Custard George Mladanish

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Dessert, Sweets, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the final three met Jonathan in the middle of the elephant’s graveyard from The Lion King to find three torture devices from a Saw movie. Apparently this wildly unexpected crossover wasn’t a sign of things to come for Disney, but instead the final immunity challenge for Brains v Brawns. After hours and hours of standing on pegs beneath a bed of nails, Flick finally fell out of the challenge and handed Hayley immunity and the chance to select who she would face off against in the final two. And despite pleading a strong case at tribal council, found herself heading out of the game as the final juror.

The final two awoke on Day 48 to find a bounty of food and champagne, with Hayley admitting that voting out Flick was the hardest thing she has had to do all season. She then reflected that while George has played a strong strategic game, she has also managed to play a physical game as well as outwitting people and to top it off, didn’t rub people the wrong way like George did. And well, she is ready to take out victory and take control of her life after years dedicated to study.

George meanwhile was shocked that the person that was so close to being an early boot had made it to the end of the competition, ready to pitch his case to the jury. George was proud of his strong strategic game and hoped that he would be rewarded so that he could pay off his parents debts and let them enjoy their retirement, which is just so damn warm and fuzzy I can’t even stand it. He reflected on having a target on his back the entire time and was ready to remind every juror that his game is why they’re all sitting on the bench.

Which honestly, is never a great way to win votes.

At final tribal council George kicked things off and was far more charming than I thought he would be, talking about how he has been overcoming his own fears all game. And speaking of the game, his first play was to sow controlled chaos in his tribe to work around the fact he was clearly in the bottom. After the tribe swap, he knew to fall in line with the Brawns before flipping back to the Brains come merge, given there was no way he was ever getting to the end with the others. He was passionate, articulate and well, Hayley’s nervous face said it all as the jury smiled with George talking about leading the Brains from a minority to the majority and that he fought tooth and nail all season.

And, obviously, he told them that he is ready for his crown.

Hayley’s nervous face made way for a cheeky smile, sharing how proud she is of her game. Not to be outdone by George, she went all the way back to Joey’s boot, taking full credit for the move to flip Wai and Baden to get rid of him and pointed out it was the turning point in the game. She then spoke about her idol heroics on the post-swap Brawn tribe, highlighting her ability to trust in new allies to pull off the blindside on Simon. Oh and the Kez boot? Yeah, yeah – George told her to play the idol for Laura, but she is the one that successfully executed the plan. She then acknowledged the fact she was booted from the game but fought her way back and how she used that weakened target to find her footing and dominate the end game.

Jonathan flipped things over to the jury with Laura assuring both Hayley and George that she is undecided on who to vote for. She asked George what he learnt about himself during the game, with him admitting that he now knows that he can do anything he puts his mind to, given nobody expected him to get to this point. He also learnt that he is great at eavesdropping. Cara meanwhile asked Hayley if she planned to lie and deceive or whether it was just natural. Hayley knocked it out of the park, admitting that that is not only part of the game but also her job, given that as a researcher you have to convince people that placebos are actually real. And those skills were great for her game.

Andrew asked whether either of them have regrets in the game, with George thrilled that everything got him to this point and as such, he was good. Hayley meanwhile regretted the way she outed George as the double agent early in the merge, as it landed her on redemption. This led to Dani jumping in and asking why Hayley lied at the outback spa, with Hayley perfectly outlining that she was scared at what Dani would do if she felt that Hayley wasn’t with her and as such, she had to lull her into a false sense of security for her own safety. Which seemed to make Dani happy, assuring both Hayley and George that she is an undecided voter and she wants to see them both own all of their lies.

Gerald meanwhile asked George and Hayley who they would align with should the game restart with the jury, with George hilariously saying none of them while Hayley said that she was confident she would be able to work with all of them again.

Dani returned for her legit question, asking George why he habitually gave up in the challenges when he knew half of the jury value physicality given they were on the Brawn tribe. And well, it is literally a third of the motto. George defended himself, saying that he knew that his lack of athletic ability was his weak point and as such, he just wanted to focus on the things he could do well. Flick asked Hayley while they never worked together, with Hayley circling back to the Simon blindside and wanting to work with Flick but she never joined her at the merge. Then at the final seven, she only went with George, Cara and Wai because she knew that would give her the easiest path to winning her way to the end. Flick meanwhile asked George about his lies, with him admitting that he dominated strategically and only lied in the hope of getting further.

Emmett meanwhile asked George why he decided to lie and be strategic in such a brash way, explaining that he upset everyone on their way out the door and asked whether he would play the same game if he had his time over. George tried to get Emmett to focus on the game he did play rather than hurt feelings, with Emmett doubling down that that is not what he was asking before George eventually admitted that he wouldn’t play the same again. But I think between the lines, he meant that he wouldn’t get away with the same game twice. Which is super true. Hayley was meanwhile asked how her game differed from George, expertly pointing out that she is the most well rounded player, given she was not just strategic, she was also social and an absolute beast in the challenges.

Tragically Wai and Baden’s questions were cut – or I had a microsleep – before the jury cast their votes and Jonathan wheeled out Hayley and George’s loved ones to read the votes. While things were quickly tied at two a piece, the rest of the votes piled up on Hayley, as she took out victory and the title of sole survivor. Leaving the poor cockroach to join me for a meal to perk him back up as she celebrated.

As the giant sparklers were still going off in celebration of Hayley’s win, I pulled my heartbroken friend – let’s say, we’re both political operatives shall we – aside and intensely told him that the fact he even made it to the end was a shock. Because he played a bold, dominant game and had a target on his back the entire time. He and Hayley both played hard and arguably were our strongest final two ever, both nailing final tribal council and as such, he should sit back, relax and enjoy a Custard George Mladanish like the champion he is.

Like George, this little number is surrounded by a crispy outer shell but inside is nothing but warm, sweet, delicate and soft. Needless to say it is delicious and the perfect way to mark a game well played.

Enjoy!

Custard George Mladanish
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
4 eggs, 3 separated and 1 whole
½ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¼ cup cornflour
2 cups milk
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
⅔ cup flaked almonds

Method
First up, start by making your custard. If you have your own preferred recipe, go with that, otherwise keep reading. The most important part is it being firmer. Whisk the three yolks with the caster sugar, vanilla and cornflour in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk, quarter cups at a time, until you have a smooth, velvety texture.

Transfer to a saucepan and over medium-low heat, cook, whisking constantly for five minutes or so. Or until the mixture starts to thicken. Keep cooking for a further minute while bubbling away before removing and transferring to a bowl. Cover with cling (directly on top to avoid a skin forming) and leave to cool completely.

While it gets chill, preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Using two of the sheets of pastry, line the base and of a loose based, 35cm rectangle fluted tart tin and trim off excess pastry.

Place the tin on a baking sheet, line and weight the tart tin and blind bake for ten minutes, or until golden around the edges. Remove the weights and bake for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Drop the oven temperature down to 170°C.

Once both the shell and custard are cool, pour the custard into the shell, sprinkling with half the flaked almonds throughout because I love almonds. Cut the remaining sheet of pastry into strips and plait over the top to form as intricate lattice as you can be bothered with.

Whisk the remaining egg and sprinkle over the remaining almonds. Transfer the danish to the oven and bake for 15-30 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest before carving and devouring.


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Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups

Main, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Like Art before her, I’m not going to dwell too much on Scarlet. I mean, damn Ru, why you gotta have four people left in contention for the crown? It really makes my life that much more difficult.

In any event, Scarlet well and truly stormed through the competition, served killer looks and well, that pole dancing was damn impressive.

That being said, it would be remiss to not say that her well-known past performances were horrible and as a white man, it is not my place to forgive her or accept her apologies. But I do hope that she is genuine about making amends and learning from the this because the world needs growth and healing with those she hurt so stupid, racist shit just stops happening.

Which is what I told her as I sat down and slammed a plate of Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups in front of her.

Like at the end of a good night, there is nothing I love more than sweetly, sticky balls. Combining san choy bow and ramen influences, these babies are earthy, spiced and most importantly, easy. Which is what I like to hear when I’ve got sticky balls.

Enjoy!

Sticky Meatball Scarlettuce Cups
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chilli paste
225g water chestnuts, finely chopped
⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
4 shallots, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
⅔ cup plum sauce
100g vermicelli noodles
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
2 baby cos lettuce, leaves broken off and rinsed.

Method
Combine the mince, ginger, garlic, chilli, water chestnuts, breadcrumbs and shallots with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch to combine with your hands and mix into golf-ball sized meatballs.

Heat a lug of oil in a wok over medium heat and cook the balls for five minutes or so, tossing infrequently. Add the plum sauce with a cup of water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and sticky. My two favourite descriptors.

Cook the noodles as per packet instructions and drain well to avoid any drippiness.

To assemble, divide a couple of lettuce leaves on a plate, top with noodles and meatballs and garlic with a few slices of chilli. And then, obviously, devour.


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Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta

Main, Pasta, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under 1, TV, TV Recap

Given Art already had an episode of my love, I’m going to keep things brief.

Art truly is the future of drag.

On top of being funny, filthy and oh so fierce! She was an absolute joy to watch all season, providing hilarious commentary, giving us heartfelt moments and while she never took out a win, I’ve got a feeling that she will have a triumphant run on a future All Stars season.

You heard it here first!

And obviously I told her of this as I pulled her into my arms, cast aside the snag rolls and gave her a fresh bowl of more finalist friendly, Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta.

Salt, creamy and packing a kick, this very basic pasta tastes anything but! Plus, you can whip it up in sub-twenty minutes – genuinely, Jamie Oliver – which is very important to me as I age.

Enjoy!

Spicy Artichoke Simone Pasta
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g rigatoni
700g marinated artichoke hearts, drained
⅓ cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 cup parmesan, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat. Heavily salt and add the pasta before cooking per packet instructions.

While the pasta is gettin’ al dente, place the artichoke, oil, lemon, chilli and half the parmesan in a food processor with a good whack of salt and pepper, and blitz to form a smooth, velvety paste. 

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Combine the cooked pasta with the puree and stir to combine, adding as much liquid as required to make it saucy. Fold through the remaining cheese and again, add more liquid as needed.

When at the desired consistency, serve immediately, top with more parmesan just because and then devour. Triumphantly.


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Carrot From Finance Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under the top five were tasked with showing off their impressive talents, by way of a talent show. Despite never having pole danced before, Scarlet put on an impressively dangerous show, thankfully avoiding falling from the top and cracking her skull. Elektra meanwhile performed a powerful contemporary dance, but due to her thirsty wig somehow landed in the bottom despite Art’s talent involving her eating things. Which is far more iconic than that sentence gives it credit for. She was joined in the bottom with her boss Kita Mean and despite being the undisputed lip sync assassin of the season, Elektra found herself exiting the competition just before the finale.

Aka as the robbed goddess of the season.

Backstage the girls were thrilled to make it to the top four, with them discovering Elektra was proclaiming Kita as the winner of the season on the way out of the door. Art and Scarlet admitted that they felt Elektra kind of gave up in the lip sync, which felt like it was kind of them trying to be nice about how much Elektra loves Kita rather than saying she couldn’t have won the lip sync otherwise. Hopefully. The girls celebrated making it to the top, though were shady to Art about being eliminated and coming back to the competition. That being said, Art wasn’t bothered and still thought she could take out victory. Particularly since Karen pointed out that Scarlet had half a beard when she snatched her third victory, so anything truly is possible.

The top four jigged back in the next day with Kita still jumping out of her skin with excitement, giddy about potentially bringing the crown home to New Zealand. We were then treated to the girls flashing back through moments of the season before Ru arrived and tasked them with their final challenge of the season, where they would be writing their own verse on the rumix of Ru’s You’re A Winner, Baby. And then, you know, performing it live on the mainstage with full choreography. After a light lunch with Ru and Michelle. The usual.

We were then gagged by Dame Olivia Newton John and daughter Chloe Lattanzi who gave the girls a little bit of advice in a pre-recorded but made to not look pre-recorded message, but who cares given it is ONJ, dammit.

Just like that, the queens split up to work on their verses with Scarlet oozing confidence, while Karen had written two verses, one from her boy self and the other from Karen. Not to be confused with a Karen, since it is a loving verse telling all the eliminated queens that they’re all winners too rather than the poster child of middle aged, white privilege. In any event Art thought the loved-up Karen idea was a shit one and as such, encouraged her to run with it. Kita meanwhile shared that she was going with a heartfelt verse that she was going to sing. Full power ballad style, I assume.

Scarlet dropped by for lunch with Ru and Michelle, praising her mother as the person that has shaped her life the most. She said that being away from her loved ones was the most difficult part of the competition, but her partner organised a pack of letters from home, which she has been opening episode by episode to keep her focused. Ru advised that Scarlet not engage with the comment section and get distracted by the noise and given the backlash, it definitely is good advice for young Scarlet.

Meanwhile backstage Kita, Karen and Art were imitating each other and living their best lives and I love everything about it. And them.

Art excused herself to chat to Ru and Michelle, with her thanking them for giving her a second chance. She admitted that it taught her to let go given she supports everyone in her life, which made Michelle give her a pep talk and tell her that she needs other people to turn around and look after her too. Otherwise she is going to burn out. And ugh, this is why I love Michelle. Ru joined in and suggested that she remember she exists without people needing her and to focus on letting go.

Karen from Finance shared that her deceased mother did work in finance, but wasn’t the inspiration behind her. Talk turned to the pressure of living up to the name of Karen from Finance, given she is an internationally recognised thanks in no small part to how much Trixie and Katya love to talk about her.

We checked in with Art who was still processing the fact that she spends so much time looking after others, which has led to her burning out and not letting people in. She caught up with Karen and they had a really nice chat about freeing themselves and the way the show has made them reevaluate their lives and ugh, I love them both! And well, despite the criticism, proves that this show has still got it.

Kita then rounded out the interview portion, joking about not being shocked that she made it to the end. Though she did admit to getting into her own head throughout the season. Ru and Michelle reminded her that she needs to deal with whatever issues she had which led to her putting on the weight, now that she has lost it. Michelle then told Kita that her need for love comes from trauma, before they let her marinate on what her trauma was and helped her start to work through it. NO JOKE. Did Michelle get a psychiatry degree in lockdown, because she is amazing?! She then fit two jaffas – aka balls – in her mouth and had them in stitches, and please let this be the start of her coronation.

The top four then joined Lance Savali on the mainstage to learn the finale choreography, with Karen admitting that she is well and truly out of her depth. Kita was charming despite struggling to pick up her’s, Art was patting the puss and slaying her sexy choreography, while Karen got the Trixie in All Stars 3 choreography, complete with baseball bat dad dancing. And then Scarlet nailed the entire rehearsal, despite getting the easiest moves.

Coronation Day arrived with Kita sharing how her sisters and he and her brother were split up when her parents divorced. Karen agreed that growing up in a house full of boys was a struggle for her too and how they both needed to let their families in. Scarlet spoke about how she has never met her father as he reached out to her as a teenager but stopped talking to her when she found out that she was gay. Art shared that she had the same story, but loved how her father now has to see her on ads and hear her on the radio given she is famous. Which is an iconic and amazing way to look at things. Talk turned to the dangers of being queer, though all of them agreed that they wouldn’t change anything as that is what has made them strong. 

Kita then summed things up, explaining about how much bigger the journey was than she was expecting and was so grateful to make it to the end. And again, please let this be part of her coronation edit!

Ru, Michelle and Rhys took their places for the debut of the Down Under remix of I’m a Winner Baby with Kita coming out looking just like one. She was shimmering in white and sang beautifully, Art was hilarious and charming, dripping in technicolour neon. Karen owned her awkward dance moves though definitely had the weaker of the verses, despite the really sweet and kind message. Scarlet oddly looked a mess, though nailed the choreography and gave a classic finale verse.

On the Best Drag runway Art was beautiful in a teal ball gown fit for a princess, Karen was classic Karen in a shimmering boardroom eleganza. Kita was a gorgeous angel with blue hair, complete with moving wings. And Scarlet was inspired by Princess Grace in a rose gown, looking gorgeous.

The judges lived for everything Art did in the finale, looking stunning on the runway and nailing the performance. Ru praised her as the future of drag and ugh, I love her. Michelle lived for Karen’s Elvis style look in the performance, with them all loving her runway. Kita too was praised for everything she did, with Michelle loving her singing voice and living for how diverse she has been throughout the season. And how she has slayed the entire time (kinda proving her bottom placement was bogus). Scarlet too received universal praise, killing the dance moves and looking stunning in the finale. And then Ru gushed about everything she has done.

Art was first to give advice to her younger self, learning from her chat with Ru and Michelle, telling his younger self to look after himself as well as others. And to wear his fucking retainer. Karen told herself to remember that love will always be in her life and to power through the moments she doesn’t feel it. Cute young Kita was told to grow from her weird relationship with herself but to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and know that you have strength to get through anything. Bringing everyone to tears. Scarlet meanwhile cautioned herself to own her mistakes and use them to grow. And that she is worthy of love and isn’t alone.

When it came to laying claim to the crown, Art pointed out that she has been a champion for Down Under Drag her entire career and wants to invest in its future. Oh and just fucking loves drag. Karen said that she is the future of drag and a little bit of coin would really help her grow. Kita spoke about how drag has shaped her entire life and wanted to make Ru proud, as the victorious music started to play. And Scarlet said that she has proven her versatility and won the most challenges and would love to continue to push drag into the mainstream.

We didn’t get to see what went down backstage, but the top four exited as the judges deliberated and then returned to learn that they were required to complete the final lip sync solo, one after the other, to ONJ’s Physical. Which is truly iconic. Scarlet channeled sexy, Karen cleaned her glasses, Kita was filthy and ridiculous while Art was truly polished. But let’s be honest Kita’s sexed up ridiculous performance, complete with rubber gloves to give the judges a literal  physical was far and away the best performance.

And thankfully, she rightfully was crowned and we didn’t have to suffer through another Bimini situation!

That being said, the finale really cemented my love for Karen from Finance. She was vulnerable, polished and like Ru and Michelle, I feel the next two years are going to push her further than she could even imagine.

As we sobbed in each other’s arms after I gushed about her performance, I remembered that losing isn’t the new winning and as such, she needed something to sweeten the deal. Which thankfully, is where my Carrot From Finance Cake comes in to play.

Full disclosure, carrot cake is my favourite cake. Most likely because of its pairing with cream cheese icing. That being said, the sight of carrot in raw cake batter is kind of disturbing but work through it. Spiced, moist and fluffy, this truly is culinary perfection.

Enjoy!

Carrot From Finance Cake
Serves: 8-12, greed dependent.

Ingredients
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
200g raw caster sugar
200g muscovado sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
300g carrots, grated and peeled
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
350g butter, at room temperature
800g icing sugar
100g pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C and line the bottom of two 22cm cake tins with baking paper and greasing up the edges.

Working with two bowls, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in one and the oil, sugars, one teaspoon of the vanilla and eggs in the other, whisking well to combine. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until a smooth batter forms. Followed by the carrots.

Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 45 minutes, or until springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the cakes are chill, place the cream cheese, butter and remaining vanilla in a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, or until fluffy. Fold through the icing sugar, and return to the mixer for a couple of minutes or until smooth and velvety.

To ice, dollop a bit of icing on the top of one of the cakes and smooth to form a ½-1 centimetre layer of icing. Top with the second cake and use the remaining icing to cover the surroundings. Decorate with the chopped nuts before placing in the fridge for an hour or so to set.

Then, confusingly, remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and then devour. 

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Baden Sherbert Cocktail

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

Previously on Australian Survivor 12 celebs were once again pitted against 12 plebs, with the Contenders coming out of the gate strong forcing the Champions to get rid of the least famous of the bunch in the form of Anastasia. After a fail at the second challenge the first Contender was sent out of the game in the form of pocket rocket Laura. The Champions lost Susie, Nova, Steven and E.T. back to back before Jonathan took pity on them and switched the tribes. Despite a mega-majority on the new Champions tribe, Luke and David took control and sent Sam, Sarah and Hannah back-to-back before the Contender decimation continued with Casey and Matt booted from the new Contender tribe. My heart King Ross was then tragically felled by a faulty challenge, medevaced just before the merge which saw Andy, thankfully, become the final juror.

The merge led to the annihilation of all immunity threats with Shaun and David going back to back. They were then joined with Zaddy John, Daisy, Simon, Janine, Abbey and Luke, leaving Baden, Harry and Pia to battle out for final immunity with challenge beast Baden taking it out after 6 hours and 40 minutes. Under the cover of darkness they made their way to tribal council where Pia pulled some voodoo mind tricks and convinced Baden to boot Harry from the game.

The final two awoke on day 50 and congratulated each other for making it all the way to the end. Pia was shocked to have made it to the end and was hopeful to plead her case, snatch the win, pay off her mortgage and set her family up for life. The final two then arrived at treemail to discover a feast which they took back to camp to gossip about everything they’ve gone through during the game. Baden too was proud of everything he achieved during the game, most of all the fact that he pushed himself socially. He then explained that he knew that Harry had tried to drag him to the end, ultimately explaining why he chose to keep Pia in the end.

With that the final two arrived at final tribal council with Baden kicking things off, telling the jury about how Survivor helped him grow and overcome his fears and that he knew his only hope of surviving was to play the middle perfectly, befriend everyone and know exactly where all the votes were going each tribal. He knew that both Pia and Harry planned to take him to the end should they win the final three immunity challenge, so his best shot at earning their love was to win immunity and take himself.

Pia then took the floor and pointed out that she planned to come in hard strategically while being friends with everyone. She then pointed out that since day one, she was fighting to survive, getting Nova to flip the vote at the first tribal council and then flipped Abbey and Ross to take control of the tribe. She then dominated the game, kept a couple of meatshields around, which ultimately protected her when her alliance were turned on.

Shaun kicked things off by asking them why the other doesn’t deserve to win, with pia pointing out that while Baden won the game of most personal growth, he didn’t do anything throughout the game and as such can’t claim to be a strategist. Baden tried to counter that Pia rode an alliance and nothing else and has been blindsided before JaQueen jumped in to back her up and told everyone that Pia was aware they were flipping on Janine and wasn’t confused. David then saltily asked them how their goat game was advantageous which led to ultimately the greatest speech since Kristie’s as Pia schooled Dave and pointed out all the times she took control, schooled him about the difference between Australian and US Survivor. Baden then tired to jump in and point out he helped groups make decisions and said that Pia was his goat, allowing Pia to dispute his claims and honestly school him too. I mean, she pointed out that he tried to vote her out instead of Abbey which kinda proves she wasn’t his number one goat.

David jumped in to save Baden and asked whether he felt he played a good social game, with him proudly talking about successfully playing the middle – which is really hard, so props to him – and keeping everyone from turning on him. JaQueen jumped in to congratulate Pia on a game well played and asked her to articulate how she was the wolf in goat’s clothing and how she helped take herself, JaQueen and Abbey so far. Pia articulated how well she managed to keep people calm and make sure nobody saw their blindside coming, which David jumped in to admit is the exact reason he didn’t play his idol.

Harry tried to get people talking about cars with Baden saying that he actively navigated throughout the game, was never blindsided and ultimately was able to choose who he was up against. Pia reminded everyone that having an alliance and making decisions in them is something to be proud of and they shouldn’t downplay how she managed to keep hers together without becoming the target. Zaddy John asked how the game changed them, with Baden saying that it has helped him grow and he used being an introvert to his advantage, was never a threat and powered through.

Luke wrapped things up pointing out that he helped save Pia twice, and then asked him why she couldn’t do it that one time. This allowed Pia to talk about fighting hard in the final immunity challenge because she didn’t want voting him out to be futile. She then listed off how hard she has played, reminding them that just because you didn’t see her big game didn’t mean she wasn’t playing one, just that she wasn’t stupid enough to let people see it and paint the target on her back.

With that the jury voted, Jonathan brough the votes back and surprised them that they would be read with their families in attendance, wheeling out Pia’s kids and instantly making Abbey sob. Baden’s mum spoke about how proud of him she is and how much he has grown throughout the game, developing into an adorable little sass monster. Pia’s husband was proud of her and only reaffirmed everything he thinks about her (making Abbey cry) … and hoped that the jury voted the right way.

Jonathan then started reading the votes and they rolled in, one by one for Pia handing her the first unanimous victory of Australian Survivor. While poor Baden stood by with his family. Despite not earning the love of the jury, I firmly believe that Baden played a strong game as playing the middle is truly a difficult strategy – hi Julia – and he used everyone’s perception of him to avoid the target that may come from it. With that, I gave him two hearty thumbs up and toasted to his game with a Baden Sherbert Cocktail.

 

 

While it may look like an innocent little bevvie, like Baden, this sure packs a punch. A little sweet, a little tangy and carrying a nice burn as it goes down, it will have you feeling as spritely as Baden on the monkey bars. Or after standing on those stumps for nearly seven hours.

Enjoy!

 

 

Baden Sherbert Cocktail
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 shots gin
2 shots Cointreau
1 orange, juiced
1 lime, juiced
ice
a twist of lime or orange

Method
Combine everything but the twist of citrus in a cocktail shaker and give a hearty shake.

Pour into two glasses.

Garnish.

Down.

 

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Mike White Chocolate Mud Cake

Baking, Dessert, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Sweets, TV Recap

After toughing it out on a Fijian Island for 39 days without a jacket, begging for idols and scaling the largest cliff face on the planet to snatch an idol to embarrass one of the final jurors, the heroic Angelina’s claim for the title were completely ignored by the jury, despite having a passion for negotiation and persuasion. With that it came down to Hollywood heavyweight Mike White and public defender Nick, with the former toppled by the latter fulfilling the destiny of the season’s theme.

Given the fact that Mike comes from the entertainment industry and is the most well-known celebrity to ever join the cast – and as such has a lot of easy targets to paint on him in a game where any excuse to vote someone out is valid – he never should have made the merge, let alone the final three and be a couple of votes away from winning.

But that is how well my dear friend Mike played.

Obviously I first met Mike while working together on Dawson’s Creek and we quickly bonded over our sardonic wit. As is often the case, I vowed to make him a star however plot twist, when he decided to partner with Jack Black – who I was feuding with at the time – we went our separate ways and I had to watch him succeed without me.

Well until footage of me having a meltdown at work leaked – by me – on the internet, and he reached out to see if I was ok and whether he could base a television show about me. I am passionate about being a muse, so gladly gave him my blessing and Amy Jellicoe slash Enlightened were born and our friendship renewed. You’re welcome.

Anyway Mike’s charm and killer gut instincts that allowed his to wait until just the right moment to make a move played a huge roll in him getting to the end and almost snatching the title of Sole Survivor. And while he was disappointed not to win, he was thrilled to see me in Ponderosa waiting to cheer him up with a big, heavy Mike White Chocolate Mud Cake.

 

 

Obviously this is ridiculously, sickeningly sweet, as mud cake is want to do, but damn is it good. Dense, moist and melt in the mouth, there is nothing better to distract from losing $900k after 39 days on an island.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mike White Chocolate Mud Cake
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
700g white chocolate, roughly chopped
350g unsalted butter, chopped
2 ½ cups raw caster sugar
1 ½ cups milk
2 ⅔ cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
½ cup cream

Method
Preheat oven to 140°C.

Combine 200g of the chocolate in a large saucepan with the butter, sugar and milk, and stir over low heat until smooth and combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool slightly. Whisk in the flour, vanilla and eggs, and stir until just combined.

Pour into a lined cake tin and bake for 2 hours, though start checking from 1 ½ hours and stop once an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about half an hour, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan and transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until smooth. Transfer to the fridge to cool for half an hour, stirring a couple of times.

To assemble, flip the cake upside down, slather with ganache and devour.

 

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Sharnold Palmer Coombes

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Drink, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the final three returned back at camp after taking out the final Contender and congratulated themselves on a job well done. The next day they were surprised to receive a family visit ahead of the fallen comrades section, where we were reminded of the majesty of the Contender boys penchant for nudity, the horror of Benji eating nachos and Shonella just being the greatest. With that out of the way Sharn defeated Shane and Brian in a hard fought final immunity challenge, before dispatching of Brian as the final juror despite him reminding her that he is by far the easier win.

The final two returned back to camp with Shane proud to be waking up on day 50 and still being a stone cold champion at 61. She reminded us that when she held every world record, there wasn’t a lot of money in swimming and she had to fight tooth and nail for everything she has got. That being said, she was terrified about having to face off against a crown prosecutor at final tribal. On the flipside, Sharn was proud of being a dominant physical force throughout the game and looked forward to doing what she does best in front of the jury. They snuffed the fire for the final time before grabbing their torches and heading out to tribal where Shane tried to find the resolve to defeat Sharn.

Jonathan welcomed them to final tribal and called in Robbie, Mat, Sam, Benji, Steve, Fenella, Monika, Shonee and Brian to form the jury, before announcing the new final tribal council format, where the jury questions would become an open forum discussion. Shane kicked things off like she was in a speech and drama competition in primary school crossed with Sophia Petrillo. She spoke about not knowing what to expect at the start and having to learn on the go to overcome being a liability at the start. She then spoke about playing an idol – unlike most of the jury – jumping ship from a sinking alliance to take out Jackie, who was a big threat, leading to her becoming a double agent for Mat and co. Tragically neglecting to mention the Lydia blindside.

Sharn opted for a different approach, saying she shouldn’t still be there given she has been a threat since the first post-merge immunity challenge. She spoke about playing from the bottom since the final 7 and making it to the end by being a trusted ear for her allies, and being open to those she wasn’t aligned with. She then told them that if they don’t vote for her, they’re doing the wrong thing. Essentially.

With that Jonathan handed things over to the jury, with Fenella kicking things off asking Sharn why the hell she took Shane to the end and why she is going to fight? Sharn played up her loyalty to Shane, with Robbie confused about how that loyalty exemplified her superior game. She brought up her ability to save herself post-swap, blindsiding Sam and almost saving Mat from being booted, she then played up taking out the contenders and bonding with Shonee to make it to the end.

Benji asked Shane about her gameplay, with the icon talking about how she actively tried to avoid becoming a target like the rest of them, while working hard around camp to gain intel from people. Sam wasn’t really sold, asking her to articulate her active gameplay throughout the season. She kinda rambled before Benji tried to get her back on point, ultimately leading to her claiming Jackie and Lydia’s scalps as her biggest moves. And let’s be honest, working against Lydia while the challenge was happening was masterful.

Mat jumped in, admitting he loves them both but would have to pick one person, so asked them to explain their games. Sharn started to struggle as she tried to articulate her how loyalty was the defining feature of her game, before Brian jumped in and asked why if she was so loyal to Mat, why didn’t she warn him that he was about to be blindsided? She said that she didn’t have the opportunity to talk to him, nor did know whether he had an idol. Brian then questioned whether not telling him is actually disloyal, leading to her stuttering through an attempted response which clearly upset Mat. Benji then jumped in to question why loyalty is her major card and as such, Sharn continued to flounder.

Brian then addressed Shane, asking her to finally bring some honesty to final tribal council and answer who played the more loyal game out of the final two. While she tried to dance around the question, Brian pushed her and she admitted that she was more loyal and that loyalty was clever as it built a shield for her to hide behind. Shonee too addressed Shane, asking if she even has any clue where she lives since she is praising her ability to get to know people. Shane then shocked her, pointing out she lives in London most of the time and Noosa the rest, and was offended as she is actually the one that saved Shonee after the tribe swap. Mat jumped in to vouch for the move, giving Shonee the cutest smile. She then secured Fenella’s vote, taking the time to praise her killer game and the way she goaded Brian to keep herself safe. Sam asked Shane whether if things come down to loyalty, they shouldn’t vote for Sharn over the Mat move which she agreed to. Poor Sharn then looked like a kicked puppy and desperately pleaded with the jury to see past her one mistake … ignoring the bungled idol find at the challenge, obvi.

With that the jury voted, Jonathan collected the votes and took them back to Australia, somehow in the middle on the desert, jumping in a jeep before arriving at the finale stage. Jonathan checked in with the finalists, with Sharn proud of how they played and Shane saying the wait was more nerve wracking than an Olympic final and she’d just like the votes read. As such, Jonathan started reading them, counting two for Shane, followed by four for Sharn before Shane tied things up four apiece. With that, Jonathan was left to count the final vote, handing Shane the victory and title of Sole Survivor.

Despite playing an extremely strong, strategic game, and keeping the target off her for the last few weeks of the game, Sharn proved to be no match for the seasoned Champion Shane at final tribal and narrowly missed out on the title of Sole Survivor.

While most people would need a nice stiff drink to wash away the pain of bombing what they do best and losing half a mill in the process, Sharn is an absolute positive, delight and as such took it in her stride, was proud of her dear friend Shane and gladly toasted her with a Sharnold Palmer Coombes.

 

 

Now I normally prefer my drinks like I like peens, but it is hard to argue against the majesty of this soft concoction. Or soft concoctions in general. TBH, I just love any and all concoctions. Anyway, let’s focus on the beauty of ice tea and lemonade, mingling together to fill you with joy.

Don’t you love when a concoction does that? Enjoy!

 

 

Sharnold Palmer Coombes
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
ice
1 ½ cups iced tea
½ cup lemonade

Method
Fill two glasses with ice.

Top with iced tea, followed by lemonade.

Slurp it down.

 

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Tess Fillahey Chicken Burger

Burgers, Main, Street Food, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Tara eliminated herself from the game leaving Dave, Lisa and Tess to battle it out for the title of Sole Survivor. Sadly for Dave, however, his school friend Matt told everyone that they’ve known each other for decades and hid it from everyone to get throughout the game. As such the jury was hella bitter with him and downplayed his achievements, despite the fact he is the only reason Matt made the merge over Zadam’s nemesis Dylan.

With that, the jury voted and completely shut out Dave, landing him in third place with both Tess and Lisa snagging three votes with only one left to be read. Which, no shade to Tess, thankfully went to Lisa, handing the superfan the title and landed Tess as the runner-up.

Despite not knowing a great deal about Survivor going in, Tess played a strong game and managed to sneak through despite her allies being systematically targeted. Couple that with a string of immunity wins at the right time and she almost Fabio-ed her way to victory. Which I reminded her when she was disappointed to have missed out on the cash. Add to that the glory of a Tess Fillahey Chicken Burger and she soon forgot about the pain of losing.

 

 

Succulent chicken breast coated in 11 secret herbs and spices, hang on, this could end in a lawsuit. This homage slash copycat to the glorious OG KFC burg fills anyone with joy, crunchy iceberg, creamy mayo and fried chicken? Sign all ya’ll up.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tess Fillahey Chicken Burger
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 Kirsten Bunst, sliced
2 Farrahed Moan Chicken, using chicken breast instead obvi
¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain
½ cup iceberg lettuce, shredded, washed and dried

Method
Started by prepping the buns, chicken and mayo as per their respective recipes.

When they’re done, split the buns, slather the top and bottom with mayo, place lettuce on the bottom and top with the fried chicken.

Close the burger and devour immediately.

 

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