Ryan Wedgranos

Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe was split into two groups as has become tradition – not back to two tribes – for a little double tribal council. Probst then threw down a challenge for reward, with the person that could last the longest in the immunity challenge winning PB&Js for the tribe. And try as Karla might, her stitched up hand proved too much to overcome as she took out immunity but left her group hungry as they headed to the first tribal council. While James quickly locked in everyone against his nemesis Owen, things weren’t so simply as Noelle played him, stealing Owen’s vote and using it to join with Sami – and a reluctant Karla – to blindside James from the game.

But first, let’s take a little step back.

We followed the winning team back to camp where they quickly got to work making their PB&Js and greedily devouring them. With that out of the way, Ryan pulled Gabler aside to quickly lock in the vote against Cassidy. They went to Cody to float the idea and while he pretended to be keen, he immediately went to catch up with Jesse and Cassidy, admitting that he really likes her and as such, wants her to stay. She then went all in, assuring them that they already have a good bond and can trust each other and as such, it makes sense they go to the end together. She then opened up to us about her love for her family and how she is playing in honour of her deceased sister, who she used to watch the show with, and well, if they eliminate her after this beautiful personal content, I will be very very angry.

Cody and Jesse caught up solo to talk through the best move for their game moving forward, unsure whether it was a good idea to keep Ryan around as a meat shield despite the risk that voting out Cassidy could potentially piss off her allies Karla and James. Jesse rightly pointed out that going to tribal council second gives them more options, suggesting that if Owen goes out they keep Cassidy around to keep James and Karla happy, while if James is gone, they could be safe to take a shot. Locking in their options, they approached Gabler to get him on board and well, this could really be interesting!

At tribal council they were positively shocked to see James sitting on the jury, though also a little bit delighted, TBH. Jesse spoke about how James clearly was in a powerful position before the split while Ryan was concerned about what his boot meant for any alliances he was in. Cassidy made Probst very happy, talking about the monster coming to get for them, particularly given they are now back to a small tribe dynamic. Ryan too was concerned, given it only takes three votes to be out of the game. We flipped back to Cassidy who spoke about how difficult it is to handle having conversations and then see the people you just spoke to disappearing to talk to other people.

Cody meanwhile loved being safe, though felt it came with the heavy price of having a little power and feeling like he was in the driver’s seat for the night. Ryan agreed that people spent more time talking to Cody than him, though he had 30 pounds of clams in his bag and well, should they vote him out, he is happy to walk out with them. While Cassidy was just nervous about how the vote will reverberate through the dynamics when the groups come back together. With that the tribe voted and tragically booted zaddy Ryan – and his clams – from the game.

After quickly dishing up James his jam, I ran to find Ryan in Ponderosa and pulled him in for a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game. But more importantly, reminded him that he is such an inspiration and is SUPER hot to boot and as such, if he isn’t invited back to the very next possible All Stars season, I will riot, or something. He obviously thought I was joking about everything, so we laughed and celebrated his success with a big, fat bowl of Ryan Wedgranos.

You know I have a passion for fried potato in all their forms, but there is something super special about wedges. I mean, a little spiced, chunky enough to give you the perfect balance of crunch and fluff, AND their frequent collaboration with sour cream. How could you go wrong?

Enjoy!

Ryan Wedgranos
Serves: 2 dear friends that would make a glorious couple.

Ingredients
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut each into 8 wedges
3 tbsp olive oil
sour cream and sweet chilli, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan in a bowl. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle over the spice mix. Toss until well coated.

Spread the wedges out in a single layer on lined baking sheets, ensuring one of the cut sides are face down. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning once halfway through to the other cut edge, and bake until browned and crisp.

Then devour them with a vat of sour cream and sweet chilli, which is customary in a pub.


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Fig James Jones

Condiment, Survivor, Survivor 43, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeanine, Noelle and Owen were well and truly on the outs and while Sami wanted to make a move, was trying to play in the middle to avoid upsetting anyone. Speaking of upsetting anyone, Ryan and Cassidy continued their feud as Owen and James started another one. At the immunity challenge, Probst offered up a bag of rice to the tribe if five people were to forgo the challenge and despite James assuring him he was good, Owen knew his nemesis was lying and as such, not only played the challenge but one immunity. With Owen no longer an option, the alliance turned their attention to the girls and tragically booted Jeanine from the game.

Leaving us with just three more women.

Back at camp Sami remained ready to switch things up, despite just going with the easy Jeanine vote. He caught up with Owen and Gabler, with Owen filling them in on his ongoing drama with James and the fact that he lied about Ryan being the target. Thankfully Gabler had looped him in just before tribal and as such, the Baka men were still keen to work together. They returned to camp where James checked in on Owen to see if he wanted to talk through tribal council with Owen hilariously shutting him down and while James said it was all cool beans, he immediately ran to Karla and Cassidy to complain about how rude Owen was to him. Particularly given he wrote down his name two tribals ago. And yeah, these two just hate each other at this point and are openly gunning for the other, I guess?

We quickly pivoted to Jeffrey looking like an absolute dream on the beach for the latest immunity challenge. Where they would be split up into groups of five to compete with one person winning immunity and the other four in danger at their group’s tribal council. Yep, this is double tribal week! But anyway, as for the challenge, they would each hold a bar up to keep a ball balanced above them with the last one standing in each group winning immunity and the last one standing overall winning reward for their group, in the form of PB&Js. Oh and the honour of being the second tribal council. 

Cassidy, Jesse, Gabler, Ryan and Cody formed one group, while Owen, Sami, Noelle, Karla and James were the other. Almost instantly Jesse was the first one out of his group, followed closely by Cassidy and Noelle back-to-back. James was gagged to see his ball drop before Gabler gave out, followed by Owen. That left Ryan and Cody to face off against Sami and Karla and while they were all like statues – Karla with a still injured hand – Sami dropped out of nowhere, leaving Karla gagged to have taken out immunity before she quickly tried to refocus to win PB&J. Sadly for her team, she couldn’t hold out any longer, leaving Cody to ultimately win PB&J for his team after Ryan eventually dropped.

We followed the losing team back to the former Vesi camp where they immediately got to work scrambling. While Owen and James getting water together – lol – Noelle, Karla and Sami talked through the most obvious move, with Karla feeling bad about them clearly having to eliminate Owen. Speaking of the feuders, they were arguing at the well and, given it appears clear that they are all voting for Owen, I guess he is safe. They fought all the way back to camp where James grew more and more frustrated at Owen, with the duo both blaming the other for the drama as everyone else rolled their eyes.

They eventually pressed pause so James could speak to Karla about how frustrating it is to be pushed into drama. James then caught up with Noelle who assured him that she plans to steal Owen’s vote at tonight’s tribal council. Sadly for him however, it was only to lull him into a false sense of security and vote him out with Owen(‘s vote) and Sami. And well, I love Noelle’s 3D chess to navigate around James’ advantage and the potential Shot in the Dark. Sami however didn’t want to blindside Karla and as such, approached her to see what she would prefer and while she was keen to get rid of Owen, Sami got to work convincing her how important it is to get rid of James now and keep the outsiders around as an easy vote in the future. And damn, that is a compelling argument. Particularly since it makes her more of a free agent in the larger alliance.

At tribal council Owen spoke about how difficult it was to go back to an empty camp, while James reiterated that it definitely led to dramas back at camp. Sami spilled the tea to Probst about the boy’s feud and while he tried to be diplomatic, it is still clear they hate each other. Owen spoke about how disappointed he was to see Jeanine go last tribal council, particularly since James tried to make him vote the wrong way. Noelle then continued to charm us, talking about the screaming match and how she just wanted to eat before Owen and James continued to argue. Which obviously made Noelle tell them to stop, given she is over the testosterone. Like an icon.

James spoke about the ongoing importance of building trust while Sami and Karla started to whisper about which way they should vote. Karla then opened up to Probst about how despite being immune, she is still always nervous about being on the outside. Talk turned to the advantages with James wanting to know where they all are, while Noelle wanted to leverage them to build trust. Speaking of which, as Probst sent them off to vote she opted to play her Steal a Vote and snatched Owen’s, setting off the plan to get rid of James as Owen spoke about how nervous he now was. Thankfully it did just end up being a ruse as both Sami and Karla stuck with Noelle’s pair of votes to boot James from the game.

And well, he was salty.

When he made it back to Ponderosa, I assured him that blindsides really are a sign that you were playing a good game and as such, he should be proud. Ignoring the fact that the Shot in the Dark inherently makes blindsides necessary, but I digress. In any event, while he was very salty to have been booted, I quickly turned around his mood with a deliciously sweet Fig James Jones.

While my first introduction to fig jam was the ‘90s social sport team name – why you would want anyone to ask you about how fucking great you are is an aside – this is neither cringe nor annoying, only delicious. A little tart with a hint of vanilla, this jam will have you buttered all the buns, all the time.

Enjoy!

Fig James Jones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg figs, trimmed and diced
500g raw caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 lemon, juiced with the rind peeled into strips

Method
Pop everything in a saucepan, cover in cling film and leave to stand overnight at room temp.

The next day, place the mixture over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce back to low and cook, stirring, for about 45 minutes or until thick and gloopy. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and rinds, and gently mash the figs to break up.

Transfer to sterilised jars to store, or devour immediately.


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Pork Jeanine Schzheng

Main, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the non-merged tribe officially merged and immediately new factions were formed. Jeanine was feeling left out given her closest ally was blindsided, though Noelle and Dwight assured her that it will only free her up to play a better game. Sadly for her though, Jesse and Cody were becoming nervous of their fellow Vesi’s growing power and were ready to make a move. After Gabler took out immunity and James found the Knowledge is Power advantage, chaos ensued leading to many a name being thrown out and advantages trading hands to avoid being stolen by James, resulting in Dwight’s exit.

With poor Jeanine’s idol in her pocket, no less!

Back at camp Cody and Jesse were thrilled to have taken control with the Cocos, but were kinda shocked that Sami had joined them. Unaware that he is somehow now in the majority. Talk turned to the fact that James’ Knowledge is Power led to a game of advantage roulette and how confusing it was, with Jeanine particularly heartbroken to lose not just an ally but her idol. Sami tried to play damage control with Owen and Jeanine, assuring them that he only flipped because he knew it was a done deal and as such, he wanted to earn the majority’s trust. Oh and he assured Jeanine that now she is idolless it only makes working with her more enticing. Sami then spread the word that Jeanine’s idol went out of the game alongside Dwight before Jesse surprised us by announcing that he had actually collected Jeanine’s idol and given he also has Cody’s, he is holding all the power now. Specifically two idols.

Secretly, which is important given the Knowledge is Power is in play.

The next day Karla and Jesse were bonding over their Latino heritage before Owen opened up to them about how he was originally born in Korea and adopted at 4 months old. He spoke about how growing up he felt like an outsider and that being left out of two votes in a row, it was bringing up trauma. Though trust and believe he was going to try and find those cracks and take control with some other underdogs. He immediately caught up with Noelle and Jeanine to talk about who to align with, with Jeanine hopeful in their chances with Gabler while Noelle wasn’t so sure the seven that voted together the night before will stick together for long. Jesse, Karla, Cassidy and James caught up, hopeful that they would be able to stick together, with James wanting them to target Owen next given he voted for him at the first merge tribal.

The groups game together, with Karla opening up about her dreams about Probst making ramen during a gross food challenge and then crowd surfing. While it was weird, it got everyone talking about food and how damn hungry they were, fantasising about new food combinations and well, this is why Probst drags me to Fiji twice a year, I guess. Rather than just talking about food, Ryan went to go find some, fishing for hours to feed the tribe and make sure everyone was well fed. And therefore a little reliant on him. He opened up to Gabler about how proud of himself he is, particularly for a kid that grew up with CP and as such he is hopeful being a provider counteracts the fact he is a massive physical threat. After locking in his place in the alliance of seven, Sami approached the outsiders to try and align with them, given going to the end with the others is far more risky. He then returned to Jesse and James to keep them feeling about aligning with him, but trust, he was ready to make a move.

The tribe reconnected with Jeffrey where they would each have to balance a ball on a disc on the end of a tall pole, with the last one standing taking out immunity and guaranteeing their place in the top ten. Before getting to the challenge though, Jeff offered the tribe a bag of rice if five people were to sit out of the challenge and if nobody takes it, it will only be more expensive. Thankfully James, Sami, Jesse, Cassidy and Karla opted to sit out for the rice, despite James trying to assure Owen that he is TOTALLY safe if he were to sit out. Which is definitely not the case. The six players lined up for the challenge with Jeanine and Noelle dropping back to back when adding their third length of pole. Gabler dropped on the next round, Ryan dropped on the next before Cody dropped out of nowhere on the next transition, handing Owen a much needed victory.

Back at camp Owen was thrilled to have some much needed safety because despite the fact the 7 may not stay aligned, he is still on the bottom. As evidenced by James assuring him he is good. Gabler meanwhile was just trying to keep himself safe, hanging around Ryan and James as they locked in the vote against Jeanine. Ryan went person to person to fill them in on the vote, trying to get things unanimous before disappearing to fish for everyone to remind them how great eating is. Cody and Jesse meanwhile were confident that getting rid of Jeanine was the best for everyone, while Sami kicked it into high gear to save his fellow Baka, as such, floating Ryan as another option.

Knowing he had to play things carefully, he floated whether getting rid of Ryan makes sense to Karla. And while she was obviously keen, she knew it would be a tough sell with the rest of the alliance. Particularly since he is spending his afternoon fishing, rather than strategising with his allies. The Ryan vote spread like wildfire with Jeanine growing hopeful that she would be saved, until Cody and James started to turn things back around. James then went person to person, with Cassidy in particular frustrated to see yet another woman voted out particularly since she is clearly a sitting duck  and they will be able to get rid of her whenever. Oh and Ryan has burnt her multiple times, whereas Jeanine hasn’t.

At tribal council Jeff spoke about how each season has a unique vibe, with Gabler talking about theirs being focused on the social connections. While Karla countered that while the social games have been subtle, eventually someone has to make moves to claim victory. Ryan meanwhile suggested everyone was laying low for now and just enjoying themselves, while Owen admitted he doesn’t care what happens as long as he is voting with the group. Sami pointed out that the last two votes have been blindsides, while Cassidy reminded everyone that subtle games aren’t weak and James suggested everything is fluid within the game.

Jeanine opened up about trying to go with the momentum and keep navigating around the uncertainty, while Gabler was concerned about how quickly things change. Cody admitted he is nervous whenever he feels safe, while Ryan reminded everyone he caught 21 fish today. Jeanine spoke about not feeling safe, at all, given she was on the bottom last tribal, though was hopeful to trust her gut before Cody spoke about distances and reading body language and well, I was confused. As was Sami, given he was expecting everything to blow up pretty soon whether they were feeling safe or not. With that the tribe voted and despite their best efforts to feel Ryan, poor Jeanine found herself exiting the game as the Queen of the Jury.

Which, as you know, is my favourite placing.

As soon as she arrived at the freshly transformed Ponderosa, I pulled her in for a massive hug and congratulated her on a game well played. I told her that I was concerned that the women were having such a tough time this season due to the back-to-back success of Erika and Maryanne, and as such, there is an element of her being screwed by what was fresh in everyone’s mind. Which proved to be enough to dull the pain. Although maybe it was the piping hot Pork Jeanine Schzheng that made her feel better?

Delicate, melt in your mouth pork, coated in a gloriously crunchy crust, this little schnitty is perfect – particularly with some Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to wash it down! Add in a little mash and you have a comforting meal, easy enough to slot into your mid-week rotation.

Enjoy!

Pork Jeanine Schzheng
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 pork steaks, flattened to about 2cm thick
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
2 sprigs thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg, whisked
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for fryin’
lemon, mash and Dwight Moorshroom Gravy, to serve

Method
Take the pork out of the fridge and leave to come to room temperature while you prepare your crumb. Combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary, thyme and garlic in one bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper, the egg in another and flour in a third.

Dip the pork in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the crumb.

Heat a lug of oil in a large skillet and cook the schnitzels for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp. Flip and cook for a further few minutes or until golden, crisp and perfectly cooked through.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, some mash and a generous amount of Dwight’s gravy. And then devour.


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Dwight Moorshroom Gravy

Condiment, Gravy, Sauce, Survivor, Survivor 43, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the three tribes came together for not the merge, but the now traditional non-merge-but-earn-your-place-in-the-real-one-a-palooza. Now, thankfully, gloriously hourglass free. After Elie, Owen and Sami were left vulnerable, the Baka’s worked overtime to put the target on Cassidy or James. Though obviously told them to target Cody. Sadly as hard as they worked to get rid of anyone else, Gabler decided to air their dirty laundry at the merge feast and outed Elie for going through his bag earlier in the season (when it was in fact Jeanine). And while she valiantly kicked it into overdrive to save herself, it was all it took to unite the rest of the group against Elie and boot her from the game as the final pre-merger.

Tragically, for my drama loving heart.

We returned to camp where the Gaia Tribe were reeling from what happened at tribal council, specifically Jeanine who was ready to rise from the ashes despite being left out. Noelle pulled her aside and assured her that despite what happened to her closest ally, she is still safe and if her experience with being left out of the Justine vote is anything to go by, it may actually help things. As such Jeanine went person to person, assuring them that there are no hard feelings and she is glad to lose her partner. Though in private, she still kinda just wanted to just cry.

The next day everyone ventured down to the beach for sunrise where Owen and Dwight quietly strategised about how to proceed, with Owen admitting he just doesn’t see himself working with Gabler any more given he is too unpredictable. Speaking of Gabler, he was busy talking to Cody about how chill he feels now that Elie is gone. He explained to us that he planned to continue playing like an ali-gabler. Aka duck back under water to chill until he next needs to strike.

Owen and Dwight continued their double act, collecting treemail which they thought was for art supplies to paint the tribe flag. Instead they learnt that the tribe would need to split into pairs for the upcoming challenge. And how those pairs were formed is completely up to them. While everyone obviously was desperate to get Ryan or Cody though, nobody outright said it and instead they decided to draw rocks.

We quickly pivoted to said epic challenge where Jeffrey confirmed it was for immunity and explained that the pairs would only be pairs for the first two stages of the challenge and after that, it was everyone for themselves. In the first stage, the pairs would race through a tangled net tube before digging up planks and a flag, with the first four back to their mat moving on. For stage two, they would race up a cargo net and cross a rope bridge and race to a mat with the last two pairs moving forward to the final stage, where they would each have to hold a bucket containing 25% of their starting weight. Last one holding the bucket jagging immunity.

Ryan and James were first through their tube followed by Karla and Cassidy. After Ryan and James moved on to the final round, Owen and Gabler and Cody and Dwight joined them, while Karla and Cassidy secured their spot in the next round with the other duos making it to the end as Noelle and Sami, and Jesse and Jeanine were eliminated without even exiting the tube. Before moving on to a new round, Probst gave a speech praising how hard Noelle fought in the challenge and while she was down on herself, seeing Sami and the rest of the tribe rally around her was heartwarming.

We then did a hard pivot as Probst set the second round in motion as Dwight and Cody blitzed through the competition and secured their place in the final round before Owen and Gabler narrowly joined them as the Coco duos dropped as they tried to rush to the finish. The four men took their place holding the buckets for the final round. Almost instantly Dwight dropped out as the other trio shared what was inspiring them before Owen lost concentration and dropped his bucket. Oh and then after 37 minutes of Gabler dedicating minutes to random people – which was far sweeter than I just made it sound – Cody put us out of our misery as he dropped his bucket and handed immunity to Gabler.

Back at camp Gabler opened up how much the veteran community means to him while the rest of the tribe washed the mud of themselves. In the water everyone started scrambling with the Baka and Vesi crew looking to stick together to get rid of James or Ryan. That is until James, Dwight, Owen and Sami went to get water and found a clue in the well, telling them an advantage was hidden under the shelter. While James assured them he wouldn’t take it until after tribal council, he obviously made a beeline for it. Dwight then went and looped Noelle in, who in turn went and told everyone about the advantage, rallying the troops against James.

Jesse and Karla meanwhile were spooked by how quickly Noelle was able to get everyone on side and as such, wanted to weaken her. When Jesse approached Cody about getting rid of Noelle, Cody suggested that getting rid of Dwight would be the better option, given Dwight is better at challenges and has always been sketchy to him. James meanwhile learnt that he had found the Knowledge Is Power advantage, fresh from Geo’s pocket. And rather than keep things quiet, he thought it could help build trust with people and as such, told his potential allies. Who were immediately spooked and started trading out idols and advantages so that he couldn’t snatch them. Jeanine gave her idol to Dwight, Owen scored Noelle’s extra vote and Jesse ended up in possession of Cody’s idol. Meaning everyone was nervous and mildly confused by the end of the day.

At tribal council Karla spoke about how reflective the immunity challenge was of the game, while Jesse felt like today truly levelled up the competition. Dwight spoke about how everyone has kicked in to playing their own game while Noelle felt like they needed a steady stream of plans to make sure they and their allies survive. James spoke about how advantages are only useful when played correctly and as such, people needed to spend less time focussing on them and, instead, just play the game. Cody spoke about surfing at Probst’s request, while most people admitted they were feeling confident they were on the right side of the numbers. Except for Sami who knew that there was always a risk and as such, they just needed to all play balls to the wall. Basically.

With that the tribe voted and despite a solid 7 out of 10 he was sure he was on the right side of the numbers, Dwight was shocked to be voted out of the game. With Jeanine’s idol in his pocket, no less! Despite being crushingly blindsided as the final pre-juror, Dwight was in pretty good form and took his boot like an absolute champion. While he played a low-key game – at least in the edit, given he was on a tribe with Cody – it was clear he was a strong contender, having relationships across all the OG tribes and dare I say it, should he had survived the vote, had what it takes to go all the way. And given that was a super upbeat and nice assessment from me, he was feeling pretty happy with himself and as such, gladly drank a jug of Dwight Moorshroom Gravy to toast his success.

The earthy nuttiness of the mushroom and the punch of wine work perfectly with the cream to form a warm, soulful gravy. Pop it with chicken, steak or maybe even something coming up later this season, and you’re alway left with the same result. An empty plate and a happy belly.

Enjoy!

Dwight Moorshroom Gravy
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
500g mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup white wine
⅔ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Pop a lug of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and saute for five minutes or until golden, soft and the liquid has reabsorbed. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Pour in the wine and leave to bubble up, cooking till it’s almost all absorbed before stirring in the cream. Leave to bubble for a couple of minutes until it slightly thickens before seasoning to taste, alongside the parsley.

Then devour, either pour onto a protein or into a glass. No judgement.


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