Duck Risottozryski

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, we witnessed the rise of the previously invisible who orchestrated a blindside of Tegan to break-up the power couple. Sadly for him, she wasn’t eliminated from the game and was instead sent to Exile Beach to await the next boot with them battling out to return to the game. Once again the Contenders lost the challenge, with Benji leading the charge to take out Tegan’s ally Heath and guarantee one of them leaves the game. Sadly for him, Heath played his idol negating all votes but his and sending Anita to Exile where she cleared the air with Tegan and was swiftly beaten at the challenge and sent from the game for good. Upon winning her way back into the game, Tegan was heartbroken to have kicked Anita out of the game though the departing Anita gave her a peptalk to get her revenge, and hot damn, I’d be terrified to have her back at camp if I were Benji.

The Contenders returned to camp where Tegan quickly got to work making everyone feel awkward as hell before letting them simmer in their guilt and getting water with Heath. Back at camp, Paige told the rest of the tribe they needed to own up to things and clear the air with Tegan if they wanted to last. They then all shared the stories that led to Tegan’s boot, with Benji’s lie outed without Tegan even needing to get her hands dirty. Though obvi, Benji wasn’t concerned. Meanwhile back at the well, Tegan filled Heath in on everything she learnt from Anita and told him that they both need to stop playing Mr & Mrs Nice Guy and go for the jugular.

Jonathan arrived on the scene for the immunity challenge where Tegan and Zach assured him that the Contenders hashed everything out and were ready to win, however given the fact we haven’t seen the Champions at all this episode, it isn’t looking likely. Anyway the challenge required sick people to run up a slippery slope to fill buckets full of holes with water and fill up a tube to release a box filled with a ball, which two people will use to complete a wall maze. As is oft the case, Mat got the Champions out to an early lead however Benji closed the gap and got the Contenders out in front. Well, until the Champions stripped down – damn boys and their speedos! Mat, Brian, Steve … swoon! – and overtook the Contenders, giving Jackie and Sam the lead for the maze. After narrowly missing the hole on their first attempt, the Contenders managed to catch up. Well until Zach and Robbie choked and Jackie and Sam secured victory for the Champions. Again.

As Tegan promised, she returned back to camp ready to out all of Benji’s lies and scorch the earth, so to speak until Fenella spoke up and outed the reason why she turned on Tegan. This set her off, saying he was a bullshitter and everyone needed to know who they were playing with. Benji then straight up lied to everyone, saying how he simply pointed out that they were a pair, then trying to say Heath planned to turn on the girls. This then lead to an epic moment where Heath and Tegan went full mum and dad mode, chastising him for lying and pointing out that the bromance are far more dangerous than their pair.

Benji then ran off to the shore to hide his tears by washing his face before pulling Zach aside to reaffirm they need to put enough doubt in their tribemates mind. While Paige didn’t buy his bullshit a second time, he was confident that he’d be able to convince Shonee and Fenella he never lied. While they looked to be all in with his story, they also seemed genuine when Tegan pulled them aside to clear the air and build their relationship back up. All was forgiven and they were ready to join Tegan in the next vote, though only if they vote out Zach instead of Benji since he is far more dislikable. While Tegan felt uncomfortable not taking Benji out, Shonee shared with us that she needed to keep her options open and felt Zach was more expendable to her game.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to shade their string of losses and Tegan for previously being booted from the game. Tegan admitted that she had been floating through the game prior to her boot, and vowed to fight hard for the rest of the game. Jonathan asked Benji for his opinion, with him once again trying to dance around the truth with very much conviction. Tegan called him out for lying about her targeting the girls to get them to turn on her, saying that Anita told her that Robbie and Benji instigated it despite their denials. Shonee confirmed that it was all true, with Benji attempting to stutter out a defence before being schooled by Tegan like she is the Michelle to his Purple Ben.

Zach tried to jump in and defend Benji, saying Tegan lied and planned to take him out with her pointing out that she never actually spoke to him and he knew that she targeted him since he voted her out. Zach admitted that he was nervous about the upcoming vote, with Tegan pointing out that the boys strengths haven’t really been helping them and the girls are far stronger than he gives them credit for. Zach continued to shrink the target on Benji’s back, saying the girls were letting down the team much to the disgust of all the women on the tribe. You could see them completely shut down as he tried to dig himself out of the hole, with the girls all jumping in to talk why he is useless and failing the tribe and Robbie and Benji looking more and more defeated.

Which was well placed as Heath and the girls joined together … with the help of Benji and Robbie, to take out Zach, despite the fact that Benji completely had his game blown up by the Exile Beach twist. While Zach had been rehabbing his image over the last couple of episodes, he was letting his misogynistic flag fly when he walked into Loser Lodge. Thankfully like a leftie woman, I don’t tolerate white heterosexual male privilege, nor do I take kindly to fragile masculinity. As such, I went to town on him for all his shitty statements throughout his ten episodes on television and proceeding to roll him the tapes of real man Steve Willis, breaking down about his desire to be loved. Real men cry, bitch.

Anyway, I went on such a rage filled tangent that I made Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth II hurricane speech look like a children’s story … so then I whipped him up a delightfully salty Duck Risottozryski to apologise for going so hard when I know that every good show needs a good villain.

 

 

I love Duck Risotto. It is amazing – deliciously gamey, sweet, creamy and packing a punch, it is near perfection. And while some would say his statements about women made him less than deserving of such a beautiful dish, I made him promise to do better in the future.

To quote Melania Trump, when they go low, we go high. She said that, right?

Enjoy!

 

 

Duck Risottozryski
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 duck breasts, skin on
1L vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
3 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
⅔ cup white wine
500g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup parmesan, grated
100g Goats Cheese, crumbled

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat until scorching. Add the duck breasts, skin down and cook for about five minutes, or until super crispy. Flip and cook for a further five minutes or so, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and leave to rest for five ten minutes before slicing into 5mm thick … slices. Keep warm.

Meanwhile place the stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Finally heat another lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes or so, or until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two, or until well coated and starting to lose their colour at the end. Add the wine and stir until it is almost absorbed before adding the stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring until each additional has almost absorbed. This will take about fifteen minutes total.

While you’re cooking the rice, place the fatty duck pan back on the heat and cook the mushrooms until browned and glorious. Add the parsley, stir and remove from heat.

When the stock has all been used up, add the lemon juice and zest, thyme, mushrooms and parmesan, and a good whack of salt and pepper before stirring to combine. Crumble over the Goats Cheese and cooked duck, and serve immediately.

Then devour and wash the dishes like Zach would want. Well, if you’re a dislikable, leftie female.

 

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Kylarizo Colemanchego Quesadillas

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, Snack, Street Food

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, 15 girls moved into Model Manor in the Hollywood Hills with the hope of following in India Gants’ footsteps and becoming America’s Next Top Model. One by one the girls went home, starting with Maggie and followed by Ivana, Liz, Rhiyan, Coura, Liberty, Christina, Sandra, Brendi K, Erin and Rio.

After once again being saved from getting the chop, Jeana remained in the final four who were then tasked with going to casting with the dastardly Philipp Plein. Despite surviving the casting relatively unscathed – compared to Khrystyana who he likened to a horse and forced to have an emotional breakdown – poor Shanice arrived at the Paper shoot to discover that based on her performance, the judges would be eliminating her immediately.

The girls shon to various degrees during the shoot, progressing to the final runway where poor Khrystyana couldn’t get out of her head. She was better off than the girl that was partnered with Jeana, however, who was abandoned at the end of the runway. In any event, Khrystyana was tragically felled in third – like the robbed-Goddess Shangela before her – and after a brief reading from the judges Jeana was handed the runners-up crown and Kyla proved that nice gals don’t finish last, snatching the title of America’s Next Top Model.

Like Tyra and the judges, Kyla grew on me week after week as she grew, blossomed and routinely stood up for herself against the tyranny of Rio and Jeana. While Khrystyana was obviously my favourite, Kyla hit her stride at exactly the right time, killing the Pantene and Paper shoots which is essentially a ticket to victory. That alone is worthy of a delightful Kylarizo Colemanchego Quesadillas.

 

 

Hot and spicy, deliciously smokey and packing the punch of manchego, these quesadillas are almost as light, sweet and vivacious – not that one – as the new queen that is Kyla.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kylarizo Colemanchego Quesadillas
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
250g hot chorizo sausage, cut into discs
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
300g manchego cheese, grated
12 tortillas
olive oil, for brushin’

Method
Heat a skillet over high heat and cook the chorizos for a minute or two, or until the oil has started to leak out and your kitchen is hella fragrant. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To assemble, place a tortilla on a workspace, sprinkle with cheese, top with the meaty, oniony, mushrooms and top with another sprinkle of cheese before placing another tortilla on top. Repeat the process until you’re out of tortillas.

Bring a clean, dry skillet to heat over a medium heat. Once scorching, brush with some olive oil and fry a quesadilla for a couple of minutes, or until browned and crisp. Flip and cook for a further couple of minutes. Repeat the process until done.

Devour, immediately.

 

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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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Todd Herzongola & Mushroom Arancini

Party Food, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: China, Tapas

Can you believe that the premiere of Survivor is five days away? Well you better, because it is … and I am bursting out of my skin with excitement. After kicking off my countdown with past champs Vecepia, Tom and Danni, I knew there was only one person I could have over to round things out – my boy Todd Herzog!

Todd has had an extremely well publicised battle with alcoholism over the last couple of years (which was subsequently taken advantage of by Dr. Phil), but I’m pleased to say that unlike me, he is doing really well. And it filled me with such joy to see him, happy and healthy.

And ready to welcome another person into the winner’s circle.

As you may have assumed, I played a large role in Todd’s problem, always wanting to give him one more drink … but thankfully he hasn’t held that against me and we’ve been able to maintain our close friendship.

Todd truly is an icon of Survivor and, in my not at all humble opinion, is one of the best winners and gave one of the best final tribal performances of all time. Let’s be honest, the jury wanted one of the girls to win before Todd schooled them, and charmed his way to a million dollars.

If it isn’t already abundantly clear, I love Todd and desperately want him to return when he is well enough.

Anyway, we laughed, we cried and we ran the odds on who we want to win (heart, Jacob) and who we think will win (please Wendell or Kellyn). As is always the case here, I found it to be extremely hunger inducing, so whipped us up a batch of Todd Herzongola & Mushroom Arancini.

 

 

Now I love me some arancini … but when they taste like this, how could you not? The creamy risotto, the woody mushroom and the whack of the gorgonzola. These babies are heavenly.

Enjoy!

 

 

Todd Herzongola & Mushroom Arancini
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups chicken stock
olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
250 mixed mushrooms, finely chopped
1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ cup dry vermouth
⅔ cup parmesan, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
½ cup flour
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
150g gorgonzola, diced

Method
Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, reduce heat to low and simmer. Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and sweat for 5 minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the mushies and cook for a further five minutes, or until soft before adding the rice. Stir for a couple of minutes, or until the rice starts to get translucent around the edges.

Stir through the vermouth, followed by half a cup of the warm stock and stir until the liquid has just all absorbed. Add another half cup of stock and repeat the process until it is all gone, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the parmesan and seasonings, and stir to combined. Allow to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

To assemble, place the breadcrumbs in one bowl, the flour in another and whisk the egg and milk in another. With wet hands, take 1-2 cup of risotto in your hands, form a ball while squeezing out all the air. Form a whole in the centre, press the gorgonzola inside, enclose and roll. Repeat until they’re all done.

When you’re ready to crumb, roll each arancini in flour, followed by egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat the process and place on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and place in the oven to bake for fifteen-twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour.

 

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Beef Julia Sawallington

Ab Fab’s 25th Birthday, Main

Just when you thought this week couldn’t get any more celebratory – I mean, celebrating Jen and Jane is a pretty killer start, no? – today also marks our 500th celebrity catch-up. Yes … five freaking hundred. And my dear friend Julia Sawalha is more than worthy of helping my mark this milestone.

While I only met Jules when she came in to audition for Ab Fab, I knew that she was destined for great things. One day on set she casually mentioned that she was up for the role of Lydia Bennett – in the good not Knightley version of P&P – and as a fan of the work, and a famed period acting and dialect coach, I offered up my services to help her snag the role slash steal the show.

Which I think you could agree, I was more than successful at that.

As seems to be a running theme of growing older, Jules and I aren’t able to catch-up as often as we like so she was thrilled to not only take the time out to honour Ab Fab … but also become our 500th date in the process.

“Ben, I don’t know if I’m worthy of being a milestone date. I mean, I’m no Skarsy, Solange, Meg, Kanye, CeCe – no, I am better than a Survivor that didn’t make the jury – Mischa, Nat Imbrugs, Lin Manuel. Let’s not talk about Purple Ben from this season of Australian Survivor.

“In any event, I’m somewhat worthy of your honour but would like some reassurance,” she coyly admitted.

“You’re a talented actress, one of my dearest friends and owned two iconic series! In addition, you’re beautiful, you’re a model. You look like Linda Evangelista … “

Half way through quoting the now iconic Aja, she accepted the honour and we got to work reconnecting, celebrating and chowing down on a big fat piece of meat. In the form of my Beef Julia Sawallington.

 

 

There is nothing I love more than a big piece of meat. Well, unless it is wrapped in a nice, puffy dough. That is something I’ll never be able to go past. Like Jules or the good version of P&P.

Enjoy!

 

 

Beef Julia Sawallington
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
1kg fillet of beef , trimmed
olive oil
unsalted butter
a few sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
500g mushrooms, roughly chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped
100g pate
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked

Method
Bring a frying pan to heat over a high … heat while you rub the beef fillet with salt, pepper and a good ol’ lug of olive oil. Add another lug to the pan with a knob of butter and a sprig of rosemary, and sear the beef for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove from the pan to rest while we get to work on the rest.

Add the onion and garlic to the still hot pan and sweat for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms with another knob of butter, rosemary and thyme, reduce heat to low and cook for about twenty minutes, or until they’re nice and soft. Remove from the heat, stir through the pate and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 210°C.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bench and the second next to it with a two centimetre overlap. Press them together, smear the pate/mushroom mixture over the middle, top with the fillet and roll and/or fold the pastry to enclose.

Transfer to a lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked and blushing like a whore in church. Aka Kiwi hero slash Australian drunk Barnaby Joyce.

Rest for 5 minutes before serving in with gravy and mash. Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Karl Stroganovic

Main, Pasta

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

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

Gaaaahhhh, how heartbreaking is that?

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Karl Stroganovic
Serves: 6.

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

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

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

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

 

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Pake Bowl

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Ben and Henry were warmly welcomed after opting to swap to Samatau. Well Henry was liked, making him a threat while poor Ben continued to be a non-entity. At the reward challenge, Asaga came from behind to win a trip to the Survivor ice cream parlour where Anneliese found a clue for an idol. Sadly for her, it was hidden at the next immunity challenge. Luckily, kinda, Asaga completely bombed the challenge allowing her to snatch the idol while feigning heartache while Henry slipped Jericho an idol clue which I assumed is dead. After a heated tribal council between Michelle and Kent, my speedo loving god couldn’t sway anyone over to his side and found himself exiting the game.

Asaga returned from tribal council where Luke was feeling very confident about how things played out, while Odette was feeling mega-shitty … only exacerbated by their lack of fire at camp. While she put herself to bed, Michelle dropped by and saw Luke’s confidence and raised him with arrogance.

Things were looking up the next day when Luke tried to outdo Locky by catching not one, but two sharks. Speaking of Locky, he and his Samatau tribe mates were struggling without fire or a flint to make one. While he, Ben and Tessa tried to get a fire going, ol’ arrogant AK continued to lay back and do nothing to try and bait Locky into snapping at him to further isolate him from his tribe mates.

Back at Asaga, Luke noticed his mate Jericho running off down the beach to find the idol that Henry and Jacqui found episodes ago, thanks to the clue Henry handed him at the last immunity challenge. Please, please, PLEASE – tell me they hid a fucking stick in the tree. Meanwhile at Samatau, Henry was reclining – literally like a healthy, friendly AK – in the hammock where he filled us in that yes he gave Jericho a dead clue to try and woo him back to his side come the merge.

Odette returned to our screen to finally let us know who she is. Given the fact Henry’s plan to switch has left her without any allies, she was feeling extremely sorry for herself and missing her son back at home. Right on queue, she and Luke arrived at treemail to discover that they all got gifts from home to celebrate making it to day 25. Luke was likeable, Odette’s story broke my heart, Ben got a Thomas the tank engine, Locky got me hot by getting a jersey that inspired some NFL fantasies before Henry brought the house down by getting a necklace from his mum who died six weeks before the game began. I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

Also … I know I talk about Locky a lot, but Henry is hella bangin’.

Wanting to quell my thirst, JLP finally made an appearance for the next immunity challenge where Henry discovered he lost another ally. Not wanting to dwell on his loss, Samatau arrived with every reward they had won thus far to barter for a flint. The challenge required three people to jump off a platform to collect keys to unlock a chest of puzzle pieces. Two people then had to build the puzzle before the remaining two knock it down with some bag. But turns out, it isn’t for immunity but for the winning tribe to attend tribal council where they will vote for someone to get the chance to snag a massive reward. Aka the super idol – thanks ads!

Samatau got out to a huge lead thanks to Ziggy’s experience in the olympic pool and Michelle’s general ineptitude. Despite that, AK completely choked the puzzle portion, allowing Asaga to take the lead … then Jericho and Tara struggled to knock pieces off allowing Samatau to close the gap and Ben – BEN – to secure victory for the tribe. That my friends, was a nail biting challenge.

Back at camp Samatau were feeling good about their win and to find a flint attached to a pot. Despite it feeling like they wouldn’t actually snag fire, Locky eventually got the fire going allowing them to eat some rice and switch their brains back on as they commenced scrambling to figure out a) how tribal council can be a win, b) what said win could mean and c) how they convince people to vote for them to get the reward.

AK, obviously, was annoyed when people tried to suggest themselves for the prize, despite also trying to convince people to give him the reward. I mean, it may be my boner talking, but Locky’s logic that if it is a tribal reward, they’re better off voting for the strongest guy there to snatch it for them.  I mean, at least he’s trying to appear altruistic?

Putting us out of our misery, they arrived at tribal where JoJo continued to be very vague about the details of the reward. The tribe tried to get information as to what the “ultimate reward” could be, and how it would benefit them and/or the tribe. All they did get is that the person would not be returning to camp with them that night, though they would still be a member of the tribe.

After a lot of passive aggressive back-and-forth with AK and his alliance trying to put Locky down, while Locky tried to fight for himself as the best person to secure victory for the tribe – and I truly believe that is what he thinks it will be – they deemed Ziggy to be the best all-rounder / trustworthy enough to send. The tribe then filed out of tribal council, leaving Ziggy to be handed a map to the mangroves where she learnt that a super idol – as predicted by Ben – was hidden amongst the trees and she had until sunrise to find it. Despite what Ben thought that meant, the idol split in two allowing one half to cancel out a hidden immunity idol at tribal, while the second half could be played as normal. She meandered all over the swamp for close to five hours before finally laying eyes on the super idol, leaving her with the dilemma of what to do next.

Zigs awoke on a pedestal near the swamp to find a bountiful breakfast while she pawed the super idol. With that, came a great deal of confidence bordering on arrogance begging the question, is it actually the start of a winner’s edit or the beginning of her downfall. She then returned to Samatau with the dilemma of trying to decide what to share with her tribe mates. She then told everyone a very confusing story to cover up what her advantage was, which became so convoluted I almost started to believe it. As did Jarrad and Tessa. Locky then threw some hella shade, which was glorious, while AK was not buying anything she was selling.

Over at Asaga Tara was feeling proud to have made it beyond the halfway point of the game. She then reminded everyone that she harbours will will towards Samatau, none more so than AK. Luke then spoke about being the king of the jungle and made me wish for his downfall as quickly as possible.

Hopefully in a prophetic manner, JLP arrived to lord over the next reward challenge … but wait a minute, everyone is dropping their buffs and switching up the tribes. JoJo meandered around the tribes offering up platters of concealed buffs for them to select their news tribes. AK and Peter ended up switching to new Asaga, with the former’s nemesis Tara while new-Samatau welcomed Anneliese back, this time with Michelle. AK tried to downplay the magnitude of shit he just walked into, before Jonathan introduced the actually reward challenge, where each tribe would select one person at a time to battle balancing an idol on a paddle … for a taste of home and everything Samatau gave up for flint.

Ziggy and Tara were first to face off, with Ziggy grabbing Tara’s tit on the way to victory. Sarah easily defeated Anneliese, a sadly clothed Locky was bested by AK, Henry took out Odette, Luke took out Jarrad, Pete destroyed Ben and Michelle, obviously, was bested by Jericho. Once again, Ziggy beat Tara, Anneliese even things up with Sarah, Locky got one up on AK, , Henry – again – took out Odette before Luke tied things up over Jarrad. Match point came down to Pete and Ben, with Pete, obviously, taking out victory for new Asaga.

Despite being gutted by the loss, Locky – being the babe that he is – was seeing the bright side with AK now screwed on the new tribe and hopefully about to be kicked to the kerb by Ta-tas. On that note, AK and Pete arrived at their new tribe where AK was shitting himself … though hoping to turn things around on Tara. While they devoured their favourite treats AK was trying to work overtime making friends … and then tried to show he had a heart by talking about his girlfriend, proving to Tara that her feelings towards him were more than founded.

Over at new Samatau, Locky was feeling great to no longer have to deal with AK. On the flipside, Anneliese was feeling uneasy to be back with the jerks that voted her off a few days ago. Michelle was also hating life, given the fact she went from top to bottom – it’s called vers, babes – though she quickly got to work connecting with people and gossiping, knowing Ziggy’s friend Jono outside of the game. That obviously annoyed Locky, who missed the sound of silence, who tried to pull numbers to take her out ASAP.

Back at Asaga 3.0 AK continued his faux-charm offensive, emphasis on offensive, playing hard to try and save himself. He and Pete then went for a walk to discuss how best to save themselves, agreeing that Sarah and Odette were their best chances for survival. Thankfully Odette emerged as a queen, dismissing his attempted sweet-talking before Sarah too, didn’t see through his bullshit. That being said, Tara was watching it like a hawk leading her to approach Luke and Jericho to assure their allegiance slash get her revenge. Luke however had very little sympathy, thinking the entire thing is hilarious … leading him to approach AK to form an all boys alliance to take out Tara. Which he was obviously faking about, making him fractionally more likeable.

That obviously lead into the immunity challenge which Samatau are obviously winning given all the focus has been on Asaga. AK continued to sound confident ahead of the challenge, which involved one man and woman to hold a barrel, while the other tribe tried to fill it with water to make them drop it. Locky and Ziggy were in charge of the barrels at Samatau, while nemeses Tara and AK had to carry Asaga. Asaga focussed on taking out Locky, making him glisten in the sea water before AK became the first to drop out of the challenge, leaving a half-full barrel for Tara to hold while Ziggy was still empty. Out of nowhere, Henry threw a huge bucket of water into Tara’s barrel, handing Samatau immunity – shock – and sending AK and Tara to tribal for their latest showdown.

Back at camp Tara confirmed that once again, she would be voting for AK, which annoyed the shit of AK who feels he is entitled to outlast her. He and Luke went for a walk, with Luke lying that Tara was annoying him and she wanted her out next. Luke then approached Sarah to tell her that the plan is still to get rid of AK. Everyone started to get quite confident about the plan to blindside AK, making me anxious given that there is half an hour left in the episode.

Almost like I manifested it, AK started to feel concerned about Luke and Tara tending the fire together leading to AK and Pete meeting up by the well to try and come up with a safety plan, which lead them to Sarah. While Sarah knows that he is a snake, she rightly pointed out that she needs to stick with bottom-feeders and humour AK that she was willing to flip to the old Samatauns to take out Tara. He then approached Odette to firm up numbers, with her simply gloating about being the swing vote. While it seemed like she was kicking him while he was down, I do have a sinking feeling that AK and Luke are both about to survive tribal.

JoJo quickly got to work zeroing in on the ‘AK is fucked and is feuding with Tara narrative,’ with the feuders walking us through the brief history of their drama. Luke then brought up the fact that they are low on strength and need to focus on keeping people that can win challenges, spooking Tara that she may actually lose the battle. Odette then mentioned that she was starting to question what she was doing tonight, making AK equally as nervous. After everyone mentioned that they were now quite confused about how the votes would go down, said votes went down and AK became the tenth person voted out of the game.

As much as I’ve verbalised my rage for AK, we used to be dear friends … until he refused to fly himself to New York to DJ my wedding at his own expense. Despite the fact that that is clearly disgusting behaviour on his part, I decided to take the high road and whip him up a comforting Pake Bowl.

 

 

Spicy and fresh, this is the perfect dish to work through the pain of a brutal, swap-fucked blindside. And, obviously, rub in the pain a little … we all know I’m not nice enough to just kindly whip up a comfort meal for a frenemy.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pake Bowl
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
300g firm tofu, cut into 2cm dice
1 tbsp sesame oil, plus extra for frying
2 tbsp gochujang
200g udon noodles
1 capsicum, thinly sliced
2 bok choy, halved
250g mushrooms, sliced
4 shallots, sliced
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine the tofu, sesame oil and gochujang in a bowl and toss to cover. Spread the tofu over a lined baking sheet – leaving the sauce in the bowl – and place in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp.

While the tofu is in the oven, cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

Get three skillets on the flame over medium heat with a lug of sesame oil. Place the bok choy, cut side down, in one pan, and cook for a couple of minutes each side. In pan two, add the capsicum and toss them for a couple of minutes, or until bright, fragrant and cooked. Then, in pan three, add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Add the white of the shallots, tamari and honey and cook for a further minute. Add the sesame seeds and then cook for a further, further minute.

Drain the noodles and toss them through the saucy bowl.

To serve, place some noodles in a bowl and add each element on top, finishing with the fresh greens of the shallots and let it get fresh with you. Ak … a devour it.

 

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Aimiso Stanton Soup

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Side, Snack, Soup, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Jericho gave into temptation and took a jar of cookies to build his own army, which I still feel is not going to end well for him. On the other hand Tarzan couldn’t bring himself to deceive the tribe. After Asaga took out yet another immunity challenge, Tarzan continued his streak of selflessness by finding and gifting an idol to Tessa, who used it at tribal council, sending Tarzan out of the game as the fourth boot instead of their planned target Locky, who AK told to split the vote.

Back at camp, Tessa was feeling sad about Tarzan going out in the process of saving her, though things quickly turned smug when she realised that she survived the second tribal she shouldn’t have. While everyone tried to stay warm by the fire, AK confirmed that he was planning to flip on the mega-alliance as soon as he could, and intended to use the one person tribe that is Tessa.

Meanwhile at Asaga, Jericho continued to gorge on cookies while everyone slept, like a slightly more likeable version of Taylor Stocker. He then decided that he needed to expand his cookie army beyond Luke and Henry, pulling Sarah into the fold under the guise that she is the only one he could tell. Again, this will come back and bite him in the arse – mark my words!

The next day Samatau struggled to catch fish, while Tessa struggled to make friends. Given the fact that Locky is universally beloved, both AK and Tessa spoke about needing to take him out as quickly as possible. As the weather started to deteriorate, AK approached Ziggy and Jarrad to confirm that they are still tight, and vowed to pull Tessa in to make a move. Tessa, obvi was thrilled to get a second (third, or fourth) chance in the game.

That night Luke and Jericho returned to eating cookies in front of camp while everyone slept, finishing them off and sadly proving my prediction that he’s get screwed wrong. I mean, fuck, even when he went and threw crumbs on his sleeping tribe mates, it didn’t bloody backfire. I was wrong … and I will never say that ever again.

Back at Samatau, AK reminded us that he wants Locky gone at the next possible opportunity. Though Locky wasn’t 100% falling for the stories AK was telling him, he knew it was important to agree with AK before running straight over to Tara to fill her in on AK’s supposed plans. Tara then pulled Aimee aside before AK seemingly got anxious, and joined the girls to confirm he still wants Tessa gone which made Tara start to think that AK needed to go.

It shouldn’t really be a surprise when Samatau lose the next immunity, given the fact Asaga has had two scenes of cookie eating and Samatau has been complete and utter bedlam.

Wanting to see if my predictions have gotten any better, JoJo returned for the next immunity challenge where Asaga were shocked to see Tarzan booted at the last tribal council. The challenge required each tribe to form a chain while holding up discs between the hands of each tribe member, the last tribe with a single disc standing being the winner.

Once again, Henry played his fauxgi role well, coaching his tribe to breathe before Sarah and Kent became the first disc to drop. Peter and Anneliese dropped Samatau’s first disc, followed by Sam and Mark, and Jarrad and Locky, before a rapid chain of drop-outs led to a showdown between Ziggy and AK, and Henry and Mark. After more than an hour and a half of absolute struggle from AK, he and Ziggy finally dropped their disc, handing Asaga immunity and Samatau to their fourth tribal council in a row.

Before even leaving the cliff, Jarrad whispered to Tessa that they had to make a move tonight, making me extremely nervous for my thirst trap Locky. Arriving back at camp did nothing to lessen my fear, as the tribe all locked in their vote for Tessa before AK approached Tessa to float the idea of getting rid of Aimee, with Jarrad and Ziggy.

Thinking that Pete would be the best possible option to get rid of Aimee, Jarrad pulled him aside to float the idea of getting rid of Aimee. Going one further he floated the possibility of getting rid of his friend Tara, who he could see was getting very close with Locky and Aimee. Not to be outdone, Tara then pulled Tessa aside while eating to dinner to float the idea of getting rid of AK at tribal. Seeing AK’s scheming coming together, Tara, Aimee and Locky started to get more and more anxious about the numbers and approached Anneliese to lock her in to help them get rid of him.

At tribal council AK continued to feel bad about losing yet another immunity challenge before Locky pointed out that he was proud of both he and Ziggy for fighting so hard for their tribe. Putting an end to the lovefest, Tessa was asked if she still felt on the outs which she confirmed, she did … though this time, she was strangely quiet about it. The rest of the tribe all danced around how tight the alliance was before Aimee had it with the bullshit and said that the eight wasn’t as tight as they thought.

The reactions ranged from shock, delight and anxiety as the truth floated around tribal before AK tried to get the performance back on track, saying that their are eight people in the alliance and one person to vote for. Tara then decided to join in the truth bomb action, saying that they do need to start thinking of what comes next. Everyone threw out some suitable vague comments before they headed off to vote, while I popped an aspirin to get rid of my confusion induced headache.

The votes quickly started to pile up on AK, before Locky, Tara and Aimee were shocked to see them roll in for the latter, sending her out of the game as the fifth boot. Given the fact she was spewin’ and I had a headache from all the confusion, I thought I’d whip up something soothing for me and my dear friend – and personal plumber – to help us recuperate. Something like my Aimiso Stanton Soup, for instance.

 

 

I mean, sure, it isn’t a pot and a parmie at the local pub like se wanted, but I took her spewin’ comment literally, and felt it my duty to make something nourishing and spicy to help perk her up. Plus – how can you go past miso soup? It is super fresh and tasty. I’ll make you a parmie for All Stars, ok Ames?

Enjoy!

 

 

Aimiso Stanton Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp dried wakame seaweed
1L vegetable stock
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
100g mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sriracha
300g silken tofu, cut into 2cm dice
¼ cup white miso
1 shallot, very thinly sliced

Method
Heat the sesame oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the wakame and fry for a minute, or until fragrant. Add the stock, fish and oyster sauces, mushrooms and sriracha, reduce heat to low and cook for twenty minutes.

Add the tofu and miso and cook until miso dissolves.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with shallots and down, down, ay.

 

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Jonathan LaPagliatelle

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Pasta, Vegetarian

He’s baaaaaa-aaaaack! This time next week we’ll have witnessed scruffy Oz-Probst – and my dear friend – Jonathan LaPaglia snuff his first torch of the season. And I will have screamed for smelling salts as the euphoria/orgasm rendered me unconscious.

Yes – that is the long winded way of saying Australian Survivor is back and I couldn’t be happier to announce that once again JoJo requested my presence in Samoa to act as his houseboy / culinary comfort chef for the castaways.

I’ve known Jo for years, after a chance meeting at the University of Adelaide where I was skulking about the med school trying to meet a future doctor to take as my husband. While he had zero interest in pursuing a relationship due to our similar appearance (read: killer guns), we became friends against all odds and I was quickly taken into the LaPaglia family.

While there was a period of ugliness after Anthony refused to get Josie Alibrandi gender-flipped – and that time I tried to torch his car when I was overlooked for the hosting role – we remain the closest of friends and I was thrilled to spend two months together in Samoa, catching-up, feasting in front of the contestants … and I assume doing weights.

To celebrate the impending return of Australian Survivor, I flew Jojo over to discuss how we felt the season went – really good … unless the editors really drop the ball / can’t be paid by Channel 10 – over a big fat bowl of my Jonathan LaPagliatelle.

 

 

I’ve long held the belief that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – I actually coined the phrase, NBD – and this is the first dish I ever made him to win him over. Warm, fresh, creamy and tasty, it is the second most fun I’ve had getting sauce over a man’s face.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jonathan LaPagliatelle
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
bunch of shallots, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
5 sprigs of thyme leaves
250g chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
500g tagliatelle
250g mascarpone
200g baby spinach, washed and drained
100g parmesan, grated

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook off the shallots and garlic until the island love nest – or kitchen – is aromatic. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for a further ten minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, before reducing the heat and simmering for fifteen minutes. Season and keep warm while you cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

When the pasta is al dente, add the mascarpone and spinach to the the mushroom mix and stir until combined and the spinach wilted. Stir through the pasta and half the parmesan, before serving, generously drowned in the excess parmesan.

Devour immediately with your big strong, LaPagli-esque arms and think of how they’d hold you tight in winter. Or something.

 

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