Elektra French Onion Gem Bake

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK, 12 new dolls arrived in the Werk Room ready to slay the game and join the pantheon of UK Ru girls. To help the judges get to know them, the queens were tasked with serving two looks on the runway – one selling home town and the other, their favourite things. Ru gagged the dolls by making Victoria and Krystal lip sync for the win with the latter ultimately taking out the first victory of the season. On the flipside, Elektra and Anubis found themselves in the bottom with Anubis following in the footsteps of her fellow Brighton queen Joe Black, going out as the first boot.

The dolls returned to the Werk Room, gassed and shell shocked to have lost their first sister. And rightly acknowledged that Brighton is officially a cursed city for Drag Race UK. After Elektra climbed on to the desk to wipe off the message, we learnt that Victoria disappeared to see a doctor about a knee injury from the lip sync for the win. As the dolls kikied, Krystal shared how thrilled she was to take out the first win while Elektra vowed to never bottom again. Before clarifying, on the show. Victoria thankfully returned and explained while her knee was busted, at this stage, she would still be able to continue in the competition as long as she takes it easy   the next couple of days. Oh and fun fact, Kitty’s tits are as heavy as Krystal’s badge.

The next day Krystal was feeling her oats even more, confident that it won’t be her last victory in the competition. While Veronica was left to wonder how someone with such a tiny head could also have such a big one? The dolls congratulated River on her charming runway performance saving herself from the bottom, while Victoria told them that while she has to stay off her feet as much as possible, she will still turn it out. So beware.

They were interrupted by Ru, who arrived and put Krystal to task playing a game called ‘Rupermarket Sweeps’ where she would find superlatives amongst grocery items before handing them out to her fellow queens. First up, she identified Victoria as the biggest competition – denying she was threatened and only gave it to her due to her size – followed by River as having the worst taste, Ella as the trade of the season and Veronica as out of date. But not to worry Veronica, she thinks Elektra will be the next one to go.

With that out of the way – along with the casual fat shaming of Victoria – Ru announced that this week, the dolls would be put to work at Ru’s new fitness business – Dragoton. Choriza, Vanity, Elektra Fence were tasked with leading a spin class, Krystal, River, Veronica and Kitty will be working out their (exercise) balls, leaving Charity, Victoria, Scarlett and Ella to do a little mummy and me class. But always making it drag, obviously.

As the dolls split up into their groups, Veronica read Krystal for being a bit too harsh in her reads but encouraged everyone to put it all aside and embrace the fact they are all vastly different and make that an advantage for their werk out routines. Ella meanwhile felt typecast as a yummy mummy/trade of the season and was confident she and Victoria will lead the group, given they are trained dancers. Elektra was so excited by the challenge she was spitting on herself, while Choriza was just going to wing it and lean into the comedy given she was paired with two killer dancers. And has zero skills.

Mama Ru made her ruturn, immediately making Kitty nervous about how to act. As she watched on quietly, Veronica and River were shady about Krystal in their kiki with the latter admitting that she is ready to go with the pose every week if it takes her to the end. Kitty finally found her voice, and suggested she should have been the trade of the season and had Ru in hysterics. Which made her tell Ru to shut up, essentially. Oh and Krystal was nervous about the challenge. Up next were team yummy mummy, with Victoria doubling down on being a legit threat and was glad that she had the girls on her side, before we learnt Charity’s accent game is weak at best. Rounding out the chats, Choriza was charming as always while Elektra vowed to turn it out this week, given it plays to her strengths and ugh, that always makes me nervous. Very, very, very, very nervous.

As Ru left, the queens ventured to the mainstage to meet Oti Mabuse to get the choreography down. Or in Victoria’s case, she was DTF and well, relatable. Oti is gorgeous. Team Bike were up first and well, poor Choriza was immediately confused but as she suggested, she bought the personality. And more importantly, she vowed to ride it harder than a dick. While poor Elektra was just wishing they got her a toddler’s bike. The yummy mummies were next with my favourite twink Scarlet not sure what was happening, while Ella was just glad to be guaranteed not landing in the bottom since everyone else was falling apart. Rounding out rehearsal was Veronica in lycra with her mick out while River was terrified about keeping up with the tempo. And relatably, Krystal can’t figure out her left from right while Veronica gave her a peptalk to keep her from spiralling from nerves.

Elimination Day rolled around with Krystal still nervous while Victoria admitted that her knee had blown up and she was struggling through the pain. Though vowed to fight through. Kitty and Charity kikied as they got ready, admitting that they are ready to push outside of their comfort zones. Victoria and Krystal meanwhile caught up with the former suggesting they should clear the air, with Krystal immediately offering a genuine apology and admitting that she looks up to her and doesn’t ever want to bring her down. Victoria admitted that she has struggled with eating disorders and has been every size under the sun and as such, she has finally accepted it and is happy and healthy but found Krystal’s comments were triggering.

Ugh, I love Victoria so much and I’m so glad she was mature enough to have the conversation and work through it. Elektra then opened up about how much she hated her freckles growing up, though her boyfriend helped her learn to love them. She then opened up the floor for the rest of the dolls to share their insecurities, with Vanity talking about being told that she is too dark. And uggghhhhh, hearing them all be so vulnerable with each other was so empowering and gorgeous.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined on the judges’ table by Oti Mabuse for the debut werk outs of Dragoton. While I have no idea what was happening most of the time, I do know Choriza stole the show in the bike group with her unique and charming brand of ridiculous. Team Ball Busted were hilarious and a little bit frightening, with everyone getting a chance to shine. While poor Victoria was stuck performing on a stool with the yummy mummies, she was still charming enough to keep up with Ella.

On the Red Carpet Showstoppers Runways, Choriza was stunning in a spotted icy blue flamenco number. Elektra too was sparkly with an awkwardly matt black split while Vanity was stunning in a sheer lilac number. Kitty was full glamour in a Marilyn inspired gown, Krsytal was perfect – aside from the tits – in a green dress, River looked her version of glam in a purple number, complete with a few of her signature points while Veronica was inspired by our KYLIE in a frilly, saffron gown. Charity was a demented orange, fringed, Gatsby’s inspired number, Ella was an absolute peach in peach, while Scarlett was pale and perfect in a scarlett gown while Victoria desperately just tried to hide the fact she was wearing sneakers, while looking gorgeous.

Choriza, River, Ella, Scarlett and Victoria were sent to safety leaving the remaining queens to hear from the judges. And well, poor Elektra was once again read for filth for going out too hard in the performance and ended up looking out of place. And once again was read for a subpar runway, looking more wizard than red carpet. Vanity was read for having a wig that didn’t make sense, while Oti was more concerned about the lack of cohesion between them in the performance. Though they loved her outfit. Kitty was praised for the madness she brought to the work out and for serving too completely different looks. Once again, the judges ate up everything Krystal was serving though Michelle challenged her to start showing more of herself. Veronica too received universal praise for knocking it out of the park while making sure everyone in the team looked good. Charity meanwhile was praised for stepping outside of her comfort zone, though they felt her look felt like it was wearing her.

Backstage Victoria was thrilled to be able to sit down, which was a sentiment echoed by Scarlett before Ella shared how disappointed she felt to not be a top. River too was disappointed to not land in the top, though accepted she was the weakest in her team. While Choriza was just glad her personality kept her safe. The tops and bottoms joined them with the safe girls shocked that Krystal was in the top and while she agreed, Veronica cut in and told her to believe in herself given she listened and took advice and she needs to embrace her performer side. Veronica and Kitty shared that they too would be on the top with her. Charity meanwhile was feeling like she was in the bottom and was emotionally prepared to be lip syncing. Vanity too was feeling heartbroken to be in the bottom, though was ready to show the judges what she is made of. 

While poor Elektra was just nervous about facing off against her, given she slays.

Ultimately Krystal narrowly took out her second victory over Veronica while Kitty too was sent to safety. Charity Kase meanwhile narrowly avoided the bottom two, leaving Elektra’s fears to come true as she faced off against Vanity to M People’s Movin On Up. And damn, did the dolls live up to the song. Vanity was splitting and flipping around the state, Elektra was bouncing into splits and careening wildly with acrobatics. I mean, the girls came to play and ugh, what a lip sync! Elektra was break dancing and playing air flute before death dropping off the front of the stage. But tragically, her track record appeared to be the deciding factor as Vanity narrowly took out the win while Elektra found herself becoming the second queen eliminated.

As soon as she exited the stage, I screamed, started crying and ran over to hug her, reminding her that she is so damn talented and such an icon. You see, Elektra and I first met each other a few years ago at a casting. Given I am continually half a foot shorter than the general public, I was immediately taken by Elektra because she made me feel tall. Beyond that petty reason to start a friendship, I was quickly won over by her kindness and as such, I was so glad to be on hand to pay her back with a piping hot Elektra French Onion Gem Bake.

Tangy, creamy and oh so sweet, this dish is near perfection. Then you add a bunch of crispy, gorgeous little gems and well, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

Elektra French Onion Gem Bake
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
600g potato gems, cooked per the recipe or packet instructions
1 ½ cups milk
1 packet French onion soup mix
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup sour cream
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
3 tbsp chives, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the milk and soup mix in a jug. Meanwhile, pop the butter in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Once foamy, add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for a further two minutes, stirring, until the flouriness is gone. Remove from the heat, whisk in the milk mixture and sour cream before returning to the heat and cook for a couple of minutes.

Transfer the bubbly liquid to a 20x30cm baking dish, sprinkle with some cheese and top with a single layer of gems. Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and transfer to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes, before topping with chives and serving joyously. Like a champion. And devouring.


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Haylal Snack Peake

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways were dropped in the outback, far from the tropical islands we’ve grown accustomed to – thanks COVID! One by one they were felled as – yep, doing it – Phil, Janelle, Gavin, Benny, Mitch, Joey, Daini, Shannon, Georgia, Rachel and Simon headed home before the two tribes merged and formed the Fire tribe.

Instead of the Beauty tribe, which will always be a sore point to me.

Kez was the first victim of the new tribe before Chelsea was medevaced, leaving Baden to become the King of the Jury. He was quickly joined by Gerald, Laura, Emmett, Andrew, Dani, Wai and Cara, leaving Flick as the lone Brawn standing against George and Cara.

And by standing, I mean hunching painfully in a brutal final immunity challenge where the trio faced off for over five hours before Hayley took out victory and gave her the power to eliminate the final juror. Which obviously became Flick.

After a hard fought final tribal council where both George and Hayley clearly articulated their games, proving just how good they both were, the jury favoured Hayley’s more well rounded approach and awarded her the title of Sole Survivor. And, you know, the half mill.

As you can imagine, Hayley was buzzing as I sidled on to set to congratulate her, pulling me in for a massive hug. You see, Hayley and I are former colleagues and dear friends – you know how painful I can be, which is an asset to a researcher – so I was so excited to be there to share in her win.

Hayley dominated the game and made massive moves throughout the season, and while she was briefly voted out, she used that to her advantage, expertly adapting her play to make it to the end and rightfully take out the game. The only way I could truly do justice to such an epic, entertaining and at times chaotic run was gifting her a triumphant Haylal Snack Peake.

While I was late to the party when it came to the majesty of the HSP, I have well and truly made up for lost time when it came to the holy grail of food. The chips are crispy, the chicken is packing a punch, a little charred and oh so juicy that by the time you get to the garlicky sauce and gooey cheese, there is no denying this is made for winners.

Enjoy!

Haylal Snack Peake
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Greek yoghurt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
1kg chicken thighs, no skin, no bones (no jokes about me normally loving a bone)
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
2 cups grated cheddar
¼ cup smokey BBQ sauce
¼ cup garlic sauce
¼ cup sriracha
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Start by mixing up the yoghurt through olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the chicken and toss with your hands, making sure that every piece is sopping with the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge for six hours. Overnight is ideal, but like you, I don’t have time for that so six will do, ok?

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Grab a bunch of metal skewers and a baking dish that they can precariously balance either side on so they are elevated. I’m not the best at explaining, but it will make sense in a bit. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread on to two parallel skewers, jamming the thighs close together so they look like baby kebab sticks (I obviously couldn’t be bothered to Google it).

Once they’re all on skewers, line the baking dish and balance the ends of the skewers on the sides of the dish so the chicken is elevated from the base. Pop the dish in the oven and bake for half an hour, or until brown and glorious. Remove from the oven, baste with the juices and return to the oven for twenty minutes. Remove from the oven again when it is charred, baste and leave to rest for five minutes.

While you work on the fries, stand the skewers upright and carve the chicken from them like the do at a kebab shop (side note: how hypnotic was watching that, drunk at 2am?) and leave to rest in their juices.

To assemble, pop your chips in a bowl, top with the cheese and follow with a generous helping of the chicken. Drizzle with the sauces, add a bit more cheese and a sprinkle of parsley to feel healthy.

Then devour like you haven’t had a decent meal in 48 days but are also thrilled to be victorious.


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Butter Flicken Pielmateer

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pie, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways Mad Max-ed their way into the outback before being divided by smarts and strength. While the Brawns were victorious in the first immunity challenge and the iconic Phil tragically became the first boot, they soon settled for a string of rewards as Janelle, Gavin and Benny were booted from the game. Eventually the Brains returned to tribal council where Mitch found himself booted before Cara sacrificed herself for George. But, gag of the season, found herself saved by a twist sending her to join the Brawns.

This appeared to give them a run of luck as Joey soon followed before a switch gave both tribes a Brawn majority. Against all odds, the Brains took control as Cara accidentally voted Daini out before Shannon was ousted by her nemesis Simon. Georgia and Rachel soon followed due to a vengeful George before Dani decided that blindsiding Simon was urgent as he was sent from the game with two idols in his pocket.

After the tribes merged to become Fire – rather than Beauty, which is still a sore point – where Queen Kez was idolled from the game, thanks to George telling the Brains who to play it for. While Chelsea was on medical leave, Baden and Hayley were booted to Redemption Rock before Hayley won her way back to camp and Baden became the King of the Jury. Poor Chelsea was then officially medevaced, unable to join the jury, before Gerald, Laura, Emmett and Andrew were booted from the game and joined the jury. Aka Laura’s Angels.

Flick got lucky and picked an urn that stopped her from getting the boot, meaning we were officially out of non-elimination episodes. With that Dani was the next to go before George and Cara turned on Wai and after Flick played her hidden immunity idol, was booted from the game. Which brings us to the last episode where Flick won immunity and somehow Hayley convinced Cara and George to turn on each other so that she can beat Flick in the final immunity challenge, meaning she would take the other one to the final two. And given George was the most likely to listen to her Hail Mary, Cara was the lucky one to join the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess Club.

The final three awoke on day 47 with Flick thrilled to make the final three, particularly as the last Brawn standing. She was proud of the social game she played, attributing it to her longevity in the game. She reflected on how tough the game has been mentally, particularly after she tragically lost her mum.

On the walk to the final immunity challenge we checked in with George, who came into the game running it like a political campaign and was thrilled to execute it perfectly. He reiterated that luck didn’t play into him making it to the final three, but instead his determination and perfect planning to overcome all the obstacles. One of those being the fact he isn’t physical, but watch out, because he is going to win the final one.

Last up was Hayley who was giddy to make it to the end as a superfan, though knew both her competitors are not to be underestimated. While George was sneaky and tactical, Flick was a beast. Hayley’s secret weapon is the fact that she is the perfect mix of both and like the other two, she is ready to claim victory.

Speaking of the final immunity challenge, the tribe joined Jonathan where they discovered three cages of horror amongst the ruins of the outback. Each of them would have to stand on narrow pegs within a cage and hold on to spikes on a roof which would lower throughout the challenge until only one was left standing. But before we got to the challenge, Jonathan made us all cry as he wheeled out their families! First up were Hayley’s boyfriend and bestie, followed by George’s mum and sister – who were adorable – and Flick’s boyfriend and best friend, who made her feel safe enough to break down over the loss of her mother and ugh, you know I am absolutely sobbing.

Damn you Jonathan and your glorious guns.

With the warm and fuzzy moment of the episode out of the way, the loved ones were sent to the bench as the final three jumped on their pegs and settled in for hours of torture. After half an hour, shit well and truly got real as Jonathan lowered the roof slightly and all three immediately hunched over and started to feel the burn. After an hour, talk turned to why the final three were still fighting with Flick and George sticking it out for their families while Hayley was just a beast that wanted to do it to prove that she can. After two hours the roofs dropped forcing them into squats.

All three were still fighting as the sun went down and the challenge ticked over to three and a half hours long. Poor George started to dance on the pegs, holding on for another hour before dropping out and leaving the girls to fight it out for immunity. Both Hayley and Flick were like statues as Jonathan dropped the spikes for the last time after five hours, which immediately got both of them struggling. Hayley tried to stay zen while Flick was vocalising and breathing through the pain, holding back tears as she tried to hold on for her place in the game. As her best friend willed her on, Flick openly sobbed through the pain before finding a second wind as Hayley started to shake. Eventually though, Flick asked Jonathan to help her out of the cage, as a shocked Hayley took out final immunity.

After a brief moment congratulating each other on fighting so hard, the final three headed off to tribal council where Hayley praised George and Flick’s determination in the challenge, but was ultimately grateful that as a pain researcher, she knew exactly how to work through it. Eventually talk turned to who Hayley wanted to sit next to in the end, admitted that both Flick and George have played great games and as such, she is still unsure. Hearing this, Flick reminded Hayley that George has played a dominant game and as such, could easily convince the jury that he deserves the crown.

On the flipside, George went simple and pointed out that Flick has a bunch of votes already locked in in the Brawns and as such, Hayley has the best chance if she is there in the end with him. While Flick disputed that she doesn’t believe any of the votes are locked in, George simply asked Queen Hayley to sit opposite her King. Flick fought back tears meanwhile as she asked her to reward her for fighting hard and pushing through, though knew that ultimately Hayley needed to make the decision that is best for her.

With that, Hayley voted and as expected, Flick was booted from the game and became the final member of the jury. Despite the horrible feeling of being cut so close to the end, Flick took her boot in her stride and took me into her arms for a big hug. As you know, I’m a big part of the Big Wave community and as such, was Flick’s first coach in the sport. And while I knew she would be feeling down, I also knew that a delicious Butter Flicken Pielmateer would be the perfect thing to mark a game well played.

Like Michaelia Cash, I love curry – it’s my favourite fe-ood. I also passionately love pies, so it should come as absolutely no shock that I believe a butter chicken pie is where it’s at. Lightly spiced, sweet and creamy in a delicious flaky shell? Perfection.

Enjoy!

Butter Flicken Pielmateer
Serves: 4-8, depending on hunger.

Ingredients
1 batch Dusty Ray Butters Chicken
2 sheets shortcrust pastry
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C and get to work making your Dusty Ray Butters Chicken.

Once the oven is hot and your filling is good to go, start by cutting each sheet of shortcrust pastry in quarters and press into 8 individual pie dishes. Divide the mixture amongst the dishes and smooth the tops. Cut the puff pastry into quarters and press into the top of the pies, crimping the edges to seal. Pierce a hole in the top, brush with the whisked egg and transfer to a baking sheet.

Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp. Remove and sprinkle with some turmeric and cumin, and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Then devour, sad to have lost our chill Queen.


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Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the top five fought hard to snag immunity and guarantee this safety, with Hayley once again coming out on top. As such, the tight Brains alliance decided to load all their votes on Flick and rid themselves of the final Brawn. That is until George realised Flick wasn’t hunting for an idol, and as such, he grew paranoid that she already has one. With that he joined Cara and loaded their votes on Wai JIC. While Flick thought she was gagging the rest of the tribe as she played her idol, her sole George vote was rendered useless as the beautiful Queen Wai was sent from the game.

The next day George was lounging about quietly in camp before Cara snuck up and scared the shit out of him. The duo then mucked around all cute like, as they praised their unbreakable bond, grateful to have had each other to navigate the game. Cara desperately wanted the two of them to make it to the end together, but also knew that that would be a very difficult task. 

And well, already this feels like the ads about turning on each other won’t be like SuE’S bIG m0v3!?

Meanwhile Flick and Hayley were tending to camp as Flick shared with us that she is pretty much just planning an immunity run to the end because, well, that’s her only real option. Despite that, she pulled Hayley aside and once again pitched that the two of them join together and break up the duo of George and Cara. And given George is the chattiest of Kathy’s, she thinks he is the biggest threat to both of their final tribal councils. Once again, Hayley agreed that it was a wonderful idea despite intending to stick with the duo should Flick not win the next immunity since she can easily beat the others in the final immunity challenge.

Undeterred, Flick approached Cara and pointed out that she needs to make a move for the jury by taking out George if she wants any chance of winning. And well, Cara was not interested at all. As such, she went for a walk with George with them having a good old laugh about not voting each other out next which TBH does make me more and more nervous. As does the fact George just wants anyone but Flick to win immunity. Which is where this is ending up, right?

The duo quickly worked out that should Flick be immune, it would likely finish in a tie between Hayley and George meaning the duo would need to compete in a fire challenge to continue in the game. Knowing that George has no fire skills at all, Cara pulled him aside and coached him how to use a flint and while it was a bit slapstick at the start, she did prove to be a decent teacher.

Dear Jonathan arrived for the massive final four immunity challenge where the group would face off by racing over a net to collect balls which they will use to release puzzle pieces. They would then build a ladder with the puzzle pieces, untie a bucket and then fill it with water and walk it through hurdles before using the water to release even more balls which they then have to land in a ball puzzle.

Desperate, Flick got out to an early lead, whipping through the challenge as the others just tried to keep up the pace. Hayley overtook her with some killer throws however, quickly building her stairs as Flick and Cara lagged slightly behind. George eventually joined the fun on the stair puzzle as Cara joined Hayley on the bucket section. Well, briefly. As Hayley started landing her balls while Flick finally finished with her stairs. Hayley had landed three balls by the time Flick closed the gap and joined her at the puzzle. As Hayley landed her fourth ball, Cara joined the fun and quickly landed a ball just after Flick. Flick and Cara methodically landed their balls as Hayley grew more and more desperate before Flick slipped in and snatched immunity.

Back at camp Flick was thrilled to finally have a bit of power in the game, before realising that the final immunity challenge is usually endurance and as such, Hayley is the biggest threat to her game. With that in her mind, she approached Cara and quickly locked her in on the Hayley vote.

But all was not lost yet, as Hayley realised she was the biggest threat and Cara and George flipping Flick would send her home immediately. Hayley pulled Flick aside and shared how grateful she was to have spoken the day before, doubling down on the need to get rid of George if any of them want to have a chance at winning. Obviously Flick agreed with this plan too, so off Hayley trotted to chat to Cara where she learned that Flick was playing her and was planning to vote her out as the only threat to winning final immunity. Which obviously panicked Hayley, asking Cara if she was truly considering turning on her. Rather than say, pointing out that Cara needs Hayley there in the final challenge if Cara wants any chance of winning, given Flick has the jury stacked in her favour.

As Cara laughed about the absurdity of Flick suggesting Cara help her win the next challenge, she rightly pointed out that Hayley would take her to the final two if it was the three girls at the end. Hayley reiterated how important it is for Cara to make a move and get rid of George to give herself a shot, but she just wasn’t sure whether she could do it emotionally. Hayley then found George and made the exact same plea to him, pointing out that if he is in the final three with Flick and Cara, he has no shot of making it to the end and has to settle for third place. She then locked in her vote for Cara and told him that she hopes he joins her but understands if he doesn’t. And then up and left him.

George and Cara then caught up, pledging their love for each other and praising each other for the games they have played. They then joined Hayley and the trio gave each other a group hug to celebrate their successes before heading to tribal council for their official break up.

At tribal council the jury were delighted to see Flick wearing immunity before she shared that it is nice to feel calm and secure after a good week or two of being the target. George admitted that without immunity, Flick would be a goner but instead, one of the close trio is going out. Hayley admitted that while she, Cara and George all have different compelling stories, they need to get to the final two and given neither of them are great in challenges, they need her. She pointed out that Flick is definitely going to win in the final two, given the jury loves her, but their chances are better against her and whoever is in the final three with her and Flick would be the one she would choose to take.

George reminded Cara that Hayley is the ultimate challenge threat, while Cara simply praised Hayley’s killer pitch. George tried to create doubt, pointing out that Hayley winning final immunity is guaranteed if she gets there with Hayley pointing out that that isn’t the worst thing, given Flick beats anyone at the end. Flick pointed out that she will be going strategic with her vote, while George and Cara both said that they would be sticking with their final two leaving poor Hayley to once again reiterate that they need to think beyond three now and instead look to two and who they would have the best shot against.

With that the tribe voted and both George and Care turned on each other, with Hayley banding with George to send Cara out of the game to join the far-better-than-winning Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses Club.

As Cara walked into Jury Villa, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and ran out to pull her in for a big hug. You see, the empath Real Estate community is quite small and as such, Cara and I quickly bonded and became the best of friends. I didn’t tell you I was a Sydney Real Estate Tycoon? Oh, I was. Anyway, Cara and I are dear friends, so I was gutted to see her felled so close to the end. Until I remembered the aforementioned placement as a FPRG, after which, I toasted to her success and whipped up a comforting Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs.

Despite my passion for all things balls, I never got the appeal of Spaghetti and Meatballs as a kid. I think it probably has something to do with the fact I felt there was less sauce involved and as such, resented it. But then I woke up to myself and realised that those big juicy balls, dripping in sauce and covered generously with the sharpest parmesan are perfection. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Enjoy!

Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
¼ cup breadcrumbs
small handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
100ml milk
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
500ml passata
100ml water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
500g dried spaghetti

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by combining the minces, four garlic cloves, the egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and milk in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch together until well combined before rolling into 12 large meatballs. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot and celery over medium low heat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the oregano, basil, passata, water and sugar. Bring to the boil before reducing heat to low and simmering for 15 minutes.

Once glorious and thick, stir through the meatballs, pop on a lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

While that is simmering, cook the spaghetti as per pack instructions before draining, serving and topping with the big, saucy balls. And then coating in parmesan.

And then devouring.


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Baked Emmetta Pughsta

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor poor Flick received the tragic news that her mother had passed away from early onset dementia, with her opting to continue in the game after talking to her family who encouraged her to fight until the end. After a grueling immunity challenge left only four eligible to be voted out, the tribe rallied to boot Cara and weaken the immune George. That is until George found a secret hidden immunity idol, which he played without anyone knowing, meaning Laura was booted with just Cara’s vote. Much to everyone’s shock, none more so than Cara’s.

The next day Emmett was praising Cara for once again avoiding certain doom before catching up with the rest of the tribe, trying to swim away their shock. Cara and George meanwhile were celebrating in the shelter, reinvigorated and ready to continue the game as a powerful duo. Cara meanwhile was just glad that they both managed to play an idol to protect each other, given it is beautifully full circle. After Cara went for a walk, George chased her down and passed off the key for the idol so that she could claim the move as her own, ensuring that the Brains alliance still trusts him and it doesn’t blow up in their faces.

As Cara went person to person sharing the clue and key everyone appeared to believe her. That is except for Andrew, who saw right through it given it was all just way too convenient. Andrew went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Flick and Emmett so they could all share their theories on what actually went down at the previous tribal council, with the one consistent part of each theory being George. Conveniently, he joined them under the guise of filling up his water bottle allowing Andrew to ask him pointblank who played the idol the previous night. And while George continued to deny it, Andrew reiterated that Cara’s body language the night before was screaming defeat and as such, she definitely didn’t play it.

Being an icon George continued to loiter around and talk about how parched he was when he woke up. Andrew however had had it, OFFICIALLY and asked him to respectfully leave so that the four of them could continue their discussion. And after he eventually left, the four confirmed that George and Cara definitely have been playing everyone all game and as such, the entire tribe should unite to get rid of them. Which Emmett and Flick were obviously thrilled to hear, despite not actually caring that Laura went given she and Andrew were so close and they needed to be broken up  eventually.

The tribe reconnected with zaddy Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where the tribe would need to hold a lever to balance a board on which they will build a house of cards using their free hand. For a damn car, so you know they were all thrilled despite, you know, the Survivor car curse. But whatevs. Dani and Emmett got out to early leads, before both of them dropped. Every time someone started to pull ahead, they quickly dropped their stack until Dani started to pull ahead again before she dropped with one card to go. Hayley and Andrew started to pull away before Andrew dropped. Hayley then ran out of blocks before dropping her stack trying to get more, while Emmett returned to the lead as Flick and Cara nipped at his heels. As Emmett’s stack blew over, Dani powered back into the lead and put everyone out of their misery as she took out victory.

Sadly for her, that also means that she isn’t winning the game. Better luck next time Queen Dani!

Jonathan then announced that in addition to winning the car, she was able to take three of her tribemates for a joyride and a cheeky picnic. Obviously picking Flick and Emmett before gagging the Brains by selecting Andrew. Which George read as being the end of his and Cara’s run.

Dani was giddy to have won the car and praised everyone for how they’ve been playing the game, despite all trying to vote her out previously. That was all forgotten however as they arrived at the picnic, gorging on sandwiches and quiches before Dani started to push for Andrew to flip over to the Brawns. Clearly unaware that Andrew, Emmett, Flick and Hayley were already spearheading the downfall of George and Cara.

Speaking of the wonder twins, they returned to camp with Wai and Hayley with George quickly working the girls to come back to their side. Wai was obviously cool, calm and collected, as he talked in circles before straight up admitting that he was the one that played the idol. And that is exactly what he does for the people he cares about, like Hayley and Wai. While Hayley told George that she understands why he denied playing the idol to an angry Andrew, she was happy to get all the information from him and pay him back for voting her out. Oh and the information? Just George’s entire planned bootlist up to the final four.

The tribe reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where they would each stand on narrow footholds on two stumps like you would try to hold yourself up in a door frame as a kid. Last one standing taking out immunity. After mere moments, George asked Jonathan to help him down and exited the challenge. This annoyed Andrew, who speculated it was all a ruse to downplay his threat level. With Emmett hilariously telling him he sounds paranoid. Dani was next to drop, as Flick, Andrew and Emmett agreed to drop as soon as Cara left the challenge. Sadly Wai was the next to drop before the remaining five made it to 30 minutes, at which point they had to transfer to the narrower footholds.

Meanwhile on the sit out bench, George was asking Wai who they should vote out tonight between Andrew and Emmett, as Wai suggested they just wait and see what happens with the challenge. After an hour the remaining competitors had to transition to the narrowest footholds, at which point Cara dropped out of the challenge. Almost immediately Andrew dropped out, before Emmett suggested the remaining three make it tougher on themselves and remove their hands from the rope they had to steady them with Emmett quickly dropping before Flick dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley individual immunity.

Back at camp Emmett and Flick were glad that the last four competing were the group that wanted to get rid of George, with Flick wisely pointing out that removing their hands from the rope was a great way to solidify trust given they didn’t grab  them again to save themselves. The group caught up with Wai and Dani to lock in a split vote between George and Cara, with everyone fighting to be the one to get to write down George’s name. Speaking of George, he and Cara were talking about how stupid everyone would be to let Emmett survive another day given it is rare moment he isn’t immune. With that he approached Wai and Hayley to float the plan, with both of them obviously agreeing to join him to his face.

As Hayley and Wai removed themselves to decide which way to go, Hayley was leaning towards booting Emmett, while Wai felt it was still the better move to get rid of George. Oh and speaking of George, he was hiding in the grass behind them eavesdropping on everything. And the only thing worse than having someone hear your plan, is having the person with nothing to lose hearing your plan.

George made a beeline for Cara and filled her in on the fact that they are all alone. With that, they desperately wandered around camp in search of an idol with Cara eventually finding one in a tree right as Emmett walked passed. George immediately pressed Cara to play another idol for him as it guarantees Emmett goes and while I understand it, I’m not sure I trust his maths on this one given the other plan was to do a split vote.

Speaking of Emmett, he was getting nervous about George and Cara catching up with Hayley and Wai, so pulled Hayley aside and laid everything out on the table. He shared that he wanted to go to the end with people he actually wanted to see win and as such, he was planning to go to the end with her, Flick, Dani and Andrew. Which told Hayley she was fifth place in his alliance. Which makes me start to trust George’s maths again.

At tribal council Hayley was thrilled to be immune, shocked by how emotional it made her. George doubled down on the fact that Emmett and Andrew are the alphas of the tribe, which made both of them scoff at him. Andrew said that Hayley was always winning the challenge today, though he and Emmett did admit to feeling a little bit nervous to be here without immunity. George said that Emmett was clearly speaking in code and that he thinks there are some snakes in the tribe, and that he is not sure he can trust anyone other than Cara.

Emmett calmly admitted that he has managed to make new friends since Gerald’s boot and that he wants to work with people that he would be happy to see win. But if they don’t want to work with him, so be it. Hayley spoke about how making new friends and alliances are part of the game and when one door closes, you need to find new options if you want to make it to the end. While George said that he had nothing more to say to the tribe, he doubled down on the fact he has always put his allies first and worked to further their games, often to the detriment of his own. 

With that the tribe voted – George loudly reading Emmett for filth for all the tribe to hear – and Cara held on to her idol, which it turns out was a good move given Hayley and Wai flipped to their side, sending zaddy Emmett from the game.

Despite being savaged by George on his way out the door, sweet Emmett took his boot in his stride and pulled me in for a massive hug when he spotted me in the Jury Villa. You see, before I was cancelled for my lies as a health influencer – no horrible cancer lies like Belle Gibson, I assure you – Emmett and I were the best of friends. Even doing the Rottnest Island swim together. You think the yellow swimmers got tired, you should have seen my white pair! Anyway, we’re dear friends and Emmett being upbeat and kind, stood by me. And as such, I was proud to stand by him with a Baked Emmetta Pughsta.

I know he is the self-proclaimed plant based superman, but he always makes an exception when it comes to the delightful viral feta pasta from Tik Tok (see kids, I’m hip!). While we were sceptical about the recipe at first, I admit that this spicy, salty delight is not only delicious. But so damn simple, you’ll be making it over and over again.

Enjoy!

Baked Emmetta Pughsta
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g cherry tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, bruised
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp chilli flakes
200g Greek feta cheese (aka hard feta)
500g rigatoni
small handful of fresh basil leaves, for serving

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper and toss together the tomatoes, garlic and half the oil. Sprinkle it with some salt, a whack of pepper and the chilli flakes. Place the feta in the centre and pour over the remaining oil. Transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

When the tomatoes and feta are almost done, cook the pasta as per packet instructions and reserve a cup or two of pasta water when it’s done.

To assemble, mash the feta, tomatoes and garlic with a fork or masher and mix until combined. Loosen with ½ a cup of the pasta water before tossing through the pasta. Add more water as needed until you’ve got a nice coating on the pasta. Adjust the seasoning, fold through the basil leaves and then serve.

Before devouring, obvi.


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Chilli & Herbaden Chooke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the producers continued to go balls to the wall with twists, loading up the tribe with three immunities which were won by Emmett, Dani and Andrew. They then learnt that they would be the only ones eligible to vote at tribal council before Jonathan gagged us with just what exactly he meant by eligible, as the trio were forced into a fire challenge with the winner being the sole person to cast a vote. Despite Andrew being a straight up ‘survival expert’ and Emmett having more bravado than the Golden God himself, Queen Dani took out victory and cast the sole vote to boot Baden from the game.

That is when we were gagged with one final twist from production, as he was sent to the majestic Redemption Rock where he awaited an opponent to return to the game. Caught up in the myriad of twists however, fate intervened and poor Chelsea was medevaced after tribal council. And while she is still technically in the game at this part of the story, *spoiler alert* her stay in hospital didn’t help and she had to be removed to make a full recovery.

But more on that later, ok?

While the Brawns tribe anxiously awaited to learn whether Chelsea would return, they got together to lock in their loyalty to each other while the Brains quietly sat back at camp wondering how to get themselves out of their current predicament. And in the middle were George and Cara, who were catching up by the shore and re-pledging their undying loyalty to each other. And only each other. With that, George pulled the Brains aside to leak more information to them about Kez leaving an idol for Flick. And while she already sold George and Cara out before the last vote, Hayley was unsure how she was going to use this to get herself out of her current predicament.

Back at camp poor Dani was really struggling, breaking down over missing her closest friend Chelsea and unsure who she could trust moving forward should she officially be pulled from the game. Emmett pulled her aside to make sure she was ok, with her admitting that in addition to worrying about Chelsea, she is also regretting sending Baden home over Hayley given she is sure that she can’t trust her moving forward. Particularly since George wandered by, right on cue, to point out that Hayley is busy hunting for an idol, just like he told her to.

Wanting to clarify things, Emmett pulled George aside and told him that Hayley told them that George and Cara have been leaking information to the Brains. And while George vehemently denied it, I don’t think this is ending well for George. Because while Emmett believes him for now, I can see the truth coming out with a little more cursory digging.

My love Jonathan returned to oversee the next immunity challenge and advised that Chelsea is not out of the game yet, however she also won’t be at the next tribal council. With that out of the way, Jonathan explained the tribe would each negotiate a wobbling curved beam while balancing a table with a rope and spelling immunity out in block form on top. Oh and you know Emmett was confident he’d be able to make it three from three. Andrew and Emmett were neck and neck at start, until Andrew dropped his stack. Hayley and Dani started to close the gap before Dani dropped hers leaving Hayley as the closest to catching Emmett. Until she dropped, while Emmett slowly and calmly focused on the task at hand. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shady about the confidence, given he is apparently a beast?

While everyone continued to close the gap and then dropped their stacks, Emmett was cool, calm and collected and earned another well deserved victory.

Back at camp Hayley was well and truly fed up with her current predicament, knowing that idols are not enough to make it to the end. That being said, while the Brains were out hunting for idols, George caught up with his allies to encourage them to vote for Hayley given she is the most threatening, despite them wanting Andrew out next due to his challenge prowess. And well, George’s persistence made Emmett wonder why he was so desperate to get rid of Hayley instead.

George ran off to find the missing Dani, with him convincing her that they all need to vote Hayley at the next tribal council rather than split it. With her in, he then decided to get all of the Brains to join in the fun and send Hayley out of the game in a landslide. He told Andrew she threw his name under the bus with the Brawns before Hayley watched him go person to person to ensure they were on his side. With that, she decided it was time to guarantee he can’t smear her name anymore and get rid of him ASAP. And she had just the information to get the Brawns onside – the fact that Kez handed off the idol to Flick after they executed her blindside together!

While George was trying to woo Wai to join the anti-Hayley train, Hayley approached Emmet, Flick and Gerald to spill all the information that George had been feeding her since the merge. After telling them about George tipping her off about the Laura vote and Kez’s idol, she agreed to join them to vote out Andrew if that is what they need from her to prove trust. She wasn’t sure if she could believe it however, catching up with Laura and Andrew who agreed that they should load all their votes on Gerald as the least likely to be protected by the rest of the Brawns. Andrew assured Hayley that George and Cara are definitely with them and the Brains are ready to run the game, however Hayley, obviously, was still not buying it. At all.

At tribal council George tried to downplay any complexity within the tribe, praising the power of the majority alliance. Hayley agreed that she and the remaining Brains are well and truly at a disadvantage before talk turned to trust, with George sharing that he likes to see how people react under pressure and that is what builds his trust. Gerald got sick of the non-talk, pointing out that Hayley came to them this afternoon and aired everything that George and Cara told them to do to save Laura. 

Hayley admitted to everything, while George denied it and said that it is all a lie and he will not buckle to the pressure Hayley is trying to put on him. Emmett pointed out that buckling under the pressure isn’t a confirmation or denial, so pressed him to just admit it or deny it rather than dancing around it. This got George spiraling, while Hayley calmly pointed out he is still acting like a politician, much to the delight of Emmett.

Dani whispered to Hayley that she believes her before Hayley asked her fellow Brains to either confirm or deny the information, with Wai and Laura backing her while Andrew wasn’t willing to throw George under the bus yet. Hayley stepped in and pointed out that George promised Andrew he was with them tonight, with George denying it, much to the frustration of Andrew. Dani continued to wrack her Brain, wanting to trust Hayley before Hayley tripled down, pointing out that she knows that Flick has Kez’s idol. And how does she know that? George told the Brains.

George continued to get more and more defensive, with Hayley admitting that she is truly fighting for her life and has absolutely nothing to lose. With that, the tribe voted and despite airy all of George’s dirty laundry, the Brawns stuck together and booted Hayley from the game. And by from the game, to Redemption Rock where she was reunited with her closest ally Baden.

Hayley caught Baden up on everything that happened and how unwavering the Brawns are when it comes to George. Baden rightly pointed out that it blew up in her face and that even though the Brawns probably believed her, they were always going to get rid of them ASAP given they’re the bigger threats. And well, I kinda love sassy Baden schooling her for ruining both of their games. Despite how much I still love Queen Hayley.

Things were less tense the next morning as Baden and Hayley assured each other that winning your way back into the game is good for the resume. Baden agreed that he is probably better placed now if he returns, rather than just staying. He then shaded Hayley saying if she gets back, she’d be well placed to take out second at this point as Hayley ranted about people lying when they way they aren’t playing to win.

Meanwhile at the Fire camp, the Brawns started to panic about what Chelsea’s lingering absence means before Jonathan arrived and shared that Chelsea has been diagnosed with temporary balance issues, meaning that she had to be removed from the game officially. With her one regret being that she couldn’ say goodbye to her tribemates. But you know, we already covered that.

Jonathan kindly assured them that she would be fine and not to worry about her before he left, leaving a crying Dani alone, heartbroken to have lost the one person she could trust moving forward.

The Fire tribe arrived to meet Jonathan by a stream where they learnt that neither Baden or Hayley had officially been voted out of the game and instead, the duo would be facing off in an endurance challenge to hold on to a pole suspended over water for as long as they can, with the victor returning to the game and the loser going home permanently. And while they were both desperate to get back into the game, it really isn’t the most interesting challenge to write about, other than to say that the Fire tribe were clearly rooting for Baden while Emmett pointed out that this is not something he would want to compete against Hayley on.

While Baden struggled the entire time, Hayley was like a statue as she focused on the task at hand. Ultimately winning her spot back in the game after only 20 minutes, as zaddy Baden definitively exited the game to become the King of the Jury. After casually burning his buff, obviously which just seems a tad cruel, but whatever.

I audibly – and theatrically – gasped as Baden arrived at the Jury Villa, given I had blown a month of my salary on an unnamed betting site to say that he would sit in the final two with Hayley. After processing my shock, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how heartbroken I was to see his game end. You see, Baden and I are dear friends as I’ve worked extensively in the cycling world. As is oft the case, I left the industry in a scandalous cloud after some of my medical practices brought down one of cycling’s biggest stars. But Baden being kind, he kept in touch. No doubt because he is just so kind and always abides by the rules, so he didn’t have to fear my reputation bringing him down with me.

After explaining to him the importance of being the King of the Jury and his requirement to set the tone of how they behave, we quickly disappeared to enjoy a Chilli & Herbaden Chooke.

Like Baden’s spicy personality on Redemption Rock, this little roast is delightfully packing a punch. Add to that the sweet, fragrant herbs and the glory of stuffing this little netted number is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Chilli & Herbaden Chooke
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
2kg chicken, butterflied and deboned but retaining the skin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced|
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
kitchen twine or butcher’s netting

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onion for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and breadcrumbs. All to cool before mixing in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay your butterflied chicken on a chopping board, skin side down and lay the stuffing down the centre like a long sausage. Roll the chicken to enclose before trussing the roast with twine, or my favourite, butcher’s netting. Mainly because I’m not great at knots.

Rub the roast with a little bit of olive, season with a whack of salt and pepper and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile combine the oil, sriracha, garlic, muscovado and salt and pepper in a jug. Once the chicken is on it’s way to getting hot, hot, hot, remove from the oven and baste with the chilli sauce. Reduce the oven to 180C and return the saucy chicken to cook for a further half an hour, basting every ten minutes or so to get it nice and sticky.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, pour over any of the remaining chilli and leave to rest for ten minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Like a King of the Jury, for instance.


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Simon Meeso Ramen

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Soup, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Hayley continued to be an absolutely dominant icon, pulling Dani aside to float the idea of booting Simon from the game with an idol in his pocket. Unaware there are actually two idols in his gorgeous pockets. After Brains once again lost immunity, Rachel and Laura tried to get George to see sense and flip back to the Brains to give himself the best shot. He didn’t, which tragically led to Queen Rach leaving and poor Laura left all alone on the Brains tribe.

We checked in with the Brains who were waking up from the coldest night, which honestly is how my heart feels now that the legendary Rachel is gone. But since I wasn’t aligned with her, I guess things were frostier for Laura who was all alone on the tribe with nobody. Though being a determined fighter, she was going to find a crack whether it kills her. After going for a walk to get everyone’s water, George suggested someone should follow her and obviously he then immediately chased after her. He realised that he was almost as screwed as her, so suggested they should finally start working together to take control. Which is really something he should have done when the Brains would have had a majority. And given that, she wasn’t really buying it as an option. Though she was buying into finding an idol.

He then returned to camp and let a massive fart rip which is important, if you ask me.

There was less gas going on at the Brawn camp where Simon was proud to make it to the halfway point of the game and glad that he arguably has the strongest alliance left. An alliance that is working with the Brains and has an easy boot lined up in Flick. Oh and his two hidden immunity idols. And while he looked happy sparring with Dani, the fact that she jabbed him in the gut is meant as foreshadowing, right?

To make me more nervous that we’re about to lose our speedo king, he told Dani and Chelsea about his second hidden immunity idol. And you just know that means Dani is ready to get the ol’ Sandra Bullock going because two idols making the merge in someone’s pocket is a very dangerous thing.

My love Jonathan returned for the latest – or is that last, thanks to TV listings – tribal reward challenge where the tribes would row out to pontoons to collect rings and then race to land said rings on to oars that when flipped, spell out reward. And should they win, they get to visit the survivor candy and store and well, I don’t love sweets but those brownies looked delightful. And the maltesers too, TBH. As is oft the case, Brawn got out to the earliest of leads until Baden straight up snapped his oar due to brute force. Then Emmett happened, coaching everyone through the challenge and pushing himself to the absolute limit. Quite literally, as he pushed them to shore. Both tribes were neck and neck when it came to tossing the rings, until Emmett pulled away, landing all six rings and winning reward for his tribe.

And Laura is finding an idol at the reward, isn’t she?

After arriving at the site of the reward the tribe were gagged to learn that they would each be visiting solo and while George wanted to be strategic, Kez quickly suggested they draw straws. And well, fate was on Laura’s side as she was up second after Cara and that much more likely to find an advantage. Particularly since Cara could only focus on the sweets, quickly smashing everything in sight. Wait, no – she found the advantage in a tube of lollies! And what an advantage it was, giving her a VIP ticket to the next tribal council, including two votes that she could use to swing things in her favour.

By the time Laura made it to the store, she went searching through everything for an idol but tragically came up empty handed and instead, realised that she just needs to guarantee the tribe wins the next immunity challenge. She was followed by Emmett who smeared extra candy over his body for later, Gerald just smashed strawberries, George finger banged every vessel and then Kez straight up destroyed everything in sight.

We returned to camp Brawn the next day where Dani was still focused on blindsiding Simon ASAP, pulling Hayley aside by the billabong to finally get things moving. While Hayley was terrified about the prospect of him making the merge, Dani assured her that they can pull it off. She then suggested they throw the next immunity challenge and Hayley needed to get her troops on board, given Dani has already convinced Chelsea. Aka, her people. Which Hayley quickly did, telling her fellow Brains and Flick about the idols. 

The first pressure point being that they need to throw the immunity challenge without making it obvious.

As such Jonathan made his triumphant return for the immunity challenge where everyone on the tribe would stand on balance beams and hold a rope to keep a disc steady while trying to balance balls on it without dropping. And well, SImon offered to sit out and damn, this is just going to be too easy, isn’t it? And by that, something will go wrong, won’t it. While Brawns were wanting to throw it, they took an early lead in the challenge as Gerald and Kez struggled for the Brains. Thankfully for team ‘throw the challenge’, Chelsea successfully made Brawns need to reset while poor Simon kindly cheered them on from the side, encouraging them to keep focused and not be hard on themselves. Obviously Brains started to pull away as Brawns successfully looked frustrated by their failings before Brains put everyone out of their misery and snatched immunity.

Before they departed the challenge, Cara opted to play her VIP ticket advantage to the upcoming tribal council for her and a friend to cast votes. But obviously not be eligible to receive them. In any event, she chose to bring George along with her and well, you just know this is going to spook Simon into playing his idol, isn’t it?

Back at camp Simon was heartbroken to have lost the challenge, though was glad to finally be able to get rid of his other nemesis Flick. After spotting her chatting to the Brains, Chelsea offered to break up the conversation and stop them from planning something. And by that, she went up to keep Simon calm enough to not play his idol. Simon then went to lock in the Flick vote with Andrew and Baden, though was willing to throw out the fact he will play his idol to keep them scared. When they returned to camp, Flick ran off to hunt for an idol with Chelsea pretending to tail her to make it look more authentic. 

Chelsea then pretended to be sent back to camp, forcing Simon to follow her instead and unwittingly left everyone else talk and solidify the plan. Dani meanwhile was reminding everyone that if it was her, she would play one of the idols which appeared to make Hayley nervous. Though Baden just gave them the ol’ Gene Cousinaeu, telling them that they just need to give the acting performance of their lives. And honestly, I love him. Almost as much as Hayley, who was nervous Dani was building this up as her star move and as such, wanted to build a counter plan to throw some votes on Dani just in case to guarantee Flick’s safety.

Like the brutal icon she is!

Hayley then caught up with Baden by the billabong and they agreed to load their votes on Dani, with Baden offering to talk to George and Cara as soon as they arrived at tribal council to guarantee they vote for Simon too. Given he is the only person they trust. Baden meanwhile returned to camp and worked to ensure that the Brawns were still feeling good and not realising that he and Hayley were actually staging a coup and guaranteeing the numbers for the Brains post merge.

At tribal council Cara and George admitted that they aren’t sure where their two votes would be going tonight and as such, wanted a full performance from the tribe. Dani being an icon told them that Brawn don’t play like that and as such, they need to calm down and relax because their votes won’t mean anything. As Baden whispered that their votes would make a difference. Flick gave the perfect performance as the woman on the bottom, with Dani and Simon both agreeing that she is going home tonight. As Baden continued to try and get Cara and George’s attention, despite talking about it being a straightforward vote.

Dani continued to play up her confidence in booting Flick from the game, while Hayley spoke about her fears that votes don’t always go where they need them. Baden continued to whisper to Cara and George about Simon and his idols and while things were going well, Simon caught them and asked if they had anything to add. With that Simon spoke about always being nervous and damn, Dani and Chelsea looked like they were ready to snap. Simon continued to talk about blindsides and Flick still having a chance until her torach was snuffed. And damn, this is blowing up, isn’t it?

With that Cara, George and the tribe voted, Hayley continued to be a savage icon who I stan and Simon blew out his thong on the way to cast his, which is super ominous. And while he noted it, he calmly held on to both of his hidden immunity idols as everyone started to smirk. And those smirks turned into full blown smiles as the votes were tallied, piling up on him before Dani was gagged to see three votes come in for her. Ultimately though it was my speedo king who was blindsided with two idols in his pocket.

Given Simon is such a fan of the game, he took his blindside in his stride and was so damn upbeat and kind when he arrived in loser lodge. You know, despite having his dream brutally ended. I pulled him in for a hug and reminded him that while he was booted, it was in an iconic fashion and as such, he will always be remembered in the series. And well, I’d gladly welcome him back next season already.

After catching up – we’re dear friends, training at the same Brisbane gym, obvi – we laughed, cried, plotted out his story for the next All Stars. But most importantly, I then got to work whipping up something nourishing to lift his spirits. Aka my Simon Meeso Ramen.

This take on the Antoni modern classic is near perfectionly, full of umami goodness, but all at once sweet and salty. You know, all of the good things. Add in a kick of chilli and a punch of fresh herbs, you’ve got a dish as perfect as Simon looks.

Enjoy!

Simon Meeso Ramen
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 tsp sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g pork mince
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup miso paste
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2L chicken stock
4 large eggs
400g udon noodles
2 medium carrots, julienned
4 shallots, sliced
½ cup corn kernels
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
Microgreens, sprouts and coriander, to taste

Method
Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a stock pot over medium heat and cook the garlic for a minute or two. Add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go, until browned. Season with salt and pepper before adding the miso, ginger and stock. Stir until well combined before bringing to the boil, then reducing heat to low and simmering.

Meanwhile, soft boil the eggs – aka drop them into rapidly boiling water and cook for 5 minutes – and cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

While the rest is happening, add the carrot, shallow, corn and sriracha to the ramen and stir. When the eggs are done, run them under cold water and peel, and drain the noodles.

To serve, place the noodles in four bowls, top with ramen and then split the eggs and place one in each bowl. Top with microgreens, sprouts and coriander, and if you’re spicy like me and Simo, more sriracha. And edible flowers, which i did before King Simon kindly told me to eat the prettier one, while he takes the ugly dish. Thus, the ugly photos.

I mean, isn’t Simon the sweetest? I mean, he is as sweet as this!


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Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Condiment, Dip, Sauce

Previously on Australian Survivor the tribes battled it out in a dusty immunity challenge with Simon narrowly besting his former tribemate Emmett. While Simon was supported by the rest of his tribe to get to the end and score the win, it was truly a one man show on Brains. Speaking of Emmett, he wasn’t too bothered to lose the challenge given he was leading the Brains tribe’s majority alliance. With an iron fist, if you ask the Brains trio. Speaking of them, they decided their best hope was to woo Kez to their side, given she desperately wants Cara out and Emmett isn’t listening to her. While she vowed to go to rocks to get what she wanted, she ultimately stayed with the alliance and joined them to boot Georgia from the game.

The peace of the outback was disturbed the next day as Gerald snored by the fire as George wandered around wide eyed, glad to still be in the game. Though he admitted that it isn’t luck that got him this far, it was his hard work to finally win some people over. On the outside are his remaining nemesis, Laura and Rachel. And frankly, he doesn’t care who goes next out of the pair of them.

Rachel meanwhile was collecting a tonne of wood despite being tired and on the outs. While Laura was sleeping. We then finally got an intro package for Queen Rach, who was Queenslander of the Year last year and is essentially an icon. She then took that positive attitude to the billabong, teaching Cara how to fish and damn, is this what hope feels like?

Meanwhile over at Brawn Hayley was feeling her oats, in charge and generally living the dream, forming a tight bond with the girls and generally being the boss. They were fishing, tending the fire and making friendship bracelets and honestly, I am just as jealous as Simon to be missing out on the experience. Speaking of Simon, Hayley can see how large his target is and as such, got to work finding cracks to get him out before they get to merge. While Dani and the boys bonded in the shallows – Simon in his speedos, swoon – Hayley realised building a relationship with her would be critical to her long term game and as such, got to work bonding with Dani.

The duo caught up and went fishing, while Hayley started soft, asking about the Brawns on the other tribe, she then got straight to the point, asking Dani when she thinks would be a good time to get rid of Simon. With Dani straight up spilling her entire strategy to align with the alpha and then cut them from the game. A move that she called ‘The Sandra Bullock’, which is as iconic as her asking Hayley if she’d be interested in helping to pull off the move. Which Hayley giddily responded by announcing that blindsides are even sweeter when the person thinks they’re in control.

Iconic, brutal, stunning. I love them.

Hayley then went for a cheeky little wander, lamenting about the pain of not seeing or hearing from their loved ones. And right on cue, she discovered letters from home in treemail, instantly reducing everyone to tears. We learnt about Hayley’s beautiful boyfriend Jimmy who was ready to propose when she returned home. Andrew meanwhile got a cute painting from his nephew, Wai heard about her cat, Dani’s partner roasted her for being stubborn and then Baden sobbed over missing his daughters and ugh, I’m not crying. You’re crying. I mean, one of them sees his face in the moon each night AND HOPES HE CAN SEE HERS.

It. Is. Too. Damn. Precious.

Over at the Brains, we learnt about George’s beautiful bond with his dog, Emmett missing his fiance and well Rach, she finally had her fire back. Ready to fight for her wife back at home. As such, she pulled Cara and George aside to talk. But sadly, we weren’t privy to that as Emmett, Gerald and Kez realised that losing challenges isn’t the worst thing right now and as such, they should consider throwing a challenge to get rid of another Brain or two.

My love Jonathan finally returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would face off sliding a series of blocks to untangle ropes and releasing a key. These tribes would then traverse a series of obstacles, collect some balls, wade through a mud pit and then slide some balls down a ramp to land in a dish. Queen Wai obviously directed the Brawn tribe to quickly untangle the ropes and release the key while the Brains grew more and more confused. Even without Emmett trying to throw the challenge, the Brawns tribe powered all the way to the end of the course and landed their balls in arguably the biggest blowout of all time.

As the tribes celebrated together everyone tried to whisper to each other with Andrew telling Laura to just get to merge while Hayley encouraged Rach to throw all the mud around and make a mess. While Emmett and Kez could barely hide their excitement to be going back to tribal council. So, maybe they did throw it?

Back at camp Emmett was pumped to continue the decimation of the Brains before firing up some rice and relaxing. Despite knowing full well that the Brains still have enough people to take control of the tribe if they put their differences aside. That being a pretty bloody big if. After quickly locking in Rachel as the bigger target, with the girls loading their votes on Laura as a back-up. Emmett then shifted his focus to the next step once Cara and George left, that being to flip Laura and then take out Cara and George.

Knowing that she is screwed, Rachel opted to put her emotional feelings about George and Cara aside and instead try and work with them to make a big move against Emmett and weaken the Brawn tribe at large. Obviously Laura was on board, so wIth that, Rachel powered off to find George and pitch him the plan with him calmly agreeing that he knows what happens next if they don’t mix things up. George then shared that he wanted to split the vote the way the majority did so that he could ultimately make the decision to flip on someone like Emmett without anyone knowing it was coming. And buy him more time to figure out which option is best for his game, with or without Cara’s support.

At tribal council Gerald admitted that nothing has really changed with the power dynamics of the tribe, with Rachel agreeing that she and Laura are definitely the dead women walking. George meanwhile spoke in political speak, confusing Rachel and Laura about whether he would flip. Emmett admitted he is just wanting to get to the merge and take control, though also alluded to the fact that he is always going to put Brawns first. Rachel pointed out that Brains currently have the majority if they were merging and coming back together is better for all of them. While George agreed that Laura and Rachel made some valid points, Emmett and more so Gerald, made some very complimentary arguments to bring them together.

Laura called it out for what it is, blowing smoke up Cara and George’s arse leading to Kez needing to step in and point out that Brawn is also a fractured tribe and they actually need some Brains to help get further as they navigate their own complex dynamics come merge. Aka the Simon and Emmett faction versus her, Flick and Gerald. With that the tribe voted and despite the promise that big things were happening this week – SuE’s bIG mOvE, right? – the majority held together and Rach was tragically booted from the game.

As soon as I saw her turn the corner into Loser Lodge, I burst into tears, heartbroken to see my fellow Queenslander of the Year booted from the game. And by fellow, it happens in like a decade, remembering I invented time travel. That is not what I win for either. But anyway, Rach and I are dear friends and I was so disappointed that she couldn’t turn things around, particularly since we’re so close to the merge.

Given Rach is an absolute delight however, she took it in her stride and calmly held me until I stopped crying. After that, we did the usual laugh, cry and reconnect before I searched the fridge and found enough ingredients to whip her up a Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie.

I know ranch is often looked at as a pretty basic dip/dressing/condiment – at least by me and my paranoia, I guess – but I am basic and proud. Add in a little chipotle, however, and you elevate it into the stratosphere. Fresh and tart, but packing a good whack of heat, this delight will have you slathering it on anything. Or gulping down like water.

Enjoy!

Chipotle Ranchel Dipnie
Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients
2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
⅔ cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chives, thinly sliced
½ tsp paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Now try and keep up because this is tough. Place everything in a jar. 

Shake well.

And down.

Or refrigerate until ready to serve with something else. But, why?


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Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor – doesn’t it feel good to say that again?! – 24 new castaways Mad Max-ed into outback Queensland to find out whether brains or brawn is what is needed to prevail. They were immediately thrown into a challenge where Brawn destroyed Brains. Though clearly wanting to give the competition a leg up, Simon encouraged the tribe to choose a survival kit as reward because he had fire on lock, which he obviously didn’t. As such, they shivered through the first night. Thankfully for him, he redeemed himself by leading the tribe to victory in the immunity challenge. All hope seemed lost for Wai on the Brains tribe until George found a massive advantage, saved her and four others and then my love Phil found themselves tragically felled as the first boot.

The next day the Brains tribe were slowly trying to process George’s massive move, mainly just glad that they were the ones to survive despite none of the people that remained at tribal being on anyone’s radar. That being said, those that stuck around were angry about how it all played out and as such, vowed to get rid of George at the first possible chance. Wai meanwhile was just shocked to still be in the game and as such, opted to get to work making the most of her second chance by making friendships. First she checked in with George and shared her gratitude that he saved her, with him admitting that he sees potential in her and as such wanted to change both of their destinies. Like a modern day Jesus.

George moved on to Rachel and Georgia and well, Rachel didn’t feel happy about it being saved at tribal given George called her out as weak in explaining his move and as such, she realised that he just wants power and that is it. And well, she isn’t a monarchist, so good luck on him being King. And just like that, she is my queen. Oh and then she went to kiki with Joey and Hayley and well, I ship the hell out of this trio.

Over at the Brawn tribe, poor Simon was still focused on getting fire and well, still wasn’t having much success. I mean, even Queen Dani couldn’t get it going and well, if she can’t, I don’t have hope for any of them. And honestly, everyone’s mood was so down I feel like they mustn’t have any hope either. The Survivor Gods/editors continued to immediately prove me wrong, as Emmett stepped in, confident in his ability to rub sticks together (relatable) which, combined with his plant based diet – direct quote –  did the trick as he earnt everyone’s love by building a fire, despite really leaning the David flair for the theatrical in a less charming way.

My love Jonathan made his return to the screens for today’s reward challenge where the Brawns were gutted to see Phil gone, as they bloody well should be. Still grappling with said shock, they learnt that the challenge would see them facing off one at a time under a net to retrieve a sandbag and then wrestle their opponent to land it in their tribe’s square, with the first to three winning. And given it was for a huge fishing kit, spices, bread, honey and let’s say other misc supplies, everyone was well and truly pumped to fight it out. 

The first duo to face off were pain researcher Hayley and MMA fighter Chelsea and well Chelsea could murder me in my sleep, so I fear for Queen Hayley. Thankfully she had a huge head start thanks to her speed and hot damn, with grit and determination, she snagged the first point for the Brains. Like a boss. Simon then faced off against Dr Mitch, who was carried with the bag by Simon to score a point for Brawns, no doubt to the chagrin of George. Georgia and Dani fought extremely hard before the prison guard snatched the lead for the Brawns, meaning Baden had to beat Gavin to stay alive. Which he did, after the ultimate battle of the zaddies was barely taken out by the Brains. As such, it was up to Emmett or Joey to snatch victory for their tribe and given the way Emmett cockily showboating almost cost them victory, I don’t see this as a good advertisement for a plant based diet or his stocks in the game.

But anyway, Brawn won again and I need the underdogs to score a win in the immunity challenge otherwise this will get old very quickly.

Back at the Brawn camp, the tribe were giddy from their latest victory and quickly got down to making a cheeky honey sambo as they surveyed the loot. The tribe then went for a swim, with Emmett assuring them that he was never at risk of losing the challenge for them despite everyone feeling nervous about the way Joey tackled him mid-taunt. Janelle meanwhile was the only one that rightly wasn’t having any of it, given his egocentric displays can cost everyone in the tribe. We then finally learnt more about Janelle, who is a hard working cleaner and highly competitive hockey player and well, she is now my new Queen. She then aired her frustrations with Benny and sweet Gerald, suggesting that Emmett, Gavin and Simon have banded together and they all need to watch out so they don’t find their footing and take over. Which is 100% correct.

Over at camp Brains, the tribe were reading George for offering to battle it out against AFL legend player, with Hayley pointing out that volunteering at the last minute when you know you can’t win isn’t helpful and just designed to cause disharmony. And if that isn’t what he wanted, that is what he got as Baden was well and truly sick of him and ready to take him out. George meanwhile was talking about how much quicker than Gavin he would have been in front of Baden, fed-up Baden point blank asked what his strategy was in doing what he did and how he believed he would actually beat Gavin. And when George wouldn’t back down, they started to argue back and forth with Baden ultimately telling him that they need to make decisions for the team and can’t get offended about it. When George countered that they need to end their losing streak, Baden pointed out that losing earlier is certainly not going to help the situation.

And oh was George feeling on the outs after being read for filth.

We pressed pause on the drama as Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would swim out to a deck, climb over some obstacles, release some balls, release a key and then solve a hanging puzzle. With George and Wai taking the hero role of the puzzle, meaning he just might get the chance to prove himself. Brawn obviously got out to an early lead, but given Simon was in budgie smugglers, I am now rooting for them, so yay team! Again, this immediately jinxed them as the Brains caught up and both tribes were neck and neck all the way through the physical part. The Brains started to pull away and quickly released their key and gave them a slight advantage as they headed into the puzzle. Not that they needed though, given Wai took charge and George trusted his gut, proving to be a winning combination as they went piece by piece and quickly scored the win for the Brains. 

And joyfully lapped up the praise of their tribe, which was honestly as heartwarming as the end of any Lifetime movie.

Back at camp the Brains were far less joyous with Big D feeling like the target would be on his back given he and Janelle lost the puzzle. Knowing that, he went hard on throwing Janelle’s name out to anyone and everyone that would listen. She too was feeling nervous, particularly because she saw Daini going person to person and whispering. As such, she was fired up and pulled Dani, Benny and Flick aside to further highlight the growing trio of Gavin, Simon and Emmett to knock them down a peg and, you know, stop them from finding their feet. Benny and Flick appeared to be all in on the Emmett vote, leaving Janelle to chat to the other girls and rally them around.

Simon noticed the girls whispering quietly and as such, he, Emmett and Gavin decided to pivot and pull the numbers together to get rid of Shannon instead. For some reason I’m not 100% sure of. As such, the boys decided that they should align with Dani, Chelsea and Flick to guarantee the strongest tribe members gain the numbers. This made Flick feel well and truly in the middle, not wanting to get rid of strength just yet but also not wanting to burn her bridges with Shannon, making her contemplate Janelle as the only other option in her mind.

So to summarise, Dani nervous, suggested Janelle. Janelle nervous, suggested Emmett. Emmett threatened, suggested Shannon. And then Flick circled back to Janelle.

At tribal council Simon was disappointed by their first loss, though ready to deal with the consequences. Which as we know, is never a good thing to say openly. Daini meanwhile wished they had some more smarts amongst them and admitted his vote will be about keeping the tribe strong. Janelle meanwhile was feeling the heat after losing the challenge, with Simon quickly telling her that she said puzzles were her strength and as such, it is on her. This fired her up like a damn icon, as she defended herself and the strengths she brings to the tribe, quickly calling Emmett out for being cocky. This annoyed Emmett, who tried to defend himself but given she is absolutely right, he should be worried.

He then was really patronising as he mocked her for firing up and as such, I don’t like Emmett and would die for Janelle.

Janelle then pointed out Simon, Emmett and Gavin were already a strong trio which lead to Emmett calling it out and admitting that he knows that his name was thrown around back at camp. This led to more fighting back and forth before Jonathan dragged Flick into it, asking if she was scared of the three votes, with her admitting that yeah, it is a concern but there are nine other votes so at this stage, it isn’t that concerning. Emmett continued to be confident, Shannon admitted that the fact they can’t sit anyone out in the next challenge just changed things for her before Emmett gave a last ditch plea for everyone he trusts to stick to the plan. Basically. Flick meanwhile was focusing on sticking with the majority and guided solely by not wanting to come back to tribal council.

With that the tribe voted and despite it being far closer than anyone in the tribe expected, Janelle was narrowly, and tragically, booted from the game. And damn, you know there are going to be fireworks back at camp as the boys appeared just as shocked to see her go as she was.

As soon as Janelle arrived back at Loser Lodge, I pulled her in for a hug before raging over the fact that OF COURSE, the tribe votes out its oldest woman. You see, I’ve known Janelle for years and we became the best of friends as we systematically dominated the Townsville hockey scene. But that isn’t why I love her. No. I love her because I am convinced she is a time traveller, given she looks EXACTLY like my favourite barista from my favourite cafe in 2007, but as a grown-up. And, you know, I want to annoy her with my love until she admits that she is the second time-traveler to compete in Survivor after Malcolm/Jimmy Tarantino. My go to way to show my love? Whipping up a batch of Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls.

I love croissants and sausage rolls almost equally, but shamefully had never thought to combine them before. But damn, not that I have, I finally know what true joy is. Perfectly seasoned sausage and crumbly pastry? I challenge you to find a better way to dull the post-boot pain.

Enjoy!

Croissanelle Dursausage Rolls
Serves: 12.
Inspired by these little numbers from Taste.com.au

Ingredients
500g beef mince
500g sausage mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
⅓ cup tomato sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground sage
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
a dash of milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C and line two baking sheets.

Combine the minces, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, garlic, herbs, chilli and an egg in a bowl with a large whack of salt and pepper, and stir, scrunching with your hands until well combined.

Cut each sheet of pastry in half, followed by each half into two triangles. Using about a quarter of a cup of the mixture, form into a small sausage and place against the longer end of the triangle. Whisk the remaining egg with the milk and brush the exposed parts of the pastry before rolling from the long end to the tip to form a croissant. Shaping into a half-moon, if you can be bothered. Continue the process until it’s all done.

Brush the assembled pastries with remaining egg wash and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then, you know, devour covered in a gallon of tommie sauce.


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Turkita Mean Tostadas

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, Ru and Michelle made the perilous trip to the southern hemisphere and after two weeks in quarantine, joined Rhys Nicholson on set to join ten of the best Aussie and Kiwi queens. One by one the departed, with Jojo tragically robbed first though winning the honour of being the Down Under Pork Chop.

She was followed by Art Simone, but that meant nothing, because after Coco was felled in Girl Groups, Art was returned to the competition in a pile of trash. Which honestly is how the fandom reacted to the lack of explanation about her return.

We then suffered a major emotional blow, as the delightfully, iconic Anita Wigl’it was tragically felled. By Karen dressed as Schapelle Corby, no less. This set off a chain of events I’d rather forget as Etcetera Etcetera, Maxi Shield and Elektra Shock left back-to-back-to-back, leaving the top four – of Karen from Finance, Art, Scarlet and Kita Mean – to battle it out for the crown.

Which Anita’s business partner and Elektra’s boss, the lovely and supremely talented – not that Supremme – Kita Mean to take out the first title of Down Under’s Next Drag Superstar. And keep it firmly on New Zealand soil.

While she was overwhelmed by the experience at the start, Kita grew from strength to strength throughout the competition and by the time it came to the finale, there was no other person that should have been crowned.

Which is convenient, since she was.

After taking out victory, I pulled her into my arms and grabbed her by the face and through gritted teeth, told her that she is the most damn talented queen I’ve ever seen and I am so proud of everything she has achieved and I can’t wait for her to take over the world.

And did I mention I love you Kita?!

If that intense display didn’t sink in, I hope that my Turkita Mean Tostadas convinced her.

Inspired by those made by the iconically flavour-packed Half Baked Harvest number, these tostadas are the perfect way to honour a victory. Hot, spicy and layered with creamy, sweet and tangy flavours, they’re damn near perfect. Just like Kita’s run.

Enjoy!

Turkita Mean Tostadas
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
500g turkey mince
1 onion, chopped
400g tinned diced tomatoes
2 chipotle chillis in adobo, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
12 corn tortillas
1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded
1-2 avocados, mashed
1 lime, juiced
1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded and washed
coriander leaves and sour cream, for serving

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. Add the turkey and break up the mince with your wooden spoon until it is cooked through. Add the tinned tomatoes, chipotles, garlic, chilli powder and cumin with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for ten minutes or so, or until reduced. If it gets too dry, add water in ¼ cup increments throughout the process.

Meanwhile run the tortillas with a little bit of olive oil and place on a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for five minutes, or until crisped and lightly browned.

To assemble, place a sprinkle of cheese on top of six tortillas and top with the remaining six. Bake for another couple of minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven and plate your cheesy shells before topping with the meat mixture, mashed avo, extra cheese, sour cream, lettuce and coriander.

Devour, ravenously, like you just won Drag Race.


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