Baked Emmetta Pughsta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Baked Emmetta Pughsta
Serves: 4-6.

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

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

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

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

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

Before devouring, obvi.


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Beetroot & Minti Salad

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 1, Salad, Side, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race España the top nine were tasked with serving full diva in a girl group extravaganza. After the two new bands debuted and broke up, the queens paid homage to Veneno on the runway with Carmen and Inti singled out for channeling the icon. At the other end of the spectrum, Vulcano and Arantxa completely bombed the challenge and were read for filth by the judges. Ultimately Carmen took out her first victory, while Vulanco and Arantxa battled to stay in the competition, with Arantxa narrowly saving herself and sending Vulcano out of the competition second.

Backstage the queens were saddened to have lost the iconic Vulcano, well, except for Hugáceo, who was thrilled that Arantxa managed to take out a huge threat for everyone else. Arantxa requested they all buy her dinner as a way to say thank you to her, though I don’t think Carmen will be doing that since she felt Arantxa should have been the one to go home. Speaking of Carmen, everyone congratulated her on the win, well, except for Pupi who was just irritated by Carmen’s passion for looking at herself in the mirror.

The next day Arantxa led the queens back into the Werk Room in a tribute to Drag Vulcano. Except for Carmen and Dovima, who had no interest and were just tributing themselves. Talk turned to how open the race is since they lost two of the biggest names back to back, with Carmen and Pupi kindly suggesting the other one should follow the other names out the door. 

Before they could get into a fight, Supremme arrived to welcome the Pit Crew back into our lives for this week’s Mini Challenge. And again, with those packages we all win. Apparently the queens were tasked with doing football quick drag and then competed in a cheeky little sports pageant. Cheeky coming from (or on) the Pit Crew. Arantxa was a mess, but so charming. Killer was a butch monster, Sagittaria was a sweet little twink, Carmen was a stunning woman, Dovima rocked Bob Downe realness, Hugáceo was a thing of nightmares – in the best way possible – Inti was adorably, ridiculous and Pupi looked like a Little Britain extra.

Ultimately Killer Queen took out victory before the group played a quick kick of football on the pitch. Are these the right terms? All I know is that I pitched a tent over the Pit Crew.

For the Maxi Challenge the queens were required to sell themselves in ads promoting themselves as influencers for one of four magazines. While highlighting their skills as singers, models and actresses. As the winner of the challenge, Killer Queen was able to choose her magazine and her partner, opting for Abuela with Arantxa. She then paired Carmen and Dovima on Glamurosa, Pilingui went to Sagittaria and Inti, leaving Pupi and Hugáceo with Chunga. Opting to be kind, and not shady, thinking that is where they will all excel.

The duos quickly split up to work on their looks and brainstorm how to influence within their brands. Killer shared her weight loss journey with Arantxa and how she was bullied throughout her school life and kids used to take photos of her in the change rooms. And then spoke about coming on to the show to encourage people to love themselves. Ugh, I love her. Sagittaria meanwhile wasn’t feeling loved up and instead assumed the duo would land in the bottom because they’ve been doing nothing but talking. 

Oh and clearly eavesdropping on the chat, Carmen apologised for leading the anti-ugly brigade the week before and vowed to stop.

On set for their modelling Arantxa and Killer were the most ridiculous old grannies, Carmen and Dovima were in their element as slutty models, Pupi and Hugáceo were sexy, alterna-punk delights and Inti and Sagittaria were the filthiest bimbos I’ve ever seen. When it came to the singing portion, the queens had to lip sync on the treadmill with Carmen and Dovima running through it and popping tits, as the former fell off. Killer and Arantxa continued to lean into their ridiculous, Hugáceo – who also fell – and Pupi looked demented, but the latter got special attention from the Pit Crew so she truly won. Before Sagittaria popped a tit and tried to give fellatio.

When it came to their acting challenge, Hugáceo was a sadist waxer that relished Pupi’s overacted pain. The grannies worked hard to pick up the Pit Crew at the bar – swoon – Inti and Sagittaria were a little bit of a mess as phone sex operators, until Sagittaria stepped in as a mother looking for a good mac and cheese recipe. Which I have, coincidentally. Oh and they got to dance with the Pit Crew. As did Carmen and Dovima who were ridiculous, and kinda bad, after realising that they’re dating the same man. Ultimately becoming a very sexy couple themselves.

On the My Roots runway, Pupi was a glamorous red and black showgirl in honour of Madrid. Inti was stunning in a Diablada inspired look from Bolivia, which was used to scare away colonists. It was bright, bold and so powerful, and I loved everything about them. Arantxa came out in honour of the cheese of her home town – Manchego – but plot twist, she wasn’t actually from Castilla la Mancha and instead had an Iberian Ham reveal beneath it.  Hugáceo was once again a flawless work of art,with a heart that literally gave off sparks. Dovima drew inspiration from San Jordi from Cataluna, serving A Knight’s Tale chic and was kind of just, there. Carmen was a sexy pussycat, but to quote Michelle, it is just a bodysuit. While Sagittaria slayed in a gown of dripping, Creme Catalan latex and Killer meanwhile was the good version of the cat look, as a sexy, suited pussy.

The Abeulas magazine ad was a demented delight as the Pit Crew thrusted away in the background before the queens served the creepiest kiss. And well bitch, they died. The judges lived for everything both of the queens did in the challenge and on the runway, however they wished that Killer challenged herself a bit more to get out of her box. Dovima and Carmen’s ad was silly and ridiculous, but they ended up making out only with each other and actually ditched the Pit Crew guy, so big mistake. HUGE. The judges meanwhile wished they were able to showcase a different side of themselves. Though Dovima was praised for growing, the Javier’s wished she would work on her runway walk. As it was a mess.

Chungas magazine was gloriously punk, with the judges living for every minute of it. Though Hugáceo was read for having too much going on in their look. Rounding out the ads, Inti and Sagittaria were hilarious and served us mother daughter bonding over their prostituion careers. Until they fought over their husband/father. That being said, the judges loved everything about Sagittaria but felt like Inti was just there. And that she didn’t have the energy on the runway to sell the outfit. Into then opened up about the meaning behind their outfit, with Ana pointing out that she felt like there was too much happening and while the message was strong, the look was confusing. Though wished it had more detail, confusing the hell out of Inti.

Ultimately Killer, Arantxa, Carmen and Hugáceo were deemed safe and sent to untuck before the judges read Dovima for not giving enough. Pupi was praised for thinking outside the box on the runway and being a damn delight in the performance. Inti was praised for the stories they infuse into their outfits, with Javier Ambrossi encouraging them to take critiques that mean something to them onboard and tune out the ones that don’t, but cautioned they are only trying to help them. And Sagittaria received universal praise for everything she did.

We then forwent Untucked as Inti brokedown and started to get out of her drag and remove her make as the other queens rallied around to try and talk her out of it. But sadly, they couldn’t as Inti shared that she mentally can’t face week after week of being misunderstood and honestly, I relate to that on a deep level. Add to that the pressure of being in a competition and it more than makes sense.

Supremme joined them backstage to try and talk them out of it and remind them it is a fair competition, but it fell on deaf ears. As the top seven returned to the stage, with Sagittaria taking out her first victory of the season, Dovima lip synced alone and Inti was left to join me for a delicious Beetroot & Minti Salad.

Neither of us was feeling very jovial after her emotional elimination, but this salad truly is life affirming. Sweet, tart and packing a massive punch, this is the perfect way to get yourself back in the game.

Enjoy!

Beetroot & Minti Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 beetroot, peeled and grated
1 orange, peeled, segmented and diced
½ cup mint leaves, torn
100g feta, crumbled
olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Soooo, its salad so just chuck it all in a bowl with a lug of oil and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Give it a toss and serve.

Before devouring, obvs.


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Rizsole Ahmed

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Main, Snack

While Christina has been TV royalty for close to three decades, I decide that this year’s Emmy Gold celebration – Golden Family – should focus on both the old guard and the young upstarts that have shone so brightly in the last few years. Like me boy, rapper, actor and zaddy Riz Ahmed.

After a decade working hard and building a resume of fantastic roles, Riz’s career skyrocketed a couple of years back with the one-two-three punch of Nightcrawler, The Night Of and Girls, the latter of which took him to the Emmys, the former of said latter of which led him to this date.

While you may have only known Riz for a few years, I first met him way back when we studied at Oxford together. He was a shy, gorgeous man who immediately caught my eye. The feelings weren’t reciprocated, so I tried to take the high road and instead become his friend.

At first we bonded over our mutual passion for rap – I was a founding member of Swet Shop Boys, until I was kicked out for diva behaviour – before I ultimately decided he needed to pursue acting seriously.

And given he starred in a superhero with Queen Michelle Williams, I think you will agree that he has made it.

Speaking of Michelle, my bookie is chasing me up to lock in my bets so I got to work at the task at hand and got Riz to run the limited series odds with me. Obvi we’re both backing Mish to take out Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie though part of my thinks he was just too scared to say that Patty Arquette has it on lock. We truly agreed that Jharrel Jerome will win Outstanding Actor, though wouldn’t mind if he ties with Jared Harris.

The supporting category is where we started to differ, with him thinking zaddy Stellan will take Actor while I started screaming that it is Ben Whishaw’s time. For Supporting Actress he went with Patty Clarks, while I said this is where Patty Arquette deserves to win. I mean, I have never so equally despised and pitied a character in all my life. We came back together to agree that When They See Us will win best limited series, while aren’t sure but are betting on Deadwood taking out TV movie.

With that we sat down, toasted to his ongoing success to try and snag an invite if he has one and smashed a Rizsole Ahmed or two.

 

 

Spicy and hot, these babies are the perfect way to toast the red hot career of this beautiful man. The earthy lamb, a hint of spice and lemon work together to form a flavour combination that you just can’t beat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rizsole Ahmed
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
⅓ cup feta, mashed
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Moroccan seasoning
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon, zested and juiced
handful parsley, roughly chopped
handful mint, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine everything in a bowl and scrunch together with your hand until well combined. Split into 8, form into patties and place on a lined baking sheet.

Bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Serve immediately with yoghurt and some Larissa Oleynik to really make it sing.

 

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Lamber Tarkich

Baking, Main, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Survivor: The Australian Outback

I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I mean, we just exited the latest Survivor Dark Ages with the killer albeit horribly named David vs. Goliath, and we’re entering a season named Edge of Extinction. Which without spoiling, actually screw it you need to be warned – features the return of Redemption Island instead with worse rules and a new name.

Will I still watch it and likely love it like a good superfan? Sure. But I am concerned about what it means for Survivor movie forward. The one thing giving me hope is that a season that ends with every person voted out on the jury and the first boot winning, could give us Gabon levels of insanity. Which is literally the best case.

Anyway as I am wont to do, I’m assembling some of my favourite winners – or at least the remaining winners – to help countdown to the new season. And likely do some sort of ritual to steer it towards Gabon.

As you know I am a dear friend of Romber and even introduced them and tee-ed up their alliance which led to love, The Amazing Race, marriage and four daughters. It also makes me responsible for All Stars so either you’re welcome or I apologise, depending on your views on the season.

I’ve known Amber since the filming of Australian Outback after trekking to find the set in search of Probst. While my unintended meddling screwed over Kucha far more than it did Ogakor, I did kinda screw over Amber’s game by wooing Colby – who I must catch soon – and turning him against Jerri – who I also must catch soon – setting up her downfall, she soon moved past the pain after introducing her and Rob.

While we haven’t had an official cast reveal yet, we do know that Aubry will be returning – hopefully with an edit this time – alongside second chancers Kelley and Joe, and Family Guy writer David who I assume was emboldened by Mike White’s success last season. Given the twist seems tailor made for the likes of Joe to finally succeed, I am hoping it backfires and either Kelley or Aubry rank highest amongst the returnees. Amber obviously is hoping that Kelley will snatch victory and complete her Brkich narrative, albeit over three seasons.

It was as robust conversation as it could be without being able to spoil the rest of the cast, however it was a delight to catch-up, talk smack about Rob continuously spoiling the switch and merge tribe colours with his Instagram posts and smash a big ol’ Lamber Tarkich.

 

 

Based on a number I saw whilst browsing Taste.com.au, this tart is a delicious, quick meal to throw together during the week. Not that I don’t believe Amber isn’t worth effort, because she dominated All Stars and played Rob to perfection (… and still ended up married) so don’t at me. Sometimes simply is best, packed with spice and fresh flavours, it will have you salivating from the moment it goes into the oven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lamber Tarkich
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
500g lamb mince
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 red chillies, sliced
¼ cup pine nuts
1 lemon, zested and juiced
small handful mint, roughly chopped
10 sheets filo pastry
50g butter, melted
1 cup Sierra Dawn-Hummus
2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
½ tsp sumac
1 red onion, diced
small handful flat-leaf parsley
100g feta, crumbled

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the tomato paste and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the mince, spices and chillies, and cook for five minutes before stirring in the pine nuts, lemon and mint, and removing from the heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Brush each sheet of filo with butter -bar the top one – and stack on each other. Fold the edges inward to form a rough rectangular shape and place on a lined baking sheet. Stab the base with a fork and transfer to the oven to bake for ten minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To assemble, smear the centre with Hummus and top with the lamb mixture. Combine the tomato, sumac, onion, parsley and feta in a bowl and sprinkle over the top. Place in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and warm.

Devour.

 

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Feta, Dylan Baconrad Scramble

Breakfast, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Following the shocking quit of JT due to his illnesses, we arrived at tribal council to discover that it would not in fact be cancelled – yet – as I assumed. Dylan spoke about his pride in making the halfway point of the game and desperately wanting to make the merge, while Matt spoke about putting everything out on the table, riding luck and trying his best.

Matty Chis rubbed salt in Renee’s wounds about receiving votes at the last tribal council, with her dancing around the fact that contestant Matt is the person that threw said vote her way and as such, she is still pissed about it. On the flipside, Dylan was feeling confident and trusted his new allies … however based on the fact Renee and Arun looked hella awks, it looks like it could be misplaced.

Save sweet, sad angel Dylan.

Arun spoke about going with the flow of the game while Dave said he needs time to build trust – don’t we all Dave? – before Matty Chis asked if anyone felt like they were on the wrong side of the numbers.

With only contestant Matt admitting to feeling nervous about the vote.

With that tribal council continued as normal – despite the fact I was betting on a late breaking cancellation – and one by one Chani voted. As is literally the process, Matty them read said votes and not one followed by one by one by one and one more, Dylan was blindsided from the game. Much to the absolute smug delight of Adam, while sweet Matt rubbed his hand as comfort.

I was still not fully over my disappointment rage at JT, so was feeling quite emotional by the time Dylan arrived at Loser Lodge. Maybe it was the fact I was rooting for him and Adam to stop fighting and fall in love or maybe it was the realisation that my Survivor experience would probably resemble superfan Dylan’s rather than superfan Lisa’s, but thank f- I had the foresight to whip up some joy-inducing Feta, Dylan Baconrad Scramble.

 

 

Now I know that dill is pretty much the second most reviled herb behind coriander, but hear me out because these eggs are delicious. Salty, creamy and packing a punch of dill freshness, they’re the perfect way to eat away your feelings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Feta, Dylan Baconrad Scramble
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
butter, to taste
4 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
100g feta, crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices bread, toasted and smeared generously with the aforementioned butter

Method
Melt a small lug of butter over medium heat in a large skillet until foaming. Add the butter and cook for ten minutes, or until crispy.

While this is happening, whisk the eggs, dill and feta together with a good whack of salt and pepper. Oh and prep your toast.

Pour over the eggs and slowly stir with a spatula, dragging the spatula around the edges of the pan and dragging towards the centre, creating light, delicate folds.

Serve immediately on freshly toasted bread and devour, obvi.

 

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Gregk Meatballouganis

Main, Party Food, Snack

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Gregk Meatballouganis
Serves: 4-6.

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

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

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

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

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

 

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Katie Holmades

Dawson's Creek 20th Anniversary, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, Vegetarian

After kicking our celebration of Dawson’s Creek’s 20th anniversary with my dear friend Joshua Jackson, aka the erstwhile Pacey Witter, I knew I had to follow-up with a date with Pacey’s endgame *spoiler alert from fifteen years ago* Katie Holmes.

While Katie and I have had our ups and downs throughout the years, her finally emancipating herself – with Suri’s help, obviously – from Tom Cruise reaffirmed our bond. Fun fact: I was one of the few people to know about her relationship with Jamie Foxx.

Don’t get it twisted though, our relationship started out extremely strong on the set of the Creek. She was just starting out and my boy Ang called me after directing her in The Ice Storm to see if I would teach her the ways of TV and mentor her career.

Another fun fact: I taught her the importance of an asymmetrical smile.

Given how busy I am, Katie and I haven’t been able to hang out as often as we’d like so she was thrilled to accept my invitation. Plus it is a new year so both of us are feeling the crappy mantras about new us-es and decided it was time to deal with any and all of our leftover Cruise-related issues.

He most definitely wasn’t an ex of mine or anything and we didn’t have any Scientological related issues, obvi. Because neither of those things would ever happen. Ever. Right?

It was an emotional catch-up, honouring her greatest work, working through our feelings and devouring a big batch of Katie Holmades.

 

 

Full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of dolmades but Katie loves them AND these ones are good enough to win me over. Spicy and packed full of a herby, lemon punch, they are the perfect snack for working through trauma whilst celebrating milestones.

Enjoy!

 

 

Katie Holmades
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
½ cup long-grain rice, rinsed
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ tsp cumin
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
small handful mint, roughly chopped
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
100g feta, mashed
40 vine leaves
½ cup olive oil

Method
Cook the rice in boiling salted water for about ten minutes, or until almost cooked. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and leave to drain and cool for about ten minutes.

Transfer the rice to a medium bowl and add the spices, herbs, tomatoes, garlic, lemon zest and feta in a bowl, stirring well to combine.

To assemble, place 2 heaped teaspoons of rice mixture in centre of a leaf, fold in the sides and roll to close. Place upright in a saucepan and repeat the process until all done and the dolmades are tightly packed.

Combine the lemon juice with the olive oil, pour over the dolmades and cook over low heat for an hour, or until leaves are tender. Cool to room temperature before transferring them to the fridge to chill completely overnight.

Devour cold, greedily. Preferably as part of a Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate, Nick Iadanzipasto Platter or a Charcucirie Fields Board.

 

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Smashley Avolan

Bread, Breakfast, Main, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the alliance that Ben spent two weeks pretending not to be a part of contemplated getting rid of him for realsies. Thankfully for him though he had an idol in his pocket, some chaos at tribal council and Mike around to throw half of Lauren’s idol in the fire. Ben played his idol while Lauren could not, sending her out of the game with Ben’s sole vote.

Things were rather solemn as Solewa returned to tribal, shocked by the fact that Ben pulled off the ultimate idol play, topping even Wentworth’s brutal slayage of Savage back in Cambodia. Ben then meandered off to get some water – I assume to toast his success – before Chrissy, Ryan and Mike confirmed with Devon that he and Ashley had no idea what was happening. They then locked him in as the next to go, which you know, means that he is safe this episode.

Ben returned from his drink to Devon heckling him about voting out the wrong person as he was going to make sure he doesn’t win immunity, despite the fact Lauren has won more challenges than him.

Early the next morning, Ben woke up to make a fire slash use the alone time to search high and low for his rehidden idol. Sadly for him, Chrissy and Mike woke up while he was gone and realised what he was up to. Though, they didn’t act on it, so who knows? I guess not everyone can be Caramoan Andrea to Malcolm and babysit them until they give up?

My lover Probsty arrived for the reward challenge, where the final six were separated into pairs and required to walk through an obstacle course to untether themselves from a rope before tossing three rings onto big, hard sticks. Given it was for an overnight getaway to a private resort it was, as Jiffy says, worth playing for. Coming as no surprise, Ben and Ashley got out to an early lead, followed closely by Devon and Chrissy while Mike and Ryan languished behind. Chrissy and Devon found a good rhythm, overtaking Ben and Ashley and securing reward. Obviously Jeff gave them the opportunity to pick one person to take on reward with them. They picked their mutual friend Ryan much to the chagrin of Ashley who was ropeable to be left out … and was conveniently left back at camp with the other half of the tribe.

She continued to seethe back at camp where Mike suggested they all take five minutes to rant before moving on. He then used his allotted rant time to paint a target on Ryan and Devon, saying he was concerned that the latter is trying to woo the former back to his side. Ben interrupted his rant to find out who he was targeting at the next tribal, with the silence letting him know that he was his target. Mike then went for a walk, allowing Ben the opportunity to talk to Ashley, clear the air and find an in. That being said, she shut him down pretty firmly and he resigned himself to finding the idol, which Mike assured us wouldn’t happen. So …

Over at the reward, Chrissy, Devon and Ryan got to work feasting before Devon kicked off the scheming, reaffirming that Ben needs to go first while Mike is also too much of a loose cannon to leave around. Chrissy then floated themselves as a potential final three, which the other two jumped at. After locking in their new alliance, Chrissy continued her favourite pastime and painted a target on the last remaining female, Ashley, deeming her to be more of a threat than Ben. Though I’m not sure why, other than the fact that she called her out at tribal. While that makes sense for Chrissy’s game, how is she going to sell that to Devon and Ryan?

Probst returned to the scene for an epic immunity challenge where the castaways were required to run a huge-ass obstacle course before untying sandbags before using said sandbag to toss into their basket and release a ladder. They then had to get another wall, toss it into a forked gap … and release another ladder. It obviously finished off with a big ol’ puzzle. Everyone was kind of neck and neck the entire way, which is kind of surprising given it looked insanely tiring. Given the puzzle was too hard to tell where people were placing, the long story short is that Chrissy took out victory and secured her place in the final five.


Back at camp Ben was feeling sore about losing the immunity challenge, disappearing to search for an idol while the remaining five hung out to re-confirm that they were going to take out Ben. They then moved the conversation to the water, worrying about him finding an idol WHILE HE WAS OPENLY SEARCHING FOR THE IDOL. Ashley then disappeared, allowing Chrissy to throw out the idea of getting rid of Ashley instead of Ben, to flush out Ben’s potential that nobody was guarding against and eliminating her final challenge threat. As expected Ben then found a clue to the idol while all alone, telling him it was hidden on the underside of the shelter. Everyone was casually chatting by the fire while Ben lounged around under the shelter, laying in wait for an opportunity to snatch the idol.

At tribal Ben spoke about being the odd man out before Probsty cut him off to throw some shade at Ashley not being selected for the reward, stoking Chrissy and Ashley’s simmering rage. Ryan and Mike spoke about their final three plans before Chrissy pointed out that making such a deal sends the message to them, that you think they are beatable which is terrible jury management. Ben then spoke about being a lone wolf before Mike appears to have put his foot in it, pointing out that Ben is good at playing the game and he wouldn’t be surprised if he got his way at tribal, making Ashley paranoid as she hasn’t heard of any plan Ben has come up with.

After some back and forth Devon locked in the fact that Ben was going home tonight, leading to him pulling out the idol and saying that that isn’t actually happening. Chrissy didn’t appreciate his gloating, while everyone else was kind of just dumbfounded. Ben then asked Ashley and Devon if they wanted to go back to camp tonight, which Ashley agreed to and was instructed to take out Mike. Devon however wasn’t so sure Ben would play his idol, leading to Ben playing it early and everyone else to panic as they headed off to vote. Despite agreeing to take out Mike, Ben joined with the rest of the tribe to take out Ashley and send her to my loving arms in Ponderosa.

While Ash was weeeeellllll pissed after her blindside, the love of her dear friend slash ex-swim coach was able to bring her back to normal. As you know, I’m a big deal in the swim scene – hey Kat and Lisa! – and became a dear friend of Ash while coaching her and getting her into the lifeguard biz. She may have calmed down after I explained how well she had done, she wasn’t able to come back to normal until she attacked some Smashley Avolan.

 

 

Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than a good smashed avo … and I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but this is pretty damn perfect. Though I am a millennial and value avo more than owning a home, so who knows if I’m actually correct. That being said, lemon, chilli and feta – need I say more?

Enjoy!

 

 

Smashley Avolan
Serves: 2 bitter Betty’s on the jury.

Ingredients
4 slices of fresh sourdough
1-2 avocados
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
100g feta (but realistically closer to 200g)

Method
Toast the bread to taste.

Smash the avo with a dash of lemon juice, chilli, and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Generously heap on the toast, crumble with feta and devour, with extra lemon juice as required.

 

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Feter Confit Tomato Crostini

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 new Australians were cast into the Samoan wilderness – for the second season of the third attempt of Australian Survivor – before whittling the numbers down to the final three after 53. While they weren’t as flashy as Luke, Henry, Locky or Queens Michelle and Jacqui, Peter, Tara and Jericho have fought hard to make it to the end and survive through a very unpredictable season.

We opened up with our final three commencing the fallen comrades – which needs to be brought back on OG Survivor – where Tara and Peter awkwardly had to dance around Joan, while Jericho tried to pretend he knew something about Adam, Kate and Tarzan. We then paid our respects to Aimee – aye – and lovebirds Sam and Mark, before being reminded by how much of a Queen Jacqui is. Tragically she was followed by Kent, then (thankfully) AK, Ben and Odette, the latter two who got more airtime now, than they did during the game. Jarrad then kicked off the jury portion, followed by super-idol victim Anneliese, before they all praised Henry for his game and fauxgi spirit. They then (awkwardly for Jericho) spoke about ex-juror Tessa’s logical, methodical approach to the game, Sarah’s ability to get down and dirty while playing the game and providing for the tribe. Jericho then described Luke as his other half which is a term I absolutely hate given that it implies people are not whole unless they’re in a relationship. We honoured Olympic powerhouse Ziggy, b-b-b-banging Locky – sadly no rehash of the nudity – and the true Queen of the season, Michelle.

Seriously, they flew through that.

The end of their walk led them to the same cliff Kristie dominated Lee and El last year for the final immunity challenge of the season. Tara was shocked to still be in the game, while Peter knew it was do or die and I assume, Jericho was thinking about kittens and puppies being washed out to sea. Jonathan hyped the challenge, telling them that unlike last year’s challenge, this year it will be conducted under the cover of darkness, making it even colder and miserable…r.

Jonathan spent the early stages of the challenge baiting the contestants to remember how uncomfortable the challenge would be, which truly is savage. Darkness fell by the hour mark where Tara took one in the face – I assume she was referring to a wave – before giving the blunt answer that she was feeling completely shit. Jericho then commenced gloating and playing mind-games with Tara and Pete. The latter then tried to channel Kristie, speaking about how much he loved Survivor and wanted to make it to the end.

To distract from the pain and to add some interest, Tara spoke about how diverse all of the castaways are before her emotions started to get the better of her. Showing true kindness and, shudder, mateship, Jericho and Peter tried to give her a pep talk and motivate her to not give up. She tried to talk through the pain while the boys came up with ways to distract her from the pain – and Jericho got some spelling tips – before she ta-ragically couldn’t hold any longer and stepped down from the challenge at the 3 hour mark. The boys managed to last an extra two hours which seemed not to have phased Jericho at all, while Peter was hunched over like a dead body on The Ring. Try as he might, Peter was in too much pain and asked for JLP to help him out of the challenge, handing Jericho immunity … and by the look on his face, the win. While Peter broke down, Jericho and Tara joined him and all sat, hugged together, comforting him by the fire. Then nature proved to be savage, and threw out a huge wave that wiped out their warmth.

Not wanting to waste any time, we lost the entirety of day 54 as the final three arrived at tribal council where Jericho was daunted by the decision in front of him. Jonathan then led the jury in a round of applause for the final three’s effort in the challenge before Jericho was forced to sit between Tara and Peter as they fought for their place in the game. Or to vote them out, I honestly can’t tell, as both their arguments were that they were not the easy one to take out … which is exactly what you want to do to win the game. Tara then proved she is saavier than I gave her credit for, throwing Peter’s logic to get rid of Jericho three days ago against him.

Peter then went all in for Tara’s game, outlining why she is a goat … and again, that is meant to be his case for getting rid of her. A fired up Tara then tore into Pete’s game, saying him winning is disrespectful to the game which is a better pitch when highlighting how easy someone is to beat. With that, Jericho cast his sole vote and sent Peter out of the game as the final juror.

While he was feeling pretty salty when he arrived at tribal council, he freely ran into the arms of his dear friend – me, we’re both totes homo in communications, of course we know each other – and lamented what could have been. I joined him in crying, though thinking about the tragic loss of Michelle at the previous tribal council. Thankfully I cooked through the pain and whipped him up a big, comforting batch of my Feter Confit Tomato Crostini.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of bruschetta … but this is where its at. I love tomatoes, but have always struggled with them in their raw state, so this is the perfect fix to the Italian classic. Rich and caramelised tomato, tart creamy feta and sweet basil? Sign me up!

Enjoy!

 

 

Feter Confit Tomato Crostini
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp champagne vinegar
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper, to taste
small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
200g feta, whipped
12 thick slices sourdough

Method
Preheat oven to 130°C.

Combine the oil, garlic, fennel, sugar, vinegar and tomato in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. And when I say good, I mean good. Ok? Transfer to a lined baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or until soft and caramelised. Fold through the basil leaves.

Grill the sourdough, spread with the whipped feta and top with the confit tomatoes … before devouring.

 

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Spinachevy and Chase Rolls

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds, Main, Party Food, Snack, Vegetarian

After kicking things off with EGOT recipient Reets and a semi-sweet trip down memory lane with my dear(ly departed) Jack, I thought we needed to bring back the funny for day three. And, obviously, there is no man that has won exactly three Emmy Awards (that I can be bothered looking up) funnier, that I can call a friend than Chevy Chase.

I’ve known Chevs for years, after meeting in Betty Ford – who fun fact, gave me free treatment at the clinic as we’re also dear friends – in the ‘80s and becoming the fastest of friends. While there were obviously some issues between us after he dropped the N-bomb on the set of Community and refused to make me play his son in the newest Vacation movie, I found a way to forgive him.

Hey – I forgave Candace Cameron Bure for being Candace Cameron Bure, I can do anything.

Anyway being a betting man, Chevs was keen to get straight to work after a brief catch-up. Given the fact two of his Emmys are for writing, I bequeathed him the great honour of discussing all – yes, all – the writing categories.

Obvi, Big Little Lies has Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama Special, while he backed Saturday Night Live – again, obvi – for Variety Series, I think it’s going to go to John Oliver or Samantha Bee. As far as the series categories go, Aziz and Lena have the comedy wrapped up for the sublime Thanksgiving episode of Master of None. We again disagreed on the drama winner, Chevs going for The Handmaid’s Tale, while I think the Duffers’ will take it out with Stranger Things … as a consolation for losing Outstanding Drama Series.

As you can imagine, what with two disagreements, we needed something hella hearty and comforting to get us through. Thankfully my Spinachevy and Chase Rolls more than fit the bill.

 

 

Fresh, spicy and dripping with cheese, these are my favourite kind of rolls this side of Alyssa Edwards’ backrolls.

*Tongue pop* Enjoy, okkkuurrr?

 

 

Spinachevy and Chase Rolls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained completely
250g danish feta, crumbled
½ cup parmesan, grated
small handful dill, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
zest of one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets puff pastry, halved
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the spinach, feta, parmesan, dill, onion, breadcrumbs, zest and salt and pepper in a bowl.

Split the mixture into quarters and roll each portion into long – puff pastry length – sausages and place along an edge of the puff pastry. Brush the edge of the pastry and roll to enclose, ensuring the seam is on the bottom. Cut into three and place on a baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining three quarters.

Brush each roll with eggs and bake for 25 minutes or until golden, crisp and flaky. Devour.

 

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