Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs

Breakfast, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

After 39 – or 40 days, depending on whose narration you trust / whether you go off the titles, rather than the final day supers – surviving a rough start on the weaker tribe, gaining some power and allies at the swap and navigating the post-merge with ease – aside from the Sala blindside and never being able to win a challenge – Avi landed in the final three with Tom and Barb.

Thanks to his dominant social game, the final tribal council was a complete Avi love fest – with a Barb roas-t as the supporting act. The jury then all piled their votes on Avi, except for Jak, handing him victory over Tom … and the runner-up prize for the US seasons.

While Avi’s game wasn’t as showy, exciting – or physical – he made extremely strong bonds early in the game, that carried him through to the final tribal council. What is most impressive about this, is that he was able to stay in the game despite everybody knowing they would lose to him in the end.

J.T., meet you kiwi equal.

I mean, as much as Barbs’ game impressed me strategically, the way she was willing to play the game to get Avi to the end and almost give up to guarantee him one vote at final tribal is a testament to his social game. Sure it is boring to watch, but it is no less artful.

Given the fact that I was hardcore fangirling over Tom, I wasn’t as gracious and congratulatory as I could be when we met up post game.

“Hey Ben – are you going to cook something for me like everyone else,” he asked like a victim of my rage.

“Make your own fucking eggs,” I screamed … before breaking down in tears and then laughing maniacally. I mean, what are the odds that I’d make eggs – more specifically Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs – for the inaugural Sole Survivor of Survivor New Zealand?

 

 

Like Avi, these babies are hard to fault. Perfectly boiled eggs, butter slathered toast and a hearty spoon of dukkah. It isn’t a showy meal, but it feels right for Survivor NZ. I mean, at least it isn’t melted funsized chocolate in a ziplock bag?

Enjoy!

 

 

Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 eggs
2 tbsp dukkah
4 slices of bread, toasted and slathered in butter to serve

Method
Heat a saucepan of water over high heat. Once bubbling, add the eggs and boil for five minutes.

Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking.

Peel the eggs, slice in half and generously sprinkle with butter before devouring.

 

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Tom Paterscone

Baking, Bread, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

After a rough final tribal council, particularly for our third place finisher Barb, my dear friend Tom sadly wasn’t rewarded for his physical dominance landing as the runner-up. While it was kind of expected after the Avi love fest, I was shocked – and of course angry slash out for vengeance – to learn that he only mustered one vote.

Consider yourselves officially out of my little black book, Lee and Mike.

While Avi’s social game took him over the line, Tom played the game on the back foot from day one and needed to work harder to survive day after day. He had a brief period of luck post-swap, before ending up back on the bottom – swoon – at the merge.

He then won challenge after challenge, buying him enough time to build the relationships that took him through to the final three.

Sadly though, the jury couldn’t see that – or did, and didn’t think it was worthy – with only Jak voting for him to win. Which is tragic, but it at least gave him the runner-up title outright.

He arrived in loser lodge where I completely flipped out because of his loss. After about an hour or so, he managed to calm me down enough – with clothes on, most shockingly – to whip him up a batch of my delicious Tom Paterscones.

 

 

I love me some bacon. I also love chilli and live for cheese, throw it in a scone, slather it in butter and you’re in for a dreamy treat. Almost as dreamy as the babe-town that is Tom.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tom Paterscone
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
125g chilled butter, cubed
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced and fried
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
½ punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
200g aged cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
200ml milk, plus extra to glaze

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour until it resembles wet sand. Stir in the bacon, spring onion, chilli, tomato and ¾ of the cheese.

Whisk the eggs with the milk and combine with the flour mixture using a cutting motion, with a round bladed knife until a soft dough forms. Turn into onto the bench and knead until it just comes together, ensure not to overwork it.

Roll out the dough until it is 2-3cm thick, cut into rounds and place on a baking sheet. Brush with milk, sprinkle with leftover cheese and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and puffed.

Devour, slathered in butter.

 

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Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, 16 kiwis were dumped in the Nic-ar-ag-ew-arn jungle, where they were surprised by a tribal council on day one, where Dee and Hannah were each voted out of their tribes. While it felt like all hope was lost, Matt introduced redemption island where Hannah won the first duel … only to be bested by Tony in the next. She was followed out of the game by Tony, Izzy, the medically evacuated Lou, and Georgia who was beaten by Shay who returned to the game at the merge.

Shannon flipped on the young boys at the merge, sending Lee and Mike to redemption island where the latter went on a streak, sending Lee, Sala, Shannon, Shay and Jak to the jury, returning to the game with Nate … before both being voted out again, leaving Queen Barbs in the final three with Tom and Avi.

The finalists returned to camp where they congratulated each other on a game well played, and marvelled at how surreal an experience it has been. Barb then quickly filled us in that the only reason she made it to the end, is because Nate told her she needed to back herself and that she deserved to make it to the end.

Conversation quickly turned to the jury where Avi was concerned that keeping Barb means he is down one guaranteed votes, Barb felt all the jurors hated her and Tom felt it was going to come down closely between him and Avi.

The next day the final three were feeling calm and noticing the beauty of their soon-to-be-former jungle home, before Avi went into an extended monologue, speaking about playing Survivor being a high school dream of his, making it feel like victory is rapidly approaching. They soon discovered a final three breakfast set up by the beach … leading into Barbs’ monologue about deserving the win and playing the game to prove that she could do it and to focus on herself, rather than just being someone’s wife or mother.

What happened next? You guessed it – Tom had a monologue! Talking about how Survivor was also a childhood dream of his and that he fought to stay in the game the entire time, though was concerned that Avi being a nice guy will soak up a large number of votes.

At final tribal council, the finalists kicked off the show by telling the jury why they deserved to win. Tom spoke about his lifelong love of the game and wanting to be a role model for his students. Avi told them he gave it his all in the game and he fulfilled all of his goals, which sounds arrogant … as does telling the jury he trusts them.

Then came Barbs, who went for the jugular telling them she achieved her goal of sitting opposite them, rather than next to them, and navigated the huge personalities, survived the noose around her neck and played the best game of the three, whilst being underestimated by their inability to be perceptive.

I love queen Barbs, but fuck – no one is going to give her the votes she deserves.

Shay kicked off the jury portion asking Barb if she is kind – she thinks so, which shocked the jury – she asked Avi what he wants the children of New Zealand to know from his game before Shay used the opportunity to clear the air between her and Tom, turning it into Dr Phil.

While I thought Jak would bring some humour to the occasion, he sadly didn’t, instead applauding Avi for being nice, Tom bro, for being a great bro friend bro … and then told Barb he was impressed by her, but felt disrespected by her the entire season.

Mike threw Barb a ditto, what Jak said before telling Avi he doesn’t feel he wants to win the game and needs to be convinced. I’d love to say it was a good question, but it wasn’t, nor was asking Tom to convince him he has morals … despite being a teacher which is probably the noblest profession known to man.

Nate congratulated the final three before reminding them that they all took the opportunity to vote him out twice before asking why Avi didn’t take him to the final three. Spoiler alert, he never committed to the plan. Shannon as a superfan was disappointingly bitter, telling Barb there was nothing she should say to make her vote for her, asked Avi why being nice deserves a win and whether Tom was carried to the end by Avi … despite dominating challenges.

Then came Sala. While he started out being his usual, sweet self by congratulating Tom and Avi for being nice guys that he is proud to have played with. He then lay into Barb, calling her disrespectful, selfish and lazy – just observation, soz not soz – shat on people and was rude. What a sanctimonious dick.

Lee then told them all that they only made it to the end because of luck, despite Tom dominating the game physically, Avi dominating socially and Barb dominating strategically.

As was expected after the roasting she got from the jury, my girl Barb couldn’t muster a single vote from the jury finishing in third place. Despite being destroyed by the bitter Bettys of the jury, she was thrilled to see a friendly face in loser lodge. Particularly one holding a freshly baked Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie.

 

 

A little bit sweet and a little bit tart, this pie is the perfect culinary representation of my dear equine loving friend. Wrap it in some soft pillowy dough and you have pie-fection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rhubarb Raos & Apple Pie
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
450g plain flour
125g icing sugar, sieved
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs, 2 for the dough and 1 lightly beaten for the glaze
325g butter, diced, 225g for the dough, 100g for the filling
1kg Granny Smith apples, cored, thickly sliced
1kg rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 3cm lengths
500g raw caster sugar
2 cinnamon quills
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
2 lemons, rind and juice
60g panko breadcrumbs
20g demerara sugar

Method
Combine the flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor to combine, add butter, vanilla and 1 tsp of cinnamon and blitz until it resembles wet sand. Add the eggs and blitz until the dough just comes together. Form into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Melt the remaining butter in a pot over medium heat, add the apples and stir for about five minutes. Add the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon quills and vanilla paste, and cook for a further ten minutes before adding the lemon juice and rind, stirring and removing from the heat. Once the mixture is cool and you’re just about to make the pie, stir in the breadcrumbs.

Roll out two thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 3-5mm thick. Drape over a pie dish, and shape the pastry into the dish. Trim the edges and pour in the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough, drape over the top and press the edges to enclose. Poke a hole in the centre for steam, brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Chuck it – not literally – in the oven and bake for an hour, or until golden and cooked through. You may need to cover with foil for the last twenty minutes, but trust your gut.

Once ready, allow to cool in the dish for a couple of hours – preferably on a window sill, obvi – before devouring with fresh vanilla ice cream, or a spice custard.

 

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Saramen Lacina

Main, Soup, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Ciera exited first – not able to throw the target on to her mother, followed by Tony, Caleb, a screwed but-not-in-the-way-I-want-to-screw-him Malcolm, J.T., Queen Sandra, and a desperate Varner. Hali was once again Queen of the jury, quickly followed by Ozzy, Debbie, Zeke, Sierra, Andrea, Michaela, an eliminated by default Cirie, Aubry and Tai, leaving Troyzan and Brad to round out the final three with my girl Sarah Lacina crowned our newest Survivor.

From the very beginning, Sarah knew that she needed to change up her game if she wanted to have a chance … giving us close to 6000 separate quotes about Officer Sarah playing like a criminal. But hey, when it works, you can’t really mock her!

While Sarah was also lucky to avoid most of the pre-merge tribal councils, if they did attend she was well enough positioned that she likely would have survived all the carnage.

When some members of the jury weren’t thrilled with the way she made personal connections only to turn on people, I started to fear she was about to get the Dawn Mehan treatment. Thankfully the new jury format allowed for people to jump in and defend her, and also allowed her more time to address these issues and help win people back to her side.

Despite the heartbreak of not being able to celebrate Sandra’s third win (yet), I was super excited that my dear friend Sarah had learnt from her mistakes was able to convert that into victory. While our friendship started in a questionable manner – she arrested me during one of my wild phases – she took me under her win and tried to do the opposite of her game changers game, turning me from criminal to cop.

Sadly for her, my prior arrests nipped that in the bud … but we always stayed friends and try and catch-up as often as we can for a Saramen Lacina.

 

 

Hot, spicy, sweet and fresh – ramen is always a delicious option. Throw in barbecue pork belly and you can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

 

 

Saramen Lacina
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
600g pork belly, skin removed (by that … 600g sans skin)
⅓ cup char siu sauce
peanut oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Sriracha
200g ramen noodles
4 eggs
2 baby bok choy, quartered lengthways
100g shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 long red chilli, thinly sliced

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Brush the pork with half the char siu sauce and place in the oven for half an hour. Reduce heat to 120°C and bake for a further twenty minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest, brushing with the remaining char siu sauce.

While the pork is resting, heat a lug of peanut oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes, or until super, duper fragrant.

(It is now that you should also bring a small saucepan of water to the boil over high heat).

Back to the fragrant pan, slowly add the stock, tamari, fish sauce, Sriracha and 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, add the noodles, bok choy and mushrooms, and simmer for about five minutes.

With the ramen simmering, the saucepan should be boiling, at which point you should add the eggs and cook for four minutes, or until soft boiled. Peel the eggs.

Then, slice the pork into 1cm thick pieces.

Transfer the ramen to a bowl, top with pork and an egg sliced on top. Probs avoid drizzling Sriracha over the top if you’re wanting to photograph it … but otherwise, that’s the only addition I’d suggest … before devouring your victory meal!

 

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Brad Culpepper-Steak Pie

Main, Pie, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

So that cat is well and truly out of the bag, with Brad, Sarah and Troyzan outlasting the rest and landing themselves in the final three. The new and improved jury segment lead to some robust debated between Brad and Sarah, with Troyzan relegated to the role of ignored finalist / zero vote second runner-up.

While Sarah played the clearly superior game, Brad did a great job learning from the mistakes of his first game via following the mantra – what would that neat lady Monica do. Turns out, he took it too literally and followed in her footsteps to finish in second.

I mean, sure, the last few days on the island he started to choke and clearly needed a damn snickers, you can’t fault the way he controlled the early game with Sierra and upcycled everything they could salvage from the marooning to ensure their island digs were as stylish and comfortable as any and all five star accommodations.

As you know, Annelie and I have been firm friends with the Culpeppers since Brad’s time in the NFL. After what happened during One World, I knew how critical it was to our renewed friendships to avoid selling stories to the tabloids during this run.

Brad was disappointed to not take out the title when he arrived at Ponderosa but his mood quickly changed when he discovered that I was whipping him up a hearty and comforting Brad Culpepper-Steak Pie to dull the pain slash cure his hanger.

 

 

You really should know by now, that I have a passionate love for pies. Sweet, savoury, fruity and filled with cream – if you can make, I will love it. But obviously, this one is extra delicious given the aggressive kick of pepper elevating the smooth meaty gravy.

Meaty gravy – what delightful imagery.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Brad Culpepper-Steak Pie
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1kg beef mince
2 onions, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
kosher salt, to taste
¼ cup flour
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp cracked black pepper
salt to taste
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the beef and cook until browned while breaking up with the spoon. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook for about five minutes. Reduce heat to low, add the flour and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Stir through the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce and pepper, and simmer for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Once the filling is reduced and glorious, transfer to a pie or baking dish. Cover with puff pastry, crimp the edges to seal, prick a couple of steam holes and brush with the beaten egg.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.

Serve immediately and devour.

 

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Troyzanella Robertson

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap, Vegetarian

With Cirie, Aubry and Tai swiftly ejected from the finale, Cirie under tragic circumstances, we opened up on day 39 with Troyzan sharing a touching story about dreaming of this moment from seeing the very first episode. If only we’d seen more of him this season, I would have shared his confidence.

They got to work whipping up the finale breakfast with Sarah proud of how she has played the game, hoping that the jury would reward her gameplay and her officer-esque honesty at final tribal.

Brad was feeling very confident, sure that he could put his lawyer skills to use and convince the jury to award him the money.

We quickly returned to tribal where the jury looked as disappointed with the final three as I was – I mean, it could have been Sandra, Cirie and Malcolm for fucks sake. Given that this is game changers, Jeff announced one final twist in the game – changing the jury format of the game to allow a more open dialogue between the jury and the finalists.

Zeke was quick to start the dialogue, praising Sarah for turning on him and then returning to tribal every night wearing his jacket AND turning on Sierra while still being able to convince her to hand over the legacy advantage. He then volunteered as tribute for her and this is suddenly the Hunger Games … which kinda makes sense.

Andrea also praised Sarah before breaking down because Sarah had hurt her and she wasn’t sure if she could move past it and feel good about voting for her. Sarah said that she valued all of their relationships, earning laughs from Ozzy and Debbie who couldn’t trust a word she said before volunteering as Brad’s tribute, to champion his victory based solely on challenge performance.

Cirie quickly pointed out that they booted Sierra as she was the brains of Brad and Troy’s operation and without her, assumed they’d wander around bumping into each other. He was obviously very quick to outline that he was in fact responsible for assembling the alliances.

Michaela joined the fray to test Brad on his personal connection to her, highlighting a major flaw in his social game. On the flipside, Andrea and Tai then asked Sarah how she felt about building those relationships for the sole purpose of taking her out. Aubry quickly directed the question to where it needed to go, allowing Sarah to knock her answer out of the park.

Obviously that upset Debbie, with her vowing to vote for Brad. That in turn earned Michaela’s frustration, with her highlighting that it is just a game and they need to get over their hurt feelings. She then threw shade at Troyzan, asking what the hell he even did in the game. That lead to everyone in the jury jumping on board to berate his lack of gameplay.

Andrea was quick to point out that Brad wasn’t very good at forming relationships with people that weren’t a part of his inner circle. Brad tried to defend himself, before Tai cut him off and told him that he clearly has no idea how he comes across to others. Hali then jumped in and the dear law student, schooled the lawyer.

Debbie then added that he was virial and full of testosterone.

Zeke jumped in to point out that Sarah voted correctly all the time because she was always aware of what was going on, while the others did not.

Brad’s tribute from district 7, Ozzy, jumped in to once again praise Brad’s challenge prowess and tell people that that clearly means he deserves the win. Debbie again agreed, before Sarah cut in to point out that he was a professional athlete and kind of had a leg up. Brad tried to cut back in before Michaela told him to shut-it-down and let her finish.

That allowed Sarah to point out more ways she owned the game, manoeuvring around the technicality of voting out Sierra without voting for her and snatching the advantage from under Michaela’s feet while everyone was distracted by Cirie’s balance beam triumph.

Brad gave his last ditch plea, relying pretty much on winning immunities and being a neat guy and helping out at camp. Sarah simply implored them to vote for the best player who controlled every vote, rather than with their hurt feelings. Defeated, Troyzan simply thanked them for being a part of the journey because it meant a lot to him.

With that, they went to vote with Michaela announcing that anyone that didn’t vote for Sarah is a bitter Betty. Ozzy hoped that Brad could do what he couldn’t. Zeke was honour to vote for his girl Sarah and Debbie obviously voted for Brad, hoping that just once good guys – like the guy she screamed at pre-merge – could finish first just once. With that the jury voted, crowning Sarah the sole Survivor and Brad the second second-place Culpepper, and Troyzan as predicted the zero votes third place finisher.

While Troyzan’s game wasn’t very showy, he was far more likeable than his first go-around and that in itself is a win. I mean, I’ve always known that he is a kind, friendly soul as one of his dearest friend – I forced him into taking my photo in swimsuits. He was disappointed when he exited the game, but quickly perked up with a little bit of love from his friend and a big ole Troyzanella Robertson.

 

 

There is nothing more comforting than bread and as such, I knew that this is all that he would ever need to move on from his third place finish. Plus … he knew it was coming since he was on the ballot for Second Chances.

All that aside, this is delicious – fragrant, sweet … and bread. There is damn bread, case closed, it is perfect. Enjoy!

 

 

Troyzanella Robertson
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
200g ciabatta, roughly torn into chunks and left to dry for an hour
600g mixed very ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
200g chargrilled capsicum, roughly chopped
a bunch of fresh basil, leaves torn
champagne vinegar
olive oil

Method
Place the tomatoes in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

Add the onion, garlic, capsicum, basil, and a good lug of both the champagne vinegar and the olive oil, to taste. Again, toss … you know I love a toss.

Add the bread, toss, serve and devour.

 

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Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly

Dessert, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!!

Yes, the secret – which I’ve surprisingly kept for the last twelve months after stealing the urn from Probst and counting the votes – is finally out and my dear friend and ex-colleague Michele Fitzgerald has officially been crowned the Sole Survivor of Kaoh Rong: Near-Death Island.

I first connected with Mich a couple of years back when we were both tending bar in Jersey where we bonded over our mutual love of Harry Potter. While I eventually left the bar to work as the Giudice’s financial advisor, our experiences did inspire me to travel back in time and write the screenplay to the hit 80s film Cocktail.

Poor Mich’s win has been quite polarising – hell, even I’m still debating whether Aubry was robbed of the title – but the fact of the matter is, she gave a strong final tribal council performance and won the vote. Convincingly.

Thanks to what people are calling a jury full of people that are helly-jelly of Aubry’s game, Michele was able to articulate her impressive, low-key game and convince them she was deserving of the title. In honour of the haters, I had to make her a Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly.

 

michelderflower-raspberry-fitzjelly-1

 

Haters are gonna hate … unless you serve them up this floral, tart and delightful dessert. While I will always be team Aubry – in honour of our dark curls, cool glasses and nerd behaviour – Mich played a hard, subtle game and her skill at connecting with others and making moves when she needed to was underestimated by us at home.

Congratulations Michele – while Aubry was also a deserving candidate, you completely earned your win. Enjoy your victory jelly!

 

michelderflower-raspberry-fitzjelly-2

 

Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
150ml elderflower cordial
250ml water
100ml vodka
5 leaves gelatine
125g fresh raspberries

Method
Combine the cordial, water and vodka in a large jug.

Break the gelatine up into pieces in a heatproof bowl, covering with a dash of the liquid and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes. If needed, place the bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water and stir until completely dissolved.

While the gelatine is soaking, rinse the raspberries.

Pour the gelatine liquid into the jug and stir to combine. Half-fill whatever you’re using as a mould – I went with margarita  glasses as this is a victory dessert and I’m not an animal – dot a couple of raspberries in each and place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours. Leave the remaining mixture at room temperature.

Repeat the process with the liquid and fruit, and return to the fridge to set for a further few hours.

Devour in honour of our reigned champ – well done Mich!

 

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Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto

Main, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

It pains me to say this … absolutely pains me, the runner-up / first loser of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, is the undisputed queen of the island Aubry Bracco.

While I agree that Michele earned her win, laying low and moving when she needed to, building relationships and winning some well-timed challenges – Aubry was the dominant force of the season, reading the situation perfectly and dictating the votes at every tribal she attended.

Thankfully – and I use that term loosely – losing Neal didn’t impact on her placement, so I guess it makes it easier to accept.

Well, easier to accept than the O.J. verdict at the very least.

I’ve long been friends with Aubs, having attended Brown University together with Summer Roberts where we connected over her love of drawing with crayons and my love of finger painting.

While I returned to Australia (following one of my deportations), we stayed in close contact throughout the years via our passion for social media.

Aubs was feeling defeated when she made it to Ponderosa after reading the vibe of the jury and knowing that she’d have to wait an entire year for her second place cheque. Thankfully I had a nice big bowl of my Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto, as a chaser to my warm embrace of course.

 

aubrie-mushroom-bracotto-1

 

Like Aubs’ run in the game, the risotto packs a punch and overcomes some strong flavours to result in a smooth, delicate dish that is fit for a winner.

The winner that should’ve been – enjoy!

 

aubrie-mushroom-bracotto-2

 

Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
60g unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 ⅓ cups arborio rice
100ml white wine
3 cups chicken stock, warm
100ml pure cream
300g mushrooms
150g brie, torn into pieces

Method
Heat the oil and half the butter in a pan over medium-low heat.

Add the onions, garlic, chilli and half the rosemary, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and sweet.

Add the rice and stir to coat the grains before adding the wine. Stir and simmer for a minute, or until evaporated. Mix in the stock, a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed completely before adding the next. Continue cooking, while stirring, for about 15 minutes before adding in the cream and cooking for a further minute. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a skillet over high heat and cook the mushrooms and remaining rosemary until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season.

Add the mushrooms to the risotto, stir to combine and serve immediately, topping generously with pieces of brie.

 

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Mai Tai Trang

Drink, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

After Cyd went out in, well technically without, flames, we returned to camp – after spending a bit of time with Cyd’s buff mum – where Aubry discussed her ability to pull it out and Michele was concerned about Tai’s decision to save Aubry and what that means to her potential victory.

Echoing the audience at home, Tai questioned whether it was a final two or a three given Probst’s cryptic wording.

Ultimately though it was classic Probst just being classic, as a new twist was unleashed where the final three competed for the right to vote out a juror. After a tight race, Michele continued her low-key – is that her motto? – string of challenge wins and after hearing Aubry and Tai’s compelling arguments, sent a guaranteed and persuasive Aubry voter, Neal, packing.

Ultimately though, it didn’t impacted the outcome as my dear friend Tai continued in the hallowed tradition of Becky Lee by getting zero votes at final tribal council.

I first connected with Tai while staging my own one-man, zero audience, independent adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in San Fran’s Golden Gate Park. Given his gentle, loving spirit Tai would offer me support as he went about his job. You could argue that his kindness is responsible for my excessive, irritating self-confidence.

Tai was upset after final tribal, not because he lost but because he had just said goodbye to his dear friend and surrogate son #MarkTheChicken. After assuring him that he should be proud of his game – and that I had no chicken recipes for the top two – he started to perk back up.

My miracle, liquid elixir – which is just butt-loads of alcohol, dressed up with tropical mixers – may have had something to do with that though. Either way, my Mai Tai Trang was just what doc-Tai ordered.

 

mai-tai-trang-1

 

I was very depressed by the lack of audience for my performance back in San Fran, which resulted in my downing a morning mai tai to give me the courage to continue with my dreams. After connecting with Tai, I started to double the batch as a way to say thank you … for being a friend.

Give the light, fresh flavours and a good whack of booze, it is also the perfect way to down your sorrows after snagging no final tribal council votes.

Enjoy.

 

mai-tai-trang-2

 

Mai Tai Trang
Serves: 1-2, depending on the mood.

Ingredients
60ml spiced rum
25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
20ml orange curacao
10ml orgeat
crushed ice
mint sprig, to garnish … or if you forgot, a lime wedge

Method
Combine all liquid in a cocktail shaker, shake.

Place some crushed ice in the base of a glass, top with the booze, garnish with mint … or the aforementioned lime wedge and wash away your sorrows.

 

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