Patty Melt Cusack

Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Austra … hang on. The weather is miserable, Shonella aren’t playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the background and Shane Gould isn’t around to not be fucked with. It’s original flavour Survivor, with less cursed objects – though I did line-up some pizzas this season, so maybe that one will continue – and hopefully more excitement and blindsides. Oh and no more final four fire challenge. But enough with dreaming, Probst is on a boat with 20 people who are split into two tribes that I assume were named by Roma Downey after years of wearing down Tom Arnold’s nemesis Mark Burnett; David and Goliath. This season a tribe of bosses will battle with ten underdogs, and hopefully we aren’t swept up in a religious fever dream like Sophie in South Pacific.

We met the first David, Christian who is a total nerd, Elizabeth who is the country icon who flipped the bird on the cast photo and Pat who is big, burly and looks to be a total sweetheart. Who knows not to trust a book by its cover. They’re up against the Goliaths who include publisher and CEO Natalie – who is an icon – and Angelina loves all that comes with being a Goliath.

Anyway the two tribes converged on a barge with Probst and the Goliaths quickly realised that the cards are definitely in their favour when they saw the Davids rolling in. Probst confirmed their suspicions, announcing that this year’s theme is a battle of the privileged versus the underdogs. The David tribe were thrilled to be the underdogs, knowing they are instantly the favoured tribe for a decent narrative. We met Nick, who grew up poor in the south and fought tooth and nail to achieve his dreams of being a lawyer – public defender now – and on Survivor. Swoon. Gabby too was feeling her underdog roots, knowing the Goliaths can only fall while they are destined to rise.

The Goliaths however were quick to try and deflect from being labelled a Goliath, except for pre wrestler John, who knows he is a boss … though just wants to find himself and downplay his intelligence. Swoon. Allison was the most vocal to oppose the label, saying she worked hard from her upper-middle class family to follow in her father’s footsteps. Probst, the shady bitch, asked to hear about Pat’s upbringing, with him talking about living paycheque to paycheque, without even the option of going to get an education. She was pretty cool to stick with the Goliath label after that.

Wanting to get the bad blood brewing like Taylor Swift keeping control on her squad, Probst got the Goliaths to pick two people from each tribe to compete in a reward challenge. With Enlightened creator Mike White selecting Lyrsa and Christian, who he deemed Big Bang Theory in a moment of corporate synergy that made CBS beam. Lyrsa knew she was selected because she is tiny, a little chunky and stands out, while Christian was cool to be labelled the weakest. They then selected Allison and John, who are huge and look strong. To even things up, Probst gave the weakest peeps – sorry, allegedly Christian – the chance to pick the route each pair took to get to a giant shelter making kit. Obviously Lyrsa and Christian got out to a huge lead, almost finishing the second stage before Allison and John finished the first. Being Goliaths however, they caught up at the puzzle leaving a bat … nope, Christian is a genius, solving the puzzle in five seconds and snatching the kit for the underdogs. While it was impressive, Christian admitted it really wasn’t a fair fight as he had written algorithms for solving slide puzzles at uni, which he tried to explain in great detail and completely lost me.

We followed the Goliaths back to their tribe where Mike was feeling completely out of place as he isn’t as buff as the rest of the tribe, and is a nerdy Hollywood type. Dan and Natalia immediately gravitated to him, knowing that he looked familiar before he shared that he was a two-time Amazing Race contestant and completely neglected to mention School of Rock and the greatest show of all time, Enlightened. Have I mentioned I love Enlightened? Dan continued to make friends, sharing that while he is a babe now he used to be bigger and he put on a tonne of weight while working as a cop, though worked hard to lose weight to join the SWAT team. Natalie applauded him on looking fine and hot damn, I already love her. Speaking of love Dan and Kara bonded over Supergirl and the fact he named his dog Kara. She swooned, as did I when I saw his lycra pants. He was smarter though, knowing it was dangerous and hoped to downplay their bond.

Meanwhile over at the Davids, Pat was quick to take charge of the tribe and got everyone to split up tasks and work together while he leads them in building the shelter. Everyone seemed to be extremely cohesive, trusting Pat’s knowledge, laying foundations and weaving fronds for shelter. Sadly he started getting a bit too strong, shouting at Christian, making awkward jokes and generally frustrating the hell out of his tribe. Which will haunt him, once it is done.

Alec was trying to bring a bit of light to the tribe, knowing how difficult it is to build a shelter with only a machete to help. Natalie however was bringing some doom and gloom, bossing Natalia and the rest of the tribe around whilst worrying about having nothing in common with her tribemates.

Back at the David tribe Elizabeth was worried Pat was going to die as he leaned out of a tree with the machete. Jessica and Bi started to bond while weaving the roof of the shelter, wanting to lie about being 19. She then floated an alliance which Bi was into, as was Carl. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth and Lyrsa got a quiet moment in the jungle and bonded over being super different and wanted to align, as nobody would expect it. And just like that, Natalie is dropped and Lyrsa is my number two to Elizabeth. Lastly Gabby and Christian bonded over being insecure nerds – their words – and hot damn, they are in the lead to be my third and fourth.

John and Mike got together by the tribe flag and bonded over their fame and I assume, all the different nicknames or characters they’ve played. Natalie continued to lose friends and alienate people, as Natalia complained to Dan and someone else – first episode, don’t judge – about her not doing anything and bossing people around. Not wanting to leave her alone as a target, Mike went searching for an idol and was super obvious which immediately made people paranoid. We then met Jeremy who looks delightful in his jocks, while the tribe spoke about Mike being sketchy. Natalie went out to find Mike and warn him to pull his head in, which he vowed to knowing that he was hunting for an idol because he wanted it and now he needs to find it because he needs it.

The next day the rain started to drive in as the Davids worked tirelessly to finish their shelter and find some sort of relief. Elizabeth spoke about how they are instantly at an advantage, because they have grown up with adversity and that makes them fight harder and care for others more than their rivals would. While everyone work, Nick disappeared to try and reserve his energy slash avoid it. He then sidled up to Christian and Elizabeth to form alliances and then come up with names for said alliances. Meanwhile back at camp, Pat put the finishing touches on the shelter much to the delight of Carl who was proud of his hard work. And pissed by Nick’s lack of.

The Goliaths however weren’t as lucky, with no shelter and freezing. Not to be deterred Allison and Angelina got together by the well where Angelina suggested they go find the idol before Mike does and even the historic gender spill of idol ownership. Sadly for them, Mike was still working hard which then made Jeremy and Alec – swoon x 2 – go searching, followed by John, Natalie and Dan, who shared that the idol is in his pants. Oh and no, he isn’t talking about his penis. He was out searching for the idol with Kara and Natalia, and found the idol earlier that day and he was storing it in his pants.

The Davids were less interested about idols, though maybe that had something to do with Davie finding a huge octopus which they will be able to smash ahead of the upcoming immunity challenge. Davie shared that people will likely underestimate him, given he is a total blerd and was proud of himself. Jessica then started to break down on day two, upset about how her mum was in a domestic violence situation and she feels like she has left her alone and she has been responsible for her her entire life. Bi too spoke about the fact she had been in a domestic violence situation and encouraged Jessica that she saved her mum’s life, and she should be proud. Later that night, Nick decided to share that he has troubles opening up with people and wasn’t brave enough to share the fact his mum died of an overdose a couple of years ago earning the support and trust of his tribe. That made him feel like he has had a relief and has truly bonded with his tribe, potentially negating the fact he did shit all at the challenge.

By day three the cyclone had well and truly hit and the sea swelled and the rain pelted on the tribes as they arrived at their first immunity challenge. Each tribe would sprint through an obstacle before someone would dig under a log and chop a rope to release a ladder, with the second place tribe penalised and forced to release their ladder by untying knots. Each tribe would then ascend a platform and use a pole vault to leap to another before completing a puzzle. Carl got out to a huge lead while John and Pat focused on wrestling in the obstacle. Carl and Alec worked on the log, Alec quickly getting under and releasing the Goliath ladder. Things only got worse for the Davids from there as the Goliaths started working on the puzzle before they even got to the pole vault. Allison led the tribe through the puzzle, before Christian desperately started to call instructions in the hope of catching up. The rain started to pour while Allison screamed instructions to her tribe, securing immunity just before the Davids. Who were all cohesive and supportive of each other and I love that.

Well except for Lyrsa, who was planning on voting out Nick before even leaving the challenge. Out of nowhere however, the tribe were back at the challenge beach as Pat was stretchered off the boat in extreme pain, unable to see. Dr Joe and the team swarmed around him as Gabby broke down, worried about Pat as all she heard was a giant crack when they hit a giant wave when they were on a boat back to camp. Probst arrived to figure out what happened, with medical worried about the extent of his injury. As it became evident that he would be medevaced from the game, Pat begged them to allow him to stay while sobbing whilst sucking down oxygen in pain.

As the helicopter flew in, his tribemates started to breakdown and worried about his injury. When given the ok, they all rushed around and told him how much love they had for him and how their hearts are with him. Jessica hoped that he was still grateful for the experience as they were grateful for him and dammit, now I’m crying. Throw in Gabby’s guilt about misjudging him at first and I’m sobbing. Probst checked in with the tribe, with Jessica saying she feels like they just keep getting kicked down. Clearly feeling sorry for them, Probst cancelled tribal council and told them a flint would await them back at camp.

It honestly was one of the most heartbreakingly cruel exits up their with Wanda and Jonathan, and just below Queen Kourtney Moon who was at least medevaced for an ingame incident. Even more cruel, knowing that Pat is the one that inspired this year’s theme, worked like a boss around camp and was someone that you’d really just want to succeed in life. Given I have a messiah complex, I obviously went into full nurse mode – paging future healer tribe member – and ushered him back to health within a couple of days, in no small part thanks to the sustenance provided by my Patty Melt Cusack.

 

 

Now I must confess – not anything about my loneliness, or its potential to kill me – that the idea of patty melt used to disgust me. I mean, why wouldn’t I just have a burger or a toastie? One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, slapped myself repeatedly over the head like Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and realised how stupid I had been. A patty melt is perfection! Dripping cheese, a thick juicy patty and the addition of sweet, buttery onions? Swoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Patty Melt Cusack
Serves: 2-4, broken-back-ed people.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 slices white bread
8 slices American Cheese

Method
Combine the beef, Worcestershire, sriracha and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Divide into four, shape into patties, cover with cling and place in the fridge to chill while you work on the onions.

Melt a small lug of butter in a small saucepan or medium heat until foamy and sweat the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and golden. Add the muscovado, balsamic and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes, after which they should be sticky and glorious.

Heat a skillet over low heat and when nice and piping, add the patties and cook for a couple of minutes each side until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, and wipe the skillet clean.

To assemble, place a slice of cheese on four slices of bread, top each with caramelised onions, followed by the patty, the remaining cheese and the last slices of bread.

Melt another knob of butter in the skillet and fry the sandies on each side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, filled with boundless joy. Despite a major back injury.

 

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Mattcha Dyson Latte

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Drink, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Sur … wait, no, SERIOUSLY? It happens to me everytime! New year, new season, new gimmicky title – Champions vs. Contenders, yo – and finally, a new location as my boy JLP introduced us to majestic Fiji – aka the home of US Survivor now – before showing us a boat as it made its way through the rivers of Fiji, obviously featuring the Champions … as yachting is how champions choose to travel. On said boat we were introduced to dual code footy champ Mat Rogers, icon Shane Gould – who is instantly my favourite – and Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine’s nemesis Russell Hantz, who for some reason was put on the Champions tribe despite losing Survivor thrice. They were joined by double amputee ex-soldier Damien Thomlinson, who was very confident in the fact one of them will win.

Jokes on him though, because everyone loves an underdog … and with that we were introduced to Steve K and the rest of the Contenders, as they rolled through the jungle in a beat-up old truck, holding on for dear life so not to be flicked out into the Fijian jungle and the awaiting staged tribesman. Joining Steve – who is also an icon – is Anita who will challenge Shane for my heart, oh wait, no, zaddy’s home … I’m going for Robbie. Robbie is hot and I look forward to the Locky Gilbert Memorial Nude Challenge.

The Contenders arrived at the site of their first reward challenge – said Locky Gilbert Memorial Nude Challenge … The Secret is real, yo – to see Jonathan, who gave them some light shade about being the Contenders. Not leaving them to wonder about their opposition for long, JLP brought out the Champions and like me, they were shocked to see three-time loser Russell amongst the line-up

Echoing my sentiments potential-Queen Anita mentioned the fact that everyone loves an underdog, before JLP threw some epic shade at Hantz, enquiring what exactly he had done to be considered a champion.


#JLP4LYF

Mat Rogers wasn’t concerned about having too bigger target on his back, Steve W worked his way up in my books by showing a decent knowledge of the game, and not to mention could give us the majesty of seeing Mish Bridges pulled out for a family reward.

Before I pass out from the excitement of Mish, I’ll focus on the challenge and hand and get back to secreting the clothes off Robbie, Benji, Heath, Steve W and Sam. JLP informed everyone that they would play the game with only the clothes on their backs and that this challenge would give them the chance to battle for comfort items. Each round, one person from each tribe faces off, slides down a slide – hopefully showing some skin for some – and battle for the item dropped at the end.


Shying away from the usual same gendered competitors in each round, Moana was up first for the Champions competing against Matt D for a single pillow. Obvi, I assumed Moana was going to completely school him – as did Mat R – however somehow he took out the pillow, despite her crafting move. Ex-Gladiator Zach and Steve compared muscles for a bag of rice with Steve completely bombing, though making him even more lovable to me. Olympic Gold Medallist Lydia proved no match for Jenna who snagged the Contenders a bag of pineapples – their third win in a row – before Steve K started rifling through the loot, obviously searching for an idol clue due to boredom over how one sided the battle is. Thankfully for the Champions, Queen Shane dominated Paige and scored them their first victory, in the form of oranges. Mat R and Robbie – in some v skimpy pants, YAS – were up next with Mat making a play for my heart by trying to rip his pants off while dragging him over for the Champions second win, this time for rope. The final round featured man-tree Heath versus recent arrestee Brian Lake competing for fire in the form of flint, which Brian snatched by playing dirty and pushing Heath out of the way at the start of the slide.

With that, the survivors were sent off to their camps where we met former Miss Universe Australia Monika who was completely thrilled about not having to shave or wear make-up for a couple of months. Given she is a beauty queen, she is definitely one to watch. Steve W quickly made himself the leader of the Champions, rallying the troops and getting everyone to work setting up camp and starting a fire. Obviously this pissed off Russell, who felt everyone was too focused on setting up camp rather than playing the game. Which yes, is true, but come on … you need shelter and fire ASAP dude. Obviously Russell made a beeline for Monika, who he deemed to be stupid and proceeded to lie about making it to the end with his alliances three times (two dude) and helping a beauty queens win, bitterly spitting out Natalie White’s name when asked. And once again proving that he hasn’t really learnt from his mistakes.

Meanwhile over at the Contenders everyone got down to introducing themselves, with Anita continuing her ascension in my heart. Robbie put his career as a construction manager to good work, leading the tribe in building the shelter while Shonee, Fenella and Paige acted like the Greek Chorus, gossiping about how ripped the guys on their tribe are. While the girls thirsted and Benji, Zach, Heath and Robbie started a bromance, Steve K continued to hunt for an idol in a very obvious and skittish fashion. This got Matt D’s attention, who quickly spread the intel throughout the tribe and worked to get the target for first boot as far away as possible. Despite the drama, the tribe got together to make fire in preparation of nightfall and while there was smoke, there tragically was no fire.

Back at the Champions, the tribe joined together by the fire to share their impressive resumes and bond. While Shane and Lydia impressed with their olympic victories, it was Damien’s story that packed the most emotional punch sharing about the accident that lead to his amputations and even managed to take Russell out of his gamebot mode. While they snuggled by the fire to keep the cold at bay, laughing about how cold the Contenders would be feeling. We then obviously cut to see them shivering in misery, and while it was pitiful, it gave us the sight of Zach nuzzling into Heath for warmth and damn I could ship the hell out of that romance.

The Contenders quickly got to work attempting to make fire and fix their shelter the next day, while Shonee lamented the fact she could be doing brunch right about now, rather than smashing some termites with besties Fenella and Anita. Steve K? Oh, he is still hunting for idols and charming the shit out of Paige and damn, I could ship the shit out of this pairing too. Begging the question, WHY AM I SHIPPING HETERO RELATIONSHIPS?

The Champs went for a morning beach walk while Monika and Brian tried to learn what astrophysicist Sam actually does. He was concerned about how people perceive him being the nerd of the tribe, while Sharn, Brian and Monika gushed over how adorable he is. Russell too was fangirling over Sam, quickly trying to align with him and Monika before going hunting for a hidden immunity idol. With him tragically finding the first one of the season and vowing to force the Champions to start playing the game which is amazing for the sole reason that you know it is going to blow-up in his face.

JLP opted to distract me from the pain of Russell’s idol find by arriving for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would be required to climb over a high wall, climb through a series of obstacles, knock down a wall, unlock puzzle pieces, solving a hanging puzzle and then destroying said puzzle. While it for the ugliest immunity idol, it is immunity … so they were hungry. The Contenders got out to an early lead thanks to man-mountain Heath, while Russell proved to be an albatross around the Champions neck. Well until both tribes were down to one person left to ascend the wall, with Mat R snagging them the lead while poor Heath struggled. Thankfully the Contenders reclaimed the lead through the obstacles, giving them an advantage as they got to solving the puzzle. Though they did almost break Jenna, which looked pretty gnarly. Paige and Matt D quickly worked through the puzzle, well Paige did, while Matt wander aimlessly allowing Damien and Jackie to overtake the Contenders and start on destroying their puzzle. Damien dominated, knocking the puzzle down piece by piece while Matt D desperately tried to close the gap. Which he sadly didn’t.

While the Champions celebrated their win, Anita asked JLP to call a medic to check over Jenna, who thankfully assured her that it was just soft tissue damage. With that, legit doctor JLP sent them back to camp and ordered Jenna to elevate her leg while scrambling to save herself from becoming an easy first boot. Paige tried to rally the troops and perk everyone up, while Steve K lamented how the puzzle solvers squandered their lead. Sensing that he was the obvious target, Steve stuck to everyone like glue to avoid giving them the opportunity to plot against him. Despite feeling close to Zach, he was in fact leading the charge against Steve while Paige, Anita, Fenella, Shonee and Anita spoke about how sad it will be to lose him.

Fenella was confident that Steve wouldn’t have an idol, while Matt started to spook everyone by trying to split the vote just in case he did in fact find one. Matt got increasingly paranoid, going to the other boys to try and lock something in, only painting a bigger target on his back as he offended them and then disappeared for hours trying to find an idol. Obviously this made everyone suspicious, with queen Tegan and Robbie stalking through the jungle like Queen SDT to find him. Which they did, catching him red handed. We then returned back to camp where Matt was miraculously chilling with everyone by the beach and Steve then ran back into camp excitedly, making it all very confusing just as we headed out to tribal.

The tribe filed into tribal council before JLP rubbed salt in their wounds about not having fire or a shelter. While they lamented not being able to sleep, Steve proudly spoke about using meditation to get some killer shut-eye. Zach spoke about first impressions before King Steve called JLP Jeff and tried to refocus everyone on playing the game. Feeling nervous, Matt reminded everyone about Steve hunting for idol clues during the opening challenge and laid into him for not owning it. Robbie then cut him off and told him that maybe he should own his extended disappearance for idol hunting. Which he did own, before completely going in on the bromance alliance and moving the target closer to his back with every word.

While Robbie, Benji and Tegan tried to calm Matt down, he continued to lay into everyone and then offended all the women by saying they were blind, submissive lemmings. Which is ridiculous TBH. Fenella and Paige seethed at his continuing flameout, while Zach still tried to calm Matt while Matt, bless, continued to offend his tribemates, one at a time. Paige channelled Keith Nale and tried to get everyone to stick to the plan, which Heath, Shonee and Jenna agreed was the best, for the tribe. Matt too urged them all to stick to the plan, though the smirk on his face would suggest he either just realised he was the target all along or somehow was trying to make Steve feel safe enough not to play his hypothetical idol.

With that they cast their votes one by one before Steve did not play an idol, real or otherwise, and Matt found himself becoming the first boot of Champions vs. Contenders. Telling the girls to start playing the game on his way out the door, leading to Shonee’s brutal smack-down that they just did, instantly becoming my number one.

Matt was pretty pissed to find himself becoming the first boot, however quickly realised that he really only had himself to blame after that tribal council performance. And by realised, I reiterated it to him until he agreed he fumbled the ball or something else one of the footy playing Champions would say. After beating him down emotionally, I started to feel guilty and so quickly ran off to the kitchen and whipped him up a soothing Mattcha Dyson Latte.

 

 

The soothing nature of green tea combined with the sweetness of maple and the smug you can enjoy knowing how many antioxidants you’re enjoying, make this the perfect antidote to first boot pain.

I mean, it isn’t a shit tonne of cheese and carbs. But it will do.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mattcha Dyson Latte
Serves: 2

Ingredients
1 tbsp matcha powder
1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp maple syrup
300-500ml hot (preferably frothed) milk

Method
Combine the matcha, boiling water and maple syrup in a cup and whisk until smooth and lump free.


Slowly pour in the warmed milk, stirring constantly.

Down, while lamenting the pain of becoming the first boot.

 

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Jose Tikka Maasdama

Main, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor N … o wait a minute, Survivor NZ is one-upping Australian Survivor and has ditched Knee-coo-argh-goo-arua and has headed to a new location in the form of Thailand – yes, pronounced Thailand. While that makes me mildly misty for Brian Heidik’s porno past – he is a garbage person though, I know that – Tanya Vance’s illness and Shi-Ann’s robbery with the fake merge, I am mostly thrilled to have an inland location and thirsty after the Kiwi camera angles. Sigh, Lee and those up-short confessionals – swoon.

Anyway 18 Kiwi castaways boated their way through the Thai waterways – JT, Josh and Adam being particularly babin,’ and Tess speaking for all of us (or maybe just me) shocked by the fact tigers are in Thailand – before meeting Matt on a tiny remote island in the middle of a lake. Despite assuming they had already been split into tribes, the castaways arrived on shore en masse with Renee already terrified by the youth and physicality of her competitors. Though what everyone should really be worried about is the fact that Dave and Matt are High School best friends and in all likelihood will be a strong pair.

After Matt gave the laundry list of changes for the season – hidden immunity idols are a yes, redemption island is a no – Kaysha said she was ready to play, Jose shared she would love the money and Liam felt they would be more cutthroat. Putting that theory to the test, Matt announced that they would be kicking things off differently this year with everyone competing in an individual reward challenge for the, psych, he didn’t tell us … but they pick the tribes, no? Anyway, the challenge kicked off with Jose, Franky, Matt, Renee, Josh, Eve, Kaysha, Arun and JT dominating 20 knots and moving on to the second, now shirtless, round. Josh is still my fave, though Matt is coming through. Anyway, they swam out to a platform in the leak to find another bag of tiles, with Arun, Matt and Jose the lucky three to find tiles despite Franky’s dominance. The final three then swam back into shore before literally ordering tiles from 1-100. Despite being neck and neck with Matt’s glistening torso, Jose took out victory only to discover her victory won her – and Matt, who she selected for coming second – the opportunity to select her tribe. Jose selected Arun, Eve, Dave, Franky, Liam, Renee, JT – who was thrilled to be picked late – to form Chani, with Karla rounding it out as the only remaining female. Matt asked Tara, Josh – swoon – Tess, Brad, Kaysha – shocked she wasn’t first selected – Adam, Lisa forming the Khangkhaw tribe with Dylan completing the tribe by default.

Arriving at the island Chani’s spirits were up, until they discovered the food supplies were scarce and then opted to drink water without caring about whether they needed to boil it. Jose took on a leadership role by default, suggesting they clear a path to limit the risk of snakes and get to work building a fire and shelter closer to the shore. Despite admitting that selecting the tribe kind of made it obvious for her to take the lead on the tribe, Eve warned us that it could easily come back to bite her. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw, Tess and Adam were overwhelmed harsh location while Josh and Brad made quick work of putting together a shelter.

Despite being on the island less than an hour, Karla slashed her hand with a machete and almost bleeding out which made her feel even worse, already feeling on the outs of the tribe. While people were distracted by the drama, JT noticed Arun looking for clues to the hidden immunity idols and decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and forming an alliance. While Liam felt nobody was worrying about playing the game yet, JT followed up his two-person alliance by pulling in Eve and Dave, and Dave rounding out the majority with Franky.

Tara decided to play up the mum-card, despite Barb killing the competition last year with that exact strategy. While she was out sorting the bathroom amenities for her new kids, superfan queen Lisa shared that she was also going to play the mum card and pretend she just wanted to make her kids proud. While she wanted to downplay her passion for the game, she took Tess under her wing and gave her a list of dos and don’ts in the game. While Lisa felt it was all a rouse and didn’t buy it, Tess was hoping the lack of knowledge would allow her to dominate without making herself a threat. Soooo, Tess will eventually blindside Lisa, no? Back at Chani, Arun was hoping to avoid being seen as a leader, leaving Dave and Jose to focus on building fire. That was contrasted with Khangkhaw who decided it was a good idea to soak some rice overnight so they’ll have some mildly moist rice ahead of the next challenge, hopeful it would be enough to get the jump on their competition. Jose was concerned about the target she painted on her back, though was proud of winning the challenge and felt she had selected a strong tribe that would keep her safe. Sadly for her, Franky was sick of her running her mouth which is an easy excuse to get rid of someone early.

The tribes arrived at a muddy field to meet Matt for the first tribal reward of the season for tools and a flint to help sort the fire sitch and make their live easier. The challenge would involve pairs running out into the mud, finding a bag and touching their mat with it … before the other tribe’s pair snatch it. Jose and Renee made quick work winning the first round over Lisa and Tara. Matt and Adam evened things up thanks to the dominant blocking of Adam over Dave and Arun … I think. It was sexy mud wrestling and my thirst is real. Tess and Kaysha owned Franky and Karla, leaving Josh and Brad to battle it out against Liam and JT for the win. Once again, the dirty shirtless men were writhing and hugging before Brad made a break and secured victory for Khangkhaw. Matt then wished Adam happy birthday, his flowing locks look glorious in the mud and damn, everything was right in the world.

Particularly knowing the God filled himself with botox to keep his fellow castaways guessing.

Back at camp Khangkhaw made quick work getting fire thanks to Tara’s passion for pyromania, while poor Chani struggled to make fire with sticks rubbing salt in their wounds. Chani decided to follow Khangkhaw’s lead and cook some rice in the sun to try and turn things around for themselves. Thankfully the winning ways of Khangkhaw ran into a problem as they loaded their fire with rocks to aid cooking … only for them to start exploding everywhere and almost killing the tribe. With that, Dylan extinguished the flames and they were back at square one. Adam felt people were yet to pick up on the fact he was avoiding work as much as possible, while Dylan and Kaysha went hunting for rocks, idols and building an alliance with them, Tara, Lisa and Adam. Slay queens. Khangkhaw then sat down to Adam’s birthday dinner of actually cooked rice, sang him happy birthday and it was fucking delightful. Poor Chani then tried to eat their sun-rice and started to feel even worse about themselves.

Matt returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would be required to use long, hard poles to build a staircase and then run through an obstacle course, unlock puzzle pieces and complete said puzzle. Khangkhaw got out to an early lead while Jose started barking at her tribemates, though somehow they caught up which I assume says the strategy works. Matt then dominated the key maze, giving Khangkhaw back the lead from Franky allowing Dylan and Lisa to secure immunity for their tribe.

After their second loss, Jose proclaimed the strategy to blindly follow her worked well, despite the loss which immediately made me nervous since that isn’t really having any results. On the flipside, Franky was nervous about the vote after letting the tribe down. She went to get water with Renee and Dave, with them deciding they need to keep the tribe strong at this stage, though unsure what exactly that meant. While Franky identified Karla as an option and she felt like she was on the bottom, it didn’t really feel like it as they arrived at their iconic cave tribal council.

Eve felt disappointed to be at tribal council, while Renee felt that they were no weaker than their opponents despite their track record. Franky was nervous after blowing the competition, Dave thought the suffering was bringing everyone together. Renee and JT thought you should never feel safe in the game, Franky downplayed her scheming, Liam thought there had been no scheming, Jose felt they were outliers for being positive and not plotting while Karla was nervous and felt that no one should feel blindsided since everyone should be feeling nervous at their first tribal. That however was completely false as the votes rolled in for her and Jose, with Jose finding herself becoming the first boot to her and Karla’s utter disbelief.

While Jose was feeling her feels when she arrived back at loser lodge, she was thrilled to see me – her mentor and friend from Blenheim – there with a warm, slightly patronising smile. Given her dominance in the challenges, she was surprised to find herself becoming the first boot … until I reminded her that Ulong did it to Jolanda in Palau and we can always channel my pettiness into sabotaging them. Tragically she still wished her tribe well, though I suspect it had a lot to do with my Jose Tikka Maasdama.

 

 

Given she was kicked in the guts, I knew she would need something to give her back her spice … and let’s be honest, a Tikka Masala is the best way to do it. A little bit of heat and a shit tonne of spice, I had Jose back in top form in a matter of mouthfuls. Which is meant to sound less sexually aggressive than it does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jose Tikka Maasdama
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp garam masala
salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup natural yogurt
600g lamb, diced
vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
800g can diced tomatoes
1 cup double cream

Method
Combine half the garam masala with a good whack of salt and pepper, the cumin, coriander, chilli, lemon zest and juice and natural yoghurt in a bowl. Add the lamb and toss to coat before covering and placing in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.

Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. When starting to soften, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute before stirring in the tomatoes and remaining garam masala. Once bubbling, add the lamb and marinating liquid. Stir to combine and bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering for fifteen minutes.

Once the lamb is cooked through, add the cream and stir to combine and heat through. Serve immediately with rice, poppadoms and all the fixins’ … which Jose will never hear as the first boot.

Don’t be sad though. Devour!

 

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Stephunghi Gonzalizza

Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on the 35 prior seasons of Survivor, the Survivor Gods started storing up every bad mistake any contestant made in a mental bank like a psychopath that is awful, but thinks they’re the victim (Janet – I know you hate millennials, so stop asking me about Microsoft Word as if it is my fault it isn’t working). You know them, we all have one. Erik handing over his hidden immunity to Natalie, Jay playing David’s fake idol, James getting booted with two idols in his pocket, Sierra handing off the legacy advantage to the person that blindsided her, the fucking stick and I assume, the entire Ulong tribe.

Anyway, they withdrew them from the bank and shoved them on an exile like island, and now it is up to 20 new castaways to reverse the curse or flame out in equal epic situations. Like the fucking stick.

Arriving on the beach to meet Probst, we were thrilled to discover they weren’t being shoehorned into a random theme and just got to form the Malolo and Naviti tribes. No heroes in sight … well except for zaddy Brendan of Malolo who was selected to represent the tribe for the ambiguous event Jeff teased to them after laying out the theme. On the flipside, young Chris volunteered to represent Naviti before anyone else had a chance to offer. Their task? Well it was thankless, having to select two people to complete an unknown challenge – one physical, one puzzle.

School teacher and owner of my heart Brendan selected baby Michael for the physical aspect and Michaela and Hannah’s baby Laurel for the puzzle, while Chris selected Sebastian – under the sea – for the physical and Desiree for the puzzle. On account of Morgan literally throwing herself out of sight to avoid being selected. The runner was required to, wait for it, run through obstacles to collect keys that the puzzle solver uses to unlock pieces and solve said puzzle. As Probst is want to do, added another twist to the the challenge where the winner would get a shelter building kit and a fishing kit, in addition to their meagre supplies. However if the loser knows their losing, they have a widow of time at which they can forfeit the challenge, get the booby prize of a fishing kit … and hand the winner 20 eggs and a flint in addition to their haul. See, thankless task.

The guys were neck and neck throughout the obstacles – Michael must have had a juicebox – before both falling apart towards the end. Of course Brendan gave his best fatherly, PE teacher pep talk and my basement flooded. Both Des and Laurel seemed to make quick progress on the puzzle, however Chris disagreed … pulling the plug on Naviti and handing Malolo a flame grilled feast to gorge in their dining room. Jeff immediately worked to stir up some drama, identifying all the people on Naviti – well the one – who wouldn’t have given up on the tribe.

Over at the camp of kings, Michael quickly worked his way into my heart which makes me feel all kinds of icky since he is 18.  Though not to his tribe, who he is telling he is 23. The tribe quickly got to work setting up home, where Donathan worked to learn who everyone was and warm my heart with his genuine, sweet nature.

Over at Naviti, Kellyn lived up to my own preseason hype, talking about how she recently made some major changes in her life and was genuinely super thrilled to be around everyone else on her tribe. Likeable Tony Lite Dom them led construction on their shelter, since he legit is in construction, and christened Sebastian Sea Bass on account of his occupation. Sadly that got him off on the wrong foot with old Sea Bass who quickly moved to align with Chris and set their sites on Dom.

The next day we checked in with Jacob who looks like Fozzie Bear and managed to lose his shoes while by the beach. This made him feel even worse, since he and Donathan are clearly not as physically fit as the rest of his tribe. To counter that, he went off hunting for an idol … which gave the rest of his tribe enough time to talk about said idol hunting, and paint a big ol’ target on his back. He then stayed back alone at camp under the guise of getting the fire going while the tribe bonded and looked for food together. Thankfully they weren’t aware that he used said time to pour the rice into his socks to see if there was anything hidden in the container.

Back at Naviti things seemed to be going better, with their shelter coming along well and Wendell building fish traps with bamboo like a total boss. He then shared with us that he studied Law and hopes that people are going to underestimate him. Things were looking up for Dom, as Wendell had taken a shining to him and he and Bradley gave him a heads up about the Chris/Sea Bass alliance.

Jiffy Pop returned to the scene for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would run across a net bridge, collect ropes and use them to wheel a sled of puzzle pieces towards a table before, obvi, solving said puzzle. To up the ante, he informed the tribes that someone from the losing tribe would be going to Ghost Island which is good for them, as it makes them immune from becoming the first boot. Naviti got out to an early lead while poor Brendan tried to coach the kids of Malolo to keep their heads held high. Sadly they were no match for Kellyn, who led her tribe to victory on the puzzle while Michael looked beautiful pushing the pieces in with his crotch.

While Jacob tried to keep morale up after their loss, the Naviti tried decided to punish his positivity and send him to Ghost Island. Though apparently, they fell straight into his trap and he wanted to find out what Ghost Island was and get himself immune. Sadly though, he said that out loud and his entire tribe know that what his game. But to reiterate, he is immune and he needed it. So yay Jacob.

Finally we met Ghost Island where Jacob was welcomed by two giant tiki statues, multiple immunity idols, all of the torch snuffers from seasons past and a row of small urns with the instruction to smash one. Inside he found a clue, telling him to follow a row of flames where he found a game of chance offering him a secret advantage … if he wagers his vote at the next tribal council. He saw three pieces of bamboo on the table in front of him, one of which was locked. He correctly assumed that the key was inside of one of them, and he simply had to pick which one. Which he did, opening it to find the Legacy Advantage from Game Changers that Sierra cursed by telling Sarah it existed, only to be blindsided by the eventual victor moments later. But of course, there was a twist, this one requiring him to hand it off to a person of the other tribe, the person he selected being puzzle-averse Morgan.

Back at Malolo, Gonzalez decided it was a good idea to chastise everyone about their loss and tell them they should have used Donathan’s idea, which she tried to pass off as her own. Thankfully he wasn’t a wallflower, electing to tell James, Stephanie and someone else – it is episode one, give me a break – that he tried to speak up during the challenge and was instead told to shut up by Gonzalez. While Gonzalez tried to rally the troops, the other Stephanie worked hard to turn things on her and protect Donathan … which Michael was concerned about, since they really need to hold on to any strength they had.

Like Ghost Island, tribal council was creepy as hell, looking like the Blair Witch had sex with a tiki god. Probst got to work needling the tribe, leading to Gonzalez talking about Jacob being special … which no one seemed to take issue with. Laurel spoke about the need to stay strong, Jeff asked Donathan how he felt about that given he is so teeny tiny. Thanks Jeff. Obviously Mama Stephanie stepped in to defend he potential new boyfriend ally, saying that strength comes in different forms. Gonzalez then spoke about wanting to be a part of the puzzle section of the challenge, which Brendan alluded would have been super useful to know YESTERDAY.

Jeff then polled the tribe about whether alliances had formed, which everyone started giving answers to before Michael said something that triggered Gonzalez’s paranoia. She then got up and started whispering in Brendan and Michael’s ear to find out who they were voting for. Michael then adorably apologised for interrupting Probst to talk to Jenna and Laurel about what was said, while Donathan sat in the left-right-out position. Thankfully for him as the votes rolled in, Gonzalez’s efforts were in vain and she found herself out of the game unanimously as the first boot.

Make no mistake Stephanie don’t call me Stephanie Gonzalez was not a happy no longer camper to become the first boot. And while I didn’t add salt to her wounds by telling her I was thrilled her exit saved Donathan, it did take an extend period of time to calm her down. But how could you not calm down when a Stephunghi Gonzalizza is in front of you?

 

 

Earthy, sweet and full of flavour, there is nothing better than the simplistic beauty of a mushroom, goat’s cheese and truffle pizza. I mean, name a more iconic throuple. I’ll wait.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephunghi Gonzalizza
Serves: 1 angry, sassy first boot.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
100-200g mozzarella, grated
½ cup goat’s cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp white truffle oil

Method
Make the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s recipe.

While they’re proving, heat a lug of oil in a pan and sweat the shallots and garlic for a minute or so before adding the mushrooms and cooking for five minutes, or until softened. Add the thyme, rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 180C.

When the bases are good to go, sprinkle mozzarella over the bases, top with mushroom and crumble over the goats cheese. Drizzle over some truffle oil, transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes or so, or until golden, crisp and delicious.

Devour immediately.

 

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Katrina Radaiquiri

Drink, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Sur … hang on, this isn’t Aus-Probst Probst, this is Probst Probst! Yep, Survivor is back after a game changing season – in title, not so much in game play – where Sarah deserved to win, because Cirie was the only person immune at a tribal council. At least Sandra got to prove her naysayers wrong by playing her most dominant game, despite landing as a pre-juror.

Anywho, we’re back in Fiji and Probst is just fanging to make some ball and shaft puns while a new batch of castaways struggle it out for glory and a million dollars. But seriously, how beautiful is Fiji?

After removing himself from the peak of a mountain, Probst joined the castaways on a boat in the middle of the ocean where he quickly shoehorned the cast into their tribes. We first met my namesake Ben and the hero tribe, who was a marine and I couldn’t really understand much else. We then met Chrissy who obviously became my instant favourite.

Next up were Cole and the healers tribe. I’m not sure what Cole does, beyond something with disadvantaged youth. He is hella pretty. He is joined by Mike the sex doctor who is neurotic as hell and I love it, unless he goes the David Samson route. Finally we met Ali and the hustlers tribe, which I just learnt wasn’t made up of prostitutes.

Probst then issued the first challenge, that being to pilfer as many supplies from the ship as possible before racing to the shore to light a torch from a suspended fire, or something. As usual, the marooning was utter chaos as the tribes ran around to gather supplies while a hustlin’ Ryan discovered a secret advantage, unbeknownst to everyone else. Probsty boarded a speedboat while the tribes rowed to shore, well two of them, the hustlers were busy trying to film a remake of the Blue Lagoon scene when they’re floating around the ocean. The healers won out and got a pre-made roaring fire waiting for them at their camp, while the heroes got some flint and the hustlers sadly couldn’t finance the remake.

We followed the healers back to their camp where we were introduced to Roark who is my other favourite, low-rent Tony aka Joe and Jessica who is as obsessed with Cole as I am. I mean, dem undies – swoon! At the heroes camp we were introduced to Ashley who is planning to shed her heroic persona, and JP’s pants if she gets her way. They are keen to align with marine Ben however immediately made ex-NFL player Alan paranoid by their closeness. As he was keen to pretend he was in with them, that left the older ladies Queen Chrissy and her fellow ‘mumsquad-er’ Olympian Katrina, on the outs.

Meanwhile over at the hustlers, fisherman Lauren quickly became my favourite on their tribe. Actually, no Patrick is – I can’t go past a ripped redhead – who quickly started to speculate about who found the clue he assumed was on the boat. This then shocked Ryan, who has never experienced anyone trying to get in his pants, where the note was currently hidden. He then wandered into the jungle to find out that his advantage is a super idol – aka one that can be played after the votes have been read, not the Australian version – to be used at only the first tribal council. If the hustlers’ don’t attend said tribal, he has to bequeath it to a member of the losing tribe.

Back at the healers camp we met Desi before Mike told us that his son had told him his priority should be to find an idol, so made an excuse to go looking. Sadly he wasn’t as stealth as he thought, arousing the suspicions of Joe who immediately confronted him and treated him like one of the criminals he rehabilitates, which in turn, made him an instant enemy of Mike’s.

The hustlers were feeling far more harmonious, where we met Devon who is also bangin’. Ryan then decided that he would be the perfect person to align with and told him about the super idol which is either a great idea, or a horrible one … and I really hope it’s the former.

Meanwhile things were deteriorating at the heroes camp where Alan grew even more paranoid about JP and Ashley’s closeness, quickly decided that JP had also found the idol which is a reach, even for me. Alan was not buying any of his denials and proceeded to confront him by the shore and asked to search him. At this point, I don’t know who I love more as JP took off his pants – CBS, why you have to blur … by more like CBS Aus – or Alan for making him take them off and getting a good look at his junk. In any event, they are spooning in the shelter  in my mind and I am moister than an oyster that Kimmi doesn’t want Monica to over-farm in Cambodia (yes, they were clams but whatevs).

Probst finally returned to screen for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes were required to race across a cargo net to the top of a tower and pull a cart to the top. They then jump in said cart, ride it (dirty) to the bottom, select a table maze and then climb a ladder with said table maze to the top and land three balls at the end. The heroes were first to select their maze and for some reason, picked the hardest, followed by the hustlers who had the second hardest, leaving the healers with the easiest … oh, no it isn’t, that is a rail they need to balance it on. Thankfully Roark is a dominant, healing coach and quickly advised them to victory, handing them immunity leaving the hustlers and heroes to battle it out, with the former taking out the win and sending the heroes to tribal council, after Chrissy finished her post-challenge vom.

Back at camp the heroes commenced scrambling where Ashley pointed out that Alan’s strip-search outburst made her question their alliance. On the flipside, Alan was also not feeling the alliance and approached Chrissy and Katrina to form an alliance and save themselves as they all feel vulnerable. Alen tried to bring in Ben, who is already super confused about what is going on. While he is concerned about JP and Ashley’s closeness, he is also concerned about retaining strength. Chrissy then went to grab her bag on the way to tribal where she discovered her vom clearly garnered her some sympathy from Ryan who bequeathed his super idol to her which could make things really interesting.

At tribal council Chrissy and Katrina announced that they felt like they were on the outs in the tribe. Thankfully Ashley brought in some drama, calling out Alan’s stripsearch resulting in the best facial expressions since Eliza Orlins and the hope that mumsquad could live to see another day, with or without the super-idol. Alan continued to paint a target on his back like a male Jennifer Lanzetti, while mumsquad played it cool. Sadly it was all for nought as Katrina was sent from the game as the first boot while Chrissy was in possession of the most legitimate looking fake idol of all time.

As I mentioned earlier, I used to be an Olympic level swimming coach which is where I met and fell in love with my dear, dear friend Katrina aka 1987 Pan Pacific 4 x 200 freestyle champion Trina Radke. While I’m heartbroken by the fact you didn’t get to know how wonderful she is during her short stay, I am grateful that my Katrina Radaiquiri can cure what ails ya. Or me.

 

 

While my years of sneaking into venues on the Gold Coast as part of my misspent youth had me believing it was mandatory for daiquiris to be frozen, our friendship drink of choice taught me otherwise. The warmth of the bacardi – I mean, dang, is it my birthday, cause I’m sipping it like it is – mixed with the hit of citrus is perfect to wash away the pain of being the first boot.

Enjoy!

 

 

Katrina Radaiquiri
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
1 part lime juice
2 tsp raw caster sugar
3 parts bacardi
cubed ice

Method
Place the lime juice and sugar in a cocktail and leave it to dissolve for a minute or so before adding the bacardi and ice and shaking, hard, preferably like a polaroid picture.

Strain into a glass and down, greedily.

 

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Breakfast Joan Caballnaro

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Breakfast, Main, Pasta, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor – hang on a minute, this is the premiere. Why am I getting recap vibes? I mean, yas yas yas for the Samoan sea witch tribute … but we’ve got new castaways to meet, greet and roast.

After an epic yet strangely rushed intro from JLP, we opened on the new castaways sitting on a boat in the pouring rain at night before legit meeting our first castaway military Mark W, my potential new boyfriend Locky, who is feeling very confident about his upcoming victory. We then met Jacqui who is an absolute queen and I am desperately hoping actually pulls out the win. We then met Sarah – who survived Naomi Campbell, so is a definite frontrunner – followed by Mark H aka good Des who is, well, the duck’s nuts.

We then met Aimee the plumber – not a hairdresser, a plumber (and a bogan) – Henry the faux yogi – fauxgi? – the pious Jericho who is planning on dragging people to hell with him, Jarrad the freak and weirdo who is prettier than he is giving himself credit for, shady Joan who is proudly better than last year’s cast and AK the DJ. Just let those four letters sit with you, AK. DJ.

JLP arrived to put me out of my AK misery and welcome the new castaways, congratulating Mark H on his killer beard and introducing us to Sam who was shitting herself, and not appearing to endear herself to her fellow castaways. We then heard from Luke who rambled and confused the hell out of me before JLP lost interest and checked in with our fauxgi who Sarah is thrilled to be on Samatau with, while Luke and his Asagan were feeling super confident that they would dominate.

Given his rambled introduction, I’m going to assume they will not in fact dominate.

With that, JLP kicked off the game telling the castaways that they could loot the barge for supplies, fill up an floating net before diving off the ship and racing the other tribe to a bag of rice on the shore. JLP being JLP had a twist up his sleeve, with the first tribe to the rice getting to keep everything in their raft while the losers had to set up camp with nothing.

I mean, it isn’t the winner takes it all but it sure is brutal.

Both tribes scrambled about the boat and quickly got to work pushing their nets to shore. Poor, confused Luke kinda flopped off the side of the boat, while Locky decided it was best for Samatau to throw some of their supplies into the water to lighten their load and speed up their swim to the beach. Given the fact the loser gets nothing, it kind of made sense.

Asaga struggled when they arrived at the beach allowing Samatau to catch-up, dump pretty much everything else in their net, pick it up on their shoulders and run to the mat. Jarrad then climbed on his tribes’ shoulders to grab the bag of rice, before Asaga caught up and threw Sam into the fray. The two battled it out, hanging on to the hook before Sam fell off and handing Jarrad the victory.

Samatau arrived at their beach, feeling rightfully cocky before we met my other favourite Tara aka the first good barrel racer to play Survivor. The tribe then did their introductions where we also met Adam the gym owner slash secret poker player. Despite not wanting to, Locky took the lead and got the tribe working on building their shelter which Tara was living for because he is an absolute babe.

We then met Anneliese who was also thirsty, but not as charmingly as Tara. Tara is me, I am Tara, I am a queen, Tara is queen … you hear?

AK pulled himself … aside trying to make alliances with everyone starting with Mark H, followed by Peter – who he wanted to clarify was gay before locking anything in – Tara and Jarrad. I mean I shouldn’t be shocked since he can only muster two letters, but I find him insufferable.

Meanwhile over at the decidedly less affluent Asaga, Sarah was feeling positive despite the fact they have absolutely nothing. The tribe quickly got to work trying to figure out what the hell they would do, with Joan taking the lead, tasking her tribe mates to build a shelter. They then wandered around for hours before settling on a location, which you just know is not a good sign for their longevity.

Sam confessed to being a control freak before Luke returned to try and win me over by talking about his family, though there is just something so insufferable about him. Mark then returned to talk about the fact he was hiding his military past to appear less threatening, though Jacqui was loving his skills.

We then met Kent who is a dickhead, his word.

Back at Samatau we got some skinny dipping from Locky and  … I dunno, I’m moister than an oyster. Night fell – with Locky sadly clothed – and in rolled the rain, which AK was loving as he was mentally prepared for it. My queen Tara then started to fall ill, leaving the shelter to vomit. AK quickly followed to see how she was … no wait, he was seeing if they were good, not if she was good.

AK, forget you, go home, goodbye.

The next day Samatau awoke to the reality that sleeping in the rain was not all that enjoyable before treemail arrived for the first challenge, requiring each tribe to send two people to compete for fire. Mark H and Adam competed for Samatau, the latter of who tried to tell Jacqui and Mark W how great things were at their camp. Thankfully Mark H – dare I say it, my king – quickly shut him down, admitting that they had nothing and really needed the win.

The challenge involved each tribe starting a fire on a station and building it high enough to burn through a rope aka the final four tie breaker. Samatau got out to an early lead with Mark H building a strong, smoky flame, while young Mark and Jacqui scrapped the magnesium off the flint and stood around. That being said it was a winning strategy, with old Mark and storytelling Adam’s fire quickly dwindling and young Mark and Jacqui’s slowly building to burn through the rope.

Jacqui and Mark W returned to camp victorious, bringing Joan to tears and making Kent look awkward. While Jacs was loving the positive attention, Mark was concerned that winning the challenge exposed his mad skills … which is a good point, but I think people are more concerned about fire at the moment to worry.

Over at Samatau, Locky and Mark H tried and failed to kill a shark. That is literally it.

The next day Asaga awoke to Joan gloating about her glorious night’s sleep before she got everyone motivated for the first immunity challenge. Being an escape room owner, she is confident in her puzzle skills which makes me feel extremely anxious about her bombing the puzzle and therefore the challenge for her tribe.

My dear JLP returned for the immunity challenge where Joan spoke about how well their tribe was going, while Tara mentioned that Samatau was struggling due to having rice but no fire to cook it. With that, JLP explained the first immunity challenge, requiring the tribes to crawl under an obstacle, climb up ropes to release a cargo net, push crates to build a staircase, climb over a wall and then … a puzzle.

Asaga got out to an early lead with Mark H’s rope climbing skills, before Peter caught Samatau up. The tribes were neck and neck pushing their boxes down to build a staircase before Samatau opted not to build the entire staircase and instead have dreamy, skinny-dipping Locky push everyone up to the top of the wall, before Adam, Mark H and Peter pulled the stranding Locky over the wall.

Despite Locky’s hero performance, Asaga caught up leaving Jarrad and Luke to battle it out releasing the puzzle pieces leaving Anneliese and AK and Joan and Kent to secure victory with the puzzle. After struggling with the knots, Joah managed to pull out in front before hitting a dead end giving Samatau time to remove all the pieces, start again and take out immunity.

Back at camp Joan was feeling rightfully anxious about tribal, while Kent likened himself to a star footballer stumbling at the last hurdle. Kent joined with Sam and Jacqui, the former of whom wanted Joan gone while Jacs was happy to just go with the flow. Not wanting to lay down and get voted out, Joan pulled everyone aside and tried to put the target on Kent.

Meanwhile Odette rallied Ben, Michelle and Jericho to target Joan, while Sam loitered in the bushes like a low rent Sandra Diaz-Twine. Sam then pulled Sarah aside to talk about getting rid of Joan, decided to tell Joan it was Kent, which Joan bought.

Kent hung in his dickies in the ocean with Jacs and Henry before Sam decided to overcomplicate the vote, splitting it 6-4 on Joan and Kent. Shocking no one, that aroused suspicion in Sam, leading Luke to try and flip the vote to Kent … which obviously lead into our first tribal of the season.

JLP quickly got to work asking Michelle how the tribe were going, with Luke adding that he would continue to tinker with the shelter until it was perfect and the tribe were comfortable. Joan then jumped in to say she was probably on the block for having a good sleep the night before. We then circled back to Luke who said that he would base his vote on challenge performance, making Kent and Joan even more nervous. Kent then tried to defend himself, saying it was the best place for the old fella … which Sam correctly pointed out meant he couldn’t do anything else. Joan then tried to throw more shade on Kent for being the worse of the two, before the tribe cast their votes.

Luke then asked how to spell Henry while casting his vote, which I will begrudgingly admit was funny.

The votes quickly piled up, one by one, on Joan and Kent, resulting in a 6-6 tie. Everyone but Joan and Kent then went to vote again, Ben looking extremely confused about the entire ordeal as the votes rolled in for them both, before Joan took out the lead and became the first person booted from the game.

I’ve known Joan for years, having met at an escape room owners convention in 2013, before they were a thing, and knew that dear Joan would be feeling shitty about being cut from the game. That is, until she lay her eyes on my Breakfast Joan Caballnaro.

 

 

Rich, creamy, a little bit salty, chock full of meat and completely comforting, the breakfast version – hey, fried eggs make anything a breakfast version – of a classic carbonara is the ultimate post-boot comfort meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Breakfast Joan Caballnaro
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
300g linguine
300g pork sausages, broken up into meatballs
4 shallots, roughly chopped
6 eggs
zest of a lemon
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
200g parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a pot of salt water over high heat and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

While the pasta is getting al dente, heat a frying pan over medium heat and cook the sausage until browned. Add the shallots and cook until you can no longer smell the three-days Joan was on the island.

Combine four eggs, zest, parsley, parmesan and salt and pepper in a jug and whisk until combined. Drain the pasta, reserving some cooking water.

In a medium frying pan, fry the remaining eggs until the whites are just cooked.

Add the pasta to the sausage / shallot mix, and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and stir through the cheesy egg mixture, adding a little bit of the past water to loosen the mixture.

Serve immediately, topped with a fried egg, and eat your first boot feels.

 

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Deetroot Harper Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on … hang the fuck up, what is this fresh hell. Where am I? It walks like a duck, acts like a duck but sounds like a moa! I’ve been bamboozled, and this is Survivor New Zealand!

In any event we are in Nicoooraaaguuua, where we first met Lou who channelled me and had zero idea about basic global geography. Next up we met the funny and charming Dee which sounds more ironic, and Tony who was cool with spiders and Sala who most definitely was not.

The castaways were trucked on to the beach where Shannon the zookeeper quickly won me over with her super fandom before the host – my frenemy Matt Chisholm – butchered the pronunciation of Nicaragua for the second time, as he welcomed the castaways.

We once again got some facetime with Dee who was thrilled to be here and face a tribal council before announcing she was thrilled to play as the villain, cementing her as my red-hot favourite for first boot.

Mike however wasn’t convinced Dee would (last long enough to) be the villain, Nathan didn’t like his chances in challenges and Tony mumbled his way through something … I think about being a provider but I honestly have no idea.

Immediately overtaking Shannon as my fave, we were introduced to Hannah the plus-sized model, roller derby competitor and power lifter – fucking swoon! Matt then christened her the queen of the Mogotón tribe – in addition to my heart – joined by Avi, Izzy, Lou, spider-fearing Sala, Shay, Tom and spider-loving Tony.

On the flipside, Barb was thrilled to be a part of the purple tribe aka Hermosa, as was Georgia who just felt like it was better for her while poor Nate had zero interest in the tribe since he felt he better connected with people on the other tribe. They were joined by Jak, Lee, Mike, Nate, Shannon and the infamous Dee.

After Tom lamented that all the people he connected with landed on the other tribe also, begging the question – is this actually day one? – my boy kiwi Probst dropped the bomb that both tribes would be joining him later that night to vote out a member each. Dum, dum, duuuummmm – that sounds ominous, no?

Everyone was rightly concerned about the twist, realising they’ve given up more than a month of their lives to spend less time on the island than Jonathan and Wanda. I wonder if one of the first boots will write us a song?

Wanting to give us some instant drama, Matt announced that the tribes could loot as many of the items placed they had scattered around the beach in a set amount of time which I can not for the life of me remember, so let’s say it was two minutes. Or one. I don’t know, I was drunkenly heckling from the back of the truck they just rolled up in.

Izzy was quick to play dirty – or heroically if you frame it like Rupert being a pirate in Pearl Islands – and stole the items from the other tribes’ mat while they weren’t looking which upset Lee … which in turn made me happy as he shared his pain with a camera angle clearly framing his crotch.

Lee was not alone, with the entire Hermosa tribe well pissed leaving Izzy to have immediate regret for her actions and attempt to give them a pity knife which Lee tossed back to her … and then Nate told Jak to go get back. It was as odd as it sounds.

Mogotón arrived at camp with their abundance of goods slash collection of throwing knives, where Tony was quick to take on the role of leader and share his wealth of survival knowledge, rubbing his tribe mates the wrong way during his monologue. Avi however wasn’t bothered by his assertive behaviour or the casual sexism, given that it keeps the target off him.

Hannah continued her assault on my heart by killing a crab and complaining about Tom underestimating her because of her weight, rather than trusting that she is strong. Izzy and Shay were also concerned about Tom’s shiftiness and the three agreed to blindside him at tribal that night. She then worked her ass off lugging rocks everywhere and almost single-handedly built the camp. Kween.

Shay then approached Sala to join her and the girls but was swiftly and sadly rebuked, with Sala telling her that Tom and Avi want Hannah or Izzy out at tribal that night and he was on board.

Over at Hermosa, Dee took a leaf out of Tony’s book and decided to appoint herself leader before outlining her extensive preparation – to us – to appear nice. She then got to work aligning with Shannon and Georgia, both of whom had little interest in aligning with her.

Proving that she gives zero fucks for the aforementioned alliance, Georgia immediately approached Mike to form an actual alliance … though was so obvious about it, she spooked Lee. Mike then pulled Nate aside about aligning with Shannon and Georgia, putting the final kibosh on poor Dee’s alliance. Then Barb put the final nail in Dee’s coffin and confirmed that she didn’t trust her and wanted her gone ASAP.

Nate however was less convinced that the alliance would hold due to his age, before being proven right when Shannon and Georgia introduced casual ageism to the episode. Sensing trouble, Dee attempted to channel Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine and told Mike she was willing to vote anyone other than her before throwing Barb’s name out and continuing the ageism.

Back at Mogotón, Shay pulled Hannah aside and told her that the tribe were planning to target either her or Izzy. Izzy pulled Sala aside and gave a less than rousing speech about how Hannah may be weak but she is also strong and that they should target Tom, which is the perfect way to segway into the first tribal councils of Survivor NZ.

Mogotón were first up, where Tom felt it was rough that someone would have to go home on day one which Lou agreed with before adding they’ve barely had the opportunity to get to know people. Hannah continued to win me over, imploring people not to trust a book by its cover while casually dropping all her skills into a single sentence. Avi made an early play for worst deflector at tribal council, saying that he can’t have everyone’s back when asked point blank if he had Hannah’s. Oy.

Tony proved that he was more self-aware than I gave him credit for, saying that people had been biting their lip around him before outing the fact that alliances have been formed despite any and all denials. Sala spoke about his integrity before Izzy spoke about feeling uneasy after giving up the knife that she stole from the other tribe … before Matt reminded us they were playing for the runner-up prize of O.G. Survivor as they headed in to vote, incorrectly folding the parchment.

Sadly as quickly as she won my heart, Hannah became the first boot of Survivor NZ before Matt quickly ushered in Hermosa to claim his next scalp.

Hermosa were quick to address the fact that they were naive to trust the other tribe at the looting before Georgia spoke about how much she loved everyone, to which Matt – winning me back over in the process – called bullshit. Shannon name checked Heroes vs. Villains before Matt checked in with resident villain Dee, who was quick to disassociate herself from her previous assertions. Lee danced around Matt’s questions about alliances before Dee jumped back in to spook the sensors as they went to vote.

As predicted – YAS me – poor Dee became the first person voted out of Hermosa and the second person voted out of Survivor NZ … or is she? Yep, the sound you’re currently hearing is Survivor fans across the globe screaming about the return of redemption island … though yay, Hannah is still here! Silver linings, people!

Anyway back at camp, Hermosa got to work building a fire, blissfully unaware that Dee was still alive in the game, plotting her revenge. Over at Mogotón, Tony wasn’t having as much luck proving his worth slash making fire, while Shay spoke about how guilty she felt for voting against Hannah.

The next day Hermosa got to work expanding their shelter before sitting down to an ill-advised meal of rotten fruit. Meanwhile Izzy had fallen ill at Mogotón and was questioning quitting on day two – maybe she ate some of the rotten fruit – proving once again that they should have kept Hannah in the game.

Speaking of Hannah, both tribes were finally clued in to the fact that she and Dee were not out of the game – yet – and that they were about to compete in the first redemption island duel, a classic where they both had to work a big strong pole, stick it into a hole and release themselves from behind a cage.

Hannah got out to an early lead, snagging the first two keys before Dee had even managed to work up a pole. Despite a valiant effort from Dee to even things up, Hannah secured the third and final key, released herself and sent Dee packing as the first official elimination of the season.

Despite feeling upset to become the first boot, Dee was ok with the fact when she spotted me in loser lodge. You see, I connected with Survivor superfan Dee when she briefly stalked this here patch of cyber-space as part of her weekly Survivor media coverage. Being desperate for even the faintest whiff of positive attention, I started a Fame Hungry fan club for her and made her the president and founding member.

The dish we served at her inauguration brunch – and to cheer her up post boot? Obvi my roasted Deetroot Harper Salad.

 

 

This little baby goes a long way to proving the ancient Australian proverb “you can beat an egg, but ya’ can’t beat a root” correct because these roots are bloody stunning. Sweet, warm beetroot, creamy feta and the tart balsamic are perfectly complemented by the crunch of walnut and pepitas.

To the kitchen, ya … enjoy!

 

 

Deetroot Harper Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 large beetroot
200g danish feta, crumbled
½ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
⅓ cup pepitas, roasted
2 cups baby spinach
a lug of balsamic vinegar, to taste
a lug of olive oil, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Wash the beetroot, roughing up the skin a bit as you go. Wrap each in foil, place on a lined baking tray and bake for an hour.

While the beetroot is cooking, combine the feta, walnuts, pepitas and spinach in a large bowl. Add a lug of balsamic and olive oil, season and toss.

When the beetroot are done, remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes. Unwrap the foil and gently rub the skin away from the beetroot – which it should do, but if not peel them now – cut into large chunks and toss through the salad.

Serve with the beetroot still warm and devour.

 

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