A delightful third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the new Champs and Conts – errr, I mean Contenders – met in the Fijian jungle, with the Champs living up to their name by taking out two of the first three challenges, sadly for them, however that one loss was the first immunity. This led to the athletes banding together due to their auto majority, opting to get rid of iconic Roxette impersonator Anastasia. Well and truly on the outs, Luke found his first ever idol clue, which he, David, Pia and Janine plan to use to woo Ross and Abbey to their side and take control. Before we could find out whether they were successful, they snapped up the second immunity sending the Contenders to tribal council where sweet Baden survived against all odds and the sweet, spunky Laura heading home.

Things were looking up the next morning at the Contenders tribe where sexy, sexy John decided to do a nudie run and hot damn, I am moister than an oyster. Or sea cucumber, which he picked up on his travels, much to the disgust of his fellow tribemates. Speaking of those tribemates, I think Hannah is still yet to utter a word and I worry about her and want her in our lives ASAP.

Meanwhile over at the Champions Susie was having a bit of a wake-up call, shocked by how dirty they all are, the lack of food and the misery that comes from sleeping in the rain. While E.T.  continued to push for an Escape With reboot, catching minnows for the tribes. The tribe sat around eating fruit, talking about their lives at home with Queen Janine completely loving the fact that she hasn’t had to make massive decisions for the thousands of people that rely on her to live for a week. And she is zen, her hair is wavy and natural and this icon makes me so damn happy. Oh and she is totally ready to make some deals to break up the athletes alliance and take control. See? She is iconic.

Not to be outdone, Nova continued her push for next year’s Masterchef handing out bananas – fresh from Nova’s Kitchen – to her tribemates. Though the way she was barking out that they aren’t allowed any more, or else, due to rations was grating on Ross. Which, of course, Luke planned to use to his advantage. That night, Ross took time away from his busy snoring schedule to hang out with Luke before stealing an extra banana with which they solidified their loyalty.

The next day the Contenders awoke to take in the sunrise together – John, sadly in pants – before gathering around to share in some breakfast. Daisy and Sam went for a wander through the jungle before realising that Shaun is Megan Gale’s partner, before we learnt more about the zaddy who tragically never reached the pinnacle of his AFL career and how he desperately wants to prove himself. He then did a slow-mo walk down the beach dressed in a speedo, so you know he proved himself to me. Swoon.

My boy Jonathan – and obvi, his guns – arrived for the reward challenge where someone from each tribe would face off in an alley, running at each other to ring their bell at the opposite end. The first to ring their bell snatching a point with the first tribe to five winning a box of mystery comfort items. As is oft the case, Luke and Matt were first to face off with Luke finally getting a win, despite losing his shirt in the process. Daisy and Susie were next to battle it out, with Daisy taking it out despite Susie’s aggressive defense. David and Shaun faced off and while Shaun got the point, we are the true winners because them snuggling is the hottest thing I’ve seen today. Minus John’s butt, obvi. Simon evened things up against Harry, before zaddy John destroyed Bradbury despite taking a fall. Abbey evened things up again, running right past Casey on the way to her point before Baden proved himself a hero, destroying Ross and earning the adoration of his tribe. I love him and I’m crying. Oh and then Shaun returned to the alley to face off against Luke, secured reward for the Contenders and I am still crying. Now because Shaun is so damn beautiful.

Back at camp the Contenders were riding high on their win before even discovering they won a crate of 11 comfort items, with John tasked with handing out an item to each person. Baden got a choccie croissant, Casey got a toothbrush, soap went to Harry, Shaun got tweezers, Andy got moisturiser, the others got rando items and John gave himself a coconut. Andy returned to rant about the breakdown of alliances on their tribe, with Shaun, Daisy, John and Matt in control, Baden, Sarah and Hannah on the bottom and he and the rest stuck in the middle. Though looking to change that.

Meanwhile the Champions were decidedly less chipper after their loss, which David decided was the perfect time to win over Abbey. While he flirted with her and she looked thrilled, it was Simon rubbing sunscreen into his back and TBH, it is my new ship. Luke took a break from trying to find a crack in the athletes alliance to find his idol, pulling in David to help search without being noticed by anyone else. They searched far and wide, walking past a stump that David believed was home to Luke’s idol four times before he finally convinced Luke to have a second look at before they ultimately found it. And hopefully a way to keep themselves, Janine and Pie alive.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes had to dig under a log, carry a plank through a series of obstacles, using the plank to see-saw someone to retrieve sandbags before two tribe members throw said bags onto five of their tribemates’ poles. The Contenders went hard at the gate with zaddy John barrelling through before the Champions had even attempted to get anyone under the log. The Contenders moved onto the second obstacle while only Pia and Janine had gotten through the log for the Champions. By the time the Contenders made it to a tower, the Champions had finally gotten their shit together and commenced closing the gap. Well until the got stuck and the Contenders pulled away again and Hannah and Andy landed two bags before the Champions even started throwing them. E.T. and Nova started to close the gap but Andy once again proved too strong at throwing shit, snatching victory for the Contenders almost single handedly.

While I’m impressed by his challenge strength, he is still kinda annoying. I mean, John knows he is amazing and doesn’t need you to get in his face about it.

Back at Camp Champ, Nova was quick to point out that it was Janine’s idea to dig a trench, rather than a hole under the log and as such, she needs to be the next to go. The athletes all got together to discuss how stupid her idea was and how she shouldn’t advise them on athletic pursuits, deeming that enough of a reason to get rid of her. Susie and Steven went for a wander through the jungle, happy with their place in the alliance. Abbey then approached Ross to find out what their plans were, concerned that nobody had bothered to talk to her and ask her opinion.

Meanwhile Luke, Janine and Pia got together to find a way out of their predicament, deciding that Abbey is still the key. With that, Janine and David approached her by the well and Janine spoke about how inclusive and supportive their alliance is and you could see the point that Abbey’s eyes lit up at the prospect of somebody listening to her before suggesting they get rid of Susie instead, since Abbey sees her as weaker than Janine. With that Luke floated Susie’s name with the men, which Steven was quick to dismiss though Ross kinda, sorta did appear conflicted. Luke then decided to return to Abbey who was worried about upsetting the tribe harmony, while David approached Susie to let her know that he would be voting for her in an attempt to rattle her enough to throw a tantrum at tribal.

Speaking of tribal council, Jonathan was quick to throw some shade at their losing ways before I got distracted by David looking hot in his leather jacket, sans shirt. Susie then spoke about how tough the survival aspect is before denying the extremely obvious athlete alliance, that everyone is aware of. Steven dug a hole for himself, admitting to not speaking to Abbey until the day before. E.T. reiterated the importance of keeping the tribe strong before Jonathan asked Janine whether that made her concerned. She said it did, but not as much as the fact that her name was thrown out. She then went in, pointing out that she isn’t the actual weakest link, pushing hard that everyone should vote the weakest, not the weakest that isn’t in their alliance. Abbey loved the team-strong mentality, proving Janine is a damn icon.

Steven spoke about loyalty before Susie spoke about her name being thrown out and David having the hide to tell her that he was voting her out. She then kinda danced around whether she is or isn’t strong, before mentioning Janine’s digging faux pas. Janine pointed out that it was a suggestion that everyone agreed to, which annoyed Nova as she wanted Janine to just admit that she screwed up. Abbey was confused about the vote ahead, Steven said it would be an easy one and Ross shared that he didn’t have a plan, though knew he was voting for. Janine doubled down on her strength and loyalty just before the tribe headed off to vote, which clearly proved very convincing as both Abbey and Ross flipped on the athletes, and Susie was sent from the game.

While I love Susie dearly and dearly, I did tell her how thrilled I was that it Ross and Abbey flipped as I pulled her in for a hug. In retrospect, that was a highly insensitive, cruel thing to do, but the athletes alliance didn’t contain Queen Janine, Pia, David and his beauty or Luke, and as such, I needed something to give. Plus Susie has achieved so damn much in her life, that I knew she wouldn’t let it get her down. Particularly when she has a Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic to give her a culinary hug.

 

Susie Maroney smashing her third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

 

You know, or at the very least should be well aware, that I firmly believe that every dish can be improved with the addition of lemon and chilli. I mean, picture it, your belly tonight, risoni bathed in cream with a touch of garlic and spinach. Bit of a womp-womp, right? Now add in the tang of some lemon and a kick of chilli. It’s good right? Real good.

Enjoy!

 

Susie Maroney smashing her third boot Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic

 

Cheesie Marisoni with Spinach and Garlic
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
400g risoni
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp flour
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup cream
200g baby spinach
½ cup parmesan cheese, plus extra, obvi

Method
Get a pot of salt water on the boil and cook the orzo per the packet instructions. Drain and set aside, hopefully not for too long.

While you’re prepping the pasta, heat a good lug of olive oil in a saucepan and cook the garlic with a good whack of salt and pepper for a minute. Add the flour and chilli, and cook for a further minute. Quickly add the zest and juice and give a good whisk before removing from the heat and slowly whisking in the cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes, or until starting to thicken.

Add the spinach and cook until perfectly wilted before stirring through the parmesan. Remove from the heat, fold through the risoni and serve immediately, covered in more parmesan and a good whack of pepper.

Then devour, obvi.

 

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Gaten Ratarisoni

Main, Pasta, Stranger Feasts

You want to know the scariest thing about our Halloween spooktacular, Stranger Feasts? The joy and kindness of the Stranger crew – like Shan and Mil before them – makes me want to be a happier, kinder person.

I mean, it make me feel so violently sick I want to vomit up slugs like Will in the season 1 cliffhanger!

Anyway, my dear friend Gaten Matarazzo is arguably the most infectious happy person you could ever be around, so I knew he was the best person to help me honour premiere day. Plus, he is one of my oldest friends in the cast.

We first met in 2011 when he was starring in the Broadway production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I was working as a consultant on the show after lying about my involvement in the film – my mum went to school with Sarah Chadwick, so it wasn’t hard to fabricate the work history – and dare I say it, was integral in its success.

And its abrupt closure.

Given that, I felt bad and vowed to help further Gaten’s career. Not that he needed any help landing the role of Dustin, given his killer audition. But once again, I’d love to take full responsibility for his success.

Gats arrived almost bouncing, full of excitement and energy for the wider community – which he didn’t like me referring to as plebs – to see season 2. I’ve already binged the entire season, of course – which I can’t prove, lest I were to spoil things – and wholeheartedly share his excitement for the cracking to get the attention it deserves. Though maybe that was the big bowl of Gaten Ratarisoni talking … because again, that sounds nice.

 

 

Spicy, rich and dotted with ghastly (looking) halloween delights, this rat infested risoni is the perfect comfort food as you buckle in for the return of Stranger Things.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gaten Ratarisoni
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
600g spicy Italian sausages, skins removed and shaped into baby rat-sized
balls (aka, pinch one end)
250g mushrooms, stalks removed and sliced into a bat shape
1 tbsp chilli flakes
⅓ cup pitted black olives, sliced into ghoulish eye balls
⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, left whole to resemble bloody brains
500g risoni
400g can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
250ml cinzano rosso
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup mozzarella

Method
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding the sausage rats to brown for five minutes or so. Add the mushrooms and chilli, and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the olives, sundried tomatoes and risoni. Give a good stir to coat before adding the tin tomatoes, paste and cinzano, cooking for a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken stock – yes it seems out of place, but beef is too rich for this – reduce heat to low, stir through the spinach and simmer for about ten minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and the the risoni cooked through.

Remove from the heat, stir through the mozzarella and serve immediately, with the stringy mozzarella creating a mess of cobwebs as you serve. Which I am aware, mine didn’t … I was waiting for a new couch for the show.

In any event, devour.

 

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Chicken Meatball & Orzzy Pearson

Main, Pasta, Poultry, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor NZ, poor Izzy was blindsided from her tribe before besting Tony in a duel and sending him out of the game. Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Survivor NZ had its very first medevac with Lou pulled from the game with an infection.

While the tribe only thought it may be a temporary situation, they met with Hermosa and Matt for the immunity challenge where he confirmed her evacuation … and that they would be dropping their buffs and switching tribes. Which is where I opted to leave you last, ok?

Given that there were 11 players left in the game, Matt decided to drop a further bombshell with five people going to each tribe and the poor person who pulls a black buff is sent to keep Izzy company until the next tribal.

Jak, Mike, Shay, Lee and Tom all landing on new Mogoton leaving Sala, Barb, Avi, Nate, and Georgia on Hermosa with poor Queen Shannon sent to redemption island. While it sucks to miss out on tribal politics for a couple of days, it does give her immunity at the next tribal which is a win.

With that Matt got to work tasking them with their first immunity challenge as new tribes, the Sierra Dawn-Thomas memorial barrel racing challenge. Mogoton got out to an early lead, leaving Hermosa to struggle bridging the gaps and be chastised by Barb. Let’s be honest, there was zero tension in this challenge with Hermosa failing in an epic fashion and going to tribal council.

Knowing that she is potentially fucked – having kept Barb and Nate at arms length for the duration of the game – Georgia was feeling extremely anxious. Sala on the other hand, was feeling comfortable … though concerned that pride could be leading to his fall. Thankfully Nate pulled Sala aside and was quick to commit to working together to get rid of Georgia and break up the terribly named, tight five. Not one to be left out of the action, Barb quickly got to work on Avi … while Georgia got to work fetching firewood and trying to be useful.

Meanwhile over at new Mogoton, Lee, Jak and Mike were excited to see the shit tonne of food they had left giving the slim pickings over at Hermosa. Tom was also feeling great, having gone from tribe zero to hero, while poor Shay went the other way. The boys then bro’d out trying to fish, with Jak continuing to try his hand at people funny … which he still isn’t, further proving how screwed Shay truly is. Oh and to eradicate any doubt, Mike, Jak and Lee pulled Tom aside to form an alliance and throw the next challenge to get rid of Shay. Shay then cut her foot which is what sent Lou out of the game, just to rub salt in the wounds.

No matter how you look at it, Shay fucked, yo.

Back at Hermosa, Nate and Barb were loving themselves and their impending revenge sick. Georgia however had different plans, pulling Avi aside to try and make some sort of valuable plea … relying solely on her superior challenge strength to Barb. Avi shared this with Sala, both quickly realising that her persuasiveness is also dangerous. Georgia then tried to talk Nate into turning on Barb – given the fact she is stronger in challenges – or the ring-ins, given how likeable they are. Wanting to add a bit of intrigue to tribal, Avi and Georgia then sat by the water and tried to give her the pep-talk that she may just make the merge yet.

New Hermosa arrived at tribal where Georgia spoke about how anxious she was, while Barb was extremely happy to have been saved from old Hermosa who were planning to throw the last challenge to get rid of her. Sala then announced that the 2-5 split in old Hermosa was extremely obvious, leading to Georgia making a bold play to save herself at tribal, promising Barb and Nate that she’d stick with them and Shannon come the merge if they join her in getting rid of Avi and Nate. Sadly for her, it fell on deaf ears with Georgia sent to battle Izzy on redemption island.

Back at camp, Barb and Nate were thrilled to have commenced dismantling the tight five with Sala and Avi no doubt just happy to see someone from Hermosa sent out of the game. They then discussed who they would sway come merge time, plotting to throw the next immunity challenge and get Shannon out of the game, pulling Tom and Shay back to their side and knocking off the remaining members of the tight five, one by one.

Meanwhile on redemption, Georgia and Shannon were feeling anxious while poor Izzy looked like she was missing Tony’s constant chatter giving how boring their complaining appeared to be.

The next day Barb and Nate were still on cloud nine from their new situation before Shannon arrived and dampened their moods. Though for us, it was amazing giving that Shannon is one of the most likeable people in the game. Sala quickly got to work needling for information, with Shannon doing the right thing and throwing Mike straight under the bus, saying she never wanted to be a part of the five, that she was on the bottom and confirmed all of Nate and Barb’s fears, hoping that spilling the beans would win them over.

Over at new Mogoton, Lee’s hair was still looking glorious with Tom also starting to get island hot. That is all I really took from the whole scene. Oh and Shay had a nap and Jak is still not funny in the slightest. Throwing Avi and Sala’s plans into disarray, Tom tried to win over Jak or Mike to see if they were better options to his OG tribemates … though thankfully he was smart enough to be wary of them and their tight alliance with Lee.

Back at Hermosa, Nate and Sala went for a walk to talk about Shannon, with the former once again reminding us that he is a cop and that Shannon was trouble … when she walked in, something something, goat noise, goat noise. Trouble trouble trouble.

Matt assembled the new tribes together for their first reward, dropping the bomb of Georgia’s exit on Mogoton, kicking off Mike episode of sulking. Did you know he was aligned with Georgia? Anyway, the reward challenge was announced as a hero challenge requiring only one person from each tribe to compete, running out to a buoy in the ocean, grab sandbags and flip then into a net. Avi and Lee nominated themselves as the aforementioned heroes, though sadly weren’t mine given the fact the challenge wasn’t naked.

Lee got out in front, though was quickly overtaken by Avi. Despite a fairly miraculous comeback, my boy Lee couldn’t pull it out with Avi securing the reward – of hammocks, mats, pillows and choccies – for Hermosa while Lee was still in the drink. After the victory, Tom was pleased for Avi to finally experience a win … though realised the mistake and mentioned that it was ok for the rewards.

Avi was feeling pretty pleased with himself as the tribe returned to camp and got to work Brad Culpepper-ing the place with their new home furnishings. On the flipside, they weren’t that thrilled about their choccie melting. You could say it had turned into a drink, while the boys were battling in the drink. The tribe then discussed Tom’s comments, concerned that maybe he wasn’t as firm a number as they were hoping moving forward.

Meanwhile back at Mogoton, Lee was looking like a total babe while talking about how heartbroken he was to lose the reward for his tribe. Mike, obviously, was still pissed that they had dared to boot Georgia and vowed to get revenge. The next day the boys then tried to share their constipation to stop the rain, while Shay was thankful that she is married giving that they are so awful that she would have lost all faith in men. Jak then approached Tom about getting rid of Shay, if they were to lose the next immunity challenge … and continue in the horrific vagicide of this pre-merge.

Over at Hermosa, Shannon continued to search for a way in, pulling Sala aside to form a bond and hopefully see that grow into some sort of alliance, knowing that scrambling would only spook her tribemates further. She then discussed gender stereotypes while washing the dishes in the ocean with Barb, who was far more concerned about her return than the others … given the fact they were aligned early in the season. Though you know Barb is totally going to come around because Shannon is bae.

Oh and Nate was sad that Shannon hadn’t bothered to approach him. He then pulled her aside which scared the shit out of Shannon, given that he does have the ability to see through the bullshit. Given that they both have a good understanding of the game, they both realised that aligning is probably quite beneficial for both of them.

And then Shannon read the clue for the redemption island invite in a South African accent. She is seriously the best.

Meanwhile over at redemption island, Georgia was fired up for the duel and to stay in the game while Izzy was kind flaséda about the entire situation. The tribes rolled in to fill out the peanut gallery, where Georgia spoke of her heartache from being voted out while Izzy was just calm and casual. To be honest, I’m loving her too.

The duel was the iconic Amanda Kimmel memorial dish-stacking challenge, giving both girls a pretty decent shot. Despite the struggling for most of the duel – and getting the peanut gallery talking about said struggles – she was able to steady her shaking plates as Izzy dropped out of nowhere … just ahead of Georgia’s plates.

Poor Izzy was heartbroken to exit the game – and to be honest, so was I – though her mood quickly turned when she saw her dear friend waiting to comfort her in Loser Lodge (while Tony incessantly talked at us while we caught up). That or she was just hella excited to see a big bowl of my Chicken Meatball & Orzzy Pearson.

 

 

Pasta is quite possibly the most comforting meal and I’ve grown to be quite obsessed with orzo. While this dish is pretty damn simple, the classic combination or lemon and chilli work perfectly with to cut through the creamy pasta and add a delicious zing to the chicken.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Meatball & Orzzy Pearson
Serves: 4

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
150g grated parmesan
small handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 egg
½ cup breadcrumbs
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2L chicken stock
500g orzo
2 cups baby spinach
200g frozen peas
1 tbsp chilli flakes
juice and zest of a lemon
30g butter

Method
Combine the mince, half the parmesan, ½ the parsley, egg, bread, thyme and a good whack of salt and pepper. Roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet, cover with cling and chill in the fridge for an hour.

Once you’ve firmed up your balls, heat the stock in a pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the balls one at a time and simmer for five minutes or so. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, until tender. Add the peas, spinach, lemon zest, chilli and the remaining parmesan, parsley, stirring well to combine.

Add the butter and lemon juice, stir to combine and serve covered in more parmesan. Nothing says comfort like cheese, right?

 

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