Roast Liamba Wallace

Main, Survivor, Survivor 41, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor the tribe came back together after their split tribal councils with Deshawn and Shan’s trust levels at an all time low. Despite having a beautiful discussion about playing the game for more than themselves, they agreed that they will continue to work on their trust though they knew that they both posed a threat to the other’s game. Wanting to weaken Shan, her alliance decided that getting rid of Ricard was their best plan, which obviously meant he won immunity. After Liana spilled the deets to Shan, she in turn told Ricard and rather than be reassured that she had his back, he worked with Erika to rally everyone but Liana to band together and get rid of the biggest threat, Shan.

After tribal council Danny and Deshawn quickly pulled Liana aside to discuss the blindside and smooth things over with their ally. Liana asked for a simple explanation as to why they flipped on her, with Danny explaining that it was Ricard’s plan and that the numbers were already against them, so they either joined the minority or risked the target moving to them. While Xander, Ricard, Heather and Erika quietly celebrated taking control back in the shelter. Xander assured them that he would use his advantages to benefit this newfound alliance and damn, is this overconfidence going to backfire on him next? After Liana returned to camp, Deshawn shared his frustrations with Danny about Shan calling him a snake. He then returned to the shelter and asked Ricard why she wasn’t pressed about his betrayal as well, with Ricard calmly explaining that they always knew they would have to cross each other and that she understood because her alliance’s plan led to his speeding up the process to target her.

But Deshawn did wisley – unwittingly or not – reiterate that Shan told Ricard he would have her vote in the end which isn’t something you want to hear if you were considering facing him in the end. 

The next day Ricard pulled Deshawn aside and suggested that he was coming off as paranoid and advised him to calm down, with Deshawn reiterating that it was a witting decision to paint said target on Ricard’s back, though did vow to calm down. Deshawn then caught up with Liana and assured her that they are together and he will never write her name down and while they looked all friendly, she was still fired up to get revenge on him.

We then checked in on Danny who opened up that it was the 25th anniversary of his father’s death and while he usually tries to keep himself busy, there is nowhere to hide in the game and he finally has to acknowledge his feelings. He shared that he always resented his father for dying and despite knowing there was nothing he could control, he missed him and realised he needs to move forward and live for his legacy.

And fuck Danny, why you got me ugly crying so early in the episode?!

Jeffrey arrived to loop us in on a new twist the castaways were about to face at the immunity challenge. Each castaway would have the choice whether they would participate but should they do, the first person to drop out would have to face a ‘Do or Die’ twist where their fate is decided by a game of chance. Should they win, they are also immune at the upcoming vote but should they lose, they are out of the game and tribal council is cancelled. Oh and to make it more triggering, the challenge was the one that cost Cirie and Malcolm Micronesia and Philippines, respectively. You know, you hold up cylinders between blocks and balance a ball with the last one standing winning.

Heather and Liana decided the risk was too great and jumped on over to the sit out bench leaving Erika and the boys to battle for immunity. Almost instantly Deshawn dropped, leaving him to face the coin flip of destiny, as I would have preferred it be called. Erika dropped just before the end of the next phase, while everyone else made it to the final round. As the wind picked up, Ricard and Xander dropped in unison, handing Danny his first immunity of the season. And why am I crying thinking about how proud his dad would be without him even saying anything?

Back at camp the tribe started to prepare for the option of Deshawn surviving the coin flip as he gladly admitted he is either safe or he can say he was never voted out. Danny opened up to Deshawn and admitted that he was so grateful he was able to make his father proud at the challenge before pivoting to a plan to get rid of Ricard. As such, Danny pulled Xander aside to float the idea of turning on Ricard at the upcoming vote and while he agreed Ricard is a threat, he also knew that he was the next biggest threat and with Ricard gone, Xander is the one they’d be coming for. Xander instead wanted to target Liana, though Danny reminded him that she is a non-entity and they can always deal with her later.

With that Xander and Erika caught up, with the latter reminding him that Ricard is a threat to both of them winning, though the question remains about the right time to pull the trigger. Xander and Ricard caught up and they both warned the other that both their names were out there, while they agreed that as long as their alliance sticks together, there is no risk and Liana will go home. Well, unless she plays her Shot in the Dark. And poor Erika just continued to go back and forth between which way to go.

At tribal council Jeff filled the jury in on the Do or Die twist before Liana spoke about how she didn’t sit out of the challenge because she felt safe, but because she hasn’t been doing great at them and as such, the risk was too high. Then Heather put that sentiment in a far less eloquent way, reading the people on the jury for being worse than her and as such, she had no flops left in the game to guarantee her safety. Essentially. Xander spoke about how much he is loving all the twists thrown at them while Danny is just glad to be immune, despite worrying about his closest ally being at risk. Jeff gagged them all with the fact it is their last chance to play their Shot in the Dark, which made Erika super nervous given there is so much to navigate around. And well, today is one of the days she totally hates the game.

Deshawn opened up about why he played the immunity challenge, sharing with the jury that he felt his confrontation with Ricard after the last tribal wasn’t him at his best and as such, he knew he was in trouble. This led to Ricard stepping in pointing out that Shan came to him to get rid of Deshawn and as such, that is what set the wheels in motion. Deshawn started to break down over the fact he had to turn on Shan to further his game despite wanting to stick with his culture. 

Liana agreed that in life and playing Survivor, she is always a black woman first and foremost and that puts bias on how people treat her and as such, they have so much more pressure on them to do better and be the representation they didn’t have growing up. Danny agreed that the alliance was so much more than that and that he looked forward to them starting a broader conversation outside the game. 

Xander thanked them for sharing and acknowledged his privilege in not having to represent any cultures and was aware how much easier life is for him, leading to Danny thanking him for being such a great ally. Heather jumped in and shared her gratitude for Deshawn being so open, apologising – for what, I wonder – and sharing how grateful she is to be learning from her fellow castaways. Liana spoke to the audience and apologised for bringing the real world into the game, but reminded those haters that this is the world and Survivor has always meant to be a microcosm of society and as such, these are important conversations.

Finally Jeffrey set up the Do or Die twist which tragically wasn’t a coin flip, but instead three boxes laid out in front of Probst. One box contained safety, while the other two contained Deshawn’s demise. Somehow, Deshawn shockingly defied the odds and guaranteed himself a spot in the final six. With that, the game continued and the tribe voted, with Erika sticking with her alliance and sending Liana from the game.

Despite the heavy, emotional tribal council, Liana had her head held high when she arrived in Ponderosa and was proud of how well she played the game. While I’ve only known Liana a short while – we crossed paths in DC when I was meeting with Michelle Obama about a business deal after Barack left office – her kindness is something I truly love, so I was glad to be able to help dull the post-boot pain with a Roast Liamba Wallace.

Honestly, there is nothing better than a perfectly cooked roast lamb. Despite being more a sausages and mince kinda carnivore, roast lamb is something that I will never go past. Plus, how damn good as the cold leftovers on a little sandy-j with a really punchy mustard?

Enjoy!

Roast Liamba Wallace
Serves: 6, plus leftovers, ideally.

Ingredients
1.6kg boned leg of lamb
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 large sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tbsp flour
½ cup dry cinzano
½-1 cup chicken stock

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C. 

Using a paring knife, make six holes 2cm deep and 2cm long in the lamb and press a clove of garlic inside. Carefully rub the leg of lamb with some of the oil and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with the rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper before placing the lamb in the oven for an hour or so for medium.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate before covering with foil to rest for 15 minutes.

While that is happening, remove the rack from the pan and place the pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to form a roux, using your judgement on how much flour is needed. Whisk in the cinzano and half the stock, scraping all the baked on goodness from the pan for optimal umami goodness. Cook, stirring, for five minutes or so, adding additional stock as needed until the gravy is at your desired thickness.

Once the lamb is well rested, carve and serve with your favourite veggies, completely slathered in gravy. Then devour.


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Falafel Tiffanyiros Seely

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

Previously on Survivor the three tribes converged with Jeff, not to merge, but to live through a complicated double-episode to get to merge. You see, the tribeless castaways were split into groups, competed in a challenge and exiled Erika who then had the power to flip the results of the challenge meaning she and the losing group were all immune and guaranteed passage to the merge while the former victorious six were to compete in the first immunity challenge of the season. Ricard won immunity which led to bedlam back at camp as Liana and Shan’s super majority planned to get rid of former Yase Evvie. Sadly for them, the plan went awry as Xander passed his idol to Tiffany so that Liana couldn’t steal his idol, which made everyone nervous enough to split the votes between Evvie and Sydney. And while Xander didn’t play his idol, Sydney did play her Shot in the Dark but sadly came up short as she exited the competition.

And then the remaining castaways officially merged to form the Viakana tribe.

Back at camp Xander and Evvie were thrilled by how expertly they got Liana to burn her advantage and save themselves. He was less thrilled about the fact Evvie had shared the information about his idol with Deshawn on their little adventure, making him question whether he can trust Evvie and Tiffany moving forward. Evvie meanwhile was heartbroken to have lost their relationship with Liana, given she was the one they vibed with best on OG Yase.

The next morning Evvie caught up with Deshawn as the first step of their apology tour, assuring him that there are no hard feelings between them. When they made it to Shan, she admitted that she thought Yase were a tight knit group so was shocked by how quickly Liana flipped on them. Tiffany and Liana meanwhile were catching up while Xander assured Shan that he and Liana have no connection moving forward while Evvie too was scrambling to try and make new bonds. Deshawn, Erika and Heather meanwhile went for a walk to get water with Deshawn assuring them that he isn’t buying the Yase trio apology and bonding tour and as such, he is ready to push them out of the game one after the other, after the other.

Jeffrey returned for the first post-merge reward challenge where they were promptly divided into two teams to compete. Oh and since the numbers were uneven, one person got to sit out on a bench where Jiffy had hidden an advantage. But back to the challenge, where each group would leap from a ramp before diving to retrieve puzzle pieces. They then load the pieces into a boat, row them to a pontoon and then solve the puzzle. While Erika drew the odd rock to sit out, Xander took pity on her, offering to trade out with her and forgo his chance at a sweet grilled cheese reward. Oh and he didn’t even find the poorly hidden advantage, which given he is a super fan, I find disappointing.

But anyway, the yellow team got out to an early lead thanks to Liana and Shan however it quickly was blown by poor Heather slowing things down. Proving that she only gets airtime when she is bombing a challenge. Both tribes, sorry groups, were neck and neck as they made their way to the puzzle deck and then, given Evvie had practiced the exact puzzle at home, they solved it in a matter of minutes and won reward for them, Erika, Ricard, Danny and Deshawn.

Back at camp Erika was positively giddy to see their bountiful feast and quickly packed up to eat it away from the jealous eyes of the losers. Who coincidentally all lost but a week before. Tiffany was angry, Shan and Liana were crying while Xander tried to make sure they were all ok. Making an extremely quick turn around, Shan dried her tears and was feeling galvanised in the game, focused on the fact she is here to win rather than eat toasties. Shan took a plan to Liana and Naseer before roping in Xander, who admitted that he likes missing out on winning rewards because being left with the losers, they are normally emotional and open to flipping.

Not upset by the loss was Naseer who was staying positive because he just didn’t want to ruin his day. Instead he collected a bounty of papaya and cheered up his group. That is until the winners returned and Ricard tried a piece of papaya, leading to Shan flipping out on him for daring to eat food that was meant for the losing group. And while I would be just as angry as Shan, it was a bit OTT. And well, Ricard just wasn’t very bright when he could have waited until nobody was looking to avoid pissing people off.

The tribe reconvened with Jeff for the immunity challenge where everyone would have to balance on their tippy toes to hold a block between their head and a beam above them. But to make things interesting, Jeff told them that they could sit out for a single portion of rice or they could negotiate a number of sit outs for Jeff to give them three-days worth of rice for the tribe. After settling on five people, Shan and Naseer were willing to give up their shot until nobody joined them. With that Xander asked Jeff to bring it down to four, assuring the group that he would sit out if just one other person joined him which was enough to get Ricard to step out.

As the four sit-outs joined the bench the rest of the tribe stepped up to their frame with Deshawn, Erika and Tiffany all dropping within seconds, begging the question, why didn’t they just offer to begin with. Danny soon followed, leaving Liana, Heather and Evvie to battle it out for victory. Just like that, I jinxed Liana and after three minutes, only two remained. Wait, no, make that after just four minutes, Evvie took out a much needed immunity victory.

Back at camp Evvie was overjoyed to have spoiled everyone’s plan to get rid of her, which meant that Liana was ready to pivot to force Xander to burn his idol and for the group to boot Tiffany instead. Shan, Naseer, Danny and Ricard caught up to lock in a split vote between Tiffany and Xander. Well, until Danny and Shan caught up with the former suggesting that they should instead split the vote between Tiffany and Naseer to blindside him before he realises he is on the bottom of their alliance. They were joined by Deshawn who quickly grew frustrated with Shan’s bossy demands, pushing instead to get rid of Xander first because he is more threatening. And, you know, Naseer is a good provider and completely non-threatening.

After the duo hashed out their differences, Shan looped in Erika and Ricard before Xander joined them and was fed the lie that the plan was to split between Naseer and Tiffany. Well until Shan looped in Naseer, who was annoyed to have his name out there and as such, Shan found Xander and told him that instead, they are now going to get rid of Heather. When Shan caught up with Erika and Heather to tell them the plan, Queen Heather emerged and flipped out on Shan for putting her name out there giving she is screwed should there be an idol-palooza.

Oh and Tiffany was just wandering around to anyone and everyone to find a friend.

At tribal council Shan shared that she stepped out of the challenge because she just wanted everyone to be able to eat. Xander agreed that he wanted to ensure people that are struggling without food got to enjoy something – a genius reminder that some are starving and a few people are banking up the rewards – while Naseer just wanted everyone to be happy rather than safe. Heather and Tiffany both admitted that they didn’t step down because they feel like they could be on the block tonight. Danny meanwhile was feeling like the divisions weren’t clearcut and given how wild things played out at the last tribal council, he is ready to explode with nerves.

Then Shan said that she was just waiting for a comment to drop before everyone went nuts with paranoia. Evvie admitted that they have not been approached by anyone ahead of tribal council, while Danny said that he isn’t buying that they are feeling defeated given the Yases made a huge theatrical play about loyalty at the last tribal council before running around camp the next day swearing they were out to get one another. While Evvie argued that they were left to die by Xander and Tiffany at the last tribal council, I don’t think it was enough to convince Danny they were actually against each other.

Erika admitted that things are still new for the merged tribe and as such, even when plans are set, there is uncertainty right up until the torch is snuffed. Just as Jeff was sending everyone off to vote, Heather jumped up and started whispering to anyone and everyone to push the vote on Naseer while Ricard continued to tell Xander he should play his idol. When Shan learnt that Heather was planning to flip the vote to Naseer, she instead told everyone they should band together to get rid of Heather instead. While everyone else was on board with that plan, Deshawn wasn’t happy and then was patronised by Shan while Ricard just opted to beg Xander to burn his idol.

With this week’s annoying whispers out of the way, the tribe voted and despite all the chaos and showboating of tribal council, Tiffany – the original target – found herself exiting the game to become the Queen of Ponderosa. And boy did my heart break.

As Tiffany arrived at Ponderosa, I started to sob until she pulled me in for a hug and assured me that everything will be ok. That set me off on an epic rant, as it reminded me that actually, not everything will be ok because the intended Queen of the Season has had to settle for ruling Ponderosa. I mean, sure, that is one of the best places to land but given how iconic and entertaining Tiffany has been thus far, I wanted better for her. Instead, she got rewarded with a delicious Falafel Tiffanyiros Seely.

I have a passion for any food that you can add fries into, so a yiro that includes both regular fries and halloumi fries is perfection. The salty cheese, the spicy falafel and the creamy raita go perfectly to turn a day around. And make you feel like a winner.

Enjoy!

Falafel Tiffanyiros Seely
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Jud Beerza Battered Fries
1-2 cups Jack Falafelee
4 fresh Pita Andre Breads
½ cup Greek yoghurt
125g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1 Lebanese cucumber, deseeded, grated and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
juice and zest of a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g halloumi, cut into batons
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 baby cos, leaves torn and washed

Method
Start by prepping the fries, falafel and pita breads as per Jud, Jack and Peter’s recipes. Or, you know, get the store bought ones prepped.

Combine the yoghurt, feta, cucumber, garlic and lemon juice and zest. Season to taste, cover and pop in the fridge to chill.

Next heat a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and once hot, fry the halloumi for a few minutes each side until crisp and golden on each side.

To make your yiro, smear some tzatziki on your pita, top with some chips, halloumi, tomato, onion and parsley, followed by some falafel and another slather of tzatziki.

Wrap tightly and devour, like the Queen of Ponderosa.


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River Mediterranean Salad

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

Previously on Drag Race UK the dolls were tasked with promoting the new home assistant, Draglexa. And girl, it was a mess. While it often feels like everyone is getting the shady edit during the filming segments, this one didn’t appear to go badly … until their commercials were played for the judges and the rattlesnake sound came out. To the point where Ru gave no one the win. Feeling extra shady, the queens were asked to announce who should go home with the dolls split on sending Scarlett and Charity home. This pissed off Scarlett, who stormed out of untucked, followed by the lip sync which was a rematch against Charity with the latter tragically felled from the competition.

Backstage Scarlett looked like she was returning from war, heartbroken to have sent her sister home though proud to show the fire within herself. River tried to keep things positive by immediately going shady and asked if anyone thought Charity should have stayed, with most of the dolls agreeing that Ru made the right decision. Scarlett complained that everyone suggested she should go home before the lip sync, with Ella trying to remind her they had to answer a question and nobody hates her, so she needs to stop moping around. Choriza spoke about the fact that wins aren’t automatically granted anymore, leaving Vanity to ask whether Choriza will stop relying on comedy and show some diversity. And well, things were about to go south before Krystal suggested they de drag and go the fuck to sleep.

The dolls were feeling far more jovial the next day, conga-ing into the new week with them acutely aware that they need to bring it this week given they kinda bombed the last challenge. Scarlett meanwhile was still feeling salty about getting flagged as the person that should go home and then a myriad of other grievances, leading to Krystal rightly calling her out for bouncing between the things that were upsetting her and damn, how is she only 19?

The fights were interrupted by Ru who dropped by to open the library and damn, that is just what they need, no? Choriza kicked off the reading challenge landing some sick burns, getting the queens mixed up the entire time. Vanity went in on Ella for being bland and Scarlett for saying like a lot. River mocked Choriza being horny and Scarlett for interrupting, Krystal was savagely hilarious, Ella was witty and lovable, Scarlett went IN on everyone for her revenge while Kitty was wild and demented and I live for her. Rightly so, Choriza took out victory before the dolls learnt that this was only just the beginning, for this week, they’d be playing Snatch Game.

The dolls split up to talk about their chosen characters, with Vanity sharing she would be playing Jocelyn Jee Esien while Krystal would be rocking Charity Shop Sue. Ru arrived to kiki with the girls with Choriza sharing that she would be playing Margarita Pracatan aka a singing version of her, who used her charm to get by. Oh but Ru would prefer her to play Cher and well, I’m confused. Ella meanwhile was going to play Mystic Meg, though Ru preferred her back-up character of Nigella Lawson, so she too was likely to change things up. Scarlett planned to do Danny Dyer, so obviously Ru wanted her to do Tilda Swinton or Macaulay Culkin. Kitty thought she would play Cilla Black, so Ru tasked her with playing the GC despite that being played by her sister Cheryl in Sheeeeason One. River was going to play Amy Childs from TOWIE, but Ru surprisingly didn’t give her a new character to do instead.

We immediately pivoted to the Snatch Game set where Judi Love and Nadine Coyle were ready to play with the dolls. Ella, Scarlett and Kitty all opted to change to Ru’s suggested characters, while Krystal, Vanity, River and Choriza held their ground on their OG choices. From the very first moments it was Ella’s show, bringing the sultry smut of Nigella that was always destined for Snatch Game greatness. Kitty was delightful and demented, Scarlett screamed her way through the challenge – in a good way – while on the other end of the panel, River, Choriza and Krystal just kinda got lost in the pack. Most importantly, Ella DID say meek-ro-wa-vay and that alone is worthy of victory.

Elimination Day rolled around with Ella proud to have slayed the Snatch Game, though felt a couple of the girls should be worried. Vanity meanwhile was triggered by the fact she had to play a character, given she had to play the character of a straight kid growing up. Kitty meanwhile shared that she never had to come out, given her parents always said she could bring a girl or boy home. Choriza meanwhile shared that she came out at 11, though it wasn’t until she was 18 that she realised that her father was holding her sexuality against her and always appeared to be angry with her. Krystal shared that she and her father never saw eye to eye, though Drag Race helped him understand who she was as a person. River meanwhile struggled with feeling that being gay is disgusting, with Ella reminding them that as queer kids, you’re constantly in a state of stress. With Scarlett agreeing that that is why she acts the way that she does now, while Ella shared that she just desperately tried to fit in and be straight.

Ru, Michelle and Graham were joined on the judging panel by the iconic Lulu – CHAMPAGNE FOR LULU – for the Feeling Fruity runway. Choriza was up first serving the most iconic Carmen Miranda inspired peach look, Krystal was the sexiest dragonfruit to grace the planet, Scarlett wore lime, though looked like an iceberg lettuce instead. River looked like a cup of Runts, Ella was a sexy, vampy watermelon, Vanity was a gorgeous African mama in a coral gown while Kitty was the juiciest cherry crossed with Little Red Riding Hood.

And Poison Ivy.

The judges lived for Choriza’s runway look, though they felt she needed to give more in Snatch Game. Krystal was praised for pushing herself in Snatch Game, though read for kind of missing the mark. And the fact she was repeating a silhouette on the runway. The judges lived for Scarlett screaming her way through Snatch Game, though was read for dressing as a lettuce. River meanwhile, was read for sticking in early-TOWIE Amy Childs and getting swallowed up by her sisters, while Michelle felt her look was crafty. Ella received universal praise for knocking Nigella out of the park and looking like a star on the runway. Vanity was read in the same way Krystal was, though was praised for looking beautiful on the runway. And Kitty, like Ella, received universal praise for start to finish. And had the judges in hysterics on the runway to boot.

Backstage Kitty was on cloud nine, thrilled to finally have her breakthrough moment in the competition. Ella too was proud of herself for nailing Snatch Game and surprising everyone with her improv skills. Choriza meanwhile was heartbroken to be read for just being there while River was disappointed to be down, but by no means was she ready to go out. Oh and Krystal was sure it would be her lip syncing, given she set such a high standard for herself in the first week’s of the competition. While Scarlett was thrilled to turn things around and prove herself again, leading to the dolls rallying around each other and ugh, I love the girls.

Ultimately Scarlett and Kitty were deemed safe, handing a well deserved victory to Ella. Vanity was sent to safety while Krystal narrowly avoided the bottom, leaving my faves River and Choriza to lip sync to Lulu’s Shout. And while I love everything about Lulu, I hate everything about this dark, dark timeline – NOT MY FAVES. 

Things only got darker as both Choriza and River were wacky and charming, but that lip sync kind of felt flat, despite Lulu living. And then when Choriza changed her wig on stage – not a reveal, changed – the timeline went pitch-black as Ru opted to send BOTH of them home. 

Some people say that you could hear my screams from outer-space at that moment, which reminds me, bravo to the editors for hiding it. And security for stopping me from getting to the mainstage as I tried to storm the get and force Ru and Michelle to change their damn minds. I could have handled one going, but both of my icons? I don’t think.

Eventually the security and on-set psychologists were able to get me calm enough to proceed with the usual culinary comfort but we agreed that it was best to do them one at a time to avoid me being triggered. As such, River was first up and immediately pointed and shuffled her way into my arms to try and lighten the mood. And while it didn’t change the sad outcome, it truly did help and I mustered a weak smile. Think SJP’s first little joke in Mexico in the SATC movie. That was my level of trauma.

After breathing my way through the pain, I was able to praise River on being one of the breakout stars of the season with her kindness, charm and raw talent. And then I realised, while she may have lost this season, she will undoubtedly win her next. Right? Right, Ru? RIGHT? With that, I was able to whip up a River Mediterranean Salad and toast to her success.

While I used to subscribe to the Springfield view of salad, this little number is a game-changing delight. Plus, it is great for a lazy person. Decadent and simple, the feta and crackers elevate the store-bought ingredients to give you a perfect mid-week (get it?) meal.

Enjoy!

River Mediterranean Salad
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup roasted capsicum, drained and torn into strips
1⁄2 cup green Sicilian olives, rinsed
⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, drained
200g Danish feta, diced
2 cups mixed salad leaf, washed and drained
1 cup rosemary and garlic crackers
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
I am lazy when it comes to salad – probably because I’d rather be having fries but I’m north of 30, so shouldn’t – so this one is pretty basic.

Chuck everything in a bowl. Toss. Serve.

Then devour. Always devour.


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Charribiata Kaseta

Main, Pasta, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 3, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Drag Race UK, poor Victoria was withdrawn from the competition due to a dodgy knee like Eureka before her. The dolls had no time to process the tragedy as they were tasked with going to camp on the runway. Sweet Veronica coached everyone to get their looks over the line, sadly cutting her nose off to spite her face with a sloppy, unfinished look. While Scarlett slayed and took out victory, Vanity once again landed in the bottom, this time opposite Veronica who fought valiantly, but was ultimately felled by the lip sync assassin.

The dolls were shell shocked as they returned to the Werk Room, heartbroken that Veronica’s kindness proved her undoing. Despite this, the dolls were proud of Vanity’s lip sync and praised her for being just as talented as Veronica. Charity led the girls in congratulating Scarlett on her win, though Scarlett was disappointed that her win was partly because Veronica helped her make her look. Choriza spoke about the disappointment of seeing Veronica go home so soon, while Vanity wished it had been Choriza in the bottom in Veronica’s place.

The next day Scarlett was thrilled to join the victorious badged twink army, with the dolls just happy that she is finally open to receiving praise. Vanity asked River how she plans to stand out, with the girls questioning her passion for the competition and ugh, I hate to see my faves Scarlett and River fight. Kitty and Choriza meanwhile were looking forward to join the badge club while Vanity was just gagging to top once in the competition.

Ru arrived to announce that this week the dolls will be forming two girl groups for the ultimate UK challenge. Scarlet as the winner and Vanity of the victorious survivor were tasked as team captains, with Scarlett, Kitty, Charity and Krystal forming one girl group while Vanity, Ella, River and Choriza were their rivals. Each group would perform different remixes of the new hit song, BDE – Big Drag Energy – with one group going up tempo, while the others got the power bottom remix. As the winner of the previous challenge, Scarlett was the one that got to listen to both remixes and pick which one she wanted for her team. Oh and the dolls would be judged by Queen, Icon, Legend – Baby Bunton!

As the dolls split up, Scarlett listened to the remixes and quickly selected the up tempo number for her team. She then rallied her crew and quickly explained that  she chose them to offer a range of diversity, while team Vanity were just desperate to prove everyone wrong and I love it. While the up tempo dolls lived for their Spice Girls-esque number, they were laughing about how shit the power bottom version is while Ella, Vanity, River and Choriza were living their best life, ready to take the win. And with the name Pick’n’Mix, how can they go wrong?

The other dolls locked in the name Slice Girls before the dolls were gagged by the arrival of freakin’ STEPS. On the Steps. They then announced that they were tasked with helping the dolls record their songs and learning their choreo for their debut performance. And ugh, UK, hun indeed.

The Slice Girls were up first recording their song with Kitty slaying from start to finish while Scarlett, girl, she struggled. Bad. Then Krystal, well, she couldn’t find a key. Not a one, before Charity jumped in and was demented and creepy and so damn charming, in an evil witch from Snow White kinda way. Pick’n’Mix didn’t do much better as Ella’s nerves took her out of her West End star roots, Vanity though slayed a damn rap about race – QUEEN – while River was cute and sweet, with old zaddy Steps talking about how much her lyrics will change lives. River then spoke about how H was that for her, breaking down and ugh, I love her so much. Ditto twofold Choriza, who served the most demented rap and I love it.

On to the choreography with Slice Girls as Kitty took the lead and while she tried to keep it simple yet impactful, Charity encouraged her to make it more impressive. Despite not being able to walk in time. Again Pick’n’Mix slayed the rehearsal, wait, no, they had no idea what they were doing, expecting Steps to give them their, well, steps. That being said, I am hoping it is a fake out given Vanity and Ella really hit their stride, bouncing off each other while River and Choriza were living their best lives. Particularly when River suggested they lean into the camp of a good old power ballad.

Elimination Day arrived with Pick’n’Mix quickly getting to work getting a consistent look, while Slice Girls were just happy to serve a touch of metallic. Ella and River caught up about their lyrics, sharing how much it means to them to get their stories out with River reliving her mother’s death from COVID and ugh, again, I love River so damn much. 

As Ru, Michelle, Alan and Baby Bunton took their places on the judges panel, the Slice Girls took the stage and well, they slayed. Krystal hit every move, Charity was demented and high-energy, Scarlett though started to miss her lyrics and damn, it makes me worry for my favourite twink. Though given how amazing Kitty was, maybe she won’t have to worry? Vanity meanwhile was just confused by everything they did as they sat backstage. And well, given how damn GOOD Pick’n’Mix were, I understand the shade. Ella hit all of the notes, Vanity was perfection, River served all the emotion and well Choriza was Choriza which is the ultimate compliment. I mean, Ella’s facial expressions and the cheesy choreo was totally Choriza. Aka perfection.

On the Night of 1000 Spice Girls runway, Krystal slayed as a baby blue Baby Spice and ugh, she is good. Charity gave sexy Scary Spice by way of Nina Bonina Brown, Kitty gave a glamorous, angelic reunion tour Baby Bunton. Scarlett was total Scary in a lime mini, Ella was a sequined delight as wannabe Sporty Spice. River slayed as an all red Ginger, complete with Stop routine. Vanity too rocked Scary, but made it CEO while Ginger was stunning in Union Jack realness.

Rightly Pick’n’Mix took out victory and were sent to untuck before the Sliceys got their critiques. Krystal received her usual universal praise, while Michelle wished she could have given more in the lyrics. Charity was read for wearing blue when everyone else was silver and white, though Alan loved that she was the rebel of the group. Her lyrics were deemed challenging at times, though her runway was praised for killing the game despite not being Mel B. At all. Kitty received universal praise; from the lyrics to the energy to her looks, the judges ate everything up. And ugh, poor Scarlett was read for filth and she knew it before it even happened. Though Michelle did try and encourage her, reminding her to stay confident and stay focused on the task at hand.

Backstage the winners were gloriously toasting their success before they realised that all the past winners had landed in the bottom this week. Choriza read Scarlett for picking the cool, girls, given they managed to bring more diverse flavour. The Slice Girls arrived backstage with Scarlett and Charity sure that they would be lip syncing tonight, with the latter heartbroken that her vibe isn’t coming through with the judges. River encouraged her to focus on her talent and not get bothered, while Kitty was just giddy to have spoken to Baby Spice despite being in the bottom. Choriza then threw some shade at Scarlett for not picking her, with Krystal admitting that she sees her as a massive threat. While Scarlett apologised repeatedly for landing her team in the bottom.

Ultimately Krystal and Kittty were sent to safety, leaving Charity and Scarlett to battle it out to the Spice Girls’ iconic anthem, Who Do You Think You Are. And holy shit balls, was it amazing. Both the dolls had every lyric down, Charity was totally demented, Scarlett had the camp and well, it was a show and I was here for every damn minute. So I was thrilled to learn that both of the dolls were safe and would live to fight another day.

Backstage the dolls were gagged by the double shantay with Scarlett thrilled to still be there, while Charity was glad to show what she does best after a string of being safe. She spoke about struggling with the negative critiques but assured them that she was here to fight, while Scarlett felt like her stint in the bottom lit a fire in her belly. Oh and Kitty was ready to finally get a badge, hopeful that an acting or comedy challenge was coming up so that she could finally prove herself

The next day Scarlett was feeling nice and spicy, ready for a rebirth while the rest of the girls were dragging her about staying at the back of the pack. She was given a reprieve by the return of RuPaul who tasked the dolls with doing it doggy style by pairing up with their best bitch to prove they are best in show. With one half getting into doggy quick drag and the other coming as their handler. Choriza and River were up first in RuPaul’s Dog Race with Choriza hilariously aggressive, Kitty was bouncing boobs and all charm as she walked Charity through the course, Krystal wanted to speak to the manager while putting Scarlett through her paces, while Ella confused her sit and shit commands from Vanity.

Scarlett and Krystal took out victory, making them team captains as the dolls filmed commercials to promote Ru’s in-home personal assistant, Draglexa. Team Scarlett featured Kitty, Choriza and Ella while Krystal was joined by River, Vanity and Charity. With that, Ru disappeared and the teams quickly split up and got to work. Scarlett opted to take the lead to redeem herself until she learned that Choriza’s degree was in advertising, which made her happily hand the reins to her. Over at Team Krystal, Charity felt nobody was taking the lead in the challenge so started throwing out concepts and project managed the entire thing, and I’m so proud of her. While back with Team Choriza, she was disappointed by Scarlett’s ideas but was willing to listen to everyone before making aggressive cuts. Which isn’t relevant, but is hilarious.

Oh and Krystal and Charity threw down over how funny the latter’s ideas are and ugh, I worry for my love Charity.

Ru made a ru-turn, first catching up with Team Krystal where Charity shared that she was shocked to be so stuck in her head in the competition. But after a quick pep-talk from Ru, she was ready for her badge. Ru had the dolls, well herself, laughing about how she has never done her own make-up. We then swapped teams with the dolls coming prepared with a storyboard before they made Ru nervous about their choice to have multiple different Draglexa voices. Oh and Choriza’s memoir will be called Bumpy Padding, Dirty Tights AND has a meaty tuck on account of her UGE penis. Which again, is important.

After RuPaul left Team Krystal started to fall apart as they tried to get ready, while Charity was stuck writing the script on her lonesome.

Team Scarlett were first to film with Michelle with Kitty charming, even while taking a shit and despite the commercial not making a lick of sense. Sadly though, the broader situation appeared to be an absolute mess. Which either means it will be hilarious or the group are all lip syncing. Charity was feeling very anxious as Team Krystal tapped out to film and well, it didn’t go much better as Charity took over to try and give them direction which only upset the rest of her team.

Elimination Day rolled around with Kitty and Scarlett bonding as the latter opened up about being raised by a sick mother and how their relationship was stressed by the fact they also had no money. She admitted that she and her mum are now close and she is supportive of her, though her mum has COPD which is at the point that it will kill her. And now she is suffering under the regret of wasting time fighting. And ugh, watching her cry breaks my damn heart.

Ru, Michelle and Alan were joined by Leigh-Anne Pinnock from Little Mix as the dolls showed off their Expenny-Henny Runways with Ella going Tony Award chique and looking an absolute delight. Scarlett was full frosty CEO, Kitty was STUNNING in a coin draped nude allusion and Choriza was a big shot at the casino n the most delgihtfully, demented Western Cowgirl way. Krystal was glittering, coated from head to toe in crystals – LIKE HER NAME – before River stole the damn show in a gorgeous red and gold South East Asian inspired gown. Charity meanwhile looked like the richest museum gargoyle, while Vanity too was dropping Krystals. 

When it came to the commercials, Team Scarlett were up first and while it wasn’t a mess, it also wasn’t very funny. Despite how hard they tried, particularly Ella. As Kitty laughed at the end of their commercial, the judges were silent if it gives you any idea. Team Krystal didn’t fare any better with River being the only one to have any charm.

This obviously infuriated Ru, who read all the dolls for filth, calling them out for being bland and beige, announcing that for the first time in Drag Race herstory, there will be no winner but assured them that there will still be a bottom two with a doll going home. Team Scarlett’s commercial was read for filth, though Ella was praised for trying her best and giving a killer look on the runway. Despite Michelle hating her wig. Scarlett was read for being predictable and bland, and the judges felt her outfit was just there. Kitty meanwhile was praised for delivering her lines well and looking great on the runway, as was Choriza but again she was praised for her charm rather than anything in particular.

AND THEN MICHELLE outlined a far better commercial in a matter of seconds.

When it came to Team Krystal, their captain was praised for going all in despite a complete lack of jokes. Both of River’s outfits received universal praise but the judges wished they saw more of her in the ad. Charity was praised for continually bringing killer looks, while Michelle desperately wanted her to show some diversity. While Vanity was praised for her commitment in the challenge and being an absolute babe, despite the fact the judges have no idea who she is.

Ru then decided to rub salt in the collective wounds, asking the girls to identify who should go home this week with Ella wanting to boot Charity for her negative mood despite receiving compliments. Scarlett too wanted Charity gone for her attitude, while Kitty was ready to get rid of Vanity due to her track record. The rest of the dolls then piled up on Scarlett, which led to Scarlett throwing out her jokes that didn’t make it into the commercial. Krystal felt Scarlett didn’t fight hard enough in the last lip sync while the rest were just annoyed by her attitude.

Backstage things got dramatic as the dolls tried to talk it out with Scarlett who looked ready to cut a bitch, refusing to acknowledge them. Ella apologised to Charity with the latter pointing out that pointing out that she is down on herself isn’t exactly motivating or a compliment. As everyone tried to say that they all had to pick someone and it was all ok, leading to Scarlett pointing out that the vast majority want her gone. And then as everyone tried to explain themselves, she stormed off, completely over it. While Choriza understood that she was angry, she also felt that storming off wouldn’t change anything. Scarlett returned and shared that she has struggled to build relationships throughout her life and while everyone tried to assure her that they love her and want to be her friend, it was not happening as they split up to learn the lip sync.

Ultimately Ella, Kitty, Chorizo, Krystal and River were deemed safe, with Vanity joining them after Ru implored her to step her pussy up. That meant we were blessed with the exact same bottom two as the week before, this time featuring the dolls lip syncing to the ICONIC Big Spender. Charity served Disney villain realness in the absolute best way possible, while Scarlett went balls to the wall with a full Broadway serving of CAMP. And ugh, why does UK serve such killer songs for their lip syncs?! While they both fought valiantly, it was Scarlett who lived to fight another day as the supremely talented Charity Kase was shown the door. Complete with a Wicked Witch melt on her way out.

Barely having time to recover from her death-shrieks, I grabbed Charity on the way and pulled her in for a massive hug. While I agree – don’t kill me Ru – that the judges slept on her talents throughout the season, I am not one of them and heaped praise on all that she brought to the season. And that isn’t even due to her penchant for flashing her buns on the runway. So after the requisite laughing, crying and bonding, I whipped up a big batch of Charribiata Kaseta.

Yeah, yeah – this is one of the most basic pasta sauces, pulled together with a bunch of leftover pasta. But I mean, how can you even go wrong with chilli and tomato. Despite its simplicity, this baby packs a bunch and is guaranteed to turn your mood around.

Enjoy!

Charribiata Kaseta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 small red chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
800g canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp raw caster sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
500g mixed dried pasta, cooked
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

Method
While the pasta water is coming to the boil, heat he oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the chillies and tomato paste and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and sugar, stir and simmer for fifteen minutes, or until starting to thicken.

Once the sauce is cooked, season and fold through the parmesan.

Serve, cover with more parmesan and devour. Giddily.


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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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