Caramelised Connieon Stevens Dip

Dip, Party Food, Side, Snack

My time back in, time, got me thinking about all of my old Hollywood friends. That in turn reminded me of the rapidly approaching double anniversary of doom of Deb and Carrie, reminding me that I really need to put in more of an effort with my dear friend Connie Stevens.

While my relationship with Joely was so adversarial – in a friendly way though – enough to inspire the hit film Drop Dead Gorgeous, my bond with Con has been nothing with diamonds. Though sans rosé, that is reserved for the VanderpumpTodds.

Anywho, I first met Con in ‘69 – giggity – while touring with the Bob Hope USO tour to Guam and Southeast Asia. While my sexually aggressive boylesque wasn’t as well received as it would be today, Con took me under her wing and we became the best of friends.

Despite the fact it was my affair with Eddie that ruined her marriage.

Thankfully Con is hella forgiving, and currently hella available, so forgave me and continued our dear friendship … meaning she was super keen to reconnect post-thanksgiving slash pre-Christmas.

While we had a huge falling out in the late noughties – since she refused to cast me in her directorial debut – our mutual losses of the last year melted away the ice between us. Enough to reconcile this holiday season. And boy am I thankful for that.

We laughed, we cried, we lamented why we let such petty things get in the way of our friendship – particularly when me wrecking her home didn’t ruin it – over a big fat bowl of my Caramelised Connieon Stevens Dip.

 

 

While it may not be the best for my gastroenterological system, caramelised onion is damned near perfection. Sweet, tart and earthy, this dip is the perfect accompaniment for a mournful, or triumphant day. Aka it is versatile, which is what everyone wants in a date.

Enjoy!

 

 

Caramelised Connieon Stevens Dip
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp sage leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method
Heat  a good lug of oil in a frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 15 minutes. Stir through the sugar, Worcestershire, Sriracha, paprika, sage and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

When cool, combine everything in a bowl together and chill for an hour or so before devouring.

 

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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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Zinggy Burger

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Burgers, Main, Party Food, Poultry, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara finally realised that my dear Locky needs to go if she has any shot at the end. She then discovered some lollies to sweeten the deal with Ziggy to flip, joining literally everyone else to get rid of Locky. Sadly for them – and great for my hope he’ll give us buns again – he then won immunity, causing everyone to scramble leading to (self-proclaimed) King Luke to exit the game and give someone else some screentime.

Jericho was devastated when he returned to camp, though harking back to his first confessional vowed to bring chaos to the tribe. He then went in for Tara, telling Locky all of her plans to turn on him to get further. Locky felt it sounded true – because it is – so pulled Tara aside to clear the air. While she seemed to get herself out of the mess, Locky still seemed paranoid.

The next day Ziggy replaced Luke as the manic person that oft appears to be a junkie, as she reminded us that she and Tara are the lolly bandits. She then spoke about getting a hit and the fact it is constantly on her mind which makes me extremely concerned for her welfare. Are we getting a sugar crash medevac tonight?

Tara continued to try and do damage control at camp, while a sadly clothed Locky told us he was still feeling anxious about what Jericho said, despite believing Tara. He then told us all how he was dominating the game, and I didn’t love the look on him. To put his mind at ease, Locky and Ziggy caught up in the jungle, with Ziggy convinced that Tara wasn’t flipping on them … because, sugar rush? YAAAAAAAHHHHH.

Oh wait, sorry, sugar-junky Ziggy made me forget she was completely onboard with getting rid of Locky.

Given the fact Locky was still feeling uneasy, he tried to forge a connection with Jericho to break the alleged 3-3 split. For the second time this episode, Jericho appeared to be smarter than I gave him credit for, barely humouring Locky and throwing some epic shade in his confessionals. I mean, I don’t want to like him, but the sass is glorious.

Sensing defeat, Locky moved on to Michelle who proved that she is truly the biggest threat left in the game, because if she makes it to the end, she would Kristie the shit out of the questions. His attempt to woo her quickly became a fight, gaining the attention of Jericho and Pete with the latter deciding he needs to reconnect with Tara and pull her in to get rid of Locky or Ziggy. But let’s be honest, Locky is winning immunity again, right? Otherwise we are Alecia Holden-ing our way straight from immunity, to tribal council.

Putting me out of my misery JoJo returned for said immunity challenge which required everyone to keep their balls in the air … by keeping a single ball spinning within a circular track. As quickly as it started Michelle was out, followed by Tara as the rain arrived to give us some JLP wet T-shirt action. I mean, if he keeps this up, Locky is expendable. Oh Ziggy then dropped out, followed by Jericho leaving the hopes of the tribe weighing on Pete’s shoulders. Sadly for him, the weight became too much and Locky once again took out immunity and crushed the hopes and dreams of the tribe.

Side note: how good did JLP’s nips look while handing the necklace back to Locky?

Back at camp everyone was pissed, with Tara particularly concerned about his immunity run continuing and the fact she needs to fashion a plan B. Meanwhile Pete already had his plan B lined up, deciding that Ziggy needs to go as she is the second biggest threat left in the game. Tara was not sold on this, rationalising that Ziggy is the best person to end Locky’s immunity run. Tara took the Ziggy plan back to Ziggy and Locky to see what they should do, with Locky wanting to target Michelle and bully someone into flipping with them for fear of going to rocks.

Locky tried to work his magic on Jericho and Pete to spook them into flipping rather than playing rocks, with both of the boys hilariously preferring to go to rocks and put their game to chance rather than voting with Locky. Pete then pulled Tara aside to run through the competing plans, trying to sway Tara to their side to avoid rocks.

They arrived at tribal council where the tribe struggled to pretend to be happy about Locky’s hat trick. Jericho threw some light shade, Pete admitted he wanted Locky to lose so they could vote him out, Tara gave a better acting performance pretending she doesn’t want Locky out, Ziggy said she wished she had immunity before Michelle brought some excitement to the festivities. Channelling Ciera ‘she voted out her MOM’ Eastin, she then announced that the vote is currently deadlocked and that they will be voting for Ziggy. Pete then joined the fray, promising Tara that they will stick with her if she flips to their side to get rid of Ziggy. Locky and Ziggy tried their best to talk Tara back but Michelle and Pete went in hard, tag-teaming her – not in a good way – until she had a throbbing headache as she joined them in sending Ziggy to the jury … with an extra large side of shade.

I don’t want to say Steph Rice is a jinx, but it is hard to ignore the fact that she kicked off a hat trick of my catch-ups with my favourite female aquatic Olympians. It really should come as no shock that I worked for the AIS coaching the Australian water polo teams how to be extremely aggressive and rip off their rivals’ swimmers. While I far preferred working with the men’s team – for obvious reasons – I quickly bonded with Zigs and we became the fastest of friends.

While Zigs was disappointed when she arrived at the jury villa, she was thrilled to see me – one of her favourite people – waiting to give her a hug and huge platter of my Zinggy Burger.

 

 

Tragically this recipe arrived two episodes late to coincide with the popcorn chicken alliance as it is my blatant rip-off of KFC’s Zinger Burger, which totally ruin my plans to sell myself as a psychic. As I oft say when making Burgers or Pizza, there is nothing better than a homemade version – succulent chicken, a big kick of heat and a crunch that could burst an eardrum, these babies are perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Zinggy Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large chicken breasts, sliced in half
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp rice flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 cup corn flakes, crushed
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup vegetable oil
4 Kirsten Bunst
4 slices high-melt cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 cup iceberg lettuce, sliced
Kent Nelsonion Rings, to serve

Method
Combine the Worcestershire, chilli and mustard powders and a good whack of salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss through the chicken, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

When the chicken in almost done, combine the flour, cornstarch, rice flour, baking powder, egg and milk in a bowl. Combine the corn flakes, bread crumbs and teaspoon of salt in a second bowl.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, dip in the batter, followed by the coating and place on a plate. Cover and return to the fridge to chill for a hour.

Once that is done, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once sizzling, add the chicken fillets and fry for about five minutes each side, flipping once, or until golden and crisp.

Split the buns, smear the mayo on the bottom, top with lettuce, followed by the fillets and topped with some cheese and a little extra mayo. Close the burger and devour, like an Olympic champion.

 

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Annelicoise Wilson Salad

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

Previously on Australian Survivor, the tribes followed the lead of Spice Girls as two became one. While the remaining Asagans looked to be screwed given their numbers disadvantage, they systematically pulled in Henry, Michelle and Locky, one by one, to take control which tragically sent Jarrad out of the game.

Though again, in the words of Abi-Maria, at least he made the jury.

The tribe returned from tribal council where the former majority were reeling from J-Rad’s departure, quickly banding together to find out who flipped on them. While Tessa, Ziggy and Pete assumed it was Locky that flipped, my king did some next level lying and bamboozled them to the point where it felt like they couldn’t even be bothered to find the rat.

The next day Anneliese was still reeling from the vote and Locky’s ability to lie to her face, which made her feel uneasy about him. She then decided that he needed to go, and got to work deciding who best for them to target. Meanwhile Henry and Jericho went for a walk to find Henry’s idol from day four, using the useless clue that he gave to Jericho at the reward challenge a couple of weeks ago. He then pretended to find his own idol again, solidifying Jericho’s loyalty to him.

Anneliese meanwhile continued her assault on my man, approaching Sarah to join with her to get rid of Locky. On the flipside, Henry continued to solidify his alliance with Luke and Jericho by stealing the rest of the jam while everyone slept. It makes as much sense as it sounds, given it will not end well. As expected, JamGate erupted the next morning when Anneliese and Locky discovered the jam was gone.

In the post-jam world of Asatoa, Henry and Locky met up with Sarah and Michelle to discuss their next move, deciding that it was most important to get rid of Anneliese. They also decided that she was the one to eat the jam, just to really confirm the alliance. Ziggy and Pete then reconnected to discuss their next steps, with the latter wanting to go down swinging with his current alliance while Ziggy was willing to shop around for answers.

On the walk to the immunity challenge, Anneliese told us she didn’t want Locky to win, while Henry mentioned Anneliese couldn’t win meaning, in all likelihood, one of them is about to win the challenge. Jonathan gave us a quick rundown – after Henry flagged JamGate again – with the challenge broken up into three stages. The first six people to hook their ring on a pole – my favourite pastime – moved through to the second round, where they had to work through a rope tangled on an obstacle. The top three moving on to the last phase where they each had to land three balls on a ledge at the top of a ramp.

Doing the LGBT community proud, Pete quickly landed his ring, followed by Tara, Henry, Locky, Tessa and Jericho. Henry took an early lead on the second stage, before being overtaken by Locky who became the first person moving on to the final stage. Thankfully Henry wasn’t too far behind, with Jericho rounding out the top three. Locky got out to an early lead, before Henry and Jericho each landed a ball. Henry landed his second, followed by Jericho before Henry just took out immunity. Oh and yeah, neither Locky nor Anneliese won immunity like predicted. Whatevs.

After a brief interlude of pleasantries while everyone congratulated Henry on his victory, shit started to get real. Henry, Luke, Locky and Michelle confirmed the vote for Anneliese, though Michelle and Luke would pretend they were onboard with getting out Locky. Locky then tried to work the idol out of Anneliese’s hands, though given the fact she knows they’re both targeting each other it wasn’t very successful. Anneliese then approached Tessa and Pete to see what the plan was, with them telling her that it is likely her. She then admitted that she had the idol and vowed to play it and stick together.

Tessa and Pete then approached Ziggy to lock in the plan, which she agreed with before running directly to Locky and Henry to keep Locky – another potential meatshield for Ziggy – in the game over Anneliese. While Locky and Henry were feeling confident, Tara and Luke weren’t buying it and were extremely nervous as they headed off to tribal.

At tribal, Jarrad watched on from the jury as the first five minutes revolved around JamGate. While Sarah correctly guessed Luke was involved, Jericho alluded to the fact that it may have influenced the vote which shows he is probs smarter than I give him credit for. Finally we got to some vague statements about the numbers, with Michelle pointing out that despite believing she had the numbers after the last tribal council, the line in the sand was washed away the very next day. Ziggy mentioned she was planning to take out a threat tonight, while Tara and Henry spoke about how dangerous flippers are in the game. Michelle spoke about idols being out there followed by Ziggy mentioning that tonight is the night to make a move, making me even more anxious than I thought possible today … AND I was at the Emmys but a few hours ago!

The votes rolled in between Locky and Anneliese – well I assume, we only saw two – before Anneliese decided to play her idol to save herself from becoming the scapegoat. Sadly for her though, Ziggy opted to play her super idol negating Anneliese’s idol and sending her out of the game as the second juror. While I would have burnt the jury villa to the ground if it happened to me, Anneliese was as gracious as always upon arrival and warmly embraced me as I put the finishing touches on her Annelicoise Wilson Salad.

 

 

I’m actually a lecturer at Anneliese’s university – obviously, I’m still into running uni scams – and I truly have a soft spot for her. Hell, I’d go as far as to say she is my favourite student … which explains why I was willing to cook seafood for her. Well … serve it. While the idea of tuna makes me sick, nicoise is actually pretty amazing. Though I assume that all comes down to the potato and eggs? In any event, enjoy!

 

 

Annelicoise Wilson Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 eggs
150g potatoes
150g green beans, trimmed, halved
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
pinch of muscovado sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 baby cos lettuces, leaves torn and rinsed
200g tinned tuna, drained
12 small black olives, halved
small handful parsley, diced

Method
Place the eggs in a pot of cold water. Place over medium heat, bring to the boil and cook for five minutes. Drain the eggs, submerge in cold water, peel and half.

While the eggs are cooking, place the potato into a second pot of water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Cook for five to ten minutes, or until tender. Add the beans and cook for a further minute. Drain, run under cold water to refresh and allow to drain for a couple of minutes.

Combine the vinegar, dijon, garlic, muscovado and olive oil in a jug and whisk until well combined.

To serve, place the lettuce in a bowl, top with potato, beans and eggs. Drizzle with the dressing, add tuna and olives, sprinkle over parsley … and add more dressing, because who doesn’t wanna get saucy.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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Toadette in a Blacklock Hole

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017)

Previously on Australian Survivor, Henry, Ziggy and Anneliese all whipped out their idols and formed a four way alliance … with Ziggy on the outs, given her awkward way of sharing the news. Over at Asaga, Sarah stood as our only hope to get rid of Luke, pulling in Pete and getting her ducks in a row. Sadly, the row was unnecessary with new Samatau losing immunity and heading to tribal council where Michelle eviscerated Ben. It was glorious and brutal all at once.

We opened up at Asaga where Sarah was getting over being underestimated, though knew that it was a necessary evil to make it further. That being said, she has decided that now is the time to make a move and Luke should be the next to go. She cornered Pete, who was obviously on board given the fact he has a sum total of zero allies on new Asaga. She then approached her target Luke and his minion Jericho to talk about keeping Pete to get information on Samatau, which is a great way of hedging her bets. While Luke was nervous about the idea, he didn’t actually realise what she was trying to do … so she is safe. For now.

Over at Samatau, Henry was still smarting over losing his goat Ben at the last tribal council. Given her killer performance at tribal, Henry approached Locky to talk about getting rid of – realistically – the most dangerous player left in the game.

JLP wanted to get all up in the episode gig while surprising Asaga with Ben’s boot at the previous tribal council. The reward for an Italian feast involved the tribes being blindfolded while a caller talks them through a maze, help them club some sacks out of watermelons and launching the aforementioned sacks into a basket. Luke and Locky were the callers, with the latter being far more successful as Sarah ended up in a safer version of no-man’s land. Despite a slow start, Ziggy secured the first sandbag for Samatau, allowing Henry to almost catch up to Jericho, securing Samatau second while he got Asaga’s first. While Luke somehow managed to keep Asaga going, Samatau secured all five before Tara secured Asaga’s fourth. It came down to a battle of Locky and Luke, with the (jerk) latter catching up at two bags a piece. Thankfully it was neck and neck for a minute before King Locky took out the victory for Samatau.

JoJo surprised Samatau with the chance to select someone from Asaga to join their reward. Given the fact they assume he is royally fucked, they took Pete before Jonathan surprised them with the chance to take a second person. They then decided to play it strategically, giving him the chance to pick the person most likely to keep him in the same giving Sarah some food, and pissing of Luke-ser in the process.

The victorious Samatau arrived at reward where Michelle was thrilled to smash a wine, aye – is Amiee back in the game? – and the tribe giddily wooed like white girls. Henry pulled Sarah aside to lay out plans, telling her that he, Locky and Anneliese want to go to the end with her before they both agreed to get rid of Luke. Sadly, Sarah wants to keep Jericho safe though … but you win some, you lose some?

Back at Asaga, Luke continued to butcher the English language while complaining about Sarah for refusing the reward she had no say in attending. He then pulled in Odette and Tara to boot Sarah at the next tribal council, deciding Jericho can vote Pete to avoid upsetting him about getting rid of Sarah. Which seems unnecessary and highly likely to blow-up in his face. Thankfully.

Pete and Sarah returned to camp extremely bloated while Luke and Tara yelled nonsensically at them. Neither of them gave anything off while struggling to digest the food, making Luke act more skittish than usual, leading to Tara warning Sarah and Pete than he is targeting them and they need to play it smart.

Meanwhile at Samatau, the well fed tribe were relaxing before Michelle decided to get to work painting a new target on someone’s back to evade the boot at the next tribal council. She then approached literally everyone to tell them that Henry had handed off an idol clue to Jericho a few episodes back. A clue that leads to the place where Henry found his. This of course didn’t come as a shock to Locky, who then added serious actor to his Survivor filmography (which currently just features erotic sand writhing).

Jon-Jon decided to reappear for the immunity challenge where Ziggy gave a very gloaty response about the Italian feast, leaving Sarah and Pete to – again – talk down the food. The challenge involved a modern maypole, releasing planks to build stairs and puzzle pieces. Samatau got out to a huge lead thanks to the seamless teamwork of Anneliese and Henry, and Locky’s bouncing pecs. Anneliese and Henry continued to work well on arguable the most difficult slash coolest challenge in any Survivor, while Sarah tried to make sense of Jericho chaos while being berated – quite rightly – by Odette. After dropping the final pieces a couple of times, Henry thankfully secured immunity for Samatau and a front row seat at Asaga’s tribal council that night.

Asaga returned to camp where Sarah and Luke battled it out to secure the minority. While Luke was counting on the Cirie Fields memorial 3-2-1 vote – potentially isolating Jericho in the process, while Sarah and Pete were hoping to get Tara and Odette to join them in getting the airtime sponge. Sarah was fairly confident she had the former two on board, so approached Odette to join them who was absolutely shocking at pretending she didn’t know Luke was targeting Sarah.

Tara then started to get antsy, approaching Jericho about how stressed she was to be voting out Sarah at tribal. He obviously flipped out about this, thinking the plan is Peter. He then approached Luke for the truth – with Luke now lying to Tara’s face – before talking to Sarah. Given the fact he wants airtime, Luke soon followed Sarah and Jericho to the shore to clear the air or intimidate Sarah into submission. Thankfully queen Sarah stood her ground and called out Luke’s shit and vowed to stick with Pete, making it hella awkward as they wandered out to tribal.

Asaga entered stage right while Samatau giddily watched from the jury bench. JoJo was quick to bring up the feast, asking Luke how he felt. This elicited a huge reaction from Tara when he denied being pissed. After Sarah and Odette danced around the questions, Jericho slowly got to a point – or at least, I think he thinks he did – before Sarah admitted that she is on the chopping block and it was bedlam back at camp after immunity. Luke tried to get people – apparently – to turn the vote back on Pete, which Pete obviously disagreed with, countering he is the best chance to get in with Samatau. Jericho and Sarah then did some secret squirrel whispering, before Luke gave Sarah a chance to get in line with him leading to her standing up for herself and Tara calling out his bullshit.

They then fought back and forth before Jonathan announced that given the whole crew were in attendance, things would be going a bit differently tonight. He then gave an Asagan the opportunity to mutiny – despite them dying first – to Samatau, which Pete quickly jumped at seemingly screwing Sarah and Tara in the process.

Asaga returned from the tribal council shitfight where Odette decided they all just needs to hug it out before Luke said something incoherent, and everyone else realised how screwed they were after their show for Samatau. Luke continued to make bad decisions, picking fights with Tara who stood up for herself, put him in his place and made him look dodgy to his dear friend Jericho. Thankfully Sarah is feeling confident and I’m hoping it isn’t misplaced.

Meanwhile things were looking up at Samatau where Pete had a new lease on life and his renewed tribe were thrilled with all the drama they had just witnessed. Henry however wasn’t loving the return of Pete because he strengthens the rival alliance of Ziggy, Tessa and Jarrad. Remembering how dull they were – outside from screaming while voting out Anneliese – when in control, I tend to agree.

The next day things were looking extremely bleak at Asaga before Sarah tried to win a despondent Jericho back to her side. While the model has all the right things to say, it didn’t seem to be sinking in, making me think that Jericho is more aware than I’m giving him credit for. On the flipside, Luke decided that rather than talking to people, it was in his best interest to search for an idol despite the fact he knows Jericho was handed a fake one to the one that was hidden on his beach four weeks ago. After a brief, out of nowhere interlude from Odette talking about her killer gameplay, Sarah and Tara got to talking about how to save themselves from the next tribal council … which obviously meant they planned to throw Odette under the bus for being flaky.

Meanwhile over at Samatau, Pete got reacquainted with his old allies with he and Tessa deciding that Henry and Locky are the biggest threats and need to go ASAP. He then checked in with Jarrad, who agreed that Henry needs to go if they lose immunity though was scared about what that would mean for their relationship with Locky. Back over at Asaga, Sarah continued her reconciliation path by approaching Luke to bury the hatchet. She then floated the idea of getting rid of Odette and while Luke still doesn’t trust her, I’m hoping he trusts her enough to get her to the merge.

Jonathan finally returned to put the strategising to rest and lord over the next immunity challenge, where each tribe would have to hold themselves up with ropes on the side of two large A-frames over the water. Sounds simple, but it would be completely fucked. Surprisingly Locky was the first person out of the challenge, followed quickly by Luke and Henry. Sarah evened things up by going in for Asaga, soon followed by Tara and Michelle, leaving Jericho and Odette vs Pete and Ziggy. Odette was next to go in leaving Jericho to battle it out with Pete and Ziggy. Despite a small stumble from Ziggy, she managed to save herself before Pete fell in. After over two hours on the ropes, Jericho finally gave up handing immunity to Samatau and sending the divided tribe back at tribal council.

Asaga returned to camp to commence the pre-tribal scramble where everyone was complimentary about Jericho’s performance for a couple of minutes before getting down to work and locking in a vote for Odette. Despite agreeing it was best for all of them, Jericho decided that he no longer trusted Sarah and wanted to pull in Odette to join he and Luke to take out Sarah. While Sarah was still intending to get rid of Odette, she approached the latter to talk about joining her and Tara to get rid of Luke. Luke then got uneasy about what was happening before Odette mentioned that she would rather flip a coin to decide who to vote out, which should sound alarm bells for everyone.

The dwindling tribe arrived at tribal council where Jon-Jon was quick to throw some shade at their losing streak before checking in with Jericho who spoke in complete circles about whether they were getting along or not. Sarah was feeling nervous yet hopeful, perhaps realising she is the easy vote, Odette decided the easy vote was no longer a good idea. Tara and Sarah spoke about the importance of thinking about who you can work with at the merge, while Odette spoke about the importance of keeping a meatshield in the game, which appeared to make Luke nervous. Despite his look of terror, Jericho then agree with the importance of keeping a shield in the game … which Luke stepped in to confirm, was him.

After some more vague talk, Odette spoke about being confident that she would not be the next one voted out, which of course meant that she ended up becoming the twelfth – and final pre-merge – boot. While Odette is a dear friend of mine – having met at podiatry school, which I attended to work through a foot phobia – I was glad to see her go, if it meant my girl Sarah got to stay in the game until the merge.

Plus, I made her her favourite meal, my Toadette in a Blacklock Hole.

 

 

If there are two things that go together better than anything else, they are sausage slipped into a warm, soft, pillowy hole. While this baby could hardly be considered classy, it is completely delicious … and it is sausage, squeezed in a hole, topped with a sweet and salty condiment.

Fuck, I’m circling … the hole in which the sausage is shoved.

Just enjoy, ok!

 

 

Toadette in a Blacklock Hole
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp sunflower oil
sprig of fresh rosemary
8 thick sausages
½ cup plain flour
1 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
300ml milk
1 tsp seeded mustard

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Place the oil and rosemary in a roasting pan and bake for five to ten minutes, or until piping hot.

Remove the rosemary from the pan, gently add the sausages and return to the oven for five minutes.

Combine the flour, chilli flakes and salt and pepper in a bowl, and the eggs, milk and mustard in another. Slowly whisk the two together until you have a smooth batter.

Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and very gently – and I mean gently, the batter will spit – pour the batter around the sausages. Return to the oven and bake for a further twenty minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Serve immediately with some caramelised onions, and devour.

 

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Shayonnaise Swain

Condiment, Sauce, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Shay and Tom buried the hatchet before Shay quickly unburied it, played dirty and tried to get him. They then all got dirty in a very sensual, muddy challenge which led to Tom winning over Barb whilst sharing Avi’s reward before returning to watch Shannon permanently eliminate herself from redemption.

Jak and Mike returned to redemption island, shocked to still be in the game on no man’s land. They then threw some shade at Shannon and were generally a bit obnoxious. Meanwhile back in the actual game, the tribe were feeling bad for Shannon’s loss and were being nice about the boy’s skills … though they all admitted to not caring for either of their returns.

Oh and Tom has decided Shay needs to go as Shannon has already promised to vote for her if she makes it to final tribal. I honestly can’t keep up with those two.

Nate and Shay took a leaf out of Barb’s book and discussed strategy and the threat Tom and Avi’s relationship poses – particularly given the potential returnees – all whilst reclining. Avi broke up the plotting and tried to reaffirm his alliance with Shay but did admit that Tom is having doubts her.

Shay then did the rounds, sidling up to Barb and her nemesis Tom to see where their heads were at and try and place a target on anyone but her. Less than a minute later, Tom floated getting rid of Shay with Nate and Avi, which the latter was not onboard with at all. Though he really had no option given no one trusts her, nor wants her around.

Nate then got word that Shay spoke about him being homesick and decided she was hoping people would boot him for that, despite the fact we all know that he’d go to redemption … and then the jury and could not possibly go home before the end of the game anyway. So yeah, I’m not actually buying that it’s a nefarious plot.

Wanting to get in on the action Matt returned for the next immunity challenge, involving beams, poles and balls, which is right up my alley. Despite starting strong and throwing the kitchen sink at it, Avi was first out of the challenge. Shay and Tom miraculously survived the second round of the challenge before Nate and Shay quickly dropped out when moving to the last section, followed by Barb, handed Tom his fourth immunity in a row, firmly painting a target on his back.

Back at camp the tribe were chatting about the challenge before out of nowhere, Avi took off running down the beach for no reason. He returned later and downplayed his minor breakdown before Tom pulled him aside to continue trying to turn him against Shay. Meanwhile Nate talked about getting rid of Avi given his likeability and the fact that anyone would beat Shay.

Avi continued to try and save Shay but TBH, it seemed more like lip service given the fact he didn’t really talk to anyone else about saving her. Nate floated an Avi blindside with Barb and while she seemed open to the idea, was ultimately non-committal. Which she confirmed by running straight back to Avi.

Meanwhile on redemption, Jak continued to tell unfunny jokes while he and Mike speculated who would be joining them that night.

Back at camp Nate and Avi went for a walk to where Nate quickly covered his tracks, telling Avi that he tested Barb’s loyalty for him. While Avi didn’t buy it at all, it was a nice try. Barb filled Tom in on what was going down, which made Tom annoyed by Nate. Tom then quickly tried to convince Avi that getting rid of Shay was still the best idea before heading off to tribal.

At tribal, Matt made quick work of making Nate cry by reminding him about the game. He then asked Avi about flipping and set him up for a massive case of the guilts. Avi said he felt it was important not to turn on your own, before Nate pointing out they’ve already had to do that in the game and Shay mentioned that she has a clear conscience and isn’t responsible for sending anyone to the jury … and reconfirmed how much she trusts Avi.

But it turns out she shouldn’t as Avi joined the rest of the tribe to vote her out of the game, again. While she was clearly bummed, she told her tribemates there were no hard feelings … until she got to redemption island that is, where she joined Jak and Mike to talk smack about Avi. Who Mike is still referring to as RV.

The next day at camp Avi continued to go full Blanche Dubois, having dreams about abandonment whilst realising he is now taking after the villainous Shannon … who is only a villain to herself and a passive aggressive Mike. At the other end of the spectrum, Tom was loving life with Shay out of the game and Barb Marley – who is now the last surviving female and really wants to win an immunity – appearing thrice daily.

Avi then started to foreshadow his downfall talking about how shocked and betrayed he would feel to be voted out next, which is how Shay felt when he flipped on her last night.

Back on redemption Shay explained that despite him flipping on her last night, she was working Jak and Mike overtime to help save Avi if they return by painting him as a non-threat.

After a brief interlude of Tom and Avi discussing how to play Mike if/when he returns, Matt returned to the screen for a paired off reward challenge for nuts. NUTS. I mean, I love we some nut but damn, on day 33 I’d want a fucking steak. Anyway, there was some kind of noughts and crosses style game for an island pick and mix, which Avi and Nate quickly took out thanks to an early mistake from Tom. But again, it was just for nuts … so who really cares.

Thankfully for Avi, it meant they were able to take their full sacks of nuts to a secluded section of the beach to bond and see where things go. Sadly Avi wasn’t able to lock in Nate’s trust or talk any strategy, so instead he reclined and tried to win him over with his masculine wiles.

Upon returning to camp, the final four (now) joined together on the shore to watch the sunrise and start black-market crab racing. After her crab turned out to be a rock, Barb reaffirmed her commitment to giving up on the game to focus on getting Avi and Tom to the final three … when she is by far the best remaining winner.

Talk once again turned to redemption island and the potential returnees, with Barb coaching Avi on how to win the game and the best way forwards depending on who comes back. Avi then joined Tom who made it obvious he was far more deserving of taking out the victory, given he actually seems to understand the game.

Finally we got a reprieve from all the talk, with the redemption island dwellers destroying the place on their way out to the battle … expecting it to be the last, which it clearly is not. Oh my, the fucking lols. Before we get to see their hilarious reactions when they realise they have to return to their mess, Shay, Mike and Jak competed in the Crystal Cox memorial challenge where they have to keep to poles balanced between the back of their hands and a beam.

Despite going better than stripped Olympic medalist Crystal Cox, Shay wasn’t able to outlast the boys and found herself out of the game, for realsies. While the boys were more heartbroken to discover they’d be going back to their destroyed camp and not returning to the game, yet.

While I had to explain to Shay that she wouldn’t be able to call her husband and smash any brownies after being eliminated, she was ok with the booby prize – my Shayonnaise Swain.

 

 

I mean, sure, mayo is a condiment and not a meal on its own. But when has that ever bothered me? Plus … it is pretty delicious, so shotting it isn’t that far outside the realm of possibility.

Enjoy!

 

 

Shayonnaise Swain
Makes: 1 cup(ish).

Ingredients
1 egg yolk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
¾ cup canola oil

Method
Combine everything but the oil in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Either whisking by hand, using a stick blender or the whisk attachment of a stand mixer – the latter being my preference – constantly whisk the mixture, while slowing adding the oil, allowing it to come together before adding more oil. Continue whisk on medium until the mayo has come together and it thick and glorious.

Cover and chill for a few hours before devouring … within two days. I feel it is too icky to keep it any longer.

 

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Hot Dognise Richards

Bread, Fame Hungry's American Teen Princess Pageant, Main, Party Food, Side, Snack

Now that we’re on the slippery slope to Fourth of July, it means that our Drop Dead Gorgeous celebrations are about to reach a crescendo which just breaks my heart. I mean, DDG deserves our constant adoration, but sadly the ladies have careers that they need to attend to and I can’t just hang with them 24/7. Though I did float that idea with my girl Denise Richards.

While she wasn’t keen on putting her career on hold her joyous spirit and quick wit distracted from the pain I was feeling. We haven’t always seen eye to eye – see her marriage to Charlie Sheen for instance – but we’ve always been the best of friends.

I first met Denise when she guested on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, we quickly bonded and – obvi – I vowed to make her a big, big star. While it took me a few years to pinpoint the direction her career should head, I eventually nailed it with the back-to-back-to-back-to-back hits of Starship Troopers, Wild Things, DDG and a star making, believable turn as nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones opposite Judi Dench in The World is Not Enough. Which I think you would agree, is a great place to start.

I haven’t seen much of Denny lately so I treasured the time we had together, gossiping about our mutual friend Lisa Rinna, planning a Christmas Jones spin-off and discussing options for an anti-swan-riding PSA. As you can see, we had big stuff going on so we needed something quick, easy and hearty … like my Hot Dognise Richards.

 

 

They are not a dignified meal, more are they healthy … or difficult, but you can’t honour Americana without an old fashioned hot dog. Plus, you know I can’t go past shoving a warm sausage, dripping in sauce, into some pillowy buns.

Enjoy!

 

 

Hot Dognise Richards
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
8 Kirsten Bunst, hot dog shaped obvi
8 skinless frankfurts
tomato ketchup
BBQ sauce
American mustard
grated cheese

Method
Bring a pot of water to the boil over high heat. Once furiously boiling, add the frankfurts and cook until they float to the surface.

Slice the buns, douse in your favourite condiments, add some cheese, top with a sausage and wrap your lips around it … to devour, sickos.

 

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Ben Whishawbi Peas

Party Food, Side, Snack

Let’s start with the best news – despite my mad science skillz, I did not accidentally engineer a way for two men to procreate meaning that Benny Whish wasn’t dropping by to spring a decade’s worth of child support payments on me.

The bad news is that he isn’t still curled up in a ball pining over me … which is just odd and kind of rude, TBH.

I first met the other Ben while he was starring in Hamlet in 2004. I played the roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and let’s just say I spied action on and off the stage. Oh the action off stage …

Our torrid dressing room affair quickly blossomed into love and I vowed to make him a star, and us a power couple … fulfilling my fantasy to date someone that looked similar and shared my name given it didn’t work out so well with Batfleck.

After I purchased the rights to Perfume to try and snag my first Oscar, he brutally stole the role out from under me. We went through an extremely messy break-up that even the divine Cate Blanchett could not fix, despite her best attempts on the set of I’m Not There.

I’ve utilised the following decade to tear him down at any opportunity, so was super surprised to hear that he wanted to reconnect. Needless to say, I was extremely wary when he arrived … but shock of all shocks, he wanted to apologise for the Perfume slight.

While it doesn’t bring me back the Oscar I was robbed of, the fact that he could admit that I would have done better with the part is enough for me to forgive him. Plus – it is pride month and since we’re both married gay men, I was softened by the idea to double date. I’m a sucker for the community.


He on the other hand is a
sucker for my Ben Whishawbi Peas.

 

 

While this used to be our go to post-coital snack, there was something oddly pleasant about sitting down with a beer and the spicy snacks, to work through our issues and celebrate actual happy relationships as adults.

Seriously, being this mature makes me sick … but these babies don’t – enjoy!

 

 

Ben Whishawbi Peas
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp onion salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ cup wasabi
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Method
Preheat oven to 100°C.

Place the peas on a lined baking sheet with the olive oil, toss to coat and bake for about three hours, or until they are well dried.

While they are baking, combine everything in a jug.

Remove the peas from the oven and transfer to a bowl and toss through the wasabi coating. Return to the baking tray and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until dry and crisp.

Devour.

 

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Georgia Burgerson

Bread, Burgers, Main, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor NZ, the tribes were switched up with Tom getting a new lease on life at Mogoton with Jak, Mike and Lee joining he and Shay, where the latter was clearly on the outs. Over at Hermosa, Barb and Nate were also saved from their impending doom landing with Georgia, Avi and Sala, with Shannon sent to redemption island to wait to join the tribe that lost the next immunity challenge. After an epic fail at the immunity challenge, new Hermosa banded together to give Nate and Barb their revenge, sending Gerogia to redemption island where she barely beat Izzy in the last duel.

On redemption Georgia was struggling after a night of torrential rain put out her fire. While she planned to quickly get one up and running, she struggled forever to make fire before lamenting the fact that she was away from her allies, who I assume could actually get a fire going.

Back at Hermosa, Shannon continued to feel uneasy about her place in the tribe, given her history with Barb and Nate. Not wanting to stay on the bottom, she identified that Sala was key to her survival and desperately tried to form a connection with him by washing dishes by the shore. Proving how smart she is, she appealed to Sala’s sense of right and kindness … which seems to have won the big softie over. Swoon town, Sala – swoon.

Meanwhile at Mogoton, Tom wasn’t thrilled about the storm that was rolling in before taking a note out of the drag race book and threw some epic shade at Shay’s lack of work ethic. She lay around and sat on the beach while the boys worked around camp and went fishing. I mean, the boys were driving me mental but her complete disinterest in trying  is making them seem likeable.

Continuing in the theme of taking from other reality TV shows, Avi and Shannon got to work making his clothing work in the hope of impressing Tim Gunn … I assume. All I took away from the segment was that Shannon and Avi are quickly becoming quite tight and they’re concerned about the next immunity challenge.

Back at Mogoton, Tom and Jak were bonding and trying to become the second coming of rice and beans … which given they are trying to be the Queen, Sandy D-T and Courtney Yates, I am back to hating them. I mean, they will never, ever be at their level. Distracting from my rage, they discovered treemail inviting them to a word puzzle immunity challenge … which they are planning to throw to get rid of Shay.

With that, Matt arrived to lorde over the immunity challenge which looks like it is a lot more than just a puzzle, knocking Hermosa’s confidence given how fit Mogoton are. If only they knew they were planning to throw it anyway! The challenge involved the classic Survivor element of throwing buckets of water between tribe members, before filling a bucket attached to a see saw to release a key … to unlock the pieces to the word puzzle. Despite the boys planning to throw the challenge anyway, Shay could not get it together giving Hermosa a huge lead. Then Barb and Shannon happened, struggling with the puzzle to the point where Jak and Michael would have easily caught up had they not been so obviously trying to throw the challenge.

Matt then called the immunity idol old mate when giving it to a very emotional Shannon, which is probably the most amazing thing to have happened ever.

Hermosa were feeling triumphant back at camp, with Shannon gleefully sunbaking and singing, while Sala and Nate discussed how obvious it was that Mogoton threw the challenge. Meanwhile over at Mogoton, the boys pretended to be disappointed by the loss while Shay was confident her chances of survival were slim to none. She then made the questionable move of playing cards, rather than getting to work … wait, hang on a minute – she is trying to stay in the game, talking to Jak and Tom about getting rid of Mike instead.

Shay’s pitch actually makes a lot of sense, and would guarantee breaking up the pair of Georgia and Mike. But then we run the risk of losing scenes of Mike spraying so much insect repellent on his naked torso he looks like he is oiling up for a body building challenge. Jak and Tom approached Mike to explain to him that Tom would be writing down Mike’s name, to avoid Shay going off on them at the next duel … which made Mike nervous, given that means Jak could change his mind at the last minute and easily get rid of Mike before the merge.

At tribal, Matt was quick to let the boys know that he knew what they were up to, despite not going the Probst route and openly calling it out. Jak tried to be cute, Mike started to get anxious, while Shay had accepted the fact that she is definitely on the bottom. Talk turned to redemption, with Mike confident that Georgia would return to the game … despite being seconds away from losing the previous duel. Before they went to vote, Shay gave one final push to stay which sadly fell on deaf ears, as the tribe sent her to redemption – faux-shocking Tom – to be beaten by Georgia if Mike is psychic.

The boys returned from tribal council where Jak says something stupid and immediately kills the boner I had thinking about the sausage fest. Not seeming to notice my pain, Tom quickly congratulated himself on a fake vote well played as the boys got cocky – again, not in a good way – about dominating the remainder of the game. What is it about best laid – seriously, me and the sex puns – plans?

Shay arrived at redemption where Georgia was shocked to see her, assuming her girl Shannon was destined to be the next boot. They chatted, Georgia was bubbly and Shay vowed revenge if and when she returns to the game. I wonder what is happening at the sausage fest …

The next day, things were tragically not post-coital at Mogoton where the boys passed the time with some busy work. Despite Lee’s best efforts to spice things up with some rope play, nobody seemed to be keen on 50 Shades of Survivor and we were stuck to wonder why the gods hadn’t taken Jak instead of Lou.

Meanwhile over at Hermosa, the tribe were sitting around for morning coffee when Sala returned with an invite to the next duel … where they speculated a merge was a comin’. While they were excited by the prospect, Avi was concerned about where Tom would fit in with his plans given the bro-town over at Mogoton. Not wanting to leave anything to fate, Shannon hounded Avi to ensure that he would be able to woo him.

The peanut gallery arrived at redemption island where Matt was quick to partly confirm their suspicions, announcing that in addition to the losing person being eliminated for good, the victor would be returning to the game … stopping just short of confirming the merge.

The duel was the classic card stacking challenge – which Aubry dominated on Game Changers – meaning it could literally be anyone’s game. And reminded me on the epic finish to season 5 of House of Cards … but I digress.

Shay got out to a strong start where Georgia was shaky and second guessing herself. Then I realised that Shay has used 90 percent of her tiles on the bottom two floors, allowing Georgia to overtake Shay half a metre from the top … before her tower tumbled to the ground at the last minute, allowing Shay to jenga out enough tiles to take out the duel and return to the game … sending my girl Georgia out of the game for good.

Despite being extremely frustrated and disappointed, my fellow dance star – I’m kind of feeling like her and Alexis’ boot were fated to air during my Tony Gold celebrations – quickly perked up when she spotted me whipping up a big old Georgia Burgerson.

 

 

Yes – this is just a copycat of a Quarter Pounder but like everything else in the world, it is so much tastier when it is homemade. I mean, you know the buns are fresher and you know what is in the meat … and let’s be honest, it is so much better being able to eat it in the comfort of your own home (or Loser Lodge) with or without comfort pants.

Enjoy!

 

 

Georgia Burgerson
Serves: 2-4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
salt and pepper
4 sesame seed buns, halved
ketchup
mustard
½ an onion, diced and placed in iced water for five minutes, and drained
2 dill pickles, sliced
8 slices high melt cheese

Method
Squeeze out as much liquid from the mince as possible before placing it in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch to combine with your hands, and divide into four equal patties. Place on a plate lined in cling, cover and place in the fridge for about half an hour.

While the patties are on ice, prep everything else in the burgers.

Once you’re good to go, place a large griddle over medium heat and toast the open halves of the buns for a minute, or until golden. After the buns are done, the griddle should be nice and hot, so lightly brush some oil over the pan and add the patties, flattening down with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes, flip, and cook for a further couple of minutes.

To assemble, spread ketchup and mustard – to taste – on the top half of the bun, add onions and sliced pickled. On the bottom, place a slice of cheese, the patty and the second slice of cheese. Bring the buns together and devour, immediately.

 

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Chali Fordogs

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Hali and Michaela were left out of the Culpepper’s Angels alliance on nu-nu-Mana, while Varner well … you saw how desperate he was to stay and how human decency ultimately wins, when he was swiftly booted from the game. Probs for good.

We opened up at Nuku the following day, where Sarah’s winner edit returned with an absolute vengeance, telling Tai that she is not willing to be compassionate with Varner and was not ready to forgive him. Knowing how brutal Varner’s actions were, Tai started to cry thinking about how awful it was for Zeke. Not wanting to be outdone by the tears, Sarah reiterated to Zeke how grateful she was to get to know him.

Zeke then made a play for a winner’s edit, giving a rousing speech about why he wasn’t open about his identity and how thankful he was for the tribe’s support … on the way to his victory.

Wasting no time getting down to business, the tribes met Probst on the beach for the merge … Mana with all their soft furnishings, I assume, because Brad was concerned he would have to start another camp concept from scratch. Wanting to continue with the twist-every-episode theme of the season, Probst told the tribes that a person from each would have to volunteer to miss out on the within-sniffing-distance merge feast.

Continuing with the WWMD – FYI, what would Monica do –  theme of his game, Brad immediately volunteered – earning the suspicions of Zeke and Cirie – with sweet Tai following suit on Nuku. I assume to make a play for this season’s alpha male.

As is generally the case – though normally less last supper-esque – the merge feast was a mix of gorging (Sierra loves HAM!), relief and people watching, the latter being where Cirie finally entered the fray and instantly reminded us why she is an icon of the game.

Meanwhile over at exile beach – five metres from the feast – Brad and Tai quickly got to work spilling the T on where alliances were standing with each tribe, before Tai – obviously – professed his love for Brad.

After last week’s outing incident, Debbie decided to add a bit of sexual aggression into the mix, rubbing against Cirie, mooning Tai and twerking – while sober – in an attempt to lull people into a false sense of security, which made me feel the complete opposite.

The newly merged tribe reunited at camp to congratulate each other for making the merge (YAS, Michaela and Brad are finally datable) before Debbie kissed – kindly, not aggressively – and made up with Brad Culpepper. Not wanting to dwell on the love, Zeke then told everyone what happened with Varner earning the respect of Aubry.

As with all merge episodes, there was then a shit tonne of scrambling before the immunity challenge: Ozzy approached Troyzan and Brad, Brad threw the target on Michaela and Hali, Ozzy then delivered the Michaela information to Zeke and Sarah, while Troy shared it with Tai … who in turn told Hali before everyone else found out.

Remember the Jay has an idol scene last season? That on steroids.

Sierra then approached Zeke to reiterate said Michaela plan, complaining about the fact she just appears all the time … before Michaela proved Sierra’s point and appeared from behind a bush to find out what they were plotting.

Cirie being Cirie got us up to speed on what was actually happening – even with a damn chicken on the roof – talking to Zeke and Andrea about how their alliance with Sarah would be better served to keep Michaela around and that they should strike out either Sierra or Brad.

Finally, some damn clarity on where the alliances are!

The next day, Hali lamented the fact that nobody was really willing to play with her and how she needed to kick Michaela into gear. Which she did, leading to her connecting with Cirie. Pray hands, praise etc. I don’t even know where to start with how much I love these two together. I want Cirie to adopt me as a nephew and give me life advice / make all my decisions. Sandra is the queen … but Cirie is the kween.

Cirie is life. I love Cirie. Seriously, Cirie for President.

Can you be made a saint while still alive? If not, we need to make an exception.

Snapping me out of my Cirie fangirling, Jiffy arrived for the first individual immunity challenge of the season where they each had to keep a piece of wood balancing between their head and a plank.

Surprisingly challenge beast Debbie was amongst the first few out … following Zeke, Hali, Troyzan and Cirie. While Hali worked on her tan, the challenge quickly came down to a battle between Tai and Andrea with the latter ultimately taking out the win and securing individual immunity for the third time … on a third different season.

Back at camp, Sierra gloated about being in charge and how important it is to get Michaela out … before throwing Hali under the bus, pointing out that she was playing way more confidently than she was on Worlds Apart meaning, clearly, that she had an idol.

She then told Cirie, Brad and Debbie that they would be splitting the votes between Michaela and Hali, before Michaela did what she does best and manifested, before being directed to boot Zeke.

Not liking how that plan could impact her game – kween – Cirie pulled Zeke aside to try and turn the target to Hali, rather than Michaela. Zeke then approached Sierra, wondering (rightly) how it made sense to target Michaela over Hali, when they were trying to flush Hali’s hypothetical idol.

Cirie continued to prove why she is amazing, telling Micheala that the plot to vote out Zeke was fake and that she was trying to save Michaela, and more importantly, save someone that would be loyal to her over her rivals.

At tribal council – Cirie’s first in seven years – Jeff got to work trying to cut through the madness, with Andrea outlining that this is the point where lines were drawn and Debbie likened the situation to musical chairs.

Poor Hali and Michaela then spoke ominously about not having a clue about what was happening tonight, which sadly for Hali should have highlighted the fact that her hypothetical idol made her public enemy number one. Ultimately Hali found herself becoming the merge boot / once again, the first member of the jury – congrats Hali, you’re the jury equivalent of first boot Frannie and greatest of all time, two-time victor Sandy.

Despite a valiant, failed effort to save herself, and being confused as to why people were so threatened to keep her in the game, Hali was an absolute delight. We laughed, we cried – thinking about how weird Mike from Worlds Apart’s voice is – and she regaled me with tales while I threw together a victorious slash comforting batch of Chali Fordogs.

 

 

You know I love chilli so hot it liquefies me organs and you should really know how much I enjoy some trash food … meaning these chilli dogs are amongst my favourite meals.

Fiery chill and misc meat sausages shoved straight up some pillowy buns before being slathered in a generous helping of cheese. I honestly don’t know if I’m aroused or hungry.

Scrap that, I’m both – enjoy!

 

 

Chali Fordogs
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
½ batch Chilli con Kim Carnes
6 hot dogs
6 hot dog buns
American mustard, for serving
1 cup grated cheese

Method
Cook the chilli as per Kimmy’s instructions.

Once the chilli is done, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When splish-splashing about, quickly add the hot dogs and cook until the sausages float to the surface.

While the sausage is getting moist, split the buns and slather in mustard. Drain the sausages and altogether gently and firmly slip them inside the buns. Top with chilli and cheese … and devour, immediately.

 

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