Elektra French Onion Gem Bake

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK, 12 new dolls arrived in the Werk Room ready to slay the game and join the pantheon of UK Ru girls. To help the judges get to know them, the queens were tasked with serving two looks on the runway – one selling home town and the other, their favourite things. Ru gagged the dolls by making Victoria and Krystal lip sync for the win with the latter ultimately taking out the first victory of the season. On the flipside, Elektra and Anubis found themselves in the bottom with Anubis following in the footsteps of her fellow Brighton queen Joe Black, going out as the first boot.

The dolls returned to the Werk Room, gassed and shell shocked to have lost their first sister. And rightly acknowledged that Brighton is officially a cursed city for Drag Race UK. After Elektra climbed on to the desk to wipe off the message, we learnt that Victoria disappeared to see a doctor about a knee injury from the lip sync for the win. As the dolls kikied, Krystal shared how thrilled she was to take out the first win while Elektra vowed to never bottom again. Before clarifying, on the show. Victoria thankfully returned and explained while her knee was busted, at this stage, she would still be able to continue in the competition as long as she takes it easy   the next couple of days. Oh and fun fact, Kitty’s tits are as heavy as Krystal’s badge.

The next day Krystal was feeling her oats even more, confident that it won’t be her last victory in the competition. While Veronica was left to wonder how someone with such a tiny head could also have such a big one? The dolls congratulated River on her charming runway performance saving herself from the bottom, while Victoria told them that while she has to stay off her feet as much as possible, she will still turn it out. So beware.

They were interrupted by Ru, who arrived and put Krystal to task playing a game called ‘Rupermarket Sweeps’ where she would find superlatives amongst grocery items before handing them out to her fellow queens. First up, she identified Victoria as the biggest competition – denying she was threatened and only gave it to her due to her size – followed by River as having the worst taste, Ella as the trade of the season and Veronica as out of date. But not to worry Veronica, she thinks Elektra will be the next one to go.

With that out of the way – along with the casual fat shaming of Victoria – Ru announced that this week, the dolls would be put to work at Ru’s new fitness business – Dragoton. Choriza, Vanity, Elektra Fence were tasked with leading a spin class, Krystal, River, Veronica and Kitty will be working out their (exercise) balls, leaving Charity, Victoria, Scarlett and Ella to do a little mummy and me class. But always making it drag, obviously.

As the dolls split up into their groups, Veronica read Krystal for being a bit too harsh in her reads but encouraged everyone to put it all aside and embrace the fact they are all vastly different and make that an advantage for their werk out routines. Ella meanwhile felt typecast as a yummy mummy/trade of the season and was confident she and Victoria will lead the group, given they are trained dancers. Elektra was so excited by the challenge she was spitting on herself, while Choriza was just going to wing it and lean into the comedy given she was paired with two killer dancers. And has zero skills.

Mama Ru made her ruturn, immediately making Kitty nervous about how to act. As she watched on quietly, Veronica and River were shady about Krystal in their kiki with the latter admitting that she is ready to go with the pose every week if it takes her to the end. Kitty finally found her voice, and suggested she should have been the trade of the season and had Ru in hysterics. Which made her tell Ru to shut up, essentially. Oh and Krystal was nervous about the challenge. Up next were team yummy mummy, with Victoria doubling down on being a legit threat and was glad that she had the girls on her side, before we learnt Charity’s accent game is weak at best. Rounding out the chats, Choriza was charming as always while Elektra vowed to turn it out this week, given it plays to her strengths and ugh, that always makes me nervous. Very, very, very, very nervous.

As Ru left, the queens ventured to the mainstage to meet Oti Mabuse to get the choreography down. Or in Victoria’s case, she was DTF and well, relatable. Oti is gorgeous. Team Bike were up first and well, poor Choriza was immediately confused but as she suggested, she bought the personality. And more importantly, she vowed to ride it harder than a dick. While poor Elektra was just wishing they got her a toddler’s bike. The yummy mummies were next with my favourite twink Scarlet not sure what was happening, while Ella was just glad to be guaranteed not landing in the bottom since everyone else was falling apart. Rounding out rehearsal was Veronica in lycra with her mick out while River was terrified about keeping up with the tempo. And relatably, Krystal can’t figure out her left from right while Veronica gave her a peptalk to keep her from spiralling from nerves.

Elimination Day rolled around with Krystal still nervous while Victoria admitted that her knee had blown up and she was struggling through the pain. Though vowed to fight through. Kitty and Charity kikied as they got ready, admitting that they are ready to push outside of their comfort zones. Victoria and Krystal meanwhile caught up with the former suggesting they should clear the air, with Krystal immediately offering a genuine apology and admitting that she looks up to her and doesn’t ever want to bring her down. Victoria admitted that she has struggled with eating disorders and has been every size under the sun and as such, she has finally accepted it and is happy and healthy but found Krystal’s comments were triggering.

Ugh, I love Victoria so much and I’m so glad she was mature enough to have the conversation and work through it. Elektra then opened up about how much she hated her freckles growing up, though her boyfriend helped her learn to love them. She then opened up the floor for the rest of the dolls to share their insecurities, with Vanity talking about being told that she is too dark. And uggghhhhh, hearing them all be so vulnerable with each other was so empowering and gorgeous.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined on the judges’ table by Oti Mabuse for the debut werk outs of Dragoton. While I have no idea what was happening most of the time, I do know Choriza stole the show in the bike group with her unique and charming brand of ridiculous. Team Ball Busted were hilarious and a little bit frightening, with everyone getting a chance to shine. While poor Victoria was stuck performing on a stool with the yummy mummies, she was still charming enough to keep up with Ella.

On the Red Carpet Showstoppers Runways, Choriza was stunning in a spotted icy blue flamenco number. Elektra too was sparkly with an awkwardly matt black split while Vanity was stunning in a sheer lilac number. Kitty was full glamour in a Marilyn inspired gown, Krsytal was perfect – aside from the tits – in a green dress, River looked her version of glam in a purple number, complete with a few of her signature points while Veronica was inspired by our KYLIE in a frilly, saffron gown. Charity was a demented orange, fringed, Gatsby’s inspired number, Ella was an absolute peach in peach, while Scarlett was pale and perfect in a scarlett gown while Victoria desperately just tried to hide the fact she was wearing sneakers, while looking gorgeous.

Choriza, River, Ella, Scarlett and Victoria were sent to safety leaving the remaining queens to hear from the judges. And well, poor Elektra was once again read for filth for going out too hard in the performance and ended up looking out of place. And once again was read for a subpar runway, looking more wizard than red carpet. Vanity was read for having a wig that didn’t make sense, while Oti was more concerned about the lack of cohesion between them in the performance. Though they loved her outfit. Kitty was praised for the madness she brought to the work out and for serving too completely different looks. Once again, the judges ate up everything Krystal was serving though Michelle challenged her to start showing more of herself. Veronica too received universal praise for knocking it out of the park while making sure everyone in the team looked good. Charity meanwhile was praised for stepping outside of her comfort zone, though they felt her look felt like it was wearing her.

Backstage Victoria was thrilled to be able to sit down, which was a sentiment echoed by Scarlett before Ella shared how disappointed she felt to not be a top. River too was disappointed to not land in the top, though accepted she was the weakest in her team. While Choriza was just glad her personality kept her safe. The tops and bottoms joined them with the safe girls shocked that Krystal was in the top and while she agreed, Veronica cut in and told her to believe in herself given she listened and took advice and she needs to embrace her performer side. Veronica and Kitty shared that they too would be on the top with her. Charity meanwhile was feeling like she was in the bottom and was emotionally prepared to be lip syncing. Vanity too was feeling heartbroken to be in the bottom, though was ready to show the judges what she is made of. 

While poor Elektra was just nervous about facing off against her, given she slays.

Ultimately Krystal narrowly took out her second victory over Veronica while Kitty too was sent to safety. Charity Kase meanwhile narrowly avoided the bottom two, leaving Elektra’s fears to come true as she faced off against Vanity to M People’s Movin On Up. And damn, did the dolls live up to the song. Vanity was splitting and flipping around the state, Elektra was bouncing into splits and careening wildly with acrobatics. I mean, the girls came to play and ugh, what a lip sync! Elektra was break dancing and playing air flute before death dropping off the front of the stage. But tragically, her track record appeared to be the deciding factor as Vanity narrowly took out the win while Elektra found herself becoming the second queen eliminated.

As soon as she exited the stage, I screamed, started crying and ran over to hug her, reminding her that she is so damn talented and such an icon. You see, Elektra and I first met each other a few years ago at a casting. Given I am continually half a foot shorter than the general public, I was immediately taken by Elektra because she made me feel tall. Beyond that petty reason to start a friendship, I was quickly won over by her kindness and as such, I was so glad to be on hand to pay her back with a piping hot Elektra French Onion Gem Bake.

Tangy, creamy and oh so sweet, this dish is near perfection. Then you add a bunch of crispy, gorgeous little gems and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Elektra French Onion Gem Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
600g potato gems, cooked per the recipe or packet instructions
1 ½ cups milk
1 packet French onion soup mix
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup sour cream
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
3 tbsp chives, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the milk and soup mix in a jug. Meanwhile, pop the butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Once foamy, add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for a further two minutes, stirring, until the flouriness is gone. Remove from the heat, whisk in the milk mixture and sour cream before returning to the heat and cook for a couple of minutes.

Transfer the bubbly liquid to a 20x30cm baking dish, sprinkle with some cheese and top with a single layer of gems. Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes, before topping with chives and serving joyously. Like a champion. And devouring.


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David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor 41, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeffrey was inspired by Sasha Velour by way of my girl Whitney, getting so emotional as he welcomed us back to the majestic islands of Fiji for the OG Survivor. Oh but while it is the 41st season, he warned us all to be ready – not because the winners are coming for you – as the game has evolved while in lockdown and is shorter but more dangerous than ever. The first change being that only one tribe won the first immunity challenge, with Yase and Ua attending back-to-back tribal councils with Abraham and Sara becoming the first and second boots of the new era.

We checked in with Ua the next day where the tribe was still recovering from tribal council. Brad was paranoid about how quickly JD switched things up and as such, worried he could no longer trust him. And then when he spotted JD and Ricard heading off to get water together, he obviously ran along the beach to beat them to the well and eavesdrop. After hearing them innocently speak about him for a bit, he darted back to camp where Shan was now more concerned by Brad as an ally rather than worried by JD now being calm. Shan took that information back to Ricard, with him admitting that he said nothing bad and assuring her it was all good. Oh and that Brad needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile at Luvu, Deshawn was growing tired as he desperately continued to try and start fire for the tribe. Eventually the iconic Naseer got sick of watching on, jumped in and got the fire started in no time at all. Immediately making the tribe love him, given they would probably die without him according to Sydney, the de facto proxy for the audience. Oh and we also learnt that grew up without electricity or running water in Sri Lanka but he was always happy and damn, I couldn’t love him more at this point.

We finally checked in on Yase where Tiffany was absolutely exhausted, sharing that she would give anything for even a cup of rice. Back at camp, Xander was busy trying to finish the shelter before he pointed out that Voce had been gone a long time to Liana. With that, they suggested they split up to try and find him, with Xander putting this time to use finding the ‘Beware’ advantage, which told him to accept the risks and do everything it says, or put it back and leave it for someone else. Obviously he took the risk and learnt that he had found one third of an idol which will only gain power if the same idol is found at both of the other camps. To activate it, he simply needs to say a weird phrase and wait for the other two to say theirs at the same immunity challenge and voila, they all get idols. Sadly for him, he won’t have a vote for the rest of the game unless the other two idols are found.

Knowing it is fairly dangerous, he pulled his closest allies Evvie and Voce aside to fill them in, with Voce nervous about now being down a vote. While Evvie was more concerned about Xander’s growing power and not wanting to go to the end with men and then have their game disregarded which always seems to happen on Survivor. With that, Evvie took that information back to their true allies, Tiffany and Liana, and damn Xander, you in danger girl.

The tribes joined up with Jeffrey over the ocean for the immunity challenge where someone would dive in and retrieve a key before bringing it back to two others who would race over a series of obstacles and then swim to the end where the other two people will unlock puzzle pieces, which they obviously use to solve. Oh and in addition to immunity for the first two tribes to finish, they will also get either a massive bundle of fishing gear or just enough fishing gear. 

Xander got Yase out to an early lead, though couldn’t retrieve his key on the first go giving Sydney time to take the lead for Luvu. Danny meanwhile made quick work of the obstacles for Luvu while Brad and Tiffany struggled on the balance beam. Eventually Brad made it to the end while Naseer continued to power Luvu ahead while Shan joined him in lapping Tiffany. While poor Liana waited for her turn on the obstacles for Yase, Luvu and Ua quickly worked through the puzzle before Tiffany finally made it to the end. Sadly for Yase, however, Liana couldn’t overcome the disadvantage as Erika powered through another puzzle and took out victory for Luvu while Ua took out second place, sending Yase back to tribal council.

As winners of the challenge, Luvu were given the power to send someone from Yase for a special journey, quickly sending Evvie before they learnt they could send someone from either of the remaining tribes, with Deshawn quickly volunteering to go.

Back at camp, Tiffany quickly apologised for costing the tribe so much time in the challenge though she was quietly confident that she would still be safe at tribal council, given she and the girls were planning on getting rid of Xander. Speaking of Xander, he and Voce were worried about the girls sticking together and saving Tiffany given there are no guarantees a swap will save the tribe from themselves. Knowing they were mildly screwed, Voce approached Liana to see if she would be willing to get rid of Tiffany with her quickly agreeing that after the challenge it makes sense. Sadly for him however, Liana took the information back to Tiffany and while she assured her she was safe, she was still nervous Tiffany would do something stupid and screw it up for them.

Meanwhile Evvie and Deshawn arrived on the same island as last week and they quickly bonded as they ventured to the top. Knowing Yase will be at a disadvantage come merge, Evvie got to work charming Deshawn so that they would have an ally moving forward. They then shared that there is no way they can risk their vote with tribal council coming up and as such, he can safely take the extra vote and know that they won’t screw him over if they work together moving forward.  We then learnt a bit more about Deshawn, who worked hard to overcome all obstacles to become a doctor before pivoting back to Evvie’s charm offensive. They started by explaining that they plan to boot Xander over Tiffany at the upcoming tribal council before explaining in detail how the idols work this season.

Evvie returned to camp with their vote intact – you’re welcome for the extra vote, Deshawn – and quickly explained that the rules of the journey were the same as last week. They then went for a walk to the well with the girls, quickly locking in the blindside on Xander before returning to the boys and assuring them that they will join them to get rid of Tiffany. While Evvie was chatting with the boys, Tiffany was suggesting they should get rid of Voce instead, given Xander may play his idol, given she just doesn’t want to believe the situation with the idols. While Evvie calmly tried to explain the situation to her, assuring her that they read the note and it is actually powerless, Tiffany’s paranoia started to get to them, given it will be difficult to navigate around, should they stay aligned with her.

At tribal council Tiffany spoke about how disappointed in herself she was in the challenge, admitting that in the moment, she wanted the world to swallow her up. Xander spoke about how raw and exhausting it is to live the Survivor experience. Voce likened it to being in surgery and implored the tribe to find the wound and save their lives. We then learnt that his drive comes from his hardworking mother. Liana admitted that where the ‘bleeding’ Voce was talking about varies from person to person and as such, they need to find who they trust. This inspired Tiffany to remind them that challenges aren’t the only part of Survivor and as such, they need to vote with loyalty in mind. Evvie spoke about the fact the tribes could switch tomorrow and as such, strength means nothing and that is why the decisions are tough. Xander agreed that there is so much unknown and as such, there could be no switch in which case, strength becomes that much more important.

With that the tribe voted and somehow Liana and Evvie bought into Tiffany’s fear, joining her to send Voce out of the game against all odds. As he wandered into Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and immediately started crying uncontrollably. I mean, I didn’t want any of the tribe to go, but it was still heartbreaking to lose my dear friend Voce so early. You see, we first met while working together as interns at the hospital that inspired Shonda Rhime’s to write Grey’s Anatomy and became the fastest of friends.

David is kind, wise, calm and most importantly, is a total babe and as such, I was absolutely shook to see him go so soon. But after catching up and splitting a David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake, everything seemed right with the world again.

I feel like I say it a lot, but Milk Bar is the greatest place on earth and every damn recipe is near perfection. Tragically, there isn’t any down under and as such, I need to try my best to recreate their cakes. And well, this one is pretty damn great! Earthy, sweet and oh so moist, this is the perfect way to mark a shocking early boot.

Enjoy!

David Voce de Leche and Pumpkin Cake
Serves: 2 dear friends or 16 normal people.

Ingredients
140g unsalted butter at room temperature
275g raw caster sugar
60g muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
110g buttermilk
75g grapeseed oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
225g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butterscotch chips
240g white chocolate
25g light corn syrup, warmed to soften
55g double cream, cold as possible
75g pumpkin puree
60g milk powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
55g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Dulce de Nick Lachey
⅓ cup milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a quarter sheet pan with baking paper.

Combine the 115g butter , 250g of the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and cream on medium speed for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and return to the mixer on low for a further minute before adding the eggs one at a time, allowing to mix for a further minute between each addition. Scrape down the side, crank to medium and beat for a further few minutes or until delicate and light.

Whisk the buttermilk, oil and vanilla in a jug and with the mixer on its lowest speed, slowly pour the buttermilk mixture in until it is all in and just combined. Scrape down the sides once again and then beat on high for five minutes or until homogeneous and airy.

Combine 185g of flour with the baking baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Fold the mixture through the wet ingredients before returning to the stand mixer on low for a minute or two, or until it is just coming together. Remove and fold through the butterscotch chips.

Pour into the lined sheet pan, smooth out the top and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until the cake is cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for half an hour before turning out and cooling completely.

Reduce the oven to 120C.

While the cake gets chill, combine 150g of white chocolate and 25g of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and gently melt in 15-second bursts, stirring after each go until velvety and smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blitz while adding the corn syrup in a steady stream.

Once combined, add the heavy cream as the blender is still going until it comes together. It may look curdled for a bit, but it will come back together. Finally blend in the pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of salt and the remaining cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl, cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

Combine the 40g of the milk powder, the cornstarch and the remaining flour, caster sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands – or a spatula if it is too hot – until it starts to come together into large clumps. Spread them out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until dry and sandy.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and leave to cool slightly.

Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the remaining milk powder and white chocolate for five minutes or until the clumps firm with the chocolate. Transfer to a baking sheet to set completely.

To assemble, cut the sheet cake into two 20cm circles and leave to the side. Using a 20cm cake ring lined with acetate, press the remaining cake crumbs into the base and soak with a third of the milk. Top with a third of the ganache, some crumbs followed by half of the dulce de leche.

Top with one of the discs of cake and repeat the process with the milk, ganache, crumb and ganache. Top with the remaining disc of cake, follow with the remaining milk and ganache before decorating with the remaining crumbs.

Cover, transfer to the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

When ready to eat, remove from the fridge, take out of the ring and acetate and leave to come to temperature for half an hour or so before devouring, joyously.


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Haylal Snack Peake

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

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways were dropped in the outback, far from the tropical islands we’ve grown accustomed to – thanks COVID! One by one they were felled as – yep, doing it – Phil, Janelle, Gavin, Benny, Mitch, Joey, Daini, Shannon, Georgia, Rachel and Simon headed home before the two tribes merged and formed the Fire tribe.

Instead of the Beauty tribe, which will always be a sore point to me.

Kez was the first victim of the new tribe before Chelsea was medevaced, leaving Baden to become the King of the Jury. He was quickly joined by Gerald, Laura, Emmett, Andrew, Dani, Wai and Cara, leaving Flick as the lone Brawn standing against George and Cara.

And by standing, I mean hunching painfully in a brutal final immunity challenge where the trio faced off for over five hours before Hayley took out victory and gave her the power to eliminate the final juror. Which obviously became Flick.

After a hard fought final tribal council where both George and Hayley clearly articulated their games, proving just how good they both were, the jury favoured Hayley’s more well rounded approach and awarded her the title of Sole Survivor. And, you know, the half mill.

As you can imagine, Hayley was buzzing as I sidled on to set to congratulate her, pulling me in for a massive hug. You see, Hayley and I are former colleagues and dear friends – you know how painful I can be, which is an asset to a researcher – so I was so excited to be there to share in her win.

Hayley dominated the game and made massive moves throughout the season, and while she was briefly voted out, she used that to her advantage, expertly adapting her play to make it to the end and rightfully take out the game. The only way I could truly do justice to such an epic, entertaining and at times chaotic run was gifting her a triumphant Haylal Snack Peake.

While I was late to the party when it came to the majesty of the HSP, I have well and truly made up for lost time when it came to the holy grail of food. The chips are crispy, the chicken is packing a punch, a little charred and oh so juicy that by the time you get to the garlicky sauce and gooey cheese, there is no denying this is made for winners.

Enjoy!

Haylal Snack Peake
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Greek yoghurt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
1kg chicken thighs, no skin, no bones (no jokes about me normally loving a bone)
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
2 cups grated cheddar
¼ cup smokey BBQ sauce
¼ cup garlic sauce
¼ cup sriracha
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Start by mixing up the yoghurt through olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the chicken and toss with your hands, making sure that every piece is sopping with the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge for six hours. Overnight is ideal, but like you, I don’t have time for that so six will do, ok?

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Grab a bunch of metal skewers and a baking dish that they can precariously balance either side on so they are elevated. I’m not the best at explaining, but it will make sense in a bit. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread on to two parallel skewers, jamming the thighs close together so they look like baby kebab sticks (I obviously couldn’t be bothered to Google it).

Once they’re all on skewers, line the baking dish and balance the ends of the skewers on the sides of the dish so the chicken is elevated from the base. Pop the dish in the oven and bake for half an hour, or until brown and glorious. Remove from the oven, baste with the juices and return to the oven for twenty minutes. Remove from the oven again when it is charred, baste and leave to rest for five minutes.

While you work on the fries, stand the skewers upright and carve the chicken from them like the do at a kebab shop (side note: how hypnotic was watching that, drunk at 2am?) and leave to rest in their juices.

To assemble, pop your chips in a bowl, top with the cheese and follow with a generous helping of the chicken. Drizzle with the sauces, add a bit more cheese and a sprinkle of parsley to feel healthy.

Then devour like you haven’t had a decent meal in 48 days but are also thrilled to be victorious.


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Custard George Mladanish

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Dessert, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the final three met Jonathan in the middle of the elephant’s graveyard from The Lion King to find three torture devices from a Saw movie. Apparently this wildly unexpected crossover wasn’t a sign of things to come for Disney, but instead the final immunity challenge for Brains v Brawns. After hours and hours of standing on pegs beneath a bed of nails, Flick finally fell out of the challenge and handed Hayley immunity and the chance to select who she would face off against in the final two. And despite pleading a strong case at tribal council, found herself heading out of the game as the final juror.

The final two awoke on Day 48 to find a bounty of food and champagne, with Hayley admitting that voting out Flick was the hardest thing she has had to do all season. She then reflected that while George has played a strong strategic game, she has also managed to play a physical game as well as outwitting people and to top it off, didn’t rub people the wrong way like George did. And well, she is ready to take out victory and take control of her life after years dedicated to study.

George meanwhile was shocked that the person that was so close to being an early boot had made it to the end of the competition, ready to pitch his case to the jury. George was proud of his strong strategic game and hoped that he would be rewarded so that he could pay off his parents debts and let them enjoy their retirement, which is just so damn warm and fuzzy I can’t even stand it. He reflected on having a target on his back the entire time and was ready to remind every juror that his game is why they’re all sitting on the bench.

Which honestly, is never a great way to win votes.

At final tribal council George kicked things off and was far more charming than I thought he would be, talking about how he has been overcoming his own fears all game. And speaking of the game, his first play was to sow controlled chaos in his tribe to work around the fact he was clearly in the bottom. After the tribe swap, he knew to fall in line with the Brawns before flipping back to the Brains come merge, given there was no way he was ever getting to the end with the others. He was passionate, articulate and well, Hayley’s nervous face said it all as the jury smiled with George talking about leading the Brains from a minority to the majority and that he fought tooth and nail all season.

And, obviously, he told them that he is ready for his crown.

Hayley’s nervous face made way for a cheeky smile, sharing how proud she is of her game. Not to be outdone by George, she went all the way back to Joey’s boot, taking full credit for the move to flip Wai and Baden to get rid of him and pointed out it was the turning point in the game. She then spoke about her idol heroics on the post-swap Brawn tribe, highlighting her ability to trust in new allies to pull off the blindside on Simon. Oh and the Kez boot? Yeah, yeah – George told her to play the idol for Laura, but she is the one that successfully executed the plan. She then acknowledged the fact she was booted from the game but fought her way back and how she used that weakened target to find her footing and dominate the end game.

Jonathan flipped things over to the jury with Laura assuring both Hayley and George that she is undecided on who to vote for. She asked George what he learnt about himself during the game, with him admitting that he now knows that he can do anything he puts his mind to, given nobody expected him to get to this point. He also learnt that he is great at eavesdropping. Cara meanwhile asked Hayley if she planned to lie and deceive or whether it was just natural. Hayley knocked it out of the park, admitting that that is not only part of the game but also her job, given that as a researcher you have to convince people that placebos are actually real. And those skills were great for her game.

Andrew asked whether either of them have regrets in the game, with George thrilled that everything got him to this point and as such, he was good. Hayley meanwhile regretted the way she outed George as the double agent early in the merge, as it landed her on redemption. This led to Dani jumping in and asking why Hayley lied at the outback spa, with Hayley perfectly outlining that she was scared at what Dani would do if she felt that Hayley wasn’t with her and as such, she had to lull her into a false sense of security for her own safety. Which seemed to make Dani happy, assuring both Hayley and George that she is an undecided voter and she wants to see them both own all of their lies.

Gerald meanwhile asked George and Hayley who they would align with should the game restart with the jury, with George hilariously saying none of them while Hayley said that she was confident she would be able to work with all of them again.

Dani returned for her legit question, asking George why he habitually gave up in the challenges when he knew half of the jury value physicality given they were on the Brawn tribe. And well, it is literally a third of the motto. George defended himself, saying that he knew that his lack of athletic ability was his weak point and as such, he just wanted to focus on the things he could do well. Flick asked Hayley while they never worked together, with Hayley circling back to the Simon blindside and wanting to work with Flick but she never joined her at the merge. Then at the final seven, she only went with George, Cara and Wai because she knew that would give her the easiest path to winning her way to the end. Flick meanwhile asked George about his lies, with him admitting that he dominated strategically and only lied in the hope of getting further.

Emmett meanwhile asked George why he decided to lie and be strategic in such a brash way, explaining that he upset everyone on their way out the door and asked whether he would play the same game if he had his time over. George tried to get Emmett to focus on the game he did play rather than hurt feelings, with Emmett doubling down that that is not what he was asking before George eventually admitted that he wouldn’t play the same again. But I think between the lines, he meant that he wouldn’t get away with the same game twice. Which is super true. Hayley was meanwhile asked how her game differed from George, expertly pointing out that she is the most well rounded player, given she was not just strategic, she was also social and an absolute beast in the challenges.

Tragically Wai and Baden’s questions were cut – or I had a microsleep – before the jury cast their votes and Jonathan wheeled out Hayley and George’s loved ones to read the votes. While things were quickly tied at two a piece, the rest of the votes piled up on Hayley, as she took out victory and the title of sole survivor. Leaving the poor cockroach to join me for a meal to perk him back up as she celebrated.

As the giant sparklers were still going off in celebration of Hayley’s win, I pulled my heartbroken friend – let’s say, we’re both political operatives shall we – aside and intensely told him that the fact he even made it to the end was a shock. Because he played a bold, dominant game and had a target on his back the entire time. He and Hayley both played hard and arguably were our strongest final two ever, both nailing final tribal council and as such, he should sit back, relax and enjoy a Custard George Mladanish like the champion he is.

Like George, this little number is surrounded by a crispy outer shell but inside is nothing but warm, sweet, delicate and soft. Needless to say it is delicious and the perfect way to mark a game well played.

Enjoy!

Custard George Mladanish
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
4 eggs, 3 separated and 1 whole
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup cornflour
2 cups milk
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
⅔ cup flaked almonds

Method
First up, start by making your custard. If you have your own preferred recipe, go with that, otherwise keep reading. The most important part is it being firmer. Whisk the three yolks with the caster sugar, vanilla and cornflour in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk, quarter cups at a time, until you have a smooth, velvety texture.

Transfer to a saucepan and over medium-low heat, cook, whisking constantly for five minutes or so. Or until the mixture starts to thicken. Keep cooking for a further minute while bubbling away before removing and transferring to a bowl. Cover with cling (directly on top to avoid a skin forming) and leave to cool completely.

While it gets chill, preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Using two of the sheets of pastry, line the base and of a loose based, 35cm rectangle fluted tart tin and trim off excess pastry.

Place the tin on a baking sheet, line and weight the tart tin and blind bake for ten minutes, or until golden around the edges. Remove the weights and bake for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Drop the oven temperature down to 170°C.

Once both the shell and custard are cool, pour the custard into the shell, sprinkling with half the flaked almonds throughout because I love almonds. Cut the remaining sheet of pastry into strips and plait over the top to form as intricate lattice as you can be bothered with.

Whisk the remaining egg and sprinkle over the remaining almonds. Transfer the danish to the oven and bake for 15-30 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before carving and devouring.


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Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the top five fought hard to snag immunity and guarantee this safety, with Hayley once again coming out on top. As such, the tight Brains alliance decided to load all their votes on Flick and rid themselves of the final Brawn. That is until George realised Flick wasn’t hunting for an idol, and as such, he grew paranoid that she already has one. With that he joined Cara and loaded their votes on Wai JIC. While Flick thought she was gagging the rest of the tribe as she played her idol, her sole George vote was rendered useless as the beautiful Queen Wai was sent from the game.

The next day George was lounging about quietly in camp before Cara snuck up and scared the shit out of him. The duo then mucked around all cute like, as they praised their unbreakable bond, grateful to have had each other to navigate the game. Cara desperately wanted the two of them to make it to the end together, but also knew that that would be a very difficult task. 

And well, already this feels like the ads about turning on each other won’t be like SuE’S bIG m0v3!?

Meanwhile Flick and Hayley were tending to camp as Flick shared with us that she is pretty much just planning an immunity run to the end because, well, that’s her only real option. Despite that, she pulled Hayley aside and once again pitched that the two of them join together and break up the duo of George and Cara. And given George is the chattiest of Kathy’s, she thinks he is the biggest threat to both of their final tribal councils. Once again, Hayley agreed that it was a wonderful idea despite intending to stick with the duo should Flick not win the next immunity since she can easily beat the others in the final immunity challenge.

Undeterred, Flick approached Cara and pointed out that she needs to make a move for the jury by taking out George if she wants any chance of winning. And well, Cara was not interested at all. As such, she went for a walk with George with them having a good old laugh about not voting each other out next which TBH does make me more and more nervous. As does the fact George just wants anyone but Flick to win immunity. Which is where this is ending up, right?

The duo quickly worked out that should Flick be immune, it would likely finish in a tie between Hayley and George meaning the duo would need to compete in a fire challenge to continue in the game. Knowing that George has no fire skills at all, Cara pulled him aside and coached him how to use a flint and while it was a bit slapstick at the start, she did prove to be a decent teacher.

Dear Jonathan arrived for the massive final four immunity challenge where the group would face off by racing over a net to collect balls which they will use to release puzzle pieces. They would then build a ladder with the puzzle pieces, untie a bucket and then fill it with water and walk it through hurdles before using the water to release even more balls which they then have to land in a ball puzzle.

Desperate, Flick got out to an early lead, whipping through the challenge as the others just tried to keep up the pace. Hayley overtook her with some killer throws however, quickly building her stairs as Flick and Cara lagged slightly behind. George eventually joined the fun on the stair puzzle as Cara joined Hayley on the bucket section. Well, briefly. As Hayley started landing her balls while Flick finally finished with her stairs. Hayley had landed three balls by the time Flick closed the gap and joined her at the puzzle. As Hayley landed her fourth ball, Cara joined the fun and quickly landed a ball just after Flick. Flick and Cara methodically landed their balls as Hayley grew more and more desperate before Flick slipped in and snatched immunity.

Back at camp Flick was thrilled to finally have a bit of power in the game, before realising that the final immunity challenge is usually endurance and as such, Hayley is the biggest threat to her game. With that in her mind, she approached Cara and quickly locked her in on the Hayley vote.

But all was not lost yet, as Hayley realised she was the biggest threat and Cara and George flipping Flick would send her home immediately. Hayley pulled Flick aside and shared how grateful she was to have spoken the day before, doubling down on the need to get rid of George if any of them want to have a chance at winning. Obviously Flick agreed with this plan too, so off Hayley trotted to chat to Cara where she learned that Flick was playing her and was planning to vote her out as the only threat to winning final immunity. Which obviously panicked Hayley, asking Cara if she was truly considering turning on her. Rather than say, pointing out that Cara needs Hayley there in the final challenge if Cara wants any chance of winning, given Flick has the jury stacked in her favour.

As Cara laughed about the absurdity of Flick suggesting Cara help her win the next challenge, she rightly pointed out that Hayley would take her to the final two if it was the three girls at the end. Hayley reiterated how important it is for Cara to make a move and get rid of George to give herself a shot, but she just wasn’t sure whether she could do it emotionally. Hayley then found George and made the exact same plea to him, pointing out that if he is in the final three with Flick and Cara, he has no shot of making it to the end and has to settle for third place. She then locked in her vote for Cara and told him that she hopes he joins her but understands if he doesn’t. And then up and left him.

George and Cara then caught up, pledging their love for each other and praising each other for the games they have played. They then joined Hayley and the trio gave each other a group hug to celebrate their successes before heading to tribal council for their official break up.

At tribal council the jury were delighted to see Flick wearing immunity before she shared that it is nice to feel calm and secure after a good week or two of being the target. George admitted that without immunity, Flick would be a goner but instead, one of the close trio is going out. Hayley admitted that while she, Cara and George all have different compelling stories, they need to get to the final two and given neither of them are great in challenges, they need her. She pointed out that Flick is definitely going to win in the final two, given the jury loves her, but their chances are better against her and whoever is in the final three with her and Flick would be the one she would choose to take.

George reminded Cara that Hayley is the ultimate challenge threat, while Cara simply praised Hayley’s killer pitch. George tried to create doubt, pointing out that Hayley winning final immunity is guaranteed if she gets there with Hayley pointing out that that isn’t the worst thing, given Flick beats anyone at the end. Flick pointed out that she will be going strategic with her vote, while George and Cara both said that they would be sticking with their final two leaving poor Hayley to once again reiterate that they need to think beyond three now and instead look to two and who they would have the best shot against.

With that the tribe voted and both George and Care turned on each other, with Hayley banding with George to send Cara out of the game to join the far-better-than-winning Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses Club.

As Cara walked into Jury Villa, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and ran out to pull her in for a big hug. You see, the empath Real Estate community is quite small and as such, Cara and I quickly bonded and became the best of friends. I didn’t tell you I was a Sydney Real Estate Tycoon? Oh, I was. Anyway, Cara and I are dear friends, so I was gutted to see her felled so close to the end. Until I remembered the aforementioned placement as a FPRG, after which, I toasted to her success and whipped up a comforting Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs.

Despite my passion for all things balls, I never got the appeal of Spaghetti and Meatballs as a kid. I think it probably has something to do with the fact I felt there was less sauce involved and as such, resented it. But then I woke up to myself and realised that those big juicy balls, dripping in sauce and covered generously with the sharpest parmesan are perfection. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Enjoy!

Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
¼ cup breadcrumbs
small handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
100ml milk
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
500ml passata
100ml water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
500g dried spaghetti

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by combining the minces, four garlic cloves, the egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and milk in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch together until well combined before rolling into 12 large meatballs. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot and celery over medium low heat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the oregano, basil, passata, water and sugar. Bring to the boil before reducing heat to low and simmering for 15 minutes.

Once glorious and thick, stir through the meatballs, pop on a lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

While that is simmering, cook the spaghetti as per pack instructions before draining, serving and topping with the big, saucy balls. And then coating in parmesan.

And then devouring.


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Wai Chimichangas

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

Previously on Australian Survivor 18 icons fell by the wayside and only six remained in the game. As one of only two Brawns left in the game, Dani continued her reward streak by winning the ultimate spa reward, where she finally convinced Hayley to flip on George. Before any further discussions could take place, they ventured to the immunity challenge where Wai came from behind and upset everyone to win immunity. And by upset, absolutely delighted as she screamed and cried from the shock of it all like a pure icon. We learnt that Hayley and Wai continued to play the middle, debating between the two remaining pairs to join with to get to the top four. Flick meanwhile found an idol, giving an edge to the Brawns so she held on to it before she and Dani discovered Hayley was not in fact with them and as such, Dani was booted from the game.

The next day Wai and Flick were counting down the sleeps left in the outback while the girls spoke about how cold it is getting overnight. Talk turned to the champagne reward with Flick admitting that she couldn’t shut up in the hot tub, giddy from the excitement, champagne or both. Meanwhile Hayley shared with us that she stuck with the Brains at the last tribal council because Dani and Flick said that they would never vote for Cara, Wai and George at the final tribal and since the former duo have the most friends on the jury, getting rid of them was her priority. Hayley and George caught up and reaffirmed their loyalty to each other, agreeing that like Dani, Flick needs to go otherwise she destroys them all at final tribal.

Speaking of Flick, she was feeling super lonely being the last Brawn standing though given she has a hidden immunity idol, she is at least guaranteed final four. Which is a problem for the Brains, given they are committed to voting her out and no other option. So, someone is about to get burnt.

While Flick knew that she was safe for one night, she realised that she had to plan longer term and as such, pulled Wai aside. Immediately the duo agreed that going to the final three with Hayley makes the most sense for both of their games, given no one can beat the unbreakable Cara and George duo. Wai and Cara caught up while hunting for supplies, with the former admitting that she doesn’t want to play by the rules anymore and wants to make the game her own. And well, part of that includes taking out George as the biggest threat while also calling him out for bordering on mean from time to time.

Next up in the personal recaps was George who was proud of his game, narrowly avoiding the boot week after week and making the biggest moves. He shared that his biggest priority is to make the right choice to get to the end and win, rather than make friends. As such, George caught up with Hayley and shared that his only shot at winning is against Hayley and as such, they need each other. Which is the only real pitch to keep her from flipping on him, so well done George.

My love Jonathan arrived for the final five immunity challenge where they would have to face off crawling across a pole to retrieve sandbags which they would use to knock off blocks, use said blocks to knock off a key and then the key to release a grappling hook. And what happens with the grappling hook, you ask? Well, they use that to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle.

Obviously Hayley and Flick got out to an early lead while poor Wai struggled to cross the log. As the other four started tossing their bags at the blocks, George opted to press pause and help Wai out so they could all continue on in the challenge together. Cara overtook the others and was first to start with the blocks, but was quickly joined by the rest of the tribe. Cara was first to make it to the grappling hook and jagged her puzzle pieces before anyone else joined her. As Cara worked through the puzzle, Hayley quickly won all of her pieces and joined her while the other three languished at the back of the pack. While Cara slowly pulled away, she discovered that one of her pieces was wrong as Hayley closed the gap, before George joined them. But it was all for nought as Hayley figured out the last piece and quickly secured another individual immunity win.

The tribe returned to camp with George thrilled by the outcome of the challenge, given they just needed Flick to not win. As such the Brains were comfortable with piling all the votes on Flick, with George taking it one step further and encouraging her to go find a hidden immunity idol, completely unaware that she already has one. As such, Flick got to work pretending to wander around camp looking for an idol so the Brains don’t get spooked and ruin her plan to get rid of George with her one vote.

Flick reflected on her journey throughout the season, glad that her social game has gotten her to this point. Particularly since she has had to fight against her grief for the last week. Sadly Flick was caught by George sitting quietly by the billabong and as such, deduced that she already found the idol and as such, he needed to switch things up. He quickly ran back to camp and found Cara, sharing his suspicions and suggesting that the two of them stack their votes on Wai instead to guarantee one of them isn’t idolled from the ground. Which is a great plan and shows his killer instincts for the game, but damn, don’t let me lose Wai.

While Cara was all on board with the plan, solely because of her trust in George, she was nervous about splitting the vote without looping Hayley in and thus potentially burning a bridge. After a brief back and forth, Cara put her foot down, very concerned about leaving Hayley out this close to the end and telling George she isn’t just going to blindly follow him and either way they go is risky.

Speaking of said risks, Flick pulled Hayley aside and pointed out that the alliance of four is barrelling towards a 2-2 tie and as such, one of the duos needs her to make it to the final three. Which is classic, logical survivor. But Hayley said that she was only on board if Wai was willing to flip. Which she obviously was, despite the fact George wasted time in the challenge to help her along.

At tribal council Hayley spoke about how grateful she is to be wearing the immunity necklace this close to the end. Wai meanwhile was grateful that George helped her in the immunity challenge, showing a side of him that not many people are seeing in the game. George put it down to just doing the right thing by his friends. As Flick spoke about being out of options, George started whispering to Cara about sticking with the safe vote and not splitting. George admitted that he told Flick that she wasn’t going to make it to Day 45 while Flick gloriously pretended to be down and out.

Jonathan asked Flick what happens when she is gone with Flick suggesting a girls alliance could form to oust George, otherwise they will split down the line of duos with the added complication of Hayley probably wanting to sit next to George at final tribal council. Hayley then suggested that maybe she has an idol and this is all a ploy before Wai admitted this would be a perfect time to leverage Flick however if you don’t pull it off correctly, you risk yourself going home. Hayley was nervous that this vote was make or break for each of them, while George just cautioned everyone to err on the side of caution.

With that, the tribe voted before Flick gagged them all by playing her idol and despite wanting to be the sole vote to finally get rid of George, he and Cara stuck with their plan and loaded two votes on poor Queen Wai who joyously exited the game.

Sweet Wai was an absolute delight as she arrived at the Jury Villa, equal parts disappointed to be out of the game and thrilled by how well she did despite being the obvious first boot. As soon as she saw me she let out the same squeal she did upon winning immunity, thrilled to be united with her dear friend. You see, Wai and I are part of the same literary circles and have been best friends for years and years. Which is why I knew that after 44 days in the bush, she would need a big plate of Wai Chimichangas to help recover.

I know I say this a lot, but I really love Mexican food. Even if my versions err more closely to the Tex Mex side of the equation. In any event, these spicy little numbers are near perfection – hot, rich, earthy and sweet, by the time you add some fresh avo and lime, you’ve got yourself a new favourite meal.

Enjoy!

Wai Chimichangas
Serves: 2 famished friends or 4 regular peeps.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushin’
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup chicken stock
400g tin diced tomatoes
4 cups shredded roast chicken
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving
2 cups refried beans
8 flour tortillas
1 ½ cups Mexican cheese, grated
Lady Guagamole, to serve
small handful coriander leaves, to serve
lime wedges, to serve
hot sauce, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute. Stir through the tomato paste before adding the tomatoes, stock and chicken. Season and bring to the boil before reducing to a low and simmering until most of the liquid is reduced. Then stir through the sour cream.

To assemble, place your tortillas on the bench and divide the refried beans between them, smearing in the middle to leave ‘clean’ space around the edges. Add some of the chicken mixture – about half a cup – before a sprinkle of cheese. Fold in the sides and roll like a burrito before transferring to a lined baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat the process until down.

Brush each chimichanga with some oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Serve immediately slathered with guac, sour cream, coriander, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Whatever you prefer.

Then, obvi, devour.


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Dani Bubbeale Coffee

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Drink, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani and Andrew tried to get their revenge after Emmett was blindsided. His plan? To win every immunity and get rid of George. As you can imagine, he didn’t win immunity as Hayley scored her second in a row which set in motion the plan to get rid of Andrew. Well, Hayley, George and Cara did while Wai wasn’t sure she could betray Andrew again and ultimately vote him out. Wai however stuck with them and he was booted from the game. But obviously, there was a twist, as Jonathan let Andrew pick one of four urns with one containing a scroll announcing him as safe and returning him to the game. Which he didn’t pick, instead sending him to join the jury. Officially.

The next morning Wai was shocked that she had made it to Day 40 while the tribe hung out, exhausted and pondering how much harder the game is getting each and every day. Wai was still feeling guilty to have voted out her friend Andrew, despite the fact George told her that he was gunning for her. And while she did believe it in the moment, she also knows that George needs to go ASAP.

Speaking of George, he was thrilled to be the last man standing. Particularly since he is in control of the tribe. Just not in control of his washing, as poor Dani tried to explain how to wring out clothes. Oh and to continue her boss ways, she then grabbed a massive stump that George was struggling to pick up, lobbed it over her shoulder and dazzled Wai with her strength.

After Wai gushed about how inspirational she finds Dani, the two of them joined Flick and Hayley by the water in the hope of forming an alliance together and, you guessed it, take control of the game. That being said, George and Cara soon joined them and any strategy chat was shut down. But best believe Dani is going to try wooing them before the next tribal council because Cara and George are a lost cause and she refuses to go home this early.

The tribe met up with Jonathan for the next immunity challenge where they would each have to race out in the water to a pontoon, climb a ladder to retrieve some balls, swim some more, grab some more balls, race over an obstacle and get to the end and toss two balls into a goal for victory. As everyone leaped into the water, Wai stayed put on the pontoon and forfeited the challenge while Hayley and Flick powered into the lead. George’s fear of heights got the better of him as he gave up on the challenge while the other four battled for safety. Flick started to pull away as Hayley tried to hold pace with Dani and Cara nipping at her heels. Flick and Hayley desperately started to shoot their baskets, though quickly ran out of balls before Dani arrived and scored her first point. Hayley and Cara then scored a basket each before Dani returned and put everyone out of their misery by taking out the win.

Back at camp George was far less confident than before, given that Dani’s immunity means Flick is their only option of going home. While there are still three saviour urns remaining, George is undeterred, given sticking to the top four is the best for George, Cara, Hayley and Wai. Though he does worry that they may have a change of heart at tribal council and to quote him most other episodes, his goose would be cooked. 

The foursome caught up by the billabong, with George getting more and more desperate as he tried to get them to stay targeting the Brawns. Which is honestly the thing that would encourage them to flip. George approached the Brawns to see who they were thinking of targeting, with Dani and Flick kind of just ignoring him. Instead, Flick suggested the duo approach Hayley and Wai and flip them to their side to get rid of George.

Hayley meanwhile admitted that she would be in however it was up to Flick and Dani to convince Wai. Which they did, barely even uttering a sentence.

Sadly for them, Cara was loitering near the shelter and as such approached George to fill him in on the potential issue, despite not actually hearing anything. With that, the duo tried to figure out the best plan of attack because George didn’t want Cara to burn her idol just yet. George decided that the best way to move forward was to talk to Wai and see where she is at. He implored Wai to stick with the sensible, stable option and deal with what happens at the top four when it happens.

Hayley meanwhile wanted to turn on George and get rid of him, though admitted that the urns make her nervous given she doesn’t want someone coming back into the game angry. As such, getting rid of Flick and having her return isn’t as dangerous as an angry George. Though if Flick came back, she is also a physical threat and could snatch immunity, meaning she could be the one going home.

At tribal council George delighted Jonathan and the jury by rocking Cara’s skirt and showing off his gams while also trying to fit in and avoid being booted. Dani meanwhile was thrilled to be immune, while Flick admitted that she is clearly the most likely to go. She did however point out that the four Brains are fractured and as such, it is a matter of when not if they are going to split. George assured them that there is safety in numbers and as such, the foursome know it is wise to stick together. Dani then made a questionable move, telling George that Hayley and Wai approached them today and were planning to boot him tonight. Throwing the two most likely people to align with her under the bus.

Wai admitted that she had a conversation but at the end of the day, conversations can be misdirection and they mean nothing until you vote. While Cara grew nervous, Wai spoke about the urns complicating things because you don’t want to make a move and have them blow up your games. Hayley agreed that they have definitely made her less likely to flip. This had the opposite effect, making Cara exceedingly more nervous while George just tried to reiterate the importance of staying stable until the urns are gone.

With that the tribe voted and Cara’s nerves got the better of herself as she played her hidden immunity idol for herself. Sadly for her, it was unnecessary as Hayley and Wai stuck with them and booted Flick from the game. Well, until she cracked her urn and found herself saved, returning to the game and finally putting an end to the non-elimination tribals for the season – huzzahs all round!

I mean, if there are two non-eliminations in play each season, can’t we just permanently include Redemption Island and call it a day? I know it can be sucky, but at least every single person has equal opportunity that way. Rant over.

The next day the tribe were gagged to experience outback rain, with George glad to finally tick off another Survivor experience. Dani meanwhile was growing even more annoyed by George, going for a wander with Flick to get out of camp. Flick thankfully was feeling lucky to still be in the game and as such, rallied the two of them to try and find and crack. And well, for Dani, she was still laser focused on getting rid of George. Speaking of George, he and the Brains trio were back at camp living their best lives unaware that Dani and Flick were going to continue their campaign to flip Wai and Hayley to their side.

George was frustrated that not only had Flick returned to the game, but that Cara wasted her idol leaving them vulnerable. Never mind the fact that it means another may be hidden. Oh and it shows that Cara didn’t trust Hayley and Wai enough to stick with her. While George chastised Cara in front of their other allies, Cara admitted that the urns made her absolutely mad with paranoia, apologised and all was forgiven. Right?

The tribe reconvened with Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where the top six would each have to swim out to collect a bag in the water, build a pole with the sticks inside said bag, release a key, unlock sandbags and then shoot said sandbags into a spinning target. Oh and it was for an overnight reward to a spa, so you just know they were gagging to win. Flick, Hayley and George got out to the slightest of leads, but they obviously all came together to build their poles. George was first to try and quickly snapped his pole, as did Hayley and Dani. After some slight adjustments, both Hayley and Dani tried again before Flick joined them as Hayley knocked her key off. 

Hayley quickly started trying to shoot her bags as Flick joined her. Hayley was first to land a sack, followed by Flick as George once again gave up in the challenge and instead opted to watch the battle. Dani eventually joined the others, quickly landing three bags in quick succession before Hayley and Flick tried to rally. But it was to no avail as Dani took out yet another reward. Obviously Jonathan told her that she’d be able to take someone to join her, opting to take Flick before Jonathan gave her one more pass to the spa. Which she quickly offered to Hayley, as George looked like he wanted to throw up.

The dolls arrived at their makeshift bush spa and immediately started gorging on everything in sight. That was until they saw a case with body wash, shampoo, conditioner and loofahs and they quickly got to work pampering themselves. Once they were all clean, they slipped into the spa and poured themselves a drink as they started to discuss the game. Obviously Dani and Flick quickly tried to flip Hayley to their side and while it seemed like it was a no brainer for her to flip at this point anyway, she admitted that Cara playing the idol at the last tribal council made her begin to lose trust in them.

The next day the spa trio were surprised with a fresh breakfast before immediately solidifying their new alliance, vowing to finally get rid of George.

Meanwhile back at camp, the remaining three were cold, starving and without a fire, while George was more concerned about Hayley flipping on them due to the reward. He and Cara went for a walk and while she assured him that Hayley is definitely still with them, he was nervous enough to truly fight for immunity rather than giving up in the next challenge.

Speaking of immunity, the groups reconnected with Jonathan where they learnt they would be battling in the biggest immunity challenge of the season. They would start tethered to a rope around a frame before they would unwind themselves enough to go over a series of obstacles to release a key to unlock themselves. They would then need to collect a bag of tiles, shoot the tiles into a goal AND then use the tiles to solve a word puzzle. Hayley got out to an early lead but was quickly joined by Dani and Flick, while poor Wai struggled to even hold a hammer.

This gave George the chance to overtake them before they all joined up at the final stage of the challenge. Dani and Hayley maintained the earliest of leads, getting to work on the puzzle before Flick and Cara joined them. Hayley quickly landed three words, while Dani placed two random ones and then all of a sudden, they came to a stand still before Wai finally arrived at the puzzle, whipped through it and took out individual immunity like an absolute queen. She then started sobbing, shocked by the fact she won immunity and damn, I just love her so much.

Back at camp everyone rallied around, congratulating Wai on her win and reminding her that she is a strong and powerful woman. Giddy, she caught up with Hayley to lock in their allegiance to each other and affirming themselves as ride or die. Meanwhile Dani and Flick were feeling vulnerable, but felt that things were in the best spot to flip the girls given Wai is safe enough to make a move and Hayley was already on board at reward. 

As Hayley worked Wai, Flick and Dani decided the best plan was to do a split vote if the girls are on their side, with George being their true target. After locking in the plan with the girls, Hayley caught up with George and Cara and were pitched the exact same plan, instead splitting the vote on Dani and Flick. Hayley obviously agreed that she was on board with this, keen to get rid of George’s target Dani.

While Hayley went for a relaxing swim, glad to not be on anyone’s radar, George and Cara got to work hunting for an idol. They were quickly joined by Dani and Flick, and while everyone gave up one by one, Flick persevered and found one, ready to finally get rid of George. After a quick celebration, the duo decided to keep their idol and secret from Hayley just in case.

Speaking of Hayley she was thrilled to be playing in the middle of the tribe and holding all the power in the upcoming vote. But with that power, comes nerves given she and Wai see it as the decision that will either win or lose them the game. On one hand, getting rid of George has proven very difficult and as such, this may be their only shot, while getting rid of Dani also eliminates a massive threat for the title. Oh and one of the two physical threats.

Both George and Flick started to get very nervous about tribal council, the former knowing that he will be in the one to go if they flip while Flick just second guessed whether she should just play the idol in case. And then third, fourth, fifth and sixth guessed it.

At tribal council the jury was gagged to see Wai wearing the immunity necklace with her admitted to being so shocked to have won. Dani meanwhile was nervous to be without the necklace before George admitted that both she and Flick are very threatening. George continued to lay it on thick before talk turned to Dani taking Hayley on the reward with her. Cara admitted it was a wise move, given Hayley is a known flipper and as such, was the smartest person to take. Hayley admitted that while Dani and Flick did try and woo her, the only person that is truly safe tonight in Wai. And only Wai.

This made George very nervous, imploring people to stick with the plan. Flick meanwhile got fiery, turning to the jury and saying that she wants to see the winner doing a combination of outwitting, outlasting and outplaying people and given George has quit in two challenges, she finds that disappointing and doesn’t want to reward him. This made George very angry, telling Flick that he has fought the entire game, persevering against all odds and she should stop playing the player and instead play the ball like he does. Dani jumped aboard the shade train before Hayley admitted that she will be voting with the people she wants to move forward with in the game. End. Of. Story.

With that the tribe voted, Flick held on to her idol and the votes were neatly split between Cara, Dani and Flick. The remaining three then re-voted and officially sent Dani from the game. Like the rest of this year’s cast – save maybe Benny – Dani was obviously a delight when we caught up in the Jury Villa, accepting that she was outplayed and ready to catch up with her dearest friend.

While we first met during one of my stints in prison, we formed a strong bond given I desperately needed to keep the guards on side for my survival. Dani being a queer icon, looked out for me and because of her, I fully committed to never grifting another soul on the boardwalk. As such, we’ve stayed in contact and regularly catch up to make sure I’m doing ok, while downing gallons of Dani Bubbeale Coffee.

Yeah, yeah – boba is great and all. But have you ever had damn BUBBLE COFFEE? It is perfect. Part Vietnamese coffee, part boba – this is sweet, refreshing and packs a punch. Just like my queen Dani.

Enjoy!

Dani Bubbeale Coffee
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
½ cup milk
⅓ cup condensed milk
¾ cup quick-cooking tapioca pearls
ice
4 cups cold brew coffee or in a pinch, coffee left to go cold

Method
Whisk together the milk and condensed milk in a jug and cook the tapioca pearls as per packet instructions, chilling in cold water for a couple of minutes.

Place ice in four glasses, top with some tapioca and pour coffee amongst them. Pour in the milk and condensed milk.

The down, filled with unending joy.


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Chicken Kezadilla McGee

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani and Simon were enjoying holding all the power over on Brawns. However after the Brains evened things up thanks to Hayley, Dani and Chelsea grew tired of Simon’s power specifically, convincing the Brains to work with them to throw the challenge and boot him from the game. While everyone was easily convinced, Dani pushed hard to get the tribe to do her bidding, making it clear it was her move. This annoyed Hayley, who decided she needed to be knocked down a peg and instead threw some votes on Dani as a backup to guarantee Flick is safe should Simon play his idol/s. Ultimately Simon was blindsided, zaddy king, while Dani was left back at camp, irate to have received some votes.

After tribal council Hayley, Flick and the Brains were thrilled by the outcome of tribal council, while Dani called out Hayley for casting some votes against her as a back-up, knowing that if the blindside failed, she would have gone home. While Dani continued to rage, identifying Hayley as the next to go, Queen Hayley just calmly explained that she couldn’t afford to have Flick go home given they are tight and as such, loaded some votes on Dani as a back-up. Simple as that. And ugh, I love how businesslike she is.

The next day the tribes ventured straight to Jonathan where Flick shaded Simon for being blindsided by his own arrogance. Dani tried to sell herself as the mastermind of the move, while George was confident that the Brains were peaking. Particularly since Brains and Brawns are no more, as the tribes are merged. With that, the final 13 dropped their buffs, grabbing a new stunning dark teal number – finally mixing things up – and were gagged for their first individual reward challenge.

Everyone would need to dig up sacks and then use a see-saw to land their sacks on poles, with the first person to land two scoring the first choice at the merge buffet. With everyone that comes after them getting the dregs, including hidden items, a boiled egg and a phone call home. Gerald, Baden, Emmett, Laura and Emmett were first to start shooting their sacks, with Emmett first to land a bag before the rest of the tribe joined them. 

George landed a sack, quickly followed by his second, immediately snatching a burger from the feast. Hayley finished second and snatched herself a steak and beer, allowing her and George enough time to catch up on the state of their tribes. Despite being the last to get her sacks, Chelsea was next and jagged herself a phone call home. Dani picked a baked potato, Wai went for a covered item of pancakes while Cara lucked out with some donuts. Emmett got a surprise jar of lollies, Baden got a hidden boiled egg, Laura grabbed surprise pizza and wine, while Andrew got smashed avo, Flick picked a bowl of rice leaving Kez and Gerald to fight it out for the banana and milk.

With the challenge over Chelsea finally gave her boyfriend a call, breaking down as they caught up and the tribe cutely yelled out to Jimmy in the background. And well, Chelsea is now fired up and ready to fight for the win.

The tribe finally ventured to the merge camp where Kez was thrilled to be reunited with her gal pals, while Wai was shocked to have made it this far while Emmett tried to bring the remaining Brawns back together. While they technically had a numbers disadvantage, Emmett was confident that given George and Cara have always felt on the bottom of the Brains, he could take control of the merge tribe and well, game. And given how elaborately he spoke about felling the brains, it doesn’t feel like things will go well for him since pride, you know, comes before the fall.

Talk turned to what to call the tribe, with Emmett suggesting ‘Love’, while George wanted to call it ‘Queen Elizabeth’ or ‘Unity,’ which Dani thankfully shut down. Sadly however she didn’t kill his next choice, ‘Fire’. With that, the Fire Tribe were born and Dani got to work telling all the Brawns just how dangerous Hayley is and that she needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile Gerald tried to charm George with some union poetry, while Hayley calmly charmed Laura into bringing all the Brains back together. Which Hayley desperately needed since she is at a massive disadvantage with the rest of the tribe locked together against her. But Hayley being Hayley, she realised she needed just two more at the next vote, so spoke to Flick and Gerald about joining the Wai, Baden, Andrew, Hayley and Laura alliance. Hayley reminded Flick that the other alliance are in control of the game and have compelling cases to win, and as such, she and Gerald need to join with the desperate people to make a move and take control, boosting their own resumes.

Flick caught up with Chelsea, who quickly shat on Hayley’s pitch – obviously – before returning to Hayley and assuring her that she is all in, but is worried about how exactly she will be able to pull Gerald to their side. WIth that, Hayley quickly disappeared to try and come up with plan B through Z. She caught up with her solid five to desperately try and think of said plans, while the other eight confidently laughed it up back at camp. But given that Hayley still has an idol and is ready to play to take one of her rivals out, I don’t think they should let their guards down.

Again, pride. Falls. All that jazz.

George meanwhile was off on his own, trying to play both sides. First things first, he pulled Emmett aside to talk about booting Hayley due to her scrambling. However Emmett shared that he’d prefer to flush out the idol instead and get rid of her next. As such, George went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Laura and Baden, pointing out that he would rather jump back to the Brains and as such, will get the information to ensure Hayley plays her idol at the correct time. And you know, destroy the hopes and dreams of the Brawns.

With so much scrambling already complete, the Fire tribe joined Jonathan for the first immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a bar above their heads to keep a ball balanced in a gutter. Last one standing taking out victory. Gerald was first to drop, followed by Wai and Hayley. This made Dani feel confident enough to drop, followed by Laura and Cara. Kez, Flick and Baden dropped out in quick succession, leaving Chelsea, Emmett, Andrew and GEORGE to battle it out for the first individual immunity of the season. Tragically he was the next to drop, followed by Chelsea – who got too confident with her shoulder presses – before Emmett desperately tried to get Andrew to take a deal. Before Andrew dropped after a valiant fight, handing Emmett immunity. And further solidifying the target on his back.

Back at camp Emmett’s confidence was at an all time high, thrilled to survive the first merge tribal council and you know, stack the odds in the Brawns favour. That being said he was still pretty intense about keeping the Brawns strong, with Flick clearly irked by his attitude. That being said, the group stood firm and locked in their vote for Laura, but are planning to make Hayley nervous enough to burn her idol. To solidify the Brawn majority, Emmett shared his lolly jar with his allies while George charmed them with his Labor caucus shtick.

And then he took all the information to Hayley, in exchange for she and Brains voting out the person he wants without blowing his cover as a double agent. Well, after George pulled Emmett aside to assure him that Hayley is panicked and he advised she definitely play her idol for herself. He then approached Dani and lied that she is the Brains target, all while Kez spotted an oddly clean rock at the edge of the billabong. Before she wadded over and pulled out her second hidden immunity idol, right in front of George who was well and truly over the Brawn confidence stepping over into arrogance.

Kez caught up with Flick and Gerald to let them know about her idol, while George focused his attention on forcing the Brains to throw their votes on Kez instead and burn both idols in a single tribal council. As such, he ran to find the old Brains and quickly told them about Kez and that they would be voting for Kez but are to pitch things for Dani, while playing the idol on Laura and saving her. Which isn’t nearly as confusing as that sentence made it sound. This won’t be another Cara/Daini situation, I promise.

The Brains meanwhile spread the information around, though Hayley wasn’t exactly confident whether she could trust George enough to follow through with his plans. And while she searched her brain to try and find a way this isn’t also the best move for George, she struggled and as such, felt like it had to be a good idea to follow his lead.

At tribal council Emmett’s confidence was in full force while Baden admitted that despite the apparent numbers advantage for the Brains, a couple of them had sadly jumped ship. George tried to give non answers to keep everyone happy and zen, without spooking anything. Kez admitted the vote is split in half, but she would be voting for trust while Dani was just straight up confident. Speaking of Emmett, he said the Brains five are the biggest threat to him because he’s never tested trust with them before Hayley tried to boss the situation and point out that she has the hidden immunity idol and as such, won’t be going home despite their confidence.

George implored both sides to stick to the plan while Kez agreed they all just needed to power on ahead. Emmett doubled down, assuring Jonathan that everyone in his alliance is on the same page and ready to move forward. Flick meanwhile knows that the game is about deceit, but at this stage needs to stay focused on trust. At this stage. Laura reminded everyone that she has correctly played an idol in the past, while Hayley agreed it is hard to do but they need to keep it random to try and outwit the Brawn majority. Kez continued to preach loyalty and admitted that she is not worried, before Hayley reminded everyone only one person wins this game and as such, sticking with a super majority is kinda the worst possible idea for all of them.

With that the tribe voted, Hayley listened to George and played her idol for Laura, ultimately negating eight votes cast against her. This made the Brawns very nervous, though poor Kez wasn’t nervous enough to play her idol. After the eight Laura votes were read, the rest were split between Dani and Kez with Queen Kez ultimately booted from the game before she passed her idol off to Flick – is this legal?! – after Wai asked her to leave some pants for her to wear like a successful Angelina/Natalie jacket moment.

Like Simon before her, Kez is just such a delightfully fun person, that she didn’t let a blindside get her down as she happily arrived at Loser Lodge. I pulled her in for a hug and told her how gutted I was to see her go, though grateful that she would no doubt appear on an All Stars soon. And while it seems to have become my go-to platitude, do you honestly think Simon and Kez aren’t locks to return?!

Though maybe that is because I know Kez so well. You see, we first met about five years ago on the bodybuilding circuit – I also trained Teresa Guidice, which is another story for another time – and we just became the best of friends. Mainly because she is a damn boss and I have a passion for riding coattails. Given she lived in the bush for four weeks with only bikepants, I knew that she would need something fiery to warm her up post boot and as such, quickly plated her a Chicken Kezadilla McGee or two.

Like Kez, a quesadilla is the ‘fun one’ of Mexican cuisine and well, this is quite a stellar one at that. A little bit spicy – to quote Daini – dripping in sour cream and paired with a whack of citrus and a tonne of cheese, this is near perfection. Like my Queen Kez.

Enjoy! 

Chicken Kezadilla McGee
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g chicken thighs, diced
4 chipotle chillies in Adobo Sauce
400g can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
8 large tortillas
1-2 cups Lady Guagamole
1-2 cups Pico de Vincent Gallo
½ cup sour cream
jack cheese, to taste
1 lime, cut into eighths

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and once hot, saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chicken and cook, stirring intermittently for a further five minutes, or until browned. Add the chipotles and diced tomatoes, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and remove from heat.

To assemble, place about ¼-½ cup of the chicken on each tortilla and spread over half, while spreading guac on another half. Divide pico de gallo between the tortillas, followed by sour cream and a generous heap of cheese. Fold in half to form a semicircle.

To cook, brush a large griddle with oil and place it over high heat. Once scorching, reduce to medium-low and one at a time, cook each quesadilla for a couple of minutes on each side, or until crisp and cooked through.

Remove from heat, squeeze with some lime juice and devour while piping hot.


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Nachoey Cheese McCann

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Cheese, Condiment, Dip, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Brawns continued their reward streak and to make matters worse for Andrew, he got whacked in the nads while losing another challenge. Meanwhile Simon found not one but two idols in the space of mere minutes and obviously grew in confidence. Shocking everyone Brawn turned things around, bucking tradition and winning their second immunity challenge. Back at camp George decided his best chance of survival was to target Laura while Joey locked the alliance’s vote on George. Until, you know, he walked into camp wearing an idol, and as such, Joey flipped things on Mitch instead, booting him from the game and flushing George’s idol with it.

We first checked in with the Brawns tribe where spiders were nesting in Shannon’s knickers. While that alone is concerning, the scariest part is the fact they were holding their own shape. Before we could explore that further, Flick explained that the tribe were living their best lives, focused on training to keep their winning streak up. Speaking of winning, Simon was thrilled to secure himself a path to the endgame with his two idols. That being said, Gerald knew about the idols and was extremely focused on getting him out toot suite. Gerald checked in with my Queens Kez and Flick, spilling all the deets on the idol. And just like that, the trio got to work planning to raise Simon up so that he was so confident that they could blindside him.

Over at Brains the tribe were soberly eating their prison food, with Rachel only happy with the fact she drew a line in the sand with George at the last tribal council. And well, let’s just say that George now had Rachel in his sights. His first move was to confront her in front of everyone and when she was unapologetic, they fought. With Laura and Rachel then muttering about him. It was a move, but I never said it was a wise one. We finally go to learn more about Cara, who in addition to real estate and her empathic abilities, is an expert in meteorology. And well, she and George have really been vibing and she is confident in her abilities to temper his worst impulses and keep things tight, hopefully going to the end together.

Joey meanwhile was growing cocky, catching up with Laura and Andrew to laugh about how screwed the minority are now that they’ve taken control. Which is never an endearing look.

Jonathan made his triumphant return to our screen for the reward challenge where the tribes would weave through a series of obstacles while tethered to a rope before digging up sandbags and tossing them to smash six targets. For choccy milk and lamingtons, which again, bloody iconic combo from the reward team. Brains quickly got out to an early lead, given their smaller bodies made it easier to work through the obstacles. Sadly Cara started to struggle, tying things up for the tribes. And well, then George and Wai literally tied themselves into a knot and well, all appeared to be lost for the Brains. As Rachel screamed at George from the side of the course, Emmett started to taste the chocolate milk in his mind. Then Joey and Andrew happened, smashing target after target in quick succession before Brawns had a last minute surge, stealing victory out from underneath the Brains.

Wanting to create some drama, Jonathan offered the Brawns the chance to invite one of the Brains over to share the reward with the Brawns opting for Joey, hoping his big mouth will give them enough information to create drama post swap.

The Brawns and Joey arrived at their bush cafe, with Joey continuing to be loud and energetic, unaware that they invited him over solely because of that. As everyone smashed their lamingtons and milk, Simon asked the obvious question, how in the hell did he land on the Brains tribe? While Simon softened him up with compliments, the girls went in for the kill, asking what happened at the previous tribal council and why George didn’t go since he clearly hates him. And well, once he popped he didn’t stop. Making Flick a very happy girl with all the free flowing information.

Back at Camp Brains, the tribe were heartbroken to have come so close to winning again with Wai promising to try her best in the next challenge. As everyone assured her that she is valued, Rachel opened up and said that George bitching about the tribe in front of the Brawns isn’t helpful before a challenge and creates disharmony, distracting from the task at hand. This obviously pissed off George, who stormed off with Georgia sent to follow him and try to keep him in check. The one positive of the scene is that we then finally learnt more about Georgia, who was using her forensic psychologist background to try and understand George a bit better. Sadly for her, all it did was piss him off, making her the new biggest target in his eyes.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the Brains were delighted to see a puzzle was in the mix, while the Brawns were obviously terrified. For the challenge, the tribe would paddle a boogie board out to an apparatus to release five keys before getting wheeled back in, one at a time. They would then use the keys to release puzzle pieces and then, you know, solve the puzzle. Importantly, Simon is in his speedo. As is oft the case, the Brawns got out to a sizable lead at the start of the challenge, powering through the physical side of things. While George reminded the Brains not to worry, given they have a puzzle to sort things out again. Sadly with Wai on the bench they had no real leader in the puzzle which allowed Simon to direct his tribe to yet another victory. 

Back at camp the tribe joined together to lament their loss, while George knew that his luck was about to run out. Joey meanwhile was feeling super confident, joyfully swimming in the billabong with Georgia and Laura, talking about how much better things will be once George is gone. That being said, this is Survivor and when people’s backs are against the wall, they get crafty. George joined with Cara, Baden and Wai, identifying Georgia as their best chance to get out. But to do that, he needs some luck. As such, he and Cara went hunting for idols and while the cool kids mocked them from the billabong, Queen Cara took the throne, finding her first idol. And you best believe she was ready to do whatever necessary to keep her alliance safe.

Cara, George, Wai and Baden caught up again, with George quickly suggesting she play the idol for him given he is their only target and as such, they can take out Georgia instead. That however made Cara nervous that the other alliance could opt to change the vote to her and as such, she wasn’t sure whether it was worth the risk.

Laura meanwhile started to grow suspicious about George or Cara finding the idol, rallying the troops to float the idea of splitting the vote JIC. That being said, there is no way they can do that without flipping someone over. And instead of getting Baden or Cara, Joey decided the Wai was the best idea, given she is logical. He, Cara and Hayley pulled her aside and while they were confident they did enough to charm her over to their side, she wasn’t sure who to go with. You know, since the person that saved her on day two is also the most volatile person in the game. 

She took the information to George and admitted she was thinking about flipping and as such, he emotionally begged her to cast him aside after this tribal council, not before. With that Cara, Baden and George got together, with George assuring her that he wants her to play the idol for herself and only herself. Before they decided the wisest move was to put on a massive display of pass-the-parcel with the idol and once they’re all confused, hope Wai is spooked back to their side.

At tribal council Cara kicked off the proceedings by wearing her hidden immunity idol, with George suggesting he may have something up his sleeve too. Joey wasn’t sure what the plan was with Cara’s idol, though he desperately just wanted to get rid of George. Aka the bad egg. Cara then continued to earn her Queen crown, admitting the tribe have nothing in common and as such, she is struggling to deal with the people that aren’t wanting to work together to let people flourish. As Wai started talking, the theatre commenced, with Cara whispering in Baden’s ear before passing the idol over to him.

While Hayley admitted their game was making her nervous, her alliance have definitely come up with a couple of different plans to counteract whatever they’re doing. George admitted that while he desperately wants to win the game, when watching Wai struggle on day two, he realised that winning at all costs was not him and as such, he is happy to exit the game with his head held high. George admitted there is no hope for him before Wai and Rachel admitted that there is a lot of tension in the tribe, but more importantly, Baden passed the idol off to Geroge. Wai spoke about the alliances changing day by day, admitting it has definitely changed for her from day two to now. This elicited more compliments from George, successfully guilting the hell out of Wai.

With that the tribe voted – Wai for George, calling him out for holding the day two stuff over her head like parents that tell their kids they should be grateful they have a roof over their head – before Cara played her idol for George. And oh God, Queen Cara, no. The votes rolled in for Cara and Georgia, ending in a 3-3 tie. As such, the tribe revoted and poor Queen Cara found her torch being snuffed. But gagatondra, all was not as it seemed, as she found a Brawn buff on her way out the door, directing her to head over to Brawn and join the new tribe.

As she stumbled through the bush in absolute darkness, she eventually arrived at her new camp and proceeded to dive on to her campmates. Startling them awake, either delighting or enraging them. Or potentially a bit of both.

We checked in with team Brains the next day, where George suggested that putting snake skin on a tree was the cause of all of their misfortune. As such, he removed it and tried to stay quiet while the majority rejoiced in their growing power. Joey spoke about the excitement of the last tribal council, despite the fact George was still in the tribe. Joey went to Laura and Andrew, pledging his undying allegiance to them and Georgia, meaning Hayley, Rachel and Wai were just numbers waiting around to be picked off after George and Baden. Speaking of George, he was heartbroken to have lost his best friend Cara, however was immensely grateful that she gave up her game for his.

Oh and now George was over Wai, given she betrayed the good guys.

Despite not being able to look at her for hours and hours, he eventually pulled Wai aside to find out why she turned on him. Wai called him out for being volatile and how it is hard to be around and as such, she opted for the more peaceful path. While George argued that he was iced out by Joey from day one, Wai still couldn’t see the value of realigning with him. Particularly because she doesn’t like to feel indebted to him for the entire game because she is playing her own, damnit. Like a queen.

The next morning Cara was getting a deep dive on the Brawn tribe as Simon sexily walked out of the billabong in a speedo and the rest worked out. Oh and then she got food with flavour, and ate off crockery. There were blankets, dance class and well, the Brains are dead to her. Officially. And she looks forward to spilling the tea on Joey and Laura’s bullshit to everyone that will listen.

With that, she pulled all the Brawns around to talk about how awful they are, while playing up how loyal George is. As she continued to talk smack, Simon quickly deduced that she has no intention of aligning with any Brains and as such, he can pull her in and take control of the tribe. Particularly since she just wants to raise people up. Sadly for him, Shannon also identified her as a priority ally and quickly went walking for firewood for her to bond.

The tribes reconvened to meet Jonathan where the Brains were gagged to see that Cara was still in the game, none more delighted to see her than George. Meanwhile Joey looked ready to kill and Rache continued to try in vain to get George to stop talking shit about the tribe. Cara meanwhile said that she was thrilled to finally be on a tribe with heart, while Simon agreed that she was a very welcome addition. In any event, this week’s reward challenge would require everyone to hold a barrel of water up with a tribe out if any person drops their bucket. Though they can pass their bucket off to others. Oh AND it was for BBQ. As you can imagine, this challenge isn’t overly exciting to write about however after Wai and Shannon tapped out, the latter used it as a chance to woo Cara who was sitting out of the challenge. Sadly for her though, Simon was watching the entire interaction.

Just as I say it isn’t exciting to write about, Chelsea accidently took her hand off a ring while passing one along and got herself eliminated from the challenge. And just like that, Brains were well positioned for victory. She was followed out by Dani before Gerald started to struggle under the weight of two buckets, as did Daini and Flick. After what felt like an eternity of struggle, poor Gerald couldn’t hold on any longer, dropping the buckets and handing Brains their first ever reward. Leaving Cara to once again starve.

Oh and was the snake skin actually cursed? I don’t want to say George was right, but George is probably right.

Back at camp Brains, the tribe were delighted to see their abundant feast awaiting them, quickly firing up the barbie and smashing everything in sight. We then learnt Laura is into angel golden showers, while George was just thrilled by how great he did in the reward. Talk soon turned to Cara surviving the previous tribal council and joining Brawn, with Joey disappointed to not be able to take out another target. As such, Joey followed Baden into the water and quickly got to work teeing up a new alliance. Tragically for the former though, it was right in front of Hayley who decided now was the time to make a move and take control of the tribe.

Slay Queen Hayley.

Over at the Brawn camp, the tribe lamented their loss while Kez encouraged everyone to just keep going. Gerald on the other hand was heartbroken to have lost the challenge for the tribe and as such, felt like a target. Cara tried to rally everyone around, putting her empath powers to use. She then straight up identified Daini’s broken jaw and Shannon’s reproductive concerns and damn, she is a witch. While everyone else was crying, moved by the experience, Simon was more focused on trying to build his own bond with her before they go to the next challenge.

As such, he asked when older women go through menopause, implying she is old and just, no. Simon, no.

My love Jonathan returned for the next immunity challenge where the tribes would race up a ramp to collect ropes, build a bridge with them, cross said bridge, climb a tower and retrieve an idol and then work through obstacles before untying a platform which they need to use to lift the idol up and hook it in a cage. Oh and in addition to the challenge, Jonathan announced that a hidden immunity idol is at the end of the course and if they want it, they can go for it. Though risk annoying their tribe, obvi.

While Brains started strong, the Brawns quickly pulled away before George disappeared to make a snatch for the idol. Sadly for him, Hayley and Gerald quickly joined him, with Queen Hayley snatching it and returning everyone’s focus back to the challenge. While Brawn was still out in front, Hayley worked furiously to make up for slowing them down. Again both tribes somehow caught up at the end, but they were no match for Cara who played a calm, critical role in helping Brawn secure another immunity win.

Back at camp Joey was very blasé about the loss before Rachel encouraged everyone to go for a swim to get all the dust off themselves. As she and the alliance of four caught up, Joey obviously suggested they finally get rid of George. As everyone agreed the tribe will be so much calmer without him, Joey suggested that they split the vote between George and Wai just in case he has an idol. Everyone joined back up at camp, with George congratulating Hayley on snagging the idol and cheekily asking if she would play it for him. Which Joey felt was insufferable, though Hayley did slyly suggest that anything is possible.

Preparing for his inevitable boot, George once again wandered around looking for a miracle. He first tried for the boldest, pulling Joey and Laura aside to float other names that would be decent targets given there are weaker people in the tribe. Like say, Wai or Rachel. Joey and Laura caught up with Hayley to reiterate his pleas fell on deaf ears, however that made her frustrated given the hierarchy of the tribe is blatantly obvious and frankly, boring, if someone doesn’t step up with a big move.

As such Hayley approached Baden, suggesting that instead of following along with orders they instead take control and flip the vote on Joey. While Baden felt it was a bold choice, he was also keen to stir up some drama and force the other group into playing. Next up in her plot was talking to Rachel, who felt it was too risky a move to make. Hayley then went to Wai and knowing that she would be a tough sell, told her about the plan to split the vote on her. As such, she wanted to vote for Joey instead. While Wai was scared about burning more bridges, Hayley pointed out that if George goes, she is clearly next and as such, they will just get picked off one by one. But Wai just wanted a little time to figure out her options.

By the fire George made things awkward, asking Wai if she reflected on the last tribal council and how horrible she made him feel. And ugh, that may have been enough to turn her off joining Hayley, isn’t it? And given Hayley didn’t even get a chance to talk to George, there is no way this plan will come together, is there?

At tribal council Hayley spoke about voting Cara out to try and improve the mood in camp, with Rachel agreeing it definitely improved things as they enjoyed their feast. Georgia spoke about it being hard to vote people out, while Baden shared that he wasn’t concerned about being voted out yet and is doing what he is told. That is, until he needs to turn the tables on someone. Joey admitted to having a solid alliance, while Hayley said that pecking orders always change but she hopes her relationships will make the difference.

Laura spoke about not having a pecking order within the alliance, while Jonathan pointed out that that is what the people on the top say. Wai admitted that there is a plan at this tribal council, while Andrew agreed that something can always happen and people can pull something out of their hats. Hayley shared that she believes the tribe will be united after this vote, before George reiterated that he is an asset to the tribe and he doesn’t believe that would be the case if he goes.

This made Laura smirk and while she agreed that he was good in the reward challenge, he doesn’t contribute much in camp. As George told everyone to look forward, Georgia reiterated past behaviour is the best indicator for where things are going. That being said, Hayley tapped George on the elbow and mouthed to vote for Joey, giving him a cheeky grin, while Hayley said that everyone has had the discussions they needed to to make their decision.

With that, the tribe voted, Hayley stood firm and held on to her idol while the cool kids split the votes on Wai and George, before the votes piled up on Joey and he was booted from the game. As Hayley ascended the throne and George dodged yet another bullet.

Joey being the most eager, upbeat and energetic person on the season, he was still peppy and positive by the time we caught up in Loser Lodge. Pulling me in for a hug and ready to celebrate his entertaining, albeit short run. Emphasis on run, which is how we first met. You see, I was formerly a champion marathon runner and had a startling rivalry before my career was derailed by a hit and run – the car hit and I ran away because I wanted to watch TV, true story.

Despite the rivalry, Joey took me under his wing and nursed me back to health to the point I can now go for a bit of huffy puffy at the speed of Kath Day-Knight. Needless to say, that kindness is something I have never forgotten and as such, I was thrilled to be able to celebrate his game with some velvety Nachoey Cheese McCann.

I know American food often gets a lot of shit, but if you’ve read more than five recipes on this patch of cyberspace, you know that I passionately love it. And this gooey cheese is no different! Spicy, creamy and oh so moreish, there is nothing better to eat when you’re down.

Enjoy!

Nachoey Cheese McCann
Makes: 2 cups.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 cup milk
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, to taste

Method
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk until fragrant, 1 minute. 

Slowly add milk, whisking until no lumps remain. Add cheese and cook until melted, 5 minutes, then stir in salt and a pinch of cayenne. Serve immediately.


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Mitchroom Shawiss Burger

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

Previously on Australian Survivor poor George was still left right out despite a string of hero moments in the last couple of immunity challenges. Though thankfully for him, he did manage to find a hidden immunity idol despite Baden finding the clue hidden away at camp. At the immunity challenge Benny became the bane of everyone’s existence due to moving letters – which were incorrect anyway, as an aside – and as such, Simon quickly turned everyone against him. After Big D flipped to the other side in the first round, Shannon and Queen Kez joined their rivals to boot Benny from the game.

We kicked things off at the Brawn tribe where the group were living their best lives as Gerald served his sexiest model poses. All while Simon looked on, heartbroken that he is no longer the zaddy of the tribe. While Gerald was feeling irritated that Shannon flipped the night before, he assured us that he was still loyal to his majority alliance and as such, just wanted Simon to chill out with the grumps and keep things as jovial as possible. That being said, Gerald was also committed to keeping an eye on Simon, given he is clearly on the hunt for an idol and as such, the majority can’t afford to let him get it. Sadly for Simon, as soon as he spotted the idol he was under the watchful eyes of Flick and Kez, so he couldn’t make a grab for it yet. 

Though mere moments later, fate clearly intervened as they left and he returned to the tree where it was hidden, grabbed it and was buoyed by hope.

Over at camp Brains, Joey was thrilled to hit double digits though was desperate to score a reward for their tribe given he is so overwhelmed by hunger. That being said, he is sitting pretty in the tribe and doesn’t have to worry about getting the boot and as such, he assured us that he can persevere. We then learnt he works in finance, but that means nothing because he planned to go to the next challenge in drag, wearing his buff as a top and as such, my basement is flooded and I’m questioning everything I know.

The tribes met up with my love Jonathan for the reward challenge which would see them log-roll for a bountiful feast of toasties. Which immediately had the Brains dripping, but hopefully that translates to dripping back at camp as they jaff things up. First to face off were Flick and Hayley with the latter once again defeating a professional athlete in a challenge to give the Brains a lead. Sadly that was it for Brains domination as Emmett destroyed Andrew – who ended up cracking his nads on the log on the way out before Simon straight up challenged Joey to the next round and quickly destroyed him. That left Dani to defeat Cara for the win, which she did though not because she tried to scare her off the log Scooby Doo style.

Back at the Brawns camp the tribe were thrilled to see their newest loot and giddy to get down to whipping up their sandie jays. None were happier than Simon though, given he was sitting pretty with an idol AND then found a second one in their reward as he collected hessian sacks that he could use for fishing. He was confident nobody saw him and returned to camp to smugly eat the sandwich as King Gerald shared with us that he saw the entire thing play out. The rest of the tribe meanwhile fried up their toasties while Daini worried whether he should feel bad for the Brains, rather than protesting a lockdown and making the COVID situation worse.

Speaking of the Brains, George and Cara were bonding over their upbeat vibes while Baden grew tired of being hungry. And you know, the fact that he couldn’t find the idol he has a clue for since he is currently riding solo just like George. If only the duo put their differences aside, aligned and got to work taking over the game. And reading my mind, George decided now was the time to check in with Baden and as such, caught up with him by the billabong to see how he was feeling. As they cracked it out doing yoga, George shared that he had found the idol without a clue and while Baden was glad to be put out of his misery, he was more grateful that George shared intel with him and as such, he too has hope in the game.

My beloved Jonathan met up with the tribes once again where this time they had to race to release a series of balls, catch them, play skee ball, carry it through a mud pit and then land it in a suspended pyramid. And Brains, there is no puzzle, so I worry you’re in danger. That being said, Brains got out to a 5-2 advantage in the ball section of the challenge, so maybe I’m wrong again. Wait, nope. While they were first to get to the skee ball section, Brawn took the lead as George struggled to land his ball. While they eventually got to the final apparatus, they were no match for Brawn who finally snagged their second immunity challenge win with minimal competition.

Back at camp the Brains were heartbroken to have another immunity loss and while George was feeling the heat since he single handedly lost the challenge,  he has the idol so was completely unbothered by things. And since the rest of the tribe are focused on taking him and only him out, this isn’t ending well for someone else. Joey meanwhile was confident in his numbers and well, Joey girl, you in danger I guess. He caught up with his allies by the water and quickly locked in the vote for George, while George decided to get politicking, quickly pulling a counter alliance together against Andrew, Joey, Georgia and Laura.

As the rest of the tribe bonded by the fire, George disappeared to go get water and then returned to camp wearing his immunity idol in an iconic, bold move. As everyone started to shit their pants. While everyone tried to act confident that he may not play the idol, he lay in the sun waiting for someone to come and talk to him. While they sat in camp mocking his move. With that, George instead pulled Cara and Wai aside to talk about voting for Joey or Laura. Cara opted to go and try woo Rachael and Hayley, while the cool kids suggested Mitch was a good option to vote out instead. Given he is so focused on being the leader, which is something they don’t want to deal with.

The four then approached Rachel to woo her on side and while Rach was keen, she was also listed as fifth at best before they got to her and that feels obvious. She then caught up with George, who quickly got the politician hat on, assuring her that this is the time to prove loyalty to each other and to show trust. While Rachel was just thrilled to be the swing vote with Hayley, as they appeared to prefer to get the vote off Laura and instead on to someone else. But I’m often wrong, so prepare for Laura to be savagely booted despite us never getting to know her.

At tribal council George was still rocking the idol with an open shirt look and was almost selling it, while Joey was still cranking up the energy to an 11 just like Kate Ceberano in a radio interview (another story for another time). He did admit that things started to get nervous at camp, while Rachel agreed that coming to tribal is a chance to see where everyone stands. Laura admitted there are personality clashes in the tribe, while Cara countered by saying the relationships are fluid and that people continue to evolve. Joey disagreed and said that there are definitely firm names assigned to the alliances, with Rach agreeing things were happening while Mitch felt that his relationships are post-alliance. Which is never a great thing to think in Survivor.

Rachel admitted that the length of time between their first vote and now has complicated things while George charmingly pretended that he didn’t have an idol before reminding everyone that the vote is about drawing a line in the sand and as such, they need to trust who they trust and just embrace it. Mitch reiterated that George is pretty much off the table, while Joey suggested that he doesn’t care about George wanting to make another tribal council about him despite feeling nervous about the power of the idol. Joey then got savage talking about how George saved five people at the first tribal but somehow ended up with no allies and as such, he wasn’t concerned about anything George tries to pull off.

Though George gave zero Fs, given he is playing the game differently to other people and therefore doesn’t care about Joey’s shade. Wai questioned whether the idol would get played while Rachel didn’t worry whether George would play his idol. While George just wanted Jonathan to acknowledge his body-ody-ody. Before Hayley reiterated that trust is all that anyone cares about and as such, that is what it is about tonight. And Andrew just wanted everyone to get along.

With that, the tribe voted, George played his idol – needlessly, might I add – as four votes landed on Laura and the rest on Dr Mitch, sending him from the game. Much to his confusion, shock and the shady commentary about the brutal blindside from Geroge. As Mitch cussed him out as he exited tribal council, unaware that George had nothing to do with the vote.

By the time Mitch arrived in my arms at loser lodge he was a little less angry, I assume because he got to see me, his dear Brisbane friend. You see, I was pretending to lecture as medical school when Mitch was training and while I was swiftly fired in shame, Mitch saw me as the broken person that I am and as such, tried to look out for me. Which eventually developed into a friendship. Aka a tale as old as time. Anyway, I knew that Mitch would be fanging for some comfort after his brutal blindside and as such, whipped up a big batch of our traditional Mitchroom Shawiss Burgers.

I had never thought of popping a mushie on a burger – unless it was the vego star of the dish, obvi – until I experienced the magic, beauty of Five Guys. A glorious place where bags are topped with fries and you get to decide every single element you can add on a burger. And lets just say, mushies, swiss and some onions are a near perfect trio to elevate a burg.

Enjoy!

Mitchroom Shawiss Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 cup button mushrooms, roughly chopped
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
4 Briocher Bünsberg
⅓ cup Shayonnaise Swain
4-8 slices swiss cheese

Method
In a small saucepan, heat a lug of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sweat for about ten minutes, or until soft, sweet and caramelised. Reduce heat to low and keep warm, adding dashes of water if they start to catch.

Meanwhile, heat another lug of olive oil in another saucepan or frying pan and once hot, add the mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until the mushrooms release all their liquid and suck it back up again.

When you’re almost ready to eat, scrunch the mince in your hands and then form into 4 hockey pucks. Brush the remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Once scorching, sprinkle salt and pepper on the tops of the patties and add seasoned side down in the pan. Immediately flatten with a metal spatula until 1cm thickness and immediately season the other side of the patties. After a couple of minutes, flip the patties, top with swiss cheese and cook for another minute or so until they’re the desired doneness.

To assemble, toast the inside of the buns, spread each side with some mayo, top with the cheesy patty, some onion and the mushroom.

Then devour, greedily.


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