John Coq Au Ransling

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Caramoan - Fans vs. Favourites, Survivor: South Pacific

While I kind of dropped off the radar – which as you know, I will strike from memory in the coming weeks – as soon as Wendell defeated Domenick thanks to Laurel breaking the tie on Ghost Island, I am super pumped by the fact that in sub five weeks Survivor: David vs. Goliath will be back and all will be right in the world.

Because let’s be honest, no matter how terrible a season can be any survivor is better than no Survivor because there will also be a Michael or Brendan to thirst over.

As has become the tradition, I decided to reach out to some of my dearest Sole Survivor friends to countdown to the latest season … and since they were all unavailable, I decided to invite John Cochran.

I joke, I joke! I love Cochran and he is my dearest friend … now. But damn did I hate him during the horror that was South Pacific. The self-deprecating humour, the inability to fit in with the jocks and not wanting to get naked in the water – it was like watching myself on screen and I just couldn’t handle it.

Thankfully his flip to Coach and Co’s side led to a glorious Sophie victory, so I apologised to him for my heavy use of voodoo during the season and we slowly, tentatively became the best of friends. A friendship so strong, I couldn’t even bring myself to hate him when he voted against my lover Malcolm in his winning season.

Say what you will about the season being terrible and made for him, Caramoan had some killer moments – the TEETH, Malcolm losing his pants, Dawn seething about missing out on the family reward – and Cochran ran the game, well and truly deserving his victory.

While we couldn’t run the odds since the cast is yet to be released, we do agree that Probst’s friend, creator of Enlightened and The Amazing Race contestant Mike White – who was clearly visible in the preview at the end of Ghost Island – should become an icon of the game … and the hot cop will most likely be my number one thirst trap. Though maybe those opinions were just the John Coq Au Ransling talking.

 

 

Like his oft joked about daughter – with Sophie, obvi – Aubry Bracco, I can’t bring myself to see him without the sweet flavour or bacon, mushrooms, chicken and sweet, sweet wine. This time, however, the wine is white and hot damn does it still taste amazing. Rich and creamy, Coq au Riesling is all the fun of Coq Au Vin but with a lightness … that is removed by addition of cream. But it’s cream, so you know what, so what, who cares.

Enjoy!

 

 

John Coq Au Ransling
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, diced
6 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
500g chicken thighs, diced
250g mushrooms, sliced
750ml Riesling
1 cup cream
salt & pepper, to taste
handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Melt the butter in a large pan and sweat the onions over medium-low heat for five minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered before adding the garlic and cooking for a further minute or so.

Reduce heat to low, add the mushrooms and cook for five minutes or until browned and glorious. Add the chicken and cook for a minute to brown the sides before drowning, giddily, in wine. Crank up the heat and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer and cooking, covered for half an hour.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream and cook for a further five minutes, or until slightly reduced. Season, sprinkle with parsley and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, and devour with a generous hunk of French Sourdough. Like a Paige de Keragne, for instance.

 

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Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Party Food, Pie, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders were smarting from losing the first immunity challenge and booting out misogynistic Matt, with Robbie leading the way to try and prove themselves against the Champions. While it was another epic fail at reward, Heath lead them to victory in the immunity challenge which sent the Champions into chaos as they prepared for tribal. Russell pulled out his idol, desperately scraped together an alliance and caused so much confusion that he somehow caused a tie between him and Jackie. Sadly for him, Sharn and Moana were not willing to take his crap, called his bluff and sent him from the game with an idol around his neck.

Things were decidedly less dramatic the neck day at the Champions camp, no, no, there was screaming and drama as a huge chicken miraculously wandered into camp. Thankfully it led to some of the best slapstick I’ve seen in years, as Sam madly ran around the camp trying to capture it. It wasn’t calm, but there was comedy and for that, I am grateful. Meanwhile Sharn and Moana – or Shaoana … Moarn – were thrilled to have taken out Russell, calling his bluff and I assume, claiming my heart. The two Queens then went for a walk down the beach and Moana shared about her experiences as a full time carer for her sister Livinia and oh my god I am crying, give her the damn money. She then locked in Sharn as her ride or die and I am all in, like they’re the nude quadruple on the Contenders.

Speaking of which, the Contenders were sitting down to breakfast, remodelling their camp and altogether loving life. Just tragically clothed.

Almost giving me whiplash, we returned to the Champions camp where Damien was trying to overcome his amputations and prove his worth to the team. Meanwhile Jackie’s poker skills were being put to good use, as she speculated felt everyone was turning against her and she needed to wake up and paint the target against her. She then started to target Damien as he has physical limitations, which can be a liability – her words, not mine – while also not wanting to face him at the end, given he is a freakin’ war hero. In any event, given we’ve seen the Contenders for a minute this episode, we can rule them out of attending tribal council this episode. Well done team!

Speaking of challenges, my love Jonathan returned for this week’s reward challenge where the Contenders were delighted to see that Russell was booted at the last tribal. While some of them were sad to have missed out on meeting him, Lydia assured them that they missed nothing. Anywho – the challenge is essentially a penalty shootout for a huge fishing kit and a fish. Basically the Champions got out to an early lead, never really lost it, Shane Gould is adorable, Damien is a saint and Monika scored the winning goal.

The Champions arrived back at camp to discover their fish had not just been cooked, but also slathered in salsa and looking glorious. Speaking of glorious, Damien was thrilled about playing a huge role in their victory and feeling like he was before his accident. While everyone feasted Moana loitered around awkwardly as she is a vegetarian, but didn’t want to ask them to leave her some veggies.

Meanwhile back at Casa de Contenders, the tribe was feeling defeated and hella hungry. Heath wandered off to grab water and discovered a clue hiding in the well, instructing him that a hidden immunity idol would be placed in the lid of the voting urn at the next tribal council should they attend. So now he is keen to throw the next challenge, particularly since Robbie caught him finding said clue and spread the intel to Benji, throwing their alliance into doubt. Speaking of idol clues, the Champions continued to feast on the fish, completely oblivious to the hidden immunity idol at their feet. Given Moana the vegetarian had zero interest in the food, she noticed and stealthy snatched it out from under their noses.

To reiterate, Moana is Queen.

Cutting me off from Moana’s coronation, Jonathan arrived for the next immunity challenge. Well, after the Champions were done gloating about their fish reward and motivating the Contenders even further. The challenge required seven members of the tribe to wheel a giant wheel around with two tribemates on top who were required to fish puzzle pieces along the way. The last two having to solve said puzzle, obvi. The Champions got out to a slight lead, however the Contenders caught up by the first puzzle pieces. By the third stack of puzzle pieces the Contenders pulled away – in no small part thanks to Shane knocking the Champions puzzles off the shelf – handing Tegan and Fenella a massive lead for solving the puzzle. While Jackie and Monika tried their best to make inroads, it was all for nought as the Contenders dominated and snatch victory before they even had a chance to get started.

Jackie immediately started to panic back at camp, bursting into tears and apologising for choking at the challenge which successfully garnered sympathy from the tribe. She then went for a walk with Monika and decide to flip the game on Damien, in the hope of ‘keeping the tribe strong’. She then approached Moana to try and get her on board, which tragically fell short as Moana sees her as lady Russell and desperately wants her and her crocodile tears out of the game. Moana approached Steve W and Mat to rally troops against Jackie instead, which they were both keen for leaving them to split up and pull in more numbers. Sharn then went to rally troops to take out Damien, pulling in Lydia … before going to Moana and agreeing to take out Jackie as they headed out to tribal council leaving me ridiculously confused.

At tribal Jonathan started by throwing some shade about their loss, with Mat trying to dance around the specifics of why exactly they lost. Jackie tried to garner some more sympathy for losing the challenge, before Damien spoke about the risks associated with the epic spotlight on him whether he performs well or not. Brian appeared to talk in sports metaphors, Steve W completely owned my heart by straight up blaming Jackie for the loss before Mat piled on and tried to convince everyone to keep Damien. Sam spoke about the importance of making alliances to save yourself when you have a run of bad luck, leading to Steve W feeling frustrated by the fact that Russell has rubbed off on them … before admitting he had made alliances. Lydia admitted she planned to vote off a weaker player while Moana evaded the question saying she wants to win challenges but also needs to think about the game.

With that confusing back and forth, the tribe went off to vote, Moana managed to snatch the idol without anyone noticing and poor Damien found himself becoming the third boot for being a liability … despite as Steve W put it, him having no legs because he was blown up helping people in Afghanistan. Speaking of which, that is actually where I first met my dear mate Damo. You see after getting kicked out the USO shows for being too lewd, I decided to try my luck performing tamer routines for the Aussie Army and became quite popular for a brief period.

After his accident, I would visit him daily and sing to him to try and make him feel better. While the doctors banned me from the hospital and got me deported for what they described as cruel and unusual punishment – bitch, I can hit more notes than Mariah you’ve got no idea – Damo knew I was just trying to help and we became the best of friends. That is why I knew my Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts would be the perfect way to cure his post boot pain.

 

 

Does the name roll of your tongue? Not really. Should I have gone with Caramelisedamien? Probably. But given how delicious these taste, I think you should cut me a break. The sweet onion melts in your mouth and dances with the earthiness of the cheese and the flaky gloriousness of the pastry.

Just trust me, they’re perfect. And hella moreish.

Enjoy!

 

 

Carameliseien Thonionson & Goats Cheese Tarts
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
4 onions, sliced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp ground chilli
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
150g goat’s cheese, crumbled
lemon thyme, to garnish

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onions, stirring, for fifteen minutes or until soft.

Add the sugar, balsamic, chilli and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes or until rich and sticky. Allow to cool for ten minutes or so.

Meanwhile cut each slice of puff pastry into nine equal squares and place on lined baking sheets. Top each with a dollop of onions, crumble over the goat’s cheese and transfer to the over to bake for fifteen minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Devour, immediately scattered with thyme leaves.

 

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Joy Beharsagna

Main, Pasta

It was actually my dear friend Joy that reached out to me about dropping by for this week’s date. She had noticed that I dropped off the face of the earth but the google alert featuring my name, rehab, prison and scandal hadn’t pinged, so she was extremely concerned about my welfare.

When I turned my phone back on after a ten minute digital detox, I discovered one to two frantic voice-to-texts that read, ‘Bern. Place chamomile me has been as chew grits kiss. Lava Jay’. After an hour abusing Siri, I deduced that it was Joy and decided to pick up the phone and see what was up.

Her concern for me was up, obvi, and that is why I love her.

I’ve known Joy for years after meeting on the set of Manhattan Murder Mystery in ‘92. I delivering Diane her daily filming steak when I literally bumped into her, in a rom-com fashion. We bantered about the accident, our acerbic wits instantly bonded us and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I put her name forward as a potential co-host of The View when Babs refused to hire me in drag as Angela Merkin.

She and I spent the afternoon chatting, laughing and taking a little time to enjoy the view, before sitting down to smash a big old Joy Beharsagna … and watch Australian Survivor, obvi. Honestly, did you really think I was going to make anything else?

 

 

Obviously this is Queen Joy’s famous recipe with the name smooshed into hers. But when I’m making my triumphant comeback to cyberspace, why should I get creative when Joy has already created something of perfection. Sweet and spicy sausage, a whack of herbs and the majesty of ricotta – if you haven’t tried Joy’s lasagna, you’re not living.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Joy Beharsagna
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
375g fresh lasagna sheets … or Alan Pastarkin, if you dare
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
750g Italian sausage, removed from skins
olive oil
800g crushed tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups passata
¼ cup oregano, roughly chopped
½ cup basil, roughly chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp pepper
500g ricotta cheese
1 ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
500g mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion over low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before bringing the heat up to medium, adding the sausage and cooking, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 10 or so.

Once the meat is no longer pink, add the tomatoes, passata, paste oregano, basil, salt and pepper and cook for twenty minutes or so.

While the sauce is simmering, combine the ricotta, a cup of parmesan, mozzarella, egg, parsley and a good whack of salt and pepper.

To assemble, spread a third of the mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish. Layer a couple of sheets of pasta over the top and spread over half the cheese sauce. Top with another third of the meat, some pasta and a the remaining cheese sauce. Pour over the remaining sauce, top with some parmesan and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until bubbly and crisp.

Devour. Preferably with Karlic Lagerbread.

 

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Jose Tikka Maasdama

Main, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor N … o wait a minute, Survivor NZ is one-upping Australian Survivor and has ditched Knee-coo-argh-goo-arua and has headed to a new location in the form of Thailand – yes, pronounced Thailand. While that makes me mildly misty for Brian Heidik’s porno past – he is a garbage person though, I know that – Tanya Vance’s illness and Shi-Ann’s robbery with the fake merge, I am mostly thrilled to have an inland location and thirsty after the Kiwi camera angles. Sigh, Lee and those up-short confessionals – swoon.

Anyway 18 Kiwi castaways boated their way through the Thai waterways – JT, Josh and Adam being particularly babin,’ and Tess speaking for all of us (or maybe just me) shocked by the fact tigers are in Thailand – before meeting Matt on a tiny remote island in the middle of a lake. Despite assuming they had already been split into tribes, the castaways arrived on shore en masse with Renee already terrified by the youth and physicality of her competitors. Though what everyone should really be worried about is the fact that Dave and Matt are High School best friends and in all likelihood will be a strong pair.

After Matt gave the laundry list of changes for the season – hidden immunity idols are a yes, redemption island is a no – Kaysha said she was ready to play, Jose shared she would love the money and Liam felt they would be more cutthroat. Putting that theory to the test, Matt announced that they would be kicking things off differently this year with everyone competing in an individual reward challenge for the, psych, he didn’t tell us … but they pick the tribes, no? Anyway, the challenge kicked off with Jose, Franky, Matt, Renee, Josh, Eve, Kaysha, Arun and JT dominating 20 knots and moving on to the second, now shirtless, round. Josh is still my fave, though Matt is coming through. Anyway, they swam out to a platform in the leak to find another bag of tiles, with Arun, Matt and Jose the lucky three to find tiles despite Franky’s dominance. The final three then swam back into shore before literally ordering tiles from 1-100. Despite being neck and neck with Matt’s glistening torso, Jose took out victory only to discover her victory won her – and Matt, who she selected for coming second – the opportunity to select her tribe. Jose selected Arun, Eve, Dave, Franky, Liam, Renee, JT – who was thrilled to be picked late – to form Chani, with Karla rounding it out as the only remaining female. Matt asked Tara, Josh – swoon – Tess, Brad, Kaysha – shocked she wasn’t first selected – Adam, Lisa forming the Khangkhaw tribe with Dylan completing the tribe by default.

Arriving at the island Chani’s spirits were up, until they discovered the food supplies were scarce and then opted to drink water without caring about whether they needed to boil it. Jose took on a leadership role by default, suggesting they clear a path to limit the risk of snakes and get to work building a fire and shelter closer to the shore. Despite admitting that selecting the tribe kind of made it obvious for her to take the lead on the tribe, Eve warned us that it could easily come back to bite her. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw, Tess and Adam were overwhelmed harsh location while Josh and Brad made quick work of putting together a shelter.

Despite being on the island less than an hour, Karla slashed her hand with a machete and almost bleeding out which made her feel even worse, already feeling on the outs of the tribe. While people were distracted by the drama, JT noticed Arun looking for clues to the hidden immunity idols and decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and forming an alliance. While Liam felt nobody was worrying about playing the game yet, JT followed up his two-person alliance by pulling in Eve and Dave, and Dave rounding out the majority with Franky.

Tara decided to play up the mum-card, despite Barb killing the competition last year with that exact strategy. While she was out sorting the bathroom amenities for her new kids, superfan queen Lisa shared that she was also going to play the mum card and pretend she just wanted to make her kids proud. While she wanted to downplay her passion for the game, she took Tess under her wing and gave her a list of dos and don’ts in the game. While Lisa felt it was all a rouse and didn’t buy it, Tess was hoping the lack of knowledge would allow her to dominate without making herself a threat. Soooo, Tess will eventually blindside Lisa, no? Back at Chani, Arun was hoping to avoid being seen as a leader, leaving Dave and Jose to focus on building fire. That was contrasted with Khangkhaw who decided it was a good idea to soak some rice overnight so they’ll have some mildly moist rice ahead of the next challenge, hopeful it would be enough to get the jump on their competition. Jose was concerned about the target she painted on her back, though was proud of winning the challenge and felt she had selected a strong tribe that would keep her safe. Sadly for her, Franky was sick of her running her mouth which is an easy excuse to get rid of someone early.

The tribes arrived at a muddy field to meet Matt for the first tribal reward of the season for tools and a flint to help sort the fire sitch and make their live easier. The challenge would involve pairs running out into the mud, finding a bag and touching their mat with it … before the other tribe’s pair snatch it. Jose and Renee made quick work winning the first round over Lisa and Tara. Matt and Adam evened things up thanks to the dominant blocking of Adam over Dave and Arun … I think. It was sexy mud wrestling and my thirst is real. Tess and Kaysha owned Franky and Karla, leaving Josh and Brad to battle it out against Liam and JT for the win. Once again, the dirty shirtless men were writhing and hugging before Brad made a break and secured victory for Khangkhaw. Matt then wished Adam happy birthday, his flowing locks look glorious in the mud and damn, everything was right in the world.

Particularly knowing the God filled himself with botox to keep his fellow castaways guessing.

Back at camp Khangkhaw made quick work getting fire thanks to Tara’s passion for pyromania, while poor Chani struggled to make fire with sticks rubbing salt in their wounds. Chani decided to follow Khangkhaw’s lead and cook some rice in the sun to try and turn things around for themselves. Thankfully the winning ways of Khangkhaw ran into a problem as they loaded their fire with rocks to aid cooking … only for them to start exploding everywhere and almost killing the tribe. With that, Dylan extinguished the flames and they were back at square one. Adam felt people were yet to pick up on the fact he was avoiding work as much as possible, while Dylan and Kaysha went hunting for rocks, idols and building an alliance with them, Tara, Lisa and Adam. Slay queens. Khangkhaw then sat down to Adam’s birthday dinner of actually cooked rice, sang him happy birthday and it was fucking delightful. Poor Chani then tried to eat their sun-rice and started to feel even worse about themselves.

Matt returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would be required to use long, hard poles to build a staircase and then run through an obstacle course, unlock puzzle pieces and complete said puzzle. Khangkhaw got out to an early lead while Jose started barking at her tribemates, though somehow they caught up which I assume says the strategy works. Matt then dominated the key maze, giving Khangkhaw back the lead from Franky allowing Dylan and Lisa to secure immunity for their tribe.

After their second loss, Jose proclaimed the strategy to blindly follow her worked well, despite the loss which immediately made me nervous since that isn’t really having any results. On the flipside, Franky was nervous about the vote after letting the tribe down. She went to get water with Renee and Dave, with them deciding they need to keep the tribe strong at this stage, though unsure what exactly that meant. While Franky identified Karla as an option and she felt like she was on the bottom, it didn’t really feel like it as they arrived at their iconic cave tribal council.

Eve felt disappointed to be at tribal council, while Renee felt that they were no weaker than their opponents despite their track record. Franky was nervous after blowing the competition, Dave thought the suffering was bringing everyone together. Renee and JT thought you should never feel safe in the game, Franky downplayed her scheming, Liam thought there had been no scheming, Jose felt they were outliers for being positive and not plotting while Karla was nervous and felt that no one should feel blindsided since everyone should be feeling nervous at their first tribal. That however was completely false as the votes rolled in for her and Jose, with Jose finding herself becoming the first boot to her and Karla’s utter disbelief.

While Jose was feeling her feels when she arrived back at loser lodge, she was thrilled to see me – her mentor and friend from Blenheim – there with a warm, slightly patronising smile. Given her dominance in the challenges, she was surprised to find herself becoming the first boot … until I reminded her that Ulong did it to Jolanda in Palau and we can always channel my pettiness into sabotaging them. Tragically she still wished her tribe well, though I suspect it had a lot to do with my Jose Tikka Maasdama.

 

 

Given she was kicked in the guts, I knew she would need something to give her back her spice … and let’s be honest, a Tikka Masala is the best way to do it. A little bit of heat and a shit tonne of spice, I had Jose back in top form in a matter of mouthfuls. Which is meant to sound less sexually aggressive than it does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jose Tikka Maasdama
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp garam masala
salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup natural yogurt
600g lamb, diced
vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
800g can diced tomatoes
1 cup double cream

Method
Combine half the garam masala with a good whack of salt and pepper, the cumin, coriander, chilli, lemon zest and juice and natural yoghurt in a bowl. Add the lamb and toss to coat before covering and placing in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.

Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. When starting to soften, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute before stirring in the tomatoes and remaining garam masala. Once bubbling, add the lamb and marinating liquid. Stir to combine and bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering for fifteen minutes.

Once the lamb is cooked through, add the cream and stir to combine and heat through. Serve immediately with rice, poppadoms and all the fixins’ … which Jose will never hear as the first boot.

Don’t be sad though. Devour!

 

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Vodcara Delevingatoni

Main, Pasta, Vegetarian

While I haven’t known Cara Delevingne for as long as some of the friends I’ve featured here, she is probably one of my best friends. Scrap that, is.

Given we’ve both got such busy schedules, Car and I don’t always get to spend as much time together as we’d like but when we do it is damn near perfection. Like that time I partied with her, Paris Jackson and Macaulay … which I can’t talk about. I’ve said too much.

As you know, we met during the filming of Anna Karenina when I was visiting Kiz and Az but what I didn’t mention is that we bonded over our close relationship with the Collinses. You see, my dear(ly departed) friend Jacks’ big sister Joan is her godmother and when you’ve got the Collinses as mutual friends, you’re destined for a beautiful relationship.

I made quick work of convincing her she could do better than bit roles in Kizza star vehicles, watched her bounce from Paper Towns to Pan and into the acting A-list with Suicide Squad. To say I am filled with pride is an understatement.

After catching up on each others’ lives since we last hung – I can’t confirm whether she and Paris Jackson are dating … but I also can’t not confirm they’re dating – and reminiscing about the good old days, I delighted her by whipping out a majestic and decadent Vodcara Delevingatoni.

 

 

Does anyone need something this rich, carby and heavy after the insanity that is Easter eating? No. But does anyone actually need anything? Yeah, confusing, inception … I’m on a high from this Carbone copycat of perfection and I can’t think.

Don’t judge me, don’t look at me … just enjoy!

 

 

Vodcara Delevingatoni
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
3 onions, sliced
100ml water
150g butter
2 tbsp kosher salt, plus extra
1.6kg canned crushed tomatoes
¼ cup raw caster sugar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cups thickened cream
3 tbsp chilli paste
¼ cup vodka
500g rigatoni

Method
Combine the onion and water with 100g butter and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over low heat and cook for half an hour or so, or until softened but not coloured.

Combine the two tablespoons of salt, crushed tomatoes, raw caster sugar and olive oil in a saucepan and simmer for ten minutes, or until combined and slightly thickened.

Cook the rigatoni as per packet instructions.

Combine the tomato and onion mixture in a large saucepan with the cream, chilli, vodka and remaining butter, and cook, stirring until the sauce comes together and is cooked through.

Drain the pasta, add to sauce and stir to combine, adjusting seasonings as required.

Devour.

 

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Michelle Douganzola Pizza

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Pizza, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, Tara and Locky were going through a tough break-up leading Locky to come up with a plot to use an old note to fake having an idol. He and the remaining castaways then discovered that in addition to immunity, they’d be playing for a car where Michelle – who Ziggy said was the worst physically – beat Locky and challenged the car curse to come down under. Then, tragedy struck, as Locky was unable to convince anyone but Michelle that he had an idol and was sent from the game completely clothed. How dare he not follow Jack from Survivor NZ’s suit, or lack thereof?

Asatoa returned to camp and celebrated making it to the final four, where Tara was feeling free after vanquishing her best friend. Celebrations continued the next day as the remaining castaways were proud to have made it to day 50, with Tara more shocked than anyone. Though not shocked enough to be in the middle pages of a dirty magazine, thankfully. She was proud that as a stay at home mum, she has been able to achieve so much as she has and to get out of her rut, which truly speaks to the crippling fear that controls me.

Jericho too is proud of himself, particularly given the fact no one has ever written his name down in 50 days. Despite this success, he decided that it was best to move on and become Jericho 2.0, which I can only imagine will be as successful as iSnack 2.0. Channelling Keith Nale, Michelle acknowledged that Survivor is not the holiday she was expecting. Obviously she is already spending the half a mil, also speaking directly to my soul. Rounding out the empowering journey section of this first finale week episode, Pete was missing his family and breaking down … which is exactly what I’d be doing on day 1, so I’m extremely proud he lasted 7 weeks before hitting this point.

With that out of the way Michelle turned things strategic, fostering her relationships to ensure everyone wants to take her to the finals. While Tara and Jericho were onboard, the former wasn’t sure how Michelle was feeling about her so whipped out her tub of lollies to sweeten the deal. Let’s not tell her how well knowing about the lolly jar went for Ziggy, right?

Given that the trio is tight, Pete was feeling completely on the outs and in need of immunity which he clearly said in front of a mirror three times because JLP appeared. Though not for immunity, instead the opportunity to eliminate a member of the jury. The challenge involved the final four holding on to numbered pegs on a wall, which Jonathan would tell them to remove one-by-one, until the drop one-by-one until we have a victor. Before even taking a peg out, Tara dropped. After losing a few more pegs, Michelle dropped out leaving the boys to battle it out before Pete dropped off trying to remove his fifth-last peg, giving Jericho the advantage and I assume, a pegging fantasy. Lol, he already had that.

Back at camp everyone was quick to congratulate Jericho before immediately getting to work convincing him to get rid of the juror they assume won’t vote for them. Michelle and Tara had a gentle conversation about who would vote for him in the end, with Tessa seemingly the only one identified as voting for someone else … in the form of Peter. Once again proving himself smarter than I’ve given his credit for, he convened a tribe meeting to see what everyone else was thinking to identify the potential threats they aren’t speaking about, and then getting rid of them.

Peter played – and I hate myself for saying this – right in to Jericho’s hand, trying to convince him that Locky was the best person to get rid of to keep Tessa and Jarrad on the jury, which you just knowing is going to backfire on Peter and a still-underdog-after-being-booted Tessa.

At the special Neal Gottlieb memorial tribal council, where the jury was shocked to discover that one of them would once again be voted out, this time from their luxury booze pad where I act as their personal chef’s. Jericho stupidly acknowledged he was smarter than the other players give him credit for, making his road more difficult moving forward. Jericho then had the opportunity to ask three jurors questions and while Jarrad danced around his answer, Tessa went in and said Tara didn’t deserve to be in the final four and Anneliese spoke about wanting a good person to win, as well as a good game player, proving her gameplay is still underrated, given Jericho’s pious spirit.

Calling his intelligence back into question, Jericho decided to vote out Tessa who just mentioned she would not vote for Tara. That being said, she was a pretty clear Michelle or Pete vote so I guess it makes sense … but she just mentioned she wouldn’t vote for Tara identifying your best goat. But honestly, poor Tessa – this is probably the worst thing that could happen to you on Survivor.

The next day Jerkicho and the others met JLP at an abandoned beach, which puzzled them as there was no challenge set up. Given the set-up yesterday, it was crystal clear that we were in for a family reward leading. The castaways broke down as Jonathan brought out Peter’s parents, Michelle’s sister, Jerkicho’s brother and Tara’s entire freaking family. Despite the fact not everyone got an equal number of visitors, I can’t hold it against Tara seeing her kids. We then got a rundown from the family members as the castaways sobbed to varying degrees, Peter being Kim Kardashian and Jericho being Jeffrey Dahmer or any other emotionless psychopath. JLP then gave them all the afternoon off to enjoy their families company instead of making them earn it and potentially cause some drama, the levels we haven’t seen since Brenda and Dawn in Caramoan.

We then got to experience the remaining castaways showing their families around the island. Tara’s kids were shocked and disgusted by the squalor, Jericho and his brother were Jericho and his brother, and of course, Michelle and her sister immediately started strategising. Kweens. Peter’s parents, like Tara’s kids, were shocked by the primitive surroundings and moreso, their loved ones ability to survive.

Breaking up the love fest, Jonathan returned for the most epic individual challenge of the season requiring them to pull themselves in a canoe to a tower in the ocean. They were then required to drop a bucket into the water and fill a tank until they reach a key before swimming to shore, unlock a rope and traverse a balance beam while untangling said rope. Once at the end, they use the weighted rope to try and shoot it through a hoop and pull down a bridge leading to a final puzzle.

Jericho got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Peter, with Michelle and a distant Tara rounding out the field. That is until the shoot portion, where Jericho sucked allowing everyone else to catch him. He finally scored and made his way to the puzzle with Tara and Pete following closely behind before Michelle finally joined them about five minutes later. Being the kween that she is, Michelle closed the gap and the puzzle came down to her and Peter, with Pete ultimately taking out immunity despite a last minute fumble as he lost a piece.

Back at camp the tribe gave their obligatory congratulations to Peter before those that didn’t win started to talk smack about him. Channelling Drag Race All Stars, Peter then had one on ones with each of the remaining castaways. He and Michelle agreed that Jericho needs to go because he already has locked in votes sitting on the jury. Tara was also keen on the plan to get rid of Jericho, offering up her name as the decoy boot for Jerkicho’s go-see with Peter. While he did buy it for a second, Peter and Michelle eventually made Jericho nervous, leading to an epic conversation between Michelle and Jericho where he tried to threaten her and she absolutely destroyed him. Then Tara happened. Despite siding with Pete and Michelle, she went for a walk with Jericho and spilled their entire plans before agreeing to force a tie with Jericho. Which would result in a fire making challenge between Michelle and Jericho.

At tribal council, Peter was extremely thankful to be wearing immunity before Jericho went all in campaigning for someone forcing a tie and going to a fire challenge. Michelle being Michelle defended herself, and gave another stellar tribal council performance and proved how much of a threat she is if she makes it to the end. While Michelle was secure in her scrambling, her trust was misplaced as Tara did in fact force a tie, twice, resulting in a fire making challenge – which is a term we’ve heard 6543 times tonight – between Jericho and Queen Michelle.

Despite a valiant effort from our Queen Michelle, Tara’s questionable decision allowed Jericho to win his way through to the final three and Michelle from the game as the ninth juror. Yes ninth, Tessa’s life still matters. As gut wrenching as it was to see her go, Michelle handled her exit gracefully, with a smile on her face like the killer person she is. We’ve long been friends, both meeting on the nannying circuit, before I was blacklisted for having one too many Irish coffees whilst in charge.

As is oft the case, Michelle stood by me and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. It was hard to see her arrive at the jury villa on the back of Tara’s stupid move, though she was in such good spirits she wouldn’t let me go into camp and burn it down, saying that my Michelle Douganzola Pizza was all she needed.

 

 

There is no better combination that sweetly caramelised onions and the earthy, sharp tang of blue cheese and this pizza is where is truly shines. Throw in some fluffy dough and garlic, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Like Michelle should be. Long live the Queen.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michelle Douganzola Pizza
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
passata and italian herbs, for the aforementioned bases
small knob of butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
200g gorgonzola, crumbled

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When as frothy as my shorts during one of Locky’s nude scenes, reduce heat to low, add the onions and cook until soft and sweet, about ten minutes. Crank up the heat to medium and add the sugar and vinegar and cook until caramelised, aka a further ten minutes or so.

Smear the dough with the passata and italian herbs and dollop out the caramelised onions. Sprinkle over the garlic and gorgonzola and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately.

 

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Lamb & Date Davis Tajine

Main, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously – aka a few seconds ago – on Survivor New Zealand, Mike tried to scramble after Tom took out a record equalling fifth immunity challenge. Showing how little he knew about the current situation in the tried, he came for Barbs which backfired gloriously as she berated him in front of the jury before joining the rest of the tribe to send him to the jury.

AFTER HE VOTED FOR RV.

Back at camp, Tom filled everyone in on the fact that Mike threatened him on the way into tribal before Avi told us that he was planning to ask Barb to get voted out next to give him another vote on the jury. Avi girl, bye.

The next day they were speculating about the duration of the season before Avi collected treemail announcing the final immunity challenge before making some hilariously obvious statements that made me angry. Anywho, the challenge – aka the Andrea Boehlke memorial redemption victory challenge – required them to balance a jug on the end of a hard rod, aka a tit-fuck … I assume.

In any event, Nate dropped out within seconds, followed closely by Barb. Three hours later Matt got sick of waiting for a victor and decided the boys had to put their arms behind their head which was the beginning of the end as both boys started to wobble, while obvi, still digging deep. Then out of nowhere Tomgel fainted, fell off the box and, most tragically of all, handed Avi immunity by default.

Back at camp Barb congratulated her boy Avi on winning immunity on a technicality before Nate started in on trying to get out of his mess and throw the target on Tom, the biggest threat to threat to both of their games. Nate tried to convince Barb to force a tie between he and Tom, which she took to Avi who tried to get her to fall on her sword. He then struggled with the thought of voting out Tom due to his loyalty, which TBH is super boring.

Meanwhile Barb extricated herself from the situation and hung out with Tom by the shore and had a good old cry, where she admitted that if she were on the jury she would vote for Tom over Avi because the latter has done nothing but be nice.

Putting us out of our misery, we arrived at tribal with the final four 1 and 2 point 0, now with Avi immune! Tom tried to convince everyone of his loyalty, Nate hoped that surviving without winning a challenge … despite winning a challenge being the only reason he returned to the game, was good enough for everyone. Barb was sassy and Avi spoke about working hard to win immunity, despite the fact he only one because of a medical episode. And I work in healthcare, so you know it is true.

Like the first final four tribal, Nate was voted out in the exact same three to one decision. Though this time he got to join me for a Lamb & Date Davis Tajine, so don’t feel too bad for him.

 

 

Rich yet delicate lamb, plump, sweet dates and a spicy tomato sauce? Sign me up to become the final boot anyday … though don’t, I’d rather win. I’m simply highlighting this is delicious, ok?

Enjoy, dammit!

 

 

Lamb & Date Davis Tajine
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp freshly mince ginger
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm chunks
2 tsp each ground cumin, paprika, coriander seed and chilli
1 cinnamon quill
800g canned crushed tomatoes
800ml chicken or beef stock
2 sweet potato, cut into 2cm dice
350g pitted dates
cous cous and fresh coriander, to serve

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large pan and sweat the onions, ginger and garlic until so fragrant, you can’t take it anymore. Add the lamb and cook, stirring, for five minutes, or until completely browned. Add the spices and cinnamon quill and cook for a minute.

Add the tin tomatoes, equal parts chicken (or beef, depending on how you like to mix your meat) stock and sweet potatoes, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for half an hour, or until the sweet potato is tender.

Add the dates and cook for a further five minutes, before serving on a bed of fresh cous cous … and devouring.

 

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Aubry Bracco Vin

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, advantagemageddon occurred meaning five of the six people were immune, eliminating kween Cirie by default.

She better be the first – and only – five time player.

Not wanting to remind us of another painful Cirie exit, Probst returned for the second immunity of the night – the classic dropping balls, balancing them on your hard rods and guiding them through tight holes. Aubry and Troyzan struggled dearly while Brad and Sarah took an early lead. Sarah choked at the last minute of the first run, giving Brad a clear outright lead … from which no one else could catch-up, giving him his fourth individual immunity of the season.

With Brad immune, Aubry was particularly scared given he has zero interest in ever working with her. Confirming her fears, Brad felt victory was in sight and quickly locked in the Aubry vote with Troyzan and Brad.

Aubry tried to work over Tai and Sarah, knowing that Brad was dragging Troyzan to the end as a goat no matter what. Sarah pulled Tai aside to see whether she could trust him again, trepidatiously asking what they should do … with even Tai locking in the vote against Aubry.

Tai then joined Brad in the hammock, where Brad continued to bully him saying that he had no choice and had to vote with him no matter what for the rest of the game. This spooked Tai, who returned to Sarah and confirmed that they should get of Brad’s right hand Troyzan.

We returned to tribal to be reminded that Cirie was eliminated by default, breaking hearts globally.

Probst got his man-boner out to gush over Brad’s immunity run, with Troyzan hopefully he could snag a win the next time. As expected, Aubry wasn’t feeling confident … but boy did she try to convince Sarah and Tai to boot Troyzan and free up another seat at the final tribal. Sarah tellingly said that Aubry’s pitch was great, if that is what is best for all of them. Everyone but Troyzan was feeling concerned about who they could beat in the final, which is crazy since he is the least likely to win. Sadly Aubry’s pitch fell on deaf ears – or at least ones that didn’t have interests that align with hers – as she found herself booted from the game in fifth place.

Hey – at least she actually got votes before getting her torch snuffed, I guess?

As you know, Aubs and I attended Brown with Summer Roberts, and the three off us have been the best of friends ever since. Thankfully this post-boot catch-up was less heartbreaking than our last, given that she was robbed the last time and this one I’m surprised she stayed as long as she did with as large (and as recent) a target as she did.

I’m even more thankful that Aubs is so easily pleased by any food on offer – coleslaw, anyone – because it means that she completely goes nuts on our dates, particularly if it means she gets Aubry Braccos Vin.

 

 

Straight up, there is bacon, chicken, mushroom and red wine – do you need me to say anything more?

Yes? Go fuck yourself. Sorry, that’s aggressive. But kinda deserved.

No? Exactly – enjoy.

 

 

Aubry Bracco Vin
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250g smoked streaky bacon, roughly diced
olive oil
2kg chicken breasts, cut into a large dice
¼ cup Cognac
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
6 onions, sliced
3 tbsp flour
2 cups Côtes du Rhône ( … or any red wine, though how good are all those accents?)
2 cups chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
400g mushrooms, quartered

Method
Start by heating a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and cook for a further ten minutes, or until sealed on the outside. Add the Cognac, let it bubble up and stir for a few minutes. You could light the cognac and let it burn off the alcohol, but I’m scared of fire and would totally lose the final four tie-breaker.

Add a good whack of salt and pepper, the bay leaf, thyme and onions, stir and cook for a further fifteen minutes. Sprinkle in the flour while stirring and cook for a minute or so before adding the wine, stock, garlic and tomato paste to the pan. Bring pot to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about half an hour, stirring as you see fit.

Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for a further fifteen minutes, or until soft and glorious.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately on a bed of mashed potatoes, or with thick chunks of crusty bread.

 

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Jenna Moussaka

Main, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands

Guys – it is less than two weeks until my girl Sandra returns for her third crown … or to at least block Tony and JT from equaling her record.

Not that I don’t have faith in her ability to snatch the crown again. Can you tell I’m excited for Survivor and Sandy’s return?

Given that my girl is an underrated goddess, despite her perfect game record, I felt it best to honour her third attempt by holding court with another underrated victor, my dear friend Jenna Morasca.

Like Sandy, I would defend Jen and her gameplay to the ends of the earth. Sure she ended Rob C’s hope of ever winning the game and feuded with a deaf person but she also stripped for peanut butter – who wouldn’t TBH – went on an immunity run and even gave away immunity without it sending her home.

Plus, she was sassy as fuck, gives a good sound bite and was probably the best appointed winner to make it far in All Stars hadn’t had to quit to be with her mother.

I first met Jen way back when we were both attending University of Pittsburgh studying zoology – I was going through a weird Brendan Fraser/George of the Jungle phase and thought that a knowledge of animals could help.

Given our sassy attitude and good looks we were immediately drawn to one another and became the best of friends. I was her Heidi before Heidi existed, basically. After my many run-ins with Burnett, I kept our friendship quiet as she auditioned which I would argue got her cast meaning I played an integral part in her victory.

We are such busy little bees that we haven’t been able to see as much of each other as we like, so it was such a treat to sit down, gab about the upcoming season and dreams for her eventual return.

Speaking of dreams, my Jenna Moussaka is most definitely one.

 

jenna-moussaka-1

 

Spicy, rich and creamy – this little baby is the ultimate comfort food. Plus, eggplant makes it healthy, so you barely have to feel guilty about the cheesy goodness clogging up your arteries.

Enjoy!

 

jenna-moussaka-2

 

Jenna Moussaka
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
a generous lug of olive oil
3 eggplants, cut into half centimetre discs
2 red capsicums, cored and halved
500g beef mince
500g lamb mince
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
800g tinned tomatoes
100g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
3 cups milk
120g parmesan, roughly grated

Method
Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

Place the eggplant discs on a wire rack, over a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about half an hour, or until crisp, charred and drying out. Add the capsicum for the last ten minutes to blister their skins.

Reduce oven to 160°C.

While they are cooking, heat a lug of oil in a large pan and cook the mince over medium heat, or until browned. Add the spices, oregano, onion and garlic and cook for a further few minutes. Meanwhile diced up the charred capsicum and add to the pan with the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about fifteen minutes. Season and allow to rest.

To make the bechamel, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once foaming, add in the flour and cook until lightly browned and not resembling either butter or flour. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk until all combined. Return to the heat and cook for a minute or two, or until thickened. Remove from the heat, season and leave to rest.

To assemble, place a third of the meat mixture on the base of a large baking dish. Top with a third of the dried, charred eggplant and repeat the process until both are all gone. Pour over the bechamel, top with the cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly on top. Remove and allow to rest for five minutes before devouring.

 

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Pumpkim Basinger Soup

Main, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVII: Gold with the Wind, Side, Snack, Soup, Vegetarian

While I like to let the lesser celebrity categories shine, I know why you drop by for Oscar Gold and that is my extreme proximity to the A-list.

And there is no one more A-list than my dear gal-pal and past Best Supporting Actress Winner, Kim Basinger.

I first met Kim through her ex-husband – and my ex/oft-lover Alec – but her kind heart and sassy nature won me over and I actually grew closer to her during their split. Thus leaking the pig-daughter tapes.

Kim and I haven’t been able to catch-up lately what with her doing the publicity rounds for Fifty Shades of I-Won’t-Show-My-Peen-and-This-Is-A-Waste-of-Your-Time, so it was such a treat to sit down and chat about the most important categories – Best Supporting and Best Actress.

Given the fact that I have a temper similar to Al’s, Kim was a bit scared to engage in any major disputes so we both landed on Viola for Supporting, despite the fact that she agreed that the previously insufferable Nicky Kid turned in such a beautiful performance that echoed her life and made you love her that it should be her taking out the crown over V’s always consistent scenery chewing.

Also … surely Mish Wills needs an overdue win sometime soon. And the post first scene was damn perfection.

She also agreed that Emma Stone was a lock because she is my friend and was cast in the musical whilst starring in Cabaret – which I saw and critiqued her in – bringing her luck. Though that being said, Isabelle Huppert is the most likely to upset any of the favourites on the night.

So yeah, discussions were robust meaning we needed something hearty that also hugged your soul like my Pumpkim Basinger Soup.

 

pumpkim-basinger-soup-1

 

Earthy, spiced and warm, this is pumpkin soup isn’t what you’d get in a can. In a good way, obvi.

All the veggies are baked first giving a depth of flavour and sweetness that is perfectly cut through by a whack of herbs and a smack of chilli. Dis good, dis real good, ok?

Enjoy!

 

pumpkim-basinger-soup-2

 

Pumpkim Basinger Soup
Serves: 100 people aka all the Baldwins … or maybe just 12 people?

Ingredients
1.5kg butternut pumpkin, cut into 3cm dice
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 potatoes, roughly chopped
4 pieces celery, roughly chopped
olive oil
1 tbsp dried chilli
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp maple syrup, optional
bunch of sage
1L chicken stock
1 cup cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place all the veggies – and realistically you could use anything you had in the fridge, capsicum is a great addition to be honest – on a lined baking sheet (or two), drizzle with olive oil and chilli, season and bake until golden and tender. About half an hour.

Once the veg are ready, transfer to a large pot, drizzle with maple syrup, add the sage leaves and fry over medium heat for a minute, reduce to low pour in the stock and simmer, stirring sporadically, for about fifteen minutes to half an hour, or until all the veggies are tender and your kitchen is smelling amazing.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for five-ten minutes and blitz thoroughly yet carefully with a stick blender until smooth and glorious. Return to low heat, stir through the cream and coook until heated through.

Serve – immediately if you like to risk burning all the skin in your mouth – and top with a drizzle of cream and some chopped sage, if you are patient enough, and devour.

 

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