Previously on Survivor after Jesse was felled and sent to the jury by Gabler, the final three awoke on Day 26 and toasted making it to the end. They then obviously pivoted to talking through their strategies when facing the jury before taking their places at the final tribal council. While the jury assured them all their votes were up for grabs, Gabler appeared to be playing into what they wanted to hear and charmed them more and more with each answer. On the flipside, Cassidy’s strong game was called into question by the jury while Owen was ignored for having zero sway over the direction of the season. Which was enough to land him as the second runner-up.
While poor Cassidy scored a sole vote from her ally James, leaving her shocked to finish as the runner-up behind Gabler. Who turned out to really play like the Ali-gabler.
As Probst and Co continued to reset, I pulled Cassidy in for a massive hug and immediately broke down in tears, devastated to have not had another iconic young, pretty, crafty winner join the club. Despite absolutely dominating the season and pulling off a revenge arc third only to Shonee and Arya Stark, the jury weren’t convinced that she was their winner and tragically shut her out of the vote despite her bestie James.
Thankfully despite her disappointment at the outcome, Cass assured me that she truly is proud of herself for all that she achieved throughout the season and for now being her own inspiration and to all the young fans out there. Which was well and truly enough to get us in the festive spirit to toast her success with a hearty, comforting Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche.
The light eggy ricotta melds perfectly with the sweetness of the veggies to give you a quiche so jam-packed full of flavour, even the most ardent of bacon lovers won’t be able to argue against.
Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche Serves: 8.
Ingredients olive oil 1 onion, diced 2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and halved 1 sweet potato, diced 1 cup butternut pumpkin, diced 2 sheets shortcrust pastry 8 eggs ¾ cup heavy cream 1 cup ricotta cheese salt and pepper, to season ½ cup vintage cheddar, grated tomato relish, to serve
Method Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Pop a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions until soft and sweet. About five minutes or so. Place the zucchini, sweet potato and butternut on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and pop them in the oven to roast for about half an hour or until golden. Remove both from the heat to rest.
Cut each pastry sheet in quarters and press into individual pie dishes. Prick the bases with a fork, line with some baking sheet and fill with pastry weights and blind bake for 10 minutes before removing the pastry weights and cooking for a further couple of minutes to brown.
Whisk the eggs, cream and ricotta in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the onion into the prepared dishes, followed by the sweet potato and pumpkin and finally the zucchini. Add in the cheesy egg mixture and sprinkle with a little bit of the cheddar. Transfer the dishes to a baking sheet and pop in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and set.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before slathering with some tomato relish and devouring through the disappointment.
Previously on Survivor the top six faced off for reward where Owen led himself, Karla and Cody to victory for a much needed pep in the form of coffee and pastries. Sadly for them, while enjoying said spoils, the losers were back at camp where Gabler was calmly pointing out both Cassidy and Jesse need to take out their closest allies if they want a shot at winning. After Cassidy took out immunity, it became a battle for the duo to make their allies the target. The initial plan revolved around getting Karla out by lulling her into holding on to her idol, though eventually it landed on Jesse playing Cody’s idol to spook Karla into burning hers while everyone else blindsided Cody himself. Which happened and was oh so brutal. But oh so glorious to watch.
The next day Jesse was still thrilled that his plan went perfectly, blindsiding Cody and flushing Karla’s idol in a delightful show for the jury. That being said, he and the rest of the final five awoke on a new beach and had to start everything from scratch and well, that is just exhausting. So win some and lose some, I guess. Gabler was confident in his chances of taking out the win given he has been hiding in plain sight all season. Owen was shocked to have made it to the end, despite starting on the absolute bottom and being blindsided over and over. Jesse knew he now had a massive target on his back, while Cassidy was proud of having voted perfectly all game, though knew that she needed a big move to take out victory. While Karla was just grateful to still be alive given her body is straight up shutting down. But trust, our Queen is ready to FIGHT.
As the final five hunted for food in the jungle, they stumbled upon a clue each for the final advantage. They would have to unscramble words for directions to the phrase, with Cassidy just focused on making sure that Karla is not the one to get it given booting her will be her big move. Jesse meanwhile knew nobody intended to take him to the end and as such, was just as desperate. Despite Owen whipping through the phrase, Karla was the first to solve it and ran off to find it. Sadly for her, he ended up hot on her trail and overtook her as she limped to the rocks, before realising it had to be hidden in a tree. As the other trio struggled with the phrase, Karla and Owen hunted through trees with Queen Karla snatching it just ahead of Owen. Like, by a matter of centimetres.
Which obviously pissed him off. Karla meanwhile was obviously giddy as she learnt that the advantage would give her a leg up in the next immunity challenge. And given she is so beat up, this is an advantage she truly needs.
Right on cue Jeffrey appeared for said immunity challenge where the final five would race a buoy through a series of obstacles before walking blocks over a balance beam between two rods and then solve a word puzzle. Oh and in addition to immunity, they would get an epic steak reward. And since Karla won the advantage, she would only have to carry two thirds of her blocks to the puzzle table which is arguably a huge advantage, not a slight one. Everyone was neck and neck with the buoy, with Jesse slowly falling out of the challenge. Owen took a slight lead as the girls nipped at his heels as Jesse worked to close the gap. The balance beam proved to be the great equaliser, making Karla’s advantage all the more powerful as everyone raced to solve the word puzzle. Despite Karla thinking she had the phrase, it proved wrong allowing Owen enough time to step in and jag himself immunity.
As is tradition, Owen was given the power to take someone on reward with him, selecting Cassidy with zero hesitation as the other trio sadly returned to camp. But first, at the Sanctuary Owen and Cassidy were delighted to see a massive plate of food with Owen thrilled to have a guaranteed place in the final four. The duo started to talk through who would be the better person to eliminate tonight, given both Karla and Jesse are major threats, though they couldn’t really land on who was the most important to get out now. Owen felt like Jesse’s move at the previous tribal council made him unbeatable, while Cassidy was concerned about Karla’s ability to talk her way out of trouble. And say, into a million dollars. Plus Cassidy, like Mrs. Loomis, loves some good old fashioned revenge on people coming for her, so Karla would be her preference.
Back at camp Gabler – who the victors felt had no shot at final tribal council – was disappointed that Owen didn’t take him on reward, particularly since he was so damn fatigued. Karla and Jesse meanwhile were busy trying to figure out a way to avoid going out due to their threat levels, with Karla suggesting they loop in Gabler to get rid of Cassidy instead. Sadly for Jesse – or Karla, TBH – Karla actually was coming for Jesse after the Cody move and as such, wanted to lull him into a false sense of security. While Gabler wanted to stick with Cassidy and Owen, given he is fairly confident he would be able to beat them at the final tribal council. Begging the question, is he going to beat them at the final tribal council?
Owen and Cassidy returned to camp with Karla quickly pushing the importance of them banding together to get rid of Jesse first. While Owen was convinced, when it came to Cassidy she fought back as Karla explained how much better a game Jesse has played and how he will destroy her. Oh and then when that didn’t work, she straight up threatened Cassidy with smearing her name to the jury and guaranteeing she doesn’t win. Enraged, Cassidy pulled Jesse aside to tell him that Karla had been throwing his name out all afternoon and while he wanted to stick with the majority, his head told him that Cassidy was a bigger threat in the final immunity challenge. And that could cost him.
At tribal council Jesse spoke about the importance of throwing other people under the bus to reduce their threat level, specifically throwing out Karla’s name. She then pointed out that the last tribal council proves just why everyone needs to get rid of him. He then gagged literally everyone by announcing that none of it matters to him, given he is also immune since he is currently in possession of Jeanine’s idol. After Owen confirmed it looked legit, Karla immediately pivoted to suggesting getting rid of Cassidy and Gabler are also options. Cassidy downplayed it as nothing but a last ditch attempt, until Jesse and Karla got up to talk about another big move they could pull off. Eventually everyone was up and whispering as Karla pretended to not be coming for Cassidy, though when everyone sat back down, she admitted she knew Karla was still coming for her. While Gabler was just confused about which of the plans going around made the most sense.
With that the tribe voted and despite the theatrics of tribal council, Jesse stood firm and played the idol on himself as the tribe banded together to eliminate Queen Karla in fifth place. As she made her way to Ponderosa she was a little disappointed, though mainly just proud of how well she played and how much of a threat she had become. And while that threat level is what cost her, it totally guarantees her a second shot at the game and once I reminded her of that, she was positively joyous. Though maybe she just loves a Karla Cruz Godoy Rogers.
Yeah yeah, a Roy Rogers doesn’t have alcohol but it has all the sugar, which is sometimes better. Sweet cola mixed with joyous cherry-esque – despite the fact grenadine is pomegranate – flavour? Sign. Me. Up.
Karla Cruz Godoy Rogers Serves: 2.
Ingredients 90ml grenadine 600ml cola 2-4 maraschino cherries, to garnish
Method Divide the grenadine between two tall glasses and fill them with ice. Top with cola, stir and then garnish with a cherry or two.
Previously on Survivor the tribe was split into two groups as has become tradition – not back to two tribes – for a little double tribal council. Probst then threw down a challenge for reward, with the person that could last the longest in the immunity challenge winning PB&Js for the tribe. And try as Karla might, her stitched up hand proved too much to overcome as she took out immunity but left her group hungry as they headed to the first tribal council. While James quickly locked in everyone against his nemesis Owen, things weren’t so simply as Noelle played him, stealing Owen’s vote and using it to join with Sami – and a reluctant Karla – to blindside James from the game.
But first, let’s take a little step back.
We followed the winning team back to camp where they quickly got to work making their PB&Js and greedily devouring them. With that out of the way, Ryan pulled Gabler aside to quickly lock in the vote against Cassidy. They went to Cody to float the idea and while he pretended to be keen, he immediately went to catch up with Jesse and Cassidy, admitting that he really likes her and as such, wants her to stay. She then went all in, assuring them that they already have a good bond and can trust each other and as such, it makes sense they go to the end together. She then opened up to us about her love for her family and how she is playing in honour of her deceased sister, who she used to watch the show with, and well, if they eliminate her after this beautiful personal content, I will be very very angry.
Cody and Jesse caught up solo to talk through the best move for their game moving forward, unsure whether it was a good idea to keep Ryan around as a meat shield despite the risk that voting out Cassidy could potentially piss off her allies Karla and James. Jesse rightly pointed out that going to tribal council second gives them more options, suggesting that if Owen goes out they keep Cassidy around to keep James and Karla happy, while if James is gone, they could be safe to take a shot. Locking in their options, they approached Gabler to get him on board and well, this could really be interesting!
At tribal council they were positively shocked to see James sitting on the jury, though also a little bit delighted, TBH. Jesse spoke about how James clearly was in a powerful position before the split while Ryan was concerned about what his boot meant for any alliances he was in. Cassidy made Probst very happy, talking about the monster coming to get for them, particularly given they are now back to a small tribe dynamic. Ryan too was concerned, given it only takes three votes to be out of the game. We flipped back to Cassidy who spoke about how difficult it is to handle having conversations and then see the people you just spoke to disappearing to talk to other people.
Cody meanwhile loved being safe, though felt it came with the heavy price of having a little power and feeling like he was in the driver’s seat for the night. Ryan agreed that people spent more time talking to Cody than him, though he had 30 pounds of clams in his bag and well, should they vote him out, he is happy to walk out with them. While Cassidy was just nervous about how the vote will reverberate through the dynamics when the groups come back together. With that the tribe voted and tragically booted zaddy Ryan – and his clams – from the game.
After quickly dishing up James his jam, I ran to find Ryan in Ponderosa and pulled him in for a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game. But more importantly, reminded him that he is such an inspiration and is SUPER hot to boot and as such, if he isn’t invited back to the very next possible All Stars season, I will riot, or something. He obviously thought I was joking about everything, so we laughed and celebrated his success with a big, fat bowl of Ryan Wedgranos.
You know I have a passion for fried potato in all their forms, but there is something super special about wedges. I mean, a little spiced, chunky enough to give you the perfect balance of crunch and fluff, AND their frequent collaboration with sour cream. How could you go wrong?
Ryan Wedgranos Serves: 2 dear friends that would make a glorious couple.
Ingredients 1 ½ tsp paprika 1 tsp garlic powder ½ tsp onion powder 1 tsp salt ½ tsp pepper 1 tsp dried oregano ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut each into 8 wedges 3 tbsp olive oil sour cream and sweet chilli, to serve
Method Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan in a bowl. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle over the spice mix. Toss until well coated.
Spread the wedges out in a single layer on lined baking sheets, ensuring one of the cut sides are face down. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning once halfway through to the other cut edge, and bake until browned and crisp.
Then devour them with a vat of sour cream and sweet chilli, which is customary in a pub.
Previously on Survivor Jeanine, Noelle and Owen were well and truly on the outs and while Sami wanted to make a move, was trying to play in the middle to avoid upsetting anyone. Speaking of upsetting anyone, Ryan and Cassidy continued their feud as Owen and James started another one. At the immunity challenge, Probst offered up a bag of rice to the tribe if five people were to forgo the challenge and despite James assuring him he was good, Owen knew his nemesis was lying and as such, not only played the challenge but one immunity. With Owen no longer an option, the alliance turned their attention to the girls and tragically booted Jeanine from the game.
Leaving us with just three more women.
Back at camp Sami remained ready to switch things up, despite just going with the easy Jeanine vote. He caught up with Owen and Gabler, with Owen filling them in on his ongoing drama with James and the fact that he lied about Ryan being the target. Thankfully Gabler had looped him in just before tribal and as such, the Baka men were still keen to work together. They returned to camp where James checked in on Owen to see if he wanted to talk through tribal council with Owen hilariously shutting him down and while James said it was all cool beans, he immediately ran to Karla and Cassidy to complain about how rude Owen was to him. Particularly given he wrote down his name two tribals ago. And yeah, these two just hate each other at this point and are openly gunning for the other, I guess?
We quickly pivoted to Jeffrey looking like an absolute dream on the beach for the latest immunity challenge. Where they would be split up into groups of five to compete with one person winning immunity and the other four in danger at their group’s tribal council. Yep, this is double tribal week! But anyway, as for the challenge, they would each hold a bar up to keep a ball balanced above them with the last one standing in each group winning immunity and the last one standing overall winning reward for their group, in the form of PB&Js. Oh and the honour of being the second tribal council.
Cassidy, Jesse, Gabler, Ryan and Cody formed one group, while Owen, Sami, Noelle, Karla and James were the other. Almost instantly Jesse was the first one out of his group, followed closely by Cassidy and Noelle back-to-back. James was gagged to see his ball drop before Gabler gave out, followed by Owen. That left Ryan and Cody to face off against Sami and Karla and while they were all like statues – Karla with a still injured hand – Sami dropped out of nowhere, leaving Karla gagged to have taken out immunity before she quickly tried to refocus to win PB&J. Sadly for her team, she couldn’t hold out any longer, leaving Cody to ultimately win PB&J for his team after Ryan eventually dropped.
We followed the losing team back to the former Vesi camp where they immediately got to work scrambling. While Owen and James getting water together – lol – Noelle, Karla and Sami talked through the most obvious move, with Karla feeling bad about them clearly having to eliminate Owen. Speaking of the feuders, they were arguing at the well and, given it appears clear that they are all voting for Owen, I guess he is safe. They fought all the way back to camp where James grew more and more frustrated at Owen, with the duo both blaming the other for the drama as everyone else rolled their eyes.
They eventually pressed pause so James could speak to Karla about how frustrating it is to be pushed into drama. James then caught up with Noelle who assured him that she plans to steal Owen’s vote at tonight’s tribal council. Sadly for him however, it was only to lull him into a false sense of security and vote him out with Owen(‘s vote) and Sami. And well, I love Noelle’s 3D chess to navigate around James’ advantage and the potential Shot in the Dark. Sami however didn’t want to blindside Karla and as such, approached her to see what she would prefer and while she was keen to get rid of Owen, Sami got to work convincing her how important it is to get rid of James now and keep the outsiders around as an easy vote in the future. And damn, that is a compelling argument. Particularly since it makes her more of a free agent in the larger alliance.
At tribal council Owen spoke about how difficult it was to go back to an empty camp, while James reiterated that it definitely led to dramas back at camp. Sami spilled the tea to Probst about the boy’s feud and while he tried to be diplomatic, it is still clear they hate each other. Owen spoke about how disappointed he was to see Jeanine go last tribal council, particularly since James tried to make him vote the wrong way. Noelle then continued to charm us, talking about the screaming match and how she just wanted to eat before Owen and James continued to argue. Which obviously made Noelle tell them to stop, given she is over the testosterone. Like an icon.
James spoke about the ongoing importance of building trust while Sami and Karla started to whisper about which way they should vote. Karla then opened up to Probst about how despite being immune, she is still always nervous about being on the outside. Talk turned to the advantages with James wanting to know where they all are, while Noelle wanted to leverage them to build trust. Speaking of which, as Probst sent them off to vote she opted to play her Steal a Vote and snatched Owen’s, setting off the plan to get rid of James as Owen spoke about how nervous he now was. Thankfully it did just end up being a ruse as both Sami and Karla stuck with Noelle’s pair of votes to boot James from the game.
And well, he was salty.
When he made it back to Ponderosa, I assured him that blindsides really are a sign that you were playing a good game and as such, he should be proud. Ignoring the fact that the Shot in the Dark inherently makes blindsides necessary, but I digress. In any event, while he was very salty to have been booted, I quickly turned around his mood with a deliciously sweet Fig James Jones.
While my first introduction to fig jam was the ‘90s social sport team name – why you would want anyone to ask you about how fucking great you are is an aside – this is neither cringe nor annoying, only delicious. A little tart with a hint of vanilla, this jam will have you buttered all the buns, all the time.
Fig James Jones Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1kg figs, trimmed and diced 500g raw caster sugar 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped 1 lemon, juiced with the rind peeled into strips
Method Pop everything in a saucepan, cover in cling film and leave to stand overnight at room temp.
The next day, place the mixture over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce back to low and cook, stirring, for about 45 minutes or until thick and gloopy. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and rinds, and gently mash the figs to break up.
Transfer to sterilised jars to store, or devour immediately.
Previously on Survivor the Vesi tribe finally started to turn things around with a dominating win in the reward challenge. Sick of seeing Coco win, they opted to use their reward to steal from them, setting off their downfall. At the immunity challenge Vesi continued their streak and then helped Baka solve their puzzle, sending Coco to their first tribal council. That set off a chain of events where paranoia got the best of Lindsay as she spiralled and despite the target being between Cassidy and Geo, the tribe opted for calm and booted her from the game. Thankfully earning her a place in Second Chances due to her iconic flame out.
Back at camp the tribe rallied together as Cassidy reflected on how Lindsay’s nerves alone caused her downfall. That being said, she was super disappointed to have received one vote and requested that whoever did it talk to her to explain their process. And while mastermind Ryan wanted to smooth things over, Geo owned up and went for a walk and straight up made the entire situation worse, accusing her of voting against him – despite Lindsay clearly being the one to do it – and showing no remorse. After debriefing with Karla however, the girls were galvanised and once again ready to take out Ryan or Geo.
The next day Elie and Jeanine were busy hunting for the Baka hidden immunity idol, finally finding it, covered in ants. Jeanine threw caution to the wind and grabbed the Beware Advantage, learning that she now had to go through the bead saga. While filling in Elie though, they were caught by Owen, their second option for third place in their alliance. As such, they filled him in and while he considered holding on to his bead to screw her out of her vote and take control with Gabler, he ultimately handed it over to build trust. Elie then took the information straight to Sami, pointing out that he is actually the one they trust over Owen. Sami meanwhile was feeling safe with his place in the tribe, though he was concerned for Gabler, who had no idea what was going on.
Oh and despite Gabler wanting to hang on to his special bead, he ultimately gave it over to Jeanine and powered her idol. Thankfully, Sami woke up and chose chaos this morning, pulling Gabler aside and pointing out that he just powered Jeanine’s idol and um, is Sami actually a savvy player that is going to win this?
The tribes reconnected with Jeffrey for the next immunity challenge where they would be tethered together to run through a series of obstacles carrying buckets of water to release a gate. And then, instead of the usual puzzle, they would roll three balls up a ramp and land them on a platform. Oh and the victors would get a tarp each. While Coco got out to an early, massive lead, they struggled to roll the balls, leaving Vesi and Baka plenty of time to close the gap. As the three tribes faced off, Dwight and Sami quickly got their eye in, overtaking Ryan – who knocked off his two balls – and secured immunity for Vesi, followed by Baka. Kinda proving Vesi’s strategy to weaken Coco was a good idea, given they would now be down two people by the end of the episode. Before heading out, Vesi was given the power to send people on this week’s journey, opting for Geo, Jeanine and Jesse.
Oh and we then learnt that Ryan threw the challenge to get rid of Cassidy. Back at camp however, he pretended to be disappointed in himself while locking in the vote against Cassidy with James and Karla. Sadly for him, James took that information straight back to Cassidy and assured her that they can load their votes on Geo with Karla and get rid of him without Ryan noticing. Cassidy approached him to talk things through, with each pretending that Ryan would be the next one out, with neither of them deviating from their supposed scripts. And while Ryan thought he was playing it all expertly, it was looking more and more like the group would be targeting him and Geo, just in case he gets an advantage on the journey.
Speaking of which, we caught up with Jesse, Jeanine and Geo where they discovered they had to row a boat through very rough seas until they reached an island to get their risk options. Geo used the very long row to talk about how close he was to being voted out the night before to garner sympathy and while Jeanine didn’t buy his story, the fact that Geo was confirmed to be risking his vote, makes it dangerous for them to play. Sadly for Geo, neither of his fellow journey-ers cared about him and ended up taking the risk. But turns out, he did get lucky, given he was the one that jagged the Knowledge Is Power advantage on his return to camp.
While Jesse and Jeanine sadly discovered they were now without votes at the next tribal council, Jesse reading his note in public while Jeanine learned the news in private. And then admitted what happened to the rest of the tribe, though pretended it was her first time reading it. Which annoyed Sami, given they all knew she already risked her vote the day before to secure an idol and now they know just how hard she is willing to play.
We ventured back to Coco where Geo filled the tribe in on the journey, lying to them and explaining he didn’t risk his vote. Before pulling each of his allies aside to share the truth, showing them his Knowledge Is Power advantage and while he thought it would build trust, it made Karla and James nervous enough to turn their attention to him, rather than Ryan, who had somehow become the actual target. While filling in Cassidy, she then started to get nervous about her doing a Lindsay and starting to spiral, which made them actually consider voting out one of their allies. Again.
At tribal council Cassidy spoke about the fact that while their momentum has waned, she believes they can swing it back. Ryan spoke about synergy – corporate buzzwords for the win, I guess – before opening up (in lie form) about feeling like he is the target tonight, given he bombed the challenge. Which Cassidy pointed out was noble, but kind of hard to believe. As he continued to play the aw shucks role, Karla admitted that easy votes are always tempting and given he offered himself up, it could make things good for the rest of them. Geo spoke about feeling uneasy given he missed so much potential scrambling time though was hopeful he had done enough, while James praised him for being so honest after the journey.
Probst then made Geo nervous about how to vote, while Karla – after a brief mental blank – slyly told him that he should trust in his alliance rather than being nervous. Oh and then Ryan asked everyone to say what they liked best about him as they voted, while Cassidy was just looking forward to having another chance for the tribe to prove trust by doing what they planned. With that the tribe voted before Ryan and Geo were shocked as the latter was booted from the game, with an advantage barely in his pocket.
While Geo was both surprised and disappointed to find himself booted from the game, he is such a delight that he took it all in his stride. I pulled him in for a massive hug as soon as he arrived at Loser Lodge, assuring him that he played a strong game and while I love the three tribe format, it truly is the hardest one to navigate given there is no room to hide. So between that and his personal story, I was thrilled to be able to toast his success with a big fat bowl of Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken.
I am normally a basic girl that lives for a good old honey chicken or something of that ilk when it comes to Chinese take away, but this little number has that trumped. Complex, spicy and sweet, it is the perfect comforting dish to eat through your feelings or finish out the week.
Geo Bustamantea Soaked Chicken Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 3 tbsp sesame oil 2 tbsp minced ginger 4 garlic cloves, smashed 2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns 2 star anise 3 tbsp coriander seeds 4 cups water 2 cups soy sauce ¼ cup kosher salt 8 black tea bags 1kg chicken breast or thighs, diced 2 shallots, sliced, to garnish
Method Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Once shimmering, add the ginger, garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the peppercorns, star anise and coriander seeds and stir until fragrant, before stirring in the water, soy and salt. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and add the tea to steep for ten minutes or so. Remove the tea bags and the brine to cool completely. Pop the chicken in the large bowl and pour over the chilled brine. Cover and pop in the fridge to marinate overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, drain the chicken and heat the remaining oil in a wok over high heat. In batches stir fry the chicken until cooked through and repeat the process. Serve piping hot with a garnish of shallots and devour, regally.
Previously on Survivor, Gabler continued to struggle with the conditions on the island, leading the girls to continue to plot around his idol. Sadly for them, Sami wanted to be the one to talk to him and when told no, he promptly outed all their plans to Gabler. Karla meanwhile found the Beware Advantage and despite initially leaving it, circled back and bamboozled everyone into giving her the beads and jagged herself an idol. After losing another immunity challenge, Vesi decided it was time to start focusing on strength and despite Noelle being on the outs, they banded together to boot Nneka from the game.
Back at camp Noelle quickly rallied everyone around to thank them for saving her, while the tribe assured her that they believe in her and know that things are about to turn around. Despite Cody feeling like they are running dead last. We pivoted to Baka in the early hours of the morning where Gabler was trying to help his tribe out by putting palm frond blankets on them to stay warm but, sadly, only ended up pissing everyone off. And well, that lack of self-awareness kinda had him running dead last in the tribe. Once the sun came up, the tension was palpable as they tried to get the fire going as Gabler and Elie butted heads over building a fire and the size of the fucking sticks used.
Before you even had time to appreciate my Eliza reference, the tribes joined together for the first solo reward of the season where one person from each tribe would knock blocks of a ledge with sandbags and then roll on two blocks to the end of a field, before handing off sandbags to the other three people who each have to land one on a hanging disc. With the winners getting to go to one of the losing camps and looting an item, in addition to ten fish. Cody dominated the first section of the challenge putting Vesi well out in front as Sami tried to nip at his heels and Ryan completely fell out of it. Despite Baka slowly catching up and Coco getting back in the game, Vesi finally landed their third bag and scored the power to loot (and the food).
After farewelling the losing tribes, Noelle bartered with Jeff to trade the fish for fruit and a fishing kit instead, given they still have no fire and therefore can not eat fish. Back at camp they celebrated by eating her success like royalty – RIP, Liz – as they spoke about who should go to the other tribe, with Cody offering to go and cause a little chaos. Which instantly filled Dwight with fear, given Cody is such a wildcard. Talk turned to which camp they should go to, with Baka having the most gear but Coco having the most people and as such, they wanted to hurt them. After locking in Coco, they planned to go after the machete as the most likely way to hurt them. Or at the very least, open them up to negotiate for the reward they really wanted.
The tribe were heartbroken as Cody arrived at Coco, with Cassidy seeing the choice to rob them for what it is and instantly turned on the charm to protect themselves. Cody too was turning on his charm, while Lindsay freaked out at the thought of losing the machete. Thankfully (kinda) James stepped in and started bartering, giving him limes, fishing gear and some root vegetables. And while Karla could see just how badly they played it, the rest of the tribe were grateful he didn’t take the machete. Which was never even Vesi’s plan. But hey, Cody now is in trouble because Queen Karla is out for blood, so it was a messy trip for all of them, I guess.
The tribes rejoined Probst for the next immunity challenge where they would race to knock sandbags off a ledge to find keys, unlock puzzle pieces, drag them under nets and then build a square. Once said square was built, they would then dismantle it and carry the pieces up a cargo net to build a triangle with the last placed tribe heading off to tribal council. Baka absolutely demolished the sandbags and got out to an early lead, while Vesi stayed right on their tail, as Coco brought up the rear. Baka swiftly built their square and got it checked off before moving on to the final puzzle while Vesi trailed behind and Coco grew more and more confused. Eventually all three tribes started work on the triangle before Vesi solved it out of nowhere. Before they got to work helping Baka along to force Coco off to tribal council. Which is exactly what happened. And is oh so shady. And. I. LOVE IT.
Back at camp Coco were frustrated by the fact the other two tribes had banded together to send them to tribal council. When it came to the scramble, Ryan was just trying to protect his ally Geo, who in turn was targeting Cassidy given everyone else has a strong relationship with her but him. Cassidy then approached the girls to lock in the vote against Geo for sassing her out, with James quickly on board. And just like that, it was a done deal.
Well, until Lindsay happened, as she decided it was too easy and started to question why people are still running around and talking. She then approached her allies and confronted them for scrambling without her and not talking to her, which made Karla question whether they should actually turn on her given that paranoia is only going to get worse the further they go along. James tried to pull Lindsay aside to talk some sense into her and calm things down and when it didn’t go well – at all – James was on board to get rid of her. Despite Geo’s growing ego frustrating them.
At tribal council the tribe were gagged to see Jeff and the set with Ryan opening up about how strong they are and how well they are getting along. James jumped in and praised Ryan for being their provider, with Jeff sweetly praising him for embracing the adventure of the game. Lindsay spoke about the fact they know what works for them, well until today, when everyone started to scramble. And then pointedly said that some people didn’t talk to her. While Ryan pointed out she didn’t give the vibe she wanted to speak to him, with Geo admitting that as long as the vote is not on him, he doesn’t really care. Karla meanwhile tried to explain why you have to continue to confirm the plan is still on and nothing has changed, leading to Lindsay admitting that she did that a little too much and may have made her a little paranoid.
Geo admitted that he wanted to make sure his people were calm, which made Cassidy point out that just because it looks calm on the surface, does not mean there isn’t chaos below. James said that he was just trying to stay calm to make others calm, while Cassidy admitted they won’t really know who they can trust until the vote happens. And well, given they were still talking all the way up to leaving for tribal council, Karla felt there were still way too many questions in the air. With that the tribe voted and despite being excited for them to be read, Lindsay was gagged to see that her allies had deserted her and joined Ryan to boot her from the game.
Making her paranoia prophetic, I guess?
Lindsay was well and truly shocked as she made her way to Loser Lodge, unsure whether she was right to be paranoid or if that is what cost her the game. Which obviously meant I kindly stepped in to assure her that she was completely safe until it got to her but given it made for an iconic (flameout) exit, she will have burned a place in the hearts and minds of fans and as such, she is the perfect candidate for a future Second Chances season. And that is the kind of comfort that is only bested by a Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel.
I love buns, and more importantly, sausages in buns, so you know a weiner pretzel is something I love in and around my mouth. A little bit sweet and a whole lot salty, these giant pretzel-pigs-in-blankets are perfection.
Lindsay Carmiener Pretzel Makes: 8.
Ingredients 1 cup milk 7g dry yeast 3 tbsp packed light brown sugar 2 ¼ cups plain flour 30g butter, softened and diced 1 tsp fine salt 8 hot dog wieners ¼ cup baking soda 1 egg, lightly whisked maldon salt flakes
Method Warm the milk in a saucepan until it is roughly 50C and pour into a large mixing bowl for a stand mixture. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave to bask in the warm milk bath for about 2 minutes before stirring in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour. Add the butter and stir into the mix. Add the remaining flour and the fine salt and knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes or until it is smooth yet a little bit sticky. Shape into a ball and leave to prove in a warm place, in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling wrap for about two to three hours.
While the dough is proving, preheat the oven to 220C.
Punch the dough back and divide into 8 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 40cm(ish) rope shape before coiling each around a weiner, pressing together to enclose as you go, leaving just a little tip of weiner at each end. And honestly, I’m not even trying with the innuendo anymore, I just can’t stop. Pop on a lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and leave them to prove for 20 minutes or so.
Pop 2L of water in a Dutch oven with the baking soda and bring to a gentle boil. It will bubble easily, so keep an eye on it the entire time. Working two at a time, pop the pretzels in the boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes, flipping once half-way through. Remove with a slotted spoon and return to the baking tray.
Once they are all boiled, brush each with some egg, sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool for ten minutes or so before devouring, alongside your favourite condiment.
While I will gladly complain about the entire drop the 4 schtick and the permanent reduction in days – please Probst, I like my traditions sweet angel – I am sitting at an impasse, wondering how we’re ever going to get a more majestic winner than last season’s iconic Maryanne.
I mean, sure, I will fall in love with the latest batch of 18 new castaways Probst and Co. have dumped on a myriad of islands in Fiji to battle it out. But Maryanne was a star. She was messy, she was emotional, she was passionate, she was kind and honestly, she was a damn delight to watch.
I know I’m meant to be here reminding you that yes, I am still on Probst’s personal payroll to provide culinary comfort to the castaways to ease their post-boot pain. But could you imagine a world in which Maryanne had won but four seasons earlier – don’t worry about dropping that one – and competed on Winners at War.
It. Would. Have. Been. AMAZING.
That being said, I have high hopes that if we can still find an icon like her after 42 seasons, we surely will find someone to love in the 43rd. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride while awaiting my post-boot catch-up/s next week!
With the Motion Pictures covered for this year’s Golden Globe Gold celebrations thanks to Ry, Rich and Di, I’ve turned my attentions back to the TV noms – dutifully kicked off that to Katey – with a man that first snatched my attention 18 years old, Gael Garcia Bernal.
Side note: fuck I am old.
Obviously I first met Gael while he was working on Y Tu Mamá También. Alfonso invited me to set to advise on early noughts homosexual experimentation – very specific job I know – and I instantly fell in love with his piercing green eyes and sexy accent.
I then went down a rabbit hole – his included – learning Spanish and embracing my ethnically ambiguous appearance to make myself more attractive to him. Which worked and lead to a torrid love affair that will flood my basement until the end of time.
While it didn’t work out, we remained friends against all odds and as we parted as lovers and became friends, he vowed to remember me. Me being me, though he said remember you. In any event, that inspired my dear Rob to write the song Coco about our love affair.
Another side note, but Coco will make me sob every damn time I see it. I mean, too much.
As soon as we locked eyes on each other, we ran into the other’s arms and held each other close, remembering the unbridled sexual chemistry we shared, and thankful that its end birthed our beautiful friendship.
I mean, it was powerful. With that moment out of the way, we focused on the task at hand and started running the odds, Gae knowing better than most that my bookies will catch up with me if we don’t do write. We started with his victorious category, agreeing that Michael Douglas is primed to win Actor in a Musical or Comedy despite Bill Hader or Jim Carrey being the most deserving. For Actress, Gael is backing a back-to-back win for Rachel Brosnahan, while I think that Kristen Bell win sneak in to victory as The Good Place – gasp – takes out Best Comedy. If only for the Janet episode. And obviously we both want Henry Winkler to give another adorable speech so back him, despite my boys Alan and Ben facing off against him.
Spirited debate, and loving, platonic support meant we has a gay old time, which obviously was topped off when me smashed … a Gaeltime Garcia Bernal or two.
Gaytimes are literally the greatest ice cream of all time. I mean, they are sold as being gay so that is a win but then you add in toffee – though I went with caramel, FYI – and vanilla ice cream, chocolate and glorious vanilla biscuits? I’m moister than an oyster when Gael visits.
Gaeltime Garcia Bernal Serves: 1, let’s be honest.
Method Get the Vanilla Ice Cream out of the freezer and leave to soften slightly before spreading in a lined slice tin and transferring to the freezer until frozen solid.
Next remove the Shangelato to soften. Once it is spreadable, spread half of it in the base of a lined lamington tray. Remove the vanilla ice cream slab and cut into bars, pressing into the Shangelato at equal spaces before topping with the remaining ice cream until the vanilla has disappeared, though marking the top to ensure you get perfectly coated vanilla blocks. Place it in the freezer to set completely.
When you’re ready melt the chocolate and cream in a microwave, stirring until it is soft and well combined. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and cut into their bars, and place the Gaytime Crumbs in a bowl.
Working quickly, dip the ice cream into the chocolate and crumbs and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Repeat until all coated and return to the freezer to set for an hour or so.