Michael Crocembouche

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor we were finally introduced to speedo king Jordan’s cousin Josh, who proudly joined the new Blood tribe to eliminate his cuz’s former ally Amy before she could turn the tribe against him. While Nina had positioned herself in her new tribe, she tragically injured herself when coming off a slide during the reward challenge. As Blood enjoyed their reward, Jordie, Josh and Mark vowed to share any idols clue they came across. Which is exactly what Mark didn’t do, unaware that Jordie spotted him stealthily popping the clue in his shoe. Before we could get a resolution to that scene, Nina was whisked away from the reward for further testing before returning at the site of the next immunity challenge where we learnt she had an avulsion fracture in her ankle and was tragically being medevaced from the game.

With Nina’s departure confirmed, Jonathan did a hard pivot as the castaways wiped off their tears before learning of the upcoming challenge. First they would race through a mud pit, barge through a wall of hay bales and clear a path to carry a chariot, before throwing a monkey fist to release sandbags and lift the rider to the top over the tower to collect the sandbags and drop them down for the tribe to use to knock out tiles spelling their tribe names. Oh and in addition to immunity, the winning tribe would also get an advantage they can read all about after they get back to camp.

Blood got out to the earliest of leads which was only extended as they quickly smashed through the wall of hay. Jordie and Jesse then got carried on the chariot for their rival tribes, with both boys struggling to land their monkey fists before Jesse landed his out of nowhere, collected all the sandbags and started shooting while Blood floundered. Jesse and Khanh traded out with Khanh shooting away at the targets as Jordie finally released his sandbags and against all odds, ended up closing the gap. As Josh and Khanh shot head to head, Josh took the lead for Blood again, while Khanh was always just behind, tragically allowing Josh to jag a come from behind victory for Blood.

Back at camp Ben was frustrated to once again lose a challenge, though joined up with Sam and Jesse to lock in the vote against Michelle, with a split on Khanh to clear out his idol. While Ben was feeling good to be near the top, but not near enough to ever be the target, it was sadly all a ruse as Sam and Jesse went for a swim to laugh about their upcoming blindside against Ben in place of the Michelle votes.

Sam and Jesse split up to lock in this vote, with Jesse left behind to keep Ben feeling good about his place in the tribe. Sam, Chrissy, Michelle and Khanh caught up by the well, all glad to jump on board the vote against Ben while they worried about whether Croc would be ok with getting rid of his ally Ben. While Chrissy reminded them to all keep quiet and not pull a Cara. As the group split up, Sam caught up with Chrissy and suggested that they really do need to get rid of Khanh’s idol ASAP, despite their assurances they won’t target him.

Back at camp Ben started to get nervous about everyone whispering, while Jesse worked overtime to make sure he felt ok before pulling KJ aside to talk through the plan with her, with her obviously agreeing to join them and load her vote on Khanh, given she doesn’t really have any options. While Jesse was confident about the plan coming together flawlessly, Chrissy straight up told Ben that she had heard his name being thrown around and while she tried to say she’s heard a lot of names, you could tell she realised that despite her warnings, she had become the Cara. Much to young Jesse’s simmering rage.

Jesse tried to downplay her faux pas, assuring Ben his name has not come up in any of the plans though and quickly went through all the votes again to keep him safe. As Jesse and Sam caught up and spoke about how safe Ben is feeling and how perfectly this will play out, Croc decided that he wasn’t thrilled with the plan and instead wanted to flush Khanh’s idol instead. With that, Croc went to KJ, Michelle and Chrissy and floated the idea of genuinely flushing Khanh’s idol, which they were all thrilled about. Particularly KJ, who didn’t want to be dictated to by a 21 year old.

Jesse noticed an increase of whispers and approached Croc and KJ to make sure everything was ok, with Croc admitting he’d rather get rid of Khanh than Ben. And well, the vibe between them was just all kind of weird and as such, Jesse was terrified the blindside would backfire and they’d have to deal with a very angry Ben back at camp.

At tribal council the Water tribe were gagged to learn that the Blood tribe would be joining them, since their advantage was to sit in on tonight’s tribal council. Oh and that was followed by another gag when Jonathan announced that the tribe would be voting immediately. Which you know means this is a non-elimination and Sam really just can’t catch a break when it comes to trying for a big ol’ blindside and production screwing her. After everyone voted, Joanthan tallied the votes with 1 somehow landing on KJ, 2 on Khanh and 4 on Ben, however before he got his torch snuffed, Mel read the second part of their advantage where they could steal someone from the rival tribe. The catch being, they can only vote to steal someone from Water who had received a vote at tribal council.

This finally got some discussion happening with Mark talking about voting for what is best for the tribe. Shay meanwhile was hopeful the tribe would reunite her with her boyfriend, who was angry about his blindside. Which is why I would leave him there if I was the Blood tribe. Chrissy was nervous about potentially having to deal with the fallout back at camp while Jordie was busy whispering to his allies about who they should vote for, admitting to Jonathan he was weighing up making a great decision for his tribe but also trying to keep his brother safe. This blew Khanh’s mind who didn’t even think about it, while KJ just straight up pitched that she was ready to jump to the other tribe and reconnect with her original allies.

Mark spoke about the fact it is probably easier to bring a single over – aka Khanh or KJ – rather than making another pair, while Josh was nervous about the prospect of bringing Khanh over, given that could make things dangerous should they go to tribal council given his idol. Jonathan then explained that one at a time the Blood tribe would vote for the person they want to steal, with the person with the most votes immediately joining the tribe. With that, the tribe voted and Jordie straight up said he was voting KJ to leave Ben to completely blow up his game, as the rest of his tribe – minus Shay, obviously – joined the fun and snatched KJ to join Blood.

Back at the new-ish Blood tribe, Shay was angry with her tribe for not bringing her partner over to the tribe while it really feels like the best thing for her. That being said, she was glad to have another woman join the tribe because they are well and truly a sausage fest ATM and – I never thought I’d say this, ever – not in a good way.

Meanwhile over at the Water tribe Ben was trying to act like the blindside never happened and he was still dear friends with everyone in the tribe. Chrissy meanwhile was feeling super awkward, worried how things would blow up with him eventually. As she swam in the water with Ben and Jesse, Jesse apologised to him and while the boys quickly made up, she looked on in shock. Particularly since she was worried that Ben was angriest at her, given they were so close.

Chrissy and Jesse then caught up alone by the fire, worried about Ben getting to merge and reuniting with Shay and being protected by the other boys. Jesse’s only answer however was to throw the upcoming immunity challenge and get rid of Ben ASAP, particularly before Ben realises it was him and not Chrissy that organised it. As Chrissy and Jesse whispered by the fire however, Ben called them out for gossiping before assuring everyone that he just wants to be an asset and hopefully, they won’t have to return to tribal council.

Back at the Blood tribe KJ was living her absolute best life, loving the new surroundings and glad to be back with her allies Jordie, Mark and Josh. She caught up with Jordie to get the lay of the land, with him admitting that he is essentially working with everyone but Shay. And knowing the Water tribe wants to get rid of Ben made him even more sure it was the right move. As Shay quietly did chores in the water, the boys told her Shay was glad to have another woman in the tribe though given KJ planned to work with the group, I feel like it may not actually be helpful. Though KJ was living for the speedo king Jordan and his allies, so I have no choice but to stan her. Shay meanwhile continued to feel on the outs, missing Nina even more,knowing that the only way to guarantee her safety is to win immunity. Though based on last night, that may doom her/my speedo king Ben.

The tribes met up with Jonathan for the next immunity challenge where they would have to navigate three balls through an upright obstacle using a flat paddle, passing it off from person to person, one at a time, as they each navigate their own maze. Both tribes were neck and neck from the start, until Jesse dropped his first ball – deliberately – to slow them down. Michelle joined in the fun of throwing the challenge as Mark landed Blood’s first ball in the final obstacle. When Ben landed the first ball for Water, Jesse stepped up his game and started dropping more and more while Ben looked frustrated while he waited at the end. Obviously Mark whipped through the final maze and landed their second and third balls, handing them immunity. But yeah, Water definitely threw the challenge.

Back at camp Sam was thrilled to have a target laying in wait for the tribe, quickly locking in the vote against Ben with Jesse, Chrissy and Croc reminding them that his survival would make post-merge chaotic for all of them. With that locked in, the quartet disappeared with Croc ready to leave Chrissy to play with her allies while he instead thought about going out on his own to save Ben. With that, he pulled Michelle, Khanh and Chrissy aside and instead floated the idea of getting rid of Jesse instead, given he and his brother are just as threatening, if not more so, than Ben and Shay. Chrissy just looked awkward, while Khanh and Michelle appeared on board with the plan.

After Chrissy shared how horrible Croc’s plan is for her game, he caught up with Ben to float the idea of getting rid of Jesse and while he appeared down with it, he immediately went to Jesse and Sam with the information. The two people who led the blindside against him the night before. With Jesse and Sam seething with this news. 

Ben pledged his undying loyalty to both Jesse and Sam, assuring them that he would gladly work with them moving forward. And just like that, the vote moved on to Croc with Chrissy to be kept in the dark. They split up to lock in the rest of the numbers, with Ben quickly getting Michelle on board before she went to catch up with Chrissy. Who felt like she was stuck in the worst position, given she and Croc are on different pages in the game. And she does not want to vote for Jesse.

While Chrissy was already feeling guilty, she caught up with Jesse who assured her that everything is still the same as the night before, without either of them realising they are both lying to each other, despite not wanting to. Chrissy reconnected with Croc, opening up about how much she doesn’t want to get rid of Jesse, given she considers him like a child while Croc just couldn’t care less about it. And once again, somehow, Khanh appears to be about to skate through another tribal without using his idol.

At tribal council Chrissy shared that Ben handled his blindside with grace, unlike how she would have played in the same situation. To which Ben responded that he thinks the tribe has just found its natural order again and all is right with the world. Chrissy reiterated she wouldn’t be handling things as cooly as he was, before Sam spoke about Ben being a threat, though the fact she now questioned whether it was even the right time to get rid of him last night. Jesse meanwhile agreed that things change very quickly in the game of Survivor, while Ben showed his gratitude for the fact everyone is still willing to work with him.

Khanh meanwhile was just shocked his name was not part of any of the plans that he heard, which actually, come to think of it, makes him more nervous, given it means he may actually be the plan. While Croc was just trying to stay strong and hold his ground. Jesse admitted that there are definitely strong alliances in the tribe, though most of the votes have been ones of consensus. Ben continued to play it cool, agreeing while there are people calling the shots everyone still has a voice. Which is something Michelle agreed with, encouraging them all to leverage themselves to put them in the best position possible.

Chrissy essentially said she and Croc – or she and Jesse – would be voting differently tonight, which made Jesse nervous while Croc reiterated he is voting solely on how things will play out post-merge. Which led to Sam jumping in, reminding them that there is no guarantee the merge is around the corner and they need to find balance, while Jesse straight up said he was very confident he was onboard with the winning plan. As was Croc.

With that the tribe voted and Jesse’s confidence appeared warranted as the tribe joined together to blindside Croc from the game. Now leaving them to contend with a very angry and upset Chrissy.

Despite his obvious disappointment to be arriving at Loser Lodge, he was confident that he had left Chrissy in a good standing for the rest of the game and as such, he couldn’t feel too sad. Which is 100% the kind of guy Croc is. I’ve known Croc for years and years as we’re both part of the broader Roosters alumni – my dad played three first-grade games, which makes me an immortal, FYI – so I knew he would need something sweet enough to move past his blindside. Sweet enough while impressive, both technically and physically, meaning I quickly served him a commiseratory Michael Crocembouche.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve done profiteroles before – for another NRL great, no less – and technically, croquembouche is nothing more than then stacked into a tower (a small one, in this instance) but that doesn’t take away from how good these are. Plus, this time we have caramel!

Enjoy!

Michael Crocembouche
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g unsalted butter, chopped
¾ cup water
¾ cup flour, plus ⅓ cup for the custard
pinch salt
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks for the custard
1 ¾ cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
1 ⅓ cup raw caster sugar
90g butter, at room temperature
½ cup thickened cream, at room temperature

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and add the four eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until combined.

Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe balls of dough, 3cm apart, on lined baking sheets. Bake it for about 10 minutes or until the pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole in each to release the steam and maintain optimal crispness.

To make the crème pâtissière, combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. Whisk egg yolks and ⅓ of a cup of sugar in a bowl until thick before whisking in the flour, followed by the warmed milk. Return the custard to the pan and cook, stirring, over low heat for a further couple of minutes, or until nice and thick. Leave to cool.

Once everything is chill, pipe the custard inside each puff and place on a cooling rack.

To make the salted caramel, heat the remaining caster sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and stir constantly into the sugary clumps that form turn in a thick, molten liquid. Once melted and it becomes amber in colour, whisk in the butter until combined. This will splatter and expand, so be careful to avoid a burn.

Cook for a further minute without stirring before slowly adding the thickened cream, again being careful to avoid the rollicking mixture. Allow to boil for a minute before removing from the heat and leaving to cool slightly. Stir in a teaspoon or two of salt, stirring until well combined.

Once cool enough to work with, dip each puff in the caramel and repeat the process as you build them to form a croquembouche. Or multiple mini ones like my lazy self did.

Whatever structure you choose to go with, devour immediately, in anticipation of Chrissy burning everything to the ground.


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Mat Profiterogers

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2018), Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Phoebe and David were feeling isolated on new Mokuta, though the latter found some comfort in the form of his first idol of the season. Meanwhile his secret ally Mat was precariously sitting pretty in new Vakama, thanks in no small part to his second hidden immunity idol. Once again Vakama lost the immunity challenge and quickly firmed up a plan to get rid of Mat or his idol. And as such, Locky got to work rallying the troops. Not to be outdone, Mat tried to rally a counter attack, quickly pulling in John and seemingly piquing Harry, Shonee and Flick’s interest. It all came crashing down at tribal council however and sensing their hesitation, Mat played his idol for himself, sending zaddy John out of the game.

We opened at Mokuta where the tribe were loving their winning ways and despite some feuding, Lee was loving the fact their group was in tact. Even Tarzan, who had a morning ritual of going down the end of the beach each morning, stripping off and washing himself with sand. Which is both disturbing and hot all at once.

Meanwhile back at Vakama Shonee too was grooming with Brooke and Flick before convincing AK to give her a shower by the well. She then solidified her alliance with Locky and Brooke by paying the shower forward. And honestly, seeing her so happy and confident in her decision to lock in with that group makes me happy. On the flipside, Mat was not enjoying being on the bottom once again. This time without an idol, or Flick, Harry and Shonee to protect save him. With that, Mat decided to approach the bigger players to try and sow seeds of doubt and make everyone paranoid enough to start targeting each other, rather than him.

Now clothed, Tarzan was washing up with Sharn and Jacqui at Mokuta while Phoebe was just grateful to be on a winning tribe, given she is on the bottom and they have straight up tried to vote her out once before. As such, Phoebe went on a charm offensive, chatting with Zach, trying to garner sympathy from Lee and most importantly get David to trust her again and believe that he is her person. While David was seemingly in on burying the hatchet, he assured us that it is all for show and he has no intention to stick with her to the end. And will humiliate her on her way out. He then listed all his secret sub-alliances and hot damn, why are so many people trusting him?

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where each tribe would pit one castaway against another and swim against a current to snatch a flag, with the first to grab it winning a point and the first tribe to three winning an epic cake reward. Flick and Sharn were the first to do battle with both fighting hard against a ridiculously strong current. Both drifted back to starting buoy before trying again and once again coming up short. Leaving neither to score a point. Nick and AK were next up, and while AK was the first to make an attempt, he went absolutely nowhere. Nick desperately tried, looking far from graceful, but was successful and scored the first point for Mokuta. Bet they wish Shane was still in the game, no?

Mat and David were up next, with Mat absolutely destroying David and tying things up. Lee and Locky then faced off and were neck and neck until Locky was disqualified for trying to drown Lee. Much to Nick’s delight and Locky chagrin. Phoebe and Brooke nervously jumped in the water next, wondering how in the hell they will make it to the end. Brooke went hard out, ultimately tiring herself allowing Phoebe time to recharge, which was enough for her to power to the end and score reward for Mokuta.

Mokuta arrived at the Survivor cake shop – after Nick acknowledged his messy swimming style – where they learnt that this reward will be enjoyed one at a time and hot damn, this is going to be a mess. The tribe selected the order, with David suggesting Tarzan given he is the least strategic and is unlikely to lie. With Tarzan eating snacks, the rest of the tribe drew straws and despite feeling lucky, Nick drew the short straw and would go last. Tarzan admitted to not liking cake, so quickly had a look through the shop before grabbing a single donut and deciding that there is no clue. Moana was next and got distracted by the cakes, exiting empty handed. Phoebe was up next and wasn’t so calm, smashing food and hacking up cakes, desperate to find a clue. Which on the last one, she found, learning that an idol was hidden back at camp and then desperately tried to hide the clue. Which she did badly.

When she returned to the tribe, they clearly found her cover story shady but there was no time to call it out as David was up next. And he straight up destroyed the shop, biting into whole cakes, drowning himself in milk, tossing things on the ground and flipping over furniture. Everyone else was relatively tidy, except for Lee who motorboated the cakes, before Nick finally got his turn and literally ransacked the entire shack, desperate to find a clue without the fear of getting caught out given he was last.

Forgoing any and all camp action, Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would race to unpacked poles which they would stick into holes and build a staircase to get to the top of a tower, which they cross before releasing keys with more poles, using the keys to unlock a chest of puzzle pieces and wait for it, solve said puzzle. As is fast becoming habit, Mokuta got out to an early lead while Vakama was nipping at the heels, desperate to close the gap. Vakama did manage to overtake Mokuta, as David struggled to release their first key giving them a healthy lead when the tribes arrived at the puzzle. While AK and Harry tried to make the most of their lead, they proved no match for Nick and Sharn, who whipped through the puzzle and secured another massive come from behind victory, sending Vakama back to tribal council. Again.

The dejected tribe returned to camp, with Harry grateful that Nick’s epic puzzle skills deflected from the fact he and AK completely choked on the puzzle. He was hopeful that while they are heading to tribal council, he could use it to his advantage to solidify trust with the core alliance so that he can make a move later down the track. Mat went hunting for an idol, giving Harry the chance to make his move with Brooke, Flick and Locky, offering himself as the second person in the split vote situation, knowing that he will go home if Mat is successful. But ultimately prove his loyalty, which honestly, isn’t worth the risk. Speaking of Mat, he continued to hunt, knowing that there is no point trying to woo Harry or Shonee again and as such, decided to target Shonee and try and get Locky and AK on his side.

He pulled the boys aside and reminded them that they will have even less strength for challenges if they get rid of him and as such, they need to keep him and instead take out Shonee as she is weak – BOO – with the added bonus being that it weakens Harry’s game. Also keen to make a move was Flick, who finally got a confessional this season, who approached Mat. This was enough to make Shonee, Brooke and Locky nervous, with the trio floating the idea of getting rid of her instead. Which Brooke was super keen on, given she has a score to settle with her from season 1.

At tribal council Locky praised the tribe for being strong and identified their weakness with puzzles is letting them down. AK admitted that he and Harry choked at the challenge, which Mat took advantage of, talking of his regret in not stepping up to the puzzle himself. Talk turned to the athlete genocide spearheaded by Shonee, with Brooke reiterating that Abbey, Lydia and John are not required and they are killing the physical side. Mat then spoke about being on the outs again, and as such, highlighting how much stronger the tribe is for having him on it. Locky agreed that should Mat go, they will be fighting an uphill battle in challenges, but at the end of the day, numbers are what matters. Running out of angles, Mat suggested that often the bigger move is to keep someone in the game. This led to Harry talking about the importance of keeping targets in the game, but given how many allies Mat has on the other side, the benefit may not be worth it.

Mat spoke about the last two days, knowing that he is screwed, completely humbling, telling everyone that his gratitude for keeping him is the best way to gain loyalty. Flick then put her foot in it and agreed that Mat’s pitch is convincing and is making her question which way to vote. With that, Mat then started to point out another target, the sneaky Harry. Harry played up his loyalty before Brooke joined the fray and admitted that sooner rather than later, they will need to start picking each other off and Flick honestly looked like she was about to shit her pants with that statement. Mat gave one more pitch, encouraging everyone that this is the turning point in the game and as such, they need to make a move and think about winning the next challenge. Finally the tribe voted and despite his pleas, they stayed together and sent the football legend from the game.

Poor Mat was heartbroken to have been voted out, though was proud of the game that he had played and the fact he made it as far as he did with the size of the target he had on his back. While I was disappointed my fellow GC legend – because I’m from the Gold Coast – couldn’t make it work with our fellow GCer, I kept my chin up and was grateful that no matter what, Mat plays the game hard and that is always infinitely entertaining. Plus, it not working meant that Queen Shonee lived to fight another day, you know? With that, I toasted his legend of the game status – which I just bequeathed him – and fed him up a plate of Mat Profiterogers. Which, fun fact, I managed to rescue from the reward.

 

 

Perfectly puffed balls of choux, full to the brim – of freaking out – with aggressively vanillary custard and a thick layer of velvety ganache, these are the only way to eat your feelings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mat Profiterogers
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g butter, chopped
¾ cup water
¾ cup plain flour, plus ⅓ cup for the custard
pinch salt
4 eggs, plus 3 yolks for the custard
1 ¾ cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
⅓ cup caster sugar
½ cup cream
250g milk chocolate

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Combine the butter and water in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil — do not let the water boil for longer than necessary while melting the butter as it will evaporate and affect the balance of ingredients. Immediately add the sifted flour and salt — all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and add the four eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until combined.

Using a piping bag with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe balls of dough, 3cm apart, on lined baking sheets. Bake in for about 10 minutes or until pastry has tripled in size. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and crisp.

Remove from the oven and pierce a small hole in each to release the steam and maintain optimal crispness.

To make the crème pâtissière, combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick before whisking in the flour, followed by the warmed milk. Return the custard to the pan and cook, stirring, over low heat for a further couple of minutes, or until nice and thick. Leave to cool.

Once everything is chill, pipe the custard inside each puff and place on a cooling rack.

Lastly heat the cream in another saucepan over low heat and when just about to boil, remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until thick and smooth. Pour over each profiterole and leave to rest.

Then devour. Heartbroken to have missed the merge.

 

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A delicious Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl waiting for our sixth boot.

Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Breakfast, Main, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the poor Champions weren’t really living up to their name, nailing the reward challenges and bombing the immunity challenges. This sent them to three of the first four tribal councils, and while the athletes alliance took early control of the tribe, Queens Janine and Pia, along with David and Luke masterfully played to Abbey and Ross’ sensibilities and flipped them, taking control and sending Susie and Nova out of the game. Janine and Shaun found idols on their respective beaches however they sadly were only good for the other tribe. Janine shared the intel with David who asked to take her note, made a fake idol and traded it with Shaun’s real one, giving him and his two allies idols and poor, beautiful land mermaid Shaun with none. Once again the Champions lost immunity and despite David’s overconfidence grating on his tribe – allies and enemies alike – he managed to convince everyone to get rid of Steven.

We dropped in on the Contenders the next day where John was flooding my basement in a speedo, playing cricket – handling a bat and ball with imense skill – twerking (kinda) and being fucking hot. And that is before he got nude again and oh god, I can’t take it – I love him.

Back at the Champions tribe Ross too was being a total cutie, running around in the shore entertaining the tribe – I think trying to fish – showering by the well and receiving offers to sleep with Janine. Since she loves his smile, which is the oldest line in the book. He continued to make everyone laugh with his positive attitude, and that is before literally burning Steven’s spirit out of his jocks. Not as jovial are poor E.T. and someone called Simon we’re yet to hear from, fetching food and trying to prove their worth while seething about David’s control over the tribe given he is a babe. As attractive as he is, why am I still more turned on by John? Swoon.

But back to E.T. and Simon, they vowed not to give up and to get in with the other Champs to try and find a way out of their predicament. E.T. then went fishing with Ross and oh shit, I hope that isn’t all that he has planned. We then got a little break with superfan icon Queen Pia, who is so proud of everything that she has achieved in the game so far, despite missing her family. She also outlined her women’s alliance within her larger majority and oh damn, I didn’t think I could love her any more than I do now.

Over at the Contenders tribe Shaun was looking beautiful, even while getting his eyebrows plucked by a random girl who I think is Casey but has been too buried by the edit. Sadly poor beautiful Shaun was so proud of his perfect idol trade out and I worry that is going to come back and bite him. Because he and John need to get together.

Jonathan arrived for the first reward challenge of the week – where David’s nips were looking great – with the tribes playing tug-o-war, with the first tribe to three securing burgers. However not a Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger, which is really a pivot. The first round saw David, Luke and Abbey face off against Shaun, Matt and Sarah, with the Champions taking the first point. Harry, Hannah and Sam were then defeated by Pia, Janine and E.T. before Shaun, Harry, Sarah and Sam got their first point on the board, crushing E.T. Janine, David and Janine. Harry, John, Matt and Shaun – who looked so damn good – evened things up with a hard fought battle against David, Ross, Simon and Luke. It came down to Shaun versus Ross and TBH, I am worried for poor Ross’ health and I hope he is ok. Wait, no, Shaun tripped and Ross won the reward and seeing him lifted over his tribe’s shoulders is honestly the most pure thing I’ve ever witnessed. To make things even more heartwarming, Jonathan allowed them to invite a Contender to join them selecting Baden … who was allowed to select a friend to go with him, rewarding Shaun for his killer effort. Oh and THEN they got beers too.

The Champions arrived at camp, giddy at the site of the burger supplies – and all the fixin’s – except for David who was worried that his lies were all about to come crashing down. Baden was completely adorable, cheering for the Champions and then trying to explain to Ross what he studies … and dare I say it, a new ship is born. Luke then quietly seethed about Shaun getting fed and potentially leading his tribe to victory at the next immunity challenge. Back at the Contenders the tribe were lamenting their loss and missing out on yet another reward, though were thankful that Baden rewarded Shaun for his efforts. Knowing that he will be an asset in the immunity challenge.

We returned to the Champions tribe where Shaun continued to unwittingly terrify David, with the latter deciding to double down on his lies by saying the idol is the only reason that he is still in the game and Steven is out. Poor Shaun truly believed his idol is real, and I am so concerned about his safety. Wait, no, maybe David should be nervous, given Abbey noticed him buddying up to Shaun and thought that maybe he should go sooner rather than later. With Queen Pia backing it up and ready to strike while his ego is at its biggest.

Seriously? Queens.

The tribes arrived to meet Jonathan on a beach where the Tower of Terror was making a return, meaning Casey is about to tap out of the challenge in three, two … wait, what? She is competing as one of the two members standing on a plank over the edge of the tower, with three people tasked with holding each of them up one-by-one with the last tribe to have someone perched atop the tower winning. Harry and Sarah kicked things off for the Contenders, keeping Casey and Baden on top of the tower while David and E.T. were busy keeping Pia and Simon up. Sarah was the first to trade out, giving her rope to Shaun while Harry soon followed, trading out to Daisy who soon gave it to Zaddy John, who tragically found boardshorts. Meanwhile at the top of the tower Casey was trying to get to know everyone, chatting away to Baden and Pia while once again, Simon’s voice was completely ignored.

David then swapped out with Abbey while poor Zaddy John struggled with his rope. Abbey passed off to Luke before Zaddy John couldn’t hold out any longer, dropping poor Baden into the drink. Who was super happy about it, despite the reminder that Kiwi Jeff has moved on to another show while Survivor NZ has been cancelled. Anyway E.T. finally handed his rope off to Janine, who quickly passed it out to Ross leaving the Champions on their last legs, while Shaun still had Matt to support him. Back at the top of the tower Casey was being iconic, asking Pia and Simon whether David actually played an idol at the previous tribal council, outing his lies and making things awks for the Champions. Shaun finally passed off to Matt before Ross dropped Simon in the water mid chat, leaving Matt and Luke to battle it out to keep Casey and Pia up top to gossip. Despite almost dropping, Luke dug deep and pulled Pia up before ultimately dropping handing the Contenders yet another immunity. Though Matt didn’t make himself any friends over at the Champions with his arrogant celebrations.

Back at camp the Champions were well and truly over losing yet another challenge, though did rally around to give each other a hug and congratulating them on trying so hard. Everyone started to feel bad for poor E.T. and Simon, except for David who thought it was hilarious. David then wandered around chatting to his allies, locking in their votes for E.T. and making jokes about him going home. Get it? E.T. going home.

Sadly for him E.T. wasn’t going to take his exit lying down, approaching Abbey to see whether she would be willing to switch back to him and Simon to get rid of anyone else. She then sat with Pia, upset to have to vote out one of the two delightful men that are on the outs before talking to David who tried to keep her calm and then pivoted to suggesting they get rid of Pia instead. This spooked the girls who spoke about turning on David, with Pia not wanting to take a strike at him unless she was guaranteed at him going home. And given how damn confident he is heading off to tribal, he really should be worried.

At the aforementioned tribal David and Abbey were lamenting how strong they were all feeling going into the challenge however still ended up here. E.T. spoke about being on the chopping block, leading to Jonathan pointing out that David said they’d be having a fresh start after booting Steven, making him feel like a liar. E.T. then gave his last pitch to the tribe, highlighting how bloody lovely he is and how he wants to have the chance to prove his leadership to the tribe by giving them the direction in the immunity challenges. David agreeing challenge contribution is important, how given they’ve been losing with E.T. here, it clearly isn’t making a difference and as such, he needs to focus on other things. Jonathan got shady, asking Ross and Abbey whether they’re going to be good foot soldiers and vote out either Simon and E.T. leading to Abbey breaking down about how much both men mean to her.

Simon then got his first monologue, pointing out that he is strong in challenges and would love the opportunity to be a foot soldier for the alliance. Janine then spoke about their alliance being stronger than the athletes because theirs wasn’t thrown together in a rush. Janine than admitted that she trusts people to different extents, while Ross agreed that there would definitely be smaller groups within their alliance while Jonathan finally for David to utter the phrase ‘do as you’re told’ as they headed off to vote. Where poor E.T. was given his marching orders, or escape, if you will.

As you may know, I am quite a big deal in the rugby league community – my dad played three, yes three, first grade games for the Roosters and I am the marketing genius who suggested bringing out Tina for a series of ads with Zaddy E.T. running around in a speedo. Given it was the ‘80s, I never acted on my feelings for E.T. but during the shoot he took my breath away and I did what every closeted kid did, befriended him and became his biggest supporter. While there was a period of a few years when I stopped talking to him as he started Escape – I hate seafood and fishing bores me – we reconnected and have been the best of friends ever since. E.T. was thrilled to see me working away in loser lodge, ran into my arms and gave me the biggest, warmest hug I can remember. He then noticed a purple stain on his shirt and honestly, the smile that appeared over his face was too pure for this world as he realised I had whipped him up a delicious Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl.

 

Andrew Ettinghausen demolishing his Australian Survivor sixth boot Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl

 

While I generally subscribe to the Ron Swanson, all the bacon and eggs breakfast school of thought, I will give E.T. a pass – footy pun, mate – and let him have an acai bowl. I mean, it is delicious after all, despite being healthy, and he is such a sweet, sweet man. Like an acai bowl.

Enjoy!

 

Andrew Ettinghausen demolishing his Australian Survivor sixth boot Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl

 

Andrew Ettinghacai Bowl
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
200g acai berry puree
2 bananas, frozen
½ cup Greek yoghurt
berries, bananas, coconut etc. to garnish

Method
Chuck the puree, bananas and yoghurt in a high powdered blender and blitz until completely smooth.

Pour into a bowl, top with whatever fruit/berries you desire and devour. Smugly, knowing you’re being super healthy.

 

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Mat Rojersey Caramels

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2018), Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Mat continued to dominate and started to chip away at Benji’s ego. Not to be outdone, Benji wooed Sam to try and take a shot at Mat and finally take control of an episode let alone the game. He and Sam went to work lining up the numbers … only for Mat to dominant in a killer immunity challenge and saving himself. Meanwhile things went from bad to worse for Sam as his plan was exposed and well and truly backfired as he found himself becoming the second member of the jury. Complete with a sympathy hug from little JoJo.

We returned to camp where the newly clean Brian decided to spread the love, relocating in the shelter to be closer to his new friends Shonella. Knowing that Shonella = Life and getting in with them will either be good for the game, or just make you a kween. Well, not as far as Mat or Shane are concerned however, as they grew tired of his comedy routine and spent the evening throwing him daggers and plotting his downfall.

The next day Brian continued his comedy, rocking a snorkel mask to avoid the smoke from the fire, earning the ire of Mat, Steve and Shane. Meanwhile Benji and Shonee were catching-up to find a way to go from being a power-bottom, to a power-top … begging the question, what is wrong with being vers? Anyway – Shonee decided that in order to take out Mat, they would need to pull in Brian so off they went to get things sorted. Benji approached Mat to clear the air from the previous tribal and thank him for saving him at the last tribal. Mat too was feeling paranoid, so thought that in order to move forward he needed to take out the shifty Brian and pulling in Benji would unite him and the outstanding Contenders.

We were also reminded about Mat’s idol, meaning she is going down this episode, no?

Benji and Sharn went into the jungle for a pow-wow, with Sharn immediately assuring him that his Contenders are safe and that she wants to get rid of Brian ASAP. Sharn went for a walk, giddy with her growing power, only to discover a clue for a hidden immunity idol at the next challenge. Kween. Kween Sharn. While Sharn was missing, Benji got to work telling Brian that Mat was targeting him and Monika that Mat asked him to spy on her. Sadly for him, Brian wasn’t buying shit. Well, until he mentioned that Sharn was on board and he and Monika immediately jumped on board and King Brian vowed to take control.

My boy Jonathan returned to the screen for the immunity challenge where the tribe was required to dig under a log, with six moving on to solve a puzzle … with the top three playing Survivor snooker for immunity. Steve and Benji were first through to the second round followed by Mat, Shonee, Brian and Shane, who pulled a come from behind win and killed Sharn’s chance at an idol. Well, unless she is daring. Anyway, Brian, Shonee and Benji moved on to the final stage, and hot damn I need Shonee to snatch immunity just for being a saint. The final round was neck and neck, between the boys and not Shonee, with Benji – UGGGGHHHHH – snatching immunity. Not to be outdone, Sharn was a boss grabbed the hidden immunity idol. Well, boss … until she dropped it in front of the entire tribe.

Back at camp Sharn was forced to attempt some slapstick comedy to deflect from the fact her idol was outed as she crapped it out in front of the tribe. Mat however, was thrilled by the turn of events as it managed to deflect from his idol. Mat, Sharn and Shane got together to lock in the vote for Brian before Mat approached Monika to secure her loyalty, with he vowing that she can act and keep the blindside up. Though sadly for him, Brian doesn’t seem to be her target. Shonella and Benji also agreed to take out Brian to his face, but Benji was itching to finally take a shot at Mat and take control of the game.

The Contender trio caught up to discuss whether Brian and Monika could be trusted, with the duo wandering upon them and vowing their undying loyalty. With the power going to his head, Benji decided that now would be the ultimate time to flush Sharn’s idol. He approached his secret ally and told her that playing her idol would be the best case scenario, to get the target off her back and gain some trust back. Sadly for him, Mat interrupted their pow-wow … though not before making her nervous enough to consider flushing her idol to save herself and not Mat.

Steve also made a Brianside joke, and damn, purple zaddy is life.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to point out that Mat and his alliance were dominating the game, kinda making him nervous about his place in the game, concerned about how information can travel and how it could bite him. Benji gave a vague explanation about taking out threats, Monika shaded Sharn for her shitty/ing idol find. Brian speculated about the remaining idols left in the game, Mat shaded Russ-hole – rightly – for being overconfident and underestimating his opponents. Monika spoke – AGAIN – about idols placing a target on your back, low-key pushing for her to play the idol and flush it out with the blindside. She then spoke – AGAIN again – saying this vote, for her, is an easy won, Fenella spoke about following the numbers – which Sam and Robbie didn’t buy – while Benji was hopeful that he was trusting in the right people tonight. This appeared to make Mat nervous, with him issuing a veiled threat about being the next out if you make a play and miss.

With that, the tribe voted and Sharn opted to play her not so hidden immunity idol ON MAT leave Benji in utter shock, desperate and shitting himself like Sharn’s idol at the challenge. The votes then rolled in – like Benji’s waves of regret – wait no, Benji told her not to play it on Mat and instead told her to play it for herself to avoid going to a revote. She then played it for herself, confusedly so, as Steve anxiously watched Mat and the votes rolled him, sending him from the game to become the third juror.

Given Mat is arguably one of the nicest people to walk the planet, it was really hard to watch him be so blinded by his confidence and NOT to play his idol, when Sharn’s attempt to play her’s clearly highlighted that something was afoot. Thank being said, it was also really easy to watch his boot because the tribal council was lit and Benji convincing her to revoke her idol play and direct it to herself was masterful, despite me wanting him out next thanks to Shane’s wrath.

Anyway – MAT. I’ve known Mat for years, thanks to my long association with football. I mean, my dad played three – yes THREE – first grade games for the Roosters, I swindled the old lady in the neighbouring corporate box at Seagulls to hand over all of her soft drinks and have the thighs of a front rower. As I was saying, I took Mat and I became friends and because I loved him so, I introduced him to Chloe and hot damn did Jeans West fit best. Given how grateful they were, we’ve been the best of friends ever since and catch-up fortnightly to be besties and smash a shit tonne of Mat Rojersey Caramels.

 

 

Are Jersey Caramels something I used to tease my co-worker for eating because they are old people snacks? Sure. But TBH, they are also freaking delicious. Sweet and chewy, this edited version of the most basic recipe I could find on Taste.com is the perfect way to get rid of the bitter taste of a killer blindside.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mat Rojersey Caramels
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp glucose syrup
3 tbsp golden syrup
125g butter, roughly chopped
200g white chocolate, finely chopped
icing sugar, for kneading
500g fondant
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Combine the half of all the condensed milk, sugar, glucose, golden syrup and butter in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar and butter have melted. Up the heat and bring to a simmer, while stirring constantly, for five minutes, or until the mixture has started to thicken. Remove from the heat and fold through half the chocolate, and pour into a lined square baking pan. Smooth the top and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the icing sugar on a clean, dry working surface and knead the fondant until smooth and malleable. Add the vanilla and continue kneading until smooth and well combined. Roll the fondant and carefully lay over the caramel, pressing to join.

Repeat the caramel process with the remaining ingredients and spoon over the fondant. Smooth the top and leave to set for half an hour, before covering with cling and placing in the fridge to set overnight.

Remove and cut into cubes before devouring. Or, you know, just bite off junks. No judgement.

 

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