Veronica Green Salad

RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, Salad, Side, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race UK after slaying the first challenge, Victoria and Krystal were tasked with lip syncing for the win. And while the latter took out the win, Victoria put her body on the line and injured her knee. After backing it up in a physical Dragoton exercise challenge where Krystal took out her second victory and Elektra was sent home, Victoria was summoned to the front of stage and sent to see the doctors to make sure she is ok to continue in the competition. The next day, Ru returned to chat to the dolls and officially announced that Victoria truly is s-gone, as she was pulled from the competition.

We then did a hard pivot as Ru challenged the dolls to make profile videos for the new dating app Findhr, swelling themselves as butch manses ready to find their lady. Vanity was up first looking super hot as a chav with a massive piece of meat, Choriza was as charmingly ridiculous as ever, Scarlett was an aggressively sexual lumber twink and once again, I’m so in love with her. Krystal looked like the most glamorous meth addict, Veronica was a hilarious nerd leather daddy, Charity was a sexy farmer with her nips out and yes, I’ve stopped mentioning the jokes and am solely objectifying the dolls. Kitty was demented as the highest voiced builder in all of the land, River was dementedly deadpan while Ella was the hottest, closet-case on the building site. 

Rightfully so, Scarlett took out victory before Ru announced that for this week’s maxi challenge the dolls would be serving two looks on the runway. The first, the Happy Camper Runway,  would show off something you’d wear while walking the children in nature while the second, Camp Fire Couture runway would be made out of a bunch of camp supplies lying around the set. Which Scarlett got to start picking through 15 seconds ahead of the other queens. In that time, she managed to grab two kites and pulled over a shelf before the rest of the dolls charged at her and absolutely tore the set apart.

The dolls split up to look at what they snagged with Kitty eating marshmallows while Choriza took courage and inspiration from the owl figurine she found. River meanwhile was hoping that this would be the week she would be able to show Ru her style, while her table mate Ella was just terrified by the entire challenge ahead.

As the dolls started to work on their outfits, Ru arrived with Raven in tow to kiki with the girls with Kitty sharing her grandmother taught her how to sew before she came to the show. Choriza admitted that she has been training by sewing a dress a day since she found out that she made the cast while Veronica admitted that she was a bit lost when the last season shut down but tried to stay motivated and actually made the outfit she wore on last week’s runway. Charity shared that she was sure that this was the challenge that was up her alley while Vanity was just straight up wanted advice to make her make-up less shiny. Krystal meanwhile was just overwhelmed by meeting her idol Raven while Scarlett wanted Raven’s advice on working around her Boxxxy Mandrews jawline.

Again, Scarlett, I love you.

After Ru left, Veronica went around the room, giving the dolls advice and helping them with their runways while River helped Krystal figure out how to make her outfit work. With River wisely admitting that she doesn’t want to help anyone else as she needs to put herself first. Charity and Kitty started talking about how they came to drag with the former admitting that contracting HIV made her want to take control of her life, while Charity was still processing the trauma of one man turning her life upside down. She then broke down to Kitty about the fact she is still scared to put herself out there and be cast aside just because of her status. And ugh, I love them both and am so grateful for Charity sharing.

Vanity and Scarlet meanwhile were busy putting Ru’s advice into their outfits, as they made edits to ensure you could tell that they listened. Krystal meanwhile was continuing to panic, this time pulling Veronica aside to ask how in the hell she would get it done. While Choriza watched on, worried about Veronica finishing her own outfit amongst the chaos.

Elimination Day rolled around with the girls wildly putting the finishing touches on their looks. Or in River’s case, starting from scratch on a better outfit though worried that once again, she won’t be able to show the judges who she is. Ella meanwhile was living for her outfit and gagged by the fact she has been able to pull it together, despite her complete lack of skills. Kitty meanwhile was living for her sleeping bag look, while she and Scarlett read everyone for filth. Poor Veronica though finally realised that helping all the other queens wasn’t the greatest idea as she desperately tried to finish her own outfit as Krystal sat there, finished, with another killer look.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined by Nicola Coughlan before the dolls shared their Happy Campers runways, with Krystal slaying in a stunning emerald scout gown. Kitty too was in a scout dress, though lost in the full bush. River was gorgeous as she went off the map, Charity was a crazed murder-bunny, Choriza served sexy blue backpack, Scarlet was a goth Robin Hood, Vanity was technicolour glamour bags – complete with smiles, as per Ru’s advice – while Ella was full-on Jane, though trying to catch butterflies as Veronica recovered from her hard day at the festival.

On the Campfire Couture runway, Krystal was stunning in an architectural bodice, Kitty was a slutty, shiny fembot, River was a beautiful, vintage flight attendant in a stunning burnt orange paisley rug. Charity was slutty, sexy and demented in a gingham stripper outfit, complete with cakes. Choriza gave bond villainess in gingham while Scarlett was stunning in a gorgeous pastel gingham rug, Vanity was dripping in ropes and knots, Ella was stunning in a check mini with a fluro couture raincoat while Veronica was tragically a mess in her meant-to-be-triumphant butterfly number.

Kitty, River and Charity were sent to safety before Krystal received her traditional rave reviews for every single thing she did. Though Graham did caution that while she is good, he now expects more from her. Choriza was read for the confusion for her first look and the second look for being sloppy, though her charm had the judges in stitches as she explained why she had an eye patch. Scarlett meanwhile was read for being a bit cosplay on the first look, though the judges lived for every tiny detail of her second look. And her Cher flick. Vanity meanwhile was read for not hitting the first theme, despite looking good. Ella received universal praise for the camp look and the killer construction of the second garment, while Michelle wants to know who Ella is. Veronica meanwhile was read for not being all the way there with the first look, while her second look was read for being an absolute mess. Though Veronica opened up to the judges about the pain of season 2 being split up by the pandemic, her depression and the look was meant to show her triumph over sadness and ugh, I will always love Veronica SO. DAMN. MUCH.

Backstage the safe girls were kikiing, with Kitty shocked to be safe but even more shocked that River was safe with her. Charity meanwhile praised her for serving a great concept, while Kitty was shocked Charity wasn’t in the top. Speaking of the tops – and bottoms – the rest of the queens joined them, with Choriza proud of her looks despite being read. Scarlet shared that while they loved her second look, they were concerned about the first. Krystal was gloating about all the praise she received, with Charity questioning whether she should really win another challenge given she was dragged to the runway by Veronica. Vanity meanwhile was reading Scarlett’s look for filth, while Veronica quietly shared how much the judges hated everything before she started breaking down. She admitted that her time management is never great, but she was also distracted by helping everyone else which could be what sends her home.

Ultimately Ella Vaday was sent to safety, followed by Krystal, handing Scarlett her first victory of the season. At the other end of the pack, Choriza managed to save herself with her demented brand of storytelling, leaving Vanity and Veronica to battle it out in the lip sync. And damn, did both the dolls bring it to ‘I’ve Got the Music In Me’. Vanity was fierce, hitting every lyric as she hit the floor in a split while Veronica channelled all of the emotions as she tore her dress apart on the stage. Tragically though, Vanity pipped Veronica at the post as our iconic comeback queen was forced to sashay away.

As she, the judges and most importantly, me, all sobbed.

I let out a guttural scream upon seeing her enter the Werk Room, before theatrically collapsing into her arms. Through sobs, I told her how heartbroken I was to see her go on a look that was meant to be her triumph over COVID and depression. We held each other for a long time, telling each other that it will be ok and that Veronica’s talent and pure heart would make her a star one day. Given how emotional I was, I couldn’t muster eating a massive meal so instead plated us up a quick Veronica Green Salad each.

Fresh and zingy, this super quick and easy salad is the perfect accompaniment to a summer dinner. Or, you know, the sadness of your dear friend’s dreams being crushed.

Enjoy!

Veronica Green Salad
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp French mustard
pinch of salt
3 cups mixed salad leaves, washed and dried
2 ripe avocados, sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and diced
½ green capsicum, diced

Method
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, French mustard and salt in a jug and whisk together until well combined.

To serve, layer the salad leaves, avo, capsicum and cucumber in a bowl before drizzling with the dressing.

And you know, devouring.


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Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon

Main, Pizza, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor Jeff warmly welcomed us back to the tropical islands of Fiji before warning the cast that this is a new era, with a shorter game that was harder and packed full of twists to keep them on their toes. After making them work hard for the simplest of supplies, Jeff gagged them at the first immunity challenge by announcing that only one tribe would be immune and both of the losers would head to tribal council. While Luvu pulled off a come from behind victory, Yase were the first tribe to head to tribal council where poor Abraham was gagged to become the first boot.

But let’s back up a little bit.

After losing the challenge, we followed Ua back to camp with Sara sobbing to have lost the challenge, though she vowed to fight as hard as possible despite being on the puzzle. And losing a piece temporarily, costing them precious time. She and Ricard caught up however, agreeing that JD needed to go which led to Ricard rallying the tribe to get rid of him. Which he did very quickly, until Brad suggested getting rid of Sara or Shan would be a good idea too. DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEM. Brad then pulled JD aside with Shan to fill him in on the situation, suggesting they should instead get rid of Sara. And while Shan felt nervous trusting Brad, she felt like she was best placed socially to ultimately get what she wants.

At tribal council Ua too were feeling their oats as a tribe, loving the fact they have had zero drama. Brad meanwhile offered to give up their pot if they can stay together, just a little while longer, which Probst tragically didn’t accept. Shan spoke about the zen way they elected JD to participate in the challenge, with him pretending that he was completely honest and it just wasn’t worth lying about. Sara meanwhile suggested the entire situation seemed completely implausible, whether she believed him or not. Talk soon turned to the missing puzzle piece which cost them the challenge before Genie kindly summed up that it is what it is. 

As JD started talking, Ricard started whispering to Sara and Shan to see who they should vote out. This led to Probst calling them out, setting off a live tribal council as everyone started throwing out names. Ricard suggested they get rid of Brad while Shan and JD debated the merits of keeping Brad or Sara. The tribe grew more and more paranoid before Brad asked if they could pop their die in their pockets in case, before Shan begged Jeff to just let them vote. And with that, they did, as JD pocketed his extra vote and nobody opted to play their Shot in the Dark. As such, the votes piled up on half the tribe before Sara found herself becoming the second boot.

Poor Sara was absolutely heartbroken to be the first person voted out of her tribe, though was so grateful to see me. You see, as we both work in the healthcare industry we obviously got to know each other and became the best of friends. When I saw that she was part of the cast, I was confident her sweet charm would take her far so let out an epic scream when I saw her enter Loser Lodge. I mean, it was so loud it probably shook the Sandra and Rob heads on whatever beach they were left on.

Anyway, given the quick turnaround between boot and departure, I quickly gave her a hug, reminded her she was amazing and popped a comforting Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon in a take-away container before she realised I accidentally cursed her game with food.

Yep, once again the Survivor pizza curse lives on! But as I often say, when they taste this good, my friends can’t really complain about missing out on the title and million dollar prize that goes along with it. In any event, the nutty, smokiness of the cheese works perfectly with the delicate artichoke and after finishing it off, you can feel nothing but happiness.

Enjoy!

Gouda and Sarartichoke Pizzon
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
extra virgin olvie oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup smoked Gouda, grated
½ cup mozzarella, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
⅔ cup artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

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

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Spread out your bases and drizzle with a little bit of oil. Sprinkle over the garlic, followed by most of the cheeses. Divide the artichokes amongst them, top with the rest of the cheese and a good whack of pepper and a pinch of salt.

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

Devour immediately, happy that while pizza still fucks over reality contestants post-COVID, it tastes damn good.


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Haylal Snack Peake

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways were dropped in the outback, far from the tropical islands we’ve grown accustomed to – thanks COVID! One by one they were felled as – yep, doing it – Phil, Janelle, Gavin, Benny, Mitch, Joey, Daini, Shannon, Georgia, Rachel and Simon headed home before the two tribes merged and formed the Fire tribe.

Instead of the Beauty tribe, which will always be a sore point to me.

Kez was the first victim of the new tribe before Chelsea was medevaced, leaving Baden to become the King of the Jury. He was quickly joined by Gerald, Laura, Emmett, Andrew, Dani, Wai and Cara, leaving Flick as the lone Brawn standing against George and Cara.

And by standing, I mean hunching painfully in a brutal final immunity challenge where the trio faced off for over five hours before Hayley took out victory and gave her the power to eliminate the final juror. Which obviously became Flick.

After a hard fought final tribal council where both George and Hayley clearly articulated their games, proving just how good they both were, the jury favoured Hayley’s more well rounded approach and awarded her the title of Sole Survivor. And, you know, the half mill.

As you can imagine, Hayley was buzzing as I sidled on to set to congratulate her, pulling me in for a massive hug. You see, Hayley and I are former colleagues and dear friends – you know how painful I can be, which is an asset to a researcher – so I was so excited to be there to share in her win.

Hayley dominated the game and made massive moves throughout the season, and while she was briefly voted out, she used that to her advantage, expertly adapting her play to make it to the end and rightfully take out the game. The only way I could truly do justice to such an epic, entertaining and at times chaotic run was gifting her a triumphant Haylal Snack Peake.

While I was late to the party when it came to the majesty of the HSP, I have well and truly made up for lost time when it came to the holy grail of food. The chips are crispy, the chicken is packing a punch, a little charred and oh so juicy that by the time you get to the garlicky sauce and gooey cheese, there is no denying this is made for winners.

Enjoy!

Haylal Snack Peake
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Greek yoghurt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
1kg chicken thighs, no skin, no bones (no jokes about me normally loving a bone)
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
2 cups grated cheddar
¼ cup smokey BBQ sauce
¼ cup garlic sauce
¼ cup sriracha
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Start by mixing up the yoghurt through olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the chicken and toss with your hands, making sure that every piece is sopping with the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge for six hours. Overnight is ideal, but like you, I don’t have time for that so six will do, ok?

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Grab a bunch of metal skewers and a baking dish that they can precariously balance either side on so they are elevated. I’m not the best at explaining, but it will make sense in a bit. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread on to two parallel skewers, jamming the thighs close together so they look like baby kebab sticks (I obviously couldn’t be bothered to Google it).

Once they’re all on skewers, line the baking dish and balance the ends of the skewers on the sides of the dish so the chicken is elevated from the base. Pop the dish in the oven and bake for half an hour, or until brown and glorious. Remove from the oven, baste with the juices and return to the oven for twenty minutes. Remove from the oven again when it is charred, baste and leave to rest for five minutes.

While you work on the fries, stand the skewers upright and carve the chicken from them like the do at a kebab shop (side note: how hypnotic was watching that, drunk at 2am?) and leave to rest in their juices.

To assemble, pop your chips in a bowl, top with the cheese and follow with a generous helping of the chicken. Drizzle with the sauces, add a bit more cheese and a sprinkle of parsley to feel healthy.

Then devour like you haven’t had a decent meal in 48 days but are also thrilled to be victorious.


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Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the top five fought hard to snag immunity and guarantee this safety, with Hayley once again coming out on top. As such, the tight Brains alliance decided to load all their votes on Flick and rid themselves of the final Brawn. That is until George realised Flick wasn’t hunting for an idol, and as such, he grew paranoid that she already has one. With that he joined Cara and loaded their votes on Wai JIC. While Flick thought she was gagging the rest of the tribe as she played her idol, her sole George vote was rendered useless as the beautiful Queen Wai was sent from the game.

The next day George was lounging about quietly in camp before Cara snuck up and scared the shit out of him. The duo then mucked around all cute like, as they praised their unbreakable bond, grateful to have had each other to navigate the game. Cara desperately wanted the two of them to make it to the end together, but also knew that that would be a very difficult task. 

And well, already this feels like the ads about turning on each other won’t be like SuE’S bIG m0v3!?

Meanwhile Flick and Hayley were tending to camp as Flick shared with us that she is pretty much just planning an immunity run to the end because, well, that’s her only real option. Despite that, she pulled Hayley aside and once again pitched that the two of them join together and break up the duo of George and Cara. And given George is the chattiest of Kathy’s, she thinks he is the biggest threat to both of their final tribal councils. Once again, Hayley agreed that it was a wonderful idea despite intending to stick with the duo should Flick not win the next immunity since she can easily beat the others in the final immunity challenge.

Undeterred, Flick approached Cara and pointed out that she needs to make a move for the jury by taking out George if she wants any chance of winning. And well, Cara was not interested at all. As such, she went for a walk with George with them having a good old laugh about not voting each other out next which TBH does make me more and more nervous. As does the fact George just wants anyone but Flick to win immunity. Which is where this is ending up, right?

The duo quickly worked out that should Flick be immune, it would likely finish in a tie between Hayley and George meaning the duo would need to compete in a fire challenge to continue in the game. Knowing that George has no fire skills at all, Cara pulled him aside and coached him how to use a flint and while it was a bit slapstick at the start, she did prove to be a decent teacher.

Dear Jonathan arrived for the massive final four immunity challenge where the group would face off by racing over a net to collect balls which they will use to release puzzle pieces. They would then build a ladder with the puzzle pieces, untie a bucket and then fill it with water and walk it through hurdles before using the water to release even more balls which they then have to land in a ball puzzle.

Desperate, Flick got out to an early lead, whipping through the challenge as the others just tried to keep up the pace. Hayley overtook her with some killer throws however, quickly building her stairs as Flick and Cara lagged slightly behind. George eventually joined the fun on the stair puzzle as Cara joined Hayley on the bucket section. Well, briefly. As Hayley started landing her balls while Flick finally finished with her stairs. Hayley had landed three balls by the time Flick closed the gap and joined her at the puzzle. As Hayley landed her fourth ball, Cara joined the fun and quickly landed a ball just after Flick. Flick and Cara methodically landed their balls as Hayley grew more and more desperate before Flick slipped in and snatched immunity.

Back at camp Flick was thrilled to finally have a bit of power in the game, before realising that the final immunity challenge is usually endurance and as such, Hayley is the biggest threat to her game. With that in her mind, she approached Cara and quickly locked her in on the Hayley vote.

But all was not lost yet, as Hayley realised she was the biggest threat and Cara and George flipping Flick would send her home immediately. Hayley pulled Flick aside and shared how grateful she was to have spoken the day before, doubling down on the need to get rid of George if any of them want to have a chance at winning. Obviously Flick agreed with this plan too, so off Hayley trotted to chat to Cara where she learned that Flick was playing her and was planning to vote her out as the only threat to winning final immunity. Which obviously panicked Hayley, asking Cara if she was truly considering turning on her. Rather than say, pointing out that Cara needs Hayley there in the final challenge if Cara wants any chance of winning, given Flick has the jury stacked in her favour.

As Cara laughed about the absurdity of Flick suggesting Cara help her win the next challenge, she rightly pointed out that Hayley would take her to the final two if it was the three girls at the end. Hayley reiterated how important it is for Cara to make a move and get rid of George to give herself a shot, but she just wasn’t sure whether she could do it emotionally. Hayley then found George and made the exact same plea to him, pointing out that if he is in the final three with Flick and Cara, he has no shot of making it to the end and has to settle for third place. She then locked in her vote for Cara and told him that she hopes he joins her but understands if he doesn’t. And then up and left him.

George and Cara then caught up, pledging their love for each other and praising each other for the games they have played. They then joined Hayley and the trio gave each other a group hug to celebrate their successes before heading to tribal council for their official break up.

At tribal council the jury were delighted to see Flick wearing immunity before she shared that it is nice to feel calm and secure after a good week or two of being the target. George admitted that without immunity, Flick would be a goner but instead, one of the close trio is going out. Hayley admitted that while she, Cara and George all have different compelling stories, they need to get to the final two and given neither of them are great in challenges, they need her. She pointed out that Flick is definitely going to win in the final two, given the jury loves her, but their chances are better against her and whoever is in the final three with her and Flick would be the one she would choose to take.

George reminded Cara that Hayley is the ultimate challenge threat, while Cara simply praised Hayley’s killer pitch. George tried to create doubt, pointing out that Hayley winning final immunity is guaranteed if she gets there with Hayley pointing out that that isn’t the worst thing, given Flick beats anyone at the end. Flick pointed out that she will be going strategic with her vote, while George and Cara both said that they would be sticking with their final two leaving poor Hayley to once again reiterate that they need to think beyond three now and instead look to two and who they would have the best shot against.

With that the tribe voted and both George and Care turned on each other, with Hayley banding with George to send Cara out of the game to join the far-better-than-winning Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses Club.

As Cara walked into Jury Villa, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and ran out to pull her in for a big hug. You see, the empath Real Estate community is quite small and as such, Cara and I quickly bonded and became the best of friends. I didn’t tell you I was a Sydney Real Estate Tycoon? Oh, I was. Anyway, Cara and I are dear friends, so I was gutted to see her felled so close to the end. Until I remembered the aforementioned placement as a FPRG, after which, I toasted to her success and whipped up a comforting Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs.

Despite my passion for all things balls, I never got the appeal of Spaghetti and Meatballs as a kid. I think it probably has something to do with the fact I felt there was less sauce involved and as such, resented it. But then I woke up to myself and realised that those big juicy balls, dripping in sauce and covered generously with the sharpest parmesan are perfection. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Enjoy!

Cara Spaghettchison & Meatballs
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
¼ cup breadcrumbs
small handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
100ml milk
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
500ml passata
100ml water
1 tsp raw caster sugar
500g dried spaghetti

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by combining the minces, four garlic cloves, the egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and milk in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch together until well combined before rolling into 12 large meatballs. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot and celery over medium low heat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute before stirring in the oregano, basil, passata, water and sugar. Bring to the boil before reducing heat to low and simmering for 15 minutes.

Once glorious and thick, stir through the meatballs, pop on a lid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

While that is simmering, cook the spaghetti as per pack instructions before draining, serving and topping with the big, saucy balls. And then coating in parmesan.

And then devouring.


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Wai Chimichangas

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 18 icons fell by the wayside and only six remained in the game. As one of only two Brawns left in the game, Dani continued her reward streak by winning the ultimate spa reward, where she finally convinced Hayley to flip on George. Before any further discussions could take place, they ventured to the immunity challenge where Wai came from behind and upset everyone to win immunity. And by upset, absolutely delighted as she screamed and cried from the shock of it all like a pure icon. We learnt that Hayley and Wai continued to play the middle, debating between the two remaining pairs to join with to get to the top four. Flick meanwhile found an idol, giving an edge to the Brawns so she held on to it before she and Dani discovered Hayley was not in fact with them and as such, Dani was booted from the game.

The next day Wai and Flick were counting down the sleeps left in the outback while the girls spoke about how cold it is getting overnight. Talk turned to the champagne reward with Flick admitting that she couldn’t shut up in the hot tub, giddy from the excitement, champagne or both. Meanwhile Hayley shared with us that she stuck with the Brains at the last tribal council because Dani and Flick said that they would never vote for Cara, Wai and George at the final tribal and since the former duo have the most friends on the jury, getting rid of them was her priority. Hayley and George caught up and reaffirmed their loyalty to each other, agreeing that like Dani, Flick needs to go otherwise she destroys them all at final tribal.

Speaking of Flick, she was feeling super lonely being the last Brawn standing though given she has a hidden immunity idol, she is at least guaranteed final four. Which is a problem for the Brains, given they are committed to voting her out and no other option. So, someone is about to get burnt.

While Flick knew that she was safe for one night, she realised that she had to plan longer term and as such, pulled Wai aside. Immediately the duo agreed that going to the final three with Hayley makes the most sense for both of their games, given no one can beat the unbreakable Cara and George duo. Wai and Cara caught up while hunting for supplies, with the former admitting that she doesn’t want to play by the rules anymore and wants to make the game her own. And well, part of that includes taking out George as the biggest threat while also calling him out for bordering on mean from time to time.

Next up in the personal recaps was George who was proud of his game, narrowly avoiding the boot week after week and making the biggest moves. He shared that his biggest priority is to make the right choice to get to the end and win, rather than make friends. As such, George caught up with Hayley and shared that his only shot at winning is against Hayley and as such, they need each other. Which is the only real pitch to keep her from flipping on him, so well done George.

My love Jonathan arrived for the final five immunity challenge where they would have to face off crawling across a pole to retrieve sandbags which they would use to knock off blocks, use said blocks to knock off a key and then the key to release a grappling hook. And what happens with the grappling hook, you ask? Well, they use that to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle.

Obviously Hayley and Flick got out to an early lead while poor Wai struggled to cross the log. As the other four started tossing their bags at the blocks, George opted to press pause and help Wai out so they could all continue on in the challenge together. Cara overtook the others and was first to start with the blocks, but was quickly joined by the rest of the tribe. Cara was first to make it to the grappling hook and jagged her puzzle pieces before anyone else joined her. As Cara worked through the puzzle, Hayley quickly won all of her pieces and joined her while the other three languished at the back of the pack. While Cara slowly pulled away, she discovered that one of her pieces was wrong as Hayley closed the gap, before George joined them. But it was all for nought as Hayley figured out the last piece and quickly secured another individual immunity win.

The tribe returned to camp with George thrilled by the outcome of the challenge, given they just needed Flick to not win. As such the Brains were comfortable with piling all the votes on Flick, with George taking it one step further and encouraging her to go find a hidden immunity idol, completely unaware that she already has one. As such, Flick got to work pretending to wander around camp looking for an idol so the Brains don’t get spooked and ruin her plan to get rid of George with her one vote.

Flick reflected on her journey throughout the season, glad that her social game has gotten her to this point. Particularly since she has had to fight against her grief for the last week. Sadly Flick was caught by George sitting quietly by the billabong and as such, deduced that she already found the idol and as such, he needed to switch things up. He quickly ran back to camp and found Cara, sharing his suspicions and suggesting that the two of them stack their votes on Wai instead to guarantee one of them isn’t idolled from the ground. Which is a great plan and shows his killer instincts for the game, but damn, don’t let me lose Wai.

While Cara was all on board with the plan, solely because of her trust in George, she was nervous about splitting the vote without looping Hayley in and thus potentially burning a bridge. After a brief back and forth, Cara put her foot down, very concerned about leaving Hayley out this close to the end and telling George she isn’t just going to blindly follow him and either way they go is risky.

Speaking of said risks, Flick pulled Hayley aside and pointed out that the alliance of four is barrelling towards a 2-2 tie and as such, one of the duos needs her to make it to the final three. Which is classic, logical survivor. But Hayley said that she was only on board if Wai was willing to flip. Which she obviously was, despite the fact George wasted time in the challenge to help her along.

At tribal council Hayley spoke about how grateful she is to be wearing the immunity necklace this close to the end. Wai meanwhile was grateful that George helped her in the immunity challenge, showing a side of him that not many people are seeing in the game. George put it down to just doing the right thing by his friends. As Flick spoke about being out of options, George started whispering to Cara about sticking with the safe vote and not splitting. George admitted that he told Flick that she wasn’t going to make it to Day 45 while Flick gloriously pretended to be down and out.

Jonathan asked Flick what happens when she is gone with Flick suggesting a girls alliance could form to oust George, otherwise they will split down the line of duos with the added complication of Hayley probably wanting to sit next to George at final tribal council. Hayley then suggested that maybe she has an idol and this is all a ploy before Wai admitted this would be a perfect time to leverage Flick however if you don’t pull it off correctly, you risk yourself going home. Hayley was nervous that this vote was make or break for each of them, while George just cautioned everyone to err on the side of caution.

With that, the tribe voted before Flick gagged them all by playing her idol and despite wanting to be the sole vote to finally get rid of George, he and Cara stuck with their plan and loaded two votes on poor Queen Wai who joyously exited the game.

Sweet Wai was an absolute delight as she arrived at the Jury Villa, equal parts disappointed to be out of the game and thrilled by how well she did despite being the obvious first boot. As soon as she saw me she let out the same squeal she did upon winning immunity, thrilled to be united with her dear friend. You see, Wai and I are part of the same literary circles and have been best friends for years and years. Which is why I knew that after 44 days in the bush, she would need a big plate of Wai Chimichangas to help recover.

I know I say this a lot, but I really love Mexican food. Even if my versions err more closely to the Tex Mex side of the equation. In any event, these spicy little numbers are near perfection – hot, rich, earthy and sweet, by the time you add some fresh avo and lime, you’ve got yourself a new favourite meal.

Enjoy!

Wai Chimichangas
Serves: 2 famished friends or 4 regular peeps.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushin’
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup chicken stock
400g tin diced tomatoes
4 cups shredded roast chicken
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup sour cream, plus more for serving
2 cups refried beans
8 flour tortillas
1 ½ cups Mexican cheese, grated
Lady Guagamole, to serve
small handful coriander leaves, to serve
lime wedges, to serve
hot sauce, to serve

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute. Stir through the tomato paste before adding the tomatoes, stock and chicken. Season and bring to the boil before reducing to a low and simmering until most of the liquid is reduced. Then stir through the sour cream.

To assemble, place your tortillas on the bench and divide the refried beans between them, smearing in the middle to leave ‘clean’ space around the edges. Add some of the chicken mixture – about half a cup – before a sprinkle of cheese. Fold in the sides and roll like a burrito before transferring to a lined baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat the process until down.

Brush each chimichanga with some oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Serve immediately slathered with guac, sour cream, coriander, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Whatever you prefer.

Then, obvi, devour.


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Baked Emmetta Pughsta

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Pasta, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor poor Flick received the tragic news that her mother had passed away from early onset dementia, with her opting to continue in the game after talking to her family who encouraged her to fight until the end. After a grueling immunity challenge left only four eligible to be voted out, the tribe rallied to boot Cara and weaken the immune George. That is until George found a secret hidden immunity idol, which he played without anyone knowing, meaning Laura was booted with just Cara’s vote. Much to everyone’s shock, none more so than Cara’s.

The next day Emmett was praising Cara for once again avoiding certain doom before catching up with the rest of the tribe, trying to swim away their shock. Cara and George meanwhile were celebrating in the shelter, reinvigorated and ready to continue the game as a powerful duo. Cara meanwhile was just glad that they both managed to play an idol to protect each other, given it is beautifully full circle. After Cara went for a walk, George chased her down and passed off the key for the idol so that she could claim the move as her own, ensuring that the Brains alliance still trusts him and it doesn’t blow up in their faces.

As Cara went person to person sharing the clue and key everyone appeared to believe her. That is except for Andrew, who saw right through it given it was all just way too convenient. Andrew went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Flick and Emmett so they could all share their theories on what actually went down at the previous tribal council, with the one consistent part of each theory being George. Conveniently, he joined them under the guise of filling up his water bottle allowing Andrew to ask him pointblank who played the idol the previous night. And while George continued to deny it, Andrew reiterated that Cara’s body language the night before was screaming defeat and as such, she definitely didn’t play it.

Being an icon George continued to loiter around and talk about how parched he was when he woke up. Andrew however had had it, OFFICIALLY and asked him to respectfully leave so that the four of them could continue their discussion. And after he eventually left, the four confirmed that George and Cara definitely have been playing everyone all game and as such, the entire tribe should unite to get rid of them. Which Emmett and Flick were obviously thrilled to hear, despite not actually caring that Laura went given she and Andrew were so close and they needed to be broken up  eventually.

The tribe reconnected with zaddy Jonathan for the latest reward challenge where the tribe would need to hold a lever to balance a board on which they will build a house of cards using their free hand. For a damn car, so you know they were all thrilled despite, you know, the Survivor car curse. But whatevs. Dani and Emmett got out to early leads, before both of them dropped. Every time someone started to pull ahead, they quickly dropped their stack until Dani started to pull ahead again before she dropped with one card to go. Hayley and Andrew started to pull away before Andrew dropped. Hayley then ran out of blocks before dropping her stack trying to get more, while Emmett returned to the lead as Flick and Cara nipped at his heels. As Emmett’s stack blew over, Dani powered back into the lead and put everyone out of their misery as she took out victory.

Sadly for her, that also means that she isn’t winning the game. Better luck next time Queen Dani!

Jonathan then announced that in addition to winning the car, she was able to take three of her tribemates for a joyride and a cheeky picnic. Obviously picking Flick and Emmett before gagging the Brains by selecting Andrew. Which George read as being the end of his and Cara’s run.

Dani was giddy to have won the car and praised everyone for how they’ve been playing the game, despite all trying to vote her out previously. That was all forgotten however as they arrived at the picnic, gorging on sandwiches and quiches before Dani started to push for Andrew to flip over to the Brawns. Clearly unaware that Andrew, Emmett, Flick and Hayley were already spearheading the downfall of George and Cara.

Speaking of the wonder twins, they returned to camp with Wai and Hayley with George quickly working the girls to come back to their side. Wai was obviously cool, calm and collected, as he talked in circles before straight up admitting that he was the one that played the idol. And that is exactly what he does for the people he cares about, like Hayley and Wai. While Hayley told George that she understands why he denied playing the idol to an angry Andrew, she was happy to get all the information from him and pay him back for voting her out. Oh and the information? Just George’s entire planned bootlist up to the final four.

The tribe reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where they would each stand on narrow footholds on two stumps like you would try to hold yourself up in a door frame as a kid. Last one standing taking out immunity. After mere moments, George asked Jonathan to help him down and exited the challenge. This annoyed Andrew, who speculated it was all a ruse to downplay his threat level. With Emmett hilariously telling him he sounds paranoid. Dani was next to drop, as Flick, Andrew and Emmett agreed to drop as soon as Cara left the challenge. Sadly Wai was the next to drop before the remaining five made it to 30 minutes, at which point they had to transfer to the narrower footholds.

Meanwhile on the sit out bench, George was asking Wai who they should vote out tonight between Andrew and Emmett, as Wai suggested they just wait and see what happens with the challenge. After an hour the remaining competitors had to transition to the narrowest footholds, at which point Cara dropped out of the challenge. Almost immediately Andrew dropped out, before Emmett suggested the remaining three make it tougher on themselves and remove their hands from the rope they had to steady them with Emmett quickly dropping before Flick dropped out of nowhere, handing Hayley individual immunity.

Back at camp Emmett and Flick were glad that the last four competing were the group that wanted to get rid of George, with Flick wisely pointing out that removing their hands from the rope was a great way to solidify trust given they didn’t grab  them again to save themselves. The group caught up with Wai and Dani to lock in a split vote between George and Cara, with everyone fighting to be the one to get to write down George’s name. Speaking of George, he and Cara were talking about how stupid everyone would be to let Emmett survive another day given it is rare moment he isn’t immune. With that he approached Wai and Hayley to float the plan, with both of them obviously agreeing to join him to his face.

As Hayley and Wai removed themselves to decide which way to go, Hayley was leaning towards booting Emmett, while Wai felt it was still the better move to get rid of George. Oh and speaking of George, he was hiding in the grass behind them eavesdropping on everything. And the only thing worse than having someone hear your plan, is having the person with nothing to lose hearing your plan.

George made a beeline for Cara and filled her in on the fact that they are all alone. With that, they desperately wandered around camp in search of an idol with Cara eventually finding one in a tree right as Emmett walked passed. George immediately pressed Cara to play another idol for him as it guarantees Emmett goes and while I understand it, I’m not sure I trust his maths on this one given the other plan was to do a split vote.

Speaking of Emmett, he was getting nervous about George and Cara catching up with Hayley and Wai, so pulled Hayley aside and laid everything out on the table. He shared that he wanted to go to the end with people he actually wanted to see win and as such, he was planning to go to the end with her, Flick, Dani and Andrew. Which told Hayley she was fifth place in his alliance. Which makes me start to trust George’s maths again.

At tribal council Hayley was thrilled to be immune, shocked by how emotional it made her. George doubled down on the fact that Emmett and Andrew are the alphas of the tribe, which made both of them scoff at him. Andrew said that Hayley was always winning the challenge today, though he and Emmett did admit to feeling a little bit nervous to be here without immunity. George said that Emmett was clearly speaking in code and that he thinks there are some snakes in the tribe, and that he is not sure he can trust anyone other than Cara.

Emmett calmly admitted that he has managed to make new friends since Gerald’s boot and that he wants to work with people that he would be happy to see win. But if they don’t want to work with him, so be it. Hayley spoke about how making new friends and alliances are part of the game and when one door closes, you need to find new options if you want to make it to the end. While George said that he had nothing more to say to the tribe, he doubled down on the fact he has always put his allies first and worked to further their games, often to the detriment of his own. 

With that the tribe voted – George loudly reading Emmett for filth for all the tribe to hear – and Cara held on to her idol, which it turns out was a good move given Hayley and Wai flipped to their side, sending zaddy Emmett from the game.

Despite being savaged by George on his way out the door, sweet Emmett took his boot in his stride and pulled me in for a massive hug when he spotted me in the Jury Villa. You see, before I was cancelled for my lies as a health influencer – no horrible cancer lies like Belle Gibson, I assure you – Emmett and I were the best of friends. Even doing the Rottnest Island swim together. You think the yellow swimmers got tired, you should have seen my white pair! Anyway, we’re dear friends and Emmett being upbeat and kind, stood by me. And as such, I was proud to stand by him with a Baked Emmetta Pughsta.

I know he is the self-proclaimed plant based superman, but he always makes an exception when it comes to the delightful viral feta pasta from Tik Tok (see kids, I’m hip!). While we were sceptical about the recipe at first, I admit that this spicy, salty delight is not only delicious. But so damn simple, you’ll be making it over and over again.

Enjoy!

Baked Emmetta Pughsta
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g cherry tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, bruised
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp chilli flakes
200g Greek feta cheese (aka hard feta)
500g rigatoni
small handful of fresh basil leaves, for serving

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper and toss together the tomatoes, garlic and half the oil. Sprinkle it with some salt, a whack of pepper and the chilli flakes. Place the feta in the centre and pour over the remaining oil. Transfer to the oven to bake for 45 minutes.

When the tomatoes and feta are almost done, cook the pasta as per packet instructions and reserve a cup or two of pasta water when it’s done.

To assemble, mash the feta, tomatoes and garlic with a fork or masher and mix until combined. Loosen with ½ a cup of the pasta water before tossing through the pasta. Add more water as needed until you’ve got a nice coating on the pasta. Adjust the seasoning, fold through the basil leaves and then serve.

Before devouring, obvi.


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Chilli & Herbaden Chooke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the producers continued to go balls to the wall with twists, loading up the tribe with three immunities which were won by Emmett, Dani and Andrew. They then learnt that they would be the only ones eligible to vote at tribal council before Jonathan gagged us with just what exactly he meant by eligible, as the trio were forced into a fire challenge with the winner being the sole person to cast a vote. Despite Andrew being a straight up ‘survival expert’ and Emmett having more bravado than the Golden God himself, Queen Dani took out victory and cast the sole vote to boot Baden from the game.

That is when we were gagged with one final twist from production, as he was sent to the majestic Redemption Rock where he awaited an opponent to return to the game. Caught up in the myriad of twists however, fate intervened and poor Chelsea was medevaced after tribal council. And while she is still technically in the game at this part of the story, *spoiler alert* her stay in hospital didn’t help and she had to be removed to make a full recovery.

But more on that later, ok?

While the Brawns tribe anxiously awaited to learn whether Chelsea would return, they got together to lock in their loyalty to each other while the Brains quietly sat back at camp wondering how to get themselves out of their current predicament. And in the middle were George and Cara, who were catching up by the shore and re-pledging their undying loyalty to each other. And only each other. With that, George pulled the Brains aside to leak more information to them about Kez leaving an idol for Flick. And while she already sold George and Cara out before the last vote, Hayley was unsure how she was going to use this to get herself out of her current predicament.

Back at camp poor Dani was really struggling, breaking down over missing her closest friend Chelsea and unsure who she could trust moving forward should she officially be pulled from the game. Emmett pulled her aside to make sure she was ok, with her admitting that in addition to worrying about Chelsea, she is also regretting sending Baden home over Hayley given she is sure that she can’t trust her moving forward. Particularly since George wandered by, right on cue, to point out that Hayley is busy hunting for an idol, just like he told her to.

Wanting to clarify things, Emmett pulled George aside and told him that Hayley told them that George and Cara have been leaking information to the Brains. And while George vehemently denied it, I don’t think this is ending well for George. Because while Emmett believes him for now, I can see the truth coming out with a little more cursory digging.

My love Jonathan returned to oversee the next immunity challenge and advised that Chelsea is not out of the game yet, however she also won’t be at the next tribal council. With that out of the way, Jonathan explained the tribe would each negotiate a wobbling curved beam while balancing a table with a rope and spelling immunity out in block form on top. Oh and you know Emmett was confident he’d be able to make it three from three. Andrew and Emmett were neck and neck at start, until Andrew dropped his stack. Hayley and Dani started to close the gap before Dani dropped hers leaving Hayley as the closest to catching Emmett. Until she dropped, while Emmett slowly and calmly focused on the task at hand. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shady about the confidence, given he is apparently a beast?

While everyone continued to close the gap and then dropped their stacks, Emmett was cool, calm and collected and earned another well deserved victory.

Back at camp Hayley was well and truly fed up with her current predicament, knowing that idols are not enough to make it to the end. That being said, while the Brains were out hunting for idols, George caught up with his allies to encourage them to vote for Hayley given she is the most threatening, despite them wanting Andrew out next due to his challenge prowess. And well, George’s persistence made Emmett wonder why he was so desperate to get rid of Hayley instead.

George ran off to find the missing Dani, with him convincing her that they all need to vote Hayley at the next tribal council rather than split it. With her in, he then decided to get all of the Brains to join in the fun and send Hayley out of the game in a landslide. He told Andrew she threw his name under the bus with the Brawns before Hayley watched him go person to person to ensure they were on his side. With that, she decided it was time to guarantee he can’t smear her name anymore and get rid of him ASAP. And she had just the information to get the Brawns onside – the fact that Kez handed off the idol to Flick after they executed her blindside together!

While George was trying to woo Wai to join the anti-Hayley train, Hayley approached Emmet, Flick and Gerald to spill all the information that George had been feeding her since the merge. After telling them about George tipping her off about the Laura vote and Kez’s idol, she agreed to join them to vote out Andrew if that is what they need from her to prove trust. She wasn’t sure if she could believe it however, catching up with Laura and Andrew who agreed that they should load all their votes on Gerald as the least likely to be protected by the rest of the Brawns. Andrew assured Hayley that George and Cara are definitely with them and the Brains are ready to run the game, however Hayley, obviously, was still not buying it. At all.

At tribal council George tried to downplay any complexity within the tribe, praising the power of the majority alliance. Hayley agreed that she and the remaining Brains are well and truly at a disadvantage before talk turned to trust, with George sharing that he likes to see how people react under pressure and that is what builds his trust. Gerald got sick of the non-talk, pointing out that Hayley came to them this afternoon and aired everything that George and Cara told them to do to save Laura. 

Hayley admitted to everything, while George denied it and said that it is all a lie and he will not buckle to the pressure Hayley is trying to put on him. Emmett pointed out that buckling under the pressure isn’t a confirmation or denial, so pressed him to just admit it or deny it rather than dancing around it. This got George spiraling, while Hayley calmly pointed out he is still acting like a politician, much to the delight of Emmett.

Dani whispered to Hayley that she believes her before Hayley asked her fellow Brains to either confirm or deny the information, with Wai and Laura backing her while Andrew wasn’t willing to throw George under the bus yet. Hayley stepped in and pointed out that George promised Andrew he was with them tonight, with George denying it, much to the frustration of Andrew. Dani continued to wrack her Brain, wanting to trust Hayley before Hayley tripled down, pointing out that she knows that Flick has Kez’s idol. And how does she know that? George told the Brains.

George continued to get more and more defensive, with Hayley admitting that she is truly fighting for her life and has absolutely nothing to lose. With that, the tribe voted and despite airy all of George’s dirty laundry, the Brawns stuck together and booted Hayley from the game. And by from the game, to Redemption Rock where she was reunited with her closest ally Baden.

Hayley caught Baden up on everything that happened and how unwavering the Brawns are when it comes to George. Baden rightly pointed out that it blew up in her face and that even though the Brawns probably believed her, they were always going to get rid of them ASAP given they’re the bigger threats. And well, I kinda love sassy Baden schooling her for ruining both of their games. Despite how much I still love Queen Hayley.

Things were less tense the next morning as Baden and Hayley assured each other that winning your way back into the game is good for the resume. Baden agreed that he is probably better placed now if he returns, rather than just staying. He then shaded Hayley saying if she gets back, she’d be well placed to take out second at this point as Hayley ranted about people lying when they way they aren’t playing to win.

Meanwhile at the Fire camp, the Brawns started to panic about what Chelsea’s lingering absence means before Jonathan arrived and shared that Chelsea has been diagnosed with temporary balance issues, meaning that she had to be removed from the game officially. With her one regret being that she couldn’ say goodbye to her tribemates. But you know, we already covered that.

Jonathan kindly assured them that she would be fine and not to worry about her before he left, leaving a crying Dani alone, heartbroken to have lost the one person she could trust moving forward.

The Fire tribe arrived to meet Jonathan by a stream where they learnt that neither Baden or Hayley had officially been voted out of the game and instead, the duo would be facing off in an endurance challenge to hold on to a pole suspended over water for as long as they can, with the victor returning to the game and the loser going home permanently. And while they were both desperate to get back into the game, it really isn’t the most interesting challenge to write about, other than to say that the Fire tribe were clearly rooting for Baden while Emmett pointed out that this is not something he would want to compete against Hayley on.

While Baden struggled the entire time, Hayley was like a statue as she focused on the task at hand. Ultimately winning her spot back in the game after only 20 minutes, as zaddy Baden definitively exited the game to become the King of the Jury. After casually burning his buff, obviously which just seems a tad cruel, but whatever.

I audibly – and theatrically – gasped as Baden arrived at the Jury Villa, given I had blown a month of my salary on an unnamed betting site to say that he would sit in the final two with Hayley. After processing my shock, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how heartbroken I was to see his game end. You see, Baden and I are dear friends as I’ve worked extensively in the cycling world. As is oft the case, I left the industry in a scandalous cloud after some of my medical practices brought down one of cycling’s biggest stars. But Baden being kind, he kept in touch. No doubt because he is just so kind and always abides by the rules, so he didn’t have to fear my reputation bringing him down with me.

After explaining to him the importance of being the King of the Jury and his requirement to set the tone of how they behave, we quickly disappeared to enjoy a Chilli & Herbaden Chooke.

Like Baden’s spicy personality on Redemption Rock, this little roast is delightfully packing a punch. Add to that the sweet, fragrant herbs and the glory of stuffing this little netted number is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Chilli & Herbaden Chooke
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
2kg chicken, butterflied and deboned but retaining the skin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced|
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
kitchen twine or butcher’s netting

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onion for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and breadcrumbs. All to cool before mixing in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay your butterflied chicken on a chopping board, skin side down and lay the stuffing down the centre like a long sausage. Roll the chicken to enclose before trussing the roast with twine, or my favourite, butcher’s netting. Mainly because I’m not great at knots.

Rub the roast with a little bit of olive, season with a whack of salt and pepper and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile combine the oil, sriracha, garlic, muscovado and salt and pepper in a jug. Once the chicken is on it’s way to getting hot, hot, hot, remove from the oven and baste with the chilli sauce. Reduce the oven to 180C and return the saucy chicken to cook for a further half an hour, basting every ten minutes or so to get it nice and sticky.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, pour over any of the remaining chilli and leave to rest for ten minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Like a King of the Jury, for instance.


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Chicken Kezadilla McGee

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Dani and Simon were enjoying holding all the power over on Brawns. However after the Brains evened things up thanks to Hayley, Dani and Chelsea grew tired of Simon’s power specifically, convincing the Brains to work with them to throw the challenge and boot him from the game. While everyone was easily convinced, Dani pushed hard to get the tribe to do her bidding, making it clear it was her move. This annoyed Hayley, who decided she needed to be knocked down a peg and instead threw some votes on Dani as a backup to guarantee Flick is safe should Simon play his idol/s. Ultimately Simon was blindsided, zaddy king, while Dani was left back at camp, irate to have received some votes.

After tribal council Hayley, Flick and the Brains were thrilled by the outcome of tribal council, while Dani called out Hayley for casting some votes against her as a back-up, knowing that if the blindside failed, she would have gone home. While Dani continued to rage, identifying Hayley as the next to go, Queen Hayley just calmly explained that she couldn’t afford to have Flick go home given they are tight and as such, loaded some votes on Dani as a back-up. Simple as that. And ugh, I love how businesslike she is.

The next day the tribes ventured straight to Jonathan where Flick shaded Simon for being blindsided by his own arrogance. Dani tried to sell herself as the mastermind of the move, while George was confident that the Brains were peaking. Particularly since Brains and Brawns are no more, as the tribes are merged. With that, the final 13 dropped their buffs, grabbing a new stunning dark teal number – finally mixing things up – and were gagged for their first individual reward challenge.

Everyone would need to dig up sacks and then use a see-saw to land their sacks on poles, with the first person to land two scoring the first choice at the merge buffet. With everyone that comes after them getting the dregs, including hidden items, a boiled egg and a phone call home. Gerald, Baden, Emmett, Laura and Emmett were first to start shooting their sacks, with Emmett first to land a bag before the rest of the tribe joined them. 

George landed a sack, quickly followed by his second, immediately snatching a burger from the feast. Hayley finished second and snatched herself a steak and beer, allowing her and George enough time to catch up on the state of their tribes. Despite being the last to get her sacks, Chelsea was next and jagged herself a phone call home. Dani picked a baked potato, Wai went for a covered item of pancakes while Cara lucked out with some donuts. Emmett got a surprise jar of lollies, Baden got a hidden boiled egg, Laura grabbed surprise pizza and wine, while Andrew got smashed avo, Flick picked a bowl of rice leaving Kez and Gerald to fight it out for the banana and milk.

With the challenge over Chelsea finally gave her boyfriend a call, breaking down as they caught up and the tribe cutely yelled out to Jimmy in the background. And well, Chelsea is now fired up and ready to fight for the win.

The tribe finally ventured to the merge camp where Kez was thrilled to be reunited with her gal pals, while Wai was shocked to have made it this far while Emmett tried to bring the remaining Brawns back together. While they technically had a numbers disadvantage, Emmett was confident that given George and Cara have always felt on the bottom of the Brains, he could take control of the merge tribe and well, game. And given how elaborately he spoke about felling the brains, it doesn’t feel like things will go well for him since pride, you know, comes before the fall.

Talk turned to what to call the tribe, with Emmett suggesting ‘Love’, while George wanted to call it ‘Queen Elizabeth’ or ‘Unity,’ which Dani thankfully shut down. Sadly however she didn’t kill his next choice, ‘Fire’. With that, the Fire Tribe were born and Dani got to work telling all the Brawns just how dangerous Hayley is and that she needs to be the next to go.

Meanwhile Gerald tried to charm George with some union poetry, while Hayley calmly charmed Laura into bringing all the Brains back together. Which Hayley desperately needed since she is at a massive disadvantage with the rest of the tribe locked together against her. But Hayley being Hayley, she realised she needed just two more at the next vote, so spoke to Flick and Gerald about joining the Wai, Baden, Andrew, Hayley and Laura alliance. Hayley reminded Flick that the other alliance are in control of the game and have compelling cases to win, and as such, she and Gerald need to join with the desperate people to make a move and take control, boosting their own resumes.

Flick caught up with Chelsea, who quickly shat on Hayley’s pitch – obviously – before returning to Hayley and assuring her that she is all in, but is worried about how exactly she will be able to pull Gerald to their side. WIth that, Hayley quickly disappeared to try and come up with plan B through Z. She caught up with her solid five to desperately try and think of said plans, while the other eight confidently laughed it up back at camp. But given that Hayley still has an idol and is ready to play to take one of her rivals out, I don’t think they should let their guards down.

Again, pride. Falls. All that jazz.

George meanwhile was off on his own, trying to play both sides. First things first, he pulled Emmett aside to talk about booting Hayley due to her scrambling. However Emmett shared that he’d prefer to flush out the idol instead and get rid of her next. As such, George went for a walk to the well with Hayley, Laura and Baden, pointing out that he would rather jump back to the Brains and as such, will get the information to ensure Hayley plays her idol at the correct time. And you know, destroy the hopes and dreams of the Brawns.

With so much scrambling already complete, the Fire tribe joined Jonathan for the first immunity challenge where they would each have to hold a bar above their heads to keep a ball balanced in a gutter. Last one standing taking out victory. Gerald was first to drop, followed by Wai and Hayley. This made Dani feel confident enough to drop, followed by Laura and Cara. Kez, Flick and Baden dropped out in quick succession, leaving Chelsea, Emmett, Andrew and GEORGE to battle it out for the first individual immunity of the season. Tragically he was the next to drop, followed by Chelsea – who got too confident with her shoulder presses – before Emmett desperately tried to get Andrew to take a deal. Before Andrew dropped after a valiant fight, handing Emmett immunity. And further solidifying the target on his back.

Back at camp Emmett’s confidence was at an all time high, thrilled to survive the first merge tribal council and you know, stack the odds in the Brawns favour. That being said he was still pretty intense about keeping the Brawns strong, with Flick clearly irked by his attitude. That being said, the group stood firm and locked in their vote for Laura, but are planning to make Hayley nervous enough to burn her idol. To solidify the Brawn majority, Emmett shared his lolly jar with his allies while George charmed them with his Labor caucus shtick.

And then he took all the information to Hayley, in exchange for she and Brains voting out the person he wants without blowing his cover as a double agent. Well, after George pulled Emmett aside to assure him that Hayley is panicked and he advised she definitely play her idol for herself. He then approached Dani and lied that she is the Brains target, all while Kez spotted an oddly clean rock at the edge of the billabong. Before she wadded over and pulled out her second hidden immunity idol, right in front of George who was well and truly over the Brawn confidence stepping over into arrogance.

Kez caught up with Flick and Gerald to let them know about her idol, while George focused his attention on forcing the Brains to throw their votes on Kez instead and burn both idols in a single tribal council. As such, he ran to find the old Brains and quickly told them about Kez and that they would be voting for Kez but are to pitch things for Dani, while playing the idol on Laura and saving her. Which isn’t nearly as confusing as that sentence made it sound. This won’t be another Cara/Daini situation, I promise.

The Brains meanwhile spread the information around, though Hayley wasn’t exactly confident whether she could trust George enough to follow through with his plans. And while she searched her brain to try and find a way this isn’t also the best move for George, she struggled and as such, felt like it had to be a good idea to follow his lead.

At tribal council Emmett’s confidence was in full force while Baden admitted that despite the apparent numbers advantage for the Brains, a couple of them had sadly jumped ship. George tried to give non answers to keep everyone happy and zen, without spooking anything. Kez admitted the vote is split in half, but she would be voting for trust while Dani was just straight up confident. Speaking of Emmett, he said the Brains five are the biggest threat to him because he’s never tested trust with them before Hayley tried to boss the situation and point out that she has the hidden immunity idol and as such, won’t be going home despite their confidence.

George implored both sides to stick to the plan while Kez agreed they all just needed to power on ahead. Emmett doubled down, assuring Jonathan that everyone in his alliance is on the same page and ready to move forward. Flick meanwhile knows that the game is about deceit, but at this stage needs to stay focused on trust. At this stage. Laura reminded everyone that she has correctly played an idol in the past, while Hayley agreed it is hard to do but they need to keep it random to try and outwit the Brawn majority. Kez continued to preach loyalty and admitted that she is not worried, before Hayley reminded everyone only one person wins this game and as such, sticking with a super majority is kinda the worst possible idea for all of them.

With that the tribe voted, Hayley listened to George and played her idol for Laura, ultimately negating eight votes cast against her. This made the Brawns very nervous, though poor Kez wasn’t nervous enough to play her idol. After the eight Laura votes were read, the rest were split between Dani and Kez with Queen Kez ultimately booted from the game before she passed her idol off to Flick – is this legal?! – after Wai asked her to leave some pants for her to wear like a successful Angelina/Natalie jacket moment.

Like Simon before her, Kez is just such a delightfully fun person, that she didn’t let a blindside get her down as she happily arrived at Loser Lodge. I pulled her in for a hug and told her how gutted I was to see her go, though grateful that she would no doubt appear on an All Stars soon. And while it seems to have become my go-to platitude, do you honestly think Simon and Kez aren’t locks to return?!

Though maybe that is because I know Kez so well. You see, we first met about five years ago on the bodybuilding circuit – I also trained Teresa Guidice, which is another story for another time – and we just became the best of friends. Mainly because she is a damn boss and I have a passion for riding coattails. Given she lived in the bush for four weeks with only bikepants, I knew that she would need something fiery to warm her up post boot and as such, quickly plated her a Chicken Kezadilla McGee or two.

Like Kez, a quesadilla is the ‘fun one’ of Mexican cuisine and well, this is quite a stellar one at that. A little bit spicy – to quote Daini – dripping in sour cream and paired with a whack of citrus and a tonne of cheese, this is near perfection. Like my Queen Kez.

Enjoy! 

Chicken Kezadilla McGee
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g chicken thighs, diced
4 chipotle chillies in Adobo Sauce
400g can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
8 large tortillas
1-2 cups Lady Guagamole
1-2 cups Pico de Vincent Gallo
½ cup sour cream
jack cheese, to taste
1 lime, cut into eighths

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and once hot, saute the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the chicken and cook, stirring intermittently for a further five minutes, or until browned. Add the chipotles and diced tomatoes, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season and remove from heat.

To assemble, place about ¼-½ cup of the chicken on each tortilla and spread over half, while spreading guac on another half. Divide pico de gallo between the tortillas, followed by sour cream and a generous heap of cheese. Fold in half to form a semicircle.

To cook, brush a large griddle with oil and place it over high heat. Once scorching, reduce to medium-low and one at a time, cook each quesadilla for a couple of minutes on each side, or until crisp and cooked through.

Remove from heat, squeeze with some lime juice and devour while piping hot.


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Kale Shannon Slawson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Salad, Snack, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, well and truly on the outs Laura and Rachel went for a cheeky walk and what do you know, they found an idol. Sadly for them, it was under the watchful eye of George. Jonathan decided to cause a little chaos and switched up the tribes, with new Brawn still taking out immunity despite now having Wai and Hayley – self proclaimed not-Brawns – in their midst. Cara returned to the Brains tribe and along with Geroge, joined the Brawns to get rid of one of the Brains girls that were formerly controlling their tribe. However George confused the hell out of everyone while teeing up the split vote and after Laura correctly played her idol for Rach, Cara’s accidental vote for Laura inadvertently sent Big D from the game.

Back at camp the tribe was in absolute shock, none more so than Kez who was heartbroken to lose her friend Daini. Standing around the fire, Cara eventually admitted it was her mistake that cost him the game and while everyone appeared to laugh it off, me thinks Queen Kez may hold a grudge. And well, I hate the thought of my two Queens feuding.

The next day things were moderately less dramatic as the tribe napped, George meandered the camp and Cara was straight up embarrassed by her stuff up. Her plan was to lay as low as possible and avoid anyone holding it against her. Sadly for her, George was desperate to raise her up and spin the situation – very vocally – to take the heat off her and in turn, keep their new alliance safe.

Meanwhile in the billabong Rachel and Laura were celebrating their lucky win, though realised they were still in a shitty situation. And as such, decided to try and turn the former Brawns against Cara ASAP. Sadly for them, they had their own situation going on as Georgia became painfully ill and well, the poor thing looked like death.

Over at the Brawn Camp, Andrew was joyously fishing while Hayley worried about their extreme numbers disadvantage. As such, she got together with Andrew to renew their bond and make sure he was willing to put everything aside and find a crack in the old Brawn tribe. Speaking of the former Brawns, Shannon was ride or die with the Brawns, though did assure us that she was still looking to get rid of Simon ASAP and make sure she beats him. Which, TBH, doesn’t bode well for her survival tonight, right? Or his I guess.

In any event, we’re getting some form of resolution to this storyline tonight – I feel it in me waters, Kim.

My love Jonathan arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes were gagged to discover that not only did Cara’s mistake screw Daini, but that tribal immunity is on hold for the episode and instead they would all be competing as individuals. As both tribes are going to tribal and both of them are voting someone out, with two winners from each tribe getting champagne in addition to immunity. The challenge? Well they have to make their way through an obstacle course and then pair up to cross parallel balance beams before tossing sacks and landing them on a table. First two to finish from each tribe scoring victory.

Before the challenge even began, Georgia opted out due to her illness. When it came to the challenge, both tribes were neck and neck through the obstacles until everyone on Brawn powered ahead, leaving Wai alone on the balance beam. Until Queen Chelsea came back and kindly helped. While everyone on Brains continued to work together until the end of the challenge, Brawns started to split off as Baden and Simon started tossing their sacks.  Andrew and Baden were first to sling a sack on Brawn, while Kez soon followed on Brains. They were joined by Gerald, Dani and then SLAY, Wai! It was back and forth as people landed their bags and knocked them off until Andrew scored one of the first immunities followed by Wai, much to the delight of the rest of her tribe. Which is just so nice.

Oh and on the Brains, Emmett won immunity and then started gossiping with Simon while Hayley joined Georgia on the bench to do the same. More importantly, Queen Rach was next to jag herself immunity. As the victors exited stage left to enjoy their champagne reward, poor Georgia was loaded into an ambulance to get checked out, much to the fears of her tribemates.

Arriving at the bush bar, the group were delighted by their tasting plate more so than the dranks. Which is concerning, but whatever. In any event, Rachel was planning to use her time at the bar to charm Emmett and try to get him to get rid of either Cara and George. And he immediately agreed, so I guess we can just call this episode a day, then. Go home Jonathan, one of the tribals is all sorted!

Back at Brains Laura was thrilled her mate Rach was living it up with the champagne, though was worried about what was going on with Georgia. And just like that, Jonathan appeared to announce that Georgia is being temporarily pulled from the game for observation and as per rules, has 24 hours to return before forfeiting her place. And as such, won’t be voting at tribal council and also can’t be booted.

While it is good that we can make sure she is safe, Laura realised that meant that she was the only target left now, so needed to desperately find a crack. She started working with Gerald and Kez and after barely even trying, had Kez on board given she is still enraged to have lost Daini. Before we could learn more, Emmett and Rachel returned from the reward with Rach thanking everyone for giving her the real reward, seeing how they all lifted each other up at the challenge. Ugh, isn’t she the sweetest?

After noticing Georgia was gone, Rachel and Laura went for a walk to exchange all the latest intel, glad that everyone was seemingly ready to get rid of Cara. Emmett and Kez meanwhile had their own chat, with the former admitting that all he cares about is the two of them and Gerald making the merge and as such, he doesn’t actually care who gets voted out between Cara and Laura. And given Cara fucked up, they were more interested in getting rid of her.

We next checked in with the Brawns with Hayley glad that both of their immunities went to former Brains and as such, have more leverage despite not having the numbers. As such, she went for the most bold move and told everyone that the Brains were planning to vote four strong and since two of them are immune, she plans to do scissor, paper, rock to decide who she plays the idol on between her and Baden and as such, the Brawns should start a conversation with them to decide who to get rid of out of their group.

She and Baden then went for a walk, with Baden excited to just lock in a name while Hayley cautioned him to wait and see who is the first to break ranks and talk to them. Speaking of which, Shannon and Flick were catching up with Simon and talking about how to proceed with both suggesting they play his idol and join with them to the Brains and sacrifice Chelsea instead. Which he readily agreed to after they assured him that they can bring Dani back in after the vote.

But psych, he didn’t plan on following through with that at all, taking Dani and Celsea to the well to let them know everything. And then suggest they all load their votes on Baden, which annoyed Dani, because she feels like this would actually be the perfect time to get rid of Shannon instead. And you know, assert her dominance on the tribe. 

Meanwhile Shannon and Flick were first to get to Hayley and Baden, immediately offering up Chelsea as the boot. As they left, Simon, Chelsea and Dani replaced them and pitched getting rid of Shannon. And just like that, Hayley and Baden were spoilt for choice. Both options being good, because Chelsea and Dani are a tight pair, while Shannon is a big threat. But to Hayley, keeping a threat around isn’t the worst thing at this point.

Once Wai and Andrew returned they were pulled aside by Hayley and quickly caught up on all of her and Baden’s handiwork, with them excited to take power just by instilling them with enough fear.

Both tribes descended on tribal council with Jonathan catching the Brawns up on the situation with Georgia before getting right down to business. Cara spoke about her guilt in sending Daini home due to her stupid mistake, not wanting anyone to think it was deliberate move on her part. Emmett meanwhile denied getting chatty at the reward, given they were too busy eating. Rachel on the other hand was just glad to be safe and wanted to contribute to the conversation to help them keep the tribe strong. 

On the flipside, Laura was shitting her pants as the odd one out on the tribe, fully expecting to go home next. Particularly since Emmett is confident that the alliance have a strong plan that they will execute perfectly. Despite that, Cara was still nervous and while George tried to raise her up, the Brawns weren’t so forgiving. Dani was emphatic about the fact she would have immediately booted Cara for her mistake, with Cara assuring her tribe that she knows the plan and will not make a mistake again. 

We checked in with the Brawn tribe with Shannon excited to see where things stand post swap. Hayley gagged Jonathan by yet again announcing her plan to the entire tribal council, delighting Emmett and George while making the OG Brawns on her tribe very nervous. Flick herself was worried about making a mistake at tribal council and going home, while Simon was straight up terrified, though continued to highlight how strong he is in the hope that nobody targets him. 

To keep things interesting, Shannon outed Simon’s idol and said that should he play his idol, Brains too could have their plans blown up. Dani just spoke about being Brawns strong while Shannon was confident they would make things work. Hayley admitted that she is getting very nervous, with Shannon telling her that all the conversations she had today are truthful. And Dani just said that she can trust her. While Baden was just hopeful that the division in the tribe won’t be down tribal lines after tonight.

With that the tribes voted, Baden and Hayley hung on to their/Hayley’s idol before Laura found herself voted out of the Brains tribe. But then when Jonathan immediately started reading the Brawn votes – and given there were still ten minutes left – it was obvious a twist was afoot, despite the Brawns voting out Shannon.

We then learnt that while Laura and Shannon were both voted out, only one would be booted from the game and that decision will be made by the four immune people. With that, Rachel, Emmett, Wai and Andrew were required to make a unanimous decision on who to boot and should they not be able to, the girls battle it out with a fire making challenge. And while Andrew and Rachel were keen to save Laura, Wai gagged everyone by voting for Shannon to stay. And while Emmett wanted fireworks by way of the challenge, he also wanted Shannon to stay to keep OG Brawn strong. Something Simon, Dani and Chelsea clearly don’t care about anymore.

Then Simon happened, stepping in to tell Emmett that Shannon threw all the former Brawns under the bus as soon as the challenge ended and as such, Emmett was the one making a shit move. Which miraculously led to both Wai and Emmett backpedalling on their decisions, saving Laura and instead sending Shannon from the game as the eighth boot for her disloyalty. Even though, yes, that is the point of the game. But so is using it to further yourself. 

Why did I go on that tangent? You know that.

Anyway, I saw Shannon arrive at Loser Lodge and while I was heartbroken my dear friend’s dream was over, I was glad to be able to hang with each other. You see, Shan and I are the absolute best of friends, given we’re both influencers – remember, I am the OG Celeste Barber … who also went to my school but that is a story for another day, ya’ dig?

So Shan and I are best friends and spoiler alert, this season was meant to be Blood vs Water and we were scheduled to compete but then ‘rona happened and they went in a different direction. And since there is no beauty tribe and there is no way you can spin me as strong, I was dropped. But given I’m so critical to the health and wellbeing of the casts, that is probably for the best.

Seriously, what is with the tangents today? You know the drill, I told Shan she played a killer game, she is an absolute star and I love her. Then got down to nourishing her soul with a big ol’ Kale Shannon Slawson.

I know, I know. You don’t make friends with salad. But when they taste this good, you HAVE to make an exception. Tart, fresh and packed full of flavour, this is just what you need to dull your post boot pain.

Enjoy!

Kale Shannon Slawson
Serves: 2 stunning influencers, but would also suffice for 6 people for dinner as a side.

Ingredients
4 cups kale, washed and shredded
1 cup red cabbage, washed and shredded
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 small red onion, diced
⅓ cup craisins
½ cup slivered almonds
3 tbsp pepitas
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
1⁄4 cup tahini
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the kale, red cabbage, carrot, red onion, craisins, almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Meanwhile, whisk literally everything else together in a jug.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to combine and then serve.

And then devour, obvi.


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Mitchroom Shawiss Burger

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Burgers, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor poor George was still left right out despite a string of hero moments in the last couple of immunity challenges. Though thankfully for him, he did manage to find a hidden immunity idol despite Baden finding the clue hidden away at camp. At the immunity challenge Benny became the bane of everyone’s existence due to moving letters – which were incorrect anyway, as an aside – and as such, Simon quickly turned everyone against him. After Big D flipped to the other side in the first round, Shannon and Queen Kez joined their rivals to boot Benny from the game.

We kicked things off at the Brawn tribe where the group were living their best lives as Gerald served his sexiest model poses. All while Simon looked on, heartbroken that he is no longer the zaddy of the tribe. While Gerald was feeling irritated that Shannon flipped the night before, he assured us that he was still loyal to his majority alliance and as such, just wanted Simon to chill out with the grumps and keep things as jovial as possible. That being said, Gerald was also committed to keeping an eye on Simon, given he is clearly on the hunt for an idol and as such, the majority can’t afford to let him get it. Sadly for Simon, as soon as he spotted the idol he was under the watchful eyes of Flick and Kez, so he couldn’t make a grab for it yet. 

Though mere moments later, fate clearly intervened as they left and he returned to the tree where it was hidden, grabbed it and was buoyed by hope.

Over at camp Brains, Joey was thrilled to hit double digits though was desperate to score a reward for their tribe given he is so overwhelmed by hunger. That being said, he is sitting pretty in the tribe and doesn’t have to worry about getting the boot and as such, he assured us that he can persevere. We then learnt he works in finance, but that means nothing because he planned to go to the next challenge in drag, wearing his buff as a top and as such, my basement is flooded and I’m questioning everything I know.

The tribes met up with my love Jonathan for the reward challenge which would see them log-roll for a bountiful feast of toasties. Which immediately had the Brains dripping, but hopefully that translates to dripping back at camp as they jaff things up. First to face off were Flick and Hayley with the latter once again defeating a professional athlete in a challenge to give the Brains a lead. Sadly that was it for Brains domination as Emmett destroyed Andrew – who ended up cracking his nads on the log on the way out before Simon straight up challenged Joey to the next round and quickly destroyed him. That left Dani to defeat Cara for the win, which she did though not because she tried to scare her off the log Scooby Doo style.

Back at the Brawns camp the tribe were thrilled to see their newest loot and giddy to get down to whipping up their sandie jays. None were happier than Simon though, given he was sitting pretty with an idol AND then found a second one in their reward as he collected hessian sacks that he could use for fishing. He was confident nobody saw him and returned to camp to smugly eat the sandwich as King Gerald shared with us that he saw the entire thing play out. The rest of the tribe meanwhile fried up their toasties while Daini worried whether he should feel bad for the Brains, rather than protesting a lockdown and making the COVID situation worse.

Speaking of the Brains, George and Cara were bonding over their upbeat vibes while Baden grew tired of being hungry. And you know, the fact that he couldn’t find the idol he has a clue for since he is currently riding solo just like George. If only the duo put their differences aside, aligned and got to work taking over the game. And reading my mind, George decided now was the time to check in with Baden and as such, caught up with him by the billabong to see how he was feeling. As they cracked it out doing yoga, George shared that he had found the idol without a clue and while Baden was glad to be put out of his misery, he was more grateful that George shared intel with him and as such, he too has hope in the game.

My beloved Jonathan met up with the tribes once again where this time they had to race to release a series of balls, catch them, play skee ball, carry it through a mud pit and then land it in a suspended pyramid. And Brains, there is no puzzle, so I worry you’re in danger. That being said, Brains got out to a 5-2 advantage in the ball section of the challenge, so maybe I’m wrong again. Wait, nope. While they were first to get to the skee ball section, Brawn took the lead as George struggled to land his ball. While they eventually got to the final apparatus, they were no match for Brawn who finally snagged their second immunity challenge win with minimal competition.

Back at camp the Brains were heartbroken to have another immunity loss and while George was feeling the heat since he single handedly lost the challenge,  he has the idol so was completely unbothered by things. And since the rest of the tribe are focused on taking him and only him out, this isn’t ending well for someone else. Joey meanwhile was confident in his numbers and well, Joey girl, you in danger I guess. He caught up with his allies by the water and quickly locked in the vote for George, while George decided to get politicking, quickly pulling a counter alliance together against Andrew, Joey, Georgia and Laura.

As the rest of the tribe bonded by the fire, George disappeared to go get water and then returned to camp wearing his immunity idol in an iconic, bold move. As everyone started to shit their pants. While everyone tried to act confident that he may not play the idol, he lay in the sun waiting for someone to come and talk to him. While they sat in camp mocking his move. With that, George instead pulled Cara and Wai aside to talk about voting for Joey or Laura. Cara opted to go and try woo Rachael and Hayley, while the cool kids suggested Mitch was a good option to vote out instead. Given he is so focused on being the leader, which is something they don’t want to deal with.

The four then approached Rachel to woo her on side and while Rach was keen, she was also listed as fifth at best before they got to her and that feels obvious. She then caught up with George, who quickly got the politician hat on, assuring her that this is the time to prove loyalty to each other and to show trust. While Rachel was just thrilled to be the swing vote with Hayley, as they appeared to prefer to get the vote off Laura and instead on to someone else. But I’m often wrong, so prepare for Laura to be savagely booted despite us never getting to know her.

At tribal council George was still rocking the idol with an open shirt look and was almost selling it, while Joey was still cranking up the energy to an 11 just like Kate Ceberano in a radio interview (another story for another time). He did admit that things started to get nervous at camp, while Rachel agreed that coming to tribal is a chance to see where everyone stands. Laura admitted there are personality clashes in the tribe, while Cara countered by saying the relationships are fluid and that people continue to evolve. Joey disagreed and said that there are definitely firm names assigned to the alliances, with Rach agreeing things were happening while Mitch felt that his relationships are post-alliance. Which is never a great thing to think in Survivor.

Rachel admitted that the length of time between their first vote and now has complicated things while George charmingly pretended that he didn’t have an idol before reminding everyone that the vote is about drawing a line in the sand and as such, they need to trust who they trust and just embrace it. Mitch reiterated that George is pretty much off the table, while Joey suggested that he doesn’t care about George wanting to make another tribal council about him despite feeling nervous about the power of the idol. Joey then got savage talking about how George saved five people at the first tribal but somehow ended up with no allies and as such, he wasn’t concerned about anything George tries to pull off.

Though George gave zero Fs, given he is playing the game differently to other people and therefore doesn’t care about Joey’s shade. Wai questioned whether the idol would get played while Rachel didn’t worry whether George would play his idol. While George just wanted Jonathan to acknowledge his body-ody-ody. Before Hayley reiterated that trust is all that anyone cares about and as such, that is what it is about tonight. And Andrew just wanted everyone to get along.

With that, the tribe voted, George played his idol – needlessly, might I add – as four votes landed on Laura and the rest on Dr Mitch, sending him from the game. Much to his confusion, shock and the shady commentary about the brutal blindside from Geroge. As Mitch cussed him out as he exited tribal council, unaware that George had nothing to do with the vote.

By the time Mitch arrived in my arms at loser lodge he was a little less angry, I assume because he got to see me, his dear Brisbane friend. You see, I was pretending to lecture as medical school when Mitch was training and while I was swiftly fired in shame, Mitch saw me as the broken person that I am and as such, tried to look out for me. Which eventually developed into a friendship. Aka a tale as old as time. Anyway, I knew that Mitch would be fanging for some comfort after his brutal blindside and as such, whipped up a big batch of our traditional Mitchroom Shawiss Burgers.

I had never thought of popping a mushie on a burger – unless it was the vego star of the dish, obvi – until I experienced the magic, beauty of Five Guys. A glorious place where bags are topped with fries and you get to decide every single element you can add on a burger. And lets just say, mushies, swiss and some onions are a near perfect trio to elevate a burg.

Enjoy!

Mitchroom Shawiss Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 cup button mushrooms, roughly chopped
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
4 Briocher Bünsberg
⅓ cup Shayonnaise Swain
4-8 slices swiss cheese

Method
In a small saucepan, heat a lug of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sweat for about ten minutes, or until soft, sweet and caramelised. Reduce heat to low and keep warm, adding dashes of water if they start to catch.

Meanwhile, heat another lug of olive oil in another saucepan or frying pan and once hot, add the mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until the mushrooms release all their liquid and suck it back up again.

When you’re almost ready to eat, scrunch the mince in your hands and then form into 4 hockey pucks. Brush the remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Once scorching, sprinkle salt and pepper on the tops of the patties and add seasoned side down in the pan. Immediately flatten with a metal spatula until 1cm thickness and immediately season the other side of the patties. After a couple of minutes, flip the patties, top with swiss cheese and cook for another minute or so until they’re the desired doneness.

To assemble, toast the inside of the buns, spread each side with some mayo, top with the cheesy patty, some onion and the mushroom.

Then devour, greedily.


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