falling under Shonee’s spell, Henry went slinking through the jungle to take a look at his latest idol. Rather than trying to make inroads with his tribe after isolating himself by aligning with Shane. He returned to camp and immediately started chatting to Harry by the fire, hoping to throw him off the scent that he voted for him the night before. Speaking of Harry, he got to work wooing Shonee, suggesting that the two of them should align with Nick. And just like that, I like Harry because he has exquisite taste and I want to be their best friend.

We finally checked in on Vakama where poor Locky was still rubbing his stick, desperate to start a fire while Jericho was like a phone when it is out of battery. Meaning, obviously, that he is running on empty. What a wordsmith?! While Phoebe didn’t call him out and calmly sat chatting, AK and David joined Locky to work on the fire. While once again AK grew tired of the calmness, hoping to lock in some allies and cause some chaos. The battle lines, apparently, were drawn by age lines with the old hags aligning, while the hotties – like him – all wanted to work together. Which was great for David, given he is super pretty but also almost 40. So I assume he is the swing vote, and honestly, I want to swing on him like a big old vine.

Adding to his beauty, he continued to rub his stick well into the night until finally, he got an ember and started a fire for his freezing tribe. I mean, what a beautiful provider?!

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where three people at a time from each tribe would face off on a platform at sea, working to push the others off until only their tribe remains. It was for the chance to shop at the Survivor store, getting the choice of a range of critical items to make their camp life a little bit easier. In the first round Lydia, Abbey and Sharn were shockingly destroyed by Daisy, Moana and Brooke, thanks to Daisy crushing Lydia in an iconic scene. Zach, Lee and Nick were net to wrestle Locky, Mat and David, and honestly I didn’t care who won, only that they were all writhing around with each other. After Locky pulled Mat into the water, the round was halted as Zach heard his knee pop leaving Nick to battle against Mat and David all by himself. Which was adorable, particularly when David refused to battle to give Nick a fair shot.

I mean, fucking swoon.

Queens Shonee and Michelle eventually climbed onto the platform with Abbey to battle against Jacqui, Phoebe and Flick. With Flick and Jacqui quickly taking out our Queens, Abbey and Phoebe battled for over 20 minutes, with Abbey twerking in Phoebe’s face like she was angling for a rimjob until Phoebe freed herself from her clutches. After pacing around each other, Abbey lunged at Phoebe’s jugular leading to yet another epic battle before Abbey eventually scored a point for Mokuta. The boys made a return to the fray with John, Henry and Lee facing off against Locky, David and Mat – again – leading to another stunning sight of shirtless men wrestling, with Henry showing some crack and John trying to dack his opponents before going into the drink with Mat. Locked in a hug, Henry and David decided to chat about their positions in the tribe. Much to Moana’s – who I keep forgetting is in the cast – chagrin. Ultimately David pushed Henry in, leaving Lee to fight for his tribe’s survival, ripping Locky’s shorts off to stay alive. Unaware that Locky has zero qualms about getting nude in a challenge.

After securing victory, Jonathan surprised Vakama with the twist that only two of them will be going to select their reward from the shop. With the tribe selecting Phoebe – who had never, ever won a reward – and Locky, who took off his shorts to score the win.

With the duo off shopping, the rest of Vakama returned to camp and quickly congratulated Daisy for embarrassing Lydia and Abbey in a physical challenge. Focusing on the wrong things, Jericho asked what the shop would look like before suggesting that since they were split up, they likely will be getting a dilemma. And oh my goodness, have I been too hard on Jericho because that is the perfect thing to point out after seeing the only other winner of the cast just became the first boot.

Meanwhile over at the shop Phoebe was just excited to actually win a reward before they discovered they were able to snatch five rewards, either for themselves or the entire tribe. With that, they selected the chance to invite 2 people to a reward that their tribe loses – for themselves), a flint for the tribe, a bowl of cookies … which they cracked before leaving the store like a tantruming toddler, and then a boring old tarp and some potatoes. Trust solidified, the sneaky duo returned to camp with Phoebe wisley choosing to stay quiet and let Locky tell the story. Well until Daisy, AK and Jericho started to see holes in their story, crunching the numbers and making them nervous. Which led to Locky and Phoebe relenting and telling their allies that they also received cookies, which they stashed to share with the rest of the Heathers.

Before we could find out whether they would be sprung with the cookies, my love Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where each tribe was required to run under an obstacle, up a tower and release six barrels which they would race like Sierra-Dawn Thomas Anglim before standing them on discs and tossing sacks on each of them. Once they stand them up. As prophesied by Queen Michelle, Mokuta took an early lead, motivated by their loss at the reward challenge. Mokuta continued to slowly pull away, until Vakama’s final barrel got stock in their chute. Allowing Mokuta to push further ahead, with Queens Michelle and Shonee riding a barrel like it was their throne. Vakama slowly started to close the gap until Moana slipped off her barrel, meaning Mokuta could start the sack tossing before the others had even finished the course. Despite flailing in the previous throwing challenge Lee redeemed himself, scoring the first two points, with Henry scoring another before Vakama finally joined the fray. While Mat and AK desperately tried to close the gap, the lead proved too much to overcome, with Lee and Henry scoring immunity by the skin of their teeth.

And proving Queen Michelle to be a trusted psychic.

Back at camp the tribe quickly smashed a meal before everyone started to scramble, with the Heathers excusing themselves to scramble while the olds were left back at camp to find a way to save themselves. Jericho suggested they eat all the food while they were away, which takes away from his earlier wisdom. Meanwhile over with the young’uns, they were locking in the vote against Moana who was terrible at the camp with the bonus being that it would break up her close alliance with Mat. David however wasn’t sold on the idea, feeling it was way too obvious for them and as such, suggested they too get rid of their tribe’s previous winner. The group quickly locked in the vote and split up, before Phoebe shared that she didn’t want to vote for Jericho but also didn’t want to rock the vote earlier.

Speaking of Jericho, he was rallying the minority group, suggesting that they join together to vote out Daisy. With that done and dusted, Mat and Jericho bid adieu to Jacqui, Moana and Tarzan and got to work trying to woo AK and Phoebe over to their side instead. And while Phoebe was sold on their pitch, knowing she and Daisy have no plans to work together long term, like Nick last night, she didn’t want to put her neck on the line.

At tribal council Phoebe was nervous to be back at tribal council after her losing ways on Aganoa. David felt like no time had past since his last stint at tribal council before Flick put her foot in it, saying that she is voting for who is best for ‘us’. Jericho quickly questioned who the ‘us’ are before Moana straight up pointed out the 7-5 split amongst the tribe. Phoebe tried to downplay alliances before Mat played up his loyalty, reiterating that you need strong allies to make it to the end. AK shared that he was just keeping an ear out to the answers at tribal council before making his decision, making everyone in his alliance nervous and poor Phoebe look like she wanted to throw up. Phoebe changed tact and reminded everyone that she came from the worst tribe on her season and as such, she was really focused on staying strong to avoid losing again.

Jericho played the emotional card, trying to squeeze out some tears and sharing how much he loves everyone and how sad it will be to see someone go. Surprisingly the tears made Phoebe start to feel guilty, and as such, question if she was making the right decision. With that, Moana saw hope – get it? – and told Jonathan that the tribe would be going to vote before the opportunity passed themselves by. With that, Jonathan heeded her advice and the tribe voted, with the Heathers winning the battle and sending the only remaining victor from the game.

While I wasn’t his biggest fan in his first season – I mean, he was competing for my affections with Locky so never stood a chance – I truly felt sorry for him as he wandered into Loser Lodge. I mean, as soon as he saw Shane had gotten the boot you could see that he knew he would be following her straight out the door. As such, I pulled him in close, apologised for being harsh, threw out a confusing metaphor and then whipped out a big ol’ plate of Jericho Maloo Bonda.

 

 

Essentially the Indian equivalent of his first season’s victory meal, bondas are gloriously crisp balls of fluffy, spicy potato. Do you even need me to say anything else to convince you? Get thee to a kitchen, stat!

Enjoy!

 

 

Jericho Maloo Bonda
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
olive oil, to taste
2 onions, diced
2 green chillies, diced
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 cups rice flour
salt and pepper, to tase

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions for five minutes, or until semi-translucent. Add the ginger, chilli and chilli flakes and cook for a further minute. Remove from heat and stir through the lemon zest and juice.

Place the pre-mashed potato into a large bowl and add the zesty onion mix and rice flour. Season and stir with the wooden spoon until it is well combined.

Form into balls, somewhere between the size of golf balls and tennis balls, and transfer to a lined baking sheet until all the mixture is done.

Drizzle with oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with some raita, in a state of mixed-metaphor bliss.

 

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South West ShickAnn Huanger

Burgers, Main, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Thailand

This time next week we will have ventured to an island featuring absurdly large busts of Survivor icons Sandra and Rob, Jeffrey will no doubt have spoken about balls and poles and our first boot will have eaten their feelings with me in Ponderosa.

But more importantly, that means I have one more icon to celebrate as we anticipate the return. Which is where my dear, dear, Shii Ann comes in to play.

While All Stars cops a lot of flack because of the ugly, bitterness there was one shining light and that was the iconic underdog herself Shi Ann. I mean, name a more iconic moment than her winning immunity at the exact moment she so desperately needed it and then proceed to rub it in the faces of everyone that she was up against.

It was that spitfire moment that truly solidified her place in my heart and I was honoured that she accepted the invite to be the showstopper of this season’s countdown. Particularly since she is busy with her real estate career in NYC.

Obviously we gossiped about the cast and the upcoming season – she agrees that Janet and Elaine are icons that need to be protected at all cost – but mostly we caught up on how she has been (great), whether she would come back for another season (yes) and most importantly, whether my ex Frederick still pines after me (of course).

We then sat down to a plate of piping hot South West ShickAnn Huangers and toasted to the season ahead.

 

 

A little kick of chilli, a punch of lime and the creamy guacamole work together to make this burger sing. I mean, only stupid, stupid people wouldn’t agree that it is perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

South West ShickAnn Huanger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn, rinsed and drained
3 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 lime, zested and juiced
4 Kirsten Bunst
olive oil
1 tomato, sliced
a handful butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and drained
1 batch Lady Guagamole
hot sauce, to serve

Method
Start by combining the mince, black beans, corn, shallots, garlic, chilli, cumin and lime in a bowl, and scrunching with your hands until well combined. Split into four patties.

Place a skillet over medium heat and add the split buns to toast for a couple of minutes.

Add a good lug of oil to the pan and cook the patties for a few minutes before flipping and cooking for a remaining five minutes, or until cooked through.

To assemble, place a hearty dollop of guacamole on the base of the roll. Add a few slices of tomato, lettuce, the patty, hot sauce and another dollop of guac. Just because.

Then devour, greedily, rubbing it in the faces of those that didn’t get a burg.

 

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Stuffed Shelly Long Bake

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Main, Pasta

After spending the last few days catching up with the current shining stars of television – hey there current nominee Christina Applegate, and rising stars Riz and Tatiana! – I decided Emmy Gold: Golden Family needed some gravitas in the form of some TV royalty. So I picked up the phone and invited myself over to celebrate Shelley ma’ fuckin’ Long.

While yes, she is still working hard with killer runs on Modern Family and less recently – and my favourite – playing Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch movies, her Emmy winning turn as Diane in Cheers is truly the stuff of TV legend.

I mean, her and zaddy Ted Danson’s will-they-won’t-they romance is enough to flood my basement even now.

Obviously Shell was honoured to finally get the call up to appear on this patch of cyberspace and introduce herself to a new audience. While our relationship started out quite rocky thanks to the meddling ways of the morally corrupt Kelsey Grammer, Rhea Perlman – the saint that she is – was able to sit us down, make us see sense and finally end our feud in 1987 before Shelley departed Cheers.

Did I mention I was a featured barfly in Cheers? Because I was.

Anyway, given she starred in one of the most iconic comedies of all time, I got her to help me run the odds for Outstanding Comedy Series, hoping that this category provides a well-deserved surprise slash great return on gambling investment. While Veep, Barry, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag are generating the most chatter to take out the win, this is the category that I could honestly make a case for every nominee taking it out. Russian Doll was bold and moving, The Good Place is the greatest exploration of morality ever committed to screen and Schitt’s Creek is a remarkable show filled with hope and joy.

While my heart wants Schit’s Creek to take it out and Shelley thinks The Good Place deserves it, I think it will go to Fleabag. But given Schitt’s has the worst odds, am betting it all on them for a good return on investment. While Shelley tried to suggest I go for a safer bet, I didn’t listen and drowned out her wise words by smashing a big Stuffed Shelly Long Bake.

 

 

There is nothing better than pasta … except kitsch foods, so using that logic, this baby is the holy grail. Large shell pasta bake full of rich, creamy spinach and cheese floating through a sea of spicy tomato sauce like the SS Noms? Sign me up.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stuffed Shelly Long Bake
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
300g jumbo pasta shells, cooked per packet instructions
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
250g spinach, roughly chopped
500g ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly whisked
a small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
1 tbsp chilli flakes

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the spinach, remove from heat and cook, stirring for a minute or so, or until the residual heat has wilted the spinach. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Once the onion, garlic and spinach are pretty much tepid, add the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, basil and a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

To assemble, pour marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and stir through the chilli flakes. Stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place randomly in the baking dish. Repeat the process until the pasta and/or cheese is all used up.

Dot with any remaining cheese mixture, sprinkle with a little extra parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Or until gloopy and glorious.

Leave to rest for five minutes before serving and devouring. Triumphantly like an icon.

 

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Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the battle between Champions and Contenders reached its crescendo as the two tribes merged with six OGs apiece, thanks to some impressive work from David and Luke to survive a mega-minority after the swap. After the merge Daisy snatched victory at the first reward challenge, and with it an idol, while Shaun took out immunity which gave the former Contenders the upper hand at the first tribal council. Sadly for them, David once again proved to be the master and convinced the tribe to target Andy and get rid of him as an easy vote before the jury commences. While Shaun didn’t like giving up the potential numbers advantage, there was nothing he could do to convince the Contenders it was a bad idea. After being made to feel nervous at tribal, Daisy played her idol just in case as Andy was booted unanimously. And then got one thing right, finally, by dropping the bombshell that Dave has an idol. Even though he didn’t think it was true, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The next day we checked in with the tribe as Zaddy John was growing more and more annoyed by David’s peacocking around camp. I assume because he isn’t stripping off enough, which John, PREACH. The tribe then critiqued the model’s island looks, with most people reading him for filth thanks to his penchant for a bare chest and copious amounts of accessories. Though his passion for going to challenges at least shirtless is something I am grateful for, so I won’t shade him too much. Plus, his confidence is kind of endearing as he assumes that once again Andy’s attempt at playing the game and blowing (accidentally) up his idol secret will be a fail. Which sadly, I don’t agree with.

Meanwhile Luke was thrilled to still be in the game and somehow have the numbers advantage back after getting everyone to turn on Andy. He and his dear ally Janine were discussing how she expected to go before leaving for the game, with him sharing how much he respected her given she is so open to pushing herself. They then spoke about their tough upbringings and she told him how much she respected him and WHY AM I CRYING. They are honestly a duo I ship hard and I hate that Luke annoyed me so much in his first season. That being said Janine knows that a good social game is key for her and as such, being warm and engaging is her way to deflect from the target on her back. Though I choose to believe her love for Luke is as pure – or impure – as mine for John.

Luke and Baden then caught up to discuss their potential alliance, with Baden sharing that his plan is to ride the middle and use his bond with Luke to keep abreast of what is going on. They then spoke about the importance of getting rid of Shaun and/or Simon as soon as possible, before Shaun sauntered upon the scene just as they were bitching about him. Thankfully for him Baden has no intention of getting rid of another Contender, so planned to use the information to get rid of a Champion ASAP. Baden caught up with Daisy and Shaun who were concerned about his role as a double agent, though were grateful that he could spill the tea and help them find a way to take out David next. Shaun then attempted to dabble in some comedy, joking about David being slimy and while they kinda fell flat he is super pretty, so whatevs.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would hold themselves up between two poles on ever decreasing footholds … FOR A BRAND NEW CAR. Everyone survived the first stage of the challenge before poor Shaun became the first person out. He was followed by Daisy and Baden in quick succession. The rest transitioned to the skinniest perch, which immediately claimed Zaddy John, Luke, Pia and Harry, before Janine excused herself after an hour leaving Simon, Abbey and David to battle it out for a car they could easily buy themselves. At 75 minutes Simon stepped out of the challenge, with Abbey and Dave fighting it out for another 25 minutes before Jonathan grew tired, told them they could no longer use their hands which proved to be Dave’s undoing, handing Abbey the car. Not to rest on his laurels, Jonathan told Abbey that the boot was complete with a picnic and as such she could invite two people to join her, with the earnest AFL player selecting Dave for trying hard and John for being sweet.

At the picnic Dave gritted his teeth through the disappointment at losing the car, having to tolerate smashing the abundance of food under a waterfall in Fiji. The trio got to celebrating their luck, with Abbey happy to reward Dave’s hard work and form a bond with John. Who was looking forward to getting to know her, which instantly made me jealous. Growing tired of the bonding David decided to bring up the game, suggesting the three of them would be a solid alliance that could control their way to the end game. And while David didn’t want to go to the end with them, he’d be happy to be dragged by them. Sadly for him John had zero desire to work with him, sick of how hard Dave is playing and knowing full well that he needs to go. Abbey then turned the conversation to who should go next, with him placing the target on Shaun’s back and while the logic is solid, his aggressive gameplay irked her too.

Back at camp Shaun was understanding of Abbey taking Dave on reward, given she is so sweet. Instead of dwelling he searched for an idol and stumbled upon a mandarin tree. He was then sprung by Janine and the two of them tried to shake fruit free, while the two discussed how critical it is to get rid of Dave ASAP. Which JaQueen was all in on, vowing to blindside him at the very next chance she gets.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge which is the full blown water torture event, with everyone submerged under a grate in rising water with the last person to remain under the grate snatching victory. Almost instantly a terrified Daisy and Abbey dropped out of the challenge as the sun started to set and the rest of the competitors started to freeze. As the water covered everyone’s eyes Baden dropped out, followed by Harry, Pia, Harry and Janine, leaving Shaun, Luke, David and Simon to battle it out in the dark. After a brief struggle – which sounds like a death notice – Luke was the next to go, followed by silent Simon leaving the battling babes to hold on for dear life. With Shaun dropping out after being fully submerged, leaving a nearly drowned David to secure immunity,

Oh and then Jonathan dropped the bomb that instead of going back to camp, the tribe would be heading to a lit clearing straight outside tribal council.

The tribe frantically scrambled to identify a target, with the Champions plus Harry immediately excusing themselves to confirm that they would once again split the vote on Daisy and Shaun. Meanwhile Shaun rallied the Contenders and shared that he would be voting for Luke, since David isn’t an option and nobody can possibly beat him at the end. And while everyone agreed, they know Luke is too likeable to get anyone to flip on him at this point in the game. Shaun and Daisy then approached Simon and Abbey to see how they were feeling about things, with Shaun making the pitch to get rid of Luke … as he approached the group and stopped everyone in their tracks. Harry too added some drama, running to John with Pia, JaQueen and Daisy, to float the idea of getting rid of the biggest threat aka Luke. Simon then joined the group as the weighed up who is the bigger threat out of Shaun and Luke. While Pia was open to the flip, she was once again worried about an idol being in play.

The tribe finally arrived at tribal council where David admitted that the previous hour was complete and utter bedlam as everyone tried to draw a line in the sand once and for all. Pia shared that everyone has finally realised that it is well and truly and individual game, while Luke started to whisper to anyone near him to reconfirm the vote against Shaun. David tried to redirect the focus back to Shaun and his strength, while Shaun then pointed out that relying on immunities isn’t enough and as such, Luke and his strategic gameplay is far more threatening and is far harder to get rid of. David tried to sell his immunity victory as one for all of his allies, while JaQueen admitted that the minimal time to scramble has really complicated their games and forced people to ignore a lot of glaring issues with their plans. She then straddled the centre pointing out that getting rid of a challenge threat is something that needs to occur when you have the chance.

Shaun pointed out that getting rid of him is a shitty move and not something that would help build your resume for the jury, while someone like Luke who will beat all of them is a smarter, game-building move. JaQueen tried to reiterate that they need to get rid of strength, with Harry pointing out that they will have other chances and getting rid of Luke makes oh so much sense. John then joined the fray to remind everyone that when Shaun goes, the next strongest will become the biggest threat and as such, those people need to think carefully about how they frame their votes. With that the tribe voted and tragically the stallion himself Shaun was booted from the game.

In any normal season Shaun would be the number one person I lust after between his penchant for speedos and being gorgeous. And while I love John, I assured Shaun that he is my solid number two and I only held back on my love for him thanks to my relationship with his partner Megsy – aka Megan Gale, who I really need to catch-up with soon. Fun fact, I am godfather to their eldest. While Shaun and I were heartbroken to see him eliminated this early, we were grateful that he landed in the fourth best place – behind winner, runner-up and fourth-place robbed goddess – as the King of the Jury. I mean, how reassured are you that such a calm, nice person is setting the tone for this year’s jury. I mean, it almost makes me feel as good as filling my gob with Shaun Cheese & Hampscones.

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

There are not many ways you improve on something as wholesome and perfect as Shaun, sorry scone, but adding ham and cheese is definitely one of them. Salty ham, sharp cheddar and a kick of capsicum work together to make these babies even more perfect … er.

Enjoy!

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
100g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
200g ham, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
½ green capsicum, finely diced
2 cups vintage cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and whisk in the chilli flakes. Add the butter and press together with your fingertips until it comes together and resembles moist sand. How much do you love the word moist? Fold through the ham, shallots, garlic, capsicum and ¾ of the cheese into that moist mix with a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour in the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until the dough has just come together.

Portion the dough into 8-12 even mounds and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush with excess buttermilk and a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and glorious.

Spread the fluffy little buns, slather with copious amounts of butter and devour, as the sweet butter melts and drips all over you.

Maybe Shaun is my number one?

 

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Some Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls waiting to heal Ross Clarke-Jones after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor after burning himself and then his idol at two back to back tribals, Harry was feeling the heat and again focused on the Ben Driebergen strategy of finding idols until the end. Thankfully we were put out of our misery and distracted from the horrible memories of Chrissy’s robbery with Jonathan lording of the reward challenge for parmas which made John smile so brightly my basement flooded. Once again Andy struggled to get anything right, this time bombing throwing the immunity challenge as Baden single handedly beasted his way to winning the challenge, sending the Contenders back to tribal. Not wanting to rest on his second idol, Harry talked to Simon and Ross to see if they would be interested in flipping on JaQueen, Pia and Abbey and joining him and Matt to take control of the game. Sadly they weren’t interest however and after Harry played his idol, which made Janine nervous enough to play hers, poor Matt was voted out of the game.

The next day we checked in with the Contenders where Ross and the girls were thrilled to still be standing. Well sitting really, in the water as they washed themselves and relished island life. Ross then found a plank of wood which he used to attempt surfing on the reef and again, I love the man and get can’t enough of him on my screen.

We checked in with Camp Champ where they too were enjoying island life, fishing and swimming together on the reef and feeling grateful for everything they were experiencing. Andy too was loving it SA MUCH and damn, that sours things for me. They soon returned to camp where Andy continued to ruin my vibe, talking about the pain of not returning to tribal though was thankful that nobody realised. Right on cue we heard from Luke who knew that Andy’s attempt to throw the challenge were as subtle as a brick and as such, he wanted to take him down ASAP. Luke then dived into his spy shack as Andy tried to catch up with Baden, knowing that getting Baden on board is key to his safety given he single handedly thwarted Andy’s lame attempts at throwing the challenge. Luke then pulled Baden away from Andy and suggested that they will be a powerful duo as nobody would expect it.

Back at the Contenders tribe Harry was feeling all alone, surrounded by Champions while JaQueen continued to lament the pain of Harry still surviving. Ross checked in with Harry to find out whether his tears were real and was disappointed to find out his good nature was taken advantage of. Ross then joked about tethering himself to Harry to avoid him finding one, so the two goofed around as the rest of the tribe got together to hunt for the newly hidden idol. Which filled Harry with joy to have spooked them. With everyone otherwise ocupado, Harry approached JaQueen with a Hail Mary pitch to sell himself as the more helpful ally than some of her current options. She then businessed the hell out of him before agreeing that it is smarter for her to keep him around and hot damn, JaQueen is a bloody icon.

Jonathan arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes would race across a series of poles, tarzan swing across a gorge before tossing a monkey fist in a fork before using the ropes to traverse a balance beam. They then need to release puzzle pieces, build a stair ladder and light a fire at the top of the tower. After benching Andy immediately, Shaun got the Champions out to an early lead, while the Contenders slowly tried to close the gap thanks to Daisy struggling on the poles until she leaped into Shauns arms. Swoon. While the Champs started to swing across, Ross and Pia struggled on the poles allowing the Champions to extend their lead. Then tragedy struck as Ross clipped his leg while doing the Tarzan swing, fell into the ditch and started screaming in pain.

That is when I started sobbing uncontrollably. In the words of Countess Luann, don’t let it be about Ross. Anyone but Ross.

The challenge was stopped immediately as the medics were bought in as everyone stood around with a look of sheer panic on their faces. He was then carried off the challenge site by Jonathan to before the doctors decided that his injury was serious enough to warrant further medical assessment … before the challenge was restarted from where they were. Decidedly more sombre the tribes battled it out, as the Contenders desperately tried to close the gap. One by one the Champs landed their planks as the Contenders slowly made their way back into the challenge. Until they didn’t and the Champs got into their rhythm, climbing the tower, lighting their fire and securing immunity for their tribe.

The Contenders returned to camp worried about Ross’ injury and wondering what to do at tribal council, should it go ahead. The four former Champs speculated whether Harry could have found another idol, before JaQueen started weighing her options and wondering whether keeping Harry over Simon is the smarter move. JaQueen approached Pia who was keen to get rid of Simon instead of Harry with them then going to Abbey who was far less convinced about the idea. While she was getting emotional, Pia grew more and more sure that taking out Simon was the better idea as Harry is desperate and will stick with them to take control. JaQueen and Pia approached Harry who was super keen, with JaQueen only requesting his undying loyalty in return for them going out on a limb to keep him around.

As Simon wandered alone in his speedo, the new alliance of four sat around the shelter speculating about Ross’ safety. Before Ross was escorted back into camp on crutches by Jonathan, who announced that he had broken his ankle and as such such could not return to the game. The Contenders all started to breakdown, heartbroken to lose the life of the party before Ross encouraged Pia and Luke to go out and win this thing. The Champions were then wheeled over to camp so that they could farewell Ross and celebrate the bloody icon, as he hobbled away wearing Harry’s socks.

Before hopping – quite literally – into the back of the 4WD to see if he could finally have his culinary comfort. You see Ross and I have known each other for years, as I grew up surfing up and down the NSW coast from D’Bah to Bateau Bay, with Ross spotted my talent and taking me under his wing and coaching me. While I found myself too distracted by attractive men in speedos to ever get anywhere with my surfing, Ross continued to mentor me, I believe, because he loved that I paid in Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls. I mean, I could have paid him, but I am also very cheap.

 

Ross Clarke-Jones waiting to test whether Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls could heal him after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

 

These babies are so delicious and warming, that I’ve oft said that they have healing qualities and while that may seem opportunistic or convenient based on the tragedy that befell our King, the proof is in the pudding. Or sausage roll. Sweet, salty and melting in your mouth, these are the only things that will dull the pain of losing the icon of the game. Our new, literally fallen god, Ross.

Enjoy!

 

Ross Clarke-Jones testing whether Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls could heal him after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

 

Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g streaky bacon, diced
1 bunch shallots, sliced
1kg chicken mince
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed and sliced into quarters
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until sweet, fragrant and translucent. Add the bacon and cook for a further ten minutes, or until its just starting to brown. Add the shallots, stir and remove to a bowl to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Add the chicken mince to the bowl with the breadcrumbs, chilli, maple, sage and a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined.

Divide the mixture into 24 and form into a sausage shape. Place a sausage along one edge of the pastry squares and roll to enclose, brushing the last centimetre or so with egg wash to close. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, seam side down, and repeat the process until done.

Brush all the rolls with the rest of the egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately, to fix your broken, Ross-less heart.

 

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