Michelle Ragougan

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the All Stars were immediately thrown into some brutal challenges, the first of which featured a clue to a hidden immunity idol hidden at tribal council. And while Henry was lucky to grab it unnoticed, it was only valid for three tribal councils. When his tribe won the next two immunity challenges, he handed it off to Mat to cause some chaos at tribal council. Mat and the leader of his rival alliance, David decided to come together to help protect each other, and for David, to get revenge on one of his allies. Brooke then found an idol hidden at camp, completely throwing their plans into chaos. Until they gave an Oscar winning turn at tribal council and Mat correctly played him idol on Jacqui, before David begged Brooke to play hers on him and poor Daisy was gobsmacked to be booted from the game third.

In time to do exit press for her first season.

We checked in with Vakama the next day where the excitement of the previous tribal council was a thing of the past, and instead, Jacqui was showing off her killer physique. I mean, she looks like what Teresa Gudice wishes she looked like in a bodybuilding comp. Back at the shelter Mat was still processing his emotions from the epic tribal council, still shocked that the plan worked and that David didn’t backstab them. On the flipside the wounded majority alliance were feeling super nervous, unsure how Mat found out the votes would pile up on Jacqui and as such, speculated that there is a rat in their midst. Locky approached Mat to see if he could get any intel from him about the mole and while Mat dutifully told him that it was an educated guess, Locky did not buy it.

Speaking of the mole, David was on cloud nine – flushing both the idols, solidifying his secret alliance with Mat and getting his revenge on Daisy. Which I’m not really sure was needed, but since it was spectacular, I will let it slide. That being said, David was nervous and knew that he needed to keep his story straight and make sure nobody compares stories and realises he is a mole.

Meanwhile over at Mokuta Nick was busy knighting Lee for his spaghetti arms, while Henry was quietly sulking the corner since he is left right out on the bottom of the tribe. He regrouped and decided to approach Nick, bonding by the water well and hoping to form an alliance. Sadly for Henry, Nick learnt from his first season and was happy to sit quietly and wait for the chance to strike and as such, cannot align with Henry. Though obviously he pledged his loyalty to Henry and planned to ice him ASAP.

My love Jonathan graced us with his presence for the reward challenge where one at a time, someone from each tribe would face off on either side of a chest and try to push it and therefore their rival, off the edge of a dock. With the winning tribe getting some piping hot fish and chips. Oh, but before that AK threw Henry straight under the bus and announced that Mat played an idol at the previous tribal council THAT WAS GIVEN TO HIM BY HENRY AT THE LAST IMMUNITY CHALLENGE. I mean, I didn’t love him in Season 2, but AK is a deadset messy legend and I live. Henry was first to face off against Mat, allowing plenty of time for people to make jokes about them being idol buddies. Despite looking like an easy win for Mat, Henry stood his ground and clawed back the lead … until Mat overpowered him and sent him into the water.

Next round Jacqui chose to avenge Zach’s shitty views, however was sadly pushed straight into the water. But damn I love her. Lydia was up next, with AK challenging as Locky reminded him that Lydia is strong as shit. Direct quote. Despite being strong as shit and putting up a hell of a fight, AK dominated and scored another point for Vakama. Net up were Tarzan and Harry and hot damn, Tarzan is a beast and I live, easily winning the point. Though sadly not giving Harry a kiss like the last challenge. Just some hella sass on his way to winning the reward for his tribe.

The victorious Vakama were thrilled about the prospect of smashing their fish and chips, until they discovered they had actually won fishing gear and some potatoes, oil and salt to make chips once they catch the fish. With everyone trying to pretend they weren’t bitterly disappointed, they used the time to hunt for a clue or idol amongst their spoils to make the win moderately worth it. Mat then flipped the crate and found the idol hidden inside it in front of the entire tribe, leaving the majority furious and Mat, well, he was left smiling with a big, shit-eating grin.

As the majority went fishing to calm their nerves, Mat pulled Moana aside to let her know about his secret alliance with and growing trust in Dave. Finally finding her missing spark, Moana was thrilled about the turn of events and was happy to make a deal with the devil if it gets her further. And keeps Mat and David as the biggest threats. I mean, does Moana need a nemesis like Russell to keep her fire burning? Whatever it is, I love her again.

Later that night Dave was feeling nervous about his growing alliance with Mat, so slinked away into the night to make a fake hidden immunity idol. Well eventually, after hours and hours trying to cut a gem off their tackle box. Side note: aren’t all tackle (boxes) a gem?

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge which required the tribes to hold barrels over tiles with a rope, with people allowed to step out of the challenge and hand their barrel over BUT as soon as a single tile breaks, the tribe loses. Meanwhile the iconic Shonee sat out of the challenge, directly on top of an immunity idol clue and please don’t let her follow Michaela’s lead and miss it. David and Lee had a Zoolander approved model off in the first five minutes before Michelle dropped out of the challenge and handed her barrel off to Zach. After half an hour Zach passed a barrel off to Henry, by way of Lydia, while Sharn struggled to hold on. Out of nowhere Phoebe passed her barrel off to Locky before Lee took over Sharn’s barrel. After more than an hour and 15 minutes, and some desperate back and forths, Zaddy John dropped one of his two barrels and handed victory to Vakama. And Shonee exited her seat without noticing the idol clue.

Back at camp Michelle was feeling nervous about being the first one to drop out of the challenge, particularly since her tribe was made up of three-four professional athletes, depending on where you stand with washed-up Gladiators. Lee pulled Michelle aside, with her reminding him that she is on the bottom and as such will vote for anyone other than her. She echoed that sentiment to Sharn, John and Zach. Though she could tell that nobody was actually interested in saving her. Meanwhile Abbey was using the loss as motivation to keep the tribe strong, dejectedly tell everyone that they need to start winning challenges – after just coming off a winning streak – and get rid of Michelle. Not to be outdone, Lydia too was rallying the troops to get rid of the weakest.

Thankfully Henry knows that brute strength is not how you win Survivor and as such, decided that Sharn is the smarter vote given how persuasive she can be. Unless in front of a Survivor jury against Shane, obvi. Henry pulled Zach aside, with the latter quickly agreeing to getting rid of Sharn instead. He then approached a receptive John and Michelle, before making his way to Nick. Who was not thrilled by the turn of events, and as such, wanted to flip the vote on Henry. For trying to flip the vote on Sharn. With that Nick approached his little rascals, with both Harry and Shonee keen to change things up and get rid of the threat. Nick approached Lydia, Abbey and Lee to try and get them to see sense and get rid of the very sketchy Henry. However, sadly, that made Abbey nervous about Nick being shifty. Though not enough to get rid of him, since he is still stronger than Michelle.

At tribal council John struggled to stick his torch in the slot – I have one ready for him, though – before talking about their loss at the challenge and how people dropping out impacted them. Zach was surprisingly diplomatic before Michelle went all in, reminding everyone that after Lee bombed the first challenge they agreed that losing a challenge wouldn’t be punished in a boot. Sharn agreed that challenges will always cater to different types, before Michelle commenced pleading to the athlete mentality and quoting football. Lydia agreed that they do need a good mix of skills, though didn’t seem to convince Queen Michelle who reminded everyone that loyalty is just as important. Particularly if a tribe swap is imminent. John and Henry agreed loyalty and numbers are critical to making it further, before Abbey agreed it is important but, yeah nah, she cares more about strength.

Which obviously annoyed Michelle.

Nick joined the fray to remind everyone of the importance of forming a cohesive, harmonious group. Shocking nobody, Zach was focused on strength before Harry countered that his vote is solely based on forming solid alliances, while Shonee was just glad to finally be asked a question at tribal council. Michelle again reminded everyone the importance of trust before Henry gave her the kiss of death, saying he is confident that the votes are going to go his way. With that, the tribe voted and tragically, Queen Michelle was felled.

I knew that we would lose one eventually, but I am so heartbroken to see one of our Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses exit the game. Though I guess at least Mish kept things semi-consistent by becoming the fourth boot. Which is the only positive thing I could come up with as I sobbed into her arms as she entered Loser Lodge.

Remember when Michelle completely destroyed Ben at tribal council in Season 2?


That is how I choose to remember Michelle. Not as the woman that was felled by the strength first mentality which comes from the brutal challenges of Australian Survivor. Lucky my Nigella inspired Michelle Ragougan is hella comforting, because I truly needed it.

 

 

Sweet, salty and covered in a silky melting of cheese, the ragu is the perfect hearty little meal to whip up when you’re down. Add in a little bit of chilli to Nigella’s classic, and you’ve got perfection. No offence Nige.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michelle Ragougan
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
200g pancetta, diced
500g lamb mince
⅓ cup marsala
salt and pepper, to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g green lentils
200ml beef stock. You could use chicken, but the bird and land combo makes me anxious. Like the thought of Flick and Shonee carrying the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess flag alone
125g red leicester cheese, grated

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the pancetta and cook for a further five minutes before adding the lamb mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned.

Crank the heat to high and add the marsala and a good whack of pepper – and salt, if ya like it salty – stir while it bubbles like crazy before adding the tomatoes, lentils and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour, or until the sauce has thickened up.

Serve immediately, cover in a generous heap of cheese and devour. Knowing that eating you feelings is the only appropriate way to work through your pain.

 

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Kobe Beefant Sliders

Burgers, Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold XCII: Gold Basketball, Snack, Tapas

As you could probably guess based on the name of this year’s Oscar Gold celebration, Gold Basketball, I had planned to honour my dear friend, the Academy Award winning basketball legend Kobe Bryant before he tragically passed away in the accident.

While I did jump in the time machine to go back and see him one last time, I opted to go to the day after his Oscar win and as such, didn’t get his help to run the odds. As such, I did them solo as I backed out the Delorean.

For Best Live Action Short, I think The Neighbors’ Window has it in the bag, despite overwhelming support for Brotherhood. Animated Feature will go to Klaus, despite Toy Story 4 being so beautiful. And as for his mother category, I predict Hair Love and that the vote tally won’t even be close. Not that you will ever know that.

It was hard to see him so soon after the accident, but it was wonderful to be taken back to him in that moment of pure, triumphant joy and be able to hug him one last time. A share an enormous platter of Kobe Beefant Sliders.

 

 

These little babies are so simple, yet so perfect. Prime beef patties, sticky caramelised onions and a herbalicious aioli fit for the king of basketball.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kobe Beefant Sliders
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
500g kobe beef, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Coolaoili
¼ cup fresh tarragon, finely chopped
10 Briocher Bunsbergs in slider form, sliced
American cheese slices, cut to size (optional)

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions over low heat for ten minutes, or until soft and sweet.

Meanwhile combine the mince in a large bowl, season well and scrunch to combine. Form into 10 evenly sized patties.

Heat another lug of oil in a large skillet and fry the patties for a couple of minutes each side, or until cooked through.

While the patties are cooking, mix the tarragon through the aioli until well combined.

To assemble, split the buns, smear with aioli, add the patty, cheese – if you’re using it, which you should – followed by the onion and some more aioli.

Close, devour and honour your dear friend.

 

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Stuffed Shelly Long Bake

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Main, Pasta

After spending the last few days catching up with the current shining stars of television – hey there current nominee Christina Applegate, and rising stars Riz and Tatiana! – I decided Emmy Gold: Golden Family needed some gravitas in the form of some TV royalty. So I picked up the phone and invited myself over to celebrate Shelley ma’ fuckin’ Long.

While yes, she is still working hard with killer runs on Modern Family and less recently – and my favourite – playing Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch movies, her Emmy winning turn as Diane in Cheers is truly the stuff of TV legend.

I mean, her and zaddy Ted Danson’s will-they-won’t-they romance is enough to flood my basement even now.

Obviously Shell was honoured to finally get the call up to appear on this patch of cyberspace and introduce herself to a new audience. While our relationship started out quite rocky thanks to the meddling ways of the morally corrupt Kelsey Grammer, Rhea Perlman – the saint that she is – was able to sit us down, make us see sense and finally end our feud in 1987 before Shelley departed Cheers.

Did I mention I was a featured barfly in Cheers? Because I was.

Anyway, given she starred in one of the most iconic comedies of all time, I got her to help me run the odds for Outstanding Comedy Series, hoping that this category provides a well-deserved surprise slash great return on gambling investment. While Veep, Barry, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag are generating the most chatter to take out the win, this is the category that I could honestly make a case for every nominee taking it out. Russian Doll was bold and moving, The Good Place is the greatest exploration of morality ever committed to screen and Schitt’s Creek is a remarkable show filled with hope and joy.

While my heart wants Schit’s Creek to take it out and Shelley thinks The Good Place deserves it, I think it will go to Fleabag. But given Schitt’s has the worst odds, am betting it all on them for a good return on investment. While Shelley tried to suggest I go for a safer bet, I didn’t listen and drowned out her wise words by smashing a big Stuffed Shelly Long Bake.

 

 

There is nothing better than pasta … except kitsch foods, so using that logic, this baby is the holy grail. Large shell pasta bake full of rich, creamy spinach and cheese floating through a sea of spicy tomato sauce like the SS Noms? Sign me up.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stuffed Shelly Long Bake
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
300g jumbo pasta shells, cooked per packet instructions
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
250g spinach, roughly chopped
500g ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly whisked
a small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
1 tbsp chilli flakes

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the spinach, remove from heat and cook, stirring for a minute or so, or until the residual heat has wilted the spinach. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Once the onion, garlic and spinach are pretty much tepid, add the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, basil and a good whack of salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

To assemble, pour marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish and stir through the chilli flakes. Stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place randomly in the baking dish. Repeat the process until the pasta and/or cheese is all used up.

Dot with any remaining cheese mixture, sprinkle with a little extra parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Or until gloopy and glorious.

Leave to rest for five minutes before serving and devouring. Triumphantly like an icon.

 

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Spicy Macharroni Chills

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Pasta, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 Australians were dumped in the Fijian jungle, once again split up into tribes of Champions and Contenders with the latter desperate hoping to get revenge on Shane Gould. Who last year taught us that she is not to be fucked with. One by one they were sent from the game with Anastasia, Laura – yep, happening – Susie, Nova, Steven, E.T., Sam, Sarah, Hannah, Casey, Matt, booted before the merge, Ross was tragically medevaced, ultrafan Andy was felled before the jury, while Shaun, David, John, Daisy, Simon, Janine and Abbey were sent to the jury back-to-back. After losing the final four immunity challenge, all hope looked lost for Luke who tried to convince Pia to vote with him and force Baden into a fire making challenge against the returning Champion. Ultimately Pia knew her best shot was to trust in herself to get to the end and joined the Contenders to send Luke to the jury, breaking Australia’s hearts in the process.

The next morning the final three stood by the shore taking in the view, with Harry thrilled to finally be the odds on favourite to win the game. Clearly unaware that pride generally comes before the fall. Pia was lacking Harry’s bravado, struggling with the fact she had to vote out a dear friend to make it to the final three. She listed her impressive resume and hot damn, I need her to win. Baden was sick of being underestimated and honestly, I am just feeling guilty for essentially writing him off as a non-entity in the episode.

Finally they arrived at a clearing where Jonathan’s killer guns welcomed the trio to their final immunity challenge where they were required to stand on two narrow pegs while holding on to two ropes keeping heavy idols aloft, with the last one standing snatching immunity. Before the challenge got underway, Jonathan gave them all a little extra inspiration for the challenge and called out their family. Harry sobbed as his girlfriend and mother were wheeled out, Baden broke down as his parents and brother arrived on the scene, but Pia’s emotional reunion with her husband and kids was the true star of the moment. Pia was crying, her husband was crying, the kids were cute bewildered and desperate for a nap and honestly, my goofy grin couldn’t be wiped off my face. Then I cried happy tears.

After Pia gave an inspiring speech about appreciating her family even more, the families were sent to sit out bench and the final three stood atop their perches. Baden, giddy for the fun ahead. Both Baden and Harry looked wobbly early on the challenge but the trio managed to power on for an hour, which was just long enough for the sun to set and the set to light up in fire in an epic manner. After two hours Baden started talking about stargazing, which his mum pretending to be interested though clearly not giving a fuck. Baden then started running his mouth like Christian Hubicki and honestly, I stan. After 4.5 hours the pain started to get to PIa, before Harry nearly tumbled off the pegs only to be saved by the love of his girlfriend. At five hours Pia buckled in pain, moaning through while her husband covered his eyes from the sidelines and tried to remind her that she could do it. While Pia fought back tears, her husband reminded her that she can drop if she wants however she reiterated that she isn’t ready to go home.

He then went full lamaze class, helping her stay focused, getting her to breathe through the pain and miraculously, she found the strength to pull her idols back to the top. The challenge then ticked over to 6.5 hours, earning the record for the longest challenge in Australian Survivor history. But at what cost, honestly. Harry was shaking and grunting in pain, Pia looked like someone was cursing her with an avada kedavra. Then, out of nowhere, Harry asked Jonathan to come over and help him out of the challenge and honestly, my heart broke for him in that moment and I’m back to loving everyone. Pia then asked for help getting out of the challenge, breaking down in tears and handing Baden final immunity.

Pia, why couldn’t you wait long enough to make a deal with Baden?!

We immediately arrived at tribal council where the jury were shocked to see Baden wearing immunity. He admitted that the power of being the only person voting tonight is really weighing on him, aware that both have played strong games and not sure who the jury will respect more. Pia jumped in to fight for her life, not willing to say Harry doesn’t deserve it and instead reminding Baden that he and Harry have played the entire game together and as such, Harry, the flashier player, already owns them and he won’t be able to claim them. Harry argued that his game is already transparent, while Pia has been stealth and letting her get to the end to argue her case is the bigger risk. Harry then pointed out the majority of the jury are also Champions, so already the odds would be stacked against him.

Pia jumped in to point out that she voted out every Champion but Janine and as such, she has made a lot of enemies and as such, he has the better shot against her. Harry pointed out that Pia makes very convincing arguments and as an actress, knows how to perform for an audience. He then pointed out that he wanted to take Baden before the final immunity challenge and honestly that just proves that he thinks he can beat him. Which Pia rightly pointed out before reminding Baden that everyone has tried desperately to get rid of Harry throughout the game and his final big move, would be taking him out in front of the jury.

With that Baden went off to vote and hot damn, Pia the icon somehow won the battle and Harry was sent from the game with the single vote.

Was Harry as likeable a villain as David? No. Was he as nude as my favourite Contender John? Of course not. Does his half-closed eye fill me with concern about what happened? Undoubtedly. But none of that takes away from his ridiculous staying power in the game. While cockroach sounds like a mean title, I explained that it was true and he should wear the title proudly because there were a lot of other people that didn’t survive their shitty hands – and then I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride – which only prove how strong a player he is. So despite myself and the fact Nick Wilson is his favourite player (a sign of a new fan), I whipped him up a Spicy Macharroni Chills.

 

 

Just when you thought chilli and macaroni cheese couldn’t get any more delicious, I go and mix them up in a vat and bake it with even more cheese. It may not be pretty or elegant, but like Harry’s game, it is effective in filling you with all the happy feels.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spicy Macharroni Chills
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
olive oil
3 punnets of cherry tomatoes, pricked
salt and pepper, to taste
500g fresh chorizo, casings removed
2 onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups milk
2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated
2 cups vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Heat oven to 150C and put a large pot of salted water over high heat, and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Place the cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or so.

Heat a small lug of oil in a dutch oven and cook the chorizo, breaking up with the back of the wooden spoon, until browned and the fat has started to leak out. Add the onions and cook for a further five minutes, or until softened and sweet. Add the butter and cook until melted before dumping in the flour, mustard powder, sriracha and Worcestershire and stirring into a glorious gloop. Cook for a minute or so before bringing off the heat and stirring through the milk. Return to the heat and cook for a further five minutes, or until the milk has started to thicken.

Once the pasta is ready, add it to the dutch oven with the blistered tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of each cheese and stirring until well combined. Decant into a large baking dish, top with the remaining cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly.

Devour immediately, trying hard to avoid the ropes of molten cheese. Like Harry avoided the boot for longer than anticipated.

 

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Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland

Main, Pasta

I can not tell you how much it has meant to me having Kelly over to help celebrate our momentous milestone. While we haven’t caught up in the last few years – despite her working in Australia – having a special friend over to mark the occasion meant the world to me.

As you know, I’ve been a dear friend of the Children of Destiny all my life. First connecting with Bey through fight club and then mentoring her, Michelle and Kelly to greatness. After voting the rest of the children off the island that it Destiny’s Child, in a move that inspired The Lord of the Flies.

While Bey is the biggest star of the trio, I’ve always had a soft spot for dear Kelly and when she called begging me to help her make the transition to film like Bey almost two decades ago, I jumped at the chance.

My time as a teen manager wasn’t very successful however, and despite owning Freddy vs. Jason, I couldn’t guide her career how it needed and we parted ways creatively. Which is the one time it didn’t lead to a personal break-up as well.

I assume because we always loved to spend time together and heal over a hearty, glorious Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland.

 

 

This may not be the most dignified or classy dish, but I am genuine when I say that it is one of my favourites. I don’t know why baked beans, sausages, capsicum, bacon, onion and pasta go so well together, but they do. And as such, this is the best way I know to celebrate a milestone as big as 1000 celebrity visitors.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sausage Nudelly & Casserowland
Serves: 8-10.

Ingredients
1kg thin sausages
500g spiral pasta
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced
½ red capsicum, diced
½ green capsicum, diced
800g canned baked beans
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and cook the sausages in batches for about ten minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to low and in the same skillet cook the onion, garlic and bacon for about five minutes or so, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

To assemble, cut the sausages into 1cm lengths and place in a large, deep baking dish with the drain pasta, bacon mixture, capsicums, baked beans, tomato paste and half the parsley. Stir until well combined, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and all of the cheese, and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Devour immediately, grateful that you’re now in on the secret of the greatest dish of all time.

 

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Abbean Holmes Soup

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Side, Snack, Soup, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Luke and Abbey were playing the middle of the two duos, with the former unaware that everyone – but Abbey – was plotting his demise. When he took out immunity and saved himself, Harry pivoted and put the target back on to his nemesis JaQueen. This put Luke and Abbey back in the middle and try as JaQueen and Pia might, they were unable to swing them back to their side, and JaQueen was tragically beheaded. Not literally, but it felt hard to watch. As Janine is a bloody icon.

Back at camp Pia was disheartened to have lost Janine though explained to the tribe that as an award winning actress, she could tell that it was coming since they’re shit actors. Abbey was proud to make it to the final five, and have the chance to show the jury that she can pull off a big blindside in getting rid of Janine. And since she has grown to enjoy a cheeky blindside, looked forward to rolling Pia next. Which can’t happen as my heart just couldn’t take it.

The next day Harry was thrilled to have Janine’s scalp in his collection like a munted Hannibal Lector. The rest of the tribe lazed about – Abbey not keen on having another bean, don’t tell John – while Harry decided that Luke is the last person left that could beat him in the final two, and as such, needs to go. He pulled Abbey and Baden aside to lock in the vote against Luke, and then quickly lined up the back-up target of Pia should he win another immunity. Given they can all see that she was the mastermind behind the boss lady. Speaking of Pia she wasn’t feeling it after losing her island bestie, though focused on her family who she was fighting for. She then put a smile on her dial, pretended to be happy and got to work winning people back without them noticing that she is coming for revenge.

She knew that Luke was her best shot, so huddled with him in the shelter and assured him that she has no desire to vote him out and as such, is his best bloody shot at staying in the game. He assured Pia that she has nothing to worry about as he knows he will be booted the moment he doesn’t have immunity or an idol. As such he went searching for another idol and after days of meandering the jungle, finally spotted a clue hidden in the tree. It led him to the other end of the beach where another clue was hidden within a coconut. This in turn led him back to camp to grab a machete before heading back to the coconut where he learnt that he didn’t find an idol and instead, won the power to send someone out of tribal council before the vote which makes them safe and robs them of the right to vote. At the final five. Which is fucking huge.

My dear Jonathan and his guns of steel returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would stack dominos along a beam tethered to a trip obstacle, with the first person to stack their dominos and have them clang – is clang the right word? – into a gong snatching immunity. Harry and Abbey got out to an early lead, while Luke trailed closely behind. Luke dropped three blocks, followed by Harry dumping a bunch handing Abbey the lead, with Baden close behind. Everyone kinda caught up, while Abbey, Baden and Pia tried to respace their blocks to give them a shot at victory. Baden then knocked all of his off the beam, allowing Abbey the chance to snatch victory however she didn’t space hers enough bringing it down to a fight between Luke and Pia, with Luke actually snatching a record equalling individual immunity.

Back at camp Harry was super grumpy about Luke’s winning streak, knowing full well that he and his fake son don’t stand a chance against him in the final two. He and Abbey went for a walk to lock in the plan B to take out Pia, with Harry sure that there is no way she will win anything and as such, will not help them get rid of Luke. Baden joined the duo and they all locked in the plan, worried about getting caught and then straight up giving each other pinky promises under the watchful eye of Pia and Luke. Pia laughed about them clearly planning to vote her out, though vowed not to go down without a fight. Unaware that she was charming the shit out of her biggest hope.

Abbey caught up with Luke, completely unaware that he knows she is gunning for him and Pia. He assured Baden, Harry and Abbey that he was with them until the end, though he was hopeful that he would be able to swing something to save Pia. He approached her and promised that no matter how it looks at tribal council, to trust him and she will be safe. He told us that his plan is to send Baden back to camp and force Harry into turning on Abbey with him and Pia. Knowing they needed to lull her into a false sense of security, Pia and Luke approached Abbey to float getting rid of Harry. Pia said she would be putting her acting skills to use at tribal, Abbey was unaware of the plot against her and Luke was honestly so far down a rabbithole that he worried that he would end up blindsiding himself.

Again, like a fucking icon.

At tribal council Luke interrupted Jonathan’s praise of his immunity streak by standing up, handing over the note and immediately sending Baden straight back to camp. He exited in utter confusion, thrilled to make it to the final four but shocked about what will go down in his absence. Abbey and Harry were shocked about the turn of events, while Pia pretended to be disappointed that he didn’t choose to save her. Luke then started whispering to Pia, which made Harry and Abbey nervous, though Harry admitted that it is unlikely that Luke would leave his plan to the very last minute and as such, it was all for show. Jonathan tried to rub salt in their wounds about being left out, leading to Luke whispering to Abbey while Pia whispered that Harry was awesome.

Sensing his imminent doom, Harry started to burn everything down and told them all that Luke is in control and unbeatable. He then mentioned that there is one way that they can save themselves, unaware that he is only burning himself given Luke isn’t going to flip on Pia to keep a fellow immunity threat around. Pia reminded everyone that staying focused on Luke is forcing others to make stupid decisions, while Luke said that only one person needs to worry this tribal council and it is about time they take the garbage out. Pia admitted that she is kind of shocked to potentially making it through the tribal and Harry tried to remind everyone that he is not the biggest threat left in the game.

With that the tribe voted and Luke and Pia’s hail Mary plan worked perfectly, with Abbey voting Harry, Harry voting Pia and Pia and Luke banding together to blindside Abbey from the game. And impressing the hell out of the jury with their flashy move. While she was overshadowed by her former closest allies Pia and Janine’s dominant games, she formed one third of Australian Survivor’s answer to the Black Widow Brigade and that is something that makes me immensely proud. Particularly after she blindsided her childhood hero and one of the aforementioned closest allies slash queens. In any event, she did me proud and surprisingly I told her that, took her in my arms and gave her a clearly island appropriate bowl of Abbean Holmes Soup. Despite the fact she wished to never eat another bean.

 

 

Essentially flavoured just like a can of refried beans, this isn’t going to be something that everyone loves. But if you love refried beans like Ab (used to) and I, roll right up. Earthy, spiced and pack with simple charm, this baby proves that sometimes plain(ish) can be your favourite flavour.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbean Holmes Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 chipotles in adobo
800g canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp thyme leaves
a small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
100g queso fresco, crumbled

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic, tomatoes and chipotles, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pinto beans and cook off any excess liquid from the rinsing before adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and simmer for half an hour, stirring infrequently.

Once the liquid has reduced to be just under the solids, add the herbs and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat, season and blitz until smooth.

Return to the heat and cook for another five minutes, adding some extra stock if it is too thick. Serve, top with queso and devour through the tears of your life.

 

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Sosie Bacon Jam

Condiment, Gravy, Sauce

Wellity wellity, look who is back for some Sunday sauciness! Wait, no, shit, like Patty Hogg, I’ve said too much, I’ve said too much. Let me backpedal, I was on the phone to my love Kev last weekend – it was Daddy’s day, after all – and my god-daughter Sosie yelled out to send her love and talk about how much she missed me.

After Kev and I were done letting each other know how much we love each other, I got him to put Sose on the line and told her to get out here and visit with me some time. Ten minutes later she told me the flights were booked and to get baking.

So obviously I have known Sosie for her entire life and as her godfather have always tried to help her out when she needed it. I then got her cast in the Scream TV show, in an HBO vehicle and opposite three of my boyfriends in 13 Reasons Why, so I think you would agree I’ve been quite successful.

I was feeling super nostalgic spending time with Sosie, so told her how proud I am of her ad nauseum. Before whipping her up a vat of Sosie Bacon Jam.

 

 

Sticky, sweet and with a gloriously salty kick, bacon jam is quite possibly one of my favourite things. Chuck it on a burger, a sandy, with some cheese, in a quiche, hell even a shoe Old Gregg style, I will eat it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sosie Bacon Jam
Serves: 1-2 cups.

Ingredients
olive oil
500g streaky bacon, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup bourbon
⅔ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup muscovado sugar
2 tbsp thyme leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a small lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the bacon over medium heat for about fifteen minutes, or until crispy, caramelised and straight up glorious. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Add the bourbon and cook the alcohol off for a minute before stirring through the apple cider, muscovado and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and leave to simmer, stirring semi-frequently, for 20 minutes, or until thick and sticky.

Season to taste and transfer to a sterilised jar. Or just eat with a spoon like a true member of the Bacon clan would.

It can keep for a week or so refrigerated, but I don’t think you’ll have any left over. Just sayin’.

 

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Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie

Main, Snack, Street Food, Tapas

What an absolute joy it is to catch up with someone as dear as Rachel Zoe. While it has been a few years since we’ve last caught up, our relationship is one that is so strong that it feels like no time has passed.

I first met Rach in the late ‘80s-early ‘90s while completing my college professor scam at George Washington University. While I was tiring of the scam, I say young Rach and a man named Roger in one of my classes and vowed to get them together. My scam gave way to my, let’s say fetish, for Fiddling on the Roof, and I set out to make them a match.

While they were both ropeable at the end of semester to discover they learnt less than zero, I pointed out that I brought them together. And having promising to get Rach into fashion, they agreed to forgive me.

Her career then took off and I was on the skids after too much white in the Great White Way – both kinds, FYI – and she took me under her wing and made me her assistant. I then slept with Andy Cohen, got her a reality show and was promptly fired by Andy when we broke up and was replaced by Brad Goreski.

Not that I’m still bitter at Andy about that or anything. I mean, he named his son after me as an apology which is meaningful.

In any event, Rach and I are dear friends and had a fantastic closing Brisbane Fashion Week – which full disclosure, I assumed was an oxymoron – before returning home to gossip and smash a tonne of Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pies.

 

 

Earthy and lightly spiced, these babies are damned delicious. Little flakey pockets of pastry, with a piping hot fresh filling and a hit of poppy seeds, it is truly delightful.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachel Chorizo and Lentil Pie
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
500g chorizo sausages, casings removed
400g lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp smoked paprika
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs, whisked
200g vintage cheddar, grated
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp poppy seeds

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes. Add the carrot, zucchini and chorizos and cook, breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon, for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the lentils, chilli and paprika, stir for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Once the filling has cooled, cut each sheet of pastry into 9 squares and press half into muffin tins. Add half the egg to the lentil mixture with the cheese and parsley and stir until well combined. Spoon into each muffin hole. Top with the remaining pastry, crimping to close, and brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp.

Then devour, giddily.

 

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Pizzara Frillips

Pizzara Frillips

Side, Snack, Street Food

Let me just tell you, one does not know how much Zara Tindall née Phillip’s visit meant to me. And boy does she know how to troll her cousins, which makes me even happier to call her a dear friend.

I arrived at Brisbane Airport driving a Tesla, as per her request, and picked her up from the pick-up zone of a genuinely commercial flight to avoid getting a ticket from the parking machine, to reduce adding to the burden of recycling plants. We then laughed the entire way back to our apartment, knowing that if her environmental heroics surface the very same week of Harry and Wills’ plane faux-pas, she will come out on top.

Shit, she made me promise not to say anything. Can you keep it between us?

In any event, it was such a treat to get to spend a little bit of time with Zars and fondly look back on our time spent together in our youth, when we would compete against each other in dressage events and tut-tut at the epic fails on the polo match.

Sadly at all those cultural events, we never got the chance to relax and gorge on food that we loved so it was a total joy for the two of us to get together and smash some like we would while attending the Gordonstoun School.

 

Pizzara Frillips

 

While we both grew up enjoying the finer things in life, we still know that there is nothing more enjoyable than some crunchy fries dirtied up with some pepperoni, napoli and tonnes of cheese. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Enjoy!

 

Pizzara Frillips

 

Pizzara Frillips
Serves: 2 regal chums.

Ingredients
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped
1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp thyme, roughly chopped
1 cup passata
pinch of raw caster sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
200g pepperoni, sliced
1 cup mozzarella, grated

Method
Cook the fries as per Jud’s instructions.

While they’re getting hot, heat a lug of olive oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Add the herbs, passata, pinch of sugar and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

To assemble slash serve, place the fries in a bowl, top with sliced pepperoni, a generous heap of sauce and an even more generous mound of mozzarella.

Then devour, messily, full of joy. And pomp and circumstance too, obvi.

 

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Some Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls waiting to heal Ross Clarke-Jones after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor after burning himself and then his idol at two back to back tribals, Harry was feeling the heat and again focused on the Ben Driebergen strategy of finding idols until the end. Thankfully we were put out of our misery and distracted from the horrible memories of Chrissy’s robbery with Jonathan lording of the reward challenge for parmas which made John smile so brightly my basement flooded. Once again Andy struggled to get anything right, this time bombing throwing the immunity challenge as Baden single handedly beasted his way to winning the challenge, sending the Contenders back to tribal. Not wanting to rest on his second idol, Harry talked to Simon and Ross to see if they would be interested in flipping on JaQueen, Pia and Abbey and joining him and Matt to take control of the game. Sadly they weren’t interest however and after Harry played his idol, which made Janine nervous enough to play hers, poor Matt was voted out of the game.

The next day we checked in with the Contenders where Ross and the girls were thrilled to still be standing. Well sitting really, in the water as they washed themselves and relished island life. Ross then found a plank of wood which he used to attempt surfing on the reef and again, I love the man and get can’t enough of him on my screen.

We checked in with Camp Champ where they too were enjoying island life, fishing and swimming together on the reef and feeling grateful for everything they were experiencing. Andy too was loving it SA MUCH and damn, that sours things for me. They soon returned to camp where Andy continued to ruin my vibe, talking about the pain of not returning to tribal though was thankful that nobody realised. Right on cue we heard from Luke who knew that Andy’s attempt to throw the challenge were as subtle as a brick and as such, he wanted to take him down ASAP. Luke then dived into his spy shack as Andy tried to catch up with Baden, knowing that getting Baden on board is key to his safety given he single handedly thwarted Andy’s lame attempts at throwing the challenge. Luke then pulled Baden away from Andy and suggested that they will be a powerful duo as nobody would expect it.

Back at the Contenders tribe Harry was feeling all alone, surrounded by Champions while JaQueen continued to lament the pain of Harry still surviving. Ross checked in with Harry to find out whether his tears were real and was disappointed to find out his good nature was taken advantage of. Ross then joked about tethering himself to Harry to avoid him finding one, so the two goofed around as the rest of the tribe got together to hunt for the newly hidden idol. Which filled Harry with joy to have spooked them. With everyone otherwise ocupado, Harry approached JaQueen with a Hail Mary pitch to sell himself as the more helpful ally than some of her current options. She then businessed the hell out of him before agreeing that it is smarter for her to keep him around and hot damn, JaQueen is a bloody icon.

Jonathan arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes would race across a series of poles, tarzan swing across a gorge before tossing a monkey fist in a fork before using the ropes to traverse a balance beam. They then need to release puzzle pieces, build a stair ladder and light a fire at the top of the tower. After benching Andy immediately, Shaun got the Champions out to an early lead, while the Contenders slowly tried to close the gap thanks to Daisy struggling on the poles until she leaped into Shauns arms. Swoon. While the Champs started to swing across, Ross and Pia struggled on the poles allowing the Champions to extend their lead. Then tragedy struck as Ross clipped his leg while doing the Tarzan swing, fell into the ditch and started screaming in pain.

That is when I started sobbing uncontrollably. In the words of Countess Luann, don’t let it be about Ross. Anyone but Ross.

The challenge was stopped immediately as the medics were bought in as everyone stood around with a look of sheer panic on their faces. He was then carried off the challenge site by Jonathan to before the doctors decided that his injury was serious enough to warrant further medical assessment … before the challenge was restarted from where they were. Decidedly more sombre the tribes battled it out, as the Contenders desperately tried to close the gap. One by one the Champs landed their planks as the Contenders slowly made their way back into the challenge. Until they didn’t and the Champs got into their rhythm, climbing the tower, lighting their fire and securing immunity for their tribe.

The Contenders returned to camp worried about Ross’ injury and wondering what to do at tribal council, should it go ahead. The four former Champs speculated whether Harry could have found another idol, before JaQueen started weighing her options and wondering whether keeping Harry over Simon is the smarter move. JaQueen approached Pia who was keen to get rid of Simon instead of Harry with them then going to Abbey who was far less convinced about the idea. While she was getting emotional, Pia grew more and more sure that taking out Simon was the better idea as Harry is desperate and will stick with them to take control. JaQueen and Pia approached Harry who was super keen, with JaQueen only requesting his undying loyalty in return for them going out on a limb to keep him around.

As Simon wandered alone in his speedo, the new alliance of four sat around the shelter speculating about Ross’ safety. Before Ross was escorted back into camp on crutches by Jonathan, who announced that he had broken his ankle and as such such could not return to the game. The Contenders all started to breakdown, heartbroken to lose the life of the party before Ross encouraged Pia and Luke to go out and win this thing. The Champions were then wheeled over to camp so that they could farewell Ross and celebrate the bloody icon, as he hobbled away wearing Harry’s socks.

Before hopping – quite literally – into the back of the 4WD to see if he could finally have his culinary comfort. You see Ross and I have known each other for years, as I grew up surfing up and down the NSW coast from D’Bah to Bateau Bay, with Ross spotted my talent and taking me under his wing and coaching me. While I found myself too distracted by attractive men in speedos to ever get anywhere with my surfing, Ross continued to mentor me, I believe, because he loved that I paid in Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls. I mean, I could have paid him, but I am also very cheap.

 

Ross Clarke-Jones waiting to test whether Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls could heal him after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

 

These babies are so delicious and warming, that I’ve oft said that they have healing qualities and while that may seem opportunistic or convenient based on the tragedy that befell our King, the proof is in the pudding. Or sausage roll. Sweet, salty and melting in your mouth, these are the only things that will dull the pain of losing the icon of the game. Our new, literally fallen god, Ross.

Enjoy!

 

Ross Clarke-Jones testing whether Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls could heal him after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

 

Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g streaky bacon, diced
1 bunch shallots, sliced
1kg chicken mince
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed and sliced into quarters
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until sweet, fragrant and translucent. Add the bacon and cook for a further ten minutes, or until its just starting to brown. Add the shallots, stir and remove to a bowl to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Add the chicken mince to the bowl with the breadcrumbs, chilli, maple, sage and a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined.

Divide the mixture into 24 and form into a sausage shape. Place a sausage along one edge of the pastry squares and roll to enclose, brushing the last centimetre or so with egg wash to close. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, seam side down, and repeat the process until done.

Brush all the rolls with the rest of the egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately, to fix your broken, Ross-less heart.

 

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