Eddie Calibrian Lasagne

Main, Pasta

Not only is Ed a stone cold fox but he also has the biggest heart of anyone I know, which I’m not even going to spin into a joke about Brandi/Leann/Scheana/Pipes (if Brandi is to be believed on Danny Pellegrino’s podcast … which is the most important podcast of our time) because we finally have made up!

He walked through customs, the crowd parted, a spotlight shone upon him and a choir of angels started making ethereal, jubilant sounds – THAT is how beautiful he looked. Or I was having a psychotic break. Or a stroke.

In any event, it was then that I realised why I was so cruel to him on the set of Third Watch. I was passionately, deeply, ardently, basement-floodingly in lust with him, and once rebuffed I couldn’t bare to be around the sweet man since the sweet man couldn’t be bare with me.

I fell into his strong, muscular arms and sobbed, begging for forgiveness for my years of cruelty, fueling the flames of his and Brandi’s divorce and trying to end him in the tabloids. Because he didn’t want to end me.

He knew. Of course he had known why I had been so cruel, and he told me that all was forgiven. Particularly since Rachel had been encouraging him to reach out to me – knowing of my lust-related rage blackouts – on the set of Take Two.

While we will never get the last decade back, last night filled me with hope that we’ve got enough friendship ahead of us that the bad times won’t even matter. Particularly if I make him a delicious Eddie Calibrian Lasagne next time I inevitably screw up!

 

 

A minimally edited version of Nigella’s recipe adapted from the Grillo sisters – why mess with perfection, you know? – this lasagne is so simple, yet so delicious. Ham, eggs and mozzarella are traded in for bechamel, giving it a rich, decadent flavour that is too hard to go past.

Enjoy!

 

 

Eddie Calibrian Lasagne
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
500g minced beef
½ cup red vermouth
1L tomato passata
1L water
salt and pepper, to taste
300g sliced ham
4 eggs, just hard boiled and peeled
300g mozzarella, grated
½ cup parmesan, grated
500g dried lasagne sheets

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onions for about five minutes, or until translucent and soft. Add the mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned. Add the vermouth and cook for a further minute, before stirring in the passata and water. Season and bring to a simmer for about ten minutes.

To assemble, place a couple of ladles of the meat sauce into the bottom of a baking dish and cover with a quarter of lasagne sheets. Top with a further couple of ladles of meat sauce before layering a third of the ham, sprinkle with a third of egg and then a third of the mozzarella. Top with another quarter of lasagne sheets and repeat the process until you’ve topped with the remaining lasagne. Top with the remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with parmesan.

Tightly cover with foil, place on a baking sheet – if the dish is too full – and transfer to the over to bake for an hour. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further ten minutes, or until golden and the pasta is cooked through.

Leave to rest for twenty minutes before devouring, happily.

 

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Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza

Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor my boy Probst met 20 new castaways in the middle of the Fijian for a biblical battle, with the underdog David tribe taking out the first reward of the season. Meanwhile over on the overachieving Goliath tribe hot cop Dan and Kara met each other and instantly fell in love because they are beautiful. Their luck continued, with Dan then finding the first idol of the season. Meanwhile over at the David tribe things were looking bad for Nick, who was left right out and set to be the first boot after they lost immunity. Thankfully for him – and horrifically for everyone – there was a freak accident in the boat after the challenge, doing such a number on Pat that he was evacuated as the first boot.

That night back at camp things continued to be miserable as the weather took its toll on everyone, unable to start a fire or stay dry and TBH. Things were just as bad, if not worse, at the Goliath tribe they too were pelted with rain and their tribe flag was lucky not to blow away. Things were no better the next day as everyone shivered and started to break down as they desperately tried for a fire. Thankfully there were glimmers of hope as Christian and Nick went out in the wet to try and find something to find something to start fire with and/or eat. That obviously led to them talking strategy and lamenting being out of the loop on the potential last vote, and as such quickly aligned. And while I’m already loving this underdog story, Nick then spoke about the fact he was probably meant to be voted out last night and as such he is going to fight to win or die trying and damn there is something likeable about him. Probably his eyes. They then geeked out finding bamboo to reinforce the shelter and naming their alliance, unaware this isn’t Survivor. They arrived back at camp to discover that Bi had dropped by treemail where they discovered a fire making kit and tarp to ensure nobody dies.

The Goliaths too, recieved said kit and tarp and the mood appeared to champ instantly. Dan and Kara took a moment to discuss finding the idol and partake in some generic flirting. Which did not go unnoticed – much to Kara’s chagrin – with Jeremy and Alec plotting to split them up and Natalie warning her to tone it down for her safety. Wanting to work around the situation, Kara approached Angelina and Natalia to assure them that she is interested in forming a black-widow brigade, stringing their respective men along and taking them out one after the other. After taking out Queen Natalie and Mike, obvi. Speaking of Mike, he was keeping watch as Jeremy rifled through peoples drying clothes and found Dan’s idol, which Kara had warned him to be more careful with. As such, Natalia and Kara are not the only two other people that know and as such, Mike and Jeremy’s stock just went up.

Things were looking up at the David tribe too, where Davie had decided to continue providing for the tribe after his epic octopus catch.  Whilst hunting for more food, he inadvertently found a hidden immunity idol and bless him, he deserves it. Particularly for saying this smells like authentic idol leather, begging the question, is that what my couch smells like? Meanwhile Carl was lamenting the loss of Pat and decided that the no longer can afford to lose Nick, instead wanting to take out Lyrsa, who he decided was the weakest. While Nick loved that idea, Elizabeth was pissed that her best buddies name was being thrown about. As was Lyrsa who desperately wanted to scream them all down, explaining she is the reason they won the first challenge.

Over at the Goliaths Jeremy and Alec continued to look sexy in their underwear before Jeremy instantly became my favourite by stripping down. And hot damn, I need a minute. Back in the camp Natalia was getting a nose and teeth booger check from Angelina, under the watchful eye of Natalie who obviously thought it was fucking stupid. Boogers in your teeth? Childish. Queen Natalie continued to lay low, watching everyone work and sassing them as much as possible. Sadly for her, people did actually notice her and were growing tired of her bullshit. Except for King John, the George Bushy of Tushy, who thought she was a great person to work with. John pulled Natalie aside to warn her about her attitude, leading to her approaching people one at a time and questioning their decision to target her, given she is a non-threat. While everyone decided the drama was too much for them, Jeremy pulled her aside to tell her some hard truths about her lack of self-awareness. Which she refused to accept, driving Jeremy mad and locking in his resolve to get rid of her.

Dear Jeffrey finally returned to screen for the immunity challenge where he explained to the Goliath tribe that Pat was injured after the last challenge, and therefore, someone is still potentially going to be the first one out. Anyway, the challenge. One person from each tribe was required to climb up a ladder to release a key, which would be used to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle on a wobbly table. Given that in addition to immunity they would get a huge fishing kit, Davie the provider was totally pumped. Alec got the Goliaths out to a huge lead over Bi and the David tribe, allowing they to go out and grab the puzzle pieces and return to shore before Bi reached the top of the ladder. The Goliaths continued to work on the puzzle while Bi was abandoned at the dock collecting puzzle pieces while their boat drifted away. Given the puzzle seems insanely hard the Davids quickly caught up as everyone dropped their platforms and destroyed their work. Thankfully the Goliaths put everyone out of their misery after an hour, solving their puzzle and snatching immunity much to everyone’s exhausted relief.

Back at camp the Davids lamented their loss before Bi desperately gave them all a peptalk to get their head in the game. Bi and Jessica locked in their vote for Lyrsa, though given how cagey they were being when Gabby approached them to discuss tribal, she decided to go and find a plan she feels safer with. Speaking of feeling safe, besties Elizabeth and Lyrsa desperately tried to find some for the latter, identifying Jessica as the better target. They then approached Gabby who was concerned they wanted to target her, so was all in when they suggested getting rid of Jess instead and taking out Bi and Carl’s closest ally. Elizabeth pulled Christian in with a hug – literally – and locked him in for the vote against Jessica. Christian and Gabby discussed the plan and locked in their alliance together, before Christian approached Nick. Who tragically wasn’t interested and would prefer to take out Lyrsa.

With that we obviously arrived at the insanely beautiful, grand tribal council where Jeff questioned how they could handle the cyclonic weather, which they all said brought them together. Elizabeth admitted that those bonds would make the upcoming votes more difficult, though Lyrsa admitted that you can cut the tension with a knife back at camp. She then spoke about having heard her name for being a weak link, which made Jessica sass her for not playing the game hard enough if that is the case. Gabby suggested people shouldn’t underestimate anyone, Bi said she was voting on performance despite bombing the immunity challenge, Christian spoke about the votes all being organised and Nick admitted that the game was built on deceit so that they need to build trust where they can. After a discussion of the battle between playing a tribal vs individual game, everyone shared our nervous they were though Jessica did admit that it was exhilarating. With that, they voted and it turns out tribal wasn’t as exhilarating as she would have hoped, becoming the second – slash technically first – boot.

To be honest, I shouldn’t be shocked by the turn of events that led to her demise. Despite such a strong start last episode, I had menu-planned for her to be devouring pizza in Ponderosa and as such, she would be doomed to be a pre-juror because of my curse. I held her in my arms while I cried uncontrollably while repeating sorry, which let’s be honest would have been a terrifying experience for our child contestant. Thankfully she took her boot in her stride – no doubt thanks to the extreme pity she felt for me post meltdown – and said that while the curse definitely doomed her, she couldn’t be grumpy when it is delicious as my Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza.

 

 

Just like the majestic Scot Pollartichoke Dip before her, there is no greater culinary pairing that spinach and artichoke. Particularly when in the company of cheese. Add in the glory of fresh, pillowy pizza dough, and it is hard not to be in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza
Serves: a sad second boot and her best-o.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sour cream
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of a lemon
1-2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
200g marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
½ cup parmesan
mozzarella, to taste

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

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mayo, sour cream, parsley, garlic and lemon in a bowl and generously smear over the pizza bases. Top with spinach, artichokes and parmesan before adding some mozzarella for good measure.

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

Devour immediately, hoping not to burn our mouth with some scalding cheese. Because that would just add too much unwanted salt in your wounds.

 

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Joy Beharsagna

Main, Pasta

It was actually my dear friend Joy that reached out to me about dropping by for this week’s date. She had noticed that I dropped off the face of the earth but the google alert featuring my name, rehab, prison and scandal hadn’t pinged, so she was extremely concerned about my welfare.

When I turned my phone back on after a ten minute digital detox, I discovered one to two frantic voice-to-texts that read, ‘Bern. Place chamomile me has been as chew grits kiss. Lava Jay’. After an hour abusing Siri, I deduced that it was Joy and decided to pick up the phone and see what was up.

Her concern for me was up, obvi, and that is why I love her.

I’ve known Joy for years after meeting on the set of Manhattan Murder Mystery in ‘92. I delivering Diane her daily filming steak when I literally bumped into her, in a rom-com fashion. We bantered about the accident, our acerbic wits instantly bonded us and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I put her name forward as a potential co-host of The View when Babs refused to hire me in drag as Angela Merkin.

She and I spent the afternoon chatting, laughing and taking a little time to enjoy the view, before sitting down to smash a big old Joy Beharsagna … and watch Australian Survivor, obvi. Honestly, did you really think I was going to make anything else?

 

 

Obviously this is Queen Joy’s famous recipe with the name smooshed into hers. But when I’m making my triumphant comeback to cyberspace, why should I get creative when Joy has already created something of perfection. Sweet and spicy sausage, a whack of herbs and the majesty of ricotta – if you haven’t tried Joy’s lasagna, you’re not living.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Joy Beharsagna
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
375g fresh lasagna sheets … or Alan Pastarkin, if you dare
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
750g Italian sausage, removed from skins
olive oil
800g crushed tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups passata
¼ cup oregano, roughly chopped
½ cup basil, roughly chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp pepper
500g ricotta cheese
1 ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
500g mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion over low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before bringing the heat up to medium, adding the sausage and cooking, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 10 or so.

Once the meat is no longer pink, add the tomatoes, passata, paste oregano, basil, salt and pepper and cook for twenty minutes or so.

While the sauce is simmering, combine the ricotta, a cup of parmesan, mozzarella, egg, parsley and a good whack of salt and pepper.

To assemble, spread a third of the mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish. Layer a couple of sheets of pasta over the top and spread over half the cheese sauce. Top with another third of the meat, some pasta and a the remaining cheese sauce. Pour over the remaining sauce, top with some parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until bubbly and crisp.

Devour. Preferably with Karlic Lagerbread.

 

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Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Matty boy took us all the way back to when they were marooning 18 Kiwi castaways on an island half way between Thailand and Myanmar where Dave saw Matt one of his best mates from school. Chani went on a losing streak, seeing Jose, Karla and Frankie exit the game back to back to back, the latter because she got too paranoid about Eve owning the hidden immunity idol. Last week Arun and Josh formed an alliance at the Outpost before Khangkhaw threw the challenge and – gag of the season – kept Dylan and booted Kaysha from the game … without looping Tara or Lisa in.

As such you just know a swap is afoot, no?

Back at Khangkhaw Dylan was still trying to process the fact he was still in the game and awkwardly tried to find anyone to talk to. On the flipside Matt was thrilled that his plan when off without a hitch because as much as he liked Kaysha, he knew she was more threatening and therefore needed to go. Sassy Dylan gave everyone a chance to verbalise any of their issues with him after tribal, with Tara offended that he threw her name out there while also being frustrated by being left out of the vote. Sooooo … hopeful she is feeling nice and scorned just ahead of that swap.

Chani awoke the next day, still appearing blissed out after avoiding tribal. Liam in particular is riding high, pottering around camp and making it feel more like home. Eve too enjoyed the time off, though was still worried about the fact everyone knows about her idol and that target could definitely come back to hurt her. Meanwhile Tess and Tara were enjoying fishing while Brad and Zadam chatted about Dylan being an outsider while the poor guy sat by himself and wished for that swap knowing he’ll be booted without one.

As such Matty Chis re-appeared for the reward challenge where Chani were shocked to see that Kaysha was booted before Matty finally acknowledged the horrific vagicide … AND THE FACT IT IS TIME FOR A TRIBE SWAP! What a damn surprise?! While it was telegraphed for the first fifteen minutes, let’s focus on the fact the had to body paint their way to divide into their tribes and that may get us some male skin. Wait, no – no one did an Ozzy. Anyway, new Khangkhaw was made up of Eve, Tess, Lisa, JT, Liam, Brad and Tara while Renee was the sole female on Chani with Dylan, Dave, Matt, Josh, Adam and Arun. Which Josh and Arun were thrilled about since they made an alliance on the outpost and Matt and Dave since they were best friends in school.

Anyway, we’ve got a reward to deal with which saw two members of each tribe forced to hold a pole on a platform, then get spun around as someone else grabs a rope off the base and runs it back to the start. They each then have to walk over a balance beam – dizzy as hell – and then join their tribe in getting between two points without touching the ground. Like the iconic time Sierra Dawn-Thomas lead her team to victory in Worlds Apart via barrel rolling. Given it was for comfort, peanut butter and flour though, it is well worth it.

Liam and Dave were neck and neck spinning Tess and Matt around super fast, so fast in fact, that the pole snapped right off Tess’s disc and flung her into the ground and appeared to break her neck. As is oft the case in Survivor NZ, the medics were called and while she looked concussed, paralysed and her buff flew clear off her head when she rag-dolled, she was given the all clear and allowed to continue. Sadly the same could not be said for the disc portion of the challenge, with it axed and the tribes minus Tess and Adam forced to work on the second portion of the challenge. While new Chani got out to an early lead Khangkhaw closed the gap and snatched victory for their tribe, giving Tess a pillow to lay her concussed head on.

We followed new Khangkhaw back to camp where Chani were thrilled to see what island luxury looks like, and JT excited to idol out one of the OGs. The knock to Tess’ head seemed to make her kinder to outsiders, telling Eve, JT and Liam that she was thrilled to have them in her life. On the flipside, Liam was hella nervous despite being the most useful and least threatening member of the ex-Chanis. Though given Eve left the damn idol back at Chani, maybe he is right to feel nervous. Meanwhile new Chani arrived at their camp where literally only Dylan seemed excited, since he is now the swing vote and their appears to be more food. Dave ran away from his tribe to snatch Eve’s idol before anyone noticed, before Josh shard how nervous he was despite having multiple connections and being physical. Arun being Arun offered to grab everyone water, before Dylan latched straight on to him, spilled the tea and all but signed his life over to Chani.

Matt Chis that cheeky devil called Eve away from camp to see a medic despite feeling fine … because he was dropping her idol off thanks to Dave. And by dropping off, giving her the option to gift it to someone back at new Chani or keep it for herself. Which she obviously kept for herself because she isn’t stupid.

New Chani sang Dave happy birthday before he and Matt found themselves a quiet spot to reconnect, which isn’t as good as it sounds. Instead of the fan-fic running through my head, Matt spilled all the Khangkhaw tea to Dave and then shared that he thinks he saw JT grab the idol at the challenge. Which he didn’t, but well played Matt. Meanwhile Brad was feeling confident in his place in the tribe, thinking he’d easily be able to get Tara and Lisa back on side. Well, until the ex-Chani members wanted to hear the post-tribal goss which only highlighted the fact they were left right out. As such, Brad pulled Lisa aside to make sure they were still tight and then locked in JT as the boot, should they lose the next challenge. Tara and Tess then caught up with Tara deciding it was important to stick together, despite not really trusting them. Lisa pulled Liam aside to see if he was ok, sensing he was upset about the tribe swap. They then bonded by the fire and had a chat, though it didn’t appear to touch on gameplay. But I ship the shit out of them.

The first immunity challenge as new tribes rolled around where Khangkhaw spoke about their glorious camp, while poor Chani could only counter that their camp was flat. That says it all, really. Anyway, two at a time people swam out to a suspended cage to release fish traps holding puzzle pieces. Chani got out to a huge lead thanks to Adam and Matt which Arun and Dave maintained despite Lisa and Liam’s best attempts. Brad and Tara continued to close the gap for Khangkhaw, though they were no match for Renee and Josh handing Dylan a handy lead on the puzzle over JT. Which he put to good use as her secured immunity for Chani and TBH, saved himself from certain doom.

We followed Chani back to camp with Dylan thrilled to have secured victory for the tribe, pissing off Adam who felt it was a lucky victory and it all came down to the lead they gave him. Side note: just fuck already, because the tension is making Dylan the good guy. The sexual tension was cut by the speculation about who would get the boot with Arun hoping for a big Khangkhaw name, with them agreeing that it depends on whether they’re playing a long game or a short game. And that booting Brad would mean certain doom for them.

Back at Khangkhaw Liam was concerned about their survival while JT tried to make inroads with Lisa. Brad and Tess and hooked up to look in a plan, concerned that JT has an idol – thanks to Matt’s bad intel. Liam started scrambling, approaching Brad to see if there are any cracks in the alliance before Brad hinted that they think JT has an idol, and as such Liam or Eve are in danger. Liam briefly considered flipping to Khangkhaw  but was too damn kind, so instead headed back to JT and Eve to share that they know about the idol giving them the idea to pretend JT does have the idol and attract the votes to Eve or Liam to give them a better chance of playing it correctly. As a back-up Eve and Liam approached Tess, who also didn’t give anything away making them unsure of who to play the idol on.

At tribal council Matt quickly got everyone to admit that despite becoming a new tribe, they were still split right down the middle. Tara defended themselves by saying that while they wouldn’t like that, when you don’t know them you can only base your decisions on numbers. JT tried to pretend he was lying about not having an idol which Tess and Brad fell for hook, line and sinker, before Lisa threw out a reference to being honourable to distract from her killer game thus far and JT said that he has always done what he said he would at tribal. Which TBH, is way to vague to save himself just before they headed off to vote. Thankfully for him though, Eve opted to play her idol for herself and his bluffing worked as poor, sweet Liam was voted from the game.

Given he is such a positive, delight, Liam wasn’t too annoyed to be the first victim of the swap – maybe he was proud to end the vagicide? – and instead focused on the fact he stayed true to himself the entire game and managed to make some wonderful friends. He was so damn nice and chill, it made me feel even worse when I pulled out my Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza and explained he was only booted because of my culinary curse.

 

 

Despite my pizza curse claiming its latest victim, it is hard to hold an ongoing grudge when they taste this good (or are as chill and kind as Liam). The spicy satay, the earthy gloriousness of broccoli and cashew and the sweetness of capsicum and onion … there is nothing more to say than dis good. Dis, real good.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
2 chicken breasts, diced
½ – 1 cup satay sauce
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
1 onion, sliced
½ red capsicum, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
a small handful of snow peas, top, tailed and cut into 1cm slices
⅓ cup cashews, roughly chopped
mozzarella, to taste … though you’d be mad not to drown it

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

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place a frying pan over medium heat and cook the chicken for a couple of minutes, or until starting to brown. Add the satay sauce and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until cooked through and the sauce has started to thicken.

Smear passata over the bases and sprinkle with the herbs. Heap on the onion, capsicum, chicken, broccoli, snowpeas and cashews, and drown with mozzarella.

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

Devour immediately, wallowing in the sadness that pizza is now my Reality TV kiss of death. My sincere apologies Steph, Brendan, Steph and Karla.

 

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Puttaneskarla Karaitizza

Main, Party Food, Street Food, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor NZ, 18 new castaways were dumped on islands in the middle of a Thai lake where Matt made quick work assuring everyone that the rules of the season will mirror traditional US Survivor – which is the gag of the season, TBH. He then thrust the castaways into an individual challenge for an unknown power … which turned out it gave the winner, Jose, the chance to select her own tribe. Sadly for her, she didn’t seem to do the best of jobs with Chani losing both the challenges and sending her out of the game as the first boot.

Back at camp the surviving members of the Chani tribe returned to camp with Liam reeling from the choice to send their strongest female home. On the flip side JT was celebrating and quickly defended himself by saying Jose targeted him, while Franky and Renee reiterated that she was dangerous and made them feel on the outs. And as for Karla, well she was thrilled to have survived and to be able to show her strength … she was keenly aware that she was still firmly on the bottom of the tribe.

The next day the Chani tribe were thrilled to finally have fire and be able to eat actually cooked rice while the winning Khangkhaw tribe were beginning to show cracks. Particularly for poor Dylan, who’s plans to align with the biggest threats didn’t suit the bigger threats in Matt, Josh and Brad who instead wanted him out ASAP and to align with Tess, zaddy Addy and per Tess’ request, Lisa. Clever girl Tess, clever girl. The one thing going for Dylan is that as much as they want him out, they also don’t like Kaysha and want her out as well.

My boy Matt arrived for this week’s reward challenge where Khangkhaw were shocked to see Jose became the first boot. The challenge involved tribe members getting in the drink and swimming out to a platform, jumping off and releasing a key which will then unlock a box of rocks that they will use to break tiles, all for fresh tropical fruit which made Zadam cream his shorts thanks to his passion for watermelon. And that in turn made me cream my shorts thinking about him creaming his shorts. Anyway, he got the tribe out to a strong start beating Dave to the platform though was tragically overtaken on the ladder until he slayed the swimming portion and snatched back the lead. Renee took the lead over Tara giving Liam a huge advantage over Kaysha which was made worse when she couldn’t smash her key allowing Karla to lap her when getting Chani’s fourth key. JT was out for the fifth key before Matt flashed his way into my heart like King Locky. While they were well and truly behind by the time Josh swam out … when it looks that good, he shouldn’t complain.

Damn Matt, you making a play for my heart and I am so into it.

Anyway by the time they got to throwing balls Brad made quick work of overtaking things before pulling ahead and snatching victory from Chani. But since Matt gave us a killer view of his rump, everyone’s a winner … and that’s all that matters. Well, except for Chani who were dejected, Kaysha who injured herself and Zadam who projectile vomited from over exertion. Thankfully he put it down from trying so hard whilst being completely unfit … though mentioning he had a rock in his knee makes me nervous we’re going to suffer a huge loss via medevac. He quickly perked up back at camp and taught everyone about the wonders of watermelon and his mantra, ‘peace, love and watermelons’.

Meanwhile over at Chani, JT and Liam discovered a new twist requesting they send one member of their tribe to the Outpost. While they weren’t sure what it exactly entailed, everyone was ok with him going and seeing whether he is honest and trustworthy. And not put a target on their back. Over at Khangkhaw the tribe danced around volunteering by figuring out what the outpost is before Matt suggested they all draw straws rather than continuing to waste time. With Tess selected, her alliance were thrilled while Kaysha was desperately hoping for a tribe swap.

Tess and JT arrived at the outpost where Matt explained that a different person needs to attend each week and will be faced by a challenge or dilemma, which would have ramifications throughout the game. He then challenged them to build fire and burn through a rope for an unknown reward … which is totally an idol clue, no? Out of nowhere, Tess was quick to get a flame and – gag of the season – build a lasting fire while JT struggled, snatching victory for herself. Which was a hidden immunity idol clue. Matt then gave Tess the chance to lie to her tribe about what happened and talk to her opposition JT, who quickly worked to convince her that telling him the clue was a good idea in order to keep his silence. While she was initially reluctant to share the clue, she quickly folded and they both learnt that the clue would be hidden under the mat at the next immunity challenge. He promised to keep quiet and go with whatever lie she wants to tell her tribe, but there was no way you could make her feel ok for making the epic blunder.

Tess returned to Khangkhaw and told them she was against JT and won the fire challenge before seamlessly slipping in the lie that the challenge was for mattresses, tarps and other comforts … but for both tribes. So to continue rubbing salt in their wounds, she opted for no one to get the reward. Over at Chani JT made quick work of throwing Tess under the bus, telling them about her victory and the location of the idol … but that it was only for her tribe. While Arun wasn’t buying the entire story, JT filled him in on the fact it would be under both mats and wasn’t sure whether to keep it in their alliance and only tell Dave and Eve, or tell everyone. Showing that he is playing a long, deep game, he explained that no matter what seeing if anyone else goes for it will show who she is aligned with and has the idol which will be valuable information come the merge.

Franky proved to be mildly psychic, concerned about getting a roof on the shelter in case it rained which of course led to a torrential downpour. That led to Franky having a mild breakdown and came close to quitting while Karla shivered her way through the night, making Renee proud of them and Arun concerned about their willpower. Franky continued to struggle throughout the day with a fever and struggling to breathe leading to them calling the medic to make sure she was ok. This made Karla felt a little bit safer, and as such, she was instantly iconic and I love her. Meanwhile at Khangkhaw, Tess pulled Adam aside and told him the truth about everything that happened at the outpost, with them to scramble to come up with a plan to snatch the idol whilst simultaneously blocking him from going for it.

The tribes arrived at the immunity challenge where the Khangkhaw alliance and Arun and JT panicked to figure out how to snatch the idol without anyone noticing. Matt explained that the challenge would require three people to hold a stick across their back while the remaining members for the other tribe would load them up with weights. Brad seamlessly snatched the idol without anyone noticing thanks to an untied shoe before he, Josh and Kaysha faced off against Dave, Arun and Renee for immunity. While Khangkhaw focused on putting weight equally amongst the Chani tribe members, Chani loaded up the boys – dream – before Dave became the first person to drop out of nowhere. Renee followed soon after leaving Arun to carry the entire tribe on his back. While Brad struggled with his 70kgs, Arun couldn’t hold on any longer dropping the bar and handing Khangkhaw yet another victory. Though that lead to Lisa adorably fanning out over snatching the idol from Matt and snuggled with sexy, naked Matt and as such, I feel Chani should be grateful.

The Chani tribe discussed Khangkhaw’s ribbing as they arrived at the challenge before Arun quickly shared the information that Tess is clearly aligned with the Brad, Josh and Matt since they played dumb about what she won at the challenge. Given the way they figured out all the politics of their rivals, I wouldn’t count them out just … hang on, we’re at Khangkhaw post challenge. And Josh and Brad are swimming together and look totally babin’ before we learnt the rules of the idol, which seem to be the same as the US though it may remain in play if you’re not physically in possession of it when you get voted out. I dunno, that sounds weird. But Kiwi Jeff is wild and babin’, so who knows?

Back at Chani the tribe finally got to scrambling with Liam keen to get everyone focused on getting rid of the weakest tribe member, given getting rid of Jose didn’t help them in challenges. While they agreed Karla was the weakest, JT was concerned that Franky was also weak and a threat, and that makes her the most enticing of targets. While Karla was emotional, she seemed to accept her fate while Franky started to pull it together and find a way to keep herself alive, assuring Renee that while she almost quit she can sort it out and fight for the tribe.

At tribal council Matt quickly kicked them while they were down, saying they were dejected at the immunity challenge. Eve spoke up and countered that while yes, they were tired, they’ve pulled themselves together and are a strong, close family. Karla defended herself, saying that everyone had a dark moment last night, but they all pulled together before everyone but Arun admitted it was far tougher than they were expecting it to be. Franky shared that while she wanted out last night, she fought to stay and will continue to fight. Renee and JT agreed that life has been hell back at camp, though JT believed that a Chani will win the game meaning it will either be prophetic or he’ll look like an idiot. While we won’t find out for weeks, Eve jumped in to talk about her family getting her through before she broke down over how much she missed them. While everyone, Karla and Franky included, felt that they needed to keep the tribe strong, Karla tried to fight for her spot sharing that she is an experienced camper and knows how to maintain a fire. Nervous, Franky jumped in and reminded them that while she has been sick and wanted to quit, she fought through it and will continue to fight for the tribe. Sadly for Karla, Franky’s impassioned plea had more of an effect on her tribemates leading to poor Karla becoming the second person out of the game.

Given I’ve known Karls the longest out of all the castaways, I was gutted to see her walk into loser lodge knowing the true grit – great movies, both versions FYI – and determination she possesses. I first met Karla when we were studying journalism together – though separate to the time I studied with Sylvia Jeffreys and mentored Matt Chis. I get around – and we quickly bonded over our love of photographic excellence (remember, I was an Instalebrity briefly). Anyway, we’ve been dearest friends for close to two decades and as such, I knew the only thing that could cheer her up after suffering shitty luck in the game was a Puttaneskarla Karaitizza.

 

 

While I hate anchovies with the fire of a thousand suns – If I wanted something hairy and full of bones I visit Matt and his peach … or Nico, swoon – but if you take them out of a puttanesca pizza, you truly have perfection. The capers and bacon bring more than enough salt, so by the time you add some sriracha, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Puttaneskarla Karaitizza
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced and fried
⅓ black olives, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup capers, roughly chopped
sriracha, to taste
mozzarella, to taste

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

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared bases and sprinkle with the herbs and garlic. Heap on the bacon, olives, mushrooms, capers and sriracha, and cover with mozzarella.

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

Devour immediately, in fear for the next person I’ve flagged for pizza on Reality TV. Because it is most definitely a cursed cuisine, just ask Steph, Brendan and Steph.

 

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Stephanie Cappricohnson Pizza

Main, Pizza, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, things were looking up for Donathan and Laurel at Naviti who formed an alliance with Domenick and Wendell, with Chris feeling the heat as their obvious target. Meanwhile over at Malolo, the OG Maloloans were down in numbers heading into tribal with only Michael’s idol – James’ from China, FYI – to help. The kid did good at tribal, bluffing about the power of his idol though tragically verbalised they were voting for Bradley and failed to correctly play his idol, sending zaddy Brendan out into the cold.

Back at camp Bradley showed a sliver of emotion, thrilled to have survived tribal council. While the OG Navitians were quick to pretend everything was cool, Bradley reminded us that Michael outed himself as a player and now he is without any protection. Bradley then returned to the role of smarmy douche, rubbing salt in the wounds by saying he plans to bring a trick next tribal. You’re in the numbers dude and acting like that is never going to win you the game, so shut the hell up.

Maybe sensing my impending blow-up at the screen, Probst returned for this week’s reward challenge where the tribes were required to leap over tables, remove sandbags that were hiding a lever … which released more sandbags which they would throw at some targets to release flags. It was for coffee, pastries and muff … ins, so you know I would have been hella keen for the victory. Naviti got out to an early lead though Michael’s cakes managed to catch Malolo up at the lever, raising mine with the holes in the back of his jocks. Sadly his beauty wasn’t enough to win them the challenge as Chris proved his skills with the sack, tossing them at the target and securing Naviti reward while Sebastian flailed. Once again, they couldn’t decide who to send to Ghost Island, with the Survivor Gods sending Stephanie to hopefully find an idol and get rid of Bradley.

Before shipping her out we were treated to some Chris rap slash spoken word and I honest don’t know if it got me excited or made me want to vom repeatedly. Anyway, we arrived at Ghost Island where Stephanie was concerned about being away from her allies. She then discovered she wouldn’t have the chance to play for an advantage, which really added salt in the wounds. Thankfully she focussed on staying positive and strong to show her kids what people can get through.

Speaking of getting through things, Naviti annihilated their reward where the camera confirmed I am crushing on Chris after focussing on his hot ass-et. While everyone was excited for the sugar intake, Donathan started getting sad as it reminded him of being at home with his mother and grandmother and he then broke down to his friend Laurel. And again, and I feel no one can say this enough, Donathan is a damn saint and if you don’t love him you’re a horrid person.

Chris took advantage of Donathan’s breakdown and tried to make a connection over being carers for their family members. Which I want to say was dirty, though Chris didn’t do it in a malicious way and it melted my heart. As did his butt though, make no mistake. This moment of kindness added some confusion for poor Donathan who now wasn’t sure if he wanted to be aligned with Wendell and Domenick, or Chris.

Before we had the chance to get any answers, Probst returned for the immunity. After summoning Stephanie back from Ghost Island, he explained that the tribes would be required to race out on a bridge to collect hanging sacks from a hard beam before jumping on a surfboard and pulled back into shore. Once all the sacks had been collected,  the tribes would work numbered discs out of said sacks, and use the numbers to solve a combination to release a key, which released a puzzle … which once solved, released the immunity idol into your tribe’s temporary custody.

As is becoming the usual, Naviti got out to an early lead, well, until Libby blew it completely on the second leg and Des evened things up for Malolo. Wendell and Chelsea then ran the course again, giving Wendell the chance to completely dominate and snag the lead. Tragically his pants stayed on whilst being dragged into the shore, though that is my only complaint. Despite James and Domenick having an insane lead thanks to Chelsea’s fumbles, they were up against Bradley and Kellyn who have proven dominant at puzzles. Though this time, the lead was too much for them to overcome with Malolo heading back to tribal as Naviti took out another victory.

The loss hit Kellyn hard who felt like she let everyone. Jeff being the messy friend of the housewife looking for a full time role that I know he is quickly pointed out that despite the Naviti members owning the loss, that one of Michael, Jenna or Stephanie would be going home.

Back at camp, Michael was willing to do whatever it takes to stay before Kellyn and Chelsea pulled themselves aside to lock in a vote for Jenna, to break up she and Stephanie. Sadly for them, she was working her way into Sebastian’s heart, flirting up a storm and finding a way to survive another day. Sebastian joined Des and Chelsea who tried to convince him that Jenna was the best person to boot, with him working hard to flip it to Stephanie. Given she is the bigger threat though, I’m kinda siding with his logic. Despite it being lead by his penis.

While Chelsea and Kellyn weren’t sold on the idea, they were willing to flip it to Stephanie. Meanwhile she was talking to Bradley, who assured her that she would not be going. He then joined Kellyn and Chelsea who agreed that Jenna was a non-threat and that they should actually take out Michael. Michael then went to Bradley and pledged that he would fight hard for the tribe, and he clearly got no reassurance as he broke down about how much he wanted to stay in the game. AND IT BROKE MY DAMN HEART. Out of nowhere, the Navitians started to get paranoid and Des went through Stephanie’s bag to ensure she didn’t snag an advantage at Ghost Island.

By the time they arrived at tribal council I was hella confused, though Kellyn assured us it would definitely be one of Stephanie, Michael and Jenna. Stephanie was rightfully feeling nervous, and was concerned about spending 24 hours away from her tribe at Ghost Island. On the flipside, that made Bradley nervous since she would have an advantage. Sebastian continued to preach Naviti strong before little Michael pointed out that despite not being aligned, they need to keep him if they want to maintain the numbers heading into the merge as no one knows what is happening at the other tribe.

His strong tribal performance was called out by Bradley, painting a target on his back which we don’t need … mainly as it would distract from his torn-up undies. Stephanie made things emotional, talking about how desperately she wants to remain in the game. This seemed to strike a chord with Kellyn, though when Jenna spoke about her applying for Survivor to work on forming real relationships and Michael brought up how much it meant to him, it seemed like voting anyone out would be hard on her. Des then threw out an ominous, there is always a reason to vote out someone, you just need to find it … which made things even more confusing as they headed out to vote.

The votes rolled in and one after the other they piled up on Stephanie and sent her from the game as the fifth boot. While she was super disappointed to be out of the game, she was thrilled to see that I was there to cheer her up. We’ve been friends for years after meeting on the running circuit before I banned for taking shortcuts to cheat. Given Stephanie is as terminally delightful as BenDeLaCreme, she never held it against me and we always caught up for pizza before her runs. So obviously, I had a Stephanie Cappricohnson Pizza waiting for her in loser lodge to dull the pain.

 

 

Well it seems like Ghost Island 2 already has its first curse to reverse – all three of my pizza peeps booted in the first five boots. Call Josh Wigler, because his passion for pizza and my cooking have screwed three icons. That being said, the three pizzas for this season’s losers are amongst my favourite – simple and delicate, this capricciosa is the perfect end to the trilogy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephanie Cappricohnson Pizza
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced
100g smoked ham, roughly sliced
small handful of mushrooms, sliced
½ cup black olives, sliced
1 cup marinated artichokes, drained and broken up
mozzarella, to taste

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

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle of the herbs and garlic, top with ham, mushrooms, olives and artichokes and top, generously, with mozzarella.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves.

Devour immediately, hoping not to burn our mouth with some scalding cheese.

 

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Brendan Shapear and Prosciutto Pizza

Main, Party Food, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the tribe swap but Malolo 5-4 deficit on both of the new tribes, filling Kellyn with joy and allowing a newly introduced castaway Bradley’s head to explode. Tragically he wasn’t cursed by Ghost Island, where Chris from new Naviti was sent to be humanised while his ex-Naviti chums plotted to jump across tribal lines and take out his ally Angela. Sadly for them, the Maloloans had different plans, flipping the script and taking out the more threatening Morgan … who willed her legacy advantage to Domenick on the way out.

Back at camp Dom was feeling upset by the blind side, as was Angela who they turned on. Dom and Wendell felt they were now enemies with everyone and with their backs against the wall, Dom finally shared the intell that he had a legitimate idol. Rather than the fake one he shared with everyone to make Chris even more suspicious.

The next day Dom discovered he had been willed the legacy advantage and vowed, wait for it, to reverse the curse.

Throwing us straight into the action, Probst returned for the first reward challenge of the season where the tribes had to fight over a ring, and hold both the ring and a pole at the same time. So, basically any given night. It was for PB&J, so all the OG Navitians quickly forgot about their shock at Morgan’s departure.

Chris and Wendell made quick work of father and son duo Michael and Brendan, Laurel and Angela scored another point for Naviti despite Jenna and Kellyn’s best efforts. Some nipple play from Sebastian and Bradley gave Malolo their first point over Domenick and James, though tragically that was as wild as things got as Laurel and Libby dominated Stephanie and Des, and secured reward for Naviti. Tragically they didn’t select who would go to Ghost Island and the Survivor Gods punished Kellyn for her fear, locking her in for a visit and returning her to camp in time for the next challenge … and potentially tribal council.

Arriving at Ghost Island Kellyn faced her fears of being alone head on. After a two week hiatus, Kellyn was giving the chance to play for an advantage … however given the precarious numbers advantage on Malolo, opted not to risk her vote at the next tribal council. The thought of making the wrong decision triggered memories of being blindsided in her personal life and completely changing everything, endeared her to me even more.

Back at Naviti the newly formed tribe were giddy while devouring their PB&J before Chris tried to get to the bottom of the last tribal council and how Morgan ended up going. Angela quickly filled him in on Dom and Wendell’s betrayal, with the two hightailing it to the Malolo 4 to lock in a six-person alliance and take them out. Dom and Laurel were not huge fans of the idea, preferring to work with Wendell and Dom because they like the former more. Laurel then made a beeline for Dom who filled her in on the idol and locked in an alliance while Donathan pulled in Wendell and TBH became couple goals.

Jiffy Pop returned for immunity where the tribes were required to swim out to a cage, release a chest, carry it across a bridge … open said chest and land the balls on a narrow ridge. Remember when Michaela dominated this challenge in Millenials vs. Gen X? Iconic. Anyway, Malolo got out to an early lead thanks to Michael and his partially see through jocks while Naviti couldn’t even get past the cage before Malolo made it into shore. Naviti continued to lag, allowing me plenty of time – as should you – to oggle the men in wet jocks. However out of nowhere Brendan started knocking balls off the ridge, giving Naviti the chance to catch-up and snag immunity. Much to the delight of Naviti, in particular Donathan who used the celebration as an excuse to plant an adorable peck on Chris’ cheek. Bless him, her is adorable.

Back at Malolo, the OG Maloloans were feeling dejected while Kellyn was thrilled to have trusted her gut at Ghost Island. Bradley on the flipside was feeling super smug and likened himself to dominant winners on day 12 and rubbing in her impending doom to Stephanie. Bradley then went off to rally his troops and confirm which sitting duck should be taken out, deciding that one of Michael or Brendan need to go. While Chelsea argued for Michael, Des made the case that Brendan is the person they wouldn’t assume Naviti would target and therefore he is exactly the person they should be targeting.

Down by the shore Michael and Brendan filled the girls in on their idol find, bringing Stephanie and Jenna to tears at the prospect of somehow taking out the douche-lord Bradley. Michael then assured them they would be taking out Bradley and that he would be pulling out James’ idol mid-way through tribal to spook someone into flipping.

At tribal council Sebastian confirmed their alliance would stick together, while Des couldn’t appear to read the room. Stephanie commenced the attack on Bradley, pointing out that he babysat everyone all day and didn’t give them the opportunity to find an in. Michael then joined the fray, pointing out that Chelsea and Sebastien were definitely on the bottom before Brendan jumped in and asked Sebastien if he truly believed jerk Bradley would take him, a likeable, strong, provider further in the game. While Bradley gave a robot we are equal, beep boop response, Stephanie quickly jumped in and questioned his sincerity. Sadly Kellyn quickly pointed out that they are at war so should be expecting them to try and sling mud.

Probsty tried to get Des’ opinion before Michael jumped in and presented his idol, telling the story that since James left with two in his pocket, this one now had the power to protect two people and he would be playing it tonight while Malolo would be voting Bradley. Feeling the heat Bradley returned to his favourite pastime and complained about his bad luck at them incorrectly identifying him as a mastermind. Probst and Michael then continued to prod Chelsea and Sebastien about making a big move and taking out Bradley, while old sour face got more and more anxious. Bless Kellyn, she tried as hard as she could to diffuse the situation while Michael proved that kids are hella manipulative these days.

Michael then played his idol, first for he and Brendan before reading the room and switching to Stephanie. Tragically that was the wrong move as old Naviti stuck together – probably shouldn’t have told them Bradley would go if the idol play was correct – and piled their votes on Brendan, sending my zaddy out of the game as the fourth boot.

Now I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but it seems like oldies are all falling on reality TV shows this week, with Erin and now Brendan – similar to the double Morgan boots last week. I mean sure they both filmed at different times, but between that and my recent birthday I am really feeling the ageism at the mo, you know?

Anyway … Brendan is literally the sweetest man to walk the earth so wasn’t flipping out when he arrived at Loser Lodge. Which was kind of good because I was ropeable and if he didn’t talk me down I’d likely be banned from ever going to Fiji again. While it took me a while to calm down and I eventually got him to show some signs of disappointment, they disappeared immediately when he lay eyes on my Brendan Shapear and Prosciutto Pizza.

 

 

Sweet, earthy and salty, this pizza is so simple, yet do good. And better yet, looks hella impressive with absolutely no effort. None. Nada.

Enjoy!

 

 

Brendan Shapear and Prosciutto Pizza
Serves: 1 zaddy and his friends.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
200g prosciutto, thinly sliced
2 pears, halved, cored and thinly sliced
2 tsp muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
balsamic vinegar, to taste

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

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Smear the bases with passata, sprinkle over the herbs and drape over the prosciutto. Toss the pears with the muscovado and place on top of the bases. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the cheese and bake for twenty minutes or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven, lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar and devour, in a melancholic fashion. Think how island hot Brendan would have been.

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Stephunghi Gonzalizza

Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Previously on the 35 prior seasons of Survivor, the Survivor Gods started storing up every bad mistake any contestant made in a mental bank like a psychopath that is awful, but thinks they’re the victim (Janet – I know you hate millennials, so stop asking me about Microsoft Word as if it is my fault it isn’t working). You know them, we all have one. Erik handing over his hidden immunity to Natalie, Jay playing David’s fake idol, James getting booted with two idols in his pocket, Sierra handing off the legacy advantage to the person that blindsided her, the fucking stick and I assume, the entire Ulong tribe.

Anyway, they withdrew them from the bank and shoved them on an exile like island, and now it is up to 20 new castaways to reverse the curse or flame out in equal epic situations. Like the fucking stick.

Arriving on the beach to meet Probst, we were thrilled to discover they weren’t being shoehorned into a random theme and just got to form the Malolo and Naviti tribes. No heroes in sight … well except for zaddy Brendan of Malolo who was selected to represent the tribe for the ambiguous event Jeff teased to them after laying out the theme. On the flipside, young Chris volunteered to represent Naviti before anyone else had a chance to offer. Their task? Well it was thankless, having to select two people to complete an unknown challenge – one physical, one puzzle.

School teacher and owner of my heart Brendan selected baby Michael for the physical aspect and Michaela and Hannah’s baby Laurel for the puzzle, while Chris selected Sebastian – under the sea – for the physical and Desiree for the puzzle. On account of Morgan literally throwing herself out of sight to avoid being selected. The runner was required to, wait for it, run through obstacles to collect keys that the puzzle solver uses to unlock pieces and solve said puzzle. As Probst is want to do, added another twist to the the challenge where the winner would get a shelter building kit and a fishing kit, in addition to their meagre supplies. However if the loser knows their losing, they have a widow of time at which they can forfeit the challenge, get the booby prize of a fishing kit … and hand the winner 20 eggs and a flint in addition to their haul. See, thankless task.

The guys were neck and neck throughout the obstacles – Michael must have had a juicebox – before both falling apart towards the end. Of course Brendan gave his best fatherly, PE teacher pep talk and my basement flooded. Both Des and Laurel seemed to make quick progress on the puzzle, however Chris disagreed … pulling the plug on Naviti and handing Malolo a flame grilled feast to gorge in their dining room. Jeff immediately worked to stir up some drama, identifying all the people on Naviti – well the one – who wouldn’t have given up on the tribe.

Over at the camp of kings, Michael quickly worked his way into my heart which makes me feel all kinds of icky since he is 18.  Though not to his tribe, who he is telling he is 23. The tribe quickly got to work setting up home, where Donathan worked to learn who everyone was and warm my heart with his genuine, sweet nature.

Over at Naviti, Kellyn lived up to my own preseason hype, talking about how she recently made some major changes in her life and was genuinely super thrilled to be around everyone else on her tribe. Likeable Tony Lite Dom them led construction on their shelter, since he legit is in construction, and christened Sebastian Sea Bass on account of his occupation. Sadly that got him off on the wrong foot with old Sea Bass who quickly moved to align with Chris and set their sites on Dom.

The next day we checked in with Jacob who looks like Fozzie Bear and managed to lose his shoes while by the beach. This made him feel even worse, since he and Donathan are clearly not as physically fit as the rest of his tribe. To counter that, he went off hunting for an idol … which gave the rest of his tribe enough time to talk about said idol hunting, and paint a big ol’ target on his back. He then stayed back alone at camp under the guise of getting the fire going while the tribe bonded and looked for food together. Thankfully they weren’t aware that he used said time to pour the rice into his socks to see if there was anything hidden in the container.

Back at Naviti things seemed to be going better, with their shelter coming along well and Wendell building fish traps with bamboo like a total boss. He then shared with us that he studied Law and hopes that people are going to underestimate him. Things were looking up for Dom, as Wendell had taken a shining to him and he and Bradley gave him a heads up about the Chris/Sea Bass alliance.

Jiffy Pop returned to the scene for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would run across a net bridge, collect ropes and use them to wheel a sled of puzzle pieces towards a table before, obvi, solving said puzzle. To up the ante, he informed the tribes that someone from the losing tribe would be going to Ghost Island which is good for them, as it makes them immune from becoming the first boot. Naviti got out to an early lead while poor Brendan tried to coach the kids of Malolo to keep their heads held high. Sadly they were no match for Kellyn, who led her tribe to victory on the puzzle while Michael looked beautiful pushing the pieces in with his crotch.

While Jacob tried to keep morale up after their loss, the Naviti tried decided to punish his positivity and send him to Ghost Island. Though apparently, they fell straight into his trap and he wanted to find out what Ghost Island was and get himself immune. Sadly though, he said that out loud and his entire tribe know that what his game. But to reiterate, he is immune and he needed it. So yay Jacob.

Finally we met Ghost Island where Jacob was welcomed by two giant tiki statues, multiple immunity idols, all of the torch snuffers from seasons past and a row of small urns with the instruction to smash one. Inside he found a clue, telling him to follow a row of flames where he found a game of chance offering him a secret advantage … if he wagers his vote at the next tribal council. He saw three pieces of bamboo on the table in front of him, one of which was locked. He correctly assumed that the key was inside of one of them, and he simply had to pick which one. Which he did, opening it to find the Legacy Advantage from Game Changers that Sierra cursed by telling Sarah it existed, only to be blindsided by the eventual victor moments later. But of course, there was a twist, this one requiring him to hand it off to a person of the other tribe, the person he selected being puzzle-averse Morgan.

Back at Malolo, Gonzalez decided it was a good idea to chastise everyone about their loss and tell them they should have used Donathan’s idea, which she tried to pass off as her own. Thankfully he wasn’t a wallflower, electing to tell James, Stephanie and someone else – it is episode one, give me a break – that he tried to speak up during the challenge and was instead told to shut up by Gonzalez. While Gonzalez tried to rally the troops, the other Stephanie worked hard to turn things on her and protect Donathan … which Michael was concerned about, since they really need to hold on to any strength they had.

Like Ghost Island, tribal council was creepy as hell, looking like the Blair Witch had sex with a tiki god. Probst got to work needling the tribe, leading to Gonzalez talking about Jacob being special … which no one seemed to take issue with. Laurel spoke about the need to stay strong, Jeff asked Donathan how he felt about that given he is so teeny tiny. Thanks Jeff. Obviously Mama Stephanie stepped in to defend he potential new boyfriend ally, saying that strength comes in different forms. Gonzalez then spoke about wanting to be a part of the puzzle section of the challenge, which Brendan alluded would have been super useful to know YESTERDAY.

Jeff then polled the tribe about whether alliances had formed, which everyone started giving answers to before Michael said something that triggered Gonzalez’s paranoia. She then got up and started whispering in Brendan and Michael’s ear to find out who they were voting for. Michael then adorably apologised for interrupting Probst to talk to Jenna and Laurel about what was said, while Donathan sat in the left-right-out position. Thankfully for him as the votes rolled in, Gonzalez’s efforts were in vain and she found herself out of the game unanimously as the first boot.

Make no mistake Stephanie don’t call me Stephanie Gonzalez was not a happy no longer camper to become the first boot. And while I didn’t add salt to her wounds by telling her I was thrilled her exit saved Donathan, it did take an extend period of time to calm her down. But how could you not calm down when a Stephunghi Gonzalizza is in front of you?

 

 

Earthy, sweet and full of flavour, there is nothing better than the simplistic beauty of a mushroom, goat’s cheese and truffle pizza. I mean, name a more iconic throuple. I’ll wait.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stephunghi Gonzalizza
Serves: 1 angry, sassy first boot.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
100-200g mozzarella, grated
½ cup goat’s cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp white truffle oil

Method
Make the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s recipe.

While they’re proving, heat a lug of oil in a pan and sweat the shallots and garlic for a minute or so before adding the mushrooms and cooking for five minutes, or until softened. Add the thyme, rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 180C.

When the bases are good to go, sprinkle mozzarella over the bases, top with mushroom and crumble over the goats cheese. Drizzle over some truffle oil, transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes or so, or until golden, crisp and delicious.

Devour immediately.

 

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