Mike Gabler Cheese Balls

Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor 43, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.

After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.

At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.

The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.

Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.

Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.

Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.

Enjoy!

Mike Gabler Cheese Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g macaroni pasta
¼ cup butter
2 ¼ cups flour
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. If you have a go to mac and cheese recipe use that, but I generally bounce between Mickey Rooney Cheese or Rohan Maclaren Cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.

When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.


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Stuphaning Prites

Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World, Canada's Drag Race: Canada vs the World 1, Party Food, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race vs the World – how much easier would that have flowed, amirite – nine dolls from around the globe said Bonjour! Hi! to the Canadian stage. The Season 2 dolls stuck together, as did the camp queens leaving Vanity, Silky and Ra’Jah to form the greatest Drag Race girl group this side of the Frock Destroyers. Obviously they destroyed the competition, while the other teams were a mixture of strong moments and a couple of missteps. Somehow Rita landed in the top with Vanity – I feel like this should have been Ra’Jah’s, but oh well – while Kendall and Stephanie landed in the bottom. Obviously Vanity dominated the lip sync – because, duh, it’s Vanity – before giving Stephanie another shot to shine by sending Kendall home.

Backstage Stephanie was feeling super grateful to have been saved before everyone toasted Kendall for being an absolute delight. Silky meanwhile led the dolls in praising Vanity, before they went for the tea as talk turned to who Rita would have sent home and while she tried to fake it out, admitted she too would have sent Kendall home as Stephanie was more in need of a second chance. Though shared with us that Kendall was actually more of a threat. Vanity shared that Stephanie talking about being the only Asian queen on the cast spoke to her on a deep level, as the only black queen on her original season. The talk of representation made Victoria feel brave enough to call out Stephanie for using the term fishy and while Stephanie spoke about the fact she has reclaimed it from the Philippines, Victoria explained that it is also deeply derogatory to women and as such hoped they could all learn about each other’s cultures and grow. And ugh, I love how maturely they handled it.

The next day the dolls were feeling energetic and ready to slay another week, none more so than Stephanie who was just glad to be around. Anita opened up about feeling a bit put out during the first week as the only person from her franchise, though had found her feet due to their kindness and was ready to slay. Icesis questioned if there were any alliances and while everyone downplayed it, Ra’Jah the icon called out Canada for pairing off in the first week and kind of sending that message. Before we could get any drama Brooke arrived to open the bibliotheque because what? Reading is fundamental. Victoria was charming and full of rhyme, Vanity was a total mess, Stephanie was not much better, Ra’Jah meanwhile was hard on her sister but no one else, Icesis was also a mess, Rita was also bad and well, is this the worst reading challenge of all time? Thankfully Silky brought some charm and while the jokes didn’t always land, her personality did. While Anita was cute and brutal which was more than enough to jag herself victory in the mini challenge.

Oh and did I mention this week’s Maxi Challenge is the Snatch Game? Because it is, but with a political twist.

Everyone split up to get into character with Silky and Anita hoping to go two from two in Snatch Game, while Stephanie was very nervous, given she never made it far enough in her first season. Brooke returned to kiki with the girls with Ra’Jah thinking she will play Big Freedia or Grace Jones, hoping to live up to her killer Latoya. Rita was excited to do French drag icon Guilda, while Icesis was going to be rocking Pamela Anderson until Brooke talked her out of it and into her back-up choice of Donatella. Anita is trying to follow-up her winning turn as Queen Elizabeth with Adele and ugh, this makes me nervous given Ginger did her SO well. Stephanie meanwhile was going with cursed celeb Snatch character Cardi B. Vanity was deciding between Megan the Stallion or Spice while Victoria would be giving us Kim Woodburn and Silky was planning to slay as Lizzo.

We pivoted to the Snatch Game Summit where Vanity had all the energy and charm. Stephanie started off energetic and ridiculous, Rita gave Parisienne glam, Anita was a bit of a mess, Silky was Silky and Icesis was killer from the very first moment as she read Brooke for filth. Speaking of filth, Victoria had Kim down. Icesis was hilarious and ridiculous from start to finish while Ra’Jah was bouncing off everyone like ping pong balls. At the other end of the pack Stephanie was an absolute mess, Silky struggled to land a joke and poor Anita was swallowed up amongst the pack.

Elimination Day arrived with everyone gagged to see Brooke backstage when she escorted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Werk Room. Prime. Minister. What the hell? Oh my God! The dolls kikied with the PM before he gave a global call to action to stop being bigotted and to embrace difference and well, I love it. I love him, I love them. I mean he read Brooke by asking where he would find RuPaul and ugh, gold! After he disappeared the dolls spoke about the power of having the PM enter the Werk Room with Stephnie breaking down about how politicians like him are the reason she could be an immigrant and ugh, I’m crying.

Sadly Justin disappeared by judging as Brooke and Traci were joined by Sarain Fox and fellow Snatch Game bottom and Season 1 victor, what’s her name? Priyanka, obviously. On the Celestial Bodies runway Silky was a perfect alien dragon deity, mid-tour of the galaxy. Ra’Jah was stunning in a glorious midnight blue outfit, giving a silver elf. Anita was perfect as the queen of the moon, shimmering across the stage while Rita was a flaming, smoking sun. Stephanie was stunning as a glorious golden deity, Vanity was a shimmering, spiky sex pot while Victoria was a beautiful molten Saturn before Icesis closed the show in a moody deity-does-Victorian-glamour number.

Ultimately Rita and Vanity were sent to safety before Silky was praised for bringing the fun on the runway though read for going round in circles during the Snatch summit. Ra’Jah meanwhile got wall to wall praise for being fun, energetic and entertaining during Snatch Game and for making yet another glorious runway. Anita’s runway received all the love, though the judges hated her Adele. She broke down about how much she was struggling in the season and ugh, it is hard to watch because she is usually so much fun. Stephanie was read for relying on the Cardi mannerisms and not giving any peaks and valleys. Though her runway, obviously, was beloved. Victoria’s outfit was praised though they felt she didn’t go far enough in Snatch Game. She opened up about the pressure of being the first cis contestant, though hearing everyone lift her up was great. Icesis’ look was loved, though her Snatch Game was only better given she absolutely dominated.

Obviously, it was Ra’Jah and Icesis that landed in the top two while Silky and Victoria were sent to safety, leaving Stephanie and Anita at risk of going home.

Backstage the dolls grabbed a drink before Stephanie opened up about how disappointed she was to land in the bottom again, while Anita admitted she feels heartbroken to be in the bottom, given this is what they do. Victoria meanwhile spoke about being disappointed to have not excelled, though agreed that Icesis and Ra’Jah were far and away the best. Anita caught up with Ra’Jah assuring her that she will turn things around and wanted to face challenges she didn’t get the chance to do in her original season. And while Ra’Jah knew that getting rid of Anita could make the upcoming comedy challenges easier, she is also losing confidence and that could make her easier to face. Icesis meanwhile asked Stephanie what she would give the competition if she stayed, though also admitted that she didn’t want to chop another Canadian. As the safe queens eavesdropped, Stephanie opened up to Ra’Jah about how she is struggling amongst the louder personalities while Anita tried to prove to Icesis she is a veteran and will turn a show, but just needs another chance.

After Icesis and Ra’Jah selected their lipsticks we returned to the mainstage where their new rocker outfits made a lot more sense as Avril’s Sk8r Boi kicked off. And well, despite the lols, the dolls killed it. Ra’Jah was brazen, bold and gave us ballet AND bating, Icesis meanwhile was full rocker, hitting every lyric and oozing attitude all over the floor. Sadly though there could only be one winner as Icesis took out victory and opted to give our Down Under hero another week to shine, eliminating her sister Stephanie from the competition.

As she hilariously called her a hoe via song on her way out the door.

Backstage, despite the disappointment, Stephanie was an absolute delight; thrilled to get to compete with her international sisters. And more importantly, grateful to be in the presence of zaddy Justin Trudeau, because duh. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she is always iconic – I mean, she was drag Sidney Prescott so don’t come for me – and as such, I was thrilled to toast her success with some Stuphaning Prites.

Sure, the name is a little clunky but we’ve ticked over into the festive season so you best believe, I will be eating festively whether it makes sense or not. And these little panettone stuffing bites – adapted from Nigella – are the perfect way to start. Sweet, salty and oh so carby, they will have you coming back for more.

Enjoy!

Stuphaning Prites
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
4 shallots, sliced
2 granny smith apples, cored and quartered
400g sliced pancetta, diced
2 celery stalks
6 fresh sage leaves
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp olive oil
200g tinned chestnuts, drained
1 lemon, zested and juiced
500g slightly stale panettone, sliced
2 eggs

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Pop the shallots, apple, pancetta, celery, sage, garlic and chilli flakes in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped and mushy.

Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring semi-frequently, for about 15 minutes. Or until fragrant and softened. Transfer to a large bowl and crumble in the chestnuts before stirring through the zest and juice of the lemon. Crumble in the panettone and give another good stir to combine until it forms a stodgy paste before folding in the eggs.

Line a 30x20cm baking dish and press the mixture in, smoothing the top as you go. Transfer to the oven to bake for about half an hour or until browned and crisp on the edges and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for about half an hour before cutting into bite-sized squares for a festive party snack, or larger portions if you’re using it as a side. Either way, devour.


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Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip

Condiment, Dip, Party Food, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, Snack, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK after the top four slayed the final challenge by putting on an epic show with their eliminated sisters. You know, Just May, Starlet, Copper, Sminty, Baby, Le Fil, Dakota and Pixie! They stomped the runway in Grand Finale Eleganza and despite everyone nailing the assignment, only two were able to continue on in the competition as the four badge queens stuck around, eliminating Jonbers and Peppa to watch on from the back of the stage.

Danny and Cheddar took their places to lip sync for the crown to Dame Shrley Bassey’s This is My Life and well, the entire performance was an absolute slay. Cheddar leant into the emotion, was dainty and ethereal while Danny gave bold, brassy and all the fire to snatch the crown. Both of the queens were in the pocket from start to finish, well and truly proving why this is the strongest top two in any franchise of Drag Race. Ever. And while it should have been a double crowning, sadly Ru opted to stick with only one winner, handing the crown to Danny Beard and relegating Cheddar to the hall of four badge runner-ups alongside the icons Bimini and Ella.

Which honestly, is pretty damn good company.

While Cheddar was disappointed as she found me backstage, she held her head up high reminding me that as she said to Ru and Michelle, she is a star. And the win wouldn’t change that. Which TBH, made me feel a little bit better.

Like many a UK finalist before her Cheddar never really put a foot wrong, giving a collection of perfect runways that always had a message, bringing humour and charm to all that she did and well, to quote Ru, always being so damned polished. As such, I was thrilled to honour her win-worthy run with a big fat bowl of Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip to help dull the disappointment.

This copycat of my favourite dip growing up may not be as classy as Cheds, but it sure as hell is just as delicious. Rich, salty and smacking you in the face with all the flavour, you could eat the entire vat and never regret it.

Enjoy!

Bacon Cheddar Gorgeous Dip
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
8 rashers streaky bacon, diced and fried until crisp
4 shallots, sliced
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ tsp sriracha
½ tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced
small handful parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Pop everything in a bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Then remove and serve with crackers. Or you know, just devour with a spoon because cheddar truly is gorgeous!


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Chicken Slidy Boom Boom

Burgers, Canada's Drag Race 3, Canada’s Drag Race, Main, Party Food, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Canada’s Drag Race the dolls thought they were all going to be designing runway looks based on differing boxes. However when they opened them to check out their haul, they learnt it was all a ruse and instead, they would be designing looks based on the exact same items. Somehow everyone managed to pull off different looks, with Giselle stunning in a glamorous gown, while Kaos repeated a similar look from the previous design challenge. And Jada just straight up looked a mess. As the dolls untucked, a massive blow-up occurred between Fiercalicious and pretty much everyone, leaving her hurt in a very foul mood. Giselle rightly took out her first victory, while Jada once again saved herself via the lip sync as she sent Kaos packing.

Backstage the mood was well and truly sombre, with everyone missing Koas while Jada was feeling down after having to lip sync again. Despite turning the party, obviously. While everyone congratulated her on her performance, Fiercalicious looked on sulking, leading to Bombae and Kimmy calling her out for being in her feelings. With Kimmy in particular not interested in apologising to her, instead asking her to do better. As everyone gave their two cents, Lady Boom Boom cut them off and told everyone to move on and put high school to bed. And instead, congratulated poor Giselle on her first win. With even her over the idea of being congratulated, given she was sitting in her corset for way too long.

The next day the mood was so much better, with Bombae ready to take out a win before Fiercalicious apologised to her sisters and vowed to be less reactive and open to their feelings. And challenge her energy on a win. And just like that, they were all friends again. Kimmy pointed out that there are four queens with a win, begging the question, when will the other dolls slay? Which led to Irma promising us that should they get a comedy challenge, this could be her moment. Like Snatch Game. Which is what Brooke confirmed was the upcoming challenge as soon as she dropped by. Well, after opening the bibliotheque for some reading.

Fiercalicious channelled her feelings into destroying her sisters and damn, I wasn’t expecting her to be that good at reading. Boom Boom was cute as she sweetly eviscerated the dolls, Irma was brutal and oh so good, Giselle was silly, Jada was sage and cruel, Vivian was kooky and fun, Bombae was amazing while Kimmy was aggressive and amazing. Though ultimately there could only be one winner, and that was the icon herself, Lady Boom Boom.

But more importantly, Snatch Game! As Brooke exited, the dolls split up to talk about their characters with Boom Boom going with iconic Montreal drag queen Mado. Which is what Giselle was planning to do, though given she had back-ups, she did a full Divina and gave her the outfit and opted for someone else. As Jada and Fierce caught up, we learnt that the latter and Kimmy both planned to do Ariana Grande and well, this could get messy. Wait, no, Fierce graciously took the high road without a battle. Though trust she will be pissed if it costs her the competition.

Brooke returned to check on her girls, with Bombae going with Aziz Ansari and well, yes, this could be super fun. Or a total mess. Either way, I want to see it. Jada was planning to go with Saucy, who I’ve never heard of, but they look like an icon, so work. Vivian is going into battle with Ginger Minj and Jessica Chastain by playing Tammy Faye, while Brooke was nervous about Kimmy’s take on Ariana Grande. Though once again, she was confident she would make it fun. Fiercalicious pivoted to Kourtney Kardashian and damn, please let her get into a kickdown fight on the panel. Brooke was excited to see what Lady Boom Boom would do with Mado, while Irma is finally bringing Marilyn to Snatch Game. Oh and Giselle is going to play Marie Curie or Celine Dion, and while Broke seemed into the second (despite her trauma), Marie would be iconic. So let’s hope she sticks to her guns.

Snatch Game kicked off with Bombae bringing the energy while Giselle was perfection from the very first moment, complete with a green glow from beneath the desk. Fierce had the Kardashian vibe down pat, Irma was hilarious, Vivian was the right level of manic and was so damn adorable. Jada’s Saucy was cute and fun, while Kimmy was an absolute mess. In the most entertaining way. While Boom Boom was there. There is no denying that this was Giselle’s challenge to lose though, as she dominated each and every moment – I mean, she lost teeth and hair, drew a new brow with her marker and was all around hilarious – while Irma and Vivian narrowly followed behind for supremacy. At the other end of the pack, Kimmy’s bomb was totally entertaining, while Boom Boom was kinda boring as Bombae just missed the mark.

Elimination Day arrived with Vivian feeling her oats, ready to breakthrough with a potential win. She opened up to Irma, sharing that she was embraced by a group of people at a Baptist Church growing up and that their warmth and kindness helped her become the person she is today. This led to a discussion about all of their journeys with religion, and while Vivian’s was good, Kimmy was sent to a conversion camp, as was Giselle, though somehow accidentally after a priest told her it was an artist camp. And as such, her mother pulled her out when she found out about the lie. Bombae on the flipside was taught about the queer god and goddesses of hindu culture and embraced by her family growing up, though admitted they didn’t know she does drag. With Boom Boom hilariously suggesting that might be for the best, given she hasn’t won a challenge.

Brooke, Brad and Traci were joined by the returning Sarain Fox as the dolls stomped the Periodic Table of Elements runway. Fiercalicious was an iconic club kid dominatrix as Neon, Kimmy gave prehistoric A’Whora vibes for calcium before Vivian slayed arsenic as Joker before revealing a Batman love interest in arsenic-made green. Boom Boom was avant garde for bromide, complete with liquid pumping through the architectural look. Giselle was a gorgeous goddess snitch serving gold before Jada gave pop glamour in honour of sodium and Irma was a glamorous ‘50s housewife in a yellow gown for uranium. And then Bombae stole the show as the sexiest living balloon for helium.

Jada and Fiercalicious were both sent to untuck before the judges read Kimmy for filth, despite looking like Ariana in Snatch Game. On the flipside, they lived for her runway. Vivian received wall-to-wall praise for both Snatch Game and her glamorous runway. Sweet Boom Boom was praised for giving perfect Mado in appearance, though read for giving absolutely nothing more. Though they loved her runway. They lived for everything Giselle did this week, from the demented character study, to making them laugh and looking perfect on the runway. They also adored everything Irma did in the Snatch Game and the light and shade she brought to her performance. Oh and they loved her look. Poor Bombae, meanwhile, was praised for starting strong, though read for completely losing momentum. But thankfully, they loved the runway.

Backstage Kimmy was disappointed to be in the bottom, though knew she deserved it and as such, was just ready to bring it in the lip sync. She opened up about not singing in the challenge due to it triggering her gender dysphoria, though didn’t want to bring it up and sound like she was making excuses. Which is super heartbreaking. Boom Boom too was ready to lip sync, while Bombae was disappointed to miss the mark. But was fired up to perform should she have to.

Ultimately Irma Gerd and Vivian were sent to safety as Giselle took out her second win in a row. At the other end of the pack, Bombae runway narrowly saved her as Kimmy and Boom Boom faced off to Run Away With Me by Carly Rae Jepson. And damn was it good! Both girls hit every lyric and looked so beautiful, while Kimmy stripped off and started kicking and flipping around the stage, poor Boom Boom was kinda held back by her restrictive outfit. Which is honestly the only thing that could split them, saving Kimmy and sending sweet Lady Boom Boom out of the competition.

While she was disappointed backstage, I reminded her that she followed in the tradition of her fellow non-English speaking sisters in stumbling on Snatch Game which is hardly something to be embarrassed about. I mean, ask France host Nicky Doll, it is painfully hard to be funny in another language, and as such, she was always at a disadvantage this week. Which was enough of a pep talk to cheer up the former front runner, giving us plenty of time to lol about while smashing some Chicken Slidy Boom Booms in honour of her slayage.

You know the deal, I love burgers. But sliders have an even bigger place in my heart, given they are baby versions, meaning you can eat twice as much without any guilt. Creamy slaw, chicken so crisp you could cut a tooth and the tang of pickle also doesn’t hurt making these so damn moreish.

Enjoy!

Chicken Slidy Boom Boom
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
4 shallots, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper, to taste
4 boneless pieces of Farrahed Moan Chicken, cut in half
8 slider rolls
4-6 pickles, sliced
4 slices American Cheese, cut in half

Method
Combine the cabbage, shallots, carrot, celery, mayo, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl until everything is well coated. Adjust the mayo and seasoning, depending on taste.

After you’ve prepared the chicken as per Farrah’s instructions, split the sliders and pop a spoon of the slaw on the bottom, followed by the pickle, the chicken and then some cheese. Then close and repeat until they’re all done, before smashing, happily.


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Cheeseburger Chappies

Main, Side, Snack, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor South Africa 146 castaways lined up to play across 8 seasons and while their were countless iconic moments – Chappies nude scenes, for instance – and blindsides, only 8 people walked away as winners while 136 exited the game as losers. Well, assuming my maths is correct. Which, TBH, it probably isn’t. In any event, it did lead us here, with zaddy Nico, to welcome back 20 castaways returning for a shot at redemption. Or more likely, to get their torch snuffed once again.

The castaways jetted in on speed boats where we learnt that the Yontau would be made up of pre-merge boots like Shona who was not thrilled to be on a tribe with chaotic players like Tania and Pinty. Thankfully the iconic Tania was ready to learn from her mistakes and take the back seat, while Killarney was thrilled to be a mystery to her fellow castaways given she played so long ago. And trust and believe, she will be using it to her advantage. Over on Masu who all made it to the merge on their first go around, Steffi wasn’t thrilled to be competing with Chappies given he was a dirty little food thief, while Meryl was thrilled to be reunited with her former ally Dante. Despite the fact it clearly makes them both targets. PK was nervous to see Tevin on the rival tribe, given he had already blindsided him once before while Marian and Shane were thrilled to be reunited. And hopeful their season was old enough that they would be considered unknowns. 

And did I mention Queen Palesa is back? Because, work.

The two tribes’ boats docked on the shore and met up with Nico where Seamus was thrilled to be back and glad that he can’t place worse than his first go around, which is a very good point. Thoriso is glad to be a returnee despite not making the merge or playing well, while Tejan was nervous to be back after 11 long years. And Chappies was shitting his pants with excitement to be back after a matter of months, though also knew it was concerning as he is very fresh in people’s minds. Tevin meanwhile was ready for revenge on the two people that voted him out, while Marian pointed out that while she made the merge, nobody made the finale and as such, they all have something to prove. And yes, Queen Marian.

Oh and then Nico dropped the goss that they’d be playing for 2 million rand and well, they were overjoyed. Particularly Chappies, since it makes his loss make more sense, since he was destined for the double prize. Obviously.

Nico then warned them that they would have to earn that increased prize with the most intense season ever. And to prove it, they were put to the test in their first reward challenge for a flint. And said challenge would be a repeat of the Season 7 – and many US and Australian seasons too – classic where in pairs, they would have to race and collect a ring from a pole and get it back to their tribe pole, with the first team to three winning. And if the boys start pulling at each other’s clothes Australian style, we win.

Killarney and Thoriso were first up facing Palesa and Steffi, the latter of whom had an injured ACL and was worried she wouldn’t be able to replicate her dominant performance on her first season. Thankfully for her and Masu, she still made easy work of the challenge and jagged their first point without even breaking a sweat. Chappies and Dante faced off against Felix and Seamus and damn did they put up a fight. While Seamus was first to the ring, Chappies brutally tackled him before they all snuggled in a puddle and while their pants stayed on, I still ship them. Oh and then Dante made a break and scored a second point for Masu. But never forget the cuddle puddle. Tevin and Pinty battled Toni and Tejan to keep them in the game, which they did as Tevin darted out of the fray and scored the first point for Yontau. Meryl and Marian then played for the game against Tania and Shona and while they were confident, Tania and Shona put up a valiant fight, wrestling their rivals until they dragged them to the Masu pole and scored reward for their fellow post-merge returnees.

We followed Yontau back to camp where the tribe were shocked by how minimal their supplies were, while Thoriso was busy focusing on the fact their trees had symbols on them. Hopeful they would lead her to an idol. While Dino was just terrified about how little they had. Meanwhile at Masu, Dante was hoping to learn from his mistakes and keep all his options open and build relationships with everyone. The first apparently being with Chappies as the duo bonded over being strong challenge beasts and honestly, a little bit of fangirling. And since Chappies knows Steffi from outside the game, he was confident they would be a strong trio. Speaking of Steffi, she and Marian were gossiping about PK, Tevin and Toni all having matching tattoos and being close, and as such, decided they should get rid of PK ASAP. Which I assume means Marian is also in the alliance with Steffi, Chappies and Dante, whether she likes it or not. Toni and PK meanwhile pulled Tejan in and were ready to pull in Palesa as their fellow Season 6 player.

Over at Yontau Tania was trying to fight her instincts and stay calm, which meant she immediately approached Thoriso and Pinty to align. Then Killarney. Completely aware that she was sliding back into panicked Tania. Dino and Seamus meanwhile were bonding over how weird it was to be back, with Seamus opening up about how hard he was on himself after being booted first and how it has taken him a long time to heal. Back at camp Shona was suggesting they watch the sunset, though she cautioned they avoid smashing an unripe pineapple as they relaxed, in case it makes their stomachs sore. Which in turn made Pinty slip back into her old ways and get angry, before she went for a walk and calmed down, knowing she needs to keep it in check if she wants to win.

We returned back to Masu where Meryl, Marian and Steffi snuck away to lock in an alliance, with Shane and Dante pulled in with their pairs. And then Chappies became their arbitrary sixth person after Steffi pulled him in. Which made her nervous, given she didn’t want her loyalty outside of the game – since they know each other – to ruin how she plays. Meanwhile Dante was on the hunt for an island wife with PK, as Marian was thrilled to date Dante. We then learnt that she and PK briefly dated a decade ago and while he thinks everything is all good between them, she was more than ready to cut him and get her revenge for being sketchy to her. Which is the kind of drama I live for.

The next day the Masu six were left alone at camp, shocked by their luck to openly strategise against the other four and figure out how to dismantle their bonds and take complete control. Meanwhile Palesa, Toni and PK were down by the beach with Toni feeling nervous about their position in the game and unsure how they will survive should they lose the first challenge. That being said, PK is busy painting the target on his back and that is enough for her to feel a little at ease given he clearly would go first.

We returned back to Yonatu where Tevin was ready to make a name for himself and not get stuck into his perceived trio with Toni and PK. As such, he approached Seamus and quickly locked him in as a number.

Back at Masu Shane was feeling confident in his alliance with Marian, despite the fact they haven’t even spoken. She then pointed out a symbol on a tree next to camp, leaving him to dig around the roots to see if he could find anything, while she darted off to loop in Dante.

The tribes then received treemail directing them to select two people to go on a journey to the Outpost where they would have to negotiate for supplies. Which obviously made everyone super nervous and paranoid. After much deliberation, Yontau selected to send Seamus and Thoriso to go on their behalf while Masu opted for Shane and Steffi. The latter of whom being selected by drawing the short straw. Much to Toni and Palesa’s disappointment.

As the foursome arrived at the Outpost they learnt they would be able to select two supplies for each tribe, with Shane offering for them to go first in the hope they selected flint and he and Steffi could jag what they wanted. Sadly for them Seamus bluffed and immediately selected rice, leaving Masu to get lentils and pap, while Yontau opted for the flint as their second choice. Before being dismissed, they read another note announcing that the four of them would now have to vote for somebody back at camp to receive the Outpost’s idol, the catch being it was only valid for the first tribal council. And should it be a tie, the tied players would draw rocks. And should the owner of the idol win immunity, they would still attend tribal council and play it at the other tribe’s tribal council. Which is quite the power, TBH.

The couples tried to outsmart each other, with Masu willingly pointing out their weakest while Yontau wisely opted to keep things quiet. Despite the fact Thoriso would have liked to keep to give Steffi and Shane something to keep her options open with them moving forward, but Seamus wasn’t interested. Which begged the question, has he learned as much from his first experience as I thought? Steffi and Shane received a heroes welcome as they arrived back at camp with all the food, while Palesa wondered what else they won at the Outpost. While they were tragically honest about the idol vote, proving it is never good to do these things. Back at Yontau, however, everyone believed every word Thoriso and Seamus said, so maybe sometimes you can win.

That night at Masu, Chappies got up to his usual overnight fun and started digging for an idol before he was quickly joined by Steffi. Sadly for the duo, however, Dante woke up and saw them, quickly looping in Palesa. Which you know can only mean trouble. The next morning, Dante pulled the Season 6 crew aside to let them know about Chappies and keep the target on him, as everyone agreed they didn’t want to deal with all that paranoia. Though Toni did admit that if Chappies isn’t being paranoid, someone else probably would be instead. But she is happy to have a target on someone else’s back. Meanwhile at Yontau Tevin, Dino, Pinty and Seamus caught up to see what they would do should they go to tribal council and while nobody was willing to name a name – despite the obvious Tania – they all appeared to be a little frozen by going out early their first time and are trying to hold firm until something big happens.

Speaking of something big, the tribes met up with Nico for the first immunity challenge where we learnt Seamus and Thoriso were way smarter than their post merge counterparts, loading their votes on Tevin while the Masus voted for Tania. Who tragically lost the following rock draw, giving Tevin all the power at the upcoming tribal council whether they win immunity or not. But back to the challenge, where they would have to break through a reed wall, use a monkey fist to release puzzle pieces, build a ladder, unlock or unite other ladders and then maneuvre their way through and over obstacles to light a flame at a tower at the end of the course. 

Yontau got out to the earliest of leads, no doubt with the fire to guarantee one of them doesn’t go out pre-merge again (yet). After Pinty whipped through the knots, PK opted to unlock the ladders which only put them further behind. As Masu desperately tried to close the gap, Yontau slotted the final ladders in and lit their torch and secured themselves immunity. Guaranteeing one of the post-mergers would become a first boot. Just like Seamus in the Philippines.

Back at camp Yontau were living their best lives, with Tania more than happy to shamelessly celebrate the fact their rivals finally get to feel what it is like to truly be an outcast in the game. Seamus put his foot in his mouth again, pointing out that Masu tried to give their weakest player the idol and the strategy backfired anyway, before Phil and Shona stepped to say it was the other tribes perception and that they all love Tania and know she is a powerhouse. Proving to be far more adept than she is given credit for, Tania admitted that she knows she was likely going to be the first boot from their tribe, though is grateful nobody ever made her feel she would be. Which earned a lot of sympathy, and likely change some people’s minds. Assuming she is playing 5D chess like I’m implying. Tevin brought up the idol of it all, asking the tribe what they think he should do and while he appeared open to ideas, he is totally protecting PK, right?

We caught up with Masu where Shane was heartbroken to have lost immunity while Marian was frustrated that the tribe weren’t working together. More specifically, PK’s ego was the thing that got in the way of their victory. She and Meryl knew Tevin would likely be playing his idol for PK and Toni, leading to them joining up with Dante, PK, Toni and Tejan, with Toni and Dante floating getting rid of Chappies and splitting the vote on Shane. Which didn’t make Meryl and Marian feel comfortable, though they kinda felt like there was no other option.

As Dante, Marian and Meryl caught up with Steffi and Chappies to lock in the vote against Shane. Though it was very clear Dante was still ready to cut Chappies. Shane then caught up with Meryl and Steffi to loop then in on how sketchy he feels Dante is – since Shane has been watching him like a hawk – wanting to flip the vote on him instead. And while he assured them this would be the only thing he orchestrates, Meryl now felt he was a little too sketchy. Particularly as he continued to push for Dante. While poor Chappies admitted he was just trying to stay calm and hold firm.

We checked back in with Yontau were the tribe seemed to agree that Tevin should give his idol to Palesa, while Felix put his neck on the line to try and advocate for Dante. Which Tevin admitted was a good idea, given how loyal he is.

At tribal council Shane spoke about how difficult this season is, particularly since everyone is trying to rectify their mistakes from previous games. Shane then admitted that battle lines have been drawn since day two, while Toni wished she realised that had happened. She then spoke about focusing on Survivor 101 and sticking to their word, reminding them that flipping and lying so soon paints a target on your back. Steffi spoke about losing the challenge because they were fractured, while Tejan cautioned them not to give too much away, given they have an audience. Chappies reiterated that Tevin could throw a spanner in the works, while Meryl pointed out he has three Season 6 castaways he would clearly protect with the idol. While Toni and Marian awkwardly whispered before getting caught by Nico.

Nico then explained how the idol process would work, with Masu voting before Tevin would go and anonymously vote for who he would give immunity to. Oh and to help make his decision, he was able to ask his own questions of the tribe. He then opted for chaos, asking Steffi and Shane why they told the Yontau duo to vote for Tejan to get immunity. Which made everyone annoyed, asking why that was left out of their post-Outpost recap and why they decided he was on the bottom. Until Marian thankfully calmed them all down and reminded them that Tevin just wanted to create drama and as such, they all need to calm down.

With that the tribe voted before Tevin voted for the immunity and headed back to camp. Nico then collected the votes and announced that Palesa was immune before the votes rolled in between Shane and Chappies with Shane throwing out a single vote for Dante. Which ultimately saved himself from a tie and sent Chappies from the game as the first boot. With not even a single nude season to his name. Tragically.

Chappies was heartbroken as he arrived back at Loser Lodge, though admitted he was still happy to have gotten a second chance to play the game. I reminded him that I still loved him – despite the lack of nudity – and while he is the first boot, it happened because he came in with such a massive target on his back. And well, if it was good enough for Tina Wesson to go from first to worst, it should be good enough for him. Particularly knowing how she dominated on her third go. With that, he was well and truly perked back up and gladly toasted him success over a big bowl of Cheeseburger Chappies.

There is nothing I love more than turning a cheeseburger into another style of food and well these little babies are one of the best you can have. Yeah sure, these lean more towards the side of being a croquette, but who cares when they taste this good? Nobody.

Enjoy!

Cheeseburger Chappies
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
½ cup American Cheese, grated
4 dill pickles, finely chopped
1 tsbp ketchup
1 tbsp American mustard
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups flour
1-2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
olive oil for drizzlin’ or olive oil spray

Method
Pop the mince, cheese, pickles, ketchup, mustard, onion and garlic powders in a large bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper and scrunch until well combined. Form the mixture into chips and place on a lined baking sheet. Cover and place in the fridge to set for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Place the flour in a bowl, the eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in a third. Take the chips out of the fridge and working one at a time, dip in the flour, then the egg followed by the panko until well coated. Repeat the process until done.

Once all the chips are gorgeously covered, pop them back on a lined baking sheet, drizzle or spray with oil and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and crisp on the outside.

Once cooked, served immediately with your fave burger condiments before devouring.


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Drag Slidlas

Drag Race España, Drag Race España 2, Main, Party Food, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race España the dolls travelled time – not in the way we do it here, which is legit time travel which again, we invented – as they threw a little centuries ball. As they traversed the past, present and future of drag, most of the girls soared however none moreso than Drag Sethlas, who finally scored a well deserved win. Tragically as the rest of the girls were solid, aside from Estrella’s terrible designed 30th century look, Diamante landed in the bottom opposite her for not doing enough, rather than being a mess. Which tragically led to Estrella destroying the lip sync and sending Diamante home. Again, on a very solid week.

Backstage the dolls were delighted to see that Diamante had left them the antenna from her look, though Estrella did worry that maybe it would bring them bad luck. Which TBH, is not something she could really risk right now. The one thing they could all agree on was that they would miss her kind spirit. Oh and then Estrella pressed her titty on the mirror, which is important. Marina meanwhile told Estrella she was lucky to get the lip sync song she did, before they quickly swept any drama aside to congratulate Sethlas on finally jagging a well earned win.

The next day the queens were butching it up talking about football for some reason, before getting back to normal as they recapped their own ball. With everyone agreeing Estrella’s dumpster fire outfit belongs in a museum. Or to be burnt. Supremme dropped by before they could reach consensus, challenging them to a little itty-bitty mini challenge where they would get into quick drag, write a fighter introduction/poem and get into skydiving suits. And no, that is not something that is lost in translation, the dolls are just as confused as we are.

Given there was a giant gong between Supremme and zaddy pit crew, it should have been obvious that the dolls would be sumo wrestling. For an advantage in the upcoming Maxi Challenge, so you know the dolls were ready to battle. Somehow little Sethlas destroyed Venedita, Estrella quickly beat Sharonne before Marina eliminated Juriji. Tragically. In round two, Sethlas was quickly disposed of by Estrella before she then destroyed Marina. Earning herself the advantage of selecting who everyone would be partnered with in the upcoming Maxi Challenge, where the duos would film Spanish tourism ads. Obviously she selected to work with Sharonne before popping Juriji and Venedita together, leaving Sethlas and Marina to form the third duo.

Supremme departed and left the girls to prep their commercials with Estrella worried about being overshadowed by Sharonne’s talent, though was confident they would continue to work well together. Sethlas and Marina meanwhile looked enraged to be working together, though bless Marina, she focused on writing before they pivoted to shit talking Venedita and Juriji. Who as they predicted were planning to lean into being sexy bimbos and while Marina and Sethlas thought it would be a bad idea, you know they will turn it.

Sharonne and Estrella were first to make it to set with Estrella getting her face sandwiched by the Pit Crew’s butts, so win or lose, she won today. Sharonne then got topped and well, I don’t know if they had a plot but consider me on the next flight. Venedita and Juriji were so fun and stupid, AND had the Pit Crew fucking in their fake dunes, so again, I’m sold. Rounding out the shoots, Marina and Sethlas struggled. Badly. Though maybe because they had a lot less sex in it?

Dia de eliminacion arrived with Marina and Sethlas admitting that they would have preferred to work with someone else, while Sethlas shaded Estrella for taking the easy route of teaming up with frontrunner Sharonne. They split up to prep for the runway with Marina getting this week’s emotional moment, talking about how close she is with her mother and how she is struggling without her and her dad around for support in the competition.

Supremme, Ana y los Javis were joined by Ruth Lorenzo on the panel as the queens debuted their Raffaella Carra looks for the Night of 1000 Raffaellas runway. Estrella was a vision in red, peeking out of an umbrella and being an absolute delight. Venedita too chose a red look, giving disco diva glamour and ugh, it was perfection. Juriji was stunning in a simple white gown, complete wth shimmering boobs and a phone hidden in her crotch. Sharonne was a golden diva and looked stun-ning while Sethlas was a bronzed beauty in a sea of fabric. Oh and then Marina stole the show in a sequined, cabaret style look.

When it came to the commercials, Sharonne and Estrella were totally demented and showed off pit crew booty, so yeah, that is a win to me. Despite it making zero sense. Though bless their passion for the glory hole. Oh and the judges loved it and both of their runways. Sethlas and Marina’s ad was far more sexed than the taping led us to believe, and somehow, it made less sense than the first one. The judges meanwhile read it for being too filthy and not showing any light or shade. Marina’s runway was praised for playing into her strengths, while Sethlas was read for being too abstract in her approach. Venedita and Juriji’s ad was hilariously camp and culminated in seagulls shitting on them. So yeah, the judges lived for it and them. Particularly praising their chemistry, despite it being quite stereotypical. When it came to their runways, both where praised for looking absolutely stunning and doing Raffaella proud.

Supremme decided now would be the right time to make them all shady, asking who should go home tonight with Sharonne singling out Marina for a lack of personality. Estrella said that Sethlas should go home because of her shitty ad, while Marina said Juriji though couldn’t give a reason. Sethlas thought Juriji should go because she isn’t showing enough diversity, while Venedita and Juriji agreed Marina should go for her sub-par performance in the ad.

Backstage the dolls were well and truly feeling tense, while Sharonne tried to remind them that it wasn’t personal and they need to move on. While Estrella tried to make Sethlas feel better about saying her, she ended up saying that Juriji isn’t versatile which filled her with rage. When she got sassy with the girls, it was Sethlas’ turn to feel enraged as she cussed out Juriji for disrespecting her. Before Marina thankfully pointed out she is the one that was named the most and as such, they should chill out. Sadly it didn’t work as Sethlas continued to bitch about Juriji not being versatile and the judges not expecting the same from her, before they thankfully split up to freshen their mugs.

Ultimately Sharonne and Estrella both took out the win, while Juriji and Venedita were thankfully sent to safety leaving Sethlas and Marina to lip sync for their lives. Obviously, to one of Queen Raffaella’s songs, Que dolor. And while I was expecting Sethlas to absolutely demolish Marina, the latter absolutely slayed. Giving all the camp fun and fancy footwork the song required, embodying Rafaella while Sethlas was kinda just there and while she did give us a surprising glitter reveal near the end, it wasn’t enough to save herself as Marina stayed in the pocket and saved herself.

Despite being heartbroken to have missed out on the finale, Sethlas perked up when we were reunited backstage. You see, as a short man, I have an affinity with the Carina queens, given we always meet up at platform conventions. Which is where Sethlas and I first became friends as little fellas. As such, it was such an honour to be there for her in her lowest momentand reminding her how much of a star she is over a big ol’ batch of Drag Slidlas.

Rich, sticky barbecue pork, mised with the creaminess of the slaw and the tartness of the pickle work together perfectly to deliver a quick and easy snack, that also feels like you’ve put in a tonne of effort. Which, TBH, is important.

Enjoy!

Drag Slidlas
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
4 cups pulled pork
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 red chilli
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp smoke essence
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
16 slider rolls
2 cups Benjamin Slaw
8 dill pickles, drained and sliced

Method
I’m going to assume you’ve got a favourite pulled pork recipe, or you’ve got some pre-prepped. That is for no other reason than me being lazy and not living for the fattiness of the pork. In any event, get the meat ready first and foremost.

While the meat is getting prepped, combine the vinegar, garlic, chilli, muscovado sugar, tomato paste, dijon mustard, smoking essence, salt and pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and pout over the warm pulled pork.

To assemble your sliders, cut all the buns in half and spoon some slaw on the bottoms of each. Top with a couple of slices of pickle, followed bu the pulled pork before devouring, greedily. You could also add some swiss cheese if you want some cheese in the mix, but these are so tasty, you honestly don’t need to worry.



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Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Cheese, Condiment, Dip, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor we finished out All Stars on a bit of a whimper. I mean, sure, David played a dominant game and well and truly earnt victory, but it all ended in the midst of our first lockdown in Australia and well, if JLP isn’t reading the votes, I don’t want a bar of it. So needless to say, I’m thrilled that Osher is fiddler-ing on the roof and JLP’s gunshow is back front and centre for the new season.

Speaking of which, we kicked things off with snapshots of beaches, oceans and belly flops from the days of yore before venturing to the outback for this year’s season where the cast entered Mad Max style, though tragically without a flaming guitar or my dear friend Tina Turner in sight. 

We first met Dani, my first queen, who works in a prison and is ready to take on everyone and everything. She was joined by AFL legend Gavin Wanganeen who is a total zaddy and won the Brownlow, so I love him too, even though I don’t know what a Brownlow is. But he can definitely get low on my brown, you know? Next up was Flick, a pro big wave surfer who is bound to be a star if she lives up to my dear friend and fellow big waver Ross’ iconic ways.

In the Brains fleet of cars we were first introduced to George the Labor staffer and honestly, despite myself, I love him already. He is awkward, super upbeat and said ‘putting lipstick on a pig’ so, slay queen. He was joined by Cara the real estate tycoon slash empath which is a combination I am pumped to see playout. And rounding out the little intros was Baden, former cyclist and um, did he get dumped in the wrong tribe? The man has a Commonwealth Games medal!

Finally the tribes met up in the middle of nowhere before drag racing in to find my love JLP by a croc infested stream for the very first challenge of the season. But first, we heard from brainy Rach who felt their strategic prowess will take them far, while Wai was just glad to be around like-minded peers. Simon spoke for the Brawns, calling out the Brains for struggling to walk through the water to meet Jonathan which if true, really doesn’t bode well for their chances. We then met the most adorable person to grace the planet, Gerald, who literally tipped his hat to Jonathan and told everyone that the bush is tough but they’ve all got this. Basically, I think. I was too busy swooning over his sweetness.

I mean, he howdy ma’am’ed Zaddy JLP?!

But enough about that, the tribes would be facing off against each other to release a key by either chopping a log or solving a puzzle before one person ascended a tower to direct their tribe to solve a spinning puzzle which spells their tribe name. Oh and to make things super interesting, they could either select an outback survival kit or a flint. Immediately Gerald, the professional wood chopper, released his key while poor Queen Cara struggled to solve the puzzle. Simon and his nip-slip quickly got to work directing his tribe on the puzzle, though given JLP was already reading them for filth, me thinks this isn’t going to be the blowout we’re expecting given the lead. Cara then tapped out of the puzzle and after a couple of minutes, Dr. Mitch opted that he too was stumped and as such opted to chop through the stump instead while the Brawns solved two of their five puzzle arms.

So basically, I jinxed them, right?

Wai and her delightful quoka T was the caller and screamed at her tribe, telling them to cut the crap and listen to her – essentially – before they closed the gap. Why? Because Wai is my queen and I love her. Brawn then solved another arm and took the lead back, before Brains once again tied things up. It went back and forth until both tribes desperately tried to spell their final arm, until Brawn finally solved their last word and took out the first victory of the season.

We followed Brawn back to camp where we learnt that they opted for the survival kit rather than fire, and by they I mean Simon, who was thrilled to have won the kit for the tribe. The group quickly got to know each other, celebrating their success and for Gavin, downplaying his sporting past. Something he can’t deny? The fact he is an active babe. In any event, given the tribe is made up of an MMA fighter, bodybuilders and a pro surfer, he should just lean into it. Sticking out a little bit, we met model Shannon and I love her already, because she gives zero fucks that she is half the size of the rest of the tribe. Like a bloody icon. As the groups split up to set-up camp, Shannon shared that she wished the tribe chose the fire in the reward challenge as all the boys sat around rubbing their sticks together. Which isn’t the dream I just described.

Meanwhile the Brains were gagged to arrive at camp with next to nothing before everyone introduced themselves, with Hayley thrilled to wind up on such a diverse tribe. As a Pain Researcher, she did a bunch of spreadsheets to analyse past seasons’ gameplay and well, she had me at spreadsheet, so in my eyes, she is the winner. Shut it down right now. Not-Tommy Little who I didn’t catch the name of quickly advised the tribe how to build the shelter as everyone split up and got to work.

Back with the Brawns, the boys were still rubbing their sticks, with the girls quickly growing more and more frustrated with Simon as the one who promised he’d be able to get one going. As the sun went down so did everyone’s mood, as they settled in for a long, cold night shivering under the stars. The one thing providing everyone but Simon comfort no doubt being the fact that his choice put a massive target on his back.

The next day the tribe slowly thawed out, with Kez pissed at herself for not bringing a jacket to the outback. I love her. Over it, Flick quickly directed the tribe to reinforce the walls of the shelter, while the boys tried to mentally get themselves ready to attack the fire again. Oh and we then met Daini, or Big D, who was ready to prove himself because as a bodybuilder, when he is pushed to the limit his brain is at its best. And honestly, I thought I wouldn’t vibe with him but ugh, I love him too.

Over at Brains, Phil was living their best life as they woke up refreshed after fully slotting into bush living. Meanwhile Dr Mitch was quickly finding himself as somebody that the tribe looked up to as he directed them with what jobs they could do to help him set up the camp. On the flipside, he was feeling that Wai was out of her depth and unlikely to last long. Speaking of Wai, she was trying her best to work through her nerves and feeling uncomfortable in her surroundings and I relate to it on the deepest of levels, so I love her even more.

She and George caught up by the well, with George pointing out that Mitch is being a bit of a know-it-all and was dictating rather than helping, all while an idol, clue or some sort of advantage sat behind them both. They returned to camp with George shadily reading Mitch as he quietly worked away, before George was dismissively sent away to get sticks. Though instead, he circled back to the well where he finally noticed an advantage, which he learnt gave him the power to save half the tribe from their first tribal council. Which is huge and ugh, I’m scared for Dr Zaddy.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the first immunity challenge of the season where they had to race over a ramp, across a net, untie a ladder, climb up to a deck, ride a cart down the other side – which looked bloody fun – release balls and then shoot some hoops. Both tribes were neck and neck over the first two obstacles, though poor Wai appeared to be struggling at every step. Everyone arrived at the deck together with the Brains first to have a fun ride down while Brawn got their cart off the track, giving Brains a decent lead retrieving their balls. Eventually both tribes started shooting their balls, but Joey quickly got his eye in and scored the first point for the Brains as George barked at him to trade out. Sadly that meant that not-Tommy Little had to go through the learning curve to get his eye in, which was enough for Simon to get his head in the game and shoot ball after ball, redeeming his fire decision and handing Brawns immunity.

Back at camp Mitch was disappointed to have lost, though tried to use the loss as a teachable moment so the tribe could learn from their mistakes and do better in their future endeavours. He then went for a walk with Cara and Georgia, calling George out for being the know-it-all while Cara wanted to take out Phil – no Cara, no – and Georgia felt Wai was the weakest. They returned to camp to get Baden on board to take out Wai, before Mitch went person to person to spread the word. Though Phil was not loving it, given they could quickly become a target themself if Wai is gone. 

Wai thankfully wasn’t taking it lying down, catching up with Hayley and suggesting that maybe they should take out the dominant personalities like say, Mitch. Which Hayley agreed wasn’t the worst idea. George quickly took this spark and ran with it, as he tried to identify who would be the best group to leave behind with Mitch to get rid of him or risk sticking it out at tribal council to get rid of him himself.

At tribal council – which as an aside, is a damn work of art – Joey spoke about how great everyone was, with Phil agreeing that they absolutely froth the tribe. Which is honestly more Australiana than something even Art would say on Drag Race Down Under. Wai meanwhile was nervous about first impressions, though wanted everyone to look beyond that and focus on those that had the best intentions for the tribe. This made Mitch raise an eyebrow, wanting the tribe to stay as strong as possible to avoid coming back, despite the joy of kikiing with JLP obvi. This pissed off George who was annoyed about how focusing on strength would set up a society he doesn’t want to be a part of. And he wanted to give everyone enough time to shine, which Baden said was not what the game was about.

Baden and George then argued back and forth, with George pointing out that the tribe has a dictatorship and he wanted to make decisions that give everyone the chance to shine. This irked Mitch who felt like Geroge was out to get him – which he is – while Wai agreed with JLP that winning challenges isn’t the way to win the game and instead, they needed to be smart. Mitch started to stew about George coming for him, with the latter starting to fire up and really throw down. All with a smile on his face.

Just before everyone went off to vote, George stopped the proceedings to play his advantage, saving himself and taking Rachel, Baden, Cara, Georgia and Wai back with him to camp, leaving Micth at the mercy of Phil, Joey, Hayley, Laura and not-Tommy Little. And well, Mitch was straight up pissed because both of his targets just went back to camp. The remaining six agreed that George just blew up his entire game with literally everyone, while Phil was nervous that they could become collateral damage for the decision. Hayley reminded her tribe that she is an asset to them, while Joey admitted that he was just going to vote for whoever he thinks everyone else will vote for. Which is something Hayley quickly agreed with, I assume because she didn’t feel like the obvious target.

With that, the half-tribe voted and my dear friend Phil found themselves becoming the first boot of the season. And well, let’s just say, I was not bloody happy about it.

Not. At. ALL.

I mean, go on Tenplay, rewatch the episode and as the fourth Phil vote popped up you can hear an odd chop in the audio. That was where they had to cut around my screams from the heart of Cloncurry, enraged at the thought that an easily mid-Jury player and icon was felled by the same stinking twist that robbed us of Michelle Yi in the original Fiji.

As Phil made it back to town, they quickly found me in the kitchen as a small army of locals had corralled around to see what was causing the scene. Phil pushed his way into the kitchen, took me in their arms and wrapped me in a blanket that was freshly crocheted on the drive from tribal council to town. You see, as fellow social media sensations, Phil and I have been the best of friends for years now and they knew that the only thing worse than me playing Survivor and getting booted immediately, was me having to watch it happen to them.

As such, they held my hand as I shakily got to work, while still sobbing, plating up some comforting and brand appropriate Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson.

Given I was so grief stricken, I was thrilled that this dish was so simple. But despite the minimal effort, this one still packs a glorious punch! The tang of the cream cheese and the hit of chilli are the perfect duo for a nostalgic little snack while trying to distract from your heartache.

Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Philly Ferguson
Serves: 2 dear friends.
Inspired by the delightful pre-tubbed dip birthed in the mid-00s & was absolutely ‘uuuge in Tweed.

Ingredients
250g Philadelphia cream cheese, or you know any brand but for the name alone, I was loyal
⅓ cup sweet chilli sauce
Jatz to serve, because this is a nostalgic trip and I’d have nothing else

Method
Now strap yourself in because this is a tough one, ok?

First, dollop some cream cheese on a plate and then pour over sweet chilli.

Then devour, still raging that George heroically saving Wai burnt my love Phil.


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Fried Davioli Genat

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 players returned to the game looking for revenge, redemption or both. Or in Shane and Jericho’s case, to prove they’re the Sandra Diaz-Twine of Australian Survivor. Sadly neither earned the title this go around as Shane and Jericho went out back-to-back, echoing the US All Stars. Once the former winners were out of the way, Daisy was the first to be brutally blindsided from the game with an epic play between David and Mat. She was then followed by Season 2(/4) icons Michelle and Henry.

After those tragic eliminations, Shonee kicked off an epic revenge arc, destroying all the people that thought she was weak, starting with Lydia followed by Abbey and my love John. After that arc finished, Mat fell followed by Phoebe, Flick and Nick, who narrowly missed becoming the first juror for a second time.

Once the tribes came together, David pretended to be on the outs with his swap tribe before blindsiding Locky and taking control post merge. While Harry was the next to go, the game took a heartbreaking turn as Lee was pulled due to a family emergency. His exit was followed by the most overly-complicated non-eliminations before Zach was officially (eventually) felled. Jacqui was then cut for turning on her allies, followed by the tragic exit of our Queen Shonee. A.K. was the next to exit before Brooke’s immunity run cost Tarzan his place before Queen Brooke was also cut. 

After winning the final immunity challenge, David eliminated his biggest competitor Moana, setting the stage for him to battle against former runner-up Sharn. While she improved on her previous performance in front of the jury, Sharn’s messier game wasn’t respected as everyone but her bestie Moana joined together to crown David the Sole Survivor.

Which given he managed to play one of the most dominant, American-series-esque games of Australian Survivor with a massive target on his back, it is what he deserves. David came in with his loss and Pia’s subsequent win fresh in his mind, with him clearly learning from her game to perfect his own. Not just a showy gamer this time, David worked on perfecting his social game which ultimately protected him and made the jury want to award him the prize. And me, some Fried Davioli Genat.

The only thing I love more than a Golden God nude scene is fried food, so these little morsels were the perfect way to honour his victory. Glorious cheesy pasta, coated in crumb and fried until the inside is gooey? Sign. Me. Up.

Enjoy!

Fried Davioli Genat
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
500g packet cheese ravioli
vegetable oil, to shallow-fry
1 cup Spicy TomaJones Sauce, to serve
½ cup freshly chopped parsley, to serve
¼ cup grated parmesan, to serve

Method
Place the buttermilk in a bowl and the breadcrumbs and pepper in another. Dip each ravioli in the buttermilk,  followed by the peppered crumb. Transfer to a lined plate and repeat the process until they’re all good to go.

Pour about 3cm deep worth of oil in a dutch oven oven medium heat until nice and hot. Working a few at a time, add the ravioli and cook for a couple of minutes each side, or until golden (god) and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until done.

Serve immediately with some Spicy TomaJones Sauce by its side, covered with a winning sprinkle of parsley and parmesan. Then devour, victoriously.


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Popcorn Wells

Party Food, Side, Snack

While we’ve both grown older since first becoming friends in ‘60s, the sweet, sparkle was well and truly still in her eye as I spotted her coming through the international arrivals gate. We gingerly – no pun intended – ran across the crowded room and straight into each other’s arms.

She held my face in her hands and said something that shocked me to my very core.

“I can’t believe it has been 16 years since we’ve seen each other!?”

Somehow I managed to have a mouthful of water, did a spit take and then fainted from shock. Well shock and my passion for causing a scene.

As I was roused awake by a hunky security guard and his less-so offsider, I locked eyes with Dawn once more and like a less selfish old Rose, whispered “it’s been 16 years? 16 years,” I then inserted a dramatic pause, “since the inaugural Spudfest?!”

 

 

“Yes my dear, and I’ve missed you each and every day,” said my dear friend and Idaho potatoes spokeswoman.

After the security guards carried us to our car – princess style, of course – we ventured back to my house and quickly got to catching each other up on the past decade and a half. We held hands, laughed, cried and wondered what the rest of the island gang would think seeing us together again.

Too worked up from the emotion of the day, neither of us felt like gorging on a rich, comforting meal. Which was convenient, because I was hella keen to nosh on some Popcorn Wells like in the good old days.

 

 

While it is hard to make popcorn that tastes as good as the stuff at the movies – I think the butter and salt needs the hours sitting in the warmed, glass case of emotion to fully release their flavours – this little number is pretty good fresh. Generously buttered, lightly salted, it has your stomach craving more, more, more. That’s how it likes it. That’s how it likes it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Popcorn Wells
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup popping corn
salt, to taste
melted butter, to taste

Method
Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat until the oil is shimmering.

Add a kernel and if it starts spinning, or better still pops, add the rest of the corn. Immediately pop on the lid and shake the pan. Return to the heat and once the popping kicks off, agitate the pot semi-frequently to keep the unpopped pieces shimmying down to the bottom.

Once the popping has all but stopped, remove from the heat and season with salt. Cover again and give a good shake before pouring in melted butter to taste, covering again and giving a more aggressive shake to ensure it is all coated.

Then devour. At SpudFest, or at home. Your choice.

 

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Rizsole Ahmed

Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Golden Family, Main, Snack

While Christina has been TV royalty for close to three decades, I decide that this year’s Emmy Gold celebration – Golden Family – should focus on both the old guard and the young upstarts that have shone so brightly in the last few years. Like me boy, rapper, actor and zaddy Riz Ahmed.

After a decade working hard and building a resume of fantastic roles, Riz’s career skyrocketed a couple of years back with the one-two-three punch of Nightcrawler, The Night Of and Girls, the latter of which took him to the Emmys, the former of said latter of which led him to this date.

While you may have only known Riz for a few years, I first met him way back when we studied at Oxford together. He was a shy, gorgeous man who immediately caught my eye. The feelings weren’t reciprocated, so I tried to take the high road and instead become his friend.

At first we bonded over our mutual passion for rap – I was a founding member of Swet Shop Boys, until I was kicked out for diva behaviour – before I ultimately decided he needed to pursue acting seriously.

And given he starred in a superhero with Queen Michelle Williams, I think you will agree that he has made it.

Speaking of Michelle, my bookie is chasing me up to lock in my bets so I got to work at the task at hand and got Riz to run the limited series odds with me. Obvi we’re both backing Mish to take out Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie though part of my thinks he was just too scared to say that Patty Arquette has it on lock. We truly agreed that Jharrel Jerome will win Outstanding Actor, though wouldn’t mind if he ties with Jared Harris.

The supporting category is where we started to differ, with him thinking zaddy Stellan will take Actor while I started screaming that it is Ben Whishaw’s time. For Supporting Actress he went with Patty Clarks, while I said this is where Patty Arquette deserves to win. I mean, I have never so equally despised and pitied a character in all my life. We came back together to agree that When They See Us will win best limited series, while aren’t sure but are betting on Deadwood taking out TV movie.

With that we sat down, toasted to his ongoing success to try and snag an invite if he has one and smashed a Rizsole Ahmed or two.

 

 

Spicy and hot, these babies are the perfect way to toast the red hot career of this beautiful man. The earthy lamb, a hint of spice and lemon work together to form a flavour combination that you just can’t beat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rizsole Ahmed
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g lamb mince
⅓ cup feta, mashed
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Moroccan seasoning
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
2 tsp lemon, zested and juiced
handful parsley, roughly chopped
handful mint, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine everything in a bowl and scrunch together with your hand until well combined. Split into 8, form into patties and place on a lined baking sheet.

Bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Serve immediately with yoghurt and some Larissa Oleynik to really make it sing.

 

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