Abbearclaw Holmes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Dessert, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Mokuta were desperate to not go on a losing streak, thankfully breaking it their current mini-run by snatching victory for an ice cream reward. Sadly however, that was only a brief reprieve as they lost immunity. Heading back to tribal council, Nick tried to rally the troops to take out Henry while Abbey led the athletes to target Shonee. Nervous about losing strength, Lydia pulled Henry aside to advise him to play an idol if he has one, so off he went to make a fake. Unaware that Shonee had found the legit one. Henry tried to grab his fake in front of everyone at tribal, though Nick did not buy it and cautioned everyone that it was a ploy. It did make Shonee nervous enough to play hers, challenging him to do the same if it is real. Thankfully for her, he didn’t bother with his fake and as such, she negated five votes against herself and sent him from the game as the fifth boot.

The next day Zach was busy showing off his strength to the tribe, while Shonee lamented their losing ways. Begging the question, why are they losing if the athletes are as tough as they think they are. But back to Zach and his workout – guess who his biggest fan was? You guessed, team strong herself, Abbey!

Meanwhile over at Vakama the tribe were joyfully playing on the shore, with David still gladly leading the high school clique. Who had taken to squwaking – no joke – while the oldies of Mat, Tarzan, Moana and Jacqui were still feeling left out. Speaking of the minority alliance, Mat was giddily taunting Locky about the idol he had found and potential cracks in the alliance. Playing 4D chess, he even commenced pretending he would be open to working together, but Locky is so loyal, the poor thing couldn’t even entertain it.

Back at Mokuta our queen and savior Shonee was heartbroken to be stuck with a bunch of people that don’t want to be around them. She was particularly annoyed about the lame athlete alliance – preach – so got to work hustling, in the hopes of taking control and getting rid of the head of the athletes in Abbey. After quickly celebrating their win at the previous tribal, Shonee and Nick got to work wooing Sharn and Zach to their side. Shonee took Sharn to the scene of her triumphant idol find, with the icon reminding Sharn that once she is gone, Sharn is the next weakest and as such she needs to make a move ASAP. Sharn agreed and was keen to make a move, but only if Zach was willing to join them. Speaking of Zach, he was feeling on the outs and caught up with Harry about how they could take control. We then learnt from the form misogynist that he was reformed and keen to play a different, more social AF game. As such, he decided to join the little rascals and Sharn to overthrow the athletes.

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where each tribe was required to stack a series of blocks along a beam over a trip hazard – while tethered in pairs – to knock over a sign. With the victors scoring a huge Italian feast. Vakama appeared to have a slight lead, however when Jacqui and Moana looked to measure out the spacing, it annoyed Locky for slowing them down. As such Mokuta took the slightest of slight leads, until they knocked over a single block. Which was enough for Vakama to take back the lead. Which only extended when Mokuta knocked over four more. Vakama continued to pull ahead, until they realised they didn’t have enough to make it to the end. While both tribes fiddled with the spacing, mother nature opted to troll them both and the wind blew over multiple blocks from each tribe, leading to a flurry of rebuilding. Back and forth both tribs tried to knock them over before Vakama finally put us out of our misery and scored the reward.

Vakama sprinted to reward where they discovered not only did they score a huge Italian feast, but they also got a tonne of wine and a photo wall featuring everyone with their mums. AK kicked off the tears talking to his mum and damn, it was so sweet and god, do I like AK? Jacqui’s parents had their own tennis court which is super impressive, Tarzan surprised everyone with his sexy short hair and lack of beard, Mat fondly remembered his sweet, sweet mum, Moana was feeling guilty about being away from her mum, unable to help and give her joy and damn, I am crying. Nobody else had overly emotional stories and I don’t want to make jokes because it is so pure. Though Flick worked at Wendy’s and now I want a shake?

My love Jonathan returned for an immunity challenge where each tribe had to swim out to a pontoon in pairs, climb a ladder, jump into the water, run across a net and then release four balls, which the last tribe member would try to toss them in their sack.Mokuta got out to an early lead, in no small part thanks to our Queen Shonee, while Tarzan and Phoebe struggled big time for Vakama. Sharn and Nick started to extend their lead, until we were reminded that Nick is not the best swimmer – shouldn’t have booted Shane – before he and Sharn struggled to release their ball. With that Flick and Mat close the gap and then gave Vakama a huge lead. While David and Jacqui started to struggle, allowing Abbey and John to catch up, my nude king just couldn’t catch his breath leading to Vakama pulling away once again. Locky and Brooke made quick work of the final ball, giving AK a huge advantage, scoring all four baskets before Mokuta even scored their last ball.

Back at camp John was feeling terrible about letting the tribe down, with the athletes conveniently accepting his apology and ignoring the fact Shonee was a star performer. Abbey of course planned to stick with all the strong athletes, and as such, she decided that Shonee – star performer – was the one that needed to go. She pulled Sharn and John aside, with the trio agreeing to stick together and get rid of Shonee with the help of Lee and Lydia. But little did Abbey know, Sharn had zero interest in playing along or getting rid of Shonee and as such, wanted to get rid of Abbey and take away the athlete’s leader. Abbey approached Lee and Zach, with Lee all in however the latter had learnt his lesson from his first season and wanted to stop focusing on strength and as such, save Shonee. And all of a sudden, I find Zach very attractive.

Zach, Harry and Sharn caught up in the jungle, with Zach pointing out that John didn’t do a good job at any of the challenges this season and as such, why don’t they get rid of him instead. And completely shake the core of the majority. With the trio locked in to take out John, Zach pulled Shonee and Nick aside to get them on board. Sadly for all of them, Nick couldn’t see sense in snatching the majority and so instead, approached John to turn the entire tribe on Zach. And tying things up 4-4, rather than giving him and his allies a 5-3 advantage. Nick approached Lee about joining the plan to get rid of John and kind of rationalised his plan, explaining that since John has no solid relationships and therefore there will be no hurt feelings should a tribe swap appear on the horizon.

At tribal council Nick spoke about Henry playing fast and loose, while Harry added that with Henry gone, Shonee is the most in danger given she received votes at last tribal council. Shonee tried to see the glass half-full, encouraging everyone to stick together and reminded everyone that there are 9 people left in the tribe and since only four people that voted for her remain, her five could have the majority. While this was unfolding, Nick started to whisper to the rival alliance that Zach is targeting John and as such, they should join him in voting out Zach instead. Meanwhile John spoke about being nervous because he completely bombed the challenge while Zach alluded to switching up his game and focusing on the long term, rather than solely strength. Lydia spoke about wanting to work with people she can trust and think the same way she does – *coughs* athletes *coughs*. Shonee believed that all but one person is on the same page, before Zach and John nervously countered that there are at least two more that should be in danger.

Out of nowhere Jonathan interrupted proceedings to announce that instead of voting to boot someone from the game, this tribal council, the top two vote getters would be sent to exile beach where they will await their fate. This made Harry nervous to make a move, given someone could potentially come back from the game, while Abbey and Nick were both more than happy to stick with the plan. The reforming Zach admitted that he was feeling nervous, reminded of Tegan’s near boot in his season. With that the tribe voted and tragically the athletes banded together to send Shonee to exile, while the little rascals piled the votes on Zach and poor Zach was completely out of the loop and voted for John. Who safely stayed with his tribe as the other two departed for exile.

Zach and Shonee arrived at exile, with Shonee searching her brain to figure out the Fijian word for revenge so that they can name their teeny, tiny tribe. The two marvelled at how ugly their beach was, though Shonee did use the time to assure us that she can and will get revenge on all the athletes, plus Sharn for shits and giggles. The next morning however, she was back to being her zen self, loving being away from the buff people and leading Zach through her island beauty routine. And do I now ship them?

Meanwhile back at Mokuta, Lydia, Lee, John and Abbey were loving themselves and their muscles sick. Which was making Nick sick, given he desperately missed his closest ally Shonee. And he had nobody to blame but himself. Abbey pretended that she was glad Shonee wasn’t alone, before humble-bragging about her perfect voting record (this season) and the fact she has a solid alliance and is controlling her tribe. John then tried humour clothed and TBH, I don’t like it. We checked in with Vakama where talk way centred around soy milk and honestly, I am as bored by the discussion as Mat and his minions. Speaking of that crew, Mat was content with his allies and was glad to be sitting ok with people he trusts and David looking out for him.

And you know what all this talk means!

Jonathan met the tribes by the beach where Vakama learnt two people were voted out the night before and had been sent to exile. Jonathan then announced that like Zach and Shonee, everyone’s games are changing as the tribes are switching up. To a chorus of groans the tribes dropped their buffs before selecting new ones, with Harry, Mat, Flick, AK, Brooke, Locky, Abbey, Lydia and John forming new Vakama and David, Tarzan, Moana, Jacqui, Phoebe, Nick, Lee and Sharn making up Mokuta 2.0. The iconic duo were forced to put a stop to their beauty routine and were wheeled out to discover the switched up tribes. They then learnt that they weren’t in fact exiting the game and instead would each be joining the new tribes, with Shonee joining her nemeses on Vakama and Zach landed on Mokuta.

With the tribes locked, Jonathan announced that they would now be facing off for reward, which was essentially a tug of war challenge, with each tribe pulling in opposite directions until the can get to their end and grab a flag. With the first tribe to three scoring an advantage in the game … which is hidden in a Pandora’s Box, which they can open back at camp. And a grazing plate, which is iconic, like Queen Shonee. First up were Sharn, Phoebe and Moana against Flick, Abbey and Lydia. Despite Abbey and Lydia being straight up beasts, they were no match for new Mokuta, with Moana clawing her way to victory for her tribe. Lucky Abbey and Lydia are strong, right? Lol. Immediately they started to blame Flick, which is honestly just fucked.

The next round featured Jacqui, Moana, Nick and David facing off against Locky, Mat, Shonee and Flick. Instantly Abbey started coaching Shonee through the challenge which would be sweet if she didn’t just vote her out for being weak. At the end of the day, it became a battle of the anchors, with David and Locky fighting tooth and nail until David grabbed the flag and another point for Mokuta. Abbey and Lydia then went up for redemption against Phoebe and Moana, and tragically got it, scoring a point despite some aggressive play of Phoebe, queen. The fourth round featured Locky, AK and Harry facing off against David, Zach and Lee, with the latter trio of beasts making easy work of the point, grabbing the flag and snatching reward for their new tribe.

We followed new Vakama back to camp where Abbey was smarting to have lost the reward challenge, though was embracing the new tribe and trying to find a place for herself and stay safe in the 5-5 split of the old tribe. She and Lydia went for a walk, confident that they won’t be the obvious targets, despite being beasts aka an easy target for the rival OG tribe. Shonee meanwhile immediately went swimming with Flick and Brooke, quickly pledging her allegiance to them and vowing to get rid of the jerks who tried to vote her off. Meanwhile David felt like he hit the jackpot at the Mokuta tribe, a luxury beach and the majority numbers in the tribe. Not to mention the bountiful tasting plate. Given most of his allies ended up on the other tribe, David realised that Zach would be the key to safety, given he likely wants revenge. Before they could talk weights, the tribe opened up a clue which advised everyone to go hunting for one of two keys which could open up the box and release the advantage for one person.

With that, they were off and racing! The tribe searched high and low around the island, until Nick stumbled upon the key amongst a dead log. Quickly he pulled Phoebe aside to let her know that he found it to try and solidify an alliance with his season mate. She assured him that she would keep look out while he slyly headed in to camp to open the box and snatch the advantage. Which he did, just as Jacqui found the other key. With the clock running out, Nick grabbed the advantage and disappeared as Jacqui stumbled into camp to learn that she had been pipped. Everyone returned to camp, with Nick desperately trying to hide the fact he open the box before disappearing to learn that he had found an extra vote. Which never really ends well in OG flavour Survivor.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where the tribes each had to pull a cart through the sand, collecting huge puzzle pieces while two people from the other tribe actively work to slow the others down. Once they make it to the end, they would then solve the puzzle for victory. With that John and Mat go ready to slow down their rivals, while Moana and Jacqui were selected from the rival tribe. Vakama got out to an early lead as Jacqui and Moana desperately tried to slow them down and Mokuta struggled against Mat and John. Vakama got to the end with a large advantage, though sadly for them, they didn’t have Nick, who got the tribe to coordinate the colours as they got them off, so the puzzle would be easy. He confidently coached his tribe through the puzzle, quickly putting it together while Vakama looked at their pieces in confusion. Piece by piece Mokuta continued to close the gap, then pipped Vakama and finally, scored a massive come from behind victory. And a hero moment for Nick. Swoon.

Back at camp Abbey was angry to continue her losing streak, so immediately set her sights on Shonee, who played no part in the tribe losing the challenge. With that, she and Lydia complained about Shonee in the water before approaching AK, Locky, Brooke and Flick to join with them to get rid of Shonee and keep the tribe strong. While the logic is solid, given it keeps threats around to take the heat of her, eventually she is the weakest in the tribe, and at what point do they stop voting out the weak. Abbey and Lydia were confident that they had locked in the vote for Shonee as the tribe reconvened by the fire, and they then saw Shonee working her magic in front of their very eyes. Shonee charmed her way through the OG Vakama tribe members, while pointing out that Abbey was the leader of Mokuta and as such, they need to weaken Mokuta by getting rid of her instead. Locky, Brooke and Flick genuinely seemed locked to join Shonee, so Shonee approached Harry to get him up to speed – perfectly downplaying their alliance – while Harry then worked on AK.

Oh and then Shonee pulled in Mat, assuring him that they will control this tribe and then come merge, get revenge on Sharn.

Abbey and Lydia were none the wiser, happily sitting around the fire while Shonee and Locky confirmed their alliance. Before Shonee gave herself a quick sand facial to celebrate. She then went deep into the jungle with Flick and Brooke, with the girls assuring her that they are with her 100%. However Brooke grew anxious about getting rid of muscle mass as they headed off for tribal.

At tribal council AK spoke about how well everyone was getting along at camp, given all the grumps had been moved to the rival tribe. Lydia agreed that everyone was getting along, while Mat was a little more realistic, admitting to being nervous to find himself on a tribe with Lydia who he blindsided with Queen Shane. This time Lydia seemed to be more open to moving forward, conveniently when she has to let go of her grudge for her own safety. RIP Shane. Abbey pretended that she was thrilled to see Shonee stay in the game, as she is such a great girl. Thankfully this led to peak Shonee, where she spoke about Abbey needing to wait and see whether she would let bygones be bygones. And then spoke about loving her new tribe with lots of new friends.

Mat reiterated that Shonee was just voted out by people that are sitting on the tribe, so revenge is the obvious course of action. Harry diverted things to the future, talking about how pivotal this moment is to all of their games, as it sets the direction heading into the merge. Locky spoke about the importance of keeping the tribe strong, though was glorious coy about what strong means to him. Lydia then complained about being at her fourth tribal council in a row and as such, she is sick of it and wants to win. This bored the hell out of Shonee, who was fed up with hearing about the importance of strength. Out of nowhere Locky and Brooke whispered about being nervous before Lydia tried one last ditch effort to keep strength. With that the tribe voted and Locky did keep the tribe strong by joining with Shonee, Harry and Mat to blindside Abbey and send her from the game as the sixth boot.

As much as I loved Abbey in her first season, she crossed Shonee and as such, I was thrilled to see her go. Which I told her as soon as she walked into Loser Lodge. While she tried to explain that Shonee’s social prowess and likeability reminded her of Pia – meaning she was her biggest threat out there – I was having none of it. And as such, I told her that I’m not mad – despite totally being mad – just disappointed, then handed her a tray of warm, sweet Abbearclaw Holmes.

 

 

Given how much I loved the Queen that saved us from the horrors of an athlete alliance just last season – bye Steven, Nova, Susie and E.T.! – I wanted to make something special for her second, victorious go around. And there is no pastry/cookie better than a bear claw – crunchy, melt in your mouth and baking an aggressive almond crunch. These are victorious … and I guess Abs deserves them, despite crossing Shon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbearclaw Holmes
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1 batch David Croissant dough
2 egg whites
1 ½ cup marzipan, cubed
1 ½ cup icing sugar
blanched almonds, to taste slash greed
milk, for brushin’
½ cup demerara sugar

Method
Make the croissant dough as per the instructions, all the way up to the part where you’re rolling, cutting and shaping.

To make the filling, combine the egg white and marzipan in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until cohesive and light. Reduce to low and slowly add the icing sugar, and once all combined, crank to medium and beat for a couple of minutes, or until light and fluffy.

To assemble, cut the dough into quarters and roll each portion into a 30cm square. Cut each into three equal strips and spread a couple of teaspoons of filling down the centre of each strip. Fold them in half to former filled, long strips and press the edges to close. Cut each strip into three, sealing each join and shape into a slight half moon as you transfer to a lined baking sheet.

Once the dough and filing is all gone, cut each strip four times, going half-way through the dough and split them slightly. Cover and leave to prove for an hour or so.

When they are puffy and beautiful – not like mine – press an almond into each gap on the claws. Brush with milk, sprinkle with the demerara and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and crispy.

Leave to cool slightly before devouring, wishing you had more social game.

 

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Abbean Holmes Soup

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Luke and Abbey were playing the middle of the two duos, with the former unaware that everyone – but Abbey – was plotting his demise. When he took out immunity and saved himself, Harry pivoted and put the target back on to his nemesis JaQueen. This put Luke and Abbey back in the middle and try as JaQueen and Pia might, they were unable to swing them back to their side, and JaQueen was tragically beheaded. Not literally, but it felt hard to watch. As Janine is a bloody icon.

Back at camp Pia was disheartened to have lost Janine though explained to the tribe that as an award winning actress, she could tell that it was coming since they’re shit actors. Abbey was proud to make it to the final five, and have the chance to show the jury that she can pull off a big blindside in getting rid of Janine. And since she has grown to enjoy a cheeky blindside, looked forward to rolling Pia next. Which can’t happen as my heart just couldn’t take it.

The next day Harry was thrilled to have Janine’s scalp in his collection like a munted Hannibal Lector. The rest of the tribe lazed about – Abbey not keen on having another bean, don’t tell John – while Harry decided that Luke is the last person left that could beat him in the final two, and as such, needs to go. He pulled Abbey and Baden aside to lock in the vote against Luke, and then quickly lined up the back-up target of Pia should he win another immunity. Given they can all see that she was the mastermind behind the boss lady. Speaking of Pia she wasn’t feeling it after losing her island bestie, though focused on her family who she was fighting for. She then put a smile on her dial, pretended to be happy and got to work winning people back without them noticing that she is coming for revenge.

She knew that Luke was her best shot, so huddled with him in the shelter and assured him that she has no desire to vote him out and as such, is his best bloody shot at staying in the game. He assured Pia that she has nothing to worry about as he knows he will be booted the moment he doesn’t have immunity or an idol. As such he went searching for another idol and after days of meandering the jungle, finally spotted a clue hidden in the tree. It led him to the other end of the beach where another clue was hidden within a coconut. This in turn led him back to camp to grab a machete before heading back to the coconut where he learnt that he didn’t find an idol and instead, won the power to send someone out of tribal council before the vote which makes them safe and robs them of the right to vote. At the final five. Which is fucking huge.

My dear Jonathan and his guns of steel returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would stack dominos along a beam tethered to a trip obstacle, with the first person to stack their dominos and have them clang – is clang the right word? – into a gong snatching immunity. Harry and Abbey got out to an early lead, while Luke trailed closely behind. Luke dropped three blocks, followed by Harry dumping a bunch handing Abbey the lead, with Baden close behind. Everyone kinda caught up, while Abbey, Baden and Pia tried to respace their blocks to give them a shot at victory. Baden then knocked all of his off the beam, allowing Abbey the chance to snatch victory however she didn’t space hers enough bringing it down to a fight between Luke and Pia, with Luke actually snatching a record equalling individual immunity.

Back at camp Harry was super grumpy about Luke’s winning streak, knowing full well that he and his fake son don’t stand a chance against him in the final two. He and Abbey went for a walk to lock in the plan B to take out Pia, with Harry sure that there is no way she will win anything and as such, will not help them get rid of Luke. Baden joined the duo and they all locked in the plan, worried about getting caught and then straight up giving each other pinky promises under the watchful eye of Pia and Luke. Pia laughed about them clearly planning to vote her out, though vowed not to go down without a fight. Unaware that she was charming the shit out of her biggest hope.

Abbey caught up with Luke, completely unaware that he knows she is gunning for him and Pia. He assured Baden, Harry and Abbey that he was with them until the end, though he was hopeful that he would be able to swing something to save Pia. He approached her and promised that no matter how it looks at tribal council, to trust him and she will be safe. He told us that his plan is to send Baden back to camp and force Harry into turning on Abbey with him and Pia. Knowing they needed to lull her into a false sense of security, Pia and Luke approached Abbey to float getting rid of Harry. Pia said she would be putting her acting skills to use at tribal, Abbey was unaware of the plot against her and Luke was honestly so far down a rabbithole that he worried that he would end up blindsiding himself.

Again, like a fucking icon.

At tribal council Luke interrupted Jonathan’s praise of his immunity streak by standing up, handing over the note and immediately sending Baden straight back to camp. He exited in utter confusion, thrilled to make it to the final four but shocked about what will go down in his absence. Abbey and Harry were shocked about the turn of events, while Pia pretended to be disappointed that he didn’t choose to save her. Luke then started whispering to Pia, which made Harry and Abbey nervous, though Harry admitted that it is unlikely that Luke would leave his plan to the very last minute and as such, it was all for show. Jonathan tried to rub salt in their wounds about being left out, leading to Luke whispering to Abbey while Pia whispered that Harry was awesome.

Sensing his imminent doom, Harry started to burn everything down and told them all that Luke is in control and unbeatable. He then mentioned that there is one way that they can save themselves, unaware that he is only burning himself given Luke isn’t going to flip on Pia to keep a fellow immunity threat around. Pia reminded everyone that staying focused on Luke is forcing others to make stupid decisions, while Luke said that only one person needs to worry this tribal council and it is about time they take the garbage out. Pia admitted that she is kind of shocked to potentially making it through the tribal and Harry tried to remind everyone that he is not the biggest threat left in the game.

With that the tribe voted and Luke and Pia’s hail Mary plan worked perfectly, with Abbey voting Harry, Harry voting Pia and Pia and Luke banding together to blindside Abbey from the game. And impressing the hell out of the jury with their flashy move. While she was overshadowed by her former closest allies Pia and Janine’s dominant games, she formed one third of Australian Survivor’s answer to the Black Widow Brigade and that is something that makes me immensely proud. Particularly after she blindsided her childhood hero and one of the aforementioned closest allies slash queens. In any event, she did me proud and surprisingly I told her that, took her in my arms and gave her a clearly island appropriate bowl of Abbean Holmes Soup. Despite the fact she wished to never eat another bean.

 

 

Essentially flavoured just like a can of refried beans, this isn’t going to be something that everyone loves. But if you love refried beans like Ab (used to) and I, roll right up. Earthy, spiced and pack with simple charm, this baby proves that sometimes plain(ish) can be your favourite flavour.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbean Holmes Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 chipotles in adobo
800g canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp thyme leaves
a small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
100g queso fresco, crumbled

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic, tomatoes and chipotles, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pinto beans and cook off any excess liquid from the rinsing before adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and simmer for half an hour, stirring infrequently.

Once the liquid has reduced to be just under the solids, add the herbs and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat, season and blitz until smooth.

Return to the heat and cook for another five minutes, adding some extra stock if it is too thick. Serve, top with queso and devour through the tears of your life.

 

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Ricklette Devens

Main, Pasta, Survivor, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor Joe and Aubry had only managed to find one friend on the Kama tribe in the form of Aurora, which made her on the bottom with them by default. Meanwhile Manu were struggling to win challenges except for a large chicken reward, which Wendy wanted to let loose to get money from Sia. Despite being the obvious target for that and her injured ankle, Wardog – cringe – got the target off her and Wentworth – who David still wanted to take out – instead turning the tribe on Chris. And thankfully sending him and the beautiful way he fills his boxers to Extinction, rather than off my TV forever.

Sadly for him the welcome party of Reem and Keith weren’t overly supportive of him being booted, given he voted both of them out and they are super salty. Given she is the queen of Extinction, Reem was not feeling sympathetic at all and TBH, I still love her.

The next day we returned to Manu where Kelley pointed out how skinny Wendy is, which was the perfect distraction for returning the flint. Sadly they all realised that Wendy had taken it, pissing off Kelley and Lauren, while she confided in David that she did it to save the chickens. Everyone but Wendy and David pow-wowed on the beach to confirm that she will be the next to go, which obviously led to both tribes joined Probst on a beach for the next challenge. Psyche, it’s time to drop your buffs people! Only it wasn’t much off a swap. The new green tribe – Lesu – is made up entirely of the Manu tribe that wanted to get rid of Wendy, minus Wendy … who was joined on Manu by Aubry, Gavin, Eric and Victoria while Joe, Ron, Julie, Julia and Aurora remained on Kama. So basically All Stars swap that should have been the end of Amber, and instead ended Boston Rob’s friendship with Lex and Kathy.

Which still breaks my heart.

At the reduced Kama tribe they fivesome got to dancing, with Joe feeling a new lease on life given the numbers are down and he can build new relationships while others are away. He and Ron went for a chat by the well to solidify their bond and take control with Aurora. Sadly for Joe it was all a scam on Ron’s part, who pulled him aside to allow Julia to go through his bag and check if he has an idol. And damn, the peppy teacher has game and I live. Oh and we know Joe doesn’t have the idol. At the new Lesu tribe, Manu minus Wendy were hopeful that they could finally win a challenge given things are fairly even now. Though Rick knew that given they have no odd person out, they are screwed and will splinter quickly. We checked in with Kelley, who was struggling by having to start from scratch again until she was distracted by Lauren who was starting to break down, feeling nauseated, exhausted and was missing her supports.

Over at Manu, Wendy gave her new tribemates a tour of the camp and was super cute and lulling everyone into a false sense of security. While Aubry was thrilled to no longer be on the bottom, that disarming charm made her want to work with Wendy. Particularly since she gave them all a complete rundown on her former tribe, pointing out Kelley was the godfather and she and David were out to get each other the entire time. Talk turned to the chickens, with the former Kama members excited to kill one and have a snack and you could see the moment Wendy decided to release them. And with that, she waited until the cover of darkness and set them free. Which surely isn’t going to end well for her.

We returned to the Island of Extinction where Keith and Reem continued to sulk and be bitter about being stuck on their own, with Keith willing the flag to raise with his mind. Keith was still angry with Chris for blindsiding him and while Reem tried to bring him around, poor sweet Chris got introspective and dealt with his need and desire to be perfect. He then walked up the beach in the boxers, glistening in sea water with fish and I just fainted from dehydration.

Back at Manu Eric awoke to discover that the chickens have disappeared, going to Victoria and Aubry to complain about how desperately they wanted food. Sadly for Big Wendy, the chickens skulked about the jungle within earshot, which made the tribe desperate to catch them, kill them and vote out Wendy. Which she said would be better than seeing the chicken eaten.

Before we can see if the chickens are recaught, Probst returned for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes would have to run over A-frame, pull a crate along a track and open said crate to release puzzle pieces and then, obvi, solve said puzzle. The rain started pouring down making everyone’s lives harder, though Manu managed to get out to an early lead, with Kama close behind and Lesu trailing. Badly. Until the final A-frame, where Lesu managed to close the gap, though not by much. Kama and Manu got to the puzzle neck-and-neck, with Lesu still closing the gap. The puzzle is too hard to tell who is in front, so obviously Kama took out victory as did Manu, just. Sending the tribe with only OG Manus back to tribal.

Back at camp the tribe quickly got to scrambling, despite being heartbroken that they would have to turn on each other after voting together all season. David and Rick went for a walk and decided Kelley has a hidden immunity idol, and as such, they should vote against Lauren. Particularly since she is sick. Speaking of the ladies, they vowed not to turn against each other and identified Rick as the most likely person to flip, deciding to pull in Wardog to take him out. Wentworth approached Wardog, who pointed out that he is in the middle of two pairs, though given he saved Wentworth and turned on his closest ally, I don’t see it as that bigger struggle. He checked in with everyone, with the boys locking in Lauren and the girls set on Rick, while the Wardog was only sure about referring to himself in third person.

At tribal council Probst got the news update from Rick who seemed well aware that he could very much be leaving the game tonight, despite the tribes loves for one another. And respect, which Wardog doesn’t want Probst to forget. Lauren lamented the pain of starting over on a new beach, Wentworth admitted her first two appearances meant nothing and being stuck in the rain is shitty for everyone. She then broke down about how close they’ve gotten and how hard this tribal is and damn, I still love her. Rick echoed the sentiment, Wardog spoke about how despite the pain, he still loves the game. Rick spoke about being scared in life, and hoping that he could work through it thanks to the game. David mentioned how much stronger he is thanks to his first game and putting himself out there. Lauren continued the love in, though admitted that this tribal will see a line drawn in the sand no matter how they feel. David and Kelley said it was one of their most special, saddest tribals before the tribe voted and poor Rick found himself voted out of the tribe and sent to live with the man-god known as Chris and his bitter posse. Because he obviously wasn’t turning down his chance.

I did add a little bit of excitement however, as instead of waiting before the sign and helping Rick make his decision, I jumped out as he was about to board the boat and scared the living hell out of him. But given I gave him a big ol’ bowl of Ricklette Devens to go, he couldn’t hold a grudge.

 

 

Raclette has become a social media champ of late, with its melty goodness and while I avoid that technique here, it is still glorious. Earthy mushrooms, sweet thyme and the punch of raclette mingle together for a mind blowing, simple pasta.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ricklette Devens
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g linguine
2 tbsp butter
500g button mushrooms, sliced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
½ cup dry vermouth
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp thyme, roughly chopped
250g raclette, grated

Method
Cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

While it is getting its rollick on, melt the butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Once foaming, add the mushrooms and cook for five minutes, or until the liquid has reabsorbed. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a minute before adding the vermouth to deglaze. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, season and add thyme.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and cheese to the pain and stir to combine, loosening with the cooking water until you get the desired consistency.

Serve and devour.

 

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Carole Radtzikiwill

Condiment, Dip, Vegetarian

I’ve been feeling super rundown and sad after returning to work, so I reached out to my dear friend Carole Radziwill – or Radzi as Countess LuAnn and I call her – and thankfully she was free to drop by.

Obviously I met Carole and her late husband Anthony in the ‘90s when I interned at ABC to try and woo Anthony in the hope of marrying into the wider Kennedy family. While he only had eyes for Carole, I was immediately taken by her down to earth nature and the love they shared and bowed out with dignity for once.

Watching their love grow and becoming such dear friends was a true blessing, however the tragic way it came to a close was painful to watch and I am glad I was able to support Caz through the horrible period she lived through in ‘99.

Oh and fun fact: our closeness if what made Aviva accuse her of using a ghostwriter. Which she didn’t do as she is an award winning journalist, damnit.

Thankfully our life is a bit less traumatic now – Caz’s even more so after bowing out of RHONY and leaving Dorinda as my sole fave – so it was such a delight to just sit, gossip and on my part, try and convince her to return to The Housewives if I can convince Andy to get rid of The B.

While she didn’t appear open to it, she was thrilled to open her mouth and smash a vat of my Carole Radtzikiwill.

 

 

As a child, I hated the entire concept of tzatziki. I don’t know if it is the general vibe of dodgy 90s or my irrational rage against cucumber, but I couldn’t stomach it. Until I had a really good one and I fell in love. Fresh, zingy and packing a punch, it is beautiful on its own or perfect slathered on a yiro or souvlaki.

Enjoy!

 

 

Carole Radtzikiwill
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups greek yoghurt.
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Chuck everything in a bowl.

Stir, cover and chill for an hour.

Devour.

 

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Lisa Wilkinscone

Baking, Dessert, Snack

Where do I start with my dear friend Lisa Wilkinson? I mean, while her defection from the Today show came as a massive shock to you, the general public, it is a decision that we had been methodically planning for months. Nay, years! Well at least for me.

You see, while I am a close friend of the Today show given my friendships with Karl and Sylv, I felt that Lisa was being underutilised and slow opened her eyes to this fact. Then contract negotiations kicked off, then failed and a couple of phones calls later, she was heading to primetime on Ten … and we’d be working together in no time after she secures me a spot on one of their reality shows.

That, for both of us, is the end goal – headlining a show together. And wouldn’t it be stunning.

Lis and I first connected in the ‘80s whilst working under the same glossy umbrella before she ultimately succeeded me as the editor of Cleo when I sensationally quit to start a male version He-ho, which was going to be comprised solely of centrefolds. While it tragically never took off, Lisa admired my spirit and we became the fastest of friends.

Given she has been busy relaxing before kicking off her new job, we haven’t seen each other in the last few months. It was truly wonderful to take some time out together to reconnect, decompress and plot the quickest way she can get me from an island to co-hosting something with her.

I feel like I’m going to say too much, so let’s just say my Lisa Wilkinscone are the perfect cure to starvation.

 

 

Are they fancy? No. Are they difficult? Again, no. Are they delicious? Fuck yes. Slather them in butter and some Strawberry Plaza Jam … or Jams Mansfield, and you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Lisa Wilkinscone
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
3 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter, cubed
1 ¼ cups milk
Strawberry Plaza Jam or Jams Mansfield and whipped cream, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles wet sand.

Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk and using a butter knife, cut across the bowl until just combined. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, making sure not to over-work the dough.

Flatten the dough until it is roughly 2cm thick and cut into small, cookie-sized discs. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and puffed. Transfer to a cooling rack for ten minutes before devouring slathered in butter, jam and cream.

 

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Sylvia Jafflies

Main, Snack

Let me tell you, the phrase contractually obligated has never made me feel better! While my lunch date with Sylvia started off quite awkwardly – on account of my epic over-the-phone tantrum – she sat me down, and in her calmest newsreader voice, explained that she only hosted the greatest annual Christmas program on Australian television with my ex because it was contractually obligated.

Contractually obligated. Who would have thought that phrase could sound so good? Particularly after contractual obligations have forced me into appearing in questionable programs overseas and being the face of Spam for the entirety of the ‘90s.

Now I know that I would normally launch into an epic tirade and stir up a feud if they tried to use contracts to explain their actions, but Sylvia is honestly one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met and as such, I didn’t question the pain it caused her to buddy up with Curt.

As I mentioned, Sylvs and I were thrust together in 2006 after missing the first day of Spanish class at UQ and were required to sit a make-up class. As is oft the case, I realised that her grasp of the language was far superior to mine, so hitched my wagon to hers and became study buddies slash friends. I mean, sure, most of our study dates at Wordies were spoken in English but that made for a fun ride in class and helped me receive so many disappointed sighs from our Colombian teacher.

When we weren’t downing arancini – not Arianna’s – while learning our pluscuamperfecto, I did my best to culturally appropriate – is that a way I can use it, probs not, but you get what I mean – Latin American cuisine to further our education. Which is how I invented the Sylvia Jafflies.

 

 

Jaffles are probably the greatest invention for uni students – cheap, quick and easy, and oh so comforting when you’re wanting to die at the end of semester. Add the additional comfort of chilli and guac, and you’ve got the ultimate study food. Scrap that, just food. It is the ultimate food.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sylvia Jafflies
Serves: 2 distracted Spanish students.

Ingredients
4 slices white bread
butter
1 cup Chilli con Kim Carnes
100g sliced Mexican manchego
1 avocado, mashed
sour cream, to taste
Sriracha, to taste

Method
Now this is harder than an end of semester entrevista, so pay attention.

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

Divide the chilli across two slices, top each with manchego and close the sandwiches with the remaining bread.

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

Butter the remaining pieces of bread and close the machine.

Cook until the red light turns green … aka five minutes or so, and the bread golden and the cheese is gooey.

Slather in avo, sour cream and sriracha before devouring, carefully, on account of the piping hot cheese.

 

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Splendour en espanol

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I know that Christmas is the time of comfort and joy, or the tidings thereof at the very least, but I have to admit my dear friend Sylvia Jeffrey’s behaviour had me feeling neither over the last week.

You see, while me and all of our Queensland mates were deep in election fever last weekend, I discovered that she was flaunting her friendship with my ex Curt – yes, Curtis ma’ fuckin’ Stone – on Christmas with the Australian Women’s Weekly.

Given that we met during a make-up class of UQ’s SPAN1020 after attending 2006’s Splendour in the Grass, I expected her loyalty would fall to me in the break-up. Emotionally broken, I picked up the phone and screamed down the line at my dear friend Syl that – in the words of the wise Sue Hawk – I felt violated, humiliated and totally spent Jeff … reys.

I cried, I sobbed and I successfully guilted her into a date to reconnect. What says, while I’m proud of everything you’ve achieved since uni, I can’t believe you’d work with Curt after the way he broke my heart?

Soy embarazado, entonces ¡ que divertido !

Picture source: Unknown.

 

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Karl Stroganovic

Main, Pasta

While he didn’t explicitly say it, my boy Karl desperately needed a cuddle and a catch-up to pick him up and get him through the final few weeks of the year. Given the stress he’s been under, he hasn’t been the breakfast mainstay that we’ve come to know and love this last year, and I am heartbroken to admit, that that has really gotten him down.

“Ben, my dearest best Ben-friend after Fordo. I just feel like I’ve let my Today family, and everyone, down.”

Gaaaahhhh, how heartbreaking is that?

I held him close and told him that everything would be ok and the public would soon be distracted by another shiny scandal … and that he is beautiful, looks like a model, like Linda Evangelista. Look at that smile etc. While he was confused about that little outburst before I explained that Stan, part of the Nine stable, is Australia’s RPDR champion, he held me for a few moments, soaking in the unconditional love of his dear friend. And surprisingly, that soaking is figuratively. For once.

I’ve known Karl for years, after meeting in the Nine News Brisbane newsroom in the early ‘00s. While the fact we both had the generic appearance of a young Ray Martin pitted us as competition, our sense(s?) of humour brought us together. We’ve been friends ever since and I’ve proudly celebrated his achievements after all these years.

After working through the darker parts of our years – did I ever tell you about the time someone tried to act offended that I didn’t want to attend a work lunch when I hate crowds/people? – we got to work bringing joy back to our lives. And there is nothing more joyful than my Karl Stroganovic.

 

 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I used to have some serious hang-ups about strog due to my mother. While she always tries her best, particularly in the kitchen, ‘90s Tweed Heads was not good for beef strips, nor did she help the sitch with strog. My dear, sweet grandmother used to tell her that me regurgitating the meat was ok because I was masticating the goodness from it, but I wish she just suggested cooking the meat in a manner that made it tender. Like this.

After submerging the beef in the sweet, sweet stroganoff sauce, the meat starts to melt away and make me wish the culinary memories of the ‘90s ent with it. Delicate, tender and oh-so-comforting, this is the perfect dish to get you excited for 2017’s end.

Enjoy!

 

 

Karl Stroganovic
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
75g butter
2 onions, diced
3 cloves garlic
250g white mushrooms, finely sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
½ cup beef stock
⅔ cup brandy
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
500g beef fillet, cut into strips
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup sour cream
small handful parsley, finely chopped

Method
Melt half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until nice and foamy before adding the onion and garlic, and cooking for three minutes, or until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of extra minutes. Add the paste, mustard and paprika and cook for a further minute, before stirring through the stock, brandy and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for about five minutes.

Add the beef strips to the bubbling sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Season, add the sour cream and stir to combine.

Remove from the heat, stir through the parsley and serve on a bed of buttered pasta. Then devour, obvi.

 

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Tomorrow is a notter today

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

As you know, my boy Karl has had a hella rough slash oft controversial last year. His marriage dissolved in an extremely public way, and his falling to second most popular Today personality – after Sylvia, obvi – lead to the unnecessarily scandalous exit for his co-worker Lis.

The year is coming to a close, we’re all fucking tired and Karl, more than anyone, could use a cuddle from his dearest friend. So I picked up the phone and asked him to drop by and reconnect.

For one of my famously comforting cuddles.

What says, I love you, I miss you and I’m more than willing to throwing 2017 in the trash and help you reclaim your breakfast TV throne?

Picture source: Unknown.

 

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