Rizsole Ahmed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Rizsole Ahmed
Serves: 4.

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

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

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

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

 

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Baden Sherbert Cocktail

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Drink, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 12 celebs were once again pitted against 12 plebs, with the Contenders coming out of the gate strong forcing the Champions to get rid of the least famous of the bunch in the form of Anastasia. After a fail at the second challenge the first Contender was sent out of the game in the form of pocket rocket Laura. The Champions lost Susie, Nova, Steven and E.T. back to back before Jonathan took pity on them and switched the tribes. Despite a mega-majority on the new Champions tribe, Luke and David took control and sent Sam, Sarah and Hannah back-to-back before the Contender decimation continued with Casey and Matt booted from the new Contender tribe. My heart King Ross was then tragically felled by a faulty challenge, medevaced just before the merge which saw Andy, thankfully, become the final juror.

The merge led to the annihilation of all immunity threats with Shaun and David going back to back. They were then joined with Zaddy John, Daisy, Simon, Janine, Abbey and Luke, leaving Baden, Harry and Pia to battle out for final immunity with challenge beast Baden taking it out after 6 hours and 40 minutes. Under the cover of darkness they made their way to tribal council where Pia pulled some voodoo mind tricks and convinced Baden to boot Harry from the game.

The final two awoke on day 50 and congratulated each other for making it all the way to the end. Pia was shocked to have made it to the end and was hopeful to plead her case, snatch the win, pay off her mortgage and set her family up for life. The final two then arrived at treemail to discover a feast which they took back to camp to gossip about everything they’ve gone through during the game. Baden too was proud of everything he achieved during the game, most of all the fact that he pushed himself socially. He then explained that he knew that Harry had tried to drag him to the end, ultimately explaining why he chose to keep Pia in the end.

With that the final two arrived at final tribal council with Baden kicking things off, telling the jury about how Survivor helped him grow and overcome his fears and that he knew his only hope of surviving was to play the middle perfectly, befriend everyone and know exactly where all the votes were going each tribal. He knew that both Pia and Harry planned to take him to the end should they win the final three immunity challenge, so his best shot at earning their love was to win immunity and take himself.

Pia then took the floor and pointed out that she planned to come in hard strategically while being friends with everyone. She then pointed out that since day one, she was fighting to survive, getting Nova to flip the vote at the first tribal council and then flipped Abbey and Ross to take control of the tribe. She then dominated the game, kept a couple of meatshields around, which ultimately protected her when her alliance were turned on.

Shaun kicked things off by asking them why the other doesn’t deserve to win, with pia pointing out that while Baden won the game of most personal growth, he didn’t do anything throughout the game and as such can’t claim to be a strategist. Baden tried to counter that Pia rode an alliance and nothing else and has been blindsided before JaQueen jumped in to back her up and told everyone that Pia was aware they were flipping on Janine and wasn’t confused. David then saltily asked them how their goat game was advantageous which led to ultimately the greatest speech since Kristie’s as Pia schooled Dave and pointed out all the times she took control, schooled him about the difference between Australian and US Survivor. Baden then tired to jump in and point out he helped groups make decisions and said that Pia was his goat, allowing Pia to dispute his claims and honestly school him too. I mean, she pointed out that he tried to vote her out instead of Abbey which kinda proves she wasn’t his number one goat.

David jumped in to save Baden and asked whether he felt he played a good social game, with him proudly talking about successfully playing the middle – which is really hard, so props to him – and keeping everyone from turning on him. JaQueen jumped in to congratulate Pia on a game well played and asked her to articulate how she was the wolf in goat’s clothing and how she helped take herself, JaQueen and Abbey so far. Pia articulated how well she managed to keep people calm and make sure nobody saw their blindside coming, which David jumped in to admit is the exact reason he didn’t play his idol.

Harry tried to get people talking about cars with Baden saying that he actively navigated throughout the game, was never blindsided and ultimately was able to choose who he was up against. Pia reminded everyone that having an alliance and making decisions in them is something to be proud of and they shouldn’t downplay how she managed to keep hers together without becoming the target. Zaddy John asked how the game changed them, with Baden saying that it has helped him grow and he used being an introvert to his advantage, was never a threat and powered through.

Luke wrapped things up pointing out that he helped save Pia twice, and then asked him why she couldn’t do it that one time. This allowed Pia to talk about fighting hard in the final immunity challenge because she didn’t want voting him out to be futile. She then listed off how hard she has played, reminding them that just because you didn’t see her big game didn’t mean she wasn’t playing one, just that she wasn’t stupid enough to let people see it and paint the target on her back.

With that the jury voted, Jonathan brough the votes back and surprised them that they would be read with their families in attendance, wheeling out Pia’s kids and instantly making Abbey sob. Baden’s mum spoke about how proud of him she is and how much he has grown throughout the game, developing into an adorable little sass monster. Pia’s husband was proud of her and only reaffirmed everything he thinks about her (making Abbey cry) … and hoped that the jury voted the right way.

Jonathan then started reading the votes and they rolled in, one by one for Pia handing her the first unanimous victory of Australian Survivor. While poor Baden stood by with his family. Despite not earning the love of the jury, I firmly believe that Baden played a strong game as playing the middle is truly a difficult strategy – hi Julia – and he used everyone’s perception of him to avoid the target that may come from it. With that, I gave him two hearty thumbs up and toasted to his game with a Baden Sherbert Cocktail.

 

 

While it may look like an innocent little bevvie, like Baden, this sure packs a punch. A little sweet, a little tangy and carrying a nice burn as it goes down, it will have you feeling as spritely as Baden on the monkey bars. Or after standing on those stumps for nearly seven hours.

Enjoy!

 

 

Baden Sherbert Cocktail
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 shots gin
2 shots Cointreau
1 orange, juiced
1 lime, juiced
ice
a twist of lime or orange

Method
Combine everything but the twist of citrus in a cocktail shaker and give a hearty shake.

Pour into two glasses.

Garnish.

Down.

 

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Christina Applegate Sauce

Condiment, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Sauce

As you know, most of my time celebrating an Award Show is dedicated to finding someone that will take me as their plus one when the relevant academy chooses yet again, not to invite me. So since my dear Christina Applegate is nominated again this year and co-starred opposite Ed O’Neil, I couldn’t go past kicking off this year’s celebration with her.

I’ve known Chris for decades, after meeting on the set of Married. While I was employed as part of Kate’s entourage, I was drawn to Chris due to our similar sense of humour and we quickly developed a strong, unbreakable bond.

Given how busy she is, I haven’t caught up with Christina in close to 12 months, so it was such a joy to swing by her pad and toast her success on Dead to Me. While she wouldn’t give away any spoilers on season 2, she did assure me that should Linda agree to end her feud with me she could find a way to work me in to the season.

And I assume, finally get me my elusive first Emmy nomination.

Speaking of Emmy nominees, we sat down to run the odds in the Comedy Game. Despite both loving her performance in Dead to Me, we agreed that JLD will take Best Actress despite Catherine O’Hara deserving it. Best Actor she thinks will go to Bill Hader, while I think Ted Danson will make his triumphant return to the stage. While I am hopeful Anna Chlumsky will finally take out an Emmy for her role in Veep, Chris thinks it will go to Olivia Colman. When both obviously agree that Henry Winkler will take out Best Supporting Actor once again.

With that I wished her luck and toasted to her ongoing success with a big pot of sweet, spiced Christina Applegate Sauce.

 

 

While most people would argue that apple sauce is apple sauce and it isn’t anything special, I urge you to try this and then try to go back to store bought. Because you can’t. Lightly spiced with a caramelly hint, this smooth sauce is the perfect accompaniment to a big, salty slab of pork. Or great to shot.

Enjoy!

 

 

Christina Applegate Sauce
Serves: 1 saucy nominee and her inspiration.

Ingredients
5 granny smith apples, peeled and cored
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 cinnamon quill

Method
Place everything in a saucepan with two tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, covered, and cook until apples are very soft. About ten minutes should be enough.

Remove the cinnamon quill and blitz the sauce until smooth and serve immediately.

 

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Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Side, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Daisy and Simon were sent to exile beach before facing off to return to the game, with the queen of green grass and rain exiting the game for good. After Luke took out immunity, Simon once again found himself as the target with Abbey, Luke, Baden and Harry planning to send him out of the game again. JaQueen and Pia weren’t so keen on that idea however, trying to woo Simon and the Contenders to their side to take out Abbey instead. When it became obvious that their backs were against the wall and the plan was a bust, they joined the rest of the tribe to send Simon out of the game. Unanimously. Again.

The next day the tribe awoke to wish Pia a happy birthday before reminiscing about what she would normally do on her birthday. She then spoke about how hard the game has been and how much she has missed her family. She then wrestled with Harry to celebrate and vowed to overcome the overwhelming minority she has found herself in since Abbey flipped the script on her and JaQueen.

Abbey, Pia and Luke then went fishing together while the latter regaled us with tales of how far he has come in the game and most importantly, how proud of himself he is. He then welled up and honestly, swoon – he is too pure for this world. And that is before he even mentioned his daughter having cystic fibrosis. We then checked in with Harry who reiterated that he is a cockroach before he and Baden caught up to come up with their next plan, deciding to join with Pia and JaQueen at the next tribal council and take out Luke. Speaking of JaQueen she shared that she signed up for Survivor to challenge herself and honestly, she is just a bloody icon. She then reminded us that while she is now on the bottom of the tribe, she believes in herself and Pia to make it through. Speaking of Pia, she was still out fishing with Abbey and Luke, charming the shit out of them and looking for another in while JaQueen approached Baden who floated the idea of joining together to get rid of Luke.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where the castaways would need to untangle themselves from a rope that is looped over a log, crossing a balance beam, tossing sacks to release a key and unlocking themselves and, wait for it … solving a puzzle. Luke and Abbey got out to an early lead while Harry looked to be nearing a heartattack which honestly, is not something I want to witness on TV tonight. JaQueen started to chastise herself as Luke and Abbey started to navigate the balance beam, with the AFL champion snatching the lead. Well until Luke proved more adept at tossing sacks. Luke started solving his puzzle while Abbey tried to close the gap and the rest of the crew slowly made their way to the sack tossing portion of the game. Harry joined Abbey and Luke on the puzzle, with JaQueen and Baden soon following. While Harry desperately tried to close the gap, Luke started to panic before getting his eye in and snatching immunity for the third time.

And unwittingly blowing up everyone’s plans.

Back at camp Abbey was the only person that wasn’t completely bummed that Luke had won yet another immunity challenge. JaQueen quickly pulled Baden and Harry aside to flip the vote on Abbey instead, given she is the next biggest challenge threat. Sadly for her Harry was more interested in targeting her instead, so pulled Abbey aside with Baden to float booting JaQueen instead. The boys then mentioned that Janine and Pia had suggesting voting her out to try and seal the deal, however, that only seemed to make her less likely to join them. Abbey then took the intel back to Luke and mentioned that she caught the girls getting frustrated after he won immunity, and while they agreed they need to stick together, they weren’t sure which duo to side with. We then returned to JaQueen who told us that her and Pia have no intention of siding with Harry and that their plan is actually to reconnect with Luke and Abbey to get rid of Baden. Which everyone agreed on as he stumbled upon the scene.

At tribal council Harry spoke about the likelihood that a Champion will take out the game, though did vow to fight until the very end. Baden praised them for staying tight and holding firm on their Champion strong mantra. JaQueen spoke about how tight their group remains and how she wants one of them to take out the game. Preferably her. Harry tried to pitch that the Champions who feel most likely to be blindsided should join him and Baden to make a move first. Abbey spoke about the generic confusion of the game, unsure which side was telling her the truth and she should trust moving forward. Baden continued to point out that it is always better to make a move sooner rather than later, rather than regretting their choices from the jury. Luke and Abbey spoke about the safe option sometimes being the smartest.

Harry was disheartened, Pia mentioned that making a move at the wrong time was just as bad as not making one while Luke mentioned that the vote ahead will be straightforward and simple. With that the tribe voted and it turns out that the vote was straightforward for Luke and Abbey, as they flipped on Janine and Pia and sent the godmother from the game. While the tragedy of JaQueen exiting the game is something that I will carry with me for the next few months, I am grateful that we could honour her spirit with some Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries.

 

 

 

Now I know we’ve already experienced the majesty of haloumi fries in the Australian Survivor context – oh, hi Mark! – the addition of lemon and garlic is enough to give them a boost. Crisp on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth in the centre and packing a major punch of garlic, these are proof that you can always do better. Which I imagine is what Janine would remind us in a killer inspirational speech.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries
Serves: 1 powerful CEO and her dear pal.

Ingredients
½ cup flour
2 garlic cloves, minced plus 2 extra finely sliced
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp chilli flakes
400g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into long chip shapes and patted dry
vegetable oil, for fryin’
1 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine flour, garlic, dried oregano and chilli in a bowl.

Pour 2cm worthy of oil into a large pan and place over medium heat.

Once nice and hot, coat the haloumi in the flour mixture, shake off the excess and transfer to the oil to cook for a couple of minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until the haloumi is done.

To serve, combine fresh oregano, lemon zest and a good whack of salt and pepper and sprinkle over the hot chips. Squeeze some lemon juice and devour, hoping to work through the confusing trauma of losing one of our Queens at the hand of another.

 

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Tex Mex van den Burger

Burgers, Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Africa, Survivor: All Stars

There are less than three weeks until the new season of Survivor kicks off and we almost have an official cast – remember the good old days when the pre-season lasted four weeks, swoon – and as such, I convinced my boy Lex van den Berghe to drop by and help me celebrate.

Sandra, not Rob. Obviously.

I’ve known Lex for decades, doing his first tattoo. Like Phoebe Buffay’s, it was a single dot after I broke down in tears admitting that I had no idea what I was doing, nor could I draw. While it was the end of my time posing as a tattooist as part of a grift, Lex appreciated my honesty and we became the best of friends.

Well until he found a pair of brothers in Africa and I stopped talking to him for a couple of years out of jealousy. Until he explained that he only aligned with Ethan because we had matching hair, after which I felt really awful for bribing Rob to eliminate him in All Stars.

(Please don’t tell him I played a part in that, it really turned out worse than I expected and I feel so guilty).

But anyway, I avoided talking too much about this seasons returnees and instead we focused on the amazing diversity of the cast we’ll learn about in the coming days and the fact that they err on the side of older. Which is something I always prefer.

Obviously Lex agrees that Janet is going to be the break-out star of the season and our dream final three is Karishma, Kellee and Noura. Oh and he is super keen to set me up with Tommy, Vince and Ronnie. Emphasis on and. With the formalities out of the way, we toasted to a good season and the dream that season 41 will be a fan voted Third Time’s the Charm on which he can dominate before smashing a Tex Mex van den Burger.

 

 

Less burger and more chilli sloppy joe, these babies are super simple and delicious enough to look impressive. Hot and spicy, sprinkled with a generous helping of cheese and piled high with all the tex-mex fixins’, there is no better way to spend time with one of your besties.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tex Mex van den Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 Kirsten Bunst
1 serve of Chilli con Kim Carnes
1 avocado
1 lime, juiced and zested
2 shallots, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated
sour cream, to taste
sriracha, to taste

Method
Cook the buns and chilli as per Kirsten and Kim’s recipes respectively.

Combine the avocado, juice and zest of the lime, shallots and a tsp of sour cream in a bowl and mash to combine. Season and leave aside.

To serve, split the buns and toast before ladle some chilli on the base. Sprinkle with cheese, dollop on some guac and sour cream and drizzle with sriracha, close the burger and devour. Joyously.

 

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Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Salad, Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champion girls were riding high after blindsiding David, with JaQueen pointing out that they need to get rid of one more Contender to solidify their game. Daisy found a second idol and was hopeful it would be able to turn things around for her, though sadly found it in front of Luke and Pia. As the Champs plotted who to vote against at tribal council, Luke and Pia spilled the beans about the idol and gave the Champs an upper hand in the latest head-to-head battle. Despite Daisy trying to play it cool, JaQueen scared her into playing the idol for herself, which didn’t help to save her as the Champions banded together to take out my king, John who was booted by the rest of the tribe.

Fully clothed.

The next day JaQueen and Baden were bantering over the fire, with Baden happily hacking at a coconut and proud that he has learnt to communicate with others. He haphazardly tried to slice breakfast, almost becoming a double amputee in the process, which further endeared him to his tribemates. I mean, the hilarity almost killed Pia who is killing the game and honestly, that is his best plan ATM. Otherwise, he is not winning.

Later that day JaQueen was riding high from John’s boot, given it means that the Champion majority has without a doubt taken control. And as such, she was feeling confident and planned to push her allies to get rid of another Contender next. Speaking of the Contenders Daisy and Harry were sitting by the shore heartbroken about their predicament, though shocked about how close everyone had gotten. Daisy was rightly feeling stupid about misplaying a second idol, before hunting for a third idol to keep herself safe, her allies be damned. She and Harry went searching, desperately, followed by Luke and Simon who were tasked with keeping an eye on them, Daisy started to get strategic, pointing out that Luke told everyone about her idol and that some told her it happened. While it was fake, that made Luke and Simon feel very anxious about their place in the tribe, immediately blaming Pia and vowing to get their own form of revenge.

Before Luke could take a shot at the one true Queen of Australian Survivor, Jonathan returned for the next reward challenge where everyone was split into duos to do an upright version of Twister. It was for an overnight spa getaway, so everyone was shitting their pants at the thought of winning. Pia and Daisy found themselves as one pair, Luke and Baden another, Abbey and Harry together versus JaQueen and Simon. One person was responsible to remove the even numbered pegs, while the other had the odds with everyone surviving the first round before Luke almost gave Baden a wristy and flooded my basement. While that didn’t happen, he did reach around before Harry fell from the wall and eliminated himself and Abbey. Everyone survived the next few rounds while Luke and Baden plotted about how they will survive the next few rounds of votes in the niche they’ve created in the middle … while JaQueen’s bush-feet dominated. Out of nowhere Baden fell out, while his father Luke tried to keep his spirits up. The remaining pairs kept a dominant pace before Pia slid off, handing Simon and JaQueen the win. Jonthan then gave them the chance to invite another duo to share the reward, with JaQueen rightly sharing the spa to their runners-up.

At the spa the victors were shocked by how opulent the reward was, despite the fact the weather was miserable and Simon like JaQueen believes that it is palm frong, not frond. Daisy was the most hopeful, feeling like Luke being left back at camp is the best chance for her to make a dent at the Champions numbers with JaQueen. Speaking of JaQueen, she was wise and asked everyone to go through the remaining castaways and list their pros and cons, pointing out why Harry and Luke are dangerous, with nobody able to point how dangerous she is. Simon then shared that Luke was annoyed that Pia allegedly told everyone that he knew about Daisy’s idol, filling her with nerves and unsure who to trust moving forward. Simon then doubled down and pointed out that Luke needs to go ASAP, with Daisy jumping on board and sharing it is her best chance to survive.

Back at camp Luke was feeling salty about Daisy’s lie, pulling Abbey aside and sharing that that intel made its way back to the Contenders. Knowing he would be screwed if he sticks with the Champs, Luke pulled Harry and Baden aside to find out who was spilling the tea and low-key, how does he orchestrate a blindside with them. Harry knew what he was trying, so lied that Pia is the one that shared the idol intel. Harry and Baden made quick work of pulling him in, identifying JaQueen and Pia as the biggest threats before the trio plotted to get the rest to split the votes, while the three of them band together to take someone out. Someone named JaQueen.

Everyone reconveened for the immunity challenge where they would each have to do a bicep curl to hold a ball, with the last one standing without their ball on the floor, snatching immunity. As they speculated who would win, Baden dropped his ball and pretend to be shocked. Though I feel like he meant to drop. Harry almost drop is, before Daisy’s fell out of nowhere while JaQueen threw some casual shade. Like the icon she is.Out of nowhere Pia dropped, followed closely by Harry, who should have been the first to go. Abbey was the next to go, thanks to a former broken wrist while JaQueen, Simon and Luke battled into their second hour. JaQueen then felt a spider on her knee, requesting that Baden remove it for her. Baden being an icon chose to ignore her request, leading to Daisy getting up to help as Luke eliminated himself. JaQueen and Simon battled out with the former desperately trying to get Simon to drop and give her a win.Harry used this to his advantage, telling Simon that he would drop if her felt safe which backfired, led Simon to barter for a reward – should JaQueen win one – and hand JaQueen a well earned victory.

Back at camp Harry was feeling super nervous, given his number one target had immunity. This made him feel super salty and since he couldn’t get rid of her, he was hopeful that Daisy would have formulated a plan at the reward. She joined with Baden and Harry to point out that they were all planning on voting out Luke at their next chance, and while they like Luke, they were just hopeful it would be enough to save them. Meanwhile JaQueen was nervous about Simon wanting to get rid of Luke and since Daisy was on board with his plan, JaQueen wanted her gone as she could predict everyone else’s moves.

Simon and JaQueen went for a wander into the jungle to lock in the plan to take out Daisy and while Simone didn’t want to, JaQueen barrelled through and told him that they would take her out and tell her that Harry would be going. Daisy stumbled on the scene and while they tried to lie and tell her Harry would be going, she knew it was a lie. With that, she approached Luke and floated the idea of getting rid of Pia and him joining the Contenders.

Pia too was feeling nervous, worried about Daisy’s lie ruining her relationship with Luke slash the game. With that she approached Luke to clear the air, and pledge their undying allegiance. The entire Champion alliance then got together to lock in the Daisy vote, though Luke’s growing nervousness started to make JaQueen anxious and hot damn, we have a vote coming. Baden and Luke then caught up with JaQueen, Pia and Simon watching on and let’s just say Alibrandi was only looking for a reason to flip the vote, convincing the other two to get rid of Luke to guarantee their numbers.

At tribal council Luke acknowledged that the post reward divide could have impacted the game, given half the tribe were left out feeling like shit. Pia admitted it was pretty sweet, while Daisy was hopeful after making friends in the jacuzzi. She continued to push that the spa crew formulated a plan, hopeful that they could pull in one other for a blindside. Luke said that making a plan and missing is very dangerous before JaQueen jumped in and CEO’d to say that the reward plan was just misdirection, while Daisy sharing that it was a lie and they were planning. She then spoke about mopping and flopping, before Janine double down on saving her allies.

Pia joined the fray, assuring everyone that everyone was at least floating everyone else’s name and TBH they all agree with the plans, whether they intend to follow through or not. Harry thought that was bullshit, Luke was nervous, Abbey continued to espouse loyalty, Daisy was nervous and Janine wanted everyone to stay solid. Then Jonathan dropped the bombshell that they would not actually be voting someone out of the game and instead, the person would be sent to exile beach to await the next person to be booted from the game before they battle it out for a chance to return. With that the tribe voted and Daisy found herself sent to exile, filled with nerves about what she was going to face while awaiting her next opponent.

The next day we did a welfare check of Daisy on Exile Beach and honestly it looked pretty desolate and I would have been absolutely terrified. She then kind of broke down from loneliness, despite being grateful to still be in the game. To make it worse the rain started to bucket down which is usually her favourite thing. But then she lit a fire, steeled herself and vowed to not just return but win the game.

We dropped by camp where the tribe were busy doing chores and running errands, while Pia, JaQueen and Abbey joked about the lack of Instagram with their lives and whether they are actually in Fiji if they can’t prove it. Pia spoke about how strong their alliance is, though knew that she will have to channel her inner Joe Pesci in Goodfellas ASAP and start whacking people. Speaking of people that need to be whacked, we checked in with Harry who was nervous about joining Daisy on Exile and tried to find a way to send literally anyone else. He was hopeful that his chats with Luke are the key to fracturing the dominant Champion tribe, so rallied Baden to join him and try to fracture the alliance. And send his nemesis JaQueen to Exile … and out of the game.

Harry approached Luke and played into his nerves, explaining that as soon as they can, his allies will blindside him. He admitted that he has more trust in Harry at this point in time, and was keen to flip things up and make a move. They then laughed about JaQueen and Daisy spending time alone on Exile, given JaQueen was tiring of Daisy. Harry then approached Abbey to see what she is thinking, before pointing out why it is the stupidest move for her. This started to make her nervous, realising that riding coattails will not pay off in the end and hot damn, may she actually flip on her closest allies? Again.

Don’t tell Nova.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would lay on a steep ramp above the water, holding on to a pole. With the last one left hanging winning immunity. Almost immediately Baden dropped into the water – with a joyous weeeeee – before quickly being joined by Janine. Everyone else made it to 30 minutes before Harry couldn’t hold out anymore. Jonathan clearly grew bored, so after 45 minutes he forced everyone down to just one arm which made quick work of Abbey. After 90 minutes – which is honestly insane – Simon and Luke dropped one after the other, handing Pia her first individual immunity win. Which is just as ridiculously amazing as you would expect.

Back at camp Pia was relishing in her role as a challenge beast, thankful that she won’t have to suffer through Exile. Janine too was thrilled that Pia won immunity, as that meant they can power ahead with their plans and send Baden to exile to eliminate Daisy once and for all. She rallied her fellow Champs and told them that they have the numbers to split the vote and not worry, which made Abbey more sure that making a move against her was a good idea. Well when she wasn’t riddled with fear about Janine coming back to the game and destroying her. Abbey approached Harry and Baden to float flipping the vote to Simon, given the girls will be more forgiving of that deception. While Harry admitted that he would prefer JaQueen out of the game, he straight up didn’t mind so approached Luke to see whether he would be ok with voting out Simon. And you know he was.

Abbey approached Pia and JaQueen to do some yoga and allow JaQueen to continue the push to get rid of Baden. Getting nervous about Abbey’s movements, Harry approached JaQueen and Abbey to talk about the dwindling time remaining in the game and as such, the need to start locking in the right path to the end.

At tribal council Pia continued to be thrilled about her immunity win, particularly since it means that she won’t have to suffer through Exile. JaQueen spoke about the complexity of the vote ahead, assuming that should a Champ get booted and come back, they will be furious, almost talking directly into Abbey’s soul. Baden spoke about being nervous before Harry pushed hard for the Champions to finally make a move and take control of the game. Simon admitted that Harry’s pitch sounds good, though planned to stay solid. JaQueen agreed that she didn’t see anyone budging, before Harry said that they have the luxury of not feeling nervous. JaQueen then grew sassy and pointed out that the Contenders only have themselves to blame. Abbey tried to play coy, Simon admitted that somebody strong needs to face off against Daisy, with Luke, Pia and Abbey all agreeing that they fear an angry Daisy returning to the game.

Luke was confident that he was in on the real plan, Simon said that he was feeling confident while Abbey crushed Baden and Harry’s spirits, saying that the numbers speak for themselves. JaQueen mentioned the vote won’t really impact the tribe, and that the main concern it what happens the next day. With that the tribe voted, Abbey and Luke flipped to the Contenders and Simon found himself heading to Exile.

After randomly voting for Abbey.

Later that night Daisy was shocked to be joined by Simon, who was well and truly shocked himself. They caught up and Simon filled him in on Harry, Luke and Baden flipping the script, while Daisy silently started to panic about facing off against a former athlete in the upcoming duel.

The next day Daisy awoke and put her game face on, while Simon spoke about how difficult Exile was despite not having to spend any time there alone. My boy Jonathan and the remaining tribe waited for them to arrive at the duel, with Daisy talking about how difficult it actually was to be by herself for a couple of days while Jonathan threw some casual shade at Luke and Harry. Jonathan then told the duo that their battle would see them guiding ten discs through a suspended maze and balance them on top with the first person to build their tower returning to the game and the loser out for good. Simon got out to an early lead while Daisy took a slow and steady approach. Simon then dropped a disc, allowing Daisy to take a slight lead before she dropped a disc and handed the lead back to him. Just. They stayed neck and neck for much of the challenge before they both dropped on their eighth disc, leaving them both to start over. Since Daisy dropped first, she had a small lead on the second build however dropped at the last minute, allowing Simon to snatch victory and return to the game.

Daisy was pretty gutted to lose the challenge at the very last moment, but was thrilled to finally be in the arms of a warm, loving fellow Queenslander like me. Not wanting to kick her while she is down, I avoided pointing out that the wasted two idols which could have really helped her game, so instead served her a big ol’ Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad to perk her up.

 

 

I know, I know, you don’t make friends with salad. But when they taste this good, you can surely make an exception. The sweet, sticky dates work perfectly with the creamy cheese and earthy walnuts to make this salad something really special.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad
Serves: 4, or one broken exiled castaway and her besto.

Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp seeded mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
250g baby spinach or swiss chard, sliced
½ cup walnuts, roasted and chopped
6 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced thin
1 pear, cored and sliced
⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese

Method
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and a good whack of salt and pepper in a jug and whisk well to combine.

To make the salad, toss the dressing through the shard – or spinach – until everything is nicely coated. Add the remaining ingredients, toss again and serve immediately.

Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Reubannah Pentato Salad waiting to be giddily destroyed by Hannah Pentreath.

Reubannah Pentato Salad

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders dominated the early game, securing immunity after immunity (after immunity) while the Champs just enjoyed rewards and nothing else. I mean, not even each other’s company after the great power shift at their second tribal. In the early stages, Luke and Harry found two full idols, while Janine and Shaun found idols which were only valid for the other tribe. David then borrowed JaQueen’s idol note, made his own and traded it with Shaun for the real one. After a tribe swap left David and Luke without any allies and Daisy without her bestie Shaun, she decided to make some new friends, flipping on her OG tribe and saving the boys with an assist from Baden and John, blindsiding Sam and then sending Queen Sarah out of the game … after putting her through the trauma of a near-drowning challenge. May I remind you she survived a damn tsunami and deserves more than that.

We checked in with the Contenders where Janine was getting to know Harry, asking him to regale her with tales of his fake son. While I wasn’t a fan of Harry to start, I honestly love that everyone was so interested about his life with his son and he managed to fool them all, despite not remembering his name consistently. Harry, I’m sorry if I’ve been mean – I love you, you sweet family man you.

Over at Camp Champ Baden and Luke were on the hunt for coconuts, with the vet teaching the young whipper snapper how to tell if they are any good. Sadly his skills weren’t on the money though, as he cracked a rotten coconut. Speaking of rotten coconuts, Andy was loving his closest ally in the game David, however sadly for him, David had zero interest in aligning with him. And that makes me so happy. David was thrilled about his new majority alliance though, laughing and frolicking in the water with Luke and John. Sadly for Dave though his other close ally Daisy is missing her former bestie Shaun and that is making him jealous.

Speaking of Shaun he and the Contenders were worried about rain rolling in later that day, which is not a euphemism for them heading to tribal council and him being on the outs. Controlling the tribe are Jaqueen, Pia and Abbey who are worried about the threat that David poses, figuring that they need to take out his closest friends to weaken him before they can strike. With that JaQueen and Abbey approached Shaun to fill him in on the fact that his idol was fake and damn JaQueen, you’re a bloody icon. The next day Shaun was feeling hella salty before he unwrapped said fake idol to find that it was clearly David’s home job and slowly became enraged and ready for revenge.

My boy Jonathan arrived to lord over the reward challenge with an assist from his stun(ning) gun(s), where one at a time, two people would face off against someone from the rival tribe to knock the other’s idol off a perch. For DIY toasties, which TBH is pretty lazy of JLP but he is hot, so whatever. Luke finally defeated Matt in round one, Hannah then evened things up against Pia – driven by her hate for Matt calling her weak – before Zaddy John pulled his own idol of its perch, handing the Contenders their second point. Tragically the icon himself Ross was defeated by Sonic impersonator Andy, while Baden was bested by Harry the family man in a dance fight. Daisy made quick work of Abbey … by exascerbating a previous knee injury which is fucking savage. Shaun and has nemesis David were the next to face off and while Shaun scored the point, we won as they held each other while shirtless. John and Harry faced off, if you could call it that, as John dived under his legs, grabbed the idol and secured victory for the Champions. The tribes then mingled and congratulating each other on a challenge well played before Shaun whispered to Daisy that David handed off a dud idol and she needed to get rid of him ASAP.

The Champions returned to camp with David smarting over continually lose to Shaun in their face offs. Thankfully that sadness didn’t last long as they discovered the toastie ingredients and a bunch of personalised plate from their families. We then learnt that Zaddy John is a doting uncle to two beautiful nieces and I honestly love him more and more each episode. We then learnt that David is a loving father of three and I love him too. Baden’s plate featured his cat which again, is iconic, while Daisy broke down about her message from home and then learnt more about the ravages of drought and honestly the drought is fucked, despite how beautiful the farm looked. They got to work assembling their sandies, licking up the cheese goop and then straight up toasting sandwiches that fell in the fire and sadly for John, burning his plate. While everyone was distracted by Luke overeating and almost vomiting, Daisy pulled Baden aside to fill him in on fake-idol gate – and throw shade at Andy – and they planned to keep it quiet until they figure out how to deal with him.

Back at the Contenders Ross continued to be a total cutie, trying to snatch Harry’s socks while JaQueen, Abbey and Pia bonded on the beach and gushed about how much they love each other. They weren’t loving Harry and his shiftiness however, with Janine deciding that he needs to go ASAP. As he loitered around the bushes, wondering why he hadn’t made any allies. Shaun and the Champion girls got together by the fire, hopeful that Daisy will deal with David on their behalf. Later that night Harry grew hopeful that his idol could ingratiate him with his fellow OG Contenders, sharing the news and suggesting they use it to idol out JaQueen. And just like that, I don’t like Harry anymore.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where someone would chop through a rope to release blocks, while the six others walked two of said blocks through obstacles before untying knots to release poles which they then need to use to knock nine more blocks down … before using all the blocks to build a tower. The first to finish their tower snatching immunity. John and Ross were first up and to quote Jonathan, they punished their log until John got the Champions out to a slight lead. The Champions continued to extend their lead, almost lapping the Contenders. The Champions continued to extend their lead, starting on the tower before the others had even wrangled their poles. Shaun desperately tried to close the gap while Baden and Andy stood on David and Luke’s shoulders to finish the tower, with Daisy barking at Baden until he saved them from certain doom by holding the tower and stopping it from falling allowing the Champions to right it, awkwardly back away and finally secure immunity.

Amidst the celebrations and commiserations, David told JaQueen to vote out Shaun, Harry hugged Daisy and told her that if he goes, Shaun is next. To make things even more exciting, Jonathan dropped the surprise that not only did the Champions secure immunity but that they would also be attending tribal council that night to watch over proceedings. Sadly sans popcorn, much to Hannah’s dismay.

Back at camp the Contenders talked about their loss and Daisy’s aggressive leadership in the challenge. JaQueen and Simon got together to confirm that the Champions need to stay strong, identifying Harry as the shiftiest and decided to load all their votes on him. Meanwhile Harry and Casey got together to talk about JaQueen’s dominance, with him deciding that they should load all their votes on her. He then decided that Casey should go tell the Champions about his idol which potentially did what he hoped, making them distrust her and decide to flip the vote on to her instead. Casey returned to the Champion women to confirm the plan to get rid of Harry, with them confirming that they don’t believe Harry has it and as such will just vote for him. Casey returned to Harry to tell him they are being shifty, with Harry deciding that he should act like a complete and utter jerk at tribal to guarantee the votes go his way to ensure his idol play works. Sadly for him though JaQueen Inc. seem fairly set on getting out Casey instead.

At tribal council the Champions happily occupied the jury bench as the Contenders filed in and sat down, with Harry chewing a twig to complete his douche performance plan. JaQueen admitted that she was feeling lucky to be in the majority of the Contenders tribe, with Harry jumping in to talk about how nervous he is about the vote ahead. Ross shared that he trusts six or seven people on the tribe, so it isn’t all about the old tribe. Casey admitted that he told her he doesn’t trust her, which left Harry to assume that he was the other odd one out. Jonathan then pointed out that David and Luke managed to beat a numbers disadvantage, with Shaun complimenting them on being charming before Harry jumped in to point out on six people were actually playing the game while the rest were just cruising. He then went back to chewing his twig while Pia and Abbey started to call him out for not knowing their tribal dynamic.

Harry then pointed out that JaQueen is clearly in charge which angered Abbey and Janine, with Abbey not liking his smug face in particular. Casey thought that Harry got under their skin, Shaun admitted that they probably don’t know the dynamic before Janine pointed out that Harry is a completely different person in tribal. This lead to Abbey and Pia questioning who he is, before Ross point blank asked him whether his child was real. He then admitted that he does not have a kid, much to Abbey’s heartbreak before Pia reminded him that as a fan, this is not exactly the way to play the game and really, he is only playing himself. Matt said he was basing his vote on strength, Shaun was hopeful that that is enough to keep him while a decidedly less aggressive Harry tried to convince them that he will be an asset come the merge.

Just as the tribe were about to head off to vote, Jonathan advised them that tonight they would not be voting someone out of the tribe but instead the Champions would be voting to steal someone to join their tribe. Much to Matt’s absolute rage. With that the Champions voted one by one, snatching Shaun to their side and leaving Matt, Casey and Harry at an even worse numbers disadvantage.

The next day Shaun was settling in well at the Champions tribe, fishing with John and Andy while celebrating everyone bonding and getting along in the beautiful palatial camp. Daisy and Hannah were walking along the beach, Luke was complimenting Baden on his darkening tan and growing likeness to Peter Andre and honestly, I’m going to stop there as it doesn’t get better than a Peter Andre reference. Wait, it does get better – JOHN IS NUDE and my basement is flooded. Daisy too was full of joy, thrilled to be reunited with her bestie Shaun. While she had enjoyed her alliance with David and Luke, Shaun told her just how tight the Champion alliance is and as such, the Contenders need to come back together to ensure that David or Luke go and they can take control of the game.

David too had noticed the shift, nervous about how quickly Shaun managed to reunite the tribe and as such, put him back in the minority. He then decided that he needs to try and win Shaun over, so got to work trying to figure out how to play the whole fake idol saga off. They went for a walk together, with David sharing that he still has his idol and Shaun lying and saying that since he has no need for it on this beach, he thinks he may hide it to trick someone into using it. David fell for it, thrilled that they could come together and he got away with his crime, unaware that Shaun has no intention of honouring the final five he suggested between them, Luke, Daisy and Zaddy John.

Meanwhile back at the scummy, segregated camp Shaun left, the remaining castaways were weakened, sad and starving. Add to that, they were nervous about Harry’s new personality and his outed lies, and you could say they were all hating life. JaQueen was most angry about Harry painting the biggest target on her back, knowing that it could come back to bite her no matter how strong she builds her alliance. Though she is very grateful for her idol. Speaking of Harry, he was suffering in his jocks after making everyone hate him for absolutely no bloody reason, though he wasn’t willing to ever give up. Simon tried to get everyone’s mood back up with a cheeky peptalk and honestly, I love how pure he appears to be. What a bloody sweetie.

Jonathan and his guns wheeled out the old tower for today’s immunity challenge where the tribes – the Champs complete with Harry’s wanky toothpicks – would race through a series of obstacles, collecting balls, taking them to the top of the tower and awaiting remaining people to pull two ropes under water to open up a goal, with the first tribe to empty all their balls into the hole winning. Simon and Matt got the Contenders out to a slight lead, while Shaun struggled while looking beautiful in his speedos. Matt then struggled at the net obstacle, allowing Shaun and Luke to close the gap and land their balls on the tip of the shaft first. The Champions continued to extend their lead, leaving poor Pia and Casey to desperately try and make up some time, eventually making it to the top while the Champions struggled to land any balls. Ross jumped in to hold the Contenders goal open allowing Simon to score goal after goal, while the Champions remained on nothing. I’d like to pretend it was exciting to watch but Simon completely dominated, handing Contenders immunity and sending the warring Champions to tribal council.

Back at camp the Champions were shocked to lose the challenge, though Shaun quickly rallied and decided to lock in a split vote on David and Luke, unaware that their two idols could decide everything. Poor Hannah started to come down sick, with David and Luke approaching Daisy to suggest they get rid of Hannah instead. Meanwhile Shaun rallied Andy, John, Baden and Hannah to lock in the split vote. Hannah finally got a damn confessional, sharing that she is key to the plan and really needs to sell the fact that she thinks she is going home to ensure David doesn’t play his idol. Speaking of David, he was confident in the rest of the tribe going after Hannah instead of taking out he and Luke – aka the obvious targets – since nobody is playing on their level.  Andy being Andy decided that keeping David and Luke may actually work out in his favour, telling them to play their idol(s), save themselves and join him to take out Daisy. While Luke and David didn’t really think that they could trust Andy, they didn’t really have time to figure out what was happening before heading out to tribal.

At said tribal council Jonathan threw a little bit of shade at Shaun bombing the last challenge, before the adonis spoke about how grateful he was to be reunited with his friends. Daisy lay it on thick, talking about how even if he was terrible at challenges she would want him back as she trusts him implicitly. Hannah spoke about being on the bottom of the tribe for votes, Andy said he trusted his word while Luke straight up said that he planned to vote for her, though given he and David kept whispering, me thinks that is a lie. Daisy spoke about keeping the tribe strong while David and Luke continued to whisper amongst themselves. David then mentioned that he heard his name while Luke did some bad acting to pretend he wasn’t in on it – which is honestly iconic – while Daisy spoke about being confused as David pulled his idol out of his pocket. He then vowed to play the idol, which Shaun wasn’t convinced was a legit plan and was looking forward to finding out his plan. Andy wished he had an idol, Hannah asked if David would play the idol on her, while David said that she knows she doesn’t need it. Daisy was concerned about whose name was on the block then, with David and Luke continuing to whisper to figure who to pile their votes on and send home, should they play their idols.

With that the tribe voted, David and Luke both played their idols negating three votes on David and needlessly burning Lukes, while the remaining votes were tied for Shaun and Hannah. With a rando one for Daisy, which adds nothing to the story other than the fact Andy is all alone. With that the tribe voted again, this time for only Hannah and Shaun, with the iconic Hannah finding herself booted from the game. While I quickly pulled her into a hug, heartbroken of all the funny confessionals they never let us see from the queen, I explained that I am glad Shaun stayed if only so he has more opportunities to join John for a cheeky nude scene.

Pun intended.

While she was kind of cut that a dear friend like me – I went to the police academy with her while researching for a role in a Police Academy reboot that went nowhere – would be relieved to see her booted, she understood that my thirst always comes first. Again pun intended. And with that, we laughed, lamented what could have been and tucked in to a family-sized bowl of Reubannah Pentato Salad.

 

Hannah Pentreath waiting to smash a Reubannah Pentato Salad after a shocking tribal council.

 

How do you make something as majestic as potato salad even better? Add a hearty helping of (Academy Award winning) Pastrami Malek and all the fixins’ of a reuben. Nutty swiss cheese, tart cornichons and spicy Russianne Hathaway Dressing work together to make majestic, magnificent.

Enjoy!

 

Hannah Pentreath smashing a Reubannah Pentato Salad after a shocking tribal council.

 

Reubannah Pentato Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1kg small potatoes, halved
½ head of cabbage, shredded
⅓ cup Shayonnaise Swain
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp horseradish cream
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste
200g Pastrami Malek, shredded
100g Swiss cheese, shaved
½ cup baby cornichons, halved
1 tbsp chives, roughly chopped

Method
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover them, and bring to the boil.  Once rollicking, reduce to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are just cooked through. Add the cabbage and cook for 30 seconds, drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking and leave to drain slash cool for a further 15 minutes.

While the potato and cabbage is getting all chill, combine the mayo, tomato sauce, horseradish cream and lemon juice in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, and leave to rest.

Combine the potatoes and dressing in a large bowl and toss until well coated. Add the pastrami, cheese, cornichons and chives and toss again.

Serve immediately and devour, sadly. Thinking of what could have been for Hannah’s game.

 

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Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Burgers, Main, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor young, underestimated Baden had a hero moment at the reward challenge, proving himself to his tribe and helping them snatch their first reward. Things continued to get better for the Contenders – no doubt due to John’s nude scene – snagging another win at the immunity challenge. In no small part thanks to Janine’s idea to dig and trench over a hole. Which everyone agreed to, and don’t you forget it! Thankfully for JaQueen and her fellow outsiders, Luke and David found an idol, and then followed it up by working overtime to convince Abbey and Ross to flip on the athletes alliance, which worked, sending Susie out of the game and handing control of the tribe over to them.

The next day the new majority were living it up at Camp Champ, making jokes and having a great time. While Steven, Nova and E.T. sat around the shelter, sulking about the fact they were outplayed at tribal and wouldn’t be steamrolling their way to the merge. At the end of the rainbow the Contenders were still riding high on their back to back victories, none more so than Sarah who was overwhelmed by the beauty of Fiji and getting into the groove of island life. The tribe sat around the fire, roasting Sarah Harris and Studio 10 while flashing us back to John’s nude scene – how many times do you think I can bring this up, I wonder. There was an extremely hard pivot, with my Queen Sarah then talking about her experience surviving the Boxing Day tsunami. Honestly, just give her the money because she is the greatest and I’m sad we haven’t seen enough of her in the first three episodes.

We returned to Camp Champ where Nova was still running a tight ship in the kitchen … or protesting, I can’t tell. Though she was auditing bananas, then telling Ross he could cook his own damn rice (which is fair). We then followed Ross and Pia into the jungle who were snacking on ants, no doubt because Nova banned them from eating as she was seething after Susie’s blindside. As was Steven who was well and truly feeling the heat as the instigator of the athletes alliance, though he reminded us that he does not give up, ever, and will not go down without a fight. Given he talked about almost dying at least five times, I won’t make any jokes about winning Gold simply for not going down.

My love Jonathan returned for the next reward challenge – which coincidentally is a water challenge – aka Monika’s tower of belly flopping doom where people would jump off the tower one by one and snatch a flag, swim to a pontoon and then dive down to retrieve letters which they will use to solve a word puzzle … for HOT BLOODY CHOCCIE! Before Jonathan even asked the Contenders to sit someone out, Casey dived for the bench leaving tsunami survivor Sarah to face off against a huge body of water. When the challenge rolled around, Matt and David were neck and neck, while Hannah and Abbey both missed their attempts, while poor Sarah worried about screwing it up for their tribe. Luke got the Champs to a lead, before Harry closed the gap leaving Janine and Baden to arrive with the third flags neck and neck.

Daisy than followed in Monika’s footsteps and did a killer belly flop before John got the Contenders out to a lead. The Contenders then tried to coach Sarah through her trauma and TBH, I think the Champs should forfeit for her. Eventually it came down to just Sarah and Pia on the top of the towers, with Pia grabbing her flag on her third attempt while the Contenders gave up on trying to win and instead pushed Sarah to make the jump to prove it to herself and overcome her fear. Zaddy John then swam back to the tower to help Sarah, offering to hold her hand and jump with her. Matt too swam back, while the Champions slowly made their way to victory as the trio hugged at the top of the tower, agreeing not to push her outside her comfort zone. After the challenge Jonathan asked Sarah about her fears, giving her tribe the chance to publicly praise her and her bravery. Oh and then Jonathan gave the champs the chance to invite a contender to share in their reward, with them giving John a sweet treat for having Sarah’s back like the bloody icon he is.

Back at camp Sarah was still feeling guilty about losing the challenge and called the tribe around to explain what happened in the moment during the challenge and damn, all I want to do is give her a big hug as she is so much stronger than she is feeling. Shaun being the most beautiful man in the world, supported her and everything she’s been through and if John wasn’t John, I would be rooting for just Shaun.

Speaking of John, he was living it up over at Camp Champ, meeting new friends and most importantly, his childhood crush Pia aka the star of his fave movie, Looking for Alibrandi. I mean, does he get any better? While everyone was smashing marshmallows, Janine noticed a clue on the beach near the table, so slyly reached down to grab it, with only ally David catching her at the last minute. JaQueen wandered deep into the jungle where she learnt that she had picked up a clue, leading her back to the well where she snatched an idol … for the Contenders. The note explained that the idol was only good for a Contender to play at a Contender tribal council and that a Champion idol sits in the same location at the Contender beach. Given the highly specific wording, I assume a swap is a coming and this could be very good for her should she find herself becoming a Contender. She then debated whether it was a good idea to give the idol to John and hope he’d return the Champion idol to her, before ultimately deciding that patience is her best bet. It didn’t add anything to the narrative, but John returned to his tribe and then got down on one knee and gifted Sarah with a marshmallow for everything she has done for the tribe, and damn I love him so much.

Jonathan’s gun show returned for the immunity challenge where eight members of each tribe are tethered to ropes, wrapped around obstacles before releasing themselves and a pack of balls, which the final two have to roll up a curved wall and land them in a bucket. Hannah and Shaun got the Contenders out to an early lead over Abbey and David, much to Nova’s chagrin. While they managed to close the gap on the second obstacle, the Contenders still maintained a slight lead which only extended when Daisy and John hit the course, despite a killer run from Pia and Luke … until they tangled themselves on the second obstacle, alloying Baden and Sam to lap them. Casey and Matt started the course before the third Champion pair made it to the wall, until Casey started to fade and Janine and Simon slowly started to close the gap. Andy and Harry had a huge head start figuring out how to roll the balls in the bucket, landing three before the Champions even made it through the gate. While Nova’s hockey past helped her land her first roll, it was all for nought, as Harry landed the final ball, handing the Contenders third third immunity win.

Back at camp Pia was feeling extremely nervous after stuffing up the challenge with Luke and while they apologised, Nova looked like she wanted to kill them both. Steven went out into the ocean to cool down, both figuratively and literally, before assuring us that Abbey or Ross are the athletes target, rather than Pia or Luke. Abbey approached Simon to explain why she flipped, pointing out that Steven hadn’t bothered to ever talk to her. While he wanted her to join back with the alliance, she explained it was too hard. She then went to talk to Steven and Nova, with Steven making the situation worse for himself, cussing her out and calling her weak. Completely ignoring the point of Survivor, wondering why she dared not to tell them she was jumping. She then stood up for herself, explaining that he is the reason she flipped, given he never gave her the time of day.

She and Pia then walked down the beach where Abbey started to break down over the way Steven spoke to her. Janine, Ross, Luke and David stumbled upon them and asked what happened before going back to camp, asking Steven what the hell he said to her. While he was quick to deflect from the way he spoke to her, with Nova backing him up, the tribe rallied around Abbey. Steven eventually tried to smooth things over, finding her by the shore to apologise before returning to camp to joke about needing to pack his bag, knowing only a miracle will save him.

At tribal council E.T. seemed at a loss trying to explain how they lost yet again, while Nova pointed out that true Champions keep getting back up when things go wrong. Pia addressed the elephant in the room, saying that tensions flared after losing the immunity challenge before Abbey jumped in to rescue her, explaining that someone cussed her out – which Luke jumped in to point out was Steven – for flipping at the last tribal council. He admitted to it and reiterated his apology before Nova explained that she thought booting Steven was a bad, emotional idea and was salty about it. David explained why he defended Abbey so vehemently before Nova completely downplayed Steven’s behaviour. While Pia explained that he did get in her face, Nova continued to defend her friend while Pia pointed out that she too was there and saw everything. E.T. went back to talking about the initial alliance before Steven said that the tribe will be weakened without him, should he actually go home and no matter what, the divide will still be there if they don’t fix things.

With that the tribe voted and – to steal Jonathan’s joke – Steven lived up to his reputation and skated through once again, with his closest ally Nova getting the boot instead. While Nova was shocked to get the boot, she took her blindside like the legend that she is as she pulled me into a big hug. As you know, I’ve been involved with many an Olympics and while my specialty was swimming – hey Lisa and Steph! – like Nova, I was able to cross over and actually coached the Hockeyroos in ‘95-’96 which is where I first met the Australian hero. I always knew Nova was destined for greatness, and to see her going from strength to strength is one of the greatest joys of my life. That and celebrating her many victories with a big, juicy Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger.

 

Nova Peris celebrating her fourth boot Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger.

 

Hot, spicy and packing a real punch, there is no better way to honour the Queen of the Kitchen, dual-sport Olympian, Gold medalist, former senator and all around icon Nova. The burn of the chicken mixed with the creamy mayonnaise and sharp cheddar, honestly, is the only joy I can derive from seeing this hero booted.

Enjoy!

 

Nova Peris celebrating her fourth boot Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger.

 

Nova Peris Peri Chicken Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 small bird’s-eye chillies (seeds in for additional heat, if you wish)
½  teaspoon chipotle chilli powder
4 cloves garlic
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp oregano
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup champagne vinegar
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, sliced into 4 fillets
4 Kirsten Bunst
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 cup lettuce, shredded, washed and dried
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
4 slices cheddar cheese

Method
Blitz the chillies, chilli powder, garlic, lime zest and juice, paprika, oregano, olive oil and champagne vinegar in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and rub over the chicken pieces. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

When you’re ready to rock, transfer the chicken to a lined baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and starting to blacken around the edges.

Split the buns, smear each side with the mayo and top with some lettuce, tomato and a slice of cheese. Add the piping hot chicken, close the burg’ and devour, greedily.

 

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A delightful third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the new Champs and Conts – errr, I mean Contenders – met in the Fijian jungle, with the Champs living up to their name by taking out two of the first three challenges, sadly for them, however that one loss was the first immunity. This led to the athletes banding together due to their auto majority, opting to get rid of iconic Roxette impersonator Anastasia. Well and truly on the outs, Luke found his first ever idol clue, which he, David, Pia and Janine plan to use to woo Ross and Abbey to their side and take control. Before we could find out whether they were successful, they snapped up the second immunity sending the Contenders to tribal council where sweet Baden survived against all odds and the sweet, spunky Laura heading home.

Things were looking up the next morning at the Contenders tribe where sexy, sexy John decided to do a nudie run and hot damn, I am moister than an oyster. Or sea cucumber, which he picked up on his travels, much to the disgust of his fellow tribemates. Speaking of those tribemates, I think Hannah is still yet to utter a word and I worry about her and want her in our lives ASAP.

Meanwhile over at the Champions Susie was having a bit of a wake-up call, shocked by how dirty they all are, the lack of food and the misery that comes from sleeping in the rain. While E.T.  continued to push for an Escape With reboot, catching minnows for the tribes. The tribe sat around eating fruit, talking about their lives at home with Queen Janine completely loving the fact that she hasn’t had to make massive decisions for the thousands of people that rely on her to live for a week. And she is zen, her hair is wavy and natural and this icon makes me so damn happy. Oh and she is totally ready to make some deals to break up the athletes alliance and take control. See? She is iconic.

Not to be outdone, Nova continued her push for next year’s Masterchef handing out bananas – fresh from Nova’s Kitchen – to her tribemates. Though the way she was barking out that they aren’t allowed any more, or else, due to rations was grating on Ross. Which, of course, Luke planned to use to his advantage. That night, Ross took time away from his busy snoring schedule to hang out with Luke before stealing an extra banana with which they solidified their loyalty.

The next day the Contenders awoke to take in the sunrise together – John, sadly in pants – before gathering around to share in some breakfast. Daisy and Sam went for a wander through the jungle before realising that Shaun is Megan Gale’s partner, before we learnt more about the zaddy who tragically never reached the pinnacle of his AFL career and how he desperately wants to prove himself. He then did a slow-mo walk down the beach dressed in a speedo, so you know he proved himself to me. Swoon.

My boy Jonathan – and obvi, his guns – arrived for the reward challenge where someone from each tribe would face off in an alley, running at each other to ring their bell at the opposite end. The first to ring their bell snatching a point with the first tribe to five winning a box of mystery comfort items. As is oft the case, Luke and Matt were first to face off with Luke finally getting a win, despite losing his shirt in the process. Daisy and Susie were next to battle it out, with Daisy taking it out despite Susie’s aggressive defense. David and Shaun faced off and while Shaun got the point, we are the true winners because them snuggling is the hottest thing I’ve seen today. Minus John’s butt, obvi. Simon evened things up against Harry, before zaddy John destroyed Bradbury despite taking a fall. Abbey evened things up again, running right past Casey on the way to her point before Baden proved himself a hero, destroying Ross and earning the adoration of his tribe. I love him and I’m crying. Oh and then Shaun returned to the alley to face off against Luke, secured reward for the Contenders and I am still crying. Now because Shaun is so damn beautiful.

Back at camp the Contenders were riding high on their win before even discovering they won a crate of 11 comfort items, with John tasked with handing out an item to each person. Baden got a choccie croissant, Casey got a toothbrush, soap went to Harry, Shaun got tweezers, Andy got moisturiser, the others got rando items and John gave himself a coconut. Andy returned to rant about the breakdown of alliances on their tribe, with Shaun, Daisy, John and Matt in control, Baden, Sarah and Hannah on the bottom and he and the rest stuck in the middle. Though looking to change that.

Meanwhile the Champions were decidedly less chipper after their loss, which David decided was the perfect time to win over Abbey. While he flirted with her and she looked thrilled, it was Simon rubbing sunscreen into his back and TBH, it is my new ship. Luke took a break from trying to find a crack in the athletes alliance to find his idol, pulling in David to help search without being noticed by anyone else. They searched far and wide, walking past a stump that David believed was home to Luke’s idol four times before he finally convinced Luke to have a second look at before they ultimately found it. And hopefully a way to keep themselves, Janine and Pie alive.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes had to dig under a log, carry a plank through a series of obstacles, using the plank to see-saw someone to retrieve sandbags before two tribe members throw said bags onto five of their tribemates’ poles. The Contenders went hard at the gate with zaddy John barrelling through before the Champions had even attempted to get anyone under the log. The Contenders moved onto the second obstacle while only Pia and Janine had gotten through the log for the Champions. By the time the Contenders made it to a tower, the Champions had finally gotten their shit together and commenced closing the gap. Well until the got stuck and the Contenders pulled away again and Hannah and Andy landed two bags before the Champions even started throwing them. E.T. and Nova started to close the gap but Andy once again proved too strong at throwing shit, snatching victory for the Contenders almost single handedly.

While I’m impressed by his challenge strength, he is still kinda annoying. I mean, John knows he is amazing and doesn’t need you to get in his face about it.

Back at Camp Champ, Nova was quick to point out that it was Janine’s idea to dig a trench, rather than a hole under the log and as such, she needs to be the next to go. The athletes all got together to discuss how stupid her idea was and how she shouldn’t advise them on athletic pursuits, deeming that enough of a reason to get rid of her. Susie and Steven went for a wander through the jungle, happy with their place in the alliance. Abbey then approached Ross to find out what their plans were, concerned that nobody had bothered to talk to her and ask her opinion.

Meanwhile Luke, Janine and Pia got together to find a way out of their predicament, deciding that Abbey is still the key. With that, Janine and David approached her by the well and Janine spoke about how inclusive and supportive their alliance is and you could see the point that Abbey’s eyes lit up at the prospect of somebody listening to her before suggesting they get rid of Susie instead, since Abbey sees her as weaker than Janine. With that Luke floated Susie’s name with the men, which Steven was quick to dismiss though Ross kinda, sorta did appear conflicted. Luke then decided to return to Abbey who was worried about upsetting the tribe harmony, while David approached Susie to let her know that he would be voting for her in an attempt to rattle her enough to throw a tantrum at tribal.

Speaking of tribal council, Jonathan was quick to throw some shade at their losing ways before I got distracted by David looking hot in his leather jacket, sans shirt. Susie then spoke about how tough the survival aspect is before denying the extremely obvious athlete alliance, that everyone is aware of. Steven dug a hole for himself, admitting to not speaking to Abbey until the day before. E.T. reiterated the importance of keeping the tribe strong before Jonathan asked Janine whether that made her concerned. She said it did, but not as much as the fact that her name was thrown out. She then went in, pointing out that she isn’t the actual weakest link, pushing hard that everyone should vote the weakest, not the weakest that isn’t in their alliance. Abbey loved the team-strong mentality, proving Janine is a damn icon.

Steven spoke about loyalty before Susie spoke about her name being thrown out and David having the hide to tell her that he was voting her out. She then kinda danced around whether she is or isn’t strong, before mentioning Janine’s digging faux pas. Janine pointed out that it was a suggestion that everyone agreed to, which annoyed Nova as she wanted Janine to just admit that she screwed up. Abbey was confused about the vote ahead, Steven said it would be an easy one and Ross shared that he didn’t have a plan, though knew he was voting for. Janine doubled down on her strength and loyalty just before the tribe headed off to vote, which clearly proved very convincing as both Abbey and Ross flipped on the athletes, and Susie was sent from the game.

While I love Susie dearly and dearly, I did tell her how thrilled I was that it Ross and Abbey flipped as I pulled her in for a hug. In retrospect, that was a highly insensitive, cruel thing to do, but the athletes alliance didn’t contain Queen Janine, Pia, David and his beauty or Luke, and as such, I needed something to give. Plus Susie has achieved so damn much in her life, that I knew she wouldn’t let it get her down. Particularly when she has a Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic to give her a culinary hug.

 

Susie Maroney smashing her third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

 

You know, or at the very least should be well aware, that I firmly believe that every dish can be improved with the addition of lemon and chilli. I mean, picture it, your belly tonight, risoni bathed in cream with a touch of garlic and spinach. Bit of a womp-womp, right? Now add in the tang of some lemon and a kick of chilli. It’s good right? Real good.

Enjoy!

 

Susie Maroney smashing her third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

 

Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
400g risoni
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp flour
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup cream
200g baby spinach
½ cup parmesan cheese, plus extra, obvi

Method
Get a pot of salt water on the boil and cook the orzo per the packet instructions. Drain and set aside, hopefully not for too long.

While you’re prepping the pasta, heat a good lug of olive oil in a saucepan and cook the garlic with a good whack of salt and pepper for a minute. Add the flour and chilli, and cook for a further minute. Quickly add the zest and juice and give a good whisk before removing from the heat and slowly whisking in the cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes, or until starting to thicken.

Add the spinach and cook until perfectly wilted before stirring through the parmesan. Remove from the heat, fold through the risoni and serve immediately, covered in more parmesan and a good whack of pepper.

Then devour, obvi.

 

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Australian Survivor's first boot Piñastasia Colamer

Piñastasia Colamer

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Drink, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor a Samoan sea witch took out the third-but-first-on-Ten crown, followed by Jericho butchering metaphors until he bamboozled his competitors into submission and Shane Gould emphatically proved that she is not one to be fucked with. I mean, just ask Lydia how swiftly she will turn the game against you! But none of that matters because this is a new season and the memory of Locky, Steve, the washed up Gladiator, Benji, Robbie and Grubby’s buns, Shonella’s majesty and Monika’s brutal belly flops are all that remains.

Deep in the swamp of the foggy, Fijian jungle we first meet this year’s batch of Contenders featuring thirst traps Matty and Shaun – sorry Megan Gale, I ship them – and Andy, Laura, Casey, Sam, Hannah and Harry who have channeled the fearless style choices of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the Vanderpump Rule’s kids by working on their hat game. While without an in-game hat, farm girl Daisy seems like an early icon – I may be biased, but curly hair is never anything but an asset in life. As they continued to trudge through the swamplands, we met gold miner John who looks like Chopper Reed, but in a way that I kinda find hot. Side note: maybe I am just a thirsty man? He was followed by Sri Lanken tsunami surviving cleaner Sarah and TBH, I am questioning the decision making abilities of whoever thought it was a good idea to kick off the game with this poor woman trudging through a mass of land that is inundated with water.

In a more rapidly flowing body of cleaner water we met the Champions – who have thus far only been ambiguously shaded by their fellow competitors, none moreso than Matt who I am praying is a fellow gay going through something based on his bleached hair – led by big wave surfer Ross who seems super cute, if not simply washed up. (Pause here to laugh at my killer pun). He is joined by E.T. who I assume just thinks he wandered on to the set of a reboot of Escape with E.T., Janine “Ma’ Fuckin’” Allis who is a bloody icon and I already stan, despite not enjoying Boost nor wheatgrass shots – oh the noughties, what a bloody time – and Luke Toki who is back to cause havoc and drama for a second time, this time unhampered by Jericho’s afformentioned metaphor challenges.

Side note: what do you think happened to that drowning cat he spoke about?

The Contenders were the first to be welcomed to Jonathan’s swoon worthy gunshow on a windy, grassy knoll by the sea. He quickly got in on the shade game, pointing out that when Shane Gould proved not to be fucked with last year, it also ruined the predestined narrative arc of the Champions vs. Contenders theme – lucky Nick defeated Mike in the USA, I guess – and as such they all need to take a long hard look at themselves, pull their fingers out and snatch the crown in honour of Robbed Goddess Shonee. They all assured him that they have what it takes and believe that they can do her proud before the Champions were wheeled out. Almost literally if you ask Sam and Casey, who noted they were old as shit and as such, they will be destroyed in all and sundry challenges. Daisy jumped on the ageist ribbing to point out that their tribe was young and diverse, with Jonathan left to fill in the blanks. As she was left to ponder who the nine Champions she doesn’t recognise are, Queen Janine admitted that she was happy to face off against their arrogance, knowing that pride comes before the fall and again, I stan.

More importantly, I’m still Looking for Alibrandi to get a bloody line. Show me Pia Miranda for I smash a book on my TV’s nose!

With the requisite shade out of the way Jonathan announced that the season will be kicking off with a reward challenge for a huge welcome pack, featuring food, pots and flint, with the losers going home with nothing. He explained that each tribe would send one person to battle it out in the ring to gain control of a sack, which they were to drag to their goal. While I was left confused about whether the ring or the sack was the one true goal, the Contenders sent John in to face off against Simon Black. They ran at each other as John and his magically mullet grabbed at the sack, as Brownlow Medalist Simon held on to his rugged torso. Try as he might, John pulled Simon harder and harder until Simon and the sack reached John’s goal and secured the first point for the Contenders.

Luke and Zaddy Matt were next to face off, with Luke almost snatching victory before Matt fought back and used his brains to snatch victory. Nearly killing Luke in the process. Abbey and her epic guns kept things alive for the Champions, making quick work of Daisy despite the icon’s best efforts. Champion Roxette impersonator slash memory champion slash ballerina Anastasia made even quicker work of Laura, even though the latter straight up kneed her in the head. The final battle between E.T. and Andy proved far closer than I was expecting – soz Andy, but I was expecting to hate you and giddily enjoy your flame-out – with the first round ending in the sack being taken out of the ring, leaving the exhausted oldies to battle it out again with E.T. just snatching victory and handing the Champions a massive advantage as things kicked off.

We followed the victors back to camp where my search efforts paid off and Pia Miranda finally arrived on screen and proved why she is a star, vowing to game everyone despite arguably being the weakest on her tribe. Luke was feeling deja vu being back in the game, though noted that his tribe comes across more like an aged care facility and as such, he needs to prove his worth and blindside them all.

Meanwhile over at the Contenders the plebs were still feeling upbeat despite their loss, introducing themselves and sharing stories. Well except for Andy who was coming across more closely to my expectations than his star turn in the challenge, spinning lies about his life and being super arrogant, which you know will come back to bite him, rather than lay low like he is intending. That being said Casey does appear to be making quick work of putting a target on her back, forcing people into focusing on the shelter and not listening to everyone’s pleas to get a fire going ASAP.

Speaking of fire, Olympian slash former senator was making quick work of getting fire going for the Champions while also becoming my new favourite cast member. However she was super confident about her standing because of that, which immediately makes me want to scream – YOU IN DANGER GIRL. We then checked in with Steven Bradbury who acknowledged that yes he got lucky winning his gold medal, but that still doesn’t mean he worked his arse off to get to the finals in the first place, which is true but ruins the iconic joke we as a country have turned him into. That being said, he is planning to use his smarts to snatch victory this time, lining up an alliance of seven with the rest of the athletes to get rid of the five non-sporties. So sorry Steven, I hate you, as I need David to get shirtless for many more episodes and Pia to slay, hopeful get a book and break someone’s nose with it.

Unwittingly fighting against the athlete alliance, Luke was charming Nova, Ross and Simon, with the latter working his way into my heart with a speedo scene. I mean, between Simon, Commando last years and the Survivor SA boys, I really think speedos need to be mandatory for the men. Anyway Luke’s instincts tipped him off to Steven’s athlete alliance and his general shiftiness, so decided to find his Jericho, settling on Zaddy David, before pulling in Anastasia, Janine and Pia to round out his group of close allies. We then checked in with Anastasia who was thrilled to discover that everyone was getting along and nobody was annoying people, except for Nova who was annoying Anastasia – and only Anastasia – for taking control of the kitchen, leaving the memory champ to only be heard by dogs as the pitch of her voice grew higher and higher.

That night we checked in with the Contenders who were still without fire in their elevated shelter … which slowly started to collapse, almost crushing half of the tribe who were sleeping beneath it. Needless to say, Andy was pissed and was thrilled to tell us about it. Things were looking slightly better the next morning as they smashed a breakfast of beans, much to the delight of John whose thing, apparently, is four bean mix. Which still makes him so inappropriately sexy to me. Baden however was not loving it, blowing chunks from his beanie brekkie and annoying Andy in the process.

My boy Jonathan returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes were required to race over a series of walls, followed by a giant netted A-frame, before pushing a deck along a track, before flipping it over to enter a tower, pull up a frame and then throw clubs and the tiles embedded within it. Zaddy David got the Champions out to a slight lead at the walls, however the Contenders closed the gap over the second obstacle. Things were neck and neck by the time it came to push the deck, with the Champions slowly opening up a gap as they climbed the tower until John finally pulled Shaun into the tower and they once again, slowly closed the gap. David and Steven struggled to knock out the tiles, while Andy and Shaun snatched the lead for the Contenders, and ultimately, snatched immunity. Thanks to Andy’s killer aim, which I really hate to admit. Maybe I should like Andy, I don’t know?

Back at camp the two factions split up to lock in their respective targets, with the athletes locking in Pia – well not Steven, he was just following their lead despite organising the alliance – while the outsiders decided on Susie, as she seemed to be relying on the men. Meanwhile Nova stumbled upon the outsiders, making things super awkward until Queen Pia asked her what she was thinking. While Nova obviously stayed silent and just listened to their thoughts, she immediately took said information back to Susie. Nova continued to be my personal hero, deciding that she was not keen on voting out Pia or Susie, and that they should target Anastasia instead. She then got to work, trying to pull in Susie and Luke, and while the former was more than receptive Luke approached Anastasia to fill her in, leading to her completely unravelling. Pia tried her best to calm her down, given she was sure that the athletes would be targeting her instead. Given Anastasia continued to panic, Pia gave up and walked away … leaving David, Luke and Anastasia locking in their votes for Pia in a bid to save her. Speaking of Pia, she then approached Susie and Nova to continue turning the vote against Anastasia instead, with Nova trying to pull in E.T. after identifying him as the key to getting everyone on side. Sadly they were interrupted by a seemingly paranoid Steven, leaving things confused and undecided as they headed off to tribal council.

Though Pia gave a confessional talking about being the first boot or the winner, and hot damn, I need her to survive the vote and follow in Shane Gould’s footsteps.

Anywho at tribal council Janine spoke about the importance of forming bonds and being friends, while David pointed out their camp was a mess despite them all trying their best before Luke spoke about the bedlam of the post challenge scrambling. Nova likened it to her time in parliament, before Pia went on the charm offensive, acknowledging the fact that she heard her name and completely lost her mind, laughing about not being cool about it and winning fans in the process if the warm smiles are anything to go by. Jonathan asked who else heard their name, with Anastasia and Susie admitting that they too had heard their names. Anastasia continued to solidify the votes against her, trying to back away from throwing out Susie’s name, sounding flakey and paranoid in the process.

E.T. spoke about the need to focus on strength, which only made Pia more nervous given she is physical in real life however next to athletes, she appears like a hot mess. Luke agreed strength is important, though loyalty is too. Nova then pointed out everyone has their strengths and it is sad to have to send someone home, while Anastasia still felt uneasy and manic and just wished they all had more time to get to know each other. Which is so true and the saddest thing for the first boots, as even an extra day could give them time to win people over or to prove themselves. But anyway, Pia then gave a killer pitch to keep herself, pointing out her easygoing, fun nature and that she doesn’t want to be pushy with alliances or how to vote, easily deflecting her superfan status. With that the tribe voted and poor Anastasia found herself becoming the first boot, with the game becoming a distant memory.

Despite how the show made her appear as she spoke about her scratched up knees proved how much harder she fought in challenges than others, Anastasia took her crushing defeat with humility and kindness. As soon as I saw her descend from the tribal treehouse stairs, I swept her up in my arms and cursed out Bradbury for making her become the first to slip on his way to victory. You see Anastasia and I have been friends for years, after meeting at a ballet company – I am truly the lightest one could be in my loafers – then forming a Roxette cover band and ultimately becoming memory champs together. Well, trying to – apparently the judges feel like calling people either old mate or old love doesn’t qualify as memory.

But enough about me. My dear Anastasia truly could have been a strong asset to her tribe, but was dealt a sucky hand and didn’t have enough time to work her way through the athlete shield. Thankfully for that sort of tragedy, there is liquor and there is no liquor sweeter than a Pinastasia Colamer.

 

Anastasia Woolmer enjoying a Piñastasia Colamer after becoming the first boot

 

Fresh and vibrant like its namesake, this little piña colada fills you with joy and dulls the pain of being brutally cut from the game. Plus, how better do you toast your last day in Fiji?

Enjoy!

 

Anastasia Woolmer enjoying a Piñastasia Colamer after becoming the first boot

 

Piñastasia Colamer
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
1 cup white rum
⅔ cup coconut cream
1 ½ cups fresh pineapple juice
crushed ice, to taste

Method
Place everything in a blender. Blitz. Pour into a cup. Down, with or without a garnish.

 

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