Michaela Bradshortcake

Baking, Dessert, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously – slash a minute ago – on Survivor, it became exceedingly more obvious that Sarah was sliding her way to victory, despite Cirie’s killer display. While everyone was against Brad for the entire episode, Andrea stuck her neck out one time too many and found herself sent to the jury.

We arrived back at camp where Aubry apologised to Brad for being the only person remaining that voted for him last tribal. She then acknowledged the elephant in the room, that if you align with her you end up voted out … or near death. She then broke down about having had such a rollercoaster day what with winning immunity and being blindsided, before winning Tai’s affection back and making Cirie wary of Tai’s social game.

Probst quickly returned for the second immunity challenge of the episode, the Darrah Johnson-Shane Powers memorial pour-water-in-the-hole-to-float-a-key-high-enough-to-retrieve-it. Don’t blame me for the title, I was experiencing PTSD by proxy for Cirie.

Michaela got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Troyzan, Aubry and Brad, who made quick work using the key to unlock their puzzle pieces. Given how confusing the puzzle was, Sarah, Tai and Cirie all caught up before Brad found a hole that he couldn’t fill. Michaela thought she had it, which she didn’t before kicking the puzzle … giving enough time for Brad to fill that hole and snatch immunity.

Brad then celebrated and / or through a tantrum, almost channelling Mr. This-Is-My-Island, Troyzan.

Back at camp the Troyzan and Tai were feeling uncomfortable, since the target was immune … despite both of them being in possession of an idol, or two if you’re Tai. Tai approached Aubry about needing to make some moves if they are going to make it to the end, both agreeing that Sarah is currently the one to beat.

Aubry then told Cirie, who went straight back to Sarah who refused to believe that Aubry was telling the truth. Wanting to solidify her loyalty, Sarah decided to give up the extra vote advantage to Cirie. Cirie, being the crafty kween that she is, debating the merits on hanging on to it, or playing it despite the fact Sarah didn’t want to, to protect Sarah from herself and Tai.

Cirie then clued Michaela in on what was happening, with both of them agreeing that Cirie needed to use Sarah’s vote steal to steal Sarah’s own vote to take out Tai … by lulling him into a false sense of security to not play an idol by saying she is doing it to save him. This is some next level inception bullshit right here and if she pulls it off, she is the first in line to Sandra’s throne in the line of procession.

Giving future players a masterclass on how to manipulate people, Cirie pulled Tai aside and played him like a fiddle. I mean, the voice quivering, the panic, the concern?! I love Cirie.

We then arrived at tribal council where Sarah spoke about the mad scrambling that occurred post challenge. Cirie and Brad agreed that everyone was lying to someone and that they need to cut through that, to which Michaela disagreed. Tai then acknowledged that he always gives people the benefit of the doubt and that it could lead to his downfall.

Troyzan sounded like he’s been hurt one too many times in the game, which after being schooled by Kim I assume he has. Michaela then brought up the ‘we’ again before we headed off to vote … but wait, Cirie pulled out the vote steal! Sadly for her, she didn’t read the fine print saying that it could not be transferred.

She was then chastised by Probst and Sarah, for outing the fact she was going to make a huge move but actually couldn’t. And as has become the tradition of Game Changers, Sarah then whispered something in Tai’s ear, before Cirie pulled Sarah aside to tell her she was trying to use it to save her, which Michaela jumped up to agree with. Troyzan then tried to eavesdrop, earning the wrath of Michaela who did not have time for his shit.

Aubry then joined the fray and things started to calm down and everyone returned to their seats … until Sarah got back up to  talk to Tai, with Cirie whispering in the other ear. Cirie then went to Michaela, while Tai went back to talking to Sarah … before the latter decided to just use the advantage, take Tai’s vote and get this over with.

Despite snatching Tai’s vote, Sarah didn’t join Aubry and Michaela in voting out Tai, instead joining Brad and Troyzan to blindside Michaela. While it wasn’t as exciting as her previous exit, the tribal build up was even more exciting and she ended with you do you, boo … which is amazing.

Make no mistake, Michaela is a total sass queen … but she was feeling a little bit salty, having been booted from Survivor twice in the space of a few months. That being said, it is hard to stay salty when you fill up on my Michaela Bradshortcake!

 

 

I know that the doll/TV show firmly pushes for the strawberry version of these delights, I have a strong aversion to the feel of them on my tongue and therefore avoid them at most costs. I mean, I’ll eat them but they are not my first through fifth choice.

Plus, how do you go wrong with apple, walnut and cinnamon? Exactly, you can’t – enjoy!

 

 

Michaela Bradshortcake
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
3-4 apples, cored and finely diced
juice of a lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raw caster sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
kosher salt
85g cold unsalted butter
1 ½ cup double cream
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 egg

Method
Combine the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and ¼ cup raw caster sugar to combine. Cover and allow to steep for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter through the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand. Add 1 cup cream and walnuts, and stir with a fork until it just starts to come together.

Form the dough into large lime-sized balls and press to flatten on a lined baking tray, repeating the process until done.

Whisk the egg, brush each biscuit/scone and bake until golden brown, or about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for half an hour.

When ready to serve, whip the remaining cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Half the biscuit and top with some apple and cream. Close the biscuit … and because I really like to load up on the toppings, add some more apple, cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

Then devour, obviously.

 

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Andrea Gumboehlke

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

Previously on Survivor, Officer Sarah shared information of her vote steal advantage with kween Cirie, winning her and I over. Wanting in on the action Sierra then shared information about the legacy advantage with Sarah, which backfired as Sarah targeted her to get a hold of the advantage – successfully blindsiding Sierra and securing the advantage for herself over Sierra’s closest ally Brad.

Maku Maku returned to camp where Aubry, Andrea, Cirie and Michaela were shocked about why Sarah pretended to be shocked about Sierra getting the boot. This made Andrea nervous and immediately want to target her, on the flipside Cirie was keen to keep her on side and take her to the end as a goat.

The next day Sarah then explained how the legacy advantage worked, none the wiser that we already know about said advantage from Jessica and my wet-dream Kengel last season. Her reenactment of her shocked face was on point though, before gloating about her total of two advantages. Which she plans to use to get rid of Andrea ASAP.

Given that it is a double boot, Probst jumped straight into the action for the first immunity challenge of the episode – the classic house of cards challenge … though this time it was on a balancing table.

Aubry got out to an early lead after finally joining the season, casually chatting about her boyfriend (the insufferable) Cochran. Michaela and Andrea caught up, before quickly dropping out. Brad dropped his stack, as did Cirie and Sarah, while Aubry continued to dominate with a slow and steady wins the race mentality. Michaela and Troyzan caught up, then dropped … seriously this is boring commentary, no? Despite needing to take cards off to get enough height, Aubry took out the challenge – and almost Probst with that hug – breaking the time record by over ten minutes.

The tribe returned to camp, mystified by Aubry’s mad skillz and probably wondering why she was allowed to enter the game on day 33. Cirie and her mob got together to lock in the vote against Brad. Proving to still be as tone deaf as always, Michaela went to find Brad and direct him to stop looking for an idol and to instead go fishing.

Yeah he took it as a threat and it was, but Monica would totally go fish for everyone as she is such a nice, neat lady.

Andrea tried to get Aubry and Cirie to turn on Sarah as the biggest threat over the boys, which backfired as Cirie went to Sarah and floated the idea of getting rid of Andrea instead of Brad.

With that little bit of confusion, we arrived at tribal where Aubry spoke about the ‘we’ being a bit more solid these days, to which Sarah agreed that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. On the flipside, Troyzan argued that given he has zero options (or chance at winning) – sorry Kass, he took your Spencer-appointed title – if anyone flipped to him, they’d have the most loyal ally ever. Forever, BFFs.

While Aubry agreed, she noted that with eight people left there is still a lot that could happen. Cirie and Andrea spoke about the lack of pre-tribal scrambling … which I assumed was just cut because of the double boot. Brad agreed that he didn’t scramble with Andrea, figuring that since he’s voted against her twice now, she wouldn’t be interested. Sarah then started her jury speech a few tribals too early and reiterated that when she was a juror, she rewarded gameplay and would like the jury to reward her for voting all of them out. Which Aubry countered with the fact you need to make an emotional connection, which is what she lacked in Kaoh Rong and lost her the game.

As they went to vote, Brad gave a last ditch plea for the majority to think about the fact that one of them will go out fifth, inevitably regretting not taking out their alliance earlier. Whether it was Brad’s work or not, Cirie, Sarah and Michaela all flipped to the minority to take out Andrea … blindsiding Aubry and earning Cirie and playful tickle on the way out the door.

Say what you will, girl sure can handle a blindside with grace and a smile.

Given that both Dre Dre and i are beloved members of the media, it is obvious that we’d be the dearest of friends. And so I knew that despite loving the chance to be slaughtered by kween Cirie, she would be sad and in desperate need of a Andrea Gumboehlke.

 

 

Hot and spicy, yet creamy and smooth – this baby has everything you need to be a successful Survivor contestant slash friend.

Enjoy!

While it is obvious … who will join me next?

 

 

Andrea Gumboehlke
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1kg boneless chicken thighs
vegetable oil
500g smoked chorizo, cut into thick coins
⅓ cup plain flour
2 onions, diced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 green capsicum, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4-6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup okra, thickly sliced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp filé powder

Method
Combine 1 tablespoon of salt with the pepper, paprika and cayenne and toss through the thighs, until coated.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large dutch oven and add the chicken and chorizo, stirring to brown the edges but don’t worry about being too pedantic. Transfer the browned meat to a plate to rest and bring the liquid to the boil.

Add the flour and whisk until it is chocolate coloured, 15 minutes should do. Reduce the heat to low and add the onions, before cooking for ten minutes. Add the shallots, celery, capsicum and garlic, and cook for a further ten minutes.

Whisk in the broth, add the bay leaves, thyme and reserved meat and bring to the boil. When going nuts, reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour.

Stir in the okra, Worcestershire, hot sauce and filé powder, and cook for a further hour. Remove from the heat, season to taste … and then devour with steamed rice and plenty more hot sauce.

 

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Sierra Dawn-Hummus

Condiment, Dip, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Brad, Sierra, Tai and Troyzan were feeling helpless as kween Cirie kept her mafia in line. Thankfully for them, Andrea decided that she needed to take out Zeke – aka one of their own – before he got the chance to flip the tables on them, sending him out of the game as the fourth juror.

We opened up after tribal, as we usually do, with Tai and Brad confused about what happened to save him. Tai doubly so, since his alliance had all voted for him rather than Zeke.

Michaela was feeling uneasy about how quickly their new majority had turned on each other, though Cirie was able to reassure her and push forward with splitting up the Sierra-Brad pair to ensure nobody flips on her.

Speaking of Sierra, she was feeling like she had nothing to lose and approached Sarah to find a way in which concerningly involved her sharing the fact she owned a legacy advantage and that she would give it to Sarah if she were to be voted out. I mean, why tell her she would get it if she booted you … that is damn tempting!

Speaking of temptations, Probsty appeared for the reward challenge where they competed for a good old fashioned, U S of A BBQ – obvi, with all the fixin’s – and LOVE. Yep, it is the loved one’s visit!

Breaking down before her partner even came out to be creeped on by Sierra – but damn, she right – Sarah’s man was here and provided an update on how her son was going. Keeping with the crying theme, Andrea’s mum arrived and told a story of Andrea’s deceased sister who had encouraged her to apply.

Thankfully Aubry and her sister were just adorkable and didn’t make me cry.

Sierra’s dad made his second loved one’s appearance talking about the high level of competition this season, despite having zero intell on what had actually gone down. Michaela and her mum were completely adorable and went a long ways to humanise her to her tribemates.

Troyzan was concerned that his brother wouldn’t RSVP yes to the invite, though obvi he did. Making chickens everywhere jealous, Tai’s partner Mark was here and shock of all shocks was a total daddy. And I hate the term daddy.

Rounding out the visits, the swellest, runner-up to ever exist, the neat lady herself MONICA f*^%#@)g CULPEPPER appeared to remind us about how much the Culpepper’s are couple goals and Cirie’s recently graduated son … who I was expecting to be the King of loved ones, HB. As sweet as the son was, I live for Cirie treating HB like an employee to conserve energy.

With that, the tribe was split into three teams to compete in an aquatic obstacle course before digging a gap under a log to climb under before untangling some knots to release keys that open a chest of bags to knock down a tower.

Brad, Andrea and Aubry got out to an early lead, which never really dissipated securing my girl Monnie with some more screen time, isn’t that neat? Obviously Probst gave them the chance to share their reward, which they gave to the obvious choices of Cirie and Sarah. I mean, they both need to see and/or hear about their sons. Brad and Mon quickly got to work hosting the BBQ and running strategy, I assume after decorating the table and being adorbs.

Back and camp Michaela was feeling sore – maybe or maybe not because she quick a wooden crate after losing – about not being chosen, talking to Tai about how much she wanted to see her mum. Up from the beach, Sierra and Troyzan reaffirmed their allegiance to each other and plotted to use Michaela’s anger to flip her to them, Tai and Brad.

Not mucking about, Probst returned for the immunity challenge where they had to balance on a narrow perch whilst holding a buoy between two sticks. Yep – poles, balls … we’re in for some good cum-entary.  Aubry and Sierra quickly dropped out, followed by Andrea, Sierra, Cirie and Troyzan. Sadly, no ball dropping jokes or mentions of keeping your pole firm to work the balls.

Nothing – I’ve had it!

After a long struggle, Michaela finally dropped leaving us with a battle between Tai and Brad, with the latter taking out their first ever individual immunity victory ever. I assume, because that is totally something my neat lady Monica, would do. Hashtag, what would Monica do.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Brad on his victory, despite the fact it ruined the majority’s plan to boot him. They quickly flipped the plan to Sierra, with Tai and Michaela secretly playing the middle weighing up whether to target Sierra with the majority or Andrea with the current minority.

Aubry and Sarah went for a walk to discuss getting rid of Sierra, with Sarah confirming my earlier concerns for the legacy advantage discussion and saying that she wants to get rid of her, without her realising she is involved to ensure she gets the legacy advantage. NEVER tell anyone you have an advantage if you’re desperate.

Sarah then shared this news with Michaela, potentially swinging her back to their side.

At tribal council Andrea spoke about the loved ones visit and how she was concerned that she had to leave people out, which Aubry agreed with. Probst threw some shade at Culpepper’s first big win of his Survivor career, Sierra tried to throw Andrea under the bus as the threat, who in turn turned the attention on the underdogs, who could sneak by and take the win.

Sarah was confident in the majority but elusively questioned whether the deck had been reshuffled … again. Michaela agreed that “we” is always changing in Survivor, spooking Andrea. Sierra and Andrea then acknowledged that it was one or the other, as they headed to vote.

After a lot of we talk in the confessionals, Sierra found out she was not a part of the Trump-esque piss-play as she was booted from the game. Despite not covering her tracks as well as she could have, Sarah acted shocked enough for Sierra to will her the legacy advantage … though looked to spook Andrea in the process.

My dear barrell racing queen took her exit in her stride, despite the obvious disappointment. While I found Sierra dragging the hateful morons to the end of Worlds Apart completely awful, Joegel convinced me she was ok and we’ve been friends ever since.

Given that she has been relatively dominant this season, I felt I needed to make my shade up to her so whipped up a delightfully charming Sierra Dawn-Hummus.

 

 

I’m not the biggest fan of hummus, but throw in some some pumpkin and i’m on that like white on rice … or more easily to understand, a fat kid on cake. Sweet, earthy and spicy, this is the perfect dip to work through the pain of a second career boot.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sierra Dawn-Hummus
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
half a butternut pumpkin, seeded and cut into 1-2cm dice
olive oil
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic, peeled
zest and juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the pumpkin on a lined baking tray with a good lug of olive oil and bake for about half an hour, or until golden and caramelised.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blitz with the remaining ingredients until smooth. Season and quickly blitz again and serve with a sprinkling of cumin … before devouring.

 

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Zekeshuka Smith

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

Previously on Survivor, Zeke and Andrea continued to feud, Debbie was confident that the power alliance of six would hold strong with Sarah on board … which of course meant it didn’t, with Sarah joining with Aubry and Cirie to mend the previously mentioned feud and blindside my dear Debs.

Back at camp, Brad congratulated the ex-minority on a killer blindside before – shockingly – privately telling us that he and his alliance were now kinda, sorta definitely screwed. Sarah was very quick to take the blame/credit for flipping, hoping the jury would reward her for making a move to better herself.

The new minority then joined together to congratulate each other in hushed tones and received kisses from the kween … which hopefully aren’t mob related, giving how Aubry views her.

Jiffy Pop quickly arrived for the reward challenge where – again, shockingly (which is clearly my descriptor for the recap) – the tribe was split into two teams to compete for an overnight resort and feast reward.

While Michaela got the orange team out to a quick lead in a challenge she dominated last season, the blue team quickly caught Brad up when pulling him up – yes, up – the wall to grab numbered puzzle pieces. Troy caught the orange team up, before Sarah brought the blue back in front … though thankfully for both teams, the physical aspect was completely irrelevant, as they struggled with the word puzzle FOR CLOSE TO AN HOUR.

Thankfully Andrea put us out of our misery and picked up on Jeff’s exceedingly more obvious clues, solving the puzzle and snagging victory for herself, Brad, Sarah, Aubry and Zeke.

At reward the victors quickly snagged themselves a drink and gorged on the feast splayed out on a lazy susan. Is that last part important? No … but they made a point to acknowledge it. Continuing in his tradition from last season, Zeke and Brad started discussing football which immediately made Andrea wary.

Meanwhile the losers back at camp were looking like absolute crap. I mean, no offence … but they truly looked wrecked. Troyzan made a game reappearance and lamented being on the bottom with Tai – which sounds great – neither acknowledging their idols to the other.

The victors returned to camp looking refreshed like the after-shots of a makeover however Aubry too was starting to worry about Zeke and Brad’s bonding. Andrea and Cirie quickly went aside to discuss making a move against Zeke, which Cirie was completely on board with given the fact he knows more about the game than her despite it being her fourth time out.

Cirie then tackled their biggest hurdle and pulled Officer Sarah aside to get rid of Sarah’s closest alliance on the island. Sarah then shared her vote steal advantage with Cirie as a way to throw the target off Zeke … before sharing with us that she is willing to flip back to the other side if it she thought it was better for her.

The next day Zeke was feeling uncomfortable by the eerie calmness of camp before going on a walk with Sarah and outlining how the remainder of the game would play out for them. Potentially proving Cirie’s point, Zeke then told her that he wanted to propose a final five alliance between them, Brad, Troyzan and Michaela … before running straight to the boys to tell them he’s saved them from the next day.

Wanting to help put us out of our misery, Jeff returned for the immunity challenge where they each have to line up blocks on a moving bar set up over a trip obstacle, that will ultimately – hopefully – knock a gong at the end. While everyone got out to a strong start, Brad was the first to drop all of his blocks before Andrea just edged out in front with Sarah and Michaela and snatched individual immunity again.

Back at camp, Andrea was feeling confident enough from her victory to take out Zeke, rather than sticking with the easy option of Sierra. While she could quickly get Cirie on board, they were both concerned about how to convince Sarah it was the best way.

Sierra then appeared as they started to talk about potentially getting her on board to vote for Zeke, which she obviously agreed to before they even finished their sentence. Sarah then dropped by to test their fears and while she wasn’t thrilled about it, she semi-agreed to the plan despite not liking Andrea’s cockiness.

With that, Andrea approached Aubry and Michaela who were thrilled and concerned about the plan respectively. Michaela and Sarah then spoke about their concerns with the plan and confirmed themselves as the swing votes at tribal.

At tribal Sarah confirmed she was the reason Debbie was voted out, resulting in her flipping the bird from the jury box. Tai lamented feeling uneasy for the first time in his two seasons, while Brad and Sierra were concerned about being the newest bottom. Andrea and Michaela spoke about the new majority sticking together, with the latter adding that now isn’t the right time to make a move given how close the numbers were.

There was talk of the heart and relationships, the need to make friends, constantly running the numbers, bottoming and treating people like chess pieces leaving me mildly confused as they headed to vote. Thankfully though it didn’t take long for the confusion to dissipate as the votes rolled in for Zeke and he found himself becoming the fourth member of the jury as Michaela – not Sarah – sobbed from the bench.

As you know, I’ve known Zeke for a couple of years after I began coaching his improv group – hey, when you know Teens and Ames it is your civic duty – so he was so thrilled to see a familiar face in loser lodge – again – after his back-to-back losses.

Thankfully though Zeke is such a positive guy and knows that it is just a game, so we didn’t dwell on his Game Changers experience and instead focused our energy on devouring some Zekeshuka Smith.

 

 

I was thrilled it was Zeke booted – like sad for him, but thrilled for me – because I was actually nursing a huge hangover from fake partying with Debbie and this baby is the perfect hangover cure.

Hot, rich and topped in par-cooked eggs if you are still nursing a headache after this, I don’t know what you should do. Maybs get taken out to pasture – who knows?

Enjoy!

 

 

Zekeshuka Smith
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 capsicum, diced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 merguez sausages, sliced
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
salt, pepper and sugar, to season
a handful of baby spinach
8 eggs
a handful of feta cheese, crumbled
Parsley, to sprinkle

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pan and sweat the onion and garlic for about five minutes. Add the capsicum, jalapeno and sausage and cook for a further five minutes. Add the spices and cook for a minute before adding the tomatoes and a good whack of salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to low.

Add the spinach and stir to combine before cracking the eggs into the pan, cover and cook for five-ten minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks are perfect. Serve immediately, with feta and parsley crumbled over the top.

Devour with crusty bread.

 

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Debbean Wanner Salad

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

Previously on Survivor, the tribes merged and Zeke decided it was the perfect time to turn on his two closest allies Andrea and Cirie. Thankfully for the latter two however, Debbie decided it was the perfect time for the tribe to boot Ozzy, leading the charge to send him to the jury.

Back at camp Debbie basked in the afterglow of tribal, confident that her majority were locked in and would not budge. On the other end of the spectrum, Andrea was feeling uneasy about being left out of the loop and lashed out at Zeke for targeting her. This made Zeke feel unease and trapped with the majority, until Sarah pulled him aside and vowed to work together to sway the game.

Uttering lines being drawn for the 700th time in the episode, Sarah pointed out that the tide always comes up and washes them away. I wonder if she knew that Debs did hers in concrete, making it impenetrable?!

Not wanting to be left out of the fun my boy Jeff arrived to preside over a cheeky team reward challenge for a luxury picnic on the beach – which is an oxymoron, I know. Given that there are an uneven number of castaways, someone was left out and thankfully for our viewing pleasure … it was Michaela, who cussed out her competitors and provided sassy commentary while missing the secret advantage hidden until the sit-out bench.

Oh … and the challenge? The teams had to complete an obstacle course over the water which for the first time ever made me wish this were Australian Survivor because there was blurring aplenty as people lost their clothes over the obstacles.

Brad got his team out to a very early lead against Tai – which was no-doubt cemented by Debbie’s expert crawl across the balance beam – which never really went away. To add insult to injury, poor Cirie struggled to make it to the second platform until Sarah joined her to help her finish the course.

After Brad’s team secured victory, Troyzan returned to the game and joined Sarah, Tai and Zeke to help her finish the course. Which she did and then broke down in tears.

I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

To make my face leaks worse, she then spoke about how she pushed herself to prove to her sons that you should never give up. I’m probs paraphrasing here but the tears distracted my vision.

While Brad, Aubry, Andrea, Debbie and Sierra left to enjoy their reward, Jeff summoned a boat to collect the losers when Sarah spotted the secret advantage that Michaela had been sitting on for the last hour, quickly snatching it for herself and cementing this episode as the Sarah show.

Back at camp the losers continued to win me over by holding a Cirie love fest with Sarah talking about how proud of her she was and Tai telling her that her kids would be proud of her achievements. Softening me and the cunning strategist that is Cirie Fields.

Getting us back into the game, Sarah removed herself from the rest of the tribe to discover her secret advantage was the cursed vote stealer – last used by Stephen Fishbach to boot himself from the game – which she vowed to use correctly.

Meanwhile Civil Air Patrol Captain Debbie Wanner and the rest of the victors enjoyed their flight to the luxury beach picnic which truly did look quite amazing. After Brad gloated about his move to split from his alliance of Sarah and Troyzan in the challenge to ensure they’d be able to keep abreast of what was happening in each location.

Andrea then vocalised her pain about Zeke turning on her for no reason, before Sierra ominously claimed that the game was locked down and she was in control.

Back at camp, Cirie got to work winning Sarah back over to her side as she appealed to her need to change how she played the game and make moves to earn her the win. While Sarah wasn’t convinced it is the right time to make a move, she definitely was ready for it … which doesn’t bode well for confident ol’ Sierra.

Sensing I was struggling with the lack of eye-candy left in the game Jeff returned for a(nother) classic immunity challenge where everyone has to spell immunity with blocks, balanced on a teetering table. Jeff got to work giving Tai sass for not being able to spell immunity – despite English being his second language – which as dear Joe del Campo can attest, is difficult on no food.

Andrea got out to an early lead before dropping her tower, allowing Troyzan to overtake her and take out his first immunity win of the season as blocks of letters rained down at the other end of the course. Sadly though Fiji does not appear to be his island.

With her ally winning immunity Sierra was feeling extremely confident and quickly threw the target on Andrea, which her alliance was all on board with … despite Michaela’s sass potentially moving the target to her back. Despite Debbie trying to get rid of Michaela, Brad – her nemesis from two episodes ago – was able to convince her that Andrea was the biggest threat at the moment.

Given that she was left out of all the discussion with her own alliance, Sarah started to feel nervous and decided that it was potentially time for her to make a move. She approached Zeke and decided they need to work with Andrea to flip the numbers and take out one of the alliance. Sierra then pulled Sarah aside to run the numbers and propose a final three with them and Debbie, making her feel like maybe she shouldn’t make a move.

Debbie continued to be a dominant strategic force and told Aubry to vote Michaela as a secret cover for their Andrea boot. Aubry didn’t love that and took the information straight back to Andrea, Michaela and Sarah and vowed that this is what happened before she booted Debbie the last time and she was too difficult to trust. This obviously made Sarah’s predicament even more confusing.

Wanting to put us out of our misery, they arrived at tribal and  – after a brief reflection on Cirie’s challenge experience – got to work going back and forth between how the numbers would go down. Debbie spoke about how strong the six were while Troy drew eyerolls talking about how people should be grateful to make it to six.

Zeke then argued that the deck of cards reshuffle after every vote, to which Sarah agreed … somehow upsetting Michaela who would benefit from said reshuffle. Which she did, with the votes rolling in between Andrea and Debbie – as she pulled out another prop and starting snacking on popcorn like the sass queen she is – with Sarah flipping on her alliance to send Debbie out of the game as the third member of the jury … again.

Illuminati confirmed?

As you know, Debs is a dear dear friend of mine and we’ve been lucky to be co-workers at 398 of our previous jobs ranging from when we were street mime in Paris, dance teachers in Stars Hollow, ran as part of Ned Kelly’s gang, were tour guides in Bonny Doon, ran a Japanese cat cafe, were nude models/#girlbosses in San Francisco and invented post-its. Needless to say, girl and I are close as fuck.

While Debs was disappointed to be vanquished by Aubry and her over-confidence for a second time, she was thrilled to be reunited with her favourite recurring co-worker in Ponderosa. Though she may have been thrilled to see the Debbean Wanner Salad.

 

 

Earthy, spicy and a little bit fresh … I honestly don’t think there is a meal that could better represent the wild and exciting nature of my dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Debbean Wanner Salad
Serves: 4 as a main, 6-8 as a side.

Ingredients
400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
400g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400g can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels, cooked and left to drain
½ red onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup muscovado sugar
½ tsp ground chilli
¼ tsp ground cumin
olive oil
salt and pepper

Method
Combine the beans, corn, onion, celery, capsicum and parsley in a large bowl and toss to combine.

In a large jug, combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, chilli and cumin with a good lug of olive oil and a good whack of salt and pepper. Add to the bowl and toss to combine.

Transfer the salad to the fridge and allow it to rest and absorb the flavours for a couple of hours … then serve and devour.

 

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Ozzy Bucco Lusth

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

Previously on Survivor – or a minute ago on screen – the tribes merged resulting in Cirie stealthily saving her friend Michaela and the tribe booting the sweetest free-agent, non-consenting angel Hali to become the Queen of Ponderosa … for the second time in her two season career.

The next morning Maku Maku reconvened to discuss the last tribal, where Michaela tried to hide her emotions. Cirie then pulled her aside to reiterate the fact that she saved her and Michaela reiterated that she would always have her back. Seriously, these two are the latest Game Changers couple goals. Could you imagine if Sandra was still here to form the holy trinity of sass?! Consider my shorts completely creamed.

Zeke, Aubry and Cirie then went for a walk to further discuss tribal and talking about how best to take out the opposing alliance, lead by the mob-boss that is Sierra and her puppet Brad. Aubry, bless, then explained that she felt like she was in the middle of said mob-war … but was gladly willing to be the niece to her black, Italian aunt Cirie.

Continuing in the post-merger madness, Zeke and Andrea connected to discuss the best move for them to make next, which somehow lead to Zeke deciding it was in his best interests to get rid of his closest allies Cirie and Andrea, rather than his rivals Sierra and Brad. Sadly this proves why back-to-back seasons can be a curse, considering how doing that exact thing last season with Chris, lead to his downfall. Ugh, anyway …

Concerned about my reaffirmed love affair with Cirie, Probst arrived for the first post-merge reward challenge where they were split into teams to win an extremely erotic spa day, if Probst’s breathy descriptions are anything to go by.

Given that the challenge involved a large swimming portion, victory was a foregone conclusion for Ozzy – despite the best attempts at failure from Tai and Andrea – who got to enjoy the sensual stay with the failures, Debbie, Troyzan and Zeke.

Back at camp, Cirie took me the closest I’ve been to despair since her final words in Micronesia, talking about how she felt like a failure losing the challenge and likened it to not being able to provide for her family. This set off Sierra … and almost allowed her to win me over. Close but no cigar, yet.

Meanwhile on reward, Tai continued in the tradition of Kaôh Rōng contingent, got naked and streaked around his eating tribemates … repeatedly. Dead set, mad dog – just pause to imagine the Kaôh Rōng wrap party with he and Debbie. Glorious.

Zeke, not wanting to just allow Jeff to make it nice for them, pulled Debbie and Tai aside to talk about booting Brad and Sierra … or Cirie. Proving that she actually is pretty good at the game – despite the multiple careers, twerking and mooning – Debbie didn’t buy anything he was selling and vowed to do what was best for her, not him.

Clearly worried about my reaction to Tai’s nude scene, Probst returned for the second individual immunity challenge – a Survivor classic / one of Ozzy’s best – where they all have to hold on tight to a big, thick pole. Aka er’ry weekend, amirite.

Cirie, Brad, Aubry, Debbie, Zeke, Sierra, Troyzan and Sarah quickly slid all the way down the hard pole, leaving the rest of the tribe to battle it out to snatch Ozzy’s crown. Despite looking as relaxed as Parvati in Heroes vs. Villains, Michaela opted out of the challenge before Andrea threw herself from the top of the pole leaving us with a challenge between the kings of pole, Tai and Ozzy.

For the first time in the history of the challenge, Ozzy fell off giving Tai the victory … and proved once and for all that nobody handles themselves around a pole better than a gay man.

Back at camp, Ozzy was showing off his war wounds before Zeke got to work dismantling his own game and approached Sierra to get rid of Andrea, which she did not trust … at all. Sierra then pulled Cirie aside to drop the Zeke intel, which Cirie took back to Ozzy, Andrea and Sarah.

Debbie and Sierra then relaxed in the hammocks to talk getting rid of Zeke – with a cheeky decoy of Aubry – before Debbie crushed my second Game Changers couple-spiration and suggested booting Ozzy instead, due to his challenge ability.

She then went person-to-person to tell everyone that they were blindsiding Ozzy that night …  surprisingly though, she didn’t tell Ozzy.

After talking about being the post-merge swing vote on again, Sarah arrived at tribal to liken the situation to them all being single people who were just waiting to hook up, arousing the hell out of Tai and Debbie.

Ozzy then low-key threatened the tribe that booting him would mean that they would starve without him, Aubry outlined how much harder this season is … despite the fact no one has almost died this season, compared to the three that almost died in Kaôh Rōng.

Zeke then spoke in a confusing circle about how he needed to convince people that they would beat him at the end, to convince them to keep him in the game, which Tai obviously found to make sense.

Debs reiterated her work in the Air Force auxiliary and how she was confused, before Cirie cryptically spoke about sticking with who she trusts … which obviously lead to voting. Andrea was well pissed at Zeke, Cirie continued Sandra’s tradition from earlier this season and threw a random vote … before Debs flopped out her extra vote AND became the first person in Survivor history to correctly play it, cementing Ozzy’s boot.

Crushing his ex-nemesis kween Cirie in the process.

Now I am about to let you in on a massive, massive secret – that is also a little bit confusing –  so buckle up. I’ve known Ozzy for my entire life … because he is my father and I was actually conceived on a beach that was home to kween Cirie. Yep, my birth name was actually Benjamin Kimmel Lusth – I changed my last name to Judd when marrying Ashley – and I am one of the Ozlets from Micronesia.

That, or I met him during the filming of the Playboy TV’s Foursome (you can Google them yourself because they are way NSFW, even for me) … I genuinely don’t know what timeline is what anymore, thanks to my sloppy adherence to the laws of time travel. Either way, I’ve always called Ozzy daddy.

While he was bummed to once again miss out on the title of Sole Survivor, he completely understood that it was in everyone’s best interests given his reputation. Like me though, he was most heartbroken to see how his boot broke poor Cirie’s heart.

While Hali and Ozzy were busy having a Ponderosa hair off, I headed to the kitchen and got my naked chef on – he explained that Ashley Judd is my cousin and we met on the set of Foursome – to whip him up a Ozzy Bucco Lusth.

 

 

Given that he is my daddy and not my father, I was eager to show Ozzy all of my meat, dripping in sauce and wine and being oh-so appetising.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ozzy Bucco Lusth
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 veal osso bucco, obvi with bone
good lug of olive oil
2 carrots, diced
3 celery sticks, diced
2 onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup plain flour
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 ½ cups white wine
1 cups beef stock
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large dutch oven medium heat and brown each side for a minute or two. Reduce heat to low and add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes.

Sprinkle the flour into the pan with a good whack of salt and pepper, tomato paste and bay leaves, stir to coat and cook for a minute or two.

Slowly pour in the wine, stock and tomatoes, stir to combine and cover and cook for three-four hours, or until the meat is falling away from the bone.

Once it is done, serve immediately as a stew or with some mashed potato.

 

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Chali Fordogs

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

Previously on Survivor, Hali and Michaela were left out of the Culpepper’s Angels alliance on nu-nu-Mana, while Varner well … you saw how desperate he was to stay and how human decency ultimately wins, when he was swiftly booted from the game. Probs for good.

We opened up at Nuku the following day, where Sarah’s winner edit returned with an absolute vengeance, telling Tai that she is not willing to be compassionate with Varner and was not ready to forgive him. Knowing how brutal Varner’s actions were, Tai started to cry thinking about how awful it was for Zeke. Not wanting to be outdone by the tears, Sarah reiterated to Zeke how grateful she was to get to know him.

Zeke then made a play for a winner’s edit, giving a rousing speech about why he wasn’t open about his identity and how thankful he was for the tribe’s support … on the way to his victory.

Wasting no time getting down to business, the tribes met Probst on the beach for the merge … Mana with all their soft furnishings, I assume, because Brad was concerned he would have to start another camp concept from scratch. Wanting to continue with the twist-every-episode theme of the season, Probst told the tribes that a person from each would have to volunteer to miss out on the within-sniffing-distance merge feast.

Continuing with the WWMD – FYI, what would Monica do –  theme of his game, Brad immediately volunteered – earning the suspicions of Zeke and Cirie – with sweet Tai following suit on Nuku. I assume to make a play for this season’s alpha male.

As is generally the case – though normally less last supper-esque – the merge feast was a mix of gorging (Sierra loves HAM!), relief and people watching, the latter being where Cirie finally entered the fray and instantly reminded us why she is an icon of the game.

Meanwhile over at exile beach – five metres from the feast – Brad and Tai quickly got to work spilling the T on where alliances were standing with each tribe, before Tai – obviously – professed his love for Brad.

After last week’s outing incident, Debbie decided to add a bit of sexual aggression into the mix, rubbing against Cirie, mooning Tai and twerking – while sober – in an attempt to lull people into a false sense of security, which made me feel the complete opposite.

The newly merged tribe reunited at camp to congratulate each other for making the merge (YAS, Michaela and Brad are finally datable) before Debbie kissed – kindly, not aggressively – and made up with Brad Culpepper. Not wanting to dwell on the love, Zeke then told everyone what happened with Varner earning the respect of Aubry.

As with all merge episodes, there was then a shit tonne of scrambling before the immunity challenge: Ozzy approached Troyzan and Brad, Brad threw the target on Michaela and Hali, Ozzy then delivered the Michaela information to Zeke and Sarah, while Troy shared it with Tai … who in turn told Hali before everyone else found out.

Remember the Jay has an idol scene last season? That on steroids.

Sierra then approached Zeke to reiterate said Michaela plan, complaining about the fact she just appears all the time … before Michaela proved Sierra’s point and appeared from behind a bush to find out what they were plotting.

Cirie being Cirie got us up to speed on what was actually happening – even with a damn chicken on the roof – talking to Zeke and Andrea about how their alliance with Sarah would be better served to keep Michaela around and that they should strike out either Sierra or Brad.

Finally, some damn clarity on where the alliances are!

The next day, Hali lamented the fact that nobody was really willing to play with her and how she needed to kick Michaela into gear. Which she did, leading to her connecting with Cirie. Pray hands, praise etc. I don’t even know where to start with how much I love these two together. I want Cirie to adopt me as a nephew and give me life advice / make all my decisions. Sandra is the queen … but Cirie is the kween.

Cirie is life. I love Cirie. Seriously, Cirie for President.

Can you be made a saint while still alive? If not, we need to make an exception.

Snapping me out of my Cirie fangirling, Jiffy arrived for the first individual immunity challenge of the season where they each had to keep a piece of wood balancing between their head and a plank.

Surprisingly challenge beast Debbie was amongst the first few out … following Zeke, Hali, Troyzan and Cirie. While Hali worked on her tan, the challenge quickly came down to a battle between Tai and Andrea with the latter ultimately taking out the win and securing individual immunity for the third time … on a third different season.

Back at camp, Sierra gloated about being in charge and how important it is to get Michaela out … before throwing Hali under the bus, pointing out that she was playing way more confidently than she was on Worlds Apart meaning, clearly, that she had an idol.

She then told Cirie, Brad and Debbie that they would be splitting the votes between Michaela and Hali, before Michaela did what she does best and manifested, before being directed to boot Zeke.

Not liking how that plan could impact her game – kween – Cirie pulled Zeke aside to try and turn the target to Hali, rather than Michaela. Zeke then approached Sierra, wondering (rightly) how it made sense to target Michaela over Hali, when they were trying to flush Hali’s hypothetical idol.

Cirie continued to prove why she is amazing, telling Micheala that the plot to vote out Zeke was fake and that she was trying to save Michaela, and more importantly, save someone that would be loyal to her over her rivals.

At tribal council – Cirie’s first in seven years – Jeff got to work trying to cut through the madness, with Andrea outlining that this is the point where lines were drawn and Debbie likened the situation to musical chairs.

Poor Hali and Michaela then spoke ominously about not having a clue about what was happening tonight, which sadly for Hali should have highlighted the fact that her hypothetical idol made her public enemy number one. Ultimately Hali found herself becoming the merge boot / once again, the first member of the jury – congrats Hali, you’re the jury equivalent of first boot Frannie and greatest of all time, two-time victor Sandy.

Despite a valiant, failed effort to save herself, and being confused as to why people were so threatened to keep her in the game, Hali was an absolute delight. We laughed, we cried – thinking about how weird Mike from Worlds Apart’s voice is – and she regaled me with tales while I threw together a victorious slash comforting batch of Chali Fordogs.

 

 

You know I love chilli so hot it liquefies me organs and you should really know how much I enjoy some trash food … meaning these chilli dogs are amongst my favourite meals.

Fiery chill and misc meat sausages shoved straight up some pillowy buns before being slathered in a generous helping of cheese. I honestly don’t know if I’m aroused or hungry.

Scrap that, I’m both – enjoy!

 

 

Chali Fordogs
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
½ batch Chilli con Kim Carnes
6 hot dogs
6 hot dog buns
American mustard, for serving
1 cup grated cheese

Method
Cook the chilli as per Kimmy’s instructions.

Once the chilli is done, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When splish-splashing about, quickly add the hot dogs and cook until the sausages float to the surface.

While the sausage is getting moist, split the buns and slather in mustard. Drain the sausages and altogether gently and firmly slip them inside the buns. Top with chilli and cheese … and devour, immediately.

 

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Jeffle Varner

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

Previously on Survivor, Debbie was living it up on Exile yacht with Cockstain, while Brad and his interior design skillz were leading things at Mana while Sandra and Varner were on the bottom at new Nuku until Tai’s paranoia almost got to him. Sadly however, it didn’t, resulting in the confirmation that the Game Changers we are seeing is the darkest timeline as Sandra Diaz-Twine found herself voted out – for the first time ever – as the sixth boot.

I guess the one positive we can take from everything is that her display proved why she is the greatest of all time. Though the glorious timeline where she scores a hatrick is too much joy to comprehend …

Anyway, back at new Nuku Debbie regaled everyone with tails about how awful exile was, to garner sympathy. While Ozzy came for Tai, proving that last week’s tribal wasn’t an elaborate act for Sandra, before Tai gave the understatement of the year, acknowledging that he is terrible at tribal.

Varner however was ropeable and wanted to “punch them bitches in the throat-bone.” Thankfully his dear friend Zeke talked him off the ledge … and then proceeded to spill all the details about OG Nuku.

Wanting to avoid continuing Sandra’s wake, Jeff called in the tribes for the reward challenge – honouring Sandra’s legacy in the process – where the tribes had to untangle themselves from a big, hard pole, untangle some knots, release a big bag of balls and squeeze through some tight mesh before tossing their balls around … for pizza.

No t, no shade … but this is a reward to almost die for, Caleb … ok?

With a stellar performance, obviously, from Debbie – did you see that Brad? – Ozzy’s ball handling skills won out. Though in Brad and the Technicolour Boardshorts’ defense, he did a valiant job trying to catch-up.

Well not really, but dem boardies. YAS.

After suffering a crushing defeat, Cirie returned to the game to outline how horrible it was to miss out on reward and how by this point in the game, everyone was suffering … setting of a major pity party over at Mana.

Sierra joined us to outline how hungry she was and broke down, before Aubry joined in to say how hard it was to adjust when she got home … which is how Monica felt after getting home to Brad after Blood vs. Water.

Brad continued his redemption arc, talking about how tough Monica was and how only now is he starting to understand what she went through. Seriously, Brad and Mon are couple goals at this point.

Moved by his honesty, Aubry connected with Brad … forming what appears to be a tentative alliance.

Meanwhile over at Nuku, Ozzy talked about how important this victory was for the tribe as they progress to the next phase of the game. Debbie then babe-d Ozzy, giving me another couple goal.

Seeing how screwed he is, Varner approached Sarah to get rid of Ozzy given that the merge is approaching and they want to have a fighting chance in challenges. Sarah, the cahp turned criminal seemed receptive to cutting Ozzy’s throat and ride into the merge like a crook, see.

Not wanting to leave me for too long, Probst returned for the next immunity challenge which involved a dick-load of swimming, meaning Ozzy is probs safe given he is part dolphin. Despite an epic lead heading into the word puzzle portion, thanks of course to Ozzy, Hali and her passion for spelling took out immunity for Mana and continued her metamorphosis into a Survivor icon.

Here’s to the merge tribe ‘Merica II, right?

Back at camp Varner scrambled desperately to survive one more day to see ‘Merica II and hopefully for him … the jury. While Sarah pushed hard to get rid of Ozzy, Zeke explained why it is important for him to keep bigger threats around and that Sarah and Andrea would be trying to placate him … upsetting Varner, who wanted to get rid of Ozzy.

He then took said information to Sarah and Andrea, to try and get him in with them and make Zeke look closer with Ozzy.

Then at tribal we got to see how truly desperate and low he was willing to go to save himself, outing Zeke as a transgender man and setting off the ugliest yet all at once most beautiful tribal council.

Make no mistake, what Jeff did was wrong, disgusting and utterly horrific – we know that and thankfully he knows that – but hopefully the silver lining to this incident is that there can be a positive conversation around trans rights and visibility.

The reactions of Tai, Andrea, Ozzy, Debbie and Sarah gave me so much hope for humanity, as they immediately stood up for Zeke and defended his right to come out on his terms, and to direct his experience and personal narrative.

These people and Zeke’s words are why this tribal council can still be classified as beautiful.

As a cisgender gay man, I am somewhere in the middle of the privilege spectrum. While I have a mildly similar experience by being a part of the broader LGBT community, I am acutely aware of how much more privilege I have than Zeke just by being cisgender.

Zeke spoke beautifully about why he wasn’t open about his gender identity on the show and it broke my heart as it reminded me of how it felt to be labelled by others before I was comfortable … and that is why it stings just that little bit more coming from Jeff.

Being part of the community, he should have known better as he knows what it is like to have to process your identity and often even learn to just accept yourself. People deserve the right to share what they want with others, if and when they want to. Outing people is dangerous, particularly in the trans community in the current climate.

You shouldn’t need to to be a decent person, but Varner has likely experienced something very similar – not being ready to share or not wanting something to be the one thing you’re known for – and he should know far, far, far better. Whatever the reasoning, if it isn’t your truth, it isn’t your place to share.

Ever.

I reiterate that I think Jeff is remorseful and most importantly, Zeke was able to eloquently discuss how he felt and was kind enough to take the high road … when I for sure, would have gone low. Very low. So – and I feel so awkward using this as my segway into a recipe given the enormity of what happened – I felt comfortable enough to sit down with him and share a Jeffle Varner.

 

 

Given what went down and how it played out, I thought it best to whip up an easy, delicious snack – so no sweet Jeff Grand Varnier Mousse for you! – so that I could chastise him and discuss why we, as gay cisgendered men, should know better and how we owe it to our community to be the staunchest of allies.

I truly felt he was remorseful and agreed to smuggle in a heartfelt culinary apology to Zeke. Sadly though, Probst – who let’s just pause here to reiterate that moments like this highlight are why he is the best at what he does … give the man (if Ru can’t get a 2nd) another damn Emmy – wouldn’t let me smuggle in a very, very delicious jaffle, that reminds you of childhood and why leftovers are arguably the best. Plus, how do you go past adding even more carbs to spaghetti bolognese?

Exactly – enjoy!

And if you need more information on how to be a better ally, please follow Zeke/GLAAD’s advice because I know my ramblings can in no way get close to explaining the gravity of the situation and how important it is to stand up for equality. Remember to be kind, to both Zeke and Varner, even if he doesn’t deserve it,  … haterade is reserved for my (*gasp, shock* fake) celebrity friends.

 

 

Jeffle Varner
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 slices white bread
butter
1 cup leftover Dolognese Parton, including some spaghetti if you want it authentic … but that is up to you
½ shaved parmesan cheese

Method
Now this is insanely complex, so pay attention.

Start by turning on a jaffle iron and buttering the bread.

Divide the Dolognese across two slices.

Top each with parmesan and close the sandwiches with the remaining bread.

Butter the top of the bread and place butter-side down on the jaffle iron.

Butter the remaining pieces of bread and close the machine.

Cook until the red light turns green … aka five minutes or so, and the bread golden and the parmesan gooey, JIC your machine is old and the lights don’t work.

 

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Quesandillaz-Twine

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

Previously on Survivor, Tavua continued to dominate immunity challenges, which was very lucky for Troyzan. Unluckily for Mana, Debbie went from lovable-nuts to scary after missing out on sandwiches while over at Nuku J.T. and Aubry’s plot to boot Michaela backfired on the former, sending him out of the game with an idol in his pocket.

Oh and Sandra stole the sugar, blamed it on her closest ally and still came out clean.

Back at camp Aubry gave her best Adam Klein impression while congratulating the people that blindsided her. Despite it being fairly obvious why it was J.T. over her, Aubry asked them why she was saved before correctly identifying that Sandra was running things and is the best player out there, royally screwing her in the process.

Over at Mana, Tai decided to make the most of last episode’s hidden immunity idol clue and get his wood wet under the cover of darkness. Turns out, that little process gives you a happy ending. What a damn surprise.

Clearly getting hot and bothered, Jiffy Pop arrived for what the tribes assumed was an immunity challenge which was instead another swap were Sandra and Varner became the latest people to be completely screwed by the game, ending up on new-Nuku with Ozzy, Sarah, Andrea, Zeke and Tai.

Everyone else but Debbie ended up on new-Mana, while Deb found herself without a tribe and a pony, heading to exile island until one of the other tribes boots someone to make room for her.

New Mana arrived – or returned – to camp where Troyzan was thankful to have some allies, while Brad was feeling screwed though was hopeful to hook up with Troyzan – which is a weird porno I’d give a shot – given his One World connection to my girl Monnie Culpepper.

Over at new Nuku, Sandra and Varner did their best to ingratiate themselves to their new tribe members. Sandra being Sandra, remained calm and was sure that she would be able to find her feet.

And just like that, Zeke and Ozzy went for a walk to reaffirm the need to get rid of Sandra, before rallying their fellow ex-Tavuans and lining up a decoy boot in Tai. Which given his past will not go well if he finds out, despite knowing Sandra is the biggest threat.

Feeling uneasy, Tai approached the Nuku well hoping to find their hidden immunity idol … which he did, bringing his total for the episode to two and the season to three.

Why couldn’t it be Sandra?

We then caught up with Debbie who was approaching what she thought was Exile Island and instead landed on a luxury yacht complete with feast and – oh wait, here is the shitty part – cockstainCochran to provide advice … and thankfully something useful in an advantage.

Hatred aside, this is a crazy showmance I can get behind. And I assume, so can Debbie who is more excited to see him than the presidents and prime ministers she has, of course, also met.

Debbie then told her potential new boyfriend about how confident she was and ragged on Brad ‘fuck you’ Culpepper, before Cochran presented her with – what I assumed was an engagement ring – the options for her advantage. She of course elected the worst advantage, the extra vote – which has booted its holder every time it has been played before – rather than an advantage for her tribe at the next immunity challenge or my personal favourite, a kit to build a fake immunity idol.

Sadly a devious revenge plot where she gives a legit looking fake idol to Brad to boot him will not come to fruition.

The next day Zeke and Varner connected by the beach where Varner shared how desperately he wanted to make the jury on his third game. Zeke, knowing he should start making Sandra and Varner relax, told Varner how much they wanted Tai out of the game. The entire conversation made Sandra anxious … but Sandra is smarter than mostall players, and knew something wasn’t adding up.

Not wanting to leave us hanging too long, Jiffy Pop returned for the first immunity challenge as new tribes where they were required to get wet, pull themselves off … a platform and over monkey bars before running to shore and placing their piece(s) in a cart and pulling them into shore.

Obviously it ended with a puzzle.

Mana got out to any early lead, which despite Varner’s best efforts to pull up a load, never went away, sending Mana to tribal council.

Back at camp, Zeke reconfirmed the need to get rid of Sandra, while Varner was feeling confident it was Tai. Again, Sandra’s superior intuition shone as she felt nervous – for the first time in three seasons – and approached Ozzy, Sarah, Zeke and Andrea about booting Tai to avoid a Kaôh Rōng kaôh-lition.

While Sarah and Ozzy weren’t wanting to budge on the Sandra vote, they acknowledged how persuasive and right she is, and that they do need to break up the trio of Tai-Aubry-Debbie.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tai then approached Varner to tell him that Sandra was indeed the target … allowing Sandra time to come up with a plan, which is never a good thing.

With that, they arrived at tribal where Andrea announced that they would continue in the tradition of the season – like All Stars before it – to boot the biggest threat, while Ozzy spoke to the back of Sandra’s head about the positives of keeping a bigger threat as a shield before Sandra announced that she was confident it was her as no one was talking to her.

This spooked Tai … who then commenced talking in circles, confusing himself and making the rest of his original, original Nuku tribemates. Sarah then mentioned being open to a couple of options, spooking Tai even more before Sandra said that she’d vote for whoever he wanted her to. Before he whispered a name to her.

He then gave Varner the same name, to which Varner mentioned they still needed another person. The rest of the tribe wanted the goss … so Tai then announced that he was now considering Ozzy, spooking Ozzy, Zeke, Sarah and Andrea, who then commenced their own whispering.

After some back and forth and everyone being confused, they threw their hands in the air and decided to just vote … which sadly – and I hate that I’m even typing it and never assumed I would have to – resulted in my dear friend, sass-monster and greatest player of all time Sandra Diaz-Twine being voted out for the first time.

Thank fuck those fuckers fucking applauded her on her way out the door. The stupid fucks. The Queen is dead, long live … the D-list returnees rounding out the cast?

While I was fuming by the time she arrived at Loser Lodge, Sandra took her first ever boot in her stride … until I convinced her to break into both camps while they were at the next challenge and burn their camps to the ground. FYI, that is why they were crying in the next episode preview.

As you know, I met Sandra when I was her server at Outback Steakhouse and we quickly bonded over being fiery, sassy and persuasive. While she has never been able to get me out there as a contestant – she tried for Blood vs. Water but Aras got jealous – I was scheduled to appear as her loved one, which is probably more of a tragedy than seeing the Queen and Malcolm felled within a fortnight.

Obviously that meant I was in desperate need of some comfort food, meaning I had to whip out my famous Quesandillaz-Twine.

 

 

An ode to my girl’s winning ways, these quesadillas are the absolute best – spicy, cheesy and with a good whack of chilli, the crunch in your mouth and go a long way to help even the sharpest of pain.

Enjoy … if you can!

 

 

Quesandillaz-Twine
Serves: 1 first-time boot and her irate firebug of a bestie.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
400g canned diced tomatoes
400g canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 avocados, pitted and diced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
canola or vegetable oil, for frying
8 tortillas
250g sharp cheddar, grated
1 lime, cut into wedges
sour cream

Method
Brown the mince in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking-up with the wooden spoon as you go. Add the garlic, onions and a good whack of salt and pepper and  cook for a couple of minutes, or until the onion is just translucent. Add the spices and cook for a minute, before adding the tomatoes, black beans and paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about twenty minutes, or until the liquid is pretty much gone.  Remove from the heat and stir through the avocado and coriander.

When you’re ready to devour, heat a large clean skillet over medium heat and add a lug of oil. Place a tortilla in the pan, sprinkle half with cheese, top with the mixture and more cheese, because this is comfort food. Fold the tortilla over to form a semicircle, pressing down on the quesadilla to set. Flip once, cooking a couple of minutes each side. Repeat the process until the mixture or tortillas run out, I don’t mind which.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges – because you don’t need to feel guilty if the food is hand-sized – and serve with a squeeze of lime juice, a dollop of sour cream and, of course, hot sauce.

Devour, in honour of Sandra.

 

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Long Island J.T.

Drink, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Andrea’s ball-handling skills won out over Varner’s – I’m simultaneously shocked and not surprised in the slightest – resulting in Mana and Nuku heading to a joint tribal council where Jeff’s jealousy got the best of him and he twist-fucked my beautiful, angel Malcolm.

Jealousy isn’t cute Jeffrey, even on you. Why can’t he just trust me?

Despite a shitty outcome after a shitty move from J.T. – seriously, Hali did what you wanted to do but was successful – that tribal council was majestic

We opened up back at Nuku where Queen Sandra quickly got to work shaking down J.T. for his betrayal, resulting in Malcolm’s outster. While they didn’t seem to be buying it, the fact that it resulted in the ouster of his sole friend on the tribe definitely helped. Though even with that little helpful fact, he crossed Sandra and she vowed for revenge … and you know how her revenge plots generally work out (see: Fairplay and Hantz).

The next morning, J.T. realised that he was still well screwed – whether he realised it was his own doing, I’m still not sure – so decided to quickly go idol hunting, which sadly for the Queen was successful. Given his history with idols, I wouldn’t be as confident as he is that it will keep him in the game … he may write a love letter to Ozzy and give it away during the next challenge.

On that note, Jeffrey returned to the screen for the reward challenge / to try and win me back after his tribal council slight. Tavua were shocked to discover that despite a double tribal council Mana was completely intact and Nuku had lost – of all people – Malcolm, God amongst men, flooder of basements, wetter of dreams, bombs of sex.

Trying even harder to make it up to me, Jeffrey announced the challenge involved grappling hooks to snag something to help balance balls, long hard beams, inserted said balls into holes … and a slide puzzle, because they obviously need to finish with a puzzle. What’s more, they were playing for PBJ, milk and cookies (or PBJ only for the second place finisher) –  so desperate to win me over but adding a P to my BJ isn’t going to work, even if I’m getting milk, Jeffrey.

Sierra got Mana out to an early lead, which was then snatched by Tavua by way of Ozzy’s insane challenge ability … while J.T. continued to paint that target even more obviously on his back, unable to balance on my a beam, much to Michaela’s chagrin.

Thanks to Ozzy and Sarah, Zeke got to the puzzle section of the challenge well in front securing victory, while Debbie dropped the ball – literally – giving Aubry time to catch up and give Sandra time to take out her first second place.

Back at camp, Debbie was pissed at losing sandwiches and decided to flip out over Brad’s dictatorship, despite saying she was good on balance beams and Brad agreeing she should complete that section … before completely choking.

Sarah oddly returned to the screen after a two episode hiatus, to talk about her continuing criminal gameplay. Since she hasn’t attended tribal council once, this felt odd … almost like they were trying to remind us she existed and was changing her game? *Coughs, winner edit*. To keep her options open, she approached Troyzan about forming an alliance and keeping the game exciting, rather than sticking with her boring four person alliance.

Troyzan was obviously thrilled about the possibility of keeping his hands firmly on his idol.

Debbie’s rage continued to boil over at Mana, quickly turning into a full-blown meltdown. Where she complaining about Hali getting everything she wants, despite being completely on the outs and openly threatened to stay in line at the last tribal council.

To work through the rage, Debs then did push ups on the beach to focus on her 8-pack.

Back at Nuku, J.T. and Aubry were busy running an island cafe – much to their annoyance – whipping up a beverage for Michaela, consisting of 7 drip of coffees and a generous scoop of sugar. J.T. was ropable that he was being treated like a servant and Michaela was wasting his sugar on minimal liquid.

Sandra decided to continue in her hallowed tradition of sabotage and stir the pot a little – see throwing out the fish and Christa under the bus or burning Russell’s hat for smelling like arse – and eat the rest of the sugar to create tension between them. It worked … but surprisingly Michaela kept her cool when confronted by J.T. however it did seem to make him feel secure in his place within the tribe, which is masterful if she wants to blindside him down the track.

Back at Mana, Tai decided two idols in two seasons weren’t enough, and went on a hunt for his career third. While he quickly found a clue by sticking his hand into a small, dark hole. It was cryptic, saying to soak a board until a symbol appeared and then dig under it. Given the camera’s focus on the well, I assume it is hidden there.

Sensing me softening to him, Jeff returned for the immunity challenge which involved climbing a wall, flipping a cube to get a key, opening a chest, grabbing out some balls, crossing a balance beam and firing your balls at a target.

Debbie was very sassy about wanting to be on the balance beam but was quickly out-vote leading to a majestic challenge where Debbie stayed one step ahead of her tribe – who were surprisingly in the lead – to remind them that she is the challenge beast of the tribe and is carrying them.

It was a back-and-forth challenge with Nuku taking the lead before it was quickly snatched by Tavua and Mana thanks to Ozzy, Andrea and the sub-par balance ability of Hali, Debs would have you know.

Thankfully Ozzy failed at the slingshot evening things up before Brad stormed out in front and snatched Mana their first immunity win, leading to a battle between Ozzy and J.T. … which Ozzy just won, sending Nuku back to tribal council.

Michaela was hopeful that a challenge ending with slingshots wouldn’t be her undoing a second time, given that the season is called game changers. Which isn’t great logic but it always pays to be hopeful.

Back at camp, Aubry was unsure of which tribe she was a part of but knew the Survivor gods were not on their sides, in any event. Aubry softened to the idea of keeping J.T., believing that Michaela was the most difficult person to have around.

J.T. rallied the troops to vote out Michaela, with Sandra proving why she is the queen, making him feel extremely safe and committed to booting the dirty sugar thief, that she framed … before immediately approaching Michaela and Varner to blindside J.T.

While Varner loved his position as the swing vote he was undecided whether targeting the threat with the idol or the girl with the bad attitude was the better option as they exited for tribal council.

At tribal, Jeff quickly got to work rubbing salt in my wounds about Malcolm’s departure. Sandra seemingly dodged the question to avoid spooking J.T. by bringing up his failure, J.T. tried to play the bumbling fool, Michaela vented her annoyance with J.T. and his arrogance while J.T. said babysitting Michaela was a bore.

Sandra then recounted the cause of the feud, J.T.’s belief that Michaela ate the sugar that he using in the coffee. She then laughed at the absurdity of their fight … WHICH SHE CAUSED.

Side note, if you don’t love Sandra, you’re insane.

Sandra and Michaela quickly got to work pretending that she was on the way out the door, clearly being coached by the Queen. J.T. then got arrogant and said Michaela was a space-filler, not a game changer which upset Aubry she likes and admires Michaela as a person … despite her making camp life painful. That being said, she was confident the vote was clear and Sandra said that he would be safe before heading to vote.

Hinting that he would in fact not be safe, Michaela whipped out her mug and some water and started drinking it like tea as Jiffy Pop tallied the votes where J.T. found himself bye Felicia’ed from the game by the Queen and her subjects … with an idol in his pocket.

It was obnoxious, sure, but Michaela drinking the tea was iconic.

Michaela and Sandra then laughed on his way out the door before Sandra admitted to stealing the sugar and causing the fight. While J.T. missed that little factoid before joining me in Loser Lodge, it bears mentioning.

I’ve known J.T. since just after his victory in Tocantins when I started to cyber-bully him for beating Stephen. While J.T. deserved the win thanks to his superior social game and his ability to get people to lay down for him like puzzles for Debbie, I felt Stephen deserved a few votes … and given his next two games, it shows how vital having a calm mind in Stephen and Taj helps him.

Obviously I didn’t mention any of this while we caught up, I simply pulled myself away from Malcolm long enough whip him up a comforting Long Island J.T.

 

 

After being responsible for your own demise for the second time, you really need a stiff drink and there is none stiffer than a Long Island Iced Tea.

What more can I say, if you love booze, you’ll love this – enjoy!

 

 

Long Island J.T.
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
½ shot vodka
½ shot gin
½ shot white rum
½ shot white tequila
dash of triple sec
dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice
cola, to taste
lemon wedge, to garnish
ice cubes

Method
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add everything but the cola.

Shake like a polaroid picture.

Pour into a glass.

Top up with cola and add a lemon wedge.

Down and repeat … responsibly, of course.

 

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