Arepomare Fifth

Bread, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 2, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race Down Under the dolls starred in our first acting challenge and while it paid homage to Prisoner, I still wish they went with Homo & A-gay or Gaybours. But when life gives you lemons, it is generally a Drag Race acting challenge or something. Which coincidentally was the plot, as Bev was given the death penalty for writing the franchise’s past acting challenges. While Aubrey and Kween struggled, Spankie was demented and gorgeous, while Minnie and Hannah gave the best criminal duo since Home Alone. Alas, there could only be one winner as Spankie took out her first victory of the season, before Kween destroyed the lip sync and poor Aubrey sashayed away.

Backstage Kween was still feeling disappointed in herself, feeling broken and picking the performance apart. On top of that, she felt bad for poor Aubrey. Thankfully everyone rallied around and gave her a glorious pep talk and she was soon feeling far better. She then congratulated Spankie on her first victory, while Spankie in turn praised Minnie and Hannah for doing so well in the challenge. Hannah then lamented the fact that she has been a bridesmaid in the first two episodes and best believe she was ready to step into the spotlight and take out a victory. Otherwise, why did they invite her to this wedding?

Oh and Minnie offered to suck off and then bottom for Kween – um, get in line lady – and Hannah suggested finding Ru’s trailer and sucking her off for a win. So yeah, maybe this is why Ru called us all ratchet?

The next day Yuri was feeling good, particularly since her outfit saved her last week and this week, she vowed to get out of her head and get back into the top. Ru dropped by before Yuri could top, though thankfully brought the Pit Crew with him and well, my basement was flooded. There was something about a tool stuffed in their pants and the queens had to pick who was packing what. As is oft the case, we all won as the menseses dropped trou over and over. But apparently, in whatever way Ru was keeping score, Molly Poppinz took out the actual victory.

And as the victor, she was able to pair up the queens for this week’s Maxi Challenge, where they would be hosting a 5-minute drag brunch set. She obviously paired up with Hannah, before getting Minnie and Kween together and putting Bev with Pomara, leaving Spankie and Yuri as the final duo. And while Spankie felt like Molly was trying to do a little bit of sabo(tage), I have a feeling in my waters that Spankie and Yuri will shine.

After Ru departed, the pairs split up to workshop their sets with Molly wanting to be natural rather than scripting anything and well, is this a good idea? Spankie then asked Molly if she was trying to be strategic with her pairings, admitting that yes she did, wanting to put a strong queen with a weaker girl. Before basically admitting she was just trying to bring Spankie down. Speaking of Spankie, she was pissed by the decision while Yuri was feeling ready to bring herself up to Spankie’s level and yes Yuri, I love you. Beverly and Pomara meanwhile learnt they are polar opposites with their performance styles, with Bev wanting to script everything and Pomara focused on being off the cuff. Minnie and Kween meanwhile were leaning into the fact they have completely different backgrounds, focusing on racism and privilege.

Oh and they told Hannah about it so Hannah could address her Scarlett Adams-esque background with cultural appropriation and the hurt that it did, has and will cause. And fuck, Kween is so mature and wise, giving Hannah space to apologise and address the scandal while firmly explaining why it is such a problem and how addressing it in a non-performative way proves she is willing to grow.

Spankie and Yuri were first to workshop with Rhys and Chris Parker – who is wearing a super cute shirt – and were very fun with their scripted roast of the queens. Rhys encouraged them to make it a little more Drag Race, while Chris wanted them to take advantage of the fact they are a Kiwi only duo. Molly and Hannah started out with a dry script about Hobbiton, before the mentors told them to make things personal. Where we then learnt Hannah wanted to be a priest, which is a story we all need to hear. Minnie’s energy meanwhile took all the rehearsal space, with Kween encouraged to come up a little while Minnie was told to tone it down a little. While Bev and Pomara just couldn’t figure out where the script was going and who was saying what, while Rhys and Chris reminded them to lift each other up.

Elimination Day rolled around with Yuri MIA with an eye infection, though ugh, Pomara suggested they could all help paint her face when she comes back and maybe they listened when Ru said, everyone say love.

Ru, Michelle and Rhys were joined by the iconic Urzila Carlson on the judges panel as Beverly and Pomara opened the show looking absolutely stunning and going well, until Yuri’s absence appeared to really throw them off because things then became stilted. Backstage, Yuri returned with half vision and a cream and quickly beat her mug while Molly and Hannah took the stage and were so energetic, fun and personable and well, I love it. I mean, “the only balloon I can blow up is when I’m farting in my foreskin in my meaty tuck” is a line that came out of Molly’s mouth. What could you not love? Kween meanwhile was charming and sparkled while Minnie dropped in and brought all the energy, which proved to be a formidable combination as they slayed. Yuri then gagged the dolls as she made her triumphant return with Spankie to close out the show. And I don’t know if she got drugged up at A&E, but Yuri was hilarious and so much fun despite Spankie giving an absolute hosting masterclass.

I mean, they nailed it.

On the Red for Filth runway, Beverly was a stunning goth ready for the boudoir, complete with a chandelier headpiece. Pomara served red earth glamour and looked so damn stunning, Hannah Conda gave Carmen Sandieg-ho does Dallas, Molly was a blooming rose bud with a perfect mug. Kween gave sexy volcano realness while Minnie wore a stunning red dress that just could not stay up and then Spankie looked perfect in a poppy gown in honour of the Anzacs, while Yrui was iconic as a bloody red devil and fuck I love her. But also, is she high?

Ultimately Spankie and Yuri took out victory and sent to untuck before Beverly was praised for giving a stunning runway though read for not really vibing with Pomara while they were on stage. Pomara too received universal praise for her look, but yeah, that vibe wasn’t great. Hannah and Molly were praised for such killer energy and how they bounced off each other, despite not having much of a script. Though their looks were both praised, despite Ru deeming Molly’s trashy. Kween meanwhile received wall-to-wall praise and thanked for bringing the energy she had in lip sync to the challenge and stamping her place in the contest, while Minnie was praised for her energy and despite the dress not fitting, they loved the dedication to the sisters she lost to HIV/AIDS.

Backstage Spankie and Yuri were overjoyed to take out victory, particularly after everything Yuri had to go through this week. And Molly’s sabo attempts. The rest of the girls arrived and congratulated them on their victory, while Pomara and Beverly both started to sob given they were clearly in the bottom. While their sisters tried to rally around them, Bev brokedown over her fears and how she was  terrified of failing herself and the greater Brisbane area. Which thankful doesn’t include Logan for the record, but I digress. Kween then gave her and Pomara an epic peptalk and well, I’ve loved Kween because she is so damn hot, but damn, she has such a beautiful soul too. Begging the question, did Jesse McCartney write it about her? Because he should have.

Ru didn’t beat around the bush this week, telling Bev and Pomara they were in the bottom before sweeping the rest of the girls off stage. Despite the fear and emotion they were showing backstage, they both went off as Years & Years feat. Kylie’s Starstruck kicked off. Both of the dolls hit every damn lyric and gave all the energy but when Bev started splitting and slipping and nearly sliding off stage, it was over. Until Pomara hilariously switched into mocking her opponent. I mean, if ever there was a time for a double shantay, it was this. But alas, they didn’t even have enough time to edit Ru’s stumble on the runway out, so tragically, we had to say goodbye to the iconic Pomara. Who rightly summed up her feelings with a simple, bye cunts.

Backstage poor Pomara was still feeling disappointed in her performance, so I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her how charming and talented she is. I then went on a very long-winded rant how this was far and away the strongest challenge of the series, with everyone kinda doing well. Add into that the fact they both slayed the lip sync and well, if there ever was a time to go out, it was when you all did well. Which appeared to do the trick as we slipped back into being silly and joyful as we smashed a fresh batch of Arepomare Fifth.

These gorgeously flavorful South American pita-esque breads are the perfect accompaniment. Or even with a thick layer of butter on their own. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, they are so damn good. And more importantly, v. easy to make.

Enjoy!

Arepomare Fifth
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 ½ cups lukewarm water
2 cups white corn flour
¼ cup sunflower oil (or corn, if you can find it)

Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Combine the sugar, salt, pepper and water in a jug of water until only the pepper is visible. Meanwhile, pop the corn flour in a large bowl. Slowly add the sweet and salty water into the bowl, stirring constantly, until it all comes together.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Pop on a lined plate, cover and leave to rest for about half an hour.

When you’re ready to cook, divide the dough into ¼ cup(ish) sized balls and flatten into 2cm discs. Heat a lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat and add a couple of arepas to the pan. Flatten with a spatula and cook for a couple of minutes before flipping and cooking for another few. Repeat the process until done.

Place them on a lined baking sheet and transfer to the oven to cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until they sound hollow on the inside. Then devour, either with some eggs or leftover birria, not that either are traditional but they are great.


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Pinkle Cut Fries

Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor South Africa after swapping over to Yontau together, Dante and Palesa were ready to bond. And by bond, Dante felt like he had found himself another loyal ally, while Palesa bided her time to get rid of him. Dante meanwhile was focused on taking a shot at his nemesis Dino, while Shona, for reasons unknown, opted to join Yontau despite having a numbers disadvantage. Over at new Masu, Killarney was ready to join with the OGs and get revenge on her former tribe. After losing immunity Dino, Phil and Shona tried to fight from the bottom, but Phil got nervous and put a vote on Shona which sent her home over Dante.

Back at camp Phil was rightly feeling like a bonehead for voting out his ally, though blamed Shona for not pulling out her fake idol and causing chaos like she was meant to as a cue. Dante meanwhile was angry about Dino voting for him. And not only Dino, but also Meryl and Marian for not trusting him. While Meryl warned Phil that his fuck-up is going to unleash Dante’s full rage, suggesting it would have been better for everyone if he just voted Dante. Palesa meanwhile found it all hilarious, given she was the one quietly working to get rid of Dante, however now because of the chaos, he feels even closer to her than his original allies.

The next day Dino and Phil caught up by the well, with Dino so confused how the plan failed and disappointed to just be a dead man walking. While all Phil could do was apologise and to hope not to make another mistake soon. Palesa joined them and let her full frustrations be known, sick of the excuses and annoyed that other people’s mistakes are bringing her down. And preach. We ventured over to Masu where Tejan pulled Toni aside and shared the idol clue with her. However sadly as they started hunting around, Pinty walked in on them and put a stop to any and all proceedings.

My love Nico arrived for the latest immunity challenge where a caller would direct their blindfolded tribemates to collect puzzle pieces and then solve a word puzzle. First to finish getting immunity and a trip to the Fresh Stop Survivor Shop full of fried chicken, desserts and no doubt, an advantage. After Killarney almost put a stop to the challenge by fainting, she rallied and things kicked off. Well, for Yontau who nailed it as Dino quickly called them all to their pieces while Pinty wandered aimlessly and put Masu at a very large disadvantage. As Dino got to work on the puzzle, his tribe started cheering loudly to drown out Thoriso as she grew angrier and angrier as she tried to direct Toni to the final table. And then even angrier as Dino secured the win for the tribe.

The victors headed to the Survivor shop, featuring the usual one at a time twist – never forget Benji and the nachos – with Marian frustrated to draw the shortest straw and guarantee herself missing out on the chance for advantages. Meryl meanwhile was thrilled, smashing food while desperately hunting for an idol. While she didn’t jag one, she did find a tribal council pass hidden in a cake. And just like that, she is holding a lot of power. While everyone else also tried to hunt for an advantage, Phil and Marian just focused on the food and well, relatable.

Heading back to camp the two factions headed off to catch up with Dante still trying to find someone to blame for almost getting voted off. As Dante went to fume elsewhere with Palesa and lock in a tighter alliance, Meryl caught Marian up on the fact she found the tribal council pass. Adding to their alliance’s haul of all the possible advantages in the game, along with Steffi.

Back at camp Thoriso was heartbroken by Yontau’s dirty play at the challenge, while Felix felt they should all stop complaining since they did the same things in the mud pit. As the tribe sat around eating lunch, Steffi tried to portion out the food and got some sass from Pinty leading to her blowing up on Pinty instead. Then swiftly apologising. Toni meanwhile was busy playing both sides, telling Thoriso, Felix and Pinty she would join them to get rid of Killarney, while telling Steffi and Killarney the OG Masu’s will be working with Killarney to take out Pinty. Speaking of Pinty, she, Killarney and Steffi were awkwardly sitting around the fire and chatting about the vote. And all pretending they don’t have any plan for the night’s tribal council.

Steffi and Toni caught up, ready to take out Pinty and thrilled to have landed together on Masu 2.0 and form a new bond where they want to work together. Sadly for Steffi, Pinty was trying to rally the troops against her as should Steffi make it to the merge, she is going to the end. While she tried to drive home the importance of getting rid of Steffi, Thoriso had no interest, given she wants to get rid of the only other goat in the game Killarney. Because if that strategy is getting someone to the end, best believe it will be her. Felix and Tejan then caught up and well, neither of them were sure which was the right plan to go with.

At tribal council Toni spoke about how grateful she is to have landed on Masu 2.0, with Killarney admitting she finally has stuff in common with her tribemates. While Pinty likened it to starting at a new school and making new friends. Toni pledged her undying loyalty to Masu 2.0, with Felix talking about how weakness comes in many forms and how a social faux pas can ruin the vibe. Everyone admitted they were nervous about tribal, while Pinty admitted she just doesn’t want to get blindsided again. Killarney spoke about making the right decision for the entire tribe, which is what Pinty agreed was the best plan. While Tejan and Steffi just wanted the vote to strengthen them as a unit.

With that the tribe voted and Pinty’s fears were realised as she was blindsided from the game, as she asked everyone if they were the ones to turn on her. Pinty was disappointed as she arrived at Loser Lodge, though was also grateful to have gotten another shot at the game and to have made it further. Obviously I didn’t want to rock the boat with her given we have similar temperaments, so instead, we toasted her success with a big bowl of Pinkle Cut Fries.

Yes, yes – crinkle cut chips are only really special because of their shape and are no different to cooking chips. But like brownie pans that increase the edge pieces, the crinkle shape gives you an all around crunchier experience with the inside perfectly light and fluffy. So yeah, they good.

Enjoy!

Pinkle Cut Fries
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
500g starchy potatoes, peeled
sunflower oil, for fryin’
salt, to taste

Method
Use a crinkle-cutter to cut the potatoes lengthways into batons and rinse under cold running water to remove most of the starch.

Pop enough oil in a large wok or a deep fryer and bring to 130°C. Cook the chips in a few batches, agitating often and remove with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel.

Increase the oil to 180°C and repeat the process, this time cooking until golden and glorious. This double cook is the key to perfect crunch, and a fluffy inside. Remove with a slotted spoon again and drain on a new paper towel. Toss with copious amounts of salt and devour immediately.


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Sichuanyx Chilli Oil

Condiment, Dip, Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Sauce, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the dolls starred in los Javis’ neauvo rusical Holy Drag Camp! And well, while we literally saw the entire show, the quality held up and I kept my complaining to a minimum. Despite having a killer voice, Juriji struggled while Jota disappeared into the background as her sisters shone. Oh and Onyx was just there, but given her character was a painting, there wasn’t much she could actually do to stand out. While Sharonne continued to deliver killer performances, it was Estrella who was rewarded for killing each week as she took out her first victory of the season. Juriji and Jota landed in the bottom too and while Jota put everything on the line, Juriji absolutely slayed the lip sync, saved herself and sent sweet, young Jota packing. 

Backstage Diamante couldn’t give a shit to have lost their youngest sister, while Juriji paid tribute to Jota’s bravery and how talented she is at such a young age. Despite not lip syncing, Onyx was disappointed to have received negative critiques from the judges, while Sharonne desperately tried to remind them how talented both the bottom queens are. While Diamente, again, just wanted Juriji to wake up and put up, though was hopeful lip syncing was the push she needed. Everyone pivoted to praising Estrella on her well deserved win, before Diamante gave them all one final wake up Pearl moment, which is a pretty confident thing to do for safe.

They then all made out and snuggled and yeah, my basement was and continues to be, flooded.

The next day the dolls were doing their best animal impersonations, which is a vibe, before speculating what challenge they would be facing this week. Supremme soon arrived to put them out of their misery by immediately throwing them into this week’s Mini Challenge where they would have to recite poetry in front of a big fan. More importantly, the Pit Crew arrived in mesh underwear, so obviously I stopped paying attention on anything else. After they all hornily reached into the Pit Crew’s sacks to grab a poem, they had 20 minutes to merrorise the poem and get into some quick drag before the Pit Crew wheeled out said fan to blow on their face while they recited their erotic poetry.

As is oft the case when the Pit Crew around, we all proved to be winners, though apparently it was Onyx that took out victory for keeping her dignity, winning a huge haul of sex toys.

Supremme then dropped the big news though, as the dolls learned that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they would be playing Snatch Game! The dolls quickly split up to start prepping their looks before Supremme dropped by to learn who everyone would be playing with Diamante hilariously doing wrestling mask RuPaul – don’t get this franchise cancelled, Diamante! – Marina will be playing Antonia Dell’atte, Onyx shared she would be doing Jauna de Loca or Valencia’s neighbour, which got a big reaction from Jruiji, given the latter is her number one choice. Sharonne will be playing Veronica Forque – who died after the show was shot, thus her receiving a tribute at the top of the episode – while Drag Sethlas will be Carmen Lomana, Estrella meanwhile was playing Paquita Salas and Venedita will be Miguel Bose.

We quickly pivoted to set where Jedet and Eva Hache were lined up to star as guests, and while it is always harder to get the references in foreign franchises, it was clear that Sharonne and Juriji were slaying the game. While Onyx was well and truly bombing, alongside Diamante, who made RuPaul as proud as Trixie before her. And while the rattlesnake noise tells me she was bombing, I lived for Drag Sethlas vocal fry as Carmen Lomana. Oh and Venedita’s wackadoo, anti-vaxxer was hilarious in a way that transcended language.

Dia de eliminacion arrived with Diamante terrified about landing in the bottom, while the dolls were proud of how funny Juriji proved to be. They then split up to get prepped for the runway and for some of them, hopefully save themselves from their terrible performances. Onyx opened up to Juriji and Drag Sethlas about her depression and the struggle to accept her weirdness as her strength. Marina and Estrella joined the conversation, talking about how great it is that they can all be themselves and are celebrated for it and ugh, again, they are all too sweet.

Supremme, Ana, y los Javis were joined on the panel by Goya winning actress, Maria Leon for the Spanish Dolls runway where Marina opened the show as a neon, plastic disco delight and damn, she looked good. Diamante was a voodoo ragdoll, Sethlas went nude, serving genderless Barbie realness, while Onyx was perfection as a porcelain doll. Sharonne was serving perfect face as a pillow doll before revealing herself as Teela from Masters of the Universe. Juiji was a glam, goth porcelain doll, Venedita was perfection as a Matador souvenir doll, while Estrella was a creepy, crazed paper doll before revealing herself to be a sexy blow-up doll.

Ultimately Marina was sent to safety alongside Estrella before the judges read Diamante for being terrible in Snatch Game, which is something she freely agreed with. The judges wished Sethlas chose her other Snatch Game option, before Onyx was read for being completely stuck in her head, though they loved her runway. Sharonne once again received universal praise for everything she did this week, particularly for nailing the characterisation of Veronica. Juriji too received universal praise, with the added bonus being that she surprised the judges with how good she was. Oh and they lived for everything that Venedita did this week too.

Backstage the safe dolls were busy chatting away when the tops and bottoms joined them to talk things through, with Diamante sure that she would lip syncing. While Sharonne admitted the choice between Sethlas and Onyx joining her is a tough one, with both sure it would be them. Juriji meanwhile was proud to show off her skills while the dolls questioned if there was anything Venedita can’t do!

Despite Juriji and Venedita giving very strong performances, it was Sharonne who took out her second win of the season. At the other end of the pack, Sethlas narrowly avoided the bottom leaving Diamante and Onyx to lip sync for their lives. As soon as Arrasando by Thalia kicked off, both the dolls went off. They hit every lyric and danced around stage and while Diamante gave the more traditional, ballroom-style lip sync, I was living for Onyx’s silliness and campy moves and as such, I was absolutely heartbroken when she was told to sashay away.

Like Onyx, I am riddled with self-doubt and each day is a struggle to self acceptance so when we met up backstage, I quickly pulled her in for a massive hug. I mean, yeah, I also find Onyx ridiculously attractive, so the hug was just as good for me as it was for her, but I knew she needed to remember that she is talented, loved and to know other people could see it. And while it may not seem like it, I feel my Sichuanyx Chilli Oil truly proved it to her.

As hot and spicy as Onyx herself, this oil packs such a deep, earthy punch. Perfect for dipping, drizzling and in a state of disappointment, I guess, drinking, the oil’s warmth carries on long after it passes your lips and acts as a delicious hug for everything that passes. Food wise, obvi, because it is spicy.

Enjoy!

Sichuanyx Chilli Oil
Makes: 1 ½ cups.

Ingredients
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
4 star anise
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt

Method
Pop the vegetable oil, cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves and Sichuan peppercorns in a saucepan over low heat. Cook for about half an hour, or until lightly fragranced. Crank the heat to high and cook for a a couple of minutes before removing from the heat.

Combine the chilli flakes and powder, and salt in a bowl and strain the oil over to combine. Stir and leave to infuse for a couple of hours before serving. Or devouring.


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Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 42, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor after farewelling the last remaining other target in Swati, Tori was feeling very nervous on Ika and as such, beasted her way through the immunity challenge to guarantee her safety. Oh but not until after all of the idols were activated as Drea found Ika’s and Mike begrudgingly said his phrase. Knowing her vote was critical, Lydia didn’t bother to risk hers on her journey up the mountain with Rocksroy. Which was the right move, given she, Hai and Mike held all the power as Vati went back to tribal council and Daniel was booted from the game. Though not before Chanelle threw a random vote at Mike, making her all the more untrustworthy heading into the merge. Oh and Omar has no vote and Hai, Lindsay and Drea got an amulet advantage, in addition to the trio of idols activated last week.

Or non-merge, as the last season celebrated.

After tribal council, the Vati tribe were gagged to have pulled off the Daniel blindside, with Chanelle particularly thrilled to have bested Daniel in their feud. Though sadly for her, she threw out a vote against Mike to protect herself against any Shot in the Darks being played and thought he would be cool with it. Which he is NOT. Despite them hugging it out. Oh and while Hai would take a bullet for Lydia and Mike, Chanelle, not so much. So yeah Chanelle, you in danger girl. Meanwhile over at Ika Rocksroy was busy doing work around camp and picking fruits, while Tori tailed him like a hawk to try and find out what happened on the summit. Which annoyed the hell out of him as she wouldn’t accept his answers. Oh and as they fought, Drea and Romeo hid behind the bushes eavesdropping, agreeing that Tori is sketchy and not to be trusted. In the slightest.

We got to get a little whisper sesh from Jeff who explained that the merge twist would play out the same as last season, except for the fact they will know that the person going to exile will have a massive power and the victors are allowed to opt to go to exile instead of one of the sit outs. To further that sense of deja vu, the challenge was the same as last year too, where they will dig out a rock and then push it through obstacles to release a pair of keys and climb a wall before solving a puzzle. And the victors would get a massive Applebees feast, alongside a merge buff and immunity from the upcoming tribal council. Well, unless the exilee turns back time, that is. Lindsay and Rocksroy ultimately ended up pulling the grey rocks and landing on the sit out bench. 

Jonathan, Tori, Maryanne, Hai and Lydia formed the orange team, while Chanelle, Drea, Mike, Omar and Romero were on blue. And almost immediately, Jonathan took the lead for the orange tribe, coaching them through building a ramp and getting a massive lead as they quickly released their first key. While the blue team tried to close the gap, there is no denying this was team orange’s to lose as the group literally climbed Jonathan to get up the wall before he effortlessly pulled himself up. As Rocksroy and Lindsay rightly marvelled at his prowess. Maryanne and Lydia looked very zen as they calmly sorted their puzzle pieces while Drea held up blue as she struggled to climb the ball and ugh, it was tough to watch. Thankfully Mike and Romeo literally put their bodies on the line and they worked together to get up the ball and yeah, it was heartwarming.

Obviously the headstart proved insurmountable for the blue team as the orange group took out victory and the win, which likely means one of the five will be going home tonight giving this immunity means nothing. The group then cursed Lindsay, selecting her to join them on reward while sending Rocksroy to exile for two days. With only the game changing twist which will make him immune, for comfort.

The victors were giddy as they arrived at their island Applebees, smashing their burgs and delighting in the fact they had officially made the merge. Which is a lie they are tragically unaware of, while Jonathan admitted that he had considered opting to go to Exile which would have kept everyone that won safe. But before we could think about what could have been, Tori talked a bunch of shit about Rocksroy and their OG tribe and then aired all their dirty laundry. Which may endear her to them, or piss everyone off.

Meanwhile the losers ventured to the eventual merge camp where they were thrilled to smash the pity rice they received from Jeff before Drea rightly clocked the merge twist, which is honestly, so damn iconic. Drea then caught up with Mike and suggested that maybe since they both have idols, they should work together and as such, combine their individual alliances to take control. Leaving Chanelle and Tori well and truly on the outs in the process. 

We checked in with Rocksroy as he arrived at his desolate island where as predicted by Tori, he was absolutely thrilled to set up camp, whipping up a fire and shelter. And well, he was loving to have all this alone time to just live his best life and see all the vibrant colour the world has to offer (because he has a degenerative eye disease). Oh and he found the hourglass and hammer, but there were no instructions so he just moved them into his shelter.

The winners and losers reconnected at camp with Omar ready to befriend anyone and everyone to keep himself safe at the first tribal council. Lindsay meanwhile wanted to check in with Hai and Drea to discuss their amulet advantages and see whether they will stick together. And while they all said they would, Hai was nervous the women would eventually turn on him. Mike and Maryanne caught up, assuring each other they will work together before the iconic Maryanne started bonding with Romeo and assured him that the little people need to stick together. Oh and then she bonded with Tori too and while she looks well connected, I’m worried it will come back to bite her.

Mike and Jonathan meanwhile watched the sunset together on the beach, bonding over being gentle giants and agreeing to look after each other and ugh, I love them. And more importantly, how much they love each other.

The next day the tribe went hunting for food, collecting crabs and before Jonathan snatched an octopus, then almost grabbed a shark and well, it was iconic. While he is clearly a threat, Hai was still keen to work with him and use him as a meatshield. With everyone bonding around camp, Hai spoke about how he met his boyfriend which led to Romeo pulling him aside and opening up about being gay and wanting to be as open and honest as he is and ugh, I love them. Hai encouraged him to share his story and love himself as Romeo spoke about his fear of people not loving him or worse, needing to silence himself to be accepted. And ugh, once again, I’m crying.

Omar soon joined the boys and talk returned to the game, with Hai telling them both that Chanelle can not be trusted. Which confirmed to Omar that he doesn’t have a vote. And well, she doesn’t care enough for him to let him know he doesn’t have a vote and as such, he was ready for her to go too.

The next day Omar charmed Mike by telling him that he is saving himself for marriage and well, he is ready to marry his partner ASAP. Lydia and Maryanne bonded over being the younguns with the old lady gang names, while Hai officially locked in his alliance with Jonathan. They then pulled in Lydia, Omar, Drea, Mike, Lindsay and Rocksroy, and just like that, they had a majority. Oh and Chanelle or Tori are their number one targets, with Maryanne identified as the next to go from Taku. Though only because Jonathan didn’t want his new allies to think he wasn’t willing to offer someone up.

Oh and then Chanelle walked up to try and find some allies, with them all pretending they have no plans to take her out. Which made Chanelle more and more nervous as they assured her they will not take her out. As Hai, Jonathan, Drea and Omar caught up to further solidify their bond, Omar admitted that he may not have a vote at the upcoming tribal council. Though after confirming they are tight, Drea shared that she has an extra vote and would be willing to give it to him, should they need it.

We ventured back to Exile Island where Jeff arrived to announce the twist to Rocksroy, who was honestly buzzing with joy to be left on his lonesome for a couple of days. Probst then explained the twist to him and while he was nervous about potentially pissing a bunch of people off, he obviously then smashed the hourglass and earnt himself immunity. And guaranteed his place in the merge. And most importantly, left Tori in jeopardy.

The castaways joined Jeff for the first individual immunity of the season where they were gagged to learn about Rocksroy’s power and the fact that the winner’s of the last challenge are now at risk and would be competing in the immunity challenge to guarantee their safety. Which obviously delighted Chanelle, Drea, Omar, Mike and Romeo. Tori on the other hand was irate and told Rocksroy that she was pissed he took away her safety after she gifted him an advantage. Which only made everyone even more weary of her.

But back to the challenge, where they would each have to balance a table using a rope and walk back and forth along a lane, spell out immunity using wooden blocks. With the first person to finish guaranteeing their place in the merge and a spot on the jury at the minimum. Fuelled by her simmering rage for Rocks, Tori got out to an early lead in the challenge alongside Jonathan, until Hai picked up the pace and took out the lead. Until he dropped and handed the lead back to the duo. Then Jonathan dropped, giving Tori plenty of time to calmly walk the course and jag immunity. Despite a late breaking pursuit from Lindsay. And then Maryanne.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Tori on taking out immunity and assured Rocksroy there are no hard feelings. Before everyone quickly split into factions to come up with a plan, with Jonathan assuring Rocksroy he already has an alliance and has nothing to worry about. After Romeo and Tori bitched about the meatheads in the game, Romeo led the charge to get rid of Jonathan. While Maryanne, Hai and Drea weren’t overly keen, Maryanne also just didn’t want to lose her place in the game. Lydia tried to pitch Jonathan to Lindsay and Chanelle, which made go into protection mode and suggested Maryanne would be a better option because she is super strategic.

Chanelle meanwhile saw through her plan to protect herself and Jonathan, which made her more focused on rallying the troops to keep the vote on Jonathan. While Omar desperately worked to protect Jonathan, which gave him a crack as Lydia admitted that she isn’t sure about this new majority alliance. And as such, he went person to person to turn the tribe against her instead. Which obviously pissed off Hai.

At tribal council Hai admitted that this vote is very defining to their season, particularly since the game has been so fluid thus far. Romeo meanwhile spoke about trusting his gut and reading the cues, with Drea countering that sometimes people are just too nervous to make a move even if they want to. While Hai wanted to take this moment to take control of the game. Lydia once again spoke about how playing Survivor has helped her accept all parts of herself. Jonathan wanted to be able to say that he did all that he could do in the game when it was over, while Omar tried to be chill despite knowing people would come for him eventually. While Rocksroy spoke about his nerves over missing two days of the game.

Maryanne said that she planned to make the decision that will help protect her long term, which Drea said is not the right way to approach the game. Maryanne then tried to get her to agree they are on the same page, which Drea, again, iconically refused to agree. Maryanne spoke about being nervous about how charming and chatty she is while Hai spoke about everyone having a different perception of the game. Oh and then a beetle landed on Rocksroy, which is important, if you ask me.

With that the tribe voted, as Lindsay, Jonathan and Maryanne all received a few votes before the rest piled up on Lydia and sent her from the game. Just missing the jury, tragically. Despite the brutal way she went out – the twist, again, is not great – Lydia was still super calm and zen, happy to have been given the opportunity to play the game. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that while it sucks to go out in such an unfair twist, it does put her in the epic company of Sydney and she can always use it to justify needing a second go at the game. With that, he laughed and cried before smashing some Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes

I know, I know – red velvet is just chocolate, but the elegant drama they bring to the looks department always make me excited to eat them. Delicate and fluffy, these babies are the ultimate way to sweeten the bitter after-taste of getting the boot. Or a rough day, TBH.

Enjoy!

Lydia Mered-velveth Cupcakes
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
150g flour
1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
150g raw caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
100ml buttermilk
50ml vegetable oil
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tbsp red gel food colouring
100g butter, softened
225g icing sugar
100g cream cheese, softened

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a cupcake tin with cases.

Combine the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt in a bowl and pop the unsalted butter and raw caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the unsalted butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce to low and beat in the egg, vanilla, buttermilk, oil and vinegar until just combined. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry until just combined, before mixing through the food colouring. Again, until just combined but also a consistent colour.

Divide the batter amongst the cupcake cases and pop in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While they are chillin’, beat the butter and icing sugar on medium, or until pale and fluffy. Add in the cream cheese and beat for another minute or so, or until just combined. But for realsies, because the longer you beat cream cheese, the softer it gets.

Once the cakes are cool, piping the icing on top (or dollop with a spoon and hope for the best) before devouring. 


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Jason Porkstein Chow Mein

Main, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island, TV, TV Recap

After the longest, darkest off season Survivor is back. No not the Jiffy Pop brand of Survivor but a Survivor, and since Nico my love is super hot, you’re going to buckle in. Whether you like it or not, ok? Because this is Survivor SA.

We opened with my dear Nico, perilously close to a cliff face on the southern tip of Africa, filling me with fear and dread since we’ve all lived through enough in the last 18 months. I mean, that was worse than the Game of Thrones series finale. Anyway, my mood perked up when we met Tyson who is a babe and just like that, I love him. We followed him with Jason who is thrilled to have a homeground advantage being in SA, despite everyone having the same advantage. Though it turns out Amy kinda proved Jason may actually be correct, since she has no idea what to fear IN HER OWN COUNTRY.

Though maybe that is because in Australia, we just assume all bugs and snakes will kill you.

My hair twin Qieän was living for lady Rupert who we learnt is called Santoni. She in turn is scared by how built Marisha is and Anesu was intimidated by a shirtless old zaddy called Shaun. Nicole is looking forward to being underestimated, shirtless zaddy was shirtless so I didn’t absorb much information aside from his passion for backstabbing while sweet Pinty was pumped to be honest – no Queen Pinty. Nico then introduced us to the conceptImmunity Island which appears to be the same as Island of Secrets, which was fun and not overpowered, so I’ll let it slide.

Oh and Thoriso is ready to win, Wardah is ready to practice her mindfulness and Renier is excited to prove himself. And Tyson swung back around to tell us he will win. So I’m going to say he actually will win. As much as I love most of the cast.

The castaways finally joined Nico for an official welcome to the game where Santoni spoke about her weird and whimsical ways and damn, I love her. Tyson again reminded us he is here to win and again, I’ll listen. Until I realised Chappies was showing off his beautiful gams because now he has won something. My heart. Oh and Marisha the strong was charming and iconic, and I feel deep within my waters that I’m really going to enjoy her.

Nico explained that someone will head to Immunity Island after losing an immunity challenge. Once there they will be faced with a challenge offering them advantages and disadvantages. But that is all he was willing to share at this stage.

Nico instead announced that they would be split into two tribes based on random draw with Amy, Anela, Dino, Jason, Marisha, Nicole, Qieän, Renier, Shaun and Thoriso landing on Zamba and Vuna made up of Anesu, Carla, Chappies, Kiran, Mike, Pinty, Paul, Santoni, Tyson and Wardah. Nicole was thrilled to be on the tribe with buff queen Marisha, while Paul was annoyed to be the only buff guy on the weaker looking Vuna tribe. Though Anesu thinks orange is a colour of abundance and therefore, didn’t care. And now, I vote for her to win. Oh and Thoriso was annoyed to be with the buff squad while Amy was thrilled to be with them, as Wardah was loving the energetics of her tribe. And then Jason talked smack about his rivals’ chill ways.

But enough set-up, the tribes were immediately tasked with running into the jungle to grab as many supplies as possible in two minutes. Oh and to make things more complicated, there were two immunity necklaces for each tribe that are good for their first tribal. As they ran off Renier knew not to go for immunity and instead to look out for an advantage amongst the loot, while everyone ran around like mad for the fruit and snacks. While Dino it turns out, was the one to make a run for his tribe’s immunity necklace. And nobody from Vuna snagged one. Dino was thrilled to not become the first boot, though was nervous about what it could potentially mean for his game. Nico then announced that there was also a brown envelope with a tribe advantage in it, but the person had to reveal who they were to receive it. With Renier thrilling his tribe by the fact that he grabbed it, but I can’t help but feel the secrecy may come back to bite him. And you guessed it, I love him.

Particularly since Nico told them that Renier is a game player. Though he did win the tribe camp comfort supplies, so maybe they won’t worry too much.

With that the tribes grabbed their maps and headed off to their camps, ready to start the game. We first checked in with Zamba where Dino was apologising for grabbing the immunity necklace before the tribe went on a group trip through the jungle to get water and to get to know each other. Meanwhile at Vuna they was far more chill about things as they got to work and hanging as a pack, talking about not working too hard and just doing a temporary shelter to get them going. Chappies meanwhile was wooing me as he rubbed two sticks together in his undies to try and make fire.

We bounced back to Zamba where Renier was happy to let other people take a leadership role in the tribe and paint a target on their backs. And given how the tribe grew more and more frustrated as they attempted to build their shelter, Jason girl, you’re in trouble. Well other than Shaun and Qieän who were desperately searching through the supplies for a flint or an idol. Which Amy noticed and immediately reported to Renier, Dino, Jason and Anela. And all of them were thrilled to have a target on someone else’s back. Oh and during the conversation we learnt that Nicole and Marisha were also aligned, apparently.

At Vuna Pinty and Chappie waded in the shores and quickly aligned, Kiran and Anesu aligned in the shrubs due to attending the same university before Kiran roped Carla, Mike and Tyson into their alliance. Oh and Anesu was quick to align with Wardah, given they are both influencers and Wardah thinks Anesu should keep her career as a doctor secret. And then Wardah caught up with Tyson and aligned with him too as Chappies and Pinty tried to recruit Anseu. But let’s be honest the main take away is that everyone wants to align with Anesu. And who wouldn’t because she is now my winner’s pick.

That night Zamba were sleeping under their shelter on the ground while Vuna struggled to stay dry in the rain. Though Carla proved herself to be a damn icon and that truly matters to me.

Zamba woke up dry and comfortable on day two, ready to finish their shelter and make things more comfortable while Thoriso worried about getting herself up from the bottom of the totem pole. As such, she set her sights on Shaun and his brash lack of people skills and turning people against him.

Before she could get to that, treemail arrived tasking each tribe with sending one champion to go and battle creating fire using a flint, with the winner securing a fire making kit for their tribe. Chappies and Jason were each nominated, with Thoriso quickly surmising that by nominating Jason the tribe appear to trust him and as such, she had another target in her sights. In any event, Jason and Chappies joined Nico with the latter trying to intimidate Jason by pretending they already have fire. Which Jason rightly called bullshit on. But more importantly, I think they should date. In any event, both of the boys were quick to get a flame but Chappie ultimately smoked the competition and secured reward for his tribe.

Oh and then Nico gave them diplomatic immunity, meaning both of them now have the power to mutiny from their tribe after losing immunity but only before the merge. Which could be really interesting.

Back at camp Chappies was quick to share his victory with the tribe though wisely kept quiet about his power to defect, should he need it. While Mike pondered whether something else happened at the challenge, Chappies invoked Zaddy John and got naked and ran into the water as a dick-straction. So basically, I love Chappies and would die for him. Meanwhile at Zamba, Jason was heartbroken to have lost and he too kept his mouth shut about his immutinity. Queen Thoriso meanwhile was frustrated by the fact the loss won’t really change anything for Jason and right on cue, he wandered off to align with Shaun.

That night at Vuna, the tribe joyously gathered around fire and basked in the warmth and victory as they roasted their veggies.

The next day Nico returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would swim out to retrieve rope rungs from buoys before using them to build a rope ladder to get to a second level of a tower where they would need to solve a rope ladder puzzle and then venture to the top floor and wait wait wait, I’ve missed this, solve a puzzle. Renier got Zamba off to a slight lead over Chappies, which Paul quickly closed as Jason was felled by knots. Vuna continued to hold on to their lead, building their ladder while Zamba desperately tried to close the gap. Until Santoni struggled and the tribes became neck and neck. Zamba got their start on the second ladder first, getting to the final level while Vuna languished on the second. But then the puzzle happened, as Vuna smoked them and snatched the first immunity thanks to Queen Anesu. As Dino begged Paul to save him and send him to immunity island.

Sadly for him, the tribe went with my Queen Thoriso. Which is the only answer I was willing for them to make.

We followed Thoriso off to Immunity Island where she learnt that she had earned immunity for herself, as well as food, shelter and fire. But obviously there was a cost, where she could face a challenge for another advantage and risk losing her vote at the next tribal. Though if she doesn’t play, she has to return to the tribe and hand over the immunity necklace to someone else. Obviously she opted for the challenge and got digging in a sandpit to find a red ball within a couple of minutes, which she sadly failed at and ended up losing her vote.

Back at camp Shaun was annoyed by Dino trying to align with the other tribe while Amy languished over being the reason they lost the challenge. Dino acknowledged that he was trying to woo the other tribe and Rinna it (aka owning it) to his advantage. Thankfully for him, Amy, Nicole and Marisha didn’t care as they desperately wanted Qieän gone first and were willing to join him. Meanwhile Jason and Anela – aka Smash – were catching up about who best to target and focused on the scramblers, which made Jason nervous given he is aligned with Shaun. In fact, it made Jason so nervous while trying to protect Shaun that Anela started to think Jason needed to go. 

Shaun meanwhile was busy searching everywhere for the idol.

Renier joined Jason to talk plans and while they were aligned, Renier grew nervous about Jason’s unpredictability. And immediately got to work turning the vote on Jason. The girls quickly got on board, but only if Smash was willing to join them. Then Jason and Renier spoke to Dino about the vote, with Renier earning icon status by pointing at Jason to let Dino know to vote for him. While Jason was confused as to why he was holding his hand up the entire conversation. Meanwhile Shaun was desperately trying to get Anela to protect him, surmising that since nobody has given him a name, he is clearly the name. Which really upset Qieän, given it was a sign that she will be an early boot.

At tribal council Thoriso rejoined her tribe, completely unaware that even without immunity she would have been safe tonight. Shaun spoke about the nervousness caused by the backstabbing of the previous day as people were looking to build their alliances. Jason spoke about the beautiful friendships they are already forming, before Shaun cut in to tell them that friendship is nothing and they need strength to make it to the merge. Amy spoke about focusing on trust as her deciding factor while Shaun continued to try and cut in, this time talking about working hard and being above board with everything. With Anela cutting him off to point out the target was on his back because he was searching through the food for an advantage.

Shaun said he was actually trying to find bad fruit to dispose of it before it ruins the rest of their food. Shaun told them that if they felt he had an idol, they should have gone through his bags or at least asked him. Because that is how you build trust. Thoriso was thrilled to have immunity amongst such uncertainty, while Shaun pointed out that he would always be the target. And then instead opted to remind everyone that Dino is trying to build bonds with people on the other tribe. Thankfully that was brushed over as Thoriso was forced to announce that she doesn’t have a vote at tribal, which didn’t bother Jason because one vote doesn’t really matter should you have the numbers.

Which he tragically learnt he didn’t as he was blindsided – genuinely, I might add – as the first boot. Much to the shock and delight of Shaun, who didn’t receive a single vote. He was gutted but delightful, given he is such a babe and as such, I was thrilled to fill me, hard, to the brim with some Jason Porkstein Chow Mein.

Spicy, sticky and oh so sweet, these noodles are near perfection. A little bit of hit, full of fresh veggies and packed with my other other favourite white meat. Noodles and stir fry are always a winner, particularly if you’re the first boot.

Enjoy!

Jason Porkstein Chow Mein
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp minced ginger
¼ cup shao hsing
⅓ cup oyster sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
500g pork mince
1 onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
400g tin baby corn
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
2 tbsp minced chilli
440g fresh chow mein noodles
1 cup wombok, sliced
4 shallots, sliced green

Method
Mix the garlic, ginger, shao hsing, oyster sauce, soy sauce and pepper together in a jug and leave to rest.

Place a wok over medium-high heat and add half the vegetable oil and quickly stir fry the mince until cooked through. Add half the sauce and cook until sticky and browned. Transfer to a bowl to cook.

Heat the rest of the oil in the wok and add literally everything but the noodles, wombok and shallots. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the remaining ingredients and cook for a few minutes.

Remove from heat, serve immediately and devour. Joyously. Because a Survivor is back and Jason is as gorgeous as a stir fry.


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Popcorn Wells

Party Food, Side, Snack

While we’ve both grown older since first becoming friends in ‘60s, the sweet, sparkle was well and truly still in her eye as I spotted her coming through the international arrivals gate. We gingerly – no pun intended – ran across the crowded room and straight into each other’s arms.

She held my face in her hands and said something that shocked me to my very core.

“I can’t believe it has been 16 years since we’ve seen each other!?”

Somehow I managed to have a mouthful of water, did a spit take and then fainted from shock. Well shock and my passion for causing a scene.

As I was roused awake by a hunky security guard and his less-so offsider, I locked eyes with Dawn once more and like a less selfish old Rose, whispered “it’s been 16 years? 16 years,” I then inserted a dramatic pause, “since the inaugural Spudfest?!”

 

 

“Yes my dear, and I’ve missed you each and every day,” said my dear friend and Idaho potatoes spokeswoman.

After the security guards carried us to our car – princess style, of course – we ventured back to my house and quickly got to catching each other up on the past decade and a half. We held hands, laughed, cried and wondered what the rest of the island gang would think seeing us together again.

Too worked up from the emotion of the day, neither of us felt like gorging on a rich, comforting meal. Which was convenient, because I was hella keen to nosh on some Popcorn Wells like in the good old days.

 

 

While it is hard to make popcorn that tastes as good as the stuff at the movies – I think the butter and salt needs the hours sitting in the warmed, glass case of emotion to fully release their flavours – this little number is pretty good fresh. Generously buttered, lightly salted, it has your stomach craving more, more, more. That’s how it likes it. That’s how it likes it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Popcorn Wells
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup popping corn
salt, to taste
melted butter, to taste

Method
Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat until the oil is shimmering.

Add a kernel and if it starts spinning, or better still pops, add the rest of the corn. Immediately pop on the lid and shake the pan. Return to the heat and once the popping kicks off, agitate the pot semi-frequently to keep the unpopped pieces shimmying down to the bottom.

Once the popping has all but stopped, remove from the heat and season with salt. Cover again and give a good shake before pouring in melted butter to taste, covering again and giving a more aggressive shake to ensure it is all coated.

Then devour. At SpudFest, or at home. Your choice.

 

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Jenna Baoman

Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Des finally decided to bring some excitement post the Chris v. Domenick feud and approached the Malolos about taking out one of the bigger threats. Sadly for her, Laurel and Donathan had been doing a good job of keeping their alliance with said big threats a secret so took the plan straight back to them. That in turn led the champion of Naviti Strong – I assume a sequel to Country Strong – Kellyn to join them in turning on her and sending Des out of the game and straight to the jury.

Lavita returned to camp where Dom was thankful to still be in the game thanks to Laurel’s loyalty. Given the fact she saved not only him, but Kellyn and Wendell too, Laurel finally felt that the had a hold on the game. Sadly Kellyn pointed out that OG Naviti still had the numbers and as such, #NavitiStrong.

The next day Sebastian returned to our screens to briefly talk about upping the food intake before Wendell and Domenick stole the show to talk about sticking together no matter what. Well, that is Wendell was feeling while Dom was willing to get rid of him and his secret allies Laurel and Donathan. To further solidify his power in the game, Dom went for a walk to see if yet another idol had been hidden. Which he obviously found. However tragically for him, it was David’s fake idol that screwed Jay – #Justice4Jay – in the generation battle and unlike Ozzy’s stick, it didn’t glow up. Instead, the advantage was a beautifully designed fake idol that could be used to dupe someone into embarrassing themselves. Again. Which Dom was obviously confident he’d be able to do.

With the excitement of the shady non-idol out of the way, my boy Probst returned for this week’s rewa … wa, wa, what? The immunity challenge? Already? In any event, they’d be required to hold a bar up and keep a ball balanced between the contraption and a beam. Sounds simple … but that is NOT all. This week there will be two immunity winners and two people will be going home AT SEPERATE TRIBAL COUNCILS. The remaining players selected either orange or purple to form temporary tribes which would go to individual tribals and vote out a person each. Poor Michael seemed screwed on the orange team with Kellyn, Wendell, Laurel and Domenick while I dunno, Angela is screwed with lovers Sebastian and Jenna, and Chelsea and Donathan?

Kellyn quickly dropped the ball, literally, followed by Mich-angel leaving Wendell, Dom and Laurel to fight it out for the orange temp tribe. Donathan was the first purple out, followed by Laurel leaving Wendell and Dom to battle it out for orange immunity. Sebastian and Jenna soon dropped leaving Angela and Chelsea to snatch purple immunity. Despite Chelsea almost dropped it, Angela’s ball slipped out of nowhere and handed Chelsea immunity. Sadly for her group, she couldn’t hold on any longer meaning they’d be the first ones attended tribal. Wendell and Dom then brought their smacktalk game while struggling to hold on before Wendell just gave up and handed Domenick the second individual immunity.

Back at camp the two groups broke off and commenced scrambling with Domenick quickly deciding to lock in a vote for Michael. Meanwhile Michael, knowing full well he was royally screwed, approached Donathan to ask him whether he could borrow it for an hour to convince everyone it was his and deflect the target on to someone else. Donathan gave a firm no however, knowing it could come back to bite him breaking both mine and Michael’s heart. Michael then approached Kellyn and tried to feed her the simple lie that he has an idol. While she bought everything he was selling, she was concerned and hoped to put the target on to Laurel as a back-up. On the flipside, Domenick was not concerned when Kellyn brought the information back to him and vowed to get Michael out.

Clearly still concerned Kellyn went to Chelsea and Wendell to talk it through and hopefully convince Wendell to join her in sacrificing Laurel instead. Wendell took said information to Laurel who agreed Michael was acting like he had something up his sleeve, or had simply given up. Knowing full well that Kellyn was willing to flip on her, Laurel decided she would rather vote for Kellyn instead to ensure her safety. Sadly for her, Kellyn was planning to use her second vote and load them up on Laurel to ensure her safety.

The other group were decidedly less intense with Sebastian, Chelsea and Angela keen to stick with Naviti and take out Sebastian’s girlfriend Jenna while telling her they’re targeting Donathan. Jenna was feeling nervous, so approached Sebastian and Chelsea to confirm they’re voting for Donathan … and then went and told Donathan that they told her they’re voting her out. Confusing no? Wanting to try and turn the tables, Donathan then considered playing his idol on Jenna while she was working to turn the vote on him while lying that she was targeting Sebastian. To complicate things, Laurel approached Donathan with her concerns that Dom and Wendell wouldn’t turn on Kellyn and it would end up in her going out … unless she had his idol.

We arrived at the first tribal with me completely confused about what is going to happen. Donathan echoed my sentiments before Sebastian confirmed that someone from Malolo would definitely be leaving this group tonight. Jenna was quick to pretend she was going home and just wanted to vote already and get it over with. That upset Sebastian and made Donathan feel a little bit concerned about his place, and I assume, reconsider playing his idol for her. Jenna continued to talk about herself being the target, leading Probst to put a hold on the questions and get to the vote. Picking up on everyone’s shiftiness, Donathan decided to make the smart move and played his ScotJasonTai idol on himself negating the one vote against him and sending Jenna from the game BY HER BOYFRIEND.

Given the Sebastian’s ultimate betrayal and the fact Probst sent her straight to the jury, instead of doing the walk of shame, Jenna was feeling pretty upset by the time she made it into my arms in Ponderosa. Thankfully the fact that I banned [redacted] from entering Ponderosa until we had finished our feast seemed to cheer her up pretty quickly. Though I have a sneaking suspicion my Jenna Baoman may have helped.

 

 

Now I know what you’re thinking – didn’t I see some sweet looking things in the cover image of this here ‘story’? A) the use of inverted commas is shady, which I love, but also hurtful and b) this is my attempt at a dessert bao. And while it may not look impressive, the flavour sure as hell is! Chocolate and (peanut butter and) vanilla (ice cream), swirl … swirled together on a caramelly bun? Poifection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jenna Baoman
Serves: 16.

Ingredients
7g yeast
160ml lukewarm water
250g flour
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons oil
¼ tsp baking powder
¾ cup double cream
100g milk chocolate
100g crunchy peanut butter
3 tbsp golden syrup
Vanilla Ice Cream
salted peanuts, roughly chopped to garnish

Method
Combine yeast, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup flour and 2 tablespoons of muscovado sugar in a jug and allow to rest until foamy and glorious, or about ten minutes. Once foamy, combine the yeast mixture in the bowl of a large stand mixer with the remaining water, flour and sugar and salt and oil. Knead using a dough hook for about five minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl and allow to prove in a warm area for a couple of hours.

Once the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Flatten out, sprinkle with baking powder and knead by hand for five minutes or so,or until well combined. Roll the dough into a long dough and cut into 16 pieces, placing them on a lined baking tray to rest for ten minutes or so, or until puffed. Once they’re glorious, steam for about 8 minutes or until they’re cooked through.

While the buns are provin’ and steamin’, combine the cream, chocolate, peanut butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and cook over low heat until melted, combined and thick.

To serve, split the buns – my favourite pastime, FYI Michael – place a teaspoon of peanut fudge sauce on the bottom, followed by a scoop of ice cream, more fudge and freshly chopped nuts. Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Speidy Nuts Swedberg

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Side, Snack, Tapas

Let’s be honest, there are only four stars of Seinfeld so not every day of our Festivus celebrations can be filled with the iconic portrayers of TV’s erstwhile George, Kramer, Elaine and Jerry. That being said, the character of Susan and her death by out-of-date envelopes is truly iconic and more than earns Heidi Swedberg a trip to Brisbane to help my par-tay.

Plus, as is always the case, she is one of my dearest friends.

I first met Heid in the late ‘80s when she guested on an episode of Matlock. I was Andy Griffith’s stand-in – as we were both older gentleman, at heart – so spent a lot of time with the bit-players. The bond with Heidi was semi-instant and we kept in contact in the years that followed.

When Jase reached out about finding someone to play his love interest on the show, I thought she would be perfect for the role and would fit in well with the cast. While I was completely wrong about the last part, her death storyline was both hilarious and a cautionary tale for those, like me, that hoard Christmas cards year-on-year for later use.

While Heidi up on a life in Hollywood, she was thrilled to come out of hiding to celebrate Susan and Festivus. On the strict proviso that it was a date with only me, and that I’d be serving up my delightful Speidi Swedberg nuts.

 

 

Sweet, festively spiced and packing a little heat, these little babies are the perfect accompaniment for a festive date. Or for getting rid of the taste of rotten envelope glue.

Enjoy!

 

 

Speidi Swedberg Nuts
Serves: 1. 6-8 in a pinch.

Ingredients
500g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias and almonds
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp muscovado sugar
3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
salt, to taste
1 cup craisins

Method
Place a large frying pan over medium heat and line a large baking sheet.

Chuck the nuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds in the pan and toss with a wooden spoon for about five minutes. Add the spices and toss to coat. Then add the oil, sugar and rosemary, toss to coat and cook until golden and fragrant.

Transfer them to the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and leave to to cool completely. Toss through the craisins and decant into bowls to serve immediately or a sterilised jar.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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Tyson Apostollen

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Sweets

While Yul most definitely has the most festive name in Survivor history, my dear friend slash Survivor three-peat Tyson is the most festive person to play the game.

I mean, sure, he had an epic three season arc going from cocky douche, to bumbling babe to dominant champion, but he also had a three season ascension in zaddiness which was decidedly festive.

Yes, I only learnt the word zaddie last Thursday.

From his nude Tocantins tribal twink look, to his animalistic Samoan swimmers to his lovely bunch of Caramoan coconuts, Tyson made me feel things that lay dormant inside for year.

Oh what a lovely ma’ fuckin’ bunch of coconuts.

I first met Tys back in the mid-00s while researching Utah as part of my work writing the little known musical The Book Of Mormon, the hit TV show Big Love AND getting into the cycling world as part of an elaborate scheme to bring down Lance Armstrong. My third least favourite Lance.

While I’m not normally keen on the site of male cyclists in lycra – mainly because they only sit around cafes leaving their ball-sweat on the chairs … which in retrospect, should be my jam – I had a soft spot for Tyson and we fell into a passionate love affair.

Like most of my passionate love affairs, ours fizzled out quite quickly – maybe it would have been different if he listed me as his loved one in Tocantins – we remained close friends. Mainly because he was such a babe and it is super hard for me to find friends that have as much sass as I do, so I have to hold on to them when I find them.

But anyway, we celebrated a Christmas together in Utah during our brief romance and he fell in love with my sweet dough. I mean, all freaking Christmas, his face was buried in it, ravenous. But I guess, who can pass up a Tyson Apostollen.

 

 

Inspired by culinary queen Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar stollen, this baby is delicious enough to convert even the most staunchest of anti-marzipan-ers. Fruity and dense with pockets of gooey sweetness, did I just describe myself. Who knows!? Eat up!

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyson Apostollen
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 egg yolk
¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp glucose
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7g active dry yeast
5 ½ cup flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ¼ cup warm water
145g butter, cubed, plus extra 115g melted for coating
1 cup raisins
¾ cup craisins
½ cup currants
¼ cup candied lemon
3 tbsp bourbon
250g marzipan, broken into chunks
oil, for brushing
icing sugar, to coat

Method
Whisk the egg yolk, sugar, glucose, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl until fluffy and thick, or about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the warm water and stir by hand with the dough hook for a minute or so. And by that, holding the dough hook like a wooden spoon. You get it? Anyway, add the yolk mixer, pop the hook in the mixer and knead on medium for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and lump free. Add the cubed butter, piece by piece, allowing the dough to come together after each addition.

Reduce speed to low and add in the mixed fruit, kneading for an additional minute or until combined. Brush a clean large bowl with a flavourless oil, transfer the dough to said bowl, cover with some cling and leave to prove for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Punch back the dough and dot with the marzipan before lightly knead throughout. You could also split the dough in two, roll them out, smear with marzipan and roll up, but I find dotting it throughout haphazardly makes it more cray, like Tys. If you do dot, then split it into two and transfer to a lined baking sheet, shaping like a turkish-bread-esque loaf.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Once cool, brush with the melted butter and press into the icing sugar to seal. Dis is both good – dis real good – and fresh.

Then devour, greedily.

 

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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.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.