Destitsio Williams

Baking, Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the merge hit leaving Cole nice and paranoid … and, bless, unable to see the clue to an advantage in plain site. With him busy, the heroes and hustlers got together and plotted to take out the healers, one-by-one. Which commenced at tribal after Joe played him idol needlessly as Jessica became the final pre-Ponderosa boot.

Solewa returned to camp where things were awkward and everyone kind of stood around awkwardly while Cole spoke about being upset and Joe impressed by their move. We then found out that Ben and Lauren had in fact orchestrated the entire blindside, with my namesake hoping they can go all the way to the top seven … though was concerned something would screw it up. Which is totalling going to happen, no?

The next day Mike was still struggling with the loss of tribal before Lauren, out of nowhere, found the clue to the advantage Cole couldn’t see in front of him. The advantage is another variant of the extra vote gig, with Lauren allowed to forgo voting at the next tribal council and stockpile the vote for a later tribal council. Depending on our you feel about saving, it is the ultimate banking game … or way too hard.

Not leaving me to sweat on it too long, my love Jeff returned for the reward challenge where the tribes would be split into two teams to run up a tower and shoot sacks at a target. Aka what the homophobe at my work said every gay person would be doing after Australia voted for marriage equality … which yes, was true for me, but also, have some fucking decorum. The team of Ben, Mike, Lauren, Ashley and Desi got out to a 3-0 lead before Ryan, Chrissy, JP, Cole and Devon’s strategy – to have the worst people go first and no longer have to participate – played of overtaking the others and snagging a spaghetti dinner, with Joe … who won the lottery and got reward without competing.

After the challenge Jeff explained that the spaghetti would be served ‘family style’ meaning there would be one single serve and each would go in to eat alone, not knowing how much the others had had. To further improve Joe’s day, he was given the opportunity to outline their eating order. Given he needs allies, Joe elected to go last sending Devon first – don’t tell Rodney, but it was for his birthday – followed by JP, who also didn’t notice a clue under the plate. Sweet Cole went next and surprisingly found the clue straight away … before using a tea towel to cover the clue. Smart move and also, so fucking dumb. Chrissy and Ryan also found the clue – outlining it was hidden under the tribe flag – before the latter hid the plate in the bushes.

Chrissy and Ryan spoke about the clue and Cole’s dim wit while Joe ate, before the latter proved he wasn’t as dumb as everyone thinks and questioned what they were talking about. This of course set up a three man race to collect the idol, which kind of fizzled out as Ryan snatched the idol while Cole went to pee. Thankfully he tasked Chrissy with covering the hole, leading to Cole diving under the flag with her to fight for the already gone idol. This then caught everyone’s attention, leading to an all in brawl before Ben decided Cole did have the idol. Oh … after the flag fell on top of everyone.

I mean, this was some Benny Hill shit. Praise Probst.

Given Cole was now in desperate need of some actual immunity, Probst returned for the challenge where the castaways were required to stand on a balance beam, while keeping an object up with a long hard pole. So again, pretty much my favourite pastime. Mike and Joe quickly dropped out followed by Devon, Lauren, Ryan – whose heart was literally beating through his chest – Ashley, Chrissy, Ben and Desi. This left Cole and JP to battle it out for immunity and my heart as their chests glistened in the sun. JP couldn’t keep it up long enough, handing Cole immunity … and well, my heart. I mean, he is proven to keep it up longer. How can I go past him?

Cole’s immunity win didn’t sit well with the hero-hustler mega alliance who half-heartedly congratulated him on his victory before quickly locking in a split vote for Joe and Desi. The split vote gave the healers hope, given they only needed to flip one person to their side to take control. Surprisingly this was Cole’s plan. Sadly for Joe he decided to approach Ryan and Devon while Ben lurked in the bushes ala Queen Sandra, leading to Ben blowing up at Joe at camp while Desi, Ryan and Chrissy lazed about in the shelter, nonchalantly wondering if something was happening.

After things cooled down, Lauren pulled Ben aside to share that they can not split the vote tonight otherwise she will lose her advantage. This made Ben nervous forcing him to approach Mike to flip to their side and save him. While Mike wasn’t sure keeping Ben was a good idea, he did think showing loyalty may carry him further.

At tribal Joe and Ben continued their feud with Joe identifying him as a threat, while Ben tried to point out he is a part of a bigger alliance and that he trusted them all. It went back and forth for a while before Chrissy and Ashley joined the fray to point out how annoying Joe is. Desi then gave a confusingly cryptic comment, Mike threw out the fact the Yawa five betrayed him as the last tribal and Ben spoke more about being a vet, which really isn’t making the target on his back any smaller. Desi continued to dig her own grave and Devon spoke about being a bright and beautiful light – seriously, swoon … and out of nowhere – before they headed off to vote.

Notably Lauren was successful in snagging her extra vote before the votes finished up tied with four each on Joe and Desi, with one each on Ben and Lauren for good measure … and no one the wiser that that didn’t add up to 11. More surprisingly the votes piled up on Desi in the revote, sending her out of the game to become the Queen of Ponderosa.

While she was absolutely heartbroken by the turn of events – and let’s be honest, so was I – I was glad to be able to hang with her, cheer her up and decide the tone for this season’s jury over a big ol’ bowl of my Destitsio Williams.

 

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged – right Jules – that pasta will cure all ailments. Add a dickload of spices, a large hunk of meat and a creamy sauce? That is what dreams are made of, right Hiz?

Enjoy!

 

 

Destitsio Williams
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
2 tbsp tomato paste
1kg beef mince
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dried mint
2 cups passata
500g ziti pasta
¾ cup butter
4 eggs
1 ½ cup parmesan, grated
¼ cups plain flour
2 cups milk, heated
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat before sweating the onion, garlic and carrot for five minutes … or so. Add the paste and mince and cook, breaking up the mince with the wooden spoon, for ten minutes or so, or until starting to brown. Add the allspice, mint and passata with a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

While your meat sauce is cooling, melt ¼ cup butter in a medium saucepan until foamy. Add ¼ cup flour and cooking for a minute or two, or until the roux is coming together. Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 cups of milk until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and whisk through the yolks of the eggs, with the nutmeg and ¼ cup parmesan.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cook the pasta as per packet instruction before draining and returning to the pan with the remaining butter, egg whites and parmesan. Stir for a couple of minutes or until everything just comes together.

Press half the coated butter into the base of a large baking dish. Top with the meat sauce, following by the remaining pasta … and then finally, the béchamel. Sprinkle with some extra parmesan and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven, allow to rest for ten minutes … and then devour.

 

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Leekoumaden Haan

Dessert, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, the least fun sausage fest – because of Jak, obvi – decided to throw the challenge and eliminate Shay to protect Shannon and Mike’s girl Georgia, who was a sure thing to beat Shay at redemption island. Sadly though, that didn’t actually happen with Georgia’s house of cards crumbling just before the end of the challenge, sending her out of the game and Shay back into it.

With Georgia exiting stage left, Matt announced that the recently returned Shay would be joining the newly formed Casar tribe with the 9 remaining contestants – yep, that is the roundabout way of saying that the tribes had merged!

Shay was feeling pretty proud to have reached the milestone and confident that her OG alliance would be able to regain control. While Mike was thrilled to snag some fries, he was still heartbroken about Georgia’s exit and was fairly confident that he was well screwed. Avi was thrilled to have Shay back, giddily hugging her on the way to the well as she caught him up on the awkwardness of the least sexy sausage fest and spill the t that Tom’s plot to pretend to be on her side did not actually fool her.

Back at camp, Jak continued to prove that he is the least funny person on the cast. Not allowing him to have any more screentime, Shannon reconnected with Mike to weigh up  her options and talk smack about Barb. Speaking of Barb, she and Nate continued their rise to power players, taking in everything that was going on.

Shannon and Avi joined up on the beach to discuss the boys trusting her, Jerk coached Tom on basic strategy and how best to win Avi over and Lee looked pretty in a tree. Tom and Avi then joined together to discuss the former’s faux-plan to take out Shay before turning on Mike and Lee, which Avi was not buying for a second.

The next day, Sala and an underwear clad Avi went from a stroll along the beach making me wetter than the waves on the shore. This made Tom and Jerk nervous, though the latter was super confident about his dear ally Shannon so was feeling ok. Showing a continued lack of self-awareness, Jak approached Shannon and Avi to outline all of their plans and lock in the fake final four alliance with them and Tom. On the other end of the spectrum, Sala, Barb and Nate were feeling relaxed and confident and sounded like they were ready for happy hour.

Dragging out the period between the merge and the first post-merge elimination, Matt returned for the first individual reward challenge where competitors are required to remember sequences of images for chocolate cake. Nate quickly fell out of the competition, followed by Barb, Lee, Avi – or RV if you talk to Mike – Jak and Sala, before Mike took out victory. He was then given the opportunity to share it with two people, giving it to Shannon and Shay who tied for second with Tom. While Tom told the girls to take the cake over him, Sala wasn’t buying that it was a kind gesture and continued to be suspicious of his ex-tribemate.

Trying to be helpful, Lee decided to fix the shelter so that the tarp would provide more coverage. While Sala appreciated the fact he was working hard, he found it rude that he decided to do it while Nate was sleeping. I however would argue that Nate sleeping and being lazy is probably the bigger sin, though I do think Lee is a total babe, so maybe I’m just being defensive? Despite the fact that it provides more coverage for the entire tribe, Barb and Nate were also pissed about Lee’s handiwork and continued the selfish narrative.

Poor Ange-Lee the spoke about how he just wants to provide for the tribe and help keep the camp running. He then had his longest confessional to date, about want to play with integrity and coast through with his allies making me extremely anxious that we are approaching the fall of my lover.

Avi and his undies – boy is he trying to take my heart away from Lee, or what – joined Shannon by the shore to discuss their plans, enjoying their place in the middle though if we learnt anything from Julia and Aubry, sometimes the person in the middle gets run over. Proving my fears correct, the sausage fest grew concerned that Shannon wasn’t actually with them.

Barb then continued to bitch about Lee for cooking an eggplant looking thing for the entire tribe, without consulting them first. I mean, I get it could be annoying but he is just trying to help. Seriously, this is making me sympathetic to the sausage fest.

After a brief pow-wow between Shannon and the sausage fest to complain about the complainers, Matt arrived for the long-awaited first individual immunity challenge where the tribe had to balance their balls on a disc, held up by ropes which is where we find out how smutty Matt can be. Shay, Avi and Sala quickly fell out of the challenge before Matt had even said anything about ball play. Jak and Tom soon followed before the second round commenced, still without a ball pun. After round three, Nate and Lee dropped their balls before my balls were reminded that Mike is actually kinda hot. Barb dropped out, leaving it to Mike and Shannon to fight for immunity before the wind picked up and lead to the latter dropping her ball, handing immunity to Mike.

While Shannon was talking about her experience in the challenge, Barb suddenly fainted  – I assume from expelling too much energy complaining – with Matt opting to send the tribe back to camp while she received treatment from the medic.

Not dwelling on her potential medevac, the tribe quickly got to work locking in their sides for tribal with the boys targeting Shay and Hermosa 2.0 targeting Lee, with Avi and Shannon in the middle with the ultimate decision. Thankfully for the olds, Barb returned to camp giving them the upper hand as they headed off to tribal … depending on who Shannon and RV actually decide to vote with.

At tribal, Nate and Shannon spoke about the importance of trust which is something the latter is about to break with four people. Lee said that the tribe was all over the shop and that he was just trying to stay out of the drama. Matt confirmed that everyone was guaranteed to make the jury, before asking Tom and Shay if that means that big moves will start to occur to win people’s votes in the end. Mike was thankful to have won immunity, confident that he was likely to have received votes otherwise. Little did he know how lucky he actually was, with RV and Shannon sticking with Hermosa 2.0 and Shay to vote out my babe-town Lee. Who was pissed, though thankful to be heading to redemption where he could easily Ozzy his way to victory.

Not wanting the remaining nine to feel too confident, Matt announced that they would be competing in their next immunity challenge then and there, before voting out another person from the tribe. He quickly stripped Mike of immunity before tasking them with remembering some very easy – what does fire represent in the game – and some completely fuck off hard – how many times has Matt worn a green hat. Thankfully Matt butchered the pronunciation of Nicaragua again before Jak sadly took out immunity.

Without so much as second to scramble, Matt tried to send the tribe to vote before Mike did his best Hali impersonation, stopping the vote and trying to woo people to his side and get rid of Shay. Shay then pointed out that Mike had won two of the three individual challenges this season and anyone would be mad to flip. Which was a compelling enough argument as Mike was sent to Lee’s arms on redemption island.

After a brief interlude of Lee and Mike suffering in their jocks on redemption island and blaming Shannon, we returned to camp where Nate and Barb were feeling smug for taking down the boys while Shannon was feeling nervous about ever going to redemption and having to deal with their rage. Oh and Tom got a glimmer of hope with Barb whispering to him that she’d keep him in the game as long as she can. Maybe she will win me over?

The next day, Shay was feeling nervous after barely surviving the first two post merge tribals, despite being in the majority. She joined Nate and Sala by the ocean to discuss next steps, with Tom being the obvious target despite Nate not thinking he is a problem that needs to be dealt with yet. While that is going on, Tom was correctly predicting that Nate and Barb would not sit idly by as Shay and Sala took control. Nate then zigged when I thought he was going to zag and suggested that getting rid of Shannon and throwing her to the wolves is always a possibility.

Meanwhile Jak was not having a good day and proceeded to bitch to himself about the olds taking his cool friends out of the game. Sucking up his pride, he then approached Barb to see what she was thinking and whether there was any hope for him. The most shocking part of the segment is that both of them were quite likable and seemed to be stepping up their games. She then got tea-bagged and I finally got her.

Not wanting to leave me hanging for long, Matt returned for the reward challenge – the infamous coconut chop from the Marquesas – for five Pizza Hut pizzas for four people, because that allegedly is too many for one person? I love you … but fuck you, Matt. Shay was out first, immediately followed by Tom, then Jak, Shannon, Sala and Avi, leaving Nate and Barb to battle it out, with the latter taking out the win. To make the challenge more controversial, Barb then had to select three people to share the pizza with, going with Nate, Jak and Sala – to keep the latter feeling safe so that she can take him out.

After the brief break for product placement and Shannon to chop a coconut, she and Sala went for a chat where Sala told her that Tom and Jak were telling everyone they couldn’t trust either Shannon or Shay.

We then checked in with Lee and Mike who were still feeling sad about Shannon’s betrayal, though at least Lee is still killing the hair game.

Back at camp, Barb approached Shannon to float the idea of getting rid of Sala which delighted Shannon who also wanted him out next. Barb then took this information to Jak, who took it to Tom … which definitely means Sala wins the next immunity challenge, right?

But before we get to the issue of the next tribal, we have to actually get rid of someone from the game – yep, the babe-off duel has arrived! While Lee is far prettier, Mike is more ripped, so I don’t even know who I want to see take out the win. After a bit of smack talking about Shannon, the boys got down to the challenge – which sadly wasn’t naked greco roman wrestling – where they had to balance a beam, empty some sacks and put the contents of said sacks into holes. The last part being a puzzle, obvi.

Sadly for my first love Lee, Mike and his nipples got out to an early lead that never really dissipated – even when some of his bits weren’t in the right spots – with him taking out the duel and sending Lee out of the game and into my loving arms at Pounderosa. While he was completely gutted to be out of the game, I’ve long known the way to his heart,  which like all men, is through their stomach. More specifically though, my Leekoumaden Haan.

 

 

While he never really warmed to the idea of being calmed my little honey puff as a nickname – nor was he into making me his creampie – he was always keen to down a few of these Greek delights. Lightly spiced and pillowy, the puffs are then drowned in honey and fill you with joy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Leekoumaden Haan
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
7g active dry yeast
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 cups warm water
3 cups plain flour
¼ tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
vegetable oil, to fry
½ cup of honey, for puff drowning purposes

Method
Combine the yeast and sugar in a jug with the water. Stir and leave in a warm place to get all foamy for about five minutes. Once ripe and puffed, pour into the large bowl of a stand mixer and slowly stir in the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Chuck in the dough hook and mix for a couple of minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Cover with cling and leave to prove for a couple of hours in a warm place.

Pour enough oil into a pot to fill it 2 inches – you don’t need more, but then again frying scares me. Do what you think it right? Place it over medium heat until hot. Working in batches, slide a few tablespoon sized dollops into the oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Flip the puffs a couple of times, cooking for about five minutes total or until golden. Remove the puffs with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on some paper towel while you repeat the process until the batter is done.

Once all the puffs are cooked and crisp, heat the honey in a large frying pan over high heat. Toss the puffs through the honey, serve immediately and devour.

 

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James Van Der Greek Chips

Party Food, Side, Snack

Did I ever tell you that James Van Der Beek is the reason I am married? I’m fairly certain I have … but it is a story that bears repeating.

While there is a part of me that will always be heartbroken that JVDB never proposed to me while we were dating – he didn’t like sharing me with J-Jax, which was a not-negosh for me back in 2001 – he knew before I did when I found the man of my dreams and pushed me to propose.

He sat me down the day before my 22nd birthday and made me rewatch the two-part finale of Dawson’s Creek. It got to the part where Joey and Pacey were watching his faux-show and he turned to me just as faux-Joe started quoting the theme song and said, do you want to wait? For your life to be over?

Obviously I didn’t and the rest is history … but that is just the kind of close friendship we have, you know? I mean, he knew I should propose even before I did.

I’m not surprised though, JVDB has been my best friends since he guested on Clarissa Explains It All and I dumped the wagon that was Mel J H. I knew he was destined for greatness – and that he was a total babe – and made it my life goal to make him the star of a seminal teen drama series.

When I first locked in that goal, I had a different understanding of the word seminal … but I was successful, even if I didn’t mean to be.

As I mentioned, I haven’t seen to him since the one-two punch of Don’t trust the bitch in Apartment 23’s axing and convincing him to join the cast of CSI: Cyber – with my friend Bow Wow – but thankfully he never held any of my advice against me.

And being that it came from my dear friend JVDB I actually believe he didn’t  … and that that fact had nothing to do with his love of my James Van Der Greek Chips.

 

 

I know he is not Greek … but these were our favourite post going Greek snack. And how could you find fault with that/them, really? Crispy potatoes, sharp feta, sweet oregano, tangy lemon and a nice punch of chilli.

Seriously, it is perfection – enjoy!

 

 

James Van Der Greek Chips
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2-3 potatoes, cut into ½ cm batons the length of the potato
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
zest of a lemon
chilli flakes, to taste
⅓ cup feta, crumbled

Method
Preheat oven to 220°C.

Once the oven is scorching hot, place the potatoes on a lined baking sheet with a lug of olive oil and a whack of salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes to coat and spread into a single row. Place in the oven, reduce heat to 180°C and cook for twenty minutes or until golden and crisp. You may need to flip once halfway through cooking …  but I can never really be bothered.

Remove the chips from the oven, sprinkle the oregano, zest and chilli flakes over the hot chips and toss.

Decant to a bowl, top with feta and devour.

 

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Diana Yiros

Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack

I know bad things always come in three, but there was something in the way that 2016 stalked its way through killing so many of my friends that I feared George, Carrie and Debs wouldn’t be the final ones to find themselves in a coffin.

Or an urn shaped like a prozac. Fuck I miss you Caz.

Anyway, I arrived in LAX for the Caz and Debs final double act – Meryl’s singing was spectacular and nothing at all like Florence Foster Jenkins / Mamma Mia – and hurriedly got on my phone, fearing that Diana probably succumbed to her death at the hands of the murderous year.

“Hello, love child.”

“Oh no, my dear sweet Tracee – mummy’s gone, isn’t she? She dead, sweetie?”

I started to cry uncontrollably.

“Ben? Dear Ben, is that you? It’s Diana, why are you acting all upside down?”

“WHAT?! Di, you didn’t die? The cruel mistress of 2016 didn’t take you off to the endless love?”

I started to cry uncontrollably, again. This time from relief.

“No baby love, thankfully I’ve kept hanging on. I figure one legend needs to survive the year to watch over Betty White.”

With such wisdom, I knew Diana had survived for a greater purpose and after sobbing into the phone for a further twenty minutes when I realised I wouldn’t be able to use my inheritance to pay off my massive gambling debt, I invited myself over to cook her up something fresh and healthy to start her new year on the right track.

Obviously that meant stuffing her with a big fat Diana Yiros.

 

diana-yiros-1

 

It should not come as a shock that I love any meal that is phallocentric but there is something about a yiros that makes it extra special. Maybe it is the juicy meat, slathered in creamy tzatziki oozing out of the end?

Yep, that is definitely it. Enjoy!

 

diana-yiros-2

 

Diana Yiros
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 fresh (or store bought, I guess) pita breads
juice and zest of a lemon
1 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
pinch of dried chilli flakes, salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 4 for the marinade and 1 for the tzatziki
500g chicken thighs
4 potatoes
½ cup Greek yoghurt
125g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded, grated and drained
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 225°C.

Combine the lemon zest and all but 1 tbsp of juice (that is for the tzatziki), oregano, chilli, salt, pepper, olive oil and four of the garlic cloves in a large bowl. Stir to combine, add the thighs and mix again to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for half an hour or so.

While they thighs are getting juiced, wash (if needed) the potatoes and cut into long, thick battens. Place on a lined baking sheet, toss in a lug of olive oil and place in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, or until  you’ve got golden, crisp chips. Flip once halfway through to ensure an even brown.

While the thighs are finishing off marinating, combine the yoghurt, feta, cucumber, remaining garlic and reserved lemon juice in a bowl and blitz with a stick blender. Season to taste, cover and whack in the fridge.

This is probs a good time to prepare the tomato, red onion and parsley if you didn’t do that up front. Just saying.

Anyway, heat a large skillet over high heat and quickly cook the pitas on either side and transfer to a plate. When the pan is nice and hot, reduce to a medium-low heat and add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes, turning once. Remove from the pan to rest for five minutes and shred into small pieces.

To make your yiro, smear some tzatziki on your pita, top with some chips, tomato, onion and parsley, followed by some chicken and another slather of tzatziki (and feta, if you have any left over).

Wrap tightly and shove into your gob, to devour.

 

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Stuffed Kate Campbell Peppers

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2016), Main, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the tribes merged forming the new Fia Fia tribe before Brooke dominated at the first individual immunity challenge and Sue told her fellow minority members that they’d be safe if they stuck together. They then all literally voted for a different person and Conner went home.

We opened back up with Flick and Brooke feeling confident after tribal thanks to being in the mega-majority of nine – let’s hope you’re on the right side within that group … and the group within that one, girls – while Kate and Sue were rightfully feeling screwed.

To quote Keith Nale, maybe you should have stuck to the plan and Kylie/Sam may have switched?

The next day the tribe opted to undertake some camp renovations, I assume to eat into the audience of their rival – the terribleThe Block.

Either way, sweet Kate then cornered Kylie and tried to commence a good old fashioned battle between good and evil, deciding that the key to her safety was pulling in the kind, good sports. Yeah it could be boring, but wouldn’t another Nick blindside be delightful?

To help thicken the plot, Brooke and Flick dragged El into their confidence as they plotted the downfall of the minority. Just putting it out there, 9 vs. 3 shouldn’t really call for this much plotting. While Kate continued her fight, going to Sam and Lee and became a less arrogant version of Spencer and drew out the hierarchy in the sand in the hope they’ll buy that they are at the bottom and will flip.

Sorry, where was I? I just said Sam, Lee, bottom and flip, and now I’m distracted.

Anyway, we were then treated to a delightful display of gender stereotyping while the girls primped and preened before Sam and Lee finally started earning their keep and got to work wooing Kristie to their side to blindside Nick. Meanwhile out in the water Nick, Flick, JL and Brooke continued plotting to get out Kate. Though is it plotting if that is the plan every time we check in? I guess it takes time to get to your entire alliance when it is most of the tribe.

Finally JoJo arrived for the next immunity challenge to change the narrative. While it is good that it is about balls, it looks really difficult and has a menacing sound and is making me anxious. After a surprisingly long and gripping challenge – shit, am I Probst? – El continued the female dominance, taking out the ball challenge over a former professional cricketer.

Back at camp, shit started to hit the fan in earnest with the majority applauding El’s immunity win before they quickly locked in their votes on Kate and Sue while Sam’s winner edit finally kicked in as he worked hard to axe Nick and take control of his own game.

Then Kylie happened and spilled all to Brooke … who ran to Flick, turning the girls against Sam. While I truly want Nick out, that is a surprisingly good move on Kylie’s part. The girls then confronted Sam – changing their mind from earlier – before storming away from the conversation as they headed out to tribal.

JoJo had barely started to question the castaways before all hell started to break loose with Flick calling out the scrambling, Kate calling out the majority, Kylie trying to diffuse the situation and Kate taking a leaf out of Ciera’s book, calling out the majority and telling the passive players to start playing the game … before ultimately calling out Nick. Then Sam jumped on board, calling Nick a snake, Nick was passive aggressive about people being pious while Lee started groaning and was over the drama.

After all the drama, Kate had a shit eating grin as they headed out to vote however after everyone laid into Nick, he played his idol and guaranteed that is was Kate going out of the game and just missing the jury.

I’ve known Kate for years – as you can probably guess, I was involved in the boating accident so can’t really talk about the early days of our friendship – and she has always had such a wonderful attitude and never gives up. Despite not getting to experience the joy of making the jury – like a young, female Andrew Savage – she did get to experience my Stuffed Kate Campbell Peppers, and that was a win for her.

 

stuffed-kate-campbell-peppers-1

 

Spicy, sweet and hearty – these babies are everything you need to eat through the pain of just missing the final stage of the game.

Enjoy!

 

stuffed-kate-campbell-peppers-2

 

Stuffed Kate Campbell Peppers
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 large red capsicums
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g lean beef mince
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chilli flakes
2 tsp cumin
½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
½ cup long grain white rice
200g feta, crumbled

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Cut the tops off the capsicums – reserving for later – and remove the seeds and membrane, and stand on a baking paper-lined baking dish.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened – about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so and it is nice and fragrant.

Add the mince and cook for five minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. Add the herbs, tomato, rice, ½ cup of cold water and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir through the feta.

Divide the mixture between capsicums, top with the capsicum lids, drizzle with oil and bake for 45 minutes or until capsicums have softened and skins start to get rich and blistered.

 

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Enchilada Nicodemou

Main

Oh Ada, how you fill my heart with so much love!

Ada was thankfully given the night off from her relentless Home and Away filming schedule – the only reason I have never taken up one of the many offers to appear on the show – to drop by, gab and devour something as nourishing as our friendship is for our souls.

I mean yes, as with most of my friendships we had our rough patches like when I forced her off Heartbreak High and onto my new series Breakers where I was casting Alex Dimitriades look alikes to fill the void that he left after finally getting a restraining order. Thankfully after the show tanked, she got Home and Away though and I got her a role in The Matrix, so she eventually had to forgive me.

I mean, she got to marry Ryan Kwanten … she couldn’t hold a grudge.

Despite the many lawsuits Channel 7 have brought against me in her past 16 years on Home and Away – the daily death threats to Kochie and Grant Denyer (back in the day – I forgive him after he tanked people I knew on Family Feud), the aggressive trolling of Tara Dennis’ design skills and my lecherous courting of Bruce McAvaney caused but a few – she has always demanded my presence on set to provide her with love and guidance.

Given how busy I’ve been the last year, travelling the globe to provide culinary coverage of multiple Survivor seasons while managing HRC’s campaign, hosting brunch with the All Stars of Drag Race and my usual weekly guests, our relationship has regretfully been on the backburner. Thankfully Ada jumped at the chance to come up and reconnect – but really, who would want to miss out on a batch of my Enchiladas Nicodemou.

 

enchilada-nicodemou-1

 

Make no mistake, these enchiladas are less Mexican than Tex Mex but to a Australian Greek Cypriot and an Australian of questionable origins it does the trick – smokey, sweet and packing a nice kick of heat, they keep you coming back for more despite the complete bastardisation of a culinary history.

Enjoy!

 

enchilada-nicodemou-2

 

Enchilada Nicodemou
Serves: 4, heartily.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
800g chicken breast, diced
1 capsicum, diced
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
½ tsp turmeric
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp tomato paste
hot sauce, to taste
salt and pepper, to season
8 tortillas
1 cup tasty cheese
guacamole, extra hot sauce and sour cream, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken and cooking, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Add the capsicum and the shit tonne of spices and cook for a minute to release the flavours before stirring in the tin tomatoes and kidney beans, tomato paste and hot sauce. Season to taste and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, half covered and stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes.

Preheat the oven 180°C.

Once the mixture is ready, get out a large baking dish – one you’d use for lasagne etc. – and layer out your tortillas. Place about a half a cup of mixture on the middle of the tortilla, tightly roll up and place into the pan. Repeat the process until the tortillas are gone and the pan burst with deliciousness.

Pour any remaining meat mixture over the top of the enchiladas, top with the cheese and bake for about half an hour, or until golden, bubbly and moreish.

Allow to rest for ten minutes before devouring, slathered in gauc, hot sauce and sour cream.

 

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You’re my guiding star

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Stone the flamin’ crows and get lil VJ on the blower, my dear friend Ada Nicodemou is dropping by!

With all of the Australiana action thanks to Australian Survivor – which thanks to the non-elimination episode gave me the night off from cooking – I’ve been feeling quite patriotic so wanted to get in touch with one of my closest friends, national treasure and Gold Logie winner in 2023.

We first met in the mid-90s while working on Heartbreak High – and by working, I was stalking Alex Dimitriades. Needing a way to get closer to the set without spooking him, I needed to befriend a cast member and Ada seemed as good as any. I mean, we’ve been friends ever since so I clearly made the right choice.

What says thanks for unwittingly helping me get closer to Al all those years ago, be he at home or away?

Picture source: Mamamia.com.

 

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Debbie Wannerkopita

Main, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Well this week, we suffered a major blow. Yep, everyone’s favourite major league baseball pitcher, model, waitress was blindsided and we are now forced to suffer through a few episodes of her silence before her finale rebirth where, hopefully, she adds the role of Sue Hawk impersonator to her list of jobs.

Like Debs, this episode was absolutely bananas. Completely. Like, Gwen Stefani in the 00s B-A-N-A-N-A-S, bananas.

We started out with the reminder that the men’s sexist paranoia of a female alliance, led to the women forming a female alliance before dear sweet Tai was led to the darkside by Scot and what’s-his-face, Sargsonyle, and joined them in stealing food, hiding supplies and dousing the fire in water.

Tai, to quote my parents when they wanted me to listen to their scolding, I am so disappointed in you.

FYI future contestants, the only time hiding supplies or burning people’s items was a good thing was Sandra unwittingly getting two-seasons worth of revenge on Hantz 1. Unless you are Queen Sandra, don’t even.

While the under-70 men skulked about camp being sore losers and proved why people always root for a women’s alliance, Mark the chicken emerged as a favourite for the title of Sole Survivor. Mainly because all the murder weaponry was removed from camp.

After a beautiful immunity challenge that Probst created based on our favourite sex game, where whoever hit their dong first won immunity – #50Shades / #Pegging for the win, you know – dear, sweet, busy Debbie made her way to Ponderosa.

I first connected with Debbie in the modelling biz in the 80s before following her to work at the Olive Garden, J Crew, doing mousekeeping at both Disney’s Land and World, teaching Demi to strip at The Body Shop, prosecuting the O.J. case, ghost-writing Faye D. Resnick’s book, bringing down the Berlin Wall, working as NYC fire-fighters during 9/11, competing in the steroid-using Olympic 400m relay team with Crystal Cox, creating the hit series’ Friends, Melrose Place, Baywatch Nights and Breaking Bad … amongst other jobs.

Given our extensive history together (and resumes), I knew that there was only one thing I could make after she became victim to a vicious – albeit required after the tribal council theatrics – blindside, while continuing in the Kaoh Rong tradition of having your mouth get you unexpectedly booted; my famed Debbie Wannerkopita.

 

debbie-wannerkopita-1

 

Debs first fell in love with my Wannerkopita aka spanakopita aka spinach and cheese pie while we were working on yachts in the Greek Islands. We spent a lot of time providing business analysis for Yiannis Latsis who generously gave me his old family recipe (which we gave to Paris Hilton when we were her au pairs and were helping her woo his grandson). The zing of the lemon perfectly cuts through the cheese and onion and leaves you with a fresh hearty pie worthy of a diligent worker like D.

While she lost the game, the silver lining of the kop’ coupled with the fact she will be in Ponderosa with Nick – who I assume will lay down for her like a puzzle – make it all better.

Enjoy … as you know she will!

 

debbie-wannerkopita-2

 

Debbie Wannerkopita
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
375g filo pastry
400g feta cheese
1 bunch spinach, washed and shredded
1 bunch shallots, finely sliced
2 medium onions, diced
4 eggs
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp chopped dill
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ lemon, zested
melted butter

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Combine feta, spinach, shallots and onions in a large bowl. Beat the eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, dill and zest in a small bowl and then pour over the spinach mixture. Mix well until combined.

Layer half the filo pastry in a medium baking dish, buttering every second sheet with melted butter, top with the mixture and fold in any overhanging ends. Repeat the layering process with the remaining filo, tucking in the top sheets to neaten off. Or do as I do and drape them artistically because not only do I write, cook and enjoy stints as a z-list instagram celebrity, wait tables, provide medical advice, run an ice cream empire and work as a motivational speaker, I’m also artistic. And creative. And became a fluffer after my stint as a stripper.

Anyway, brush the top with melted butter (I drizzle with grated parmesan sometimes to indulge my cheese fetish) and bake for around 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

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Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate

Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance

Let us all pause and have a moment silence as our dear, sweet, feisty Abi-Maria was once again booted a week before the finale. Albeit this time, in an episode marked by dueling golden showers and Demon Tasha aka DT.

Speaking of DT, she has had many moments of insufferability however it was the callous way she cut our beautiful friend Abi AND mocked the dreamiest castaway of the season Keith, that finally cemented her status as the most dislikable cast member. Probably ever.

And before you even start rumours, no, we had nothing to do with her “near” drowning.

Either way, welcome back to the fold, Dr Joe! What a shame Wigles couldn’t secure as much screen time in her triumphant return.

But I’ve digressed.

As you could easily assume, our history with our close friend Abi-Maria pre-dates her appearances on Survivor after meeting in our Nicki Minaj led anger management. Nicki saw the brilliant, calm natures we all possessed and bonded us like a sisterhood, thankfully without a weird pair of pants for us all to share.

We spent the following years being zen and hanging out before deciding that one if not all of us should compete on Survivor to get closer to Probst’s bed. As Abi was the only one eligible, we through all of our resources behind getting her on the show and rigging a cast of clowns for her to dominate.

Then Annelie and I met Malcolm and tragically for Abi (but wonderfully for us), we fell into bed with him and went about rigging the season with him in mind. We could go on but long story short, we went into court ordered sex therapy, were treated by Denise who then weaseled her way on to the season and stole the win from our true friends by whispering our names to Malcs during final immunity to spook him.

It was a rough few months after the truth came out to Abs, but we felt it only fair that we be dead to her for all the pain and heartache we had caused. Thankfully her kind heart shone through and she forgave us during the Anti-RC AGM.

Going into Second Chances, Abi had the odds stacked against her but thanks to her plucky determination and general charm, she was able to weave her way through the pre-merge game and a horror stint on Angkor to sit pretty behind her witch shield at the merge.

Sadly her sterling resume and on point voting record got the better of her and she was sent to our open arms in Ponderosa as a jury threat to devour our Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate!

 

Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate_1

 

Like Abi, the plate is spicy, sweet and everything you need in life and more. Well done sweet angel – we can’t wait to rig Heroes vs. Villains 2 for you!

Enjoy!

 

Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate_2

 

Abi-Maria GoMezze Plate
Serves: 6-8, or 1 blindsided juror, her emotionally unstable friends and Savage’s teen headwear.

Ingredients
Hummus
400g can of chickpeas, reserving some of the liquid
2 tsp tahini
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp crushed sea salt
3 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Smoked paprika, to garnish
Parsley leaves, to garnish

Meatballs
1 kg beef mince
1 large red onion, grated
½ bunch dill, finely chopped
2 tbsp dried spearmint leaves
1 tbsp dried chilli
1 tsp cumin
1 cup short grain rice
1 tsp salt
50 ml olive oil
2 cups passata
1 lemon, juiced

Dolmades (thanks SBS, I had no idea)
220 grams long-grain rice (rinsed)
2 tsps ground allspice
1 tsp chili flakes (dried)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bunch mint leaves (chopped)
1/2 bunch Italian parsley leaves (chopped)
3 tomatoes (roughly chopped)
1 purple onion (finely chopped)
2 lemon (1 zested, 2 juiced, plus extra wedges, to serve)
80 vine leaves (soaked in cold water for 30 minutes)
185 ml olive oil
4 garlic cloves (peeled)

Lemon & Chili Potatoes
3 small potatoes
clove of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 tbsp chilli flakes
juice of one lemon
2-3 tbsp oil

Haloumi
500g haloumi
Olive oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, to serve
Salt and pepper

Roasted peppers, stripped
Olives
Pita, toasted and cut into strips

Method
Hummus
Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and blitz in a food processor with the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice and a generous dash of the reserved chickpea liquid, slowly pouring oil in as you go.

When smooth and at the desired consistency, place into a serving dish. Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with paprika or finely chopped parsley leaves, for colour.

Meatballs
Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine the mince, onion, dill, spearmint, chilli, cumin, rice, salt and olive oil and roll into fat walnut sized balls and placing into a large baking dish.

Cover with the passata and bake for about 40 minutes until meat is cooked.

Remove from the oven and pour over the lemon juice and serve with some of the cooking liquid.

Dolmades
Cook rice in boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until par-cooked. Drain, refresh under cold running water, then drain again. Cool slightly.

Place rice, allspice, chilli flakes and powder, oregano, mint, parsley, tomatoes, onion and lemon zest in a bowl and mix to combine.

To assemble, place 2 heaped teaspoons of rice mixture in centre of a leaf (leaves should be 12 cm x 12 cm; layer 2 leaves if necessary). Fold in sides and roll up to enclose filling, then place upright in a saucepan. Repeat with remaining rice mixture and leaves, ensuring dolmades are snugly packed in pan.

Whisk lemon juice and oil in a bowl and pour over dolmades. Stuff garlic in between dolmades, then cover and cook over low heat for 1½ hours or until rice and leaves are tender (add extra oil or water if liquid has evaporated). Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until cold. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

Lemon & Chilli Potatoes
Preheat oven to 200C.

Finely slice potatoes into 5mm half-moon discs, coat in oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with garlic and chilli and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, pour over the lemon juice and add a good whack of salt and pepper.

Devour.

Haloumi
Cut haloumi into 5mm slices. Heat frying pan up and drizzle with olive oil. Cook haloumi for around 3 minutes, turning just once.

Serve and season with salt and pepper, squeezing lemon juice over the top.

Plating
Roasted peppers, stripped
Olives
Pita, toasted and cut into strips

 

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