Previously on Australian Survivor 13 newbies were dumped on the islands of Samoa ready to do battle with 11 returnees to prove once and for all whether heroes or villains do it better. Nearly instantly Queen Jackie was violently dumped off a barrel in the first challenge, breaking her collarbone and ultimately medevaced from the game. Despite a warning at tribal council that George – who was also injured in the first challenge – may not return, they opted to continue with the vote and sent his only ally, the iconic Anjali Rao out of the game.
George ultimately did return however, with Shonee quickly pulling him into an alliance with her given she knew that as the only three time player on the beach, she needed another threat around as a buffer. Oh and she also found this season’s island bestie in Liz, and just like that Shiz was born. After losing yet another immunity challenge, Michael was felled for trying to target George. Stevie meanwhile was out for revenge against Shonee for blindsiding him on their first season, however when he was the target at the next tribal council, she redeemed herself in his eyes with a last minute flip to send Mimi out of the game.
Meanwhile over at the Heroes despite being the biggest threat as the sole winner in the cast, Hayley was feeling confident enough to throw the immunity challenge to get rid of Rogue because she was rude and abrasive. After losing the next immunity challenge, the Heroes were gagged to discover they’d be sending a mole over to the Villains tribe however when Sam said they were sending someone expendable, Gerry was less of a mole and more of a powerful tool for the Villains post swap. The Villains returned to their losing streak, running over the swing vote in Sarah before Fraser got caught in the crossfire of George and Simon’s feud in the most epic tribal council of all time.
When the Heroes returned to tribal council my love Benjamin idol-ed Queen Sharni out of the game before the swap arrived and kicked things into overdrive. Despite being outnumbered at the new Heroes, George and Shonee took control and blindsided Paige – ugh, hunting is yuck – before Jordie was felled back at the Villains despite having Shonee’s idol in his pocket. The Heroes then sent Benjamin from the game before Liz was able to mutiny to reunite Shiz before a feud between George and the girls led to Stevie tragically being booted. After the merge, the OG Villains and an assortment of friends took control, sending David from the game before Flick became our first Queen of the Jury. She was followed by her bestie Sam before queen, icon, legend Shonee was felled by George before she could get him, due to her being closer to Liz. Shaun and Hayley were the next Heroes to go, before George finally got to take out Simon and then opting to stick with the boys and take out Nina.
Jonathan threw in one final twist however with the tribe required to boot a juror with Matt and Gerry getting their way and sending Shonee out of the game due to her being a guaranteed vote for Liz. Which really should have been a warning to George that his goose was finally cooked, as they banded together with Liz to send him out of the game as our fourth place robbed goddess of the season.
At the final tribal council, Liz absolutely dominated her opponents and took ownership of the move Matt had pinned his entire argument on – getting rid of George – neutralising him in the eyes of the jury, and allowing our newest queen to take out the title unanimously, leaving Matt to finish as the co-runner-up with Gerry. As I said with Gerry, despite being shut out, Matt played a solid game and arguably did all he could to win as one of the few newbies left by the jury phase. Since George was clearly taking them to the end for an easy win. But alas, they cut him loose at the end (which was also Matt’s move, despite not having revenge attached) making Matt a lovely runner-up, with a hearty Matt Borscharp reward.
When I was little, the entire concept of borscht freaked me out, despite my passion for beetroot. I assume it had something to do with the fact I couldn’t figure out how to make cheese work with it, but that is a conversation for another time. As an adult, I finally tried borscht and fell in love with its rich, earthy perfection and the soup quickly found its place in my permanent rotation.
Matt Borscharp Serves: 8.
Ingredients ¼ cup olive oil 4 beetroot, peeled and grated 2 celery stalks, sliced 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced ¼ cup tomato paste 8 cups chicken stock 2 cups water 3 potatoes, peeled and sliced 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp champagne vinegar 3 tbsp dill, finely chopped kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste sour cream, for dolloping
Method Place a large stockpot over medium heat and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the grated beetroot, celery, onion and garlic, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring infrequently, until they are soft and juicy.
Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or so, before stirring in chicken stock and water, followed by the potatoes and carrots. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. Add the beans bay leaves, vinegar and dill with a good whack of salt and pepper, and simmer for another five minutes or until cooked through.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and devour, like a boss.
Previously on Australian Survivor after finally vanquishing sweet Simon, the tribe battled it out for a guaranteed spot in the final four, with Liz taking out immunity. And promptly rallying Nina and George to work with her to get rid of Matt, given he was her biggest threat. Sadly for her, George was getting nervous about rehashing his mistakes from the previous season, so didn’t want to blindside Gerry in the process of getting rid of Matt. This put him well and truly in the middle of the two duos, making him, once again, all powerful. Sadly for the girls, Nina gave a stellar tribal council performance, which sadly proved that she was the bigger threat – and confirmed she will vote for the best game – scaring George into flipping and taking her out with the boys. Though again, it also gave us our first Twine on the jury.
Back at camp George congratulated everyone on making it to the top four while Liz death stared at him, irate that he had ruined her plan once again and made her path to the final two that much more difficult. Later that night George dropped by to apologise to Liz who straight up cussed him out for signing her death warrant while he was sitting pretty with the boys. George however wasn’t bothered that she was salty given he was essentially choosing which final three he wanted to go with and he still technically has options, given she either votes with him at the next tribal council if he wants to take a shot, or she gets voted out.
The next day Liz was still super nervous, unsure how she was going to navigate the remaining days in the game. And I assume a little bit angry at herself for letting George blindside her again with Nina, just like he did our lord and saviour Shonee Bowtell. Once again though, she knew she had to suck up her feelings and caught up with him in the shelter, with George explaining Nina speaking so well at tribal is what made him change his mind. Liz pretended she was all good, though didn’t bother telling him about what Nina said to her on her way out the door. George then told us he just couldn’t break Gerry’s trust once more, whereas he knew it would be easier to win Liz back. Though he assured her that if Matt wins the next immunity, he will join her in finally getting rid of Gerry.
George next caught up with the boys, reminding them how hard they have worked to avoid the jury, with George telling us how given the jury is made up of only returning players, should he make it to the end, he will be rewarded for dominating the game. Gerry and Matt meanwhile were talking about the path ahead, both genuinely wanting to go to the final three with George and pledging their undying loyalty, before confirming what we have long suspected and that they assume it is a final two, at which point they are looking to cut him just before final tribal council as their big move.
While poor Liz just knew that she was completely screwed should she not win immunity.
Right on cue the final four met Jonathan for the latest immunity challenge. Or so they thought! Instead, it was a challenge for an extra vote at tonight’s tribal council, meaning there is definitely going to be a twist, because they won’t leave George without the chance of immunity at the final four. But anyway, back to the challenge as this one is a biggy! They would race to swim to shore and collect balls, land them in a shoot, crawl under a net and then solve a puzzle before climbing stairs and landing sandbags on five platforms. Matt took out an early lead with Liz nipping at his heels before George and Gerry somehow overtook her. That being said, the other three were kind of irrelevant as Matt continued to power ahead, solving his puzzle as Gerry arrived at the table, while George and Liz desperately tried to close the gap. Matt then got to work tossing his sacks, landing one after the other before anyone else even joined him, promptly taking out the extra vote.
After handing over said vote, Jonathan announced that tonight they will not be voting someone out of the tribe. (Side note: duh). Instead it is the return of the infamous juror removal twist and oh shit, I feel sick because Shonee has been mentioned multiple times already this episode and given Matt and Gerry now have three votes and they know she isn’t voting for them, she is toast. Oh and then JLP confirmed it is a final three, with final immunity coming up tomorrow before the final person will be voted out and replace the juror they eliminate tonight.
Back at camp the final four celebrated making it to the final immunity challenge before popping on some rice ahead of a vastly different kind of scramble. For some reason George started to talk to Matt about the fact that if you have a guaranteed vote, you’re that much closer to winning now that only 7 people will be voting for 3 people. George then went to Liz, both agreeing that getting rid of Simon is the best idea for them, given he is least likely to vote for them. The bad thing being that should be very clear to both Gerry and Matt, so therefore they should keep him.
George and Liz joined the other two to try and sell it as revenge for Simon calling everyone pawns. Sadly for them, Matt gave them a non-committal response while Gerry suggested Nina would vote for Liz for being a female, rather than looking at the game. Liz rightly was offended by that with him explaining he just meant that they were closer and as such, she is way more likely to be swayed by her. Matt then shared with us that his extra vote puts even more pressure on him, given it could be the decision between winning and losing. Matt pulled George aside and told him he is open to both Nina and Simon, however feels like if Liz is sitting at final tribal council – because his and Gerry’s plan to go to three with the King has totally changed now – Shonee is a guaranteed vote for her and as such, she makes the most sense. George tried to point out Simon doesn’t deserve a vote, though stupidly didn’t try to explain that if he and Liz both make it to the end, they split Shonee and as such, make it a tiny bit easier for him to squeak out a win. I mean sure, it isn’t a great pitch, but it is literally the only one we’ve got to keep Shonee vibing on the jury.
Matt then pulled Gerry aside to float his horrible, no good plan. He told Gerry it is very clear they are being played by George with the Simon vote, given he is a guaranteed vote for one of them. Matt continued, explaining that since it is now a final three, they need to adjust their plans and get rid of George at the next vote. And therefore if they go to the final three with Liz, they need to get rid of the only guaranteed vote for her, in Shonee. George filled Liz in on the drama, with Liz telling him to get down to the shore and break it up as they can’t lose Shonee. With Matt expertly playing derpy and telling him they have realised getting rid of Simon makes the most sense as he arrived. Gerry and Matt then spoke about trying to play their cards close to their chest at tribal council so as not to spook anyone, while trying to weigh up who is the better option of going to the final three given everyone loves Liz while George has played the best game. Before Gerry wisely pointed out that George also has a lot of hate against him from the jury and as such, maybe he isn’t a guaranteed winner.
While Gerry just felt like tonight was a chance for him to draw a line in the sand by either going with Matt to eliminate Shonee, or sticking with George to take out Simon.
At tribal council Jonathan quickly caught the jury up on what would be happening tonight, explaining that one of them will be leaving tonight, which obviously pissed all of them off. Particularly Shonee, who appeared to know the writing was on the wall. George spoke about this being the most important tribal council he has ever attended since the winner will only need to secure three or four votes to win. Matt opened up about being the one with the extra vote tonight, and how while he has power, he still needs one other person to agree with who should go out. Gerry admitted two names were on the table pack at camp and that both are warranted to go out. George meanwhile spoke about how fierce debate was back at camp and as such, suggested things may still be up in the air, as Liz interjected and pointed out that she had actually thought they were on the same page.
George whispered to Gerry to see who he was thinking about voting out, with George reiterating he will be taking out Simon as Gerry gave him nothing. Matt spoke about how they need to make a choice between getting rid of a guaranteed vote for someone else or just someone they think will be bitter. As Gerry and George continued to whisper, Gerry told him he had a bad feeling about all the girls on the jury being locked in behind Liz before George pointed out that since she won’t be at the final tribal council, it shouldn’t matter. But you could kind of tell he realised he is definitely going out in fourth and maybe should have kept Nina. Matt and Liz then got in on the whispering, with Liz asking if we’re all losing Shonee before Matt announced he is confused, but ready to vote nonetheless. With that the tribe voted and Gerry finally swayed from George, though tragically it broke the hearts of the nation in the process, as he, Matt and even George removed Shonee from the jury. Which was 100% the correct move for two of them, but it doesn’t make me hate it any less.
As she just cruised on out of there and even further into our hearts.
The next day the final four were jubilant to officially be the last ones standing, with Gerry sharing how at the start he was ready to ride it out with the Heroes until they sent him to the Villains without any concern, leading to the second best revenge arc behind Queen Shon’s in All Stars. But just ahead of Stevie’s in this season, given it went nowhere. George meanwhile was just shocked to still be in the game given he came in with such an epic target. And now he just needs to survive one more tribal council to take out his deserved victory. His words. Matt on the other hand was shocked to have made it there, though knew that without immunity everything could come crumbling down. In the form of Liz, who knows she is out next without immunity, though you know she is ready to fight and given she is an Olympian, you know she has the resolve.
After a brief glimpse of Kristie, Lee, Jericho and Peter in their respective final challenges, the newest final four arrived at a cliff face to discover this year’s final immunity challenge. Which will feature them all standing on a narrow perch holding a handle above their head, while JLP will turn a crank pushing blunt spearheads into their backs to make things as uncomfortable as possible. But before that, he delivered a little bit of love to help motivate them. First up was iconic cooking queen Cara for George, followed by Liz’s boyfriend Daniel, Gerry’s fiance Pam and Matt’s pregnant wife Kirsty and oh lord, I’m crying, they’re crying, everyone’s crying.
The visitors were promptly kicked off to a bench to watch their loved ones be tortured as they speculated how long they would be up in the devices. After JLP gave the crank a spin, the boys all complained as Liz suggested it was nothing and begged JLP to give it another crank. Which you know he did! Instantly the boys started to feel the pain while the two-time Olympian laughed with glee. Mother nature then joined in the fun, unleashing a deluge of rain as they fought for an hour before JLP whipped out his crank to further dig the spikes into their backs. Which was all it took to take out Gerry, as he stepped off the perch while his competitors sweetly praised him for doing so well. After two hours and an additional crank, George suggested nobody wanted the win more than him with Liz calmly telling him he is wrong and to just wait and see. We got to three hours before Jonathan gave the spears another crank which saw George start to struggle, badly, as he begged Matt to hold on, before ultimately dropping out. Leaving Liz to battle Matt for final immunity. After four hours Liz started to get the shakes as Daniel willed her on before she requested JLP dish out one final crank.
As the loved ones watched on with baited breath, George swapped seats and started chatting to Gerry, telling him that all they need to do is stick together at the next vote and there is a way forward for them. Liz continued to breathe through the pain before Matt’s hand slipped off, handing Liz final immunity. And ideally, crowning her our winner.
Back at camp George was very nervous about the newbies banding together to take him out, though was confident in his ability to plot and scheme. Even in such a shitty predicament. Knowing she would have been out of the game if she didn’t take out immunity, Liz was well and truly feeling her oats and ready to finally get her revenge on George and send him out of the game. Gerry meanwhile congratulated everyone on fighting so hard in the challenge, talking about how humbled he was by their performance. He then took it one step further, telling everyone that he didn’t deserve to go to tribal council and begged them all to vote him out. Which George obviously jumped at, promising to do his wishes before getting to work wooing Matt and Liz.
George first pulled Matt aside to tell him how important it would be for them to just vote out Gerry and guarantee their place in the final three. And while he agreed to George’s face, he knew he couldn’t do it to Gerry and instead told him he would actually be voting for George and if he wanted to avoid making fire, he should vote out George too. Speaking of George, he pulled Liz aside to try his best, with Liz too pretending to be all in on the Gerry vote, though obviously, that would not be happening. Because revenge. Though George was confident Liz would have his back and as such, was ready to march to the end and take out victory.
At tribal council the jury were absolutely delighted to see that Liz had immunity – I wish Shon was here to see this – before she opened up about her own pride to have come out on top after such an epic, intense challenge. Particularly with her boyfriend there. George immediately cut her off to talk about how driven Liz is and how proud of her he is, while Liz spoke about the fact she was so driven because she knew she had literally no other option. Matt meanwhile was gutted to be the one coming in second, talking about how now they need to be smart about who they send out of the game. Gerry on the other hand spoke about how hard it would be to vote for either Matt or George. With that the tribe voted and despite Gerry’s plea the newbies banded together to take out George, as Liz wisely whispered in his ear that she finally got him.
As George arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled him in for a massive hug and praised him on such a dominating performance. While he was disappointed to be eliminated so close to the end, he admitted he was expecting his massive target to take him out early so was thrilled he was once again able to find his feet and dominate. I then did a quick detour and yelled at him for turning on Shonee too soon and robbing us gays of our mother. I mean, I know she was planning to turn on him at the next vote, but given siding with the newbies landed him on jury, I would have preferred to see a wee more exciting end game by having her stick around a little longer.
While I would argue that come the merge, George got lucky that people knew he would be an easy vote at the endgame, there is no denying that he once again proved himself to be a master strategist. And that alone deems him worthy of going out as the fourth place robbed goddess of the season and the piping hot Beef Bourgeorge Mladenov prize that goes along with it.
Boeuf bourguignon is one of those dishes that has the power to convert even the most vehement beef naysayers of its delight. The meat melts in your mouth as the sweet, rich sauce washes over your tongue and fills you with glee.
Beef Bourgeorge Mladenov Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 200g bacon, diced 1.5kg beef brisket, trimmed and cut into a large dice 1 carrot, thickly sliced 1 onion, diced 10 cloves garlic, minced kosher salt and pepper, to taste 2 tbsp flour 12 French shallots, peeled 3 cups red wine 2 cups beef stock 2 tbsp tomato paste 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped 2 bay leaves 2 tbsp butter 500g small mushrooms, quartered
Method Pop the oil in a large dutch oven and sauté the bacon over medium heat for a few minutes, or until crispy and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. In batches, brown the beef on all sides in the glorious bacon fat before using the spoon to transfer to the bacon dish. Finally, add the carrots and onions to the pan and cook for a few minutes before adding 6 of the garlic cloves and cooking for a minute, or until fragrant. Drain off the fat, leaving a tablespoon or two, before returning the beef and bacon to the pot. Stir in the flour with a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for about five minutes, or until browned. Add the shallots, wine and stock, the latter to just cover the meat, before stirring in the paste and herbs. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and cover before simmering for a few hours.
While the beef is rollicking, heat the butter in a large saucepan until foaming before adding the remaining garlic and cooking for a minute or so, or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally to coat, for about five minutes, or until browned and plump. Season with salt and pepper, before transferring to a plate.
Remove the bay leaves from the casserole, before stirring in the mushrooms and skimming off any of the excess fat that rises to the surface as it cooks until it reduces to a glossy liquid, enough to coat a spoon. Adjust seasoning before serving with a gloriously buttery mash and devouring, like a king.
Previously on Australian Survivor Gerry was feeling betrayed after landing in isolation after George and Liz switched their votes from Simon, leaving him plenty of time to swap stories with Nina about their relevant final three deals with George. At the immunity challenge for four, Matt just snatched victory ahead of sweet Simon, who felt like his time would surely now be up. Back at camp George was ready to repeat the previous tribal and split the vote between Simon and Nina. Nina meanwhile was not interested in going down without a fight, trying to woo Matt and Gerry to her side to take out the king with Simon. Sadly though it was clear it didn’t work at tribal council as Gerry spoke George had been mentoring him before it finished on a tie between Nina and Simon, with our sweet, iconic bottom finally exiting the game.
The next day the final five were delighted to find a little breakfast treat with the warning that they will need all the energy they can to make it to the end of the game. While everyone smashed muffins and coffee, George appeared to be most excited by the bag of sugar. Matt meanwhile was all jacked up on caffeine and sugar, buzzing and feeling like he can finally think again. And by think, run around the camp screaming and belly flopping into the ocean. The fivesome then had a lovely moment together, bonding in the shallows and celebrating how far they have come. George and Gerry caught up privately, locking in going to the final three with Matt, while George spoke about being grateful to have found a lifelong friend in Gerry. But then ominously pointed out he would be happy to finish in fourth. Or third, or second. Meaning it is pretty clear Nina is next, right?
That afternoon the boys caught up to lock in their vote against Nina, as she hung in the hammock while Liz wandered around camp. She had finally realised that George’s relationship with the boys was becoming a massive threat to her game after the last tribal council, identifying Matt as her biggest physical threat and George as the most likely to win. Which again came infuriatingly too late. Trying to restore the jacuzzi alliance, Liz instead caught up with Nina by the shore and locked in the plan to vote out Matt should he not win immunity. Knowing that if she appeared positive it could prove a spoiler, Nina pretended to be disappointed as she caught up with her fellow former Heroes, leaving Liz to catch up with George and lock in the vote against Matt. You know, if he doesn’t win immunity.
Meaning it is very, very obvious that Matt is winning immunity.
The tribe met Jonathan by the beach for the final five immunity challenge where they would have to race to drop a ball in a shoot, race to collect it at the other end of a disc before walking over obstacles and collecting two more. Before then navigating them up an upright maze and into a hole, with the first to land them all taking out immunity. Nina and Liz took an early lead, with Liz powering ahead as Matt overtook Nina and worked to close the gap. While George and Gerry were stuck collecting their balls, with the former cursing it as a stupid challenge. Liz had a massive head start as she got to work on the maze before dropping, leaving enough time for Matt to join her. He too struggled, allowing Nina to join them followed by George as Gerry was still stuck on the first obstacle. Eventually Liz landed her first ball, followed closely by Nina. As George tried some wild tricks, Liz landed her second ball, making me realise how very wrong I was about Matt. As George magician-ed the ball to the top, Gerry joined the fray before Nina dropped her second ball as Liz powered through, landed her third and jagged herself immunity. Like a damn queen.
Back at camp the tribe quickly congratulated Liz on her victory before everyone scattered to work through plans for the upcoming tribal council. She sat by herself in the hammock, talking through all the scenarios by herself, knowing that trusting in Liz is kinda her last option and as such, she needs to be solid. Matt meanwhile checked in with George to see if he wanted to talk, with George assuring him that the only option is Nina tonight and as such, they need to load their votes on her and not worry. While Matt worried about Liz turning on them, George assured her she had no other options. Just as she and Nina caught up by the well to lock in their votes against Matt, while she worried about George’s growing closeness with Gerry. Liz caught up with George to tell him that voting out Matt is literally the only correct option moving forward, as George panicked about upsetting Gerry. Leading to Liz telling him to stop being soft and letting Gerry play into his emotions, and instead get cutthroat and play to win.
Which is energy I would have loved at any of the last four tribal councils.
Sadly for Liz, her pep talk actually triggered George, reminding him that he voted out his closest ally in fourth in his first season and that being cutthroat is what led to his loss. Which I would argue wasn’t the case, but it definitely didn’t help. Though he knew that by going to the final three with Matt and Gerry, he was essentially handing himself third. As such, he approached Nina to affirm that he would reignite the jacuzzi alliance. Matt then dropped by Nina, asking how she was feeling as Nina outlined that she, Liz and George were targeting Matt and while he knew she was trying anything to survive, he was very nervous. He then approached George and Liz to tell them what Nina said, leading to them vehemently denying it and ugh, I feel like it may be the thing that causes them to just vote her out.
Matt then approached Gerry to loop him in, with Gerry calmly telling him George knows he is playing for third with them, though he was happy to finish there. As Liz and George continued to bicker in the shelter, Liz pointed out he needs to stop being emotional and to just get rid of Matt. George then caught up with Nina, with her expertly telling him that she is voting Matt because that is the only plan anyone has given her and if he has a different one, she is willing to hear it. Sadly for her, as they spoke it became more and more clear that George will continue to be a swing vote until the very last moment.
At tribal council Nina spoke about how there is a high likelihood that she will be going home given she is literally the only person left from outside of the major alliance. While she has appealed to people to make a move, she feels like everyone is just holding on to their ticket to the finale and not letting go. Liz praised her for never giving up and always trying to find a way to survive, before talk turned to Matt’s challenge prowess, with George admitting it is a concern given he only makes it to the end if someone takes him. Liz praised him as her biggest challenge competitor, leading to Matt pointing out that Liz is also a huge physical threat, seemingly not realising she is immune so it literally doesn’t matter at this point.
George spoke to the fact he lost Brains Vs Brawn due to only focusing on strategy and not listening to his heart, though he intended to be guided by it this time to make it to the end. He then laid all ownership for building the minority alliance as Shonee looked on, enraged. Gerry tried to pretend their alliance had not had a leader with Jonathan hilariously pointing out that it completely contradicts what George just said. Gerry tried to double down, talking about everyone having a different moment to make the decisions, leading to an epic eye roll from Nina. She then spoke about how her perception is completely different and that is what matters when the power switches to the jury, as to her, Gerry has done nothing but do what he was told and tend to the fire. Essentially.
With that the tribe voted and two votes piled up on Matt and Nina before George proved to listen to his heart as Nina was tragically eliminated from the game. Meaning voting out a close ally cost him a win, as will likely keeping one. As Nina urged Liz to just not let George make it to the final tribal council.
As Nina arrived at the Jury Villa I congratulated her on becoming the first ever Twine to serve on a jury, which is literally all we’ve ever wanted from Sandra given she would give us the most iconic, sassy questions known to man. But that is all I said about her mama, as I pulled her in for a hug and praised her for playing such a strong game. While she and the Heroes may have botched it against Shonee and George – note who was put up front, for a reason – the fact that she managed to be the last one standing proves her impeccable skill at winning people over, gathering the right intel and making sure there was always someone that was a more pressing boot. So while I’m heartbroken we didn’t get the Twine Heroes Vs. Villains bookend we wanted, I am glad I could cheer her up with a Biryanina Twine.
This Indian classic – biryani – is one of those great dishes that are just as tasty as they are simple to make, meaning it quickly finds a permanent place in your rotation. Spicy and soothing, it is the perfect way to wash away the stress of the day. Or celebrate a win (or fifth place, in this case).
Biryanina Twine Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 1 cup Greek yoghurt ¼ cup korma curry paste 600g chicken breasts, diced 2 tsp olive oil 1 onion, sliced 1 tbsp minced ginger 5 garlic cloves, minced 800g tin diced tomatoes 1 cinnamon stick 2 bay leaves 1 ½ cups basmati rice 1 ½ cups chicken stock a handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
Method Combine the yoghurt and korma paste in a bowl and stir through the chicken to coat. Cover with cling and pop in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.
Once the chicken is well and truly marinated, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook stirring for a couple of minutes before stirring in the tomatoes, cinnamon and bay, cooking for a few minutes.
Stir in the chicken and rice, followed by the stock. Bring to a boil before reducing heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or so, or until the liquid is absorbed and rice, soft and tender. Stir through the coriander and remove from the heat. Before serving, with an extra sprinkle of coriander or a dollop of yoghurt and devouring. Greedily.
Previously on Australian Survivor as the original Spice Girls decreed, two became one, as the Heroes and Villains came together to form a single tribe. With Simon once again all alone on the bottom. Flick was thrilled to reunite with her bestie Shaun and while she initially wanted to protect the Spice Girls as payback, she ultimately decided to stick Heroes strong after Shaun reminded them they have more than enough numbers to take over. Sadly for them, George roped in Hayley and his former nemesis Simon to take control. After David sketched out Liz by the well, she decided to play her idol for Shonee, though didn’t need to, as David himself was booted from the game. As Shonee whispered to George that Flick is finished and ugh, I have goosebumps.
Back at camp Matt pulled everyone together to admit that he was the one that flipped, with Hayley quickly jumping in to say that she also made the jump to make sure they both got the credit come final tribal council. As Sam and Co. tried to wrap their heads around things, they kept taking little shots at the OG Heroes with George and Shonee iconically telling him to stop undermining their decision to play for themselves. The new power alliance then opted for a trip to the hammock – since the Heroes wouldn’t let them use it the day before – where Matt giggled about being an evil vixen, while Simon was happy to finally have friends again and ugh, is nature healing? Because when Matt suggested they call their alliance the Vigilantes to steal Nina’s suggested tribe name, I almost flooded my basement.
While the four Heroes stood quietly in the dark and sulked.
The next day Shiz were talking about their disappointment that Flick broke the girl code, likening it to a messy breakup. As such, they pulled Flick aside to find out what they did to upset her and while she explained she was just trying to save herself the night before, it obviously meant nothing to them. Though while they accepted the apology, Shonee was still out for blood and if All Stars is anything to go by, Flick is in trouble. Sam, Nina and Shaun meanwhile were busy trying to figure out how to get out of the mess of their own making and while Sam suggested they need an idol, Shaun smartly mentioned they need another way. As such, they decided that Simon was their best option to flip again, so they put Flick to work on winning him back. Or somehow win four immunities for the upcoming tribal.
George, Simon and Matt caught up by the well, with George thanking Simon for putting their issues aside and working together and well, it was wholesome and I love it. Particularly since Simon finally feels like he has friends. Hang on, maybe I don’t love Simon because he still wants to work with Shaun. Given he has lingering uncertainty about whether he can trust the Spice Girls, he caught up with Sam and Flick to talk about how shocked he is to have an alliance while Sam tried to act like he was happy for him to have some power. With Simon reiterating he is ready to make moves at the right time and aligning with George proves he can bury the hatchet, which kinda gives them some hope without saying anything. And again, do I now love Simon?
The tribe joined Jonathan on a beach for the latest immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a barrel containing 40% of their body weight with the last one standing winning. After ten minutes, Shonee asked Shaun how much weight would be in his barrel before George dropped out of nowhere. While Shonee started to struggle, she managed to hold on another 25 minutes before she dropped out. As Shonee and George kikied about getting rid of Flick, the rest of the tribe clocked up an hour before JLP told everyone they had to drop down to only one hand, costing Nina, Gerry and Shaun straight away. Sam was next to go, followed by Flick as Shonee praised her allies for outlasting the Heroes. And while Liz started to celebrate, Shonee told her to cut out the funny business and focus. Matt and Simon then dropped out, leaving Hayley and Liz to face off with Hayley dropping out of nowhere after another 20 minutes, handing the Olympian immunity.
With Flick quickly jumping in to congratulate the girls on being so strong. Which will not save you babes, I’m sorry.
Back at camp George obviously called his allies aside for a pow wow as the 4 Heroes skulked off to the well to figure out if there was anything they could do. George assured the Vigilantes that the only way they don’t make it to the top seven, is if something goes catastrophically wrong. They locked Flick as the target and while Simon suggested they need to split the vote in case of an idol. Everyone explained that they don’t have the numbers to make it work, with George going on step further and pointing out he or Shonee would be the target anyway so let them take the risk. He assured us that while he still doesn’t trust Simon 100%, he will be watching him like a hawk. The Heroes went person to person trying to figure out who the target is in the hope of saving themselves with an idol, though the Vigilantes would not budge. As such, they decided to load their votes on Matt to spook him a little and not upset anyone in power, while Shaun awkwardly danced around having an idol in the hope of them finding a second one to save the group. Given he is holding on to his, to play at the right time to save himself.
While Flick spent hours hunting around the hidden idol, she gave up and decided she needed to at least talk to Simon about making a move on George. She reminded him that the Spice Girls are a solid four, meaning nine is the latest they can make a move to beat them. Shonee meanwhile was watching on, talking to Hayley about how Flick could easily convince Simon to make a move just for the sake of it. Thankfully though, he checked in with Hayley who was super reassuring, reminding him that they want to get rid of more of the alphas first before trying anything and as such, it makes sense to hold firm for now. Hayley was then pulled aside by Shaun, who tried to guilt her into sharing who the target was, with her expertly not budging or even offering assurance. Leading him to speculate to us whether it was a smart decision to actually play the idol for himself or Flick, given she is his number one.
At tribal council Sam spoke about how shocked he was after the previous tribal council, though also knew he couldn’t really do much, before throwing out that nothing that happened at the last tribal council changed anyone’s place for those that flipped. Which drew an audible gasp from George, who pointed out that they are now on the winning ship and that ship has set sail, whether the OG Heroes like it or not. Shaun tried to point out that he is just in a bit of a trough, but the game is all about peaks and valleys with Simon agreeing that his game has only been ups and downs, though he is glad to be working with George and being part of the conversation now.
George pointed out that you should never close the door on any options, or at least, that is how the Vigilantes roll. Which annoyed the hell out of Nina that the tribe name she suggested was co-opted for the alliance working against her. Flick tried to pretend she was swap screwed with George whispering about the fact she actually had a numbers advantage, so that’s a lie. While she doubled down on the fact she was upsetting someone either way she went, which Shonee called bullshit on given she was the one leading the charge against Shiz, which makes it all the more hurtful. Particularly since Liz was willing to use her idol to save her. This clearly got Shaun thinking about doing the same as Matt pointed out he was in the same situation as Flick at the previous tribal, though clearly made the right choice. And well, now one of Flick, Nina, Sam and Shaun are drowning and they don’t have a lifesaver on their side. Which feels extra savage and I love that for him.
With that the tribe voted before Shaun proved himself a little more selfish than the Villains – or well, Liz – as he held on to his idol as his closest ally Flick was shown the door. Though hey, at least she has now been the final juror and the Queen of the Jury in her Survivor career. As she arrived at the Jury Villa, I pulled her in for a hug and reminded her that while I am firmly team Shiz, I was rooting for her and love how effortlessly she plays the social game. Plus, she is sensible and not bitter, meaning we should be lucky enough to have a fair jury on our hands with no toxicity with her as the Queen. Leaving me nothing more to do than toast her success and her new reign with a piping hot bowl of Flick Paellmateer.
While I forgo any of the seafood additions which are commonly placed in a paella, this is still a smokey, salty delight. The rich, spiced tomato bathes the al dente rice, working with the sweet meats to warm your soul and wash away any disappointment.
Flick Paellmateer Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 5 garlic cloves, minced 1 carrot, cut into rings ½ a bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stalks roughly chopped separately 500g chicken thighs, diced 250g chorizo, cut into rings 2 tsp hot smoked paprika 1 capsicum, sliced 300g paella rice 2 tbsp tomato purée 3 cups chicken stock kosher salt and pepper, to taste 100g peas 1 lemon, for squeezin’ at the end
Method Heat the oil in a dutch oven – or paella pan, ideally – over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and carrot. Cook for a couple of minutes before stirring in the parsley stalks, chicken, chorizo and paprika. Cook for another five minutes or so before stirring in the capsicum and cooking until soft and sweet. About five minutes.
Add the rice and tomato purée to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes, until the rice is coated in all the juices. Stir in the stock and a good whack of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 15 minutes. Once reduced, stir in the peas and cook for a further few minutes, or until cooked through.
Adjust seasoning and serve with a good sprinkle of parsley leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice, before devouring.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race instead of delivering a maxi challenge, Ru gave the dolls a reprieve in the form of a lip sync lalaparuza. Which obviously is only a reprieve for the dolls that win their first round. Everyone else, however, had a fight. Despite some of the queens selecting opponents they felt would be the easiest to beat, sweet Anetra focused on battles. Though after watching her lip sync with Sasha in the first round – which should have been a double shantay – who can blame her confidence. Ultimately it came down to three girls where it came down to Anetra to choose one sister to save, sending sweet Spice to safety and fellow lip sync assassin Jax out of the competition.
The next day the dolls were thrilled to have survived the lip sync lalaparuza, with Marcia particularly happy to be safe on the first round. And to not have to see Jax lip sync a sixth time. Anetra meanwhile was thrilled to have faced off against the Simone Biles of drag and come out on top. While Spice wanted to clarify what she said about entering her top era last week, explaining that she actually meant this week while Mistress joked she was thinking about entering her congeniality era.
Before Malaysia could malfunction at that suggestion, Ru dropped by to challenge the dolls to a little mini challenge where they would have to get into quick drag and photobomb some iconic moments from throughout the series to celebrate the 200th episode. Salina slayed Laganja’s entry, Anetra bombed into Willow Pill’s bubble bath, Malaysia joined Vanjie’s exit, Spice hung with Gaga, Luxx grunted through knocking off Ornacia and Vivacious in their opening shoot, Mistress caught Morgan’s ping pong balls, Marcia creeped on Jinkx’s crowning, Sasha creeped on Ru at the Despys and Loosey hung onto Serena in the tank photoshoot mini challenge. Obviously though it was Anetra that took out the win, given it was iconic and hilarious.
Given the episodes are still only an hour we couldn’t dwell on things, so Ru announced that for this week’s maxi challenge they’d be throwing a 15th anniversary ball. And since that is traditionally marked by crystal, welcome to the Crystal ball! First category the dolls would have to update Ru’s iconic opening racing suit for Start Your Engines. Next up, the dolls would pull inspiration from their favourite balls of yore in the My Favourite Ball runway and close out the show in the Crystalised Eleganza look which they make from scratch. Emphasis on scratch, given it will be fully crystalised. Oh and Loosey is confident, given she makes all her own costumes, so she wants her sisters to know she is the one to beat despite Sasha being right there.
And frequently thinking she should be ranked higher than the judges place her.
After Ru departed, the dolls went nuts grabbing supplies, literally breaking glassware in the process. Mother Sasha was confident in her ability to know fashion and herself, rather than being worried about her lack of sewing skills, while Anetra planned to crystalise Kennedy’s dead chicken. Ru returned with Carson to kiki with the girls, with Spice getting read for giving too much of the same thing and asked to mix it up a little. Mistress meanwhile was sassy as she showed off her big gown moment and while other dolls were going that route too, hers would stand out for being nice. Salina was giving too much and was reminded to edit and sell it on the runway, rather than getting lost in her head. She then opened up about how difficult she has found the emotions of the competition.
Ru and Carson disappeared leading to the girls reading Loosey for being heartbroken over losing the acting challenge. And while Mistress was trying to have a bit of fun, Loosey worried she was trying to get in her head.
Elimination Day arrived with the dolls talking about their siblings, with Salina opening about her queer brother before Anetra spoke about not having talked to her mum after she kicked her out for allegedly making everyone in her uncomfortable for being herself. And ugh, her mum is a dumb bitch and I hate her for doing that to Anetra and making her lose her siblings that she so dearly loves. The positive though is that she reconnected with her birth father who has become her biggest supporter and even bought her her first sewing machine. Talk turned to iconic moments of the past, with the dolls throwing out Shangela and Mimi’s fight, anything Alyssa has ever done, Bianca’s Judge Judy, opulence and Ongina coming out as HIV positive. While Spice was grateful Rebecca Glasscock wore jeans on entry, so she and Sugar could trot in rocking mini skirts.
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by Emmy winner Julia Garner on the panel to judge their 200th episode ball. Well, after Ru debuted her new song Cake and Candy. And while she gave us nothing – obviously – the sexy dancing bakers flooded my basement as they gave everything. Kicking off the Start Your Engines category, Mistress gave a classic racer suit full of all the big girls catchphrases. Spice meanwhile turned it into a mini skirt and avoided strutting, while Luxx made things edgy, Marcia slayed in a pastel mod vibe, Salina was street and sexy, Malaysia was glam and gorgeous in pink while Loosey slayed as Barbie and Princess Peach’s lovechild while Sasha turned it into a glamorous gown, while Anetra was fluro and represented her heritage in all the right easy.
Mistress kicked off the My Favourite Ball runway celebrating the ball ball like a sexy club kid beachball, Marcia gave canvas milkmaid in honour of the bag ball, Malaysia was beautiful in a hair gown for the hair ball while Spice gave little furballs for the ball ball. Salina gave palm tree cash for the money ball, Loosey looked like a hippy made out of doggy bags for the bag ball, Luxx was architectural in a hair ball number while Sasha celebrated weed in the sexiest way for the bag ball while Anetra was sickening and sweet for the Sugar Ball.
Closing out the show Mistress’ gown truly was perfection, not like something she made in under 24 hours. Spice looked like she just extended her usual look, Marcia gave a slutty Marie Antoinette, Malaysia too gave a perfect gown, Salina looked beautiful in her gown – despite it not fitting great – while Loosey mocked herself in a gorgeous runner-up evening wear gown. Luxx gave ice fairy and oh god, how did she make that in 24 hours?! Sasha too was stunning, giving a golden coral goddess while Anetra slayed in a gown complete with beaded exposed spine.
Marcia Cubed, Malaysia and Luxx were sent to safety before the judges praised Salina’s first two looks and how she sold them, though read her final gown for just not having the fit down. Spice was praised for her first look, read for giving furball before Michelle read her for filth for the final outfit, though loved how hard she tried not to trot. Mistress received wall to wall praise for all three of her looks, before Loosey was read for her middle look. Sasha then received all of the praise for thinking outside the box on all of her looks, and for looking stunning while doing it. She opened up about House Colby and how it saved her life and ugh, I love her so damn much. While the judges lived for two out of three of Anetra’s look, particularly her final look which was stunning. Though Michelle cautioned her to try not give so much resting bitch face on the runway.
Backstage the dolls – well Marcia and Luxx, anyway – weren’t loving the fact they were only safe which honestly is kind of fair, given the looks they both pulled together in a day. Malaysia was happy with her collection, though kinda was in her feelings about just wanting to have that star moment, given she is still without a win. Marcia felt she deserved the win while Luxx was enraged that her creative look didn’t get the props it was due, as Malaysia tried to suggest it could have just been that she just didn’t give the judges eleganza. Which was sweet, but obviously meant nothing to Luxx. Just like Art.
The tops and bottoms joined them with the girls not shocked to hear Sasha was beloved for giving vastly different looks. Salina shared how disappointed she was to be in the bottom, despite the judges not really hating anything, just the details. Spice just laughed about how the judges found her funny for not trotting and charming the shit out of them. Oh, but she knew she was in the bottom. Loosey shared she was hit and miss with the judges and then when Malaysia pointed out she had no idea what her middle look was about, Loosey cracked it and the duo started fighting. With Malaysia hilariously just finishing things by telling her the look sucked. Basically. Anetra’s final look was beloved though Michelle hated the colour of her first look, with Spice asking them to consider how green feels about Michelle, since she always comes for it.
Talk turned to Spice potentially going home, with everyone talking about how much she has grown and they love her. And I LOVE it. Oh and then Julia Garner dropped by and spat Anna Delvey lines, so I LIVE for that.
Ultimately Sasha took out her second victory of the season, as Anetra and Mistress joined her in the top before Loosey narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving Salina and Spice to battle it out. And as soon as Lil Nas X’s That’s What I Want kicked off, it was clear Salina was surviving, but honestly, I could watch Spice read the phonebook because she is just so silly and joyous and ugh, I love what I love. Though yeah, Salina served a moment, hitting every lyric, finding the perfect balance between comedy and emotion and well, it was only fair she lived to see another day as Spice sadly sashayed away. Via extensive trotting, as Ru and Michelle finally embraced it and cackled along with her.
As she entered the Werk Room, I pulled Spice in for a massive hug and thanked her for being such a glorious ball of joy throughout the season. While the judges never seemed to get her (or Sugar’s) vibe, the fact that her sisters quickly went from hate to love proves that the duo are legit. And absolute delights, so I’m glad that translated to the audience. Given she and Sugar are already uber social media famous – like me, don’t ya know! – it isn’t like she needed much of a pep talk, so instead I toasted her run with a piping hot Pumpkin Spice Bundt.
This spicy number is the perfect addition to any occasion, despite the fact I used a haunted house bundt tin. The earthy pumpkin pairs perfectly with the combination of spices, leaving a moist, cake that melts in your mouth and fills you with glee.
Pumpkin Spice Bundt Serves: 8.
Ingredients 2 cups muscovado sugar 115g unsalted butter, softened ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 eggs, at room temperature 1 ½ cups pumpkin purée ½ cup sour cream 3 cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cardamom ¼ tsp ground allspice ¼ tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp ground black pepper
Method Preheat the oven to 170C, and butter and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the muscovado sugar, butter and olive oil on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add an egg, allowing the batter to come back together before adding the second. Pour in the pumpkin purée and sour cream, and mix until combined.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg and pepper in a large bowl. Remove the other bowl from the stand mixer and fold the dry ingredients through until just combined. Pour the batter into the bundt tin, tapping on the bench to remove any bubbles. Pop the tin on a baking sheet if it isn’t stable (the haunted house is far from structurally sound) and transfer to the oven to bake for an hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once chill you can either make a little glaze – maple is a particularly good choice – or simply dust with icing sugar before devouring. Either way, you’ll love it.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the dolls learnt the Maxi Challenge – or should we say, Maxine Challenge – would see them star in the sequel to Daytona Wind. And while the first one was super fun, it was mostly due to the fact the dolls were gagged by the surprise gas. Despite having the power to assign the roles, Aura opted to give up the campy, lead role and take on a quieter part which she quickly proceeded to bomb. Though Luxx noted, she probably would have bombed any and all roles she had. Jax meanwhile was forgettable and missed all the Drag Race references as Mistress – who inherited the lead role – slayed the game and took out victory. Only narrowly though, over her nemesis Malaysia, as the duo played off each other perfectly. Ultimately Jax and Aura landed in the bottom and like Angela Bassett, Jax did the thing and took out the lip sync, as Aura joined the win to elim club.
Before cursing them to be haunted by the ghost of her father on her way out the door. Backstage Jax was obviously a little nervous about said curse, given she was ultimately the one that sent Aura out the door, though was glad to prove she is going to be very difficult for the girls to send home. After a brief moment celebrating Mistress’ win, Loosey turned the attention back to herself as she complained about only being safe. When it is what she deserved. But whatever. I prefer Spice’s delusion that she is entering her top era.
The next day Spice was still busy trotting around despite Ru and Michelle’s hate, while Loosey asked the girls without a win how angry they were. Which obviously led to all the girls eviscerating her for going full Milk and raging over being safe. Before she could spiral any further, Ru dropped by to announce that for this week’s Maxi Challenge they’d all be lip syncing, in a battle royale LalaPaRuZa in full assassin drag. And by the end of the night, one of the dolls will be going home. They immediately split up to beat their mugs, with Mistress super confident knowing Spice, Loosey and Marcia are the easy marks, though admitted to fearing facing off against Sasha or Anetra. As she should, TBH.
We quickly pivoted to the Mainstage where Ru, Michelle and Ross took their places on the panel as the girls lined up to hear the rules. Which were super simple, given they just need to survive one of the eight lip syncs that were about to unfold. And Ru, Michelle and Ross’ coffee enema energy, which is always a highlight to me. Bruno entered the mainstage to toss his balls before selecting Malaysia as the first one to lip sync, meaning she was able to pick her opponent. Ultimately opting for Marcia. Which meant Marcia had the power to pick the song, going with Anitta’s Boys Don’t Cry. And while Malaysia was expecting to steamroll, Marcia had tricks up her sleeves, flipping around the stage and giving sass as she hit every lyric. And rightly took out the first victory, sending her back to safety while Malaysia would have to lip sync again in the next round.
Next up Bruno grabbed Loosey’s ball with her also picking the easy mark in Spice, with Spice selecting Joan Jett’s Do You Wanna Touch. Sweet Spice tried her darndest, bringing all the energy to the performance however Loosey’s choice proved wise as she took out victory and joined Marcia Cubed backstage. But yeah, make no mistake, the lip sync was boring. Bruno wheeled out his balls yet again, this time pulling out Luxx who opted to face Salina. Who in turn chose It’s All Coming Back to Me Now by my sweet Celine. Aka a song she does on the reg back home. And girl, it showed as while Luxx gave all the drama and emotion, it was definitely Salina’s show as she rightly entered the top nine and sent Luxx through to the next round.
Bruno’s balls decreed Mistress was next who chose Jax, feeling she was more likely to pick the song she wanted, Tell It To My Heart by the iconic Taylor Dayne. And despite Jax proving herself to be a bit of an assassin so far, it was Mistress who stole the show, serving reveals, comedy and drama and ugh, she was perfect. And lucky that the judges have already seen Jax’s tricks and flips twice already. As such, Mistress was deemed safe and Jax was forced to lip sync again. Which gagged the safe girls, before Mistress mocked Loosey for doing a shit job and just getting lucky with her opponent. Most importantly, the final round was an absolute battle royale as Anetra and Sasha faced off with the former picking I’m In Love With A Monster by Fifth Harmony. And holy shit, did mother Sasha and Anetra feed us. Every letter was hit, the dolls were on the beat, every flip and trick was perfection and gaggy and well, TBH, I feel like both of them should have been deemed safe. But sadly only Sasha was sent to safety, while Anetra was forced to lip sync again.
Bruno’s balls lined up Malaysia to kick things off again, this time going with the safest bet on stage in the form of Spice. And while Spice wisely chose Don’t Go Yet by Camila Cabello because Malaysia wouldn’t know the lyrics, neither did she. And well it was an adorable mess as they both tried to serve something, before Spice ultimately resorted to the conga. Which obviously led to Malaysia joining the safe girls. Where she promptly pretended she didn’t pick Marcia because she thought she could beat her. But more importantly, the last lip sync would be a throuple as the remaining dolls faced off to Vanessa Williams’ The Right Stuff. With Luxx proving that rage can take you far, as all three of the girls hit every lyric and absolutely dominated, but Luxx just clearly had more fire to stay which pushed her over the edge and sent her to safety.
Meaning Spice, Anetra and Jax took the stage assuming they would battle as a trio before Ru gagged them with a twist, courtesy of Bruno’s balls. You see, he would pull a queen’s name out of his sack and then that queen would get to choose which one of her sisters would be safe. And because Anetra doesn’t enjoy murdering puppies, she gagged the dolls by sending Spice to safety and opted to battle Jax in the final round. And while Jax vowed to make Anetra regret her choice, as soon as Finally by Cece Peniston started playing, it was clear Anetra is really one to be feared. She gave camp charms, sexy moves, hairography and all the attitude as she ran every phrase flipped over the stage before walking the duck all the way to safety, ultimately sending Jax home.
As I pulled Jax in for a hug backstage, I reminded her that a Lalaparuza also cost a lip sync assassin their spot last year – RIP Jasmine – meaning that she kinda, sorta did all she could to navigate the producer’s newest favourite storyline. I reminded her that despite being in the bottom twice in the season, she truly got the chance to shine. I mean, who will be able to forget her skipping with her hair? Not. Me. Plus to misquote Batman like Simon, it is always better to die a robbed goddess than live long enough to become a person production rigged the season for. Which was enough to cheer her up before she even saw the banquet of Jaxfruit Tacos.
I would argue that Mexican is the best cuisine, be it Tex Mex to the more traditional variety. And these jackfruit numbers are even better, since you can pretend they’re a healthy option. Spicy and smoky, the pulled pork-ness of the jackfruit melts in your mouth and makes you want more.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sweat the onions, stirring, for about five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the jackfruit, breaking up with a wooden spoon to roughly shred it. Cook for a further couple of minutes before stirring in the cumin, oregano, half the chilli, coriander, one teaspoon of the paprika, the cinnamon, canned tomato and paste. Stir to combine and simmer for ten minutes, or until fragrant and reduced.
While that is simmering, combine the avocado, tomato and lime zest and juice in a bowl. Set aside. Next, pop the rice in a medium saucepan with the stock and remaining chilli and paprika. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and cook covered until all the liquid has absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave the lid on to allow it to steam a little. Finally, cook the taco shells in the oven for a few minutes, or until golden and crisp.
To serve, fill the tacos with rice, the jackfruit and avocado salsa – adding cheese and sour cream, if they are your jam – before devouring.
Previously on Australian Survivor Stevie was grateful for Shiz saving him in the most chaotic tribal council of the season, while Jordiewas left right out on the Villains. Though with Shiz secretly vowing to have his back. While Simon was Simon. Shonee meanwhile casually found herself a new piece of bling in the form of an idol, wisely keeping it a secret from even her closest of allies. At the immunity challenge George and Simon aired their dirty laundry to the Heroes before Shiz single handedly scored them immunity. Back at the Heroes, Gerry was fired up and ready to call them out for the way they handled sending him to the Villains, while Ben quickly realised it was him or Gerry going home. After finding the cookie non-idol, Ben used it as a clue to finding another idol on the Heroes beach, which he ultimately used to save himself, as he stitched up Sharni and swiftly got her booted from the game.
In no small part thanks to Paige’s lie that Sharni dropped the block, but whatevs, I’m not bitter.
Letting us know we’re in for a big episode, the tribes immediately joined with Jonathan in the middle of the jungle where they were delighted to discover an auction awaiting them. Psych, it wasn’t an auction though, as Jonathan unveiled the first covered item, new buffs, meaning they are finally switching! One by one they went up to select their new buffs with Nina going to the Villains, Ben sticking with the Heroes, Sam going to the Villains, Gerry sticking with the Heroes, alongside ally George before Liz found herself isolated on the Villains, as Shonee also landed on the Heroes. David added more beef to the Villains, alongside Shaun and Simon before Matt stuck with Heroes, Hayley went to Villains, Stevie went to Heroes and Jordie stuck with the Villains. Alongside his nemesis Simon and all his new alpha bros. While Flick and Paige were stuck on the Heroes tribe.
And while everyone laughed about the meat tray all landing together, George hilariously reminded them that meat heads normally suck at Survivor and as such, he isn’t concerned with the idiots. Basically.
But turns out, there was actually an auction too with each tribe getting $2500, with max bids set at $500. The catch being, the money would be shared amongst the tribe meaning some could win big and others end up with nothing. George quickly worked out that everyone then had $320 to spend, with Liz winning the first item, a cheeseburger and beer for $320. Ben jumped straight to $320 on a covered item which led Sam to jump to $360 for what he assumed was an advantage, but ultimately ended up being chocolate. Which honestly, I think makes more sense for him than a note. The next item was a scroll with Ben jumping straight up to $400 as Paige, shock horror, started to bitch to George about needing to vote Ben out ASAP. Oh and the scroll meant he scored an onion and while everyone laughed, Paige – again, shock – looked sour.
Paige then bid $400 on spag bol and red wine – I guess we can all go over $320 now – before Shaun bought it for $500. Flick then bought tacos and margs for $480 before Liz and Paige went into bat for Jordie and Matt bidding on a call from home, given they are both expecting children. While Jordie sweetly tried to step back and let Matt take the call for $200, Matt just as sweetly pointed out he is up to date with the scans and knows the baby is good and as such Jordie can have it to get his update as the two both burst into tears. As did I. While Paige told Matt he is such a good bloke. As Jordie spoke to Sam, he learnt they got the all clear from the doctors AND they found out they are having a boy and ugh, watching everyone cheer for him was so damn wholesome. As was him sobbing about how much he misses her.
Matt tried to assure him he was crying happy tears for him which honestly broke me even more before George spent $320 on a covered item, which turned out to be a pass as the guest of Honour at a Survivor afternoon party with two of his friends. And while Ben tried to remind him it is a social game, he was loyal and stuck with Shiz as Paige, once again, looked saltier than the dead sea. While Jordie and Simon cautioned everyone that was a dangerous reward, particularly for someone like George.
The Spice Girls arrived at their epic reward, ready to devour everything in sight – including some leftover Sharlami Vinson, FYI – before George learnt he had just won $60,000 from Set for Life. They debated whether they should be checking for an advantage, with them agreeing to just wait until the end before Shonee straight up found an idol while smashing a party pie. Making it two in two episodes. Liz turned the talk to their new tribes, with George sharing that Flick told them Ben can’t be trusted while Liz was confident in all the strength she had on the new Villains, but knew that should they lose, she will be first on the chopping black. With Shonee assuring her that she will hand off the idol if she does lose an immunity. Since she should probs keep it as new Heroes is super weak comparatively and more likely to attend all the premerge tribal councils.
Back at the Heroes camp, Paige told Stevie that everyone helps out around at their camp before reiterating to Flick how much she wants to get rid of Ben ASAP. Given he allegedly twisted her words the previous night, which he didn’t. He told Flick that while she doesn’t trust George, she feels she could at least work with him for a couple of rounds, knowing they’ve split up the chance that he and Ben could potentially align. While Ben quietly worked nearby and oh god, I hope he heard. Also, as an aside, does it feel like a lot of the hate towards Ben comes from a place of casual homophobia? Because it is starting to feel like it. Though to be fair, I am super sensitive about that and may be finding reasons why my hero keeps getting called shady.
We checked in with the new Villains tribe where Hayley was thrilled by their surroundings, while Simon was more focused on how stacked their tribe is and thrilled to finally put an end to his losing streak. Knowing he no longer is the only person carrying the tribe through every challenge. Simon caught up with Shaun to fangirl over him, before Shaun admitted that he plans to use the Jeremy Collins meat shield strategy as Simon desperately tried to get pulled in. They returned to camp with Jordie overhearing him suck up and as such, he decided the only way to survive this mess is to blend in as best as possible, talking footy and copying Shauns’s fashion choices. And ugh, I love Jordie so much as this is hilarious, knowing he is quietly mocking them. Despite how well Simon was trying, the Heroes were still focused on sticking together with Shaun, Hayley, Nina and David locking in a plan to flush Simon’s idol ASAP and then pick off the original Villains. Because yeah, they can all see how desperately Simon was trying to win their love.
The new tribes reconnected for an epic immunity challenge where they would race to transport a tribe member locked in a cage through a tunnel, then a gate, up a huge ramp and then down into a pool before they unlocked said member and two people solved a puzzle. Because duh. Shonee and Hayley took their places in the cages, with the former loving the chance to have a little R&R during the challenge. Obviously the Villains got out to an early, massive lead, unlocking Hayley before the Heroes even made it to the ramp. Hayley and Nina got to work on the puzzle as Stevie cheered his tribe on before finally getting the chance to free Shonee and starting on the puzzle with George. A full circle moment, and I love it. While Hayley and Nina calmly worked through the colours, George started to bicker with Stevie about messing up his work. While Ben looked frustrated to be shut out of the puzzle before subbing out with George. That made the challenge exciting as the Heroes closed the gap as Hayley and Nina madly finished the puzzle and just snatched immunity for the Villains.
As the tribes hugged it out, David told Paige not to trust George whatever she does – like duh, is that really the most important message to share – which made her change her mind about targeting Ben as soon as she returned to camp. Well, after yelling at Stevie for trying to debrief too early and then yelling at everyone to get to work on fire and making some rice. Thankfully George is wise and instead got to work scrambling and locking in a plan of his own. Flick tried to lock him and Shonee in on a plan to get rid of Ben, floating that afterwards, they could align with Paige and Matt to run the tribe. Once Shonee and George were left alone, they laughed about how easy her plan would be to derail, given they are not going to just do what the OG Heroes want and instead will work with Gerry to get rid of one of the originals. And after finding God, they locked in Paige as their target given life is for living.
With that George and Shonee got to locking in a new majority, first pulling in Stevie to get rid of Paige and assured him that under no circumstances are they to tell Flick, Matt, Paige or Ben. George then floated the idea with Gerry, who was also very much on board given he wanted to mix things up. And admitted Paige can be hard work.
After locking in the 4-3-1 vote – given Ben’s is irrelevant at this point – and filling me with joy, Paige decided to ruin everything and pulled Flick and Matt aside to talk about getting rid of George instead, given the meat heads are too scared of him making the merge and told her to do it. Flick wisely cautioned them that they need to decide whether it is better to stay hero strong, or to get rid of Ben. Right on cue, Ben arrived who assured them all that the OG Heroes would be so proud of them if they managed to get rid of George. While Paige once again acted like Ben has given any reason not to trust him. He then pointed out that they need to try and woo Gerry to their side if they want it to work, with Ben offering to do it while Flick wisely suggested they should all try, given he hasn’t exactly felt the love from the original Heroes tribe.
Up first, Ben pointed out that he and Gerry were both kind of on the bottom of the OG Heroes and as such, they need to make a decision that would save them in the long run. Gerry the icon told him he wasn’t willing to commit to anything yet, before all the Heroes obviously pulled him aside to take their shot. While Shonee quietly watched on as it all unfolded. Feeling confident, Paige went off to relax, while Shonee decided to act on the nervous energy; pulling George aside to warn him that something is afoot as the Heroes hung out, gleefully talking about taking out the King as Shonee assured us that while she doesn’t want to play the idol, if that is what it takes, she will.
At tribal council George and Shonee joked about being frequent flyers while Paige spoke about how it was too soon to deem any of the newbies heroic. Eyeroll. George spoke about this tribal council drawing a line in the sand and letting people know where they stand. Paige said that she doesn’t focus on goals when voting, given they all have the same – I mean, duh, but also WHAT? – while Flick spoke about how scary tribal council always is. Shonee brought some intelligent strategy to the table, telling JLP that if you have enough conversations, you can build trust and prove that you can add value to people’s games long term and meet those goals. Gerry meanwhile spoke about having loyalty to people, but he doesn’t know if he has it from others. And while trust takes forever to build, it can break just as quickly.
George felt like Gerry should be able to trust him and he hopes they are still friends, while Paige started whispering to Flick that she is sure they can get George out. Shonee meanwhile admitted she isn’t feeling as confident as George, while Matt spoke about being very nervous given the OG Heroes were whispering. Paige had a big shit eating grin talking about how confident she is that her conversations from the afternoon will hold firm. George meanwhile wanted tonight’s vote to bring a group of people together that will be able to run the game and make it to the end. Like a shared goal, even.
With that the tribe voted, Shonee wisely opted to play one of her idols on George as Paige looked ready to shit her pants, realising that her genius plan didn’t exactly account for an idol. As four votes piled up on George the cocky Heroes grew less and less confident as the rest came in on Paige, sending her out of the game in tears of rage. And ugh, it was GLORIOUS. As was Flick congratulating them as Shonee reminded her that the whispering tipped her off, given this is not her first rodeo.
Paige was still rather annoyed by the time she arrived at Loser Lodge and despite myself, I told her to hold her head high and be proud of the game she played. While her confidence and the paranoia of the game turned her quite bossy in the last few episodes, she started off strong, building a lot of trust with her allies and firmly placing her in the Heroes majority. Sadly though she was undone by two of the best at the game in George and Shonee, meaning she had to settle for some pre-merge comfort in the form of Paige Donarred Greens.
Given the off-screen drama that fueled Rogue to hate on Paige so much, it was kinda poetic that both of them ended up with vegetarian dishes. But when they taste as good and wholesome as this, it is hard to pass up. A little spicy with a hint of tang, this is the perfect side for a Sunday roast. Of ethically farmed meat, obvi.
Paige Donarred Greens Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 3 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 5 garlic cloves, minced 6 cups collard greens (aka borekale), washed and dried, removed from the main stems and bruised 2 bay leaves 1L chicken stock ¼ cup lemon juice 1 tbsp raw caster sugar 1 tsp chilli flakes salt and pepper, to taste
Method Place the oil in a large pot over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for about ten minutes or so, or until sweet and tender. Add the bay leaves and cook for another minute or so.
Slice the greens into 3cm thick ribbons and add to the pot along with the stock, juice, sugar and chilli. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring infrequently, for about an hour or until the greens are gloriously soft and the liquid reduced. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper before devouring with your favourite roast.
Previously on Australian Survivor Gerry joined the Villains as a spy, though after being welcomed so warmly, he embraced his new tribe and well, rose to the top with George and Shiz. After the Heroes narrowly took out immunity – thanks to Benjamin and Paige slaying with some signing to stealthily solve the puzzle – Simon was ready to finally take the shot on George, given he has an immunity idol – lol – and a group of allies behind him to seize power. Sadly, Shonee realised she, Liz and George couldn’t trust Sarah and as such, whipped everyone into a frenzy to take out the swing vote instead of taking a shot, Sarah, who definitely didn’t push Miss Greece down the stairs.
The next day the Heroes were talking about how small their tribe feels without Gerry, while Sharni in particular was still annoyed at how things played out. Despite Sharni loving the idea of playing with loyalty, I live for how annoyed she is at the tribe. Realising she was annoyed, Sam checked in with her with Sharni talking about how desperately she was hoping Gerry survived, knowing it spoke to how strong a game he can play. And how kind he is.
Speaking of Gerry, he was living his best life at the Villains camp, smashing some rice in awe of the waves on their beach. And TBH, he did not really want to go back to his old tribe anymore, given they are so kind and he just clicked with Shonee, Liz and George. This glorious foursome were hunting for wood as Gerry grew more and more nervous about returning to the Heroes, given they stitched him up. Despite the initial purpose being to get goss for the Heroes, he pointed out to his new besties – he is Old Spice in the alliance, FYI – that Simon needs to go ASAP as if he makes the swap, he will immediately align with the alphas running the Heroes and as such, he is down to get rid of him. Though sadly George spoke about it in front of Simon.
As Simon prepared to go for a swim, he could barely hide his disdain for George who was trying to make conversation. As he was chilling out, Liz called his bestie Jordie over to point out what happened, with him realising that his ally is getting way too toxic for the tribe. And that night under the cover of darkness, Jordie and George caught up about how to navigate the escalating tensions, while Jordie shared with us that now just might be the time to play Simon and George off against each other and give the rest of them a break.
The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where the Heroes were delighted to see Gerry had survived the previous tribal council. Well, until JLP got cheeky and offered him the choice between sticking with the Villains and returning to the Heroes in which case they got super awkward, until he opted to return to them. While the Villains were left reeling, Jonathan explained that to win immunity they would face off in trios to push a ball into a goal in the water with the first tribe to two securing victory. First up were Shiz and Simon opposite Flick, Hayley and Shaun, with the Heroes obviously taking out the first point, despite some heroic fighting from Shonee. As George whispered from the sidelines that Simon’s desire to face Shaun is hurting their chances. Jordie, Fraser and George then faced off against Sam, David and Matt with the Heroes quickly scoring immunity despite some epic fighting from George. As Steviemuttered about getting rid of George on the sidelines.
Back at camp the tribe spoke about how disappointed they were to lose Gerry before everything descended into absolute chaos. Simon’s faction were thrilled to be able to take out their biggest nemesis, George. With Simon feeling particularly confident, given he has the idol – he doesn’t – and a loyal bestie in Jordie – debatable. He caught up with Stevie who was thrilled to jump on board getting rid of George while Simon coached him on how to sell his desire to get rid of him to Shiz and George. After thanking Stevie for protecting him after all he has done to protect him, Stevie came up with some codes before they split up to scramble. Stevie went to George to tell him how he is over Simon bossing him around, while Simon caught up with Shiz who questioned why George and Stevie were even talking.
Jordie meanwhile continued to question what is the best path forward given Simon is abrasive and rubbing everyone the wrong way. He approached Fraser and outlined everything, telling him that they now have a decision to make. Ready to lock in with George and Shiz – knowing that joining the alpha alliance would be his undoing – Jordie told them about Simon’s idol, telling them they need to make sure he has no clue about the vote to guarantee he doesn’t play it. After getting Fraser over the line, the group locked in their plan as Liz worried about Simon crying once he is blindsided with an idol. Again. Feeling uber confident, Simon then caught up with George to assure him that he knows they need each other and that Stevie will be going home tonight.
While Shiz spoke about how much they are looking forward to Simon going home.
At tribal council George spoke about how disappointed he was that Gerry left them, despite the Heroes voting him out previously. That being said, he accepts the fact he felt safer amongst a tribe of athletes that consistently win challenges. Which obviously annoyed Simon. As George spoke about wanting to focus on getting rid of the weak, Simon angrily told him he can’t exactly vote for himself, while George calmly thanked him for calling him weak. Liz spoke about being sick of the tension, while Stevie felt something needed to be done while Jordie cautioned everyone needed to come together otherwise they will all be screwed. George meanwhile spoke about how much he achieved in his first seasons and as such, he doesn’t feel like he needs to build a legacy because he already has one while not every returnee can say that.
Growing more irate, Simon sassed out George, asking why he doesn’t want to win, rubbing salt in his wounds for Hayley beating him. Jordie grew more and more exasperated, assuring everyone to trust in the last conversations they had, with Shonee agreeing it was for the best. As they seemingly tried to wrap things up, JLP decided to throw a spanner in the works, announcing that tonight’s tribal council will be a little different as while they are still booting someone from the game, it won’t happen until after they have competed in a little individual immunity challenge.
With that Jonathan and the Villains relocated to a field outside tribal council where they would each race to build poles long enough to release a flint from a post before building a fire big enough to burn through a rope. Simon quickly built his pole, though failed to release his flint as he and George started to bicker. While quietly working away, Shonee made her first attempt before failing as Simon tried again and jagged his flint. As George and Shiz looked ready to murder him, Liz quietly cheered on Jordie, willing him to close the gap and keep the plan from falling apart. Though it was all for nothing as Simon built a large fire and jagged immunity, while George turned his attention to scrambling. As Simon tried to squeak out a tear over how proud he is to win immunity.
After returning to tribal council, George and Shiz went to one corner of tribal council while the rest of the tribe went to another. George told Shiz to join the boys and act like he is going home, while he intended to create war and chaos amongst them. When Shiz approached them however, Simon loudly told them all to go sit down and open it up to the floor instead. While Liz requested he calm down. Simon spoke about his pride at having immunity, particularly since he knows he was likely copping votes tonight. George piped up and said that he was told that Stevie was going home, meaning the plan had clearly changed multiple times. Stevie said that came as a shock to him, while George asked Simon why he was told that plan.
Simon said that he told multiple people different things to keep things from blowing up, while George doubled down on how much Simon throws out way too many options. Stevie questioned why Simon threw out his name ahead of the second tribal council, while Simon desperately tried to assure him they were close and how much he values their friendship. George pointed out that Simon’s attitude shows he takes the game way too personally and he really needs to correct if he wants to last much further. Before ominously pointing out that the numbers will speak loudest tonight.
The groups split up to lock in their plans, with George filling Shiz in on the fact he has an idol and that he will be playing it but making things as uncomfortable as possible before the votes are read. While Simon forced the boys to lock in on George. After returning to their seats, Simon attempted to apologise to Shonee and Liz, with the later pointing out he clearly has no respect for them or their games before he and George grew more and more hostile with each other. That led to Jordie jumping in and reminding them that this is a game and it is meant to be fun, rather than them speaking to each other like absolute trash. To which Jonathan agreed, as George ominously shared that he is looking forward to a little bit of fun.
With that the tribe voted – Simon of all people telling George to treat people with respect – as George pulled out his idol as the last person – Stevie – stood up to vote, leading to laughter from Jordie and Fraser as Simon asked him who was going home, then. He then started taunting Simon, asking if he would be playing his idol to save Stevie and prove whether he is a hero or a villain. Sadly he took it one step further though, pointing out that Jordie is coming for him and told everyone about his idol. Which is worse than what Dani did in their first season, given Jordie pretends to be his bestie. He then told Simon to play his idol for Stevie and prove he is good, before Simon asked Jordie what was true. Jordie admitted to everything, knowing the numbers were against him and shared that he voted against Stevie.
George then double down, telling Simon his smartest move was to play the idol for Stevie and guarantee that one of the people that have been disloyal to him goes home and wake up tomorrow in power with him and Shiz, a clean slate between them and the knowledge that he only has one more traitor to get rid of before they swap. Simon held firm, pointing out that somebody needs to go while George turned his attention to Stevie, apologising and pointing out he desperately wanted to wake up with him tomorrow morning. Simon then offered a heartfelt apology to Stevie who was flabbergasted that Simon had turned on him while George pointed out that he will know who he can trust when he wakes up the next morning.
Which should have been a clue that all was not as it seems as two votes piled up on George – which did not count – and a pair came in for Stevie before George, Shonee and Liz’s votes piled up on Fraser. Brilliantly ruining Simon’s game and locking in Stevie as a number for George. And ugh, it was hard to watch for most of the time, but that was an epic tribal council. As was Stevie telling Simon they are not friends as he tried to apologise.
By the time Fraser arrived at Loser Lodge he was relieved to be away from the drastically escalating tensions, disappointed to be out of the game and a teeny tiny bit excited to be the person going home after such a memorable tribal council. I pulled him in for a hug and assured him that there was honestly nothing he could have done amidst the chaos that had unfolded over the course of the night and as such, he should still be proud of the game he had played. Oh and of course, rest easy knowing that being the person eliminated after the biggest tribal council of the series pretty much guarantees him a second shot. Which cheered him up almost as much as the piping hot Frasausage Melack I whipped up.
While I know a melt is nothing more than a toasted sandie, there is something so soothing about them that I instantly put them on a pedestal over a classic toastie. Though maybe it is because they focus even more heavily on cheese, which is essentially my personality and life at this point. Add in a little sausage and you know I’m in heaven.
Frasausage Melack Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 2 onions, thinly sliced 1 red capsicum, seeded and sliced 2 tsp chilli flakes salt and pepper, to taste 500g Italian sausage, casings removed 8 slices sourdough ¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain 1 cup provolone cheese 1 cup mozzarella cheese ¼ cup butter
Method Pop the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions and capsicums for about ten minutes, or until nice and soft. Add the chilli flakes, season and cook for a further minute or so before removing from the heat.
Shape the sausage meat into four thin patties and add to the still hot pan and cook for a couple of minutes each side until cooked. Remove from heat and wipe out the pan.
To assemble the sandwiches, smear the mayo on each slice of bread before dividing half the cheeses on four of the slices. Top with the onion and capsicum, followed by the patties and the rest of the cheese. Close the sandwiches with the remaining bread and smear some butter on the top of each.
Pop the clean skillet over medium heat again and place the sandwiches buttered side down on the pan and cook for a few minutes. Butter the tops of the sandwiches before flipping and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Serve immediately, cut in half of course, and devour.
Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways arrived in Samoa ready to prove who was better at the game, good or evil. While Sandra proved Villains generally do it better (multiple times), the Heroes went on a winning streak when it came to the immunity challenges, despite Rogue being the only true hero. Because despite winning all the rewards, the Villains sadly didn’t snag the Meat Tray that is the alpha athlete alliance. Back at the villains, after two losses in a row George found an idol while Simon found SOMETHING that he decided was an idol. With that in mind, Simon wanted to blindside George using the bling with Jordie trying to talk him out of it. At tribal council they floated the idea to Shiz who were not on board, instead talking the boys into taking out Mimi instead.
The next day at the dwindling Villains camp, George was busy hunting for his hat which Simon had burnt at tribal council the previous night in the hopes of being Sandra. That being said, he acted helpful, trying to figure out what happened to it before George gutted him by announcing he doesn’t really care about the damn hat, once again besting the nemesis. The nemesis he doesn’t even realise he has. With that out of the way, the tribe sat around eating cookies and reflecting on the excitement of the previous tribal council and changing the target from Stevie to Mimi at the last minute. Simon meanwhile was thrilled to have an idol, catching up with Jordie to show him what it looks like and well, Jordie’s reaction that it doesn’t look like one should be a warning to him.
We checked in with the Heroes – a good sign we might see a different tribe at tribal tonight – where Sharni was delighted as Paige whipped up some coconut rice. Poor Gerry wandered in with a foot injury with sweet Sharni looking after him, while Hayley was making sure he was fed and ugh, I love watching Sharni dote over him and stop him from working hard. She pointed out that the tribe was feeling pretty harmonious with the girls getting along, the boys bonding and well, Rogue just continued to offend and annoy everyone. Today she focused on how dumb the tribe are, not putting things under the shelter to stay dry. With Hayley summing it up as her working to reduce pain in the outside world, while Rogue had a solid knack for inflicting it.
Knowing she was an easy vote, Hayley started to get eager to go to tribal council and vote out Rogue though was concerned of her target as the sole winner in the cast. As such, she took Flick out to hunt for an idol under the cover of collecting wood. While they were on opposite sides on their original season, like Shonee, Flick was willing to work with Hayley for as long as it suits her. And then, and only then, will she stab her in the back and blindside her.
We caught up with Jonathan for the latest reward challenge – at the site of the very first challenge of the rebooted franchise – where the tribes would face off in trios to collect a football and then pass it to a kicker to score a goal. For an epic pizza party which, TBH feels super unfair for the Villains given the Heroes have not one but two AFL players. First up were the two AFL players, Sharni and Rogue versus Shiz, Simon and Jordie, with Shiz having to call out Rogue for being a psycho – who then told Liz she was a bit of a … – before David put them out of their misery and took out the point for Heroes after two misses from Jordie. Sarah, Stevie, George and Fraser faced off against Flick, Sam, Gerry and Matt with Sam being a bit of a jerk to George and Stevie and well, it was kind of a mess but thankfully Flick got it on her third kick and secured reward for the Heroes.
More importantly, every time Rogue uttered a word from the sideline, the Villains all rolled their eyes.
The Heroes were delighted to find their chest of pizzas back at camp until they realised they were all frozen. Oh and in one of the frozen pizza boxes, David and Sam found a clue to a hidden immunity idol. Though given he kept moving it from butt to taint and back again, I feel like it wasn’t as stealthily pocketed as he thought. Sam was thrilled to have found the clue for his allies, hopeful the idol will propel them to the end. And watching him try to figure out the clue with Shaun and David was hilarious, and I hope the plan to delay looking will come back to bite them. Shaun admitted that not having gone to tribal council puts them all on edge, given they need to draw a line in the sand and as such, he is not sure whether they should make the big move and target Hayley as a winner or get rid of an easy target Rogue who is, um, pretty awful and will delay they having to show their cards.
Hayley meanwhile realised that somebody had found the clue amongst the pizzas and as such, knew time was ticking for her to find the idol and protect herself should they go to tribal council. Speaking of which, she approached Shaun and Benjamin to float the idea of throwing the upcoming immunity challenge to get rid of Rogue. And while the boys were very much on board, her strategic mind to keep a strong 11 rather than a divisive 12 coming into a swap made Shaun more concerned about her.
We quickly reunited with my love JLP for the aforementioned immunity challenge where the tribes would have to hold on to a long log upside down elevated above the ocean with the last tribe to have two people holding on jagging immunity. After all the men on Heroes opted out other than Ben and Gerry – iconic, no – the tribes took their places with Jordie, Simon and Paige all struggling almost instantly. After four minutes Paige dropped, quickly followed by Flick and Benjamin. Simon was first to go from the Villains before Nina exited on the Heroes. Poor Gerry was next to go before Geroge dropped the Villains down to six versus three on the Heroes. As Stevie cheered on his tribe, Rogue dropped out of nowhere leaving Hayley and Sharni to fight for immunity before Hayley hilariously tried to look like she accidentally dropped, handing the jubilant Villains immunity.
As Sam wondered how Hayley actually dropped, given she looked so comfy. While Simon held Stevie in his arms as they celebrated.
Back at camp the tribe came together with the sit outs assuring the people that competed that they were impressed with how hard they fought, despite the loss. They then split up to plot with Nina and Hayley locking in the Rogue vote, with Nina ready for her to get spicy on the way out the door, given she is Rogue. Hayley went to Sharni to loop her in, followed by Flick who gave off the appearance that they didn’t even need to discuss it because, duh. The only thing that was a worry for Hayley was the potential spoiler of an idol, as such, suggesting they split on Gerry given he has an injured foot.
After everyone reiterated the plan to get out Rogue was super obvious, the tribe caught up to smash some coconuts when Hayley realised that Rogue had disappeared. Not wanting Rogue to ruin her plans, Hayley pulled her aside to check what she was thinking with Rogue floating Shaun and David as options, while Shaun watched on from the bushes. Which made him once again suggest that getting rid of Hayley would make sense. Despite Rogue being the one to throw out his name. Paranoid, Shaun caught up with David and suggested they keep an eye on Hayley to make sure she doesn’t do anything wild. He then approached Flick to float the idea of them switching things up on Hayley with her admitting that it would be smart. She approached Nina who cautioned that they know Hayley is a limited time player, though I’m hopeful that means she means she needs to stay tonight because she will always be a target down the track.
The boys meanwhile were confident, busy locking in their votes for Hayley, as she was busy hunting for the idol. The Meat Tray then joined in the hunt, desperate to foil her plans, as Shaun jagged himself his first ever legit idol. Because let’s not forget that David completely duped him with a fakey. In any event, the find put some wind in his sails and got him ready to pull off a blindside. While Rogue told producers this isn’t a real tribal as there are no guns, so again, please don’t be stupid Shaun. Get Hayley later.
At tribal council – thankfully minus guns – Rogue popped her shirt near the fire to help it dry as she spoke about how the tribe didn’t get margs or sex like on a honeymoon, so it’s not like a honeymoon could even be over, thank you JLP! Reminding everyone she is way too abrasive. Hayley meanwhile spoke about the fact they’ve had so much time to build bonds given they spent the first week immune, meaning they should be able to make a smart decision rather than using petty reasons. Flick meanwhile felt the game had been on pause, so was ready to know where they stand after tonight while Gerry was grateful to be around such accomplished people. While Rogue reiterated that they weren’t all heroes, which again made everyone give a collective eye roll as she clarified only Matt and Gerry were heroes. When Paige questioned whether Rogue was actually a hero, she got very salty and aggressively argued with her, offended to not be called a hero.
This fired Nina up, who stepped in to point out Rogue can come across really poorly, schooling her for speaking to everyone like trash. While Paige offered a calm ‘I agree,’ despite simmering with rage. Rogue tried to downplay the way she comes across with Sam jumping in saying it is fine that she doesn’t like anyone, before she realised everyone wanted her out and as such, requested to go. Like a you can’t fire me, I quit. This left Sam confused, Hayley was scared of the simplicity and Shaun was ready to get rid of some tension. With that the tribe voted as Rogue heckled Paige, telling her it should be easy for her to write down a name, as poor Paige just appeared shocked by how someone could be such a jerk. Jonathan then tallied the votes, as they piled up on Rogue before gagging the tribe as four votes came in for sweet Gerry and one for Paige – who iconically told Rogue there is no love there to share – before we were finally free of Rogue.
As soon as she arrived at Loser Lodge, I asked Rogue to take a seat and talk me though why she had been saying and doing the things she has. Given, you know, my extensive feuds with celebrities – looking at you Annie Lennox – and the fact none of us are perfect. As we’ve seen play out on social media, there appear to be some deeper issues leading to the drama between her and Paige which humanised that feud for me, however there is no way to dance around they things she said to Nina. Thankfully though, she apologised unreservedly to Nina, so I in turn thanked her for fighting for animals, then decided to continue with culinary comfort as planned, serving up a Rogue Reuben rather than saving it for Benjamin to get two recipes instead.
Given Rogue is such a passionate animal activist, I wanted to give her a recipe that was vegetarian or vegan. And dare I say it, this is even better than a traditional reuben. Sweet and earthy with a bit of a kick, this is the perfect sandwich for a meatless Monday, no?
Rogue Reuben Serves: 2.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 10 button mushrooms, sliced 5 garlic cloves, minced ¼ head red cabbage, sliced kosher salt and black pepper, to taste ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 2 tbsp horseradish 4 slices Ryan Ulrich Bread ¼ cup Russian dressing 4 slices Swiss cheese 2 tbsp unsalted butter
Method To kick things off, divide the oil between two frying pans. In one, add the mushrooms and garlic with a good whack of pepper and cook until soft and golden. About 5 minutes. Meanwhile in the other pan, add the red cabbage and cook for a couple of minutes with a whack of salt and pepper. Stir in the vinegar and horseradish and cook for five minutes, by which time it should be a nice vibrant purple.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread the dressing on the bread, top two of the slices with mushrooms, some cheese, the cabbage and finally, another slice of cheese. Close the sandwiches and butter the top slice of bread with some butter.
Place a clean pan over medium heat and when nice and hot, place the sandwiches buttered side down in the pan. Cook for few minutes, or until golden and crisp. Carefully butter the top of the sandwiches and flip to cook the other side for a few minutes.
Serve immediately and devour, being careful to avoid getting burnt. By the cheese or a sharp tongue.
Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race the dolls were tasked with selling us on their own versions of heaven in a trio of afterlife infomercials. Sasha rightly leant into the fact she is essentially already a god, snapping her neck to the best ‘mercial of the week. Loosey got redemption from week one as she slayed as God-Dolly, while at the other end of the pack Princess Poppy was read for being basic and poor Amethyst just wasn’t funny. Despite selling herself as a comedy queen. Ultimately neck-snapping earned Sasha the win, while Amethyst found herself in another lip sync – to Di Ross, no less – as she did everything right to earn her safety, tragically sending Princess out of the competition. As she exited, flipping everyone the bird, accompanied by a burp.
Backstage the dolls were delighted to see Princess Poppy’s meaningful mirror message – aka scribble – while Salina joked about being shocked Amethyst survived. As they sat down the dolls checked in on Sugar who admitted she was shocked to not vibe with the girls in her group and be clocked by her sisters before talk turned to Sasha’s epic win. Which was only celebrated for a second before Luxx and Loosey argued about who was second. Which was obviously Loosey, but whatever I live for the delusion and confidence Luxx displays as it is iconic.
The next day Spice continued to lean into her new mother’s shade, checking if Amethyst was into baseball because if she is, she best be aware of the three strike rule. Ru then dropped by – short episodes, remember – to announce that this week the dolls would be playing the Snatch Game. And given there are so many of them, they will be split in half to compete in two rounds. Ru exited as the dolls split up to talk through their characters with Marcia Cubed going with Tim Gunn, Loosey pivoting from Dolly to Joan Rivers, Spice is going with my bestie Miley while Sugar is doing the iconic Trisha Paytas. Aura is doing Bretman Rock, Mistress is doing Rosie, Malaysia is doing Spicy Santana while Salina is doing the Virgin Mary.
We ventured to set where Bruno and Calex from the Pit Crew took their place at the Snatch chairs – flashing their snatch, no less – where Marcia slayed as Tim, Luxx was cute as Amanda Lepore, Malaysia was fun as Saucy, Mistress was a classic as Rosie, Anetra did Gorden Ramsey’s fake-sister, Robin gave the Grand Dame – as she deserved – before Salina slayed the game as Virgin Mary. Most importantly, Bruno proved he was more than his package, giving jokes. But when it comes to the contestants it was Marcia’s show, who was pitch perfect as sweet Tim while Mistress spat joke after joke as Rosie, despite not really sounding like her.
Bruno and Calex traded out with Bryce and Asaf, who is just, swoon. Loosey was perfection from start to finish as Joan, Sasha was a glorious Jan Crouch, Jax was the stupidest Mona Lisa, Sugar was all energy as Trisha, Amethyst was hilarious as Tan Mom, Spice gave Miley’s voice while Aura may or may not have been good as Bretman, I don’t know. But she was sadly devoid of jokes. More so than Marcia in the first panel, Loosey was perfection. Like, could compete with Jinkx, DeLa and Ginger Minj, good. At the other end of the pack, Aura was boring and the poor twins struggled to get any traction or went off on tangents, and there was no in between. While Amethyst got some redemption after last week and who knew Sasha had this many jokes?
Elimination Day arrived with Loosey and Anetra talking about their coming out journeys, with the former opening up about being post-school and how despite still living in the town she grew up in, she is more confident. She then spoke about being bullied and how teachers even joined in but she found comedy and used it to protect herself and make friends. Oh and ideally weaponised it.
Ru, Michelle and Carson were joined by Hunger Games icon Amandla Stenberg as the dolls stomped the Beautiful Nightmare runway. Marcia served in a pastel dental monster, Luxx dragged a brick giving sexy drowning victim, Malaysia was a sexy dead showgirl, Mistress was a gothic spider queen, Anetra gave sexy redback, Salina gave sexy zombie, Robin was a glam, ballerina spider, Loosey gave slutty Mrs Voorhees the second – aka Jason’s wife – Sasha was a sexy tree witch, Jax served snake snack, Sugar was a creepy porcelain doll, Spice was a murder porcelain doll while Amethyst gave Gaga getting stabbed on stage and bleeding out while Aura was glam as she bled out from an exposed back allusion.
Luxx, Malaysia, Anetra, Robin, Salina, Sasha, Jax and Amethyst were sent to safety as Marcia received universal praise for her Tim Gunn and while Michelle loved her giving more make-up, Ru wanted her to give draggier looks. Mistress received praise for the runway and for bringing fun to Snatch Game while Loosey rightly was named one of the best Snatches of all time and praised for looking perfect on the runway. Sugar meanwhile was read for being disruptive on the panel, while Spice was read for giving chaos only and despite having a stunning runway, Aura’s Snatch Game was read for being rigid and directionless.
Backstage Amethyst was far and away the happiest to be safe, finally ending her string of bottoms while Jax was desperate for another dance challenge to get back to the top. Amethyst then suggested the producers will be pulling the trigger on the Sugar and Spice lip sync, before the girls talked about the importance of getting the vibe and flow of Snatch Game right. Malaysia started to break down, shocked to have not been in the bottom and desperate to end her string of safety. The tops and bottoms joined the dolls with Mistress acting as the spokesperson, praising Loosey for being perfection while sharing that she and Marcia were also in the top. After Marcia suggested she was in second place, Mistress obviously took issue leading to a fight between the dolls. Because apparently being second place is now very important.
Focused turned to the bottoms with Aura expecting to be lip syncing while Sugar and Spice felt like they would be going in together as the judges have had enough of them. They then threatened to exit together should one be eliminated, leading to their sisters desperately trying to talk them out of it and get them to see they could flourish solo. Sugar then spoke about how they have experienced a lot of trauma growing up and how the exclusion made them even closer. As Spice exited in tears, Sugar opened up about how they were pushed out of their family leading to the dolls rallying around the twins and assuring them they are loved and have a family in them. Meanwhile Amethyst and Robin were looking after Spice and desperately assuring her that they will look after her if she is the one to stay.
Oh and then poor Amandla entered the super emotional Werk Room and praised the dolls for being stars and ugh, she is so damn sweet.
Obviously Loosey took out victory as Marcia and Mistress were sent to safety before Aura narrowly joined them, giving us what the producers wanted as soon as they were cast – a twins only lip sync. Once Pat Benetar’s You Better Run kicked off it was clear the dolls came prepared with duo choreography for every song as they gave matching moves and complimentary gags and while both were silly, entertaining and hit every lyric, Sugar‘s choreography was all about falling over and as such, she tragically found herself falling out of the competition. See what I did there?
Backstage I pulled sweet Sugar – no pun intended, surprisingly – for a massive hug and assured her that she should be nothing but proud of herself. While she was obviously disappointed to be out so soon, I reminded her that her placement in the show isn’t a reflection of her talent and TBH, she will always be remembered as one half of the twins. And as she went home early, she will likely become a robbed goddess particularly since she was so damn sweet and you can’t help but love her. As such, she was confident and ready to take on the world solo for a little bit thanks to a big bowl of Sugared Nuts.
While these are conveniently called sugared nuts, they obviously also have a little bit of spice added to kick the flavours up a notch. Earthy, sweet and oh so delicious, this slight tweak on Nigella’s edible gift is the perfect way to spread cheer and good will or just turn a mood around.
Sugared Nuts Makes: 4 cups.
Ingredients 1 cup walnuts 1 cup cashews 1 cup pistachios 1 cup macadamias 1 ½ tsp garam masala 1 tsp celery salt ½ tsp chilli flakes 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp muscovado sugar 3 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped 2 tsp kosher salt
Method Put a large frying pan over medium heat and line a baking sheet.
Pop the nuts in the warm pan and toss for a few minutes – not like that – until starting to warm and get lightly toasted. Add the garam masala, celery salt and chilli flakes and toads to coat.
Add the oil, sugar and rosemary, and gently stir with a spatula to coat until the sugar is melted and everything is rich and dark but not burnt. Pour onto the lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the kosher salt and leave to set for about half an hour before packaging. Or you know, serving and immediately devouring.