Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon

Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeff warmly welcomed us back to the tropical islands of Fiji before warning the cast that this is a new era, with a shorter game that was harder and packed full of twists to keep them on their toes. After making them work hard for the simplest of supplies, Jeff gagged them at the first immunity challenge by announcing that only one tribe would be immune and both of the losers would head to tribal council. While Luvu pulled off a come from behind victory, Yase were the first tribe to head to tribal council where poor Abraham was gagged to become the first boot.

But let’s back up a little bit.

After losing the challenge, we followed Ua back to camp with Sara sobbing to have lost the challenge, though she vowed to fight as hard as possible despite being on the puzzle. And losing a piece temporarily, costing them precious time. She and Ricard caught up however, agreeing that JD needed to go which led to Ricard rallying the tribe to get rid of him. Which he did very quickly, until Brad suggested getting rid of Sara or Shan would be a good idea too. DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEM. Brad then pulled JD aside with Shan to fill him in on the situation, suggesting they should instead get rid of Sara. And while Shan felt nervous trusting Brad, she felt like she was best placed socially to ultimately get what she wants.

At tribal council Ua too were feeling their oats as a tribe, loving the fact they have had zero drama. Brad meanwhile offered to give up their pot if they can stay together, just a little while longer, which Probst tragically didn’t accept. Shan spoke about the zen way they elected JD to participate in the challenge, with him pretending that he was completely honest and it just wasn’t worth lying about. Sara meanwhile suggested the entire situation seemed completely implausible, whether she believed him or not. Talk soon turned to the missing puzzle piece which cost them the challenge before Genie kindly summed up that it is what it is. 

As JD started talking, Ricard started whispering to Sara and Shan to see who they should vote out. This led to Probst calling them out, setting off a live tribal council as everyone started throwing out names. Ricard suggested they get rid of Brad while Shan and JD debated the merits of keeping Brad or Sara. The tribe grew more and more paranoid before Brad asked if they could pop their die in their pockets in case, before Shan begged Jeff to just let them vote. And with that, they did, as JD pocketed his extra vote and nobody opted to play their Shot in the Dark. As such, the votes piled up on half the tribe before Sara found herself becoming the second boot.

Poor Sara was absolutely heartbroken to be the first person voted out of her tribe, though was so grateful to see me. You see, as we both work in the healthcare industry we obviously got to know each other and became the best of friends. When I saw that she was part of the cast, I was confident her sweet charm would take her far so let out an epic scream when I saw her enter Loser Lodge. I mean, it was so loud it probably shook the Sandra and Rob heads on whatever beach they were left on.

Anyway, given the quick turnaround between boot and departure, I quickly gave her a hug, reminded her she was amazing and popped a comforting Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon in a take-away container before she realised I accidentally cursed her game with food.

Yep, once again the Survivor pizza curse lives on! But as I often say, when they taste this good, my friends can’t really complain about missing out on the title and million dollar prize that goes along with it. In any event, the nutty, smokiness of the cheese works perfectly with the delicate artichoke and after finishing it off, you can feel nothing but happiness.

Enjoy!

Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
extra virgin olvie oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup smoked Gouda, grated
½ cup mozzarella, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
⅔ cup artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Spread out your bases and drizzle with a little bit of oil. Sprinkle over the garlic, followed by most of the cheeses. Divide the artichokes amongst them, top with the rest of the cheese and a good whack of pepper and a pinch of salt.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, happy that while pizza still fucks over reality contestants post-COVID, it tastes damn good.


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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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Wai Chimichangas

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

Previously on Australian Survivor 18 icons fell by the wayside and only six remained in the game. As one of only two Brawns left in the game, Dani continued her reward streak by winning the ultimate spa reward, where she finally convinced Hayley to flip on George. Before any further discussions could take place, they ventured to the immunity challenge where Wai came from behind and upset everyone to win immunity. And by upset, absolutely delighted as she screamed and cried from the shock of it all like a pure icon. We learnt that Hayley and Wai continued to play the middle, debating between the two remaining pairs to join with to get to the top four. Flick meanwhile found an idol, giving an edge to the Brawns so she held on to it before she and Dani discovered Hayley was not in fact with them and as such, Dani was booted from the game.

The next day Wai and Flick were counting down the sleeps left in the outback while the girls spoke about how cold it is getting overnight. Talk turned to the champagne reward with Flick admitting that she couldn’t shut up in the hot tub, giddy from the excitement, champagne or both. Meanwhile Hayley shared with us that she stuck with the Brains at the last tribal council because Dani and Flick said that they would never vote for Cara, Wai and George at the final tribal and since the former duo have the most friends on the jury, getting rid of them was her priority. Hayley and George caught up and reaffirmed their loyalty to each other, agreeing that like Dani, Flick needs to go otherwise she destroys them all at final tribal.

Speaking of Flick, she was feeling super lonely being the last Brawn standing though given she has a hidden immunity idol, she is at least guaranteed final four. Which is a problem for the Brains, given they are committed to voting her out and no other option. So, someone is about to get burnt.

While Flick knew that she was safe for one night, she realised that she had to plan longer term and as such, pulled Wai aside. Immediately the duo agreed that going to the final three with Hayley makes the most sense for both of their games, given no one can beat the unbreakable Cara and George duo. Wai and Cara caught up while hunting for supplies, with the former admitting that she doesn’t want to play by the rules anymore and wants to make the game her own. And well, part of that includes taking out George as the biggest threat while also calling him out for bordering on mean from time to time.

Next up in the personal recaps was George who was proud of his game, narrowly avoiding the boot week after week and making the biggest moves. He shared that his biggest priority is to make the right choice to get to the end and win, rather than make friends. As such, George caught up with Hayley and shared that his only shot at winning is against Hayley and as such, they need each other. Which is the only real pitch to keep her from flipping on him, so well done George.

My love Jonathan arrived for the final five immunity challenge where they would have to face off crawling across a pole to retrieve sandbags which they would use to knock off blocks, use said blocks to knock off a key and then the key to release a grappling hook. And what happens with the grappling hook, you ask? Well, they use that to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle.

Obviously Hayley and Flick got out to an early lead while poor Wai struggled to cross the log. As the other four started tossing their bags at the blocks, George opted to press pause and help Wai out so they could all continue on in the challenge together. Cara overtook the others and was first to start with the blocks, but was quickly joined by the rest of the tribe. Cara was first to make it to the grappling hook and jagged her puzzle pieces before anyone else joined her. As Cara worked through the puzzle, Hayley quickly won all of her pieces and joined her while the other three languished at the back of the pack. While Cara slowly pulled away, she discovered that one of her pieces was wrong as Hayley closed the gap, before George joined them. But it was all for nought as Hayley figured out the last piece and quickly secured another individual immunity win.

The tribe returned to camp with George thrilled by the outcome of the challenge, given they just needed Flick to not win. As such the Brains were comfortable with piling all the votes on Flick, with George taking it one step further and encouraging her to go find a hidden immunity idol, completely unaware that she already has one. As such, Flick got to work pretending to wander around camp looking for an idol so the Brains don’t get spooked and ruin her plan to get rid of George with her one vote.

Flick reflected on her journey throughout the season, glad that her social game has gotten her to this point. Particularly since she has had to fight against her grief for the last week. Sadly Flick was caught by George sitting quietly by the billabong and as such, deduced that she already found the idol and as such, he needed to switch things up. He quickly ran back to camp and found Cara, sharing his suspicions and suggesting that the two of them stack their votes on Wai instead to guarantee one of them isn’t idolled from the ground. Which is a great plan and shows his killer instincts for the game, but damn, don’t let me lose Wai.

While Cara was all on board with the plan, solely because of her trust in George, she was nervous about splitting the vote without looping Hayley in and thus potentially burning a bridge. After a brief back and forth, Cara put her foot down, very concerned about leaving Hayley out this close to the end and telling George she isn’t just going to blindly follow him and either way they go is risky.

Speaking of said risks, Flick pulled Hayley aside and pointed out that the alliance of four is barrelling towards a 2-2 tie and as such, one of the duos needs her to make it to the final three. Which is classic, logical survivor. But Hayley said that she was only on board if Wai was willing to flip. Which she obviously was, despite the fact George wasted time in the challenge to help her along.

At tribal council Hayley spoke about how grateful she is to be wearing the immunity necklace this close to the end. Wai meanwhile was grateful that George helped her in the immunity challenge, showing a side of him that not many people are seeing in the game. George put it down to just doing the right thing by his friends. As Flick spoke about being out of options, George started whispering to Cara about sticking with the safe vote and not splitting. George admitted that he told Flick that she wasn’t going to make it to Day 45 while Flick gloriously pretended to be down and out.

Jonathan asked Flick what happens when she is gone with Flick suggesting a girls alliance could form to oust George, otherwise they will split down the line of duos with the added complication of Hayley probably wanting to sit next to George at final tribal council. Hayley then suggested that maybe she has an idol and this is all a ploy before Wai admitted this would be a perfect time to leverage Flick however if you don’t pull it off correctly, you risk yourself going home. Hayley was nervous that this vote was make or break for each of them, while George just cautioned everyone to err on the side of caution.

With that, the tribe voted before Flick gagged them all by playing her idol and despite wanting to be the sole vote to finally get rid of George, he and Cara stuck with their plan and loaded two votes on poor Queen Wai who joyously exited the game.

Sweet Wai was an absolute delight as she arrived at the Jury Villa, equal parts disappointed to be out of the game and thrilled by how well she did despite being the obvious first boot. As soon as she saw me she let out the same squeal she did upon winning immunity, thrilled to be united with her dear friend. You see, Wai and I are part of the same literary circles and have been best friends for years and years. Which is why I knew that after 44 days in the bush, she would need a big plate of Wai Chimichangas to help recover.

I know I say this a lot, but I really love Mexican food. Even if my versions err more closely to the Tex Mex side of the equation. In any event, these spicy little numbers are near perfection – hot, rich, earthy and sweet, by the time you add some fresh avo and lime, you’ve got yourself a new favourite meal.

Enjoy!

Wai Chimichangas
Serves: 2 famished friends or 4 regular peeps.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushin’
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup chicken stock
400g tin diced tomatoes
4 cups shredded roast chicken
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving
2 cups refried beans
8 flour tortillas
1 ½ cups Mexican cheese, grated
Lady Guagamole, to serve
small handful coriander leaves, to serve
lime wedges, to serve
hot sauce, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute. Stir through the tomato paste before adding the tomatoes, stock and chicken. Season and bring to the boil before reducing to a low and simmering until most of the liquid is reduced. Then stir through the sour cream.

To assemble, place your tortillas on the bench and divide the refried beans between them, smearing in the middle to leave ‘clean’ space around the edges. Add some of the chicken mixture – about half a cup – before a sprinkle of cheese. Fold in the sides and roll like a burrito before transferring to a lined baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat the process until down.

Brush each chimichanga with some oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Serve immediately slathered with guac, sour cream, coriander, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Whatever you prefer.

Then, obvi, devour.


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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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Chicken Kezadilla McGee

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani and Simon were enjoying holding all the power over on Brawns. However after the Brains evened things up thanks to Hayley, Dani and Chelsea grew tired of Simon’s power specifically, convincing the Brains to work with them to throw the challenge and boot him from the game. While everyone was easily convinced, Dani pushed hard to get the tribe to do her bidding, making it clear it was her move. This annoyed Hayley, who decided she needed to be knocked down a peg and instead threw some votes on Dani as a backup to guarantee Flick is safe should Simon play his idol/s. Ultimately Simon was blindsided, zaddy king, while Dani was left back at camp, irate to have received some votes.

After tribal council Hayley, Flick and the Brains were thrilled by the outcome of tribal council, while Dani called out Hayley for casting some votes against her as a back-up, knowing that if the blindside failed, she would have gone home. While Dani continued to rage, identifying Hayley as the next to go, Queen Hayley just calmly explained that she couldn’t afford to have Flick go home given they are tight and as such, loaded some votes on Dani as a back-up. Simple as that. And ugh, I love how businesslike she is.

The next day the tribes ventured straight to Jonathan where Flick shaded Simon for being blindsided by his own arrogance. Dani tried to sell herself as the mastermind of the move, while George was confident that the Brains were peaking. Particularly since Brains and Brawns are no more, as the tribes are merged. With that, the final 13 dropped their buffs, grabbing a new stunning dark teal number – finally mixing things up – and were gagged for their first individual reward challenge.

Everyone would need to dig up sacks and then use a see-saw to land their sacks on poles, with the first person to land two scoring the first choice at the merge buffet. With everyone that comes after them getting the dregs, including hidden items, a boiled egg and a phone call home. Gerald, Baden, Emmett, Laura and Emmett were first to start shooting their sacks, with Emmett first to land a bag before the rest of the tribe joined them. 

George landed a sack, quickly followed by his second, immediately snatching a burger from the feast. Hayley finished second and snatched herself a steak and beer, allowing her and George enough time to catch up on the state of their tribes. Despite being the last to get her sacks, Chelsea was next and jagged herself a phone call home. Dani picked a baked potato, Wai went for a covered item of pancakes while Cara lucked out with some donuts. Emmett got a surprise jar of lollies, Baden got a hidden boiled egg, Laura grabbed surprise pizza and wine, while Andrew got smashed avo, Flick picked a bowl of rice leaving Kez and Gerald to fight it out for the banana and milk.

With the challenge over Chelsea finally gave her boyfriend a call, breaking down as they caught up and the tribe cutely yelled out to Jimmy in the background. And well, Chelsea is now fired up and ready to fight for the win.

The tribe finally ventured to the merge camp where Kez was thrilled to be reunited with her gal pals, while Wai was shocked to have made it this far while Emmett tried to bring the remaining Brawns back together. While they technically had a numbers disadvantage, Emmett was confident that given George and Cara have always felt on the bottom of the Brains, he could take control of the merge tribe and well, game. And given how elaborately he spoke about felling the brains, it doesn’t feel like things will go well for him since pride, you know, comes before the fall.

Talk turned to what to call the tribe, with Emmett suggesting ‘Love’, while George wanted to call it ‘Queen Elizabeth’ or ‘Unity,’ which Dani thankfully shut down. Sadly however she didn’t kill his next choice, ‘Fire’. With that, the Fire Tribe were born and Dani got to work telling all the Brawns just how dangerous Hayley is and that she needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile Gerald tried to charm George with some union poetry, while Hayley calmly charmed Laura into bringing all the Brains back together. Which Hayley desperately needed since she is at a massive disadvantage with the rest of the tribe locked together against her. But Hayley being Hayley, she realised she needed just two more at the next vote, so spoke to Flick and Gerald about joining the Wai, Baden, Andrew, Hayley and Laura alliance. Hayley reminded Flick that the other alliance are in control of the game and have compelling cases to win, and as such, she and Gerald need to join with the desperate people to make a move and take control, boosting their own resumes.

Flick caught up with Chelsea, who quickly shat on Hayley’s pitch – obviously – before returning to Hayley and assuring her that she is all in, but is worried about how exactly she will be able to pull Gerald to their side. WIth that, Hayley quickly disappeared to try and come up with plan B through Z. She caught up with her solid five to desperately try and think of said plans, while the other eight confidently laughed it up back at camp. But given that Hayley still has an idol and is ready to play to take one of her rivals out, I don’t think they should let their guards down.

Again, pride. Falls. All that jazz.

George meanwhile was off on his own, trying to play both sides. First things first, he pulled Emmett aside to talk about booting Hayley due to her scrambling. However Emmett shared that he’d prefer to flush out the idol instead and get rid of her next. As such, George went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Laura and Baden, pointing out that he would rather jump back to the Brains and as such, will get the information to ensure Hayley plays her idol at the correct time. And you know, destroy the hopes and dreams of the Brawns.

With so much scrambling already complete, the Fire tribe joined Jonathan for the first immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a bar above their heads to keep a ball balanced in a gutter. Last one standing taking out victory. Gerald was first to drop, followed by Wai and Hayley. This made Dani feel confident enough to drop, followed by Laura and Cara. Kez, Flick and Baden dropped out in quick succession, leaving Chelsea, Emmett, Andrew and GEORGE to battle it out for the first individual immunity of the season. Tragically he was the next to drop, followed by Chelsea – who got too confident with her shoulder presses – before Emmett desperately tried to get Andrew to take a deal. Before Andrew dropped after a valiant fight, handing Emmett immunity. And further solidifying the target on his back.

Back at camp Emmett’s confidence was at an all time high, thrilled to survive the first merge tribal council and you know, stack the odds in the Brawns favour. That being said he was still pretty intense about keeping the Brawns strong, with Flick clearly irked by his attitude. That being said, the group stood firm and locked in their vote for Laura, but are planning to make Hayley nervous enough to burn her idol. To solidify the Brawn majority, Emmett shared his lolly jar with his allies while George charmed them with his Labor caucus shtick.

And then he took all the information to Hayley, in exchange for she and Brains voting out the person he wants without blowing his cover as a double agent. Well, after George pulled Emmett aside to assure him that Hayley is panicked and he advised she definitely play her idol for herself. He then approached Dani and lied that she is the Brains target, all while Kez spotted an oddly clean rock at the edge of the billabong. Before she wadded over and pulled out her second hidden immunity idol, right in front of George who was well and truly over the Brawn confidence stepping over into arrogance.

Kez caught up with Flick and Gerald to let them know about her idol, while George focused his attention on forcing the Brains to throw their votes on Kez instead and burn both idols in a single tribal council. As such, he ran to find the old Brains and quickly told them about Kez and that they would be voting for Kez but are to pitch things for Dani, while playing the idol on Laura and saving her. Which isn’t nearly as confusing as that sentence made it sound. This won’t be another Cara/Daini situation, I promise.

The Brains meanwhile spread the information around, though Hayley wasn’t exactly confident whether she could trust George enough to follow through with his plans. And while she searched her brain to try and find a way this isn’t also the best move for George, she struggled and as such, felt like it had to be a good idea to follow his lead.

At tribal council Emmett’s confidence was in full force while Baden admitted that despite the apparent numbers advantage for the Brains, a couple of them had sadly jumped ship. George tried to give non answers to keep everyone happy and zen, without spooking anything. Kez admitted the vote is split in half, but she would be voting for trust while Dani was just straight up confident. Speaking of Emmett, he said the Brains five are the biggest threat to him because he’s never tested trust with them before Hayley tried to boss the situation and point out that she has the hidden immunity idol and as such, won’t be going home despite their confidence.

George implored both sides to stick to the plan while Kez agreed they all just needed to power on ahead. Emmett doubled down, assuring Jonathan that everyone in his alliance is on the same page and ready to move forward. Flick meanwhile knows that the game is about deceit, but at this stage needs to stay focused on trust. At this stage. Laura reminded everyone that she has correctly played an idol in the past, while Hayley agreed it is hard to do but they need to keep it random to try and outwit the Brawn majority. Kez continued to preach loyalty and admitted that she is not worried, before Hayley reminded everyone only one person wins this game and as such, sticking with a super majority is kinda the worst possible idea for all of them.

With that the tribe voted, Hayley listened to George and played her idol for Laura, ultimately negating eight votes cast against her. This made the Brawns very nervous, though poor Kez wasn’t nervous enough to play her idol. After the eight Laura votes were read, the rest were split between Dani and Kez with Queen Kez ultimately booted from the game before she passed her idol off to Flick – is this legal?! – after Wai asked her to leave some pants for her to wear like a successful Angelina/Natalie jacket moment.

Like Simon before her, Kez is just such a delightfully fun person, that she didn’t let a blindside get her down as she happily arrived at Loser Lodge. I pulled her in for a hug and told her how gutted I was to see her go, though grateful that she would no doubt appear on an All Stars soon. And while it seems to have become my go-to platitude, do you honestly think Simon and Kez aren’t locks to return?!

Though maybe that is because I know Kez so well. You see, we first met about five years ago on the bodybuilding circuit – I also trained Teresa Guidice, which is another story for another time – and we just became the best of friends. Mainly because she is a damn boss and I have a passion for riding coattails. Given she lived in the bush for four weeks with only bikepants, I knew that she would need something fiery to warm her up post boot and as such, quickly plated her a Chicken Kezadilla McGee or two.

Like Kez, a quesadilla is the ‘fun one’ of Mexican cuisine and well, this is quite a stellar one at that. A little bit spicy – to quote Daini – dripping in sour cream and paired with a whack of citrus and a tonne of cheese, this is near perfection. Like my Queen Kez.

Enjoy! 

Chicken Kezadilla McGee
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g chicken thighs, diced
4 chipotle chillies in Adobo Sauce
400g can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
8 large tortillas
1-2 cups Lady Guagamole
1-2 cups Pico de Vincent Gallo
½ cup sour cream
jack cheese, to taste
1 lime, cut into eighths

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and once hot, saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chicken and cook, stirring intermittently for a further five minutes, or until browned. Add the chipotles and diced tomatoes, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and remove from heat.

To assemble, place about ¼-½ cup of the chicken on each tortilla and spread over half, while spreading guac on another half. Divide pico de gallo between the tortillas, followed by sour cream and a generous heap of cheese. Fold in half to form a semicircle.

To cook, brush a large griddle with oil and place it over high heat. Once scorching, reduce to medium-low and one at a time, cook each quesadilla for a couple of minutes on each side, or until crisp and cooked through.

Remove from heat, squeeze with some lime juice and devour while piping hot.


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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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Mitchroom Shawiss Burger

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

Previously on Australian Survivor poor George was still left right out despite a string of hero moments in the last couple of immunity challenges. Though thankfully for him, he did manage to find a hidden immunity idol despite Baden finding the clue hidden away at camp. At the immunity challenge Benny became the bane of everyone’s existence due to moving letters – which were incorrect anyway, as an aside – and as such, Simon quickly turned everyone against him. After Big D flipped to the other side in the first round, Shannon and Queen Kez joined their rivals to boot Benny from the game.

We kicked things off at the Brawn tribe where the group were living their best lives as Gerald served his sexiest model poses. All while Simon looked on, heartbroken that he is no longer the zaddy of the tribe. While Gerald was feeling irritated that Shannon flipped the night before, he assured us that he was still loyal to his majority alliance and as such, just wanted Simon to chill out with the grumps and keep things as jovial as possible. That being said, Gerald was also committed to keeping an eye on Simon, given he is clearly on the hunt for an idol and as such, the majority can’t afford to let him get it. Sadly for Simon, as soon as he spotted the idol he was under the watchful eyes of Flick and Kez, so he couldn’t make a grab for it yet. 

Though mere moments later, fate clearly intervened as they left and he returned to the tree where it was hidden, grabbed it and was buoyed by hope.

Over at camp Brains, Joey was thrilled to hit double digits though was desperate to score a reward for their tribe given he is so overwhelmed by hunger. That being said, he is sitting pretty in the tribe and doesn’t have to worry about getting the boot and as such, he assured us that he can persevere. We then learnt he works in finance, but that means nothing because he planned to go to the next challenge in drag, wearing his buff as a top and as such, my basement is flooded and I’m questioning everything I know.

The tribes met up with my love Jonathan for the reward challenge which would see them log-roll for a bountiful feast of toasties. Which immediately had the Brains dripping, but hopefully that translates to dripping back at camp as they jaff things up. First to face off were Flick and Hayley with the latter once again defeating a professional athlete in a challenge to give the Brains a lead. Sadly that was it for Brains domination as Emmett destroyed Andrew – who ended up cracking his nads on the log on the way out before Simon straight up challenged Joey to the next round and quickly destroyed him. That left Dani to defeat Cara for the win, which she did though not because she tried to scare her off the log Scooby Doo style.

Back at the Brawns camp the tribe were thrilled to see their newest loot and giddy to get down to whipping up their sandie jays. None were happier than Simon though, given he was sitting pretty with an idol AND then found a second one in their reward as he collected hessian sacks that he could use for fishing. He was confident nobody saw him and returned to camp to smugly eat the sandwich as King Gerald shared with us that he saw the entire thing play out. The rest of the tribe meanwhile fried up their toasties while Daini worried whether he should feel bad for the Brains, rather than protesting a lockdown and making the COVID situation worse.

Speaking of the Brains, George and Cara were bonding over their upbeat vibes while Baden grew tired of being hungry. And you know, the fact that he couldn’t find the idol he has a clue for since he is currently riding solo just like George. If only the duo put their differences aside, aligned and got to work taking over the game. And reading my mind, George decided now was the time to check in with Baden and as such, caught up with him by the billabong to see how he was feeling. As they cracked it out doing yoga, George shared that he had found the idol without a clue and while Baden was glad to be put out of his misery, he was more grateful that George shared intel with him and as such, he too has hope in the game.

My beloved Jonathan met up with the tribes once again where this time they had to race to release a series of balls, catch them, play skee ball, carry it through a mud pit and then land it in a suspended pyramid. And Brains, there is no puzzle, so I worry you’re in danger. That being said, Brains got out to a 5-2 advantage in the ball section of the challenge, so maybe I’m wrong again. Wait, nope. While they were first to get to the skee ball section, Brawn took the lead as George struggled to land his ball. While they eventually got to the final apparatus, they were no match for Brawn who finally snagged their second immunity challenge win with minimal competition.

Back at camp the Brains were heartbroken to have another immunity loss and while George was feeling the heat since he single handedly lost the challenge,  he has the idol so was completely unbothered by things. And since the rest of the tribe are focused on taking him and only him out, this isn’t ending well for someone else. Joey meanwhile was confident in his numbers and well, Joey girl, you in danger I guess. He caught up with his allies by the water and quickly locked in the vote for George, while George decided to get politicking, quickly pulling a counter alliance together against Andrew, Joey, Georgia and Laura.

As the rest of the tribe bonded by the fire, George disappeared to go get water and then returned to camp wearing his immunity idol in an iconic, bold move. As everyone started to shit their pants. While everyone tried to act confident that he may not play the idol, he lay in the sun waiting for someone to come and talk to him. While they sat in camp mocking his move. With that, George instead pulled Cara and Wai aside to talk about voting for Joey or Laura. Cara opted to go and try woo Rachael and Hayley, while the cool kids suggested Mitch was a good option to vote out instead. Given he is so focused on being the leader, which is something they don’t want to deal with.

The four then approached Rachel to woo her on side and while Rach was keen, she was also listed as fifth at best before they got to her and that feels obvious. She then caught up with George, who quickly got the politician hat on, assuring her that this is the time to prove loyalty to each other and to show trust. While Rachel was just thrilled to be the swing vote with Hayley, as they appeared to prefer to get the vote off Laura and instead on to someone else. But I’m often wrong, so prepare for Laura to be savagely booted despite us never getting to know her.

At tribal council George was still rocking the idol with an open shirt look and was almost selling it, while Joey was still cranking up the energy to an 11 just like Kate Ceberano in a radio interview (another story for another time). He did admit that things started to get nervous at camp, while Rachel agreed that coming to tribal is a chance to see where everyone stands. Laura admitted there are personality clashes in the tribe, while Cara countered by saying the relationships are fluid and that people continue to evolve. Joey disagreed and said that there are definitely firm names assigned to the alliances, with Rach agreeing things were happening while Mitch felt that his relationships are post-alliance. Which is never a great thing to think in Survivor.

Rachel admitted that the length of time between their first vote and now has complicated things while George charmingly pretended that he didn’t have an idol before reminding everyone that the vote is about drawing a line in the sand and as such, they need to trust who they trust and just embrace it. Mitch reiterated that George is pretty much off the table, while Joey suggested that he doesn’t care about George wanting to make another tribal council about him despite feeling nervous about the power of the idol. Joey then got savage talking about how George saved five people at the first tribal but somehow ended up with no allies and as such, he wasn’t concerned about anything George tries to pull off.

Though George gave zero Fs, given he is playing the game differently to other people and therefore doesn’t care about Joey’s shade. Wai questioned whether the idol would get played while Rachel didn’t worry whether George would play his idol. While George just wanted Jonathan to acknowledge his body-ody-ody. Before Hayley reiterated that trust is all that anyone cares about and as such, that is what it is about tonight. And Andrew just wanted everyone to get along.

With that, the tribe voted, George played his idol – needlessly, might I add – as four votes landed on Laura and the rest on Dr Mitch, sending him from the game. Much to his confusion, shock and the shady commentary about the brutal blindside from Geroge. As Mitch cussed him out as he exited tribal council, unaware that George had nothing to do with the vote.

By the time Mitch arrived in my arms at loser lodge he was a little less angry, I assume because he got to see me, his dear Brisbane friend. You see, I was pretending to lecture as medical school when Mitch was training and while I was swiftly fired in shame, Mitch saw me as the broken person that I am and as such, tried to look out for me. Which eventually developed into a friendship. Aka a tale as old as time. Anyway, I knew that Mitch would be fanging for some comfort after his brutal blindside and as such, whipped up a big batch of our traditional Mitchroom Shawiss Burgers.

I had never thought of popping a mushie on a burger – unless it was the vego star of the dish, obvi – until I experienced the magic, beauty of Five Guys. A glorious place where bags are topped with fries and you get to decide every single element you can add on a burger. And lets just say, mushies, swiss and some onions are a near perfect trio to elevate a burg.

Enjoy!

Mitchroom Shawiss Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 cup button mushrooms, roughly chopped
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
4 Briocher Bünsberg
⅓ cup Shayonnaise Swain
4-8 slices swiss cheese

Method
In a small saucepan, heat a lug of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sweat for about ten minutes, or until soft, sweet and caramelised. Reduce heat to low and keep warm, adding dashes of water if they start to catch.

Meanwhile, heat another lug of olive oil in another saucepan or frying pan and once hot, add the mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until the mushrooms release all their liquid and suck it back up again.

When you’re almost ready to eat, scrunch the mince in your hands and then form into 4 hockey pucks. Brush the remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Once scorching, sprinkle salt and pepper on the tops of the patties and add seasoned side down in the pan. Immediately flatten with a metal spatula until 1cm thickness and immediately season the other side of the patties. After a couple of minutes, flip the patties, top with swiss cheese and cook for another minute or so until they’re the desired doneness.

To assemble, toast the inside of the buns, spread each side with some mayo, top with the cheesy patty, some onion and the mushroom.

Then devour, greedily.


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Eggs Benny Burtots

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Brains and Brawn arrived in the outback, with the former quickly dominating the challenges. Because, you know, they are packed full of muscle, which is how I’m described on the weekend, but that is another story for another time. Eventually the Brains kicked it into gear and sent the athletes to tribal council back-to-back. Thankfully Flick, Shannon and Queen Kez were slowly taking over the Brawn tribe after Janelle’s demise, despite Simon and the boys trying to snatch power. This meant that Big D was then caught in the middle, unsure who would be better for his game before he backed the girls and sent zaddy Gavin from the game.

The next day Camp Brains had fully transitioned to becoming a yoga retreat with Hayley calmly talking them through their moves and all around keeping the vibe zen. Not to be confused with Zen Hen. That was all shattered as George arrived moaning and loudly talking about his lack of undies, hoping nobody gets a sneaky peek at his balls. And damn, am I really starting to fall hard for George and his unique brand of weirdness? One nudie run and marriage awaits at this point.

We checked in on our Brawny friends where kangaroos were roaming freely and Gerald was creating a new notch on his belt. Benny meanwhile was feeling fatigued, wondering if it was Day 8 or 48, while reading the rest of his tribe for filth for constantly exercising. We finally got some background on Benny, learning that he was a former real estate agent slash entrepreneur and assumed that experience would help him control the tribe. Kez meanwhile was living her best life, thrilled to have played her idol and created some excitement at tribal. Simon and Emmett were also proud of how tribal went last night, impressed by the way they were duped and damn, do I love them too. I mean, that is humble and a completely likeable reaction. In any event, they knew that they needed numbers or a miracle and as such, started searching for an idol. Simon in donut speedos, so yeah, I do love him.

As Brawns gloated about their abundance of food, we returned to the Brains tribe where they were all serving Jan Sport’s face crack over yet another meal of rice and lentils. Baden shared that despite the lack of good food, the tribe are getting along well and have gotten into a great routine. You know, except for George who was still well and truly on the outside. That being said, Baden knew that George is not to be underestimated and as such, was keeping an eye on him. George meanwhile was loving Wai and Cara, and well, he just needed an idol to help make more friends. Sadly for him as he wandered around camp searching, there were always ten sets of eyes on him and/or a collection of people tailing him.

On one such tailing expedition however Baden ventured to the billabong and discovered a note amongst rocks and quickly snatcthed it out from under George’s nose. Said note directed him to search a tree overhanging the water. As such, he now ventured off to find the idol which was hidden directly in front of the entire camp.

Before we could get any resolution whatsoever, my love Jonathan arrived for this week’s reward challenge where the Brains were gagged to see Gavin voted out. As for the challenge, the tribes would be paired up and tethered together to crawl under a net to collect a ball with the first pair to shoot a basket winning a point for their tribe. Given it was for pillows, hammocks, blankets, bacon and eggs, they were all desperate for the win. Simon and Chelsea quickly scored their point over Hayley and Andrew, playing a bit dirty to get there in the eyes of the Brains tribe. Next up were Joey and Mitch versus Emmett and Kez, with Joey tying things up for the Brains. Dani and Shannon then quickly defeated Laura and Cara before Simon and Chelsea returned and won reward for the Brawns over Baden and Georgia. Aka it was a bit of a blowout and not really exciting.

The victorious Brawn tribe were overjoyed as they returned to camp, whipping up a fried rice with little care for the hate they received for their shady plays during the challenge. We then learnt a little bit more about sweet country boy Gerald who is a dairy farmer in addition to his woodchopping career. In addition to being sweet, he lives for a dad joke and takes cooking bacon and eggs very seriously. Like a total zaddy.

Oh and the tribe lived for their food, obvi, but it really doesn’t add much to the storyline.

Speaking of plot, back at the Brains camp the group returned to eating rice and lentils and while it meets their basic nutritional requirements, they weren’t loving it. Though Mitch did point out that as long as they’re winning immunity challenges, it doesn’t really matter. Speaking of immunity, Baden returned to his idol hunt but sadly for him, George and Wai saw him slinking off and as such, George deduced that he must have gotten a clue. With that, they joined him in the search and sadly for Baden, George quickly grabbed the idol from the arms of the tree from under Baden’s nose. He quickly called out to Wai and ran off to the side, unveiling the idol and they doubled down on their allegiance to each other.

Dear Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes would race in a giant metal cube, carrying it through a series of obstacles to retrieve bags of letters. Once complete they climb over a wall, across a cargo net and release a walkway to use the letters to solve a word puzzle. Obviously the Brawns got out to a huge lead, climbing out of the cage before the Brains even got to the platform. As Brawns got to work on the puzzle – quickly isolating the word ‘survivor’ from the bag – Brains struggled with the rope. Eventually it came down to the puzzle with us learning that the Brawns can’t even actually spell survivor – instead going with surviver – much to the irritation of Big D, given Benny moved his precious letters. While Brawn pulled ahead, they put ‘Brains’ and ‘Brawn’ in the wrong part of the puzzle which was enough time for the Brains to place their words correctly and solve the last words, taking out victory while Simon yelled at Benny.

As an aside, how dominant was Queen Wai at that puzzle?! Swoon.

Back at camp the Brawns were all annoyed at Benny, despite the fact he only took letters from a pile that spelt an incorrect word. Knowing he was in trouble, Simon went off searching for an idol while the majority quickly locked in the vote against him. As he searched, Chelsea and Dani joined him by the water and the trio decided their best chance to flip some votes would be to target Benny. And like clockwork, he appeared, stupidly telling Dani that he and the majority are set on Simon. This irritated Gerald and filled Dani with hope, despite the fact her shield is the target.

Dani took the information straight back to Chelsea and Simon, with the trio doubling down on the vote for Benny being their only hope. With that, Simon approached Daini and started by lamenting over their loss by pointing out that the losing will only continue if Benny is left to stay. And given Daini was the most vocal about Benny causing the loss, me thinks Simon is in with a shot. They then approached Shannon and Flick to float the plan with them and given they are sick of losing, I think they actually might listen. They took the information straight back to Benny and assured him that they wouldn’t turn on him, but well, I just have a feeling this isn’t going to end well for my namesake.

Despite Shannon reiterating she isn’t here to play Simon says, which is a chef’s kiss soundbite.

Arriving at tribal council, Shannon whispered to Kez and Flick about switching their vote before Jonathan addressed the elephant in the room, being that the meathead alliance have their backs against the wall. Simon quickly jumped in to read Benny’s challenge performance for filth, with Daini agreeing that his mistake cost them valuable time. Benny downplayed the mistakes which seemed to frustrate the rest of the tribe who kinda just wanted an apology. Essentially. Benny pointed out that Simon is playing fast and loose, given his back is against the wall.

With that, Simon opted to lay it all on the table and pointed out that getting rid of the liability is best for everyone on the tribe, otherwise they won’t have any numbers at merge to make it much further. Benny meanwhile defended his challenge performance before Shannon admitted that she can see both sides of the argument. She then addressed her whispering as they arrived and admitted the discussion was about switching things up, which frustrated Benny but when Shannon asked him to pitch, he pointed out that he was offended and offered nothing else. 

Though he did rightly pitch that if Simon could flip the vote tonight, he will easily do it time and time again and that is threatening to all of them. With that the tribe voted with Daini flipping to Simon’s group and tying things up. That of course meant the rest of the tribe re-voted with Kez and Shannon joining Big D in flipping things over and as such, Benny found himself booted from the game. And boy was he irate.

By the time he arrived at loser lodge, he was pretty much ready to explode. That is, until her met his dear friend, me. You see, Benny and I met at a Ben convention – creatively titled a Conbention – where we fast became friends over the things we had in common, our names and the fact we were gifted with dark, luscious hair. And well, I quickly fell deeply in love with him due to my narcissism. While I quickly turned volatile, Benny was sweet and kind and we became the fastest of friends. So I was thrilled to be on site to bring him comfort in the form of some Eggs Benny Burtots.

Eggs Benny? Yeah, it is bloody stunning – be it Megs to a burger, there is nothing better. That is, until you find a way to do a loaded tots variation. Bacon, shallots, dripping in hollandaise with a tonne of halloumi and scrambled eggs, all ON TOTS. This is near as perfect as Benny’s gorgeous, shimmering hair.

Enjoy!

Eggs Benny Burtots
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
2 tbsp butter
6 eggs, whisked
1kg Potato Jems / tater tots, cooked until crispy
½ cup Halloumi Holbrook, fried and diced
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup Hollandaise Taylor

Method
To get things started, heat a skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon until crispy. Remove to drain on a paper towel.

Add the butter to the pan and heat until it is nice and foamy. Add the eggs and once rippling around the edges, sweep the pan with a spatula to form delicately cooked ribbons. Remove from the heat.

Prep everything else according to their recipes, then get to assembling by lining a bowl with gems and topping with a scattering of bacon, halloumi and shallots before dousing with hollandaise.

And you know, devouring.


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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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