Patty Melt Cusack

Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: David vs. Goliath, TV Recap

Previously on Austra … hang on. The weather is miserable, Shonella aren’t playing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the background and Shane Gould isn’t around to not be fucked with. It’s original flavour Survivor, with less cursed objects – though I did line-up some pizzas this season, so maybe that one will continue – and hopefully more excitement and blindsides. Oh and no more final four fire challenge. But enough with dreaming, Probst is on a boat with 20 people who are split into two tribes that I assume were named by Roma Downey after years of wearing down Tom Arnold’s nemesis Mark Burnett; David and Goliath. This season a tribe of bosses will battle with ten underdogs, and hopefully we aren’t swept up in a religious fever dream like Sophie in South Pacific.

We met the first David, Christian who is a total nerd, Elizabeth who is the country icon who flipped the bird on the cast photo and Pat who is big, burly and looks to be a total sweetheart. Who knows not to trust a book by its cover. They’re up against the Goliaths who include publisher and CEO Natalie – who is an icon – and Angelina loves all that comes with being a Goliath.

Anyway the two tribes converged on a barge with Probst and the Goliaths quickly realised that the cards are definitely in their favour when they saw the Davids rolling in. Probst confirmed their suspicions, announcing that this year’s theme is a battle of the privileged versus the underdogs. The David tribe were thrilled to be the underdogs, knowing they are instantly the favoured tribe for a decent narrative. We met Nick, who grew up poor in the south and fought tooth and nail to achieve his dreams of being a lawyer – public defender now – and on Survivor. Swoon. Gabby too was feeling her underdog roots, knowing the Goliaths can only fall while they are destined to rise.

The Goliaths however were quick to try and deflect from being labelled a Goliath, except for pre wrestler John, who knows he is a boss … though just wants to find himself and downplay his intelligence. Swoon. Allison was the most vocal to oppose the label, saying she worked hard from her upper-middle class family to follow in her father’s footsteps. Probst, the shady bitch, asked to hear about Pat’s upbringing, with him talking about living paycheque to paycheque, without even the option of going to get an education. She was pretty cool to stick with the Goliath label after that.

Wanting to get the bad blood brewing like Taylor Swift keeping control on her squad, Probst got the Goliaths to pick two people from each tribe to compete in a reward challenge. With Enlightened creator Mike White selecting Lyrsa and Christian, who he deemed Big Bang Theory in a moment of corporate synergy that made CBS beam. Lyrsa knew she was selected because she is tiny, a little chunky and stands out, while Christian was cool to be labelled the weakest. They then selected Allison and John, who are huge and look strong. To even things up, Probst gave the weakest peeps – sorry, allegedly Christian – the chance to pick the route each pair took to get to a giant shelter making kit. Obviously Lyrsa and Christian got out to a huge lead, almost finishing the second stage before Allison and John finished the first. Being Goliaths however, they caught up at the puzzle leaving a bat … nope, Christian is a genius, solving the puzzle in five seconds and snatching the kit for the underdogs. While it was impressive, Christian admitted it really wasn’t a fair fight as he had written algorithms for solving slide puzzles at uni, which he tried to explain in great detail and completely lost me.

We followed the Goliaths back to their tribe where Mike was feeling completely out of place as he isn’t as buff as the rest of the tribe, and is a nerdy Hollywood type. Dan and Natalia immediately gravitated to him, knowing that he looked familiar before he shared that he was a two-time Amazing Race contestant and completely neglected to mention School of Rock and the greatest show of all time, Enlightened. Have I mentioned I love Enlightened? Dan continued to make friends, sharing that while he is a babe now he used to be bigger and he put on a tonne of weight while working as a cop, though worked hard to lose weight to join the SWAT team. Natalie applauded him on looking fine and hot damn, I already love her. Speaking of love Dan and Kara bonded over Supergirl and the fact he named his dog Kara. She swooned, as did I when I saw his lycra pants. He was smarter though, knowing it was dangerous and hoped to downplay their bond.

Meanwhile over at the Davids, Pat was quick to take charge of the tribe and got everyone to split up tasks and work together while he leads them in building the shelter. Everyone seemed to be extremely cohesive, trusting Pat’s knowledge, laying foundations and weaving fronds for shelter. Sadly he started getting a bit too strong, shouting at Christian, making awkward jokes and generally frustrating the hell out of his tribe. Which will haunt him, once it is done.

Alec was trying to bring a bit of light to the tribe, knowing how difficult it is to build a shelter with only a machete to help. Natalie however was bringing some doom and gloom, bossing Natalia and the rest of the tribe around whilst worrying about having nothing in common with her tribemates.

Back at the David tribe Elizabeth was worried Pat was going to die as he leaned out of a tree with the machete. Jessica and Bi started to bond while weaving the roof of the shelter, wanting to lie about being 19. She then floated an alliance which Bi was into, as was Carl. Not to be outdone, Elizabeth and Lyrsa got a quiet moment in the jungle and bonded over being super different and wanted to align, as nobody would expect it. And just like that, Natalie is dropped and Lyrsa is my number two to Elizabeth. Lastly Gabby and Christian bonded over being insecure nerds – their words – and hot damn, they are in the lead to be my third and fourth.

John and Mike got together by the tribe flag and bonded over their fame and I assume, all the different nicknames or characters they’ve played. Natalie continued to lose friends and alienate people, as Natalia complained to Dan and someone else – first episode, don’t judge – about her not doing anything and bossing people around. Not wanting to leave her alone as a target, Mike went searching for an idol and was super obvious which immediately made people paranoid. We then met Jeremy who looks delightful in his jocks, while the tribe spoke about Mike being sketchy. Natalie went out to find Mike and warn him to pull his head in, which he vowed to knowing that he was hunting for an idol because he wanted it and now he needs to find it because he needs it.

The next day the rain started to drive in as the Davids worked tirelessly to finish their shelter and find some sort of relief. Elizabeth spoke about how they are instantly at an advantage, because they have grown up with adversity and that makes them fight harder and care for others more than their rivals would. While everyone work, Nick disappeared to try and reserve his energy slash avoid it. He then sidled up to Christian and Elizabeth to form alliances and then come up with names for said alliances. Meanwhile back at camp, Pat put the finishing touches on the shelter much to the delight of Carl who was proud of his hard work. And pissed by Nick’s lack of.

The Goliaths however weren’t as lucky, with no shelter and freezing. Not to be deterred Allison and Angelina got together by the well where Angelina suggested they go find the idol before Mike does and even the historic gender spill of idol ownership. Sadly for them, Mike was still working hard which then made Jeremy and Alec – swoon x 2 – go searching, followed by John, Natalie and Dan, who shared that the idol is in his pants. Oh and no, he isn’t talking about his penis. He was out searching for the idol with Kara and Natalia, and found the idol earlier that day and he was storing it in his pants.

The Davids were less interested about idols, though maybe that had something to do with Davie finding a huge octopus which they will be able to smash ahead of the upcoming immunity challenge. Davie shared that people will likely underestimate him, given he is a total blerd and was proud of himself. Jessica then started to break down on day two, upset about how her mum was in a domestic violence situation and she feels like she has left her alone and she has been responsible for her her entire life. Bi too spoke about the fact she had been in a domestic violence situation and encouraged Jessica that she saved her mum’s life, and she should be proud. Later that night, Nick decided to share that he has troubles opening up with people and wasn’t brave enough to share the fact his mum died of an overdose a couple of years ago earning the support and trust of his tribe. That made him feel like he has had a relief and has truly bonded with his tribe, potentially negating the fact he did shit all at the challenge.

By day three the cyclone had well and truly hit and the sea swelled and the rain pelted on the tribes as they arrived at their first immunity challenge. Each tribe would sprint through an obstacle before someone would dig under a log and chop a rope to release a ladder, with the second place tribe penalised and forced to release their ladder by untying knots. Each tribe would then ascend a platform and use a pole vault to leap to another before completing a puzzle. Carl got out to a huge lead while John and Pat focused on wrestling in the obstacle. Carl and Alec worked on the log, Alec quickly getting under and releasing the Goliath ladder. Things only got worse for the Davids from there as the Goliaths started working on the puzzle before they even got to the pole vault. Allison led the tribe through the puzzle, before Christian desperately started to call instructions in the hope of catching up. The rain started to pour while Allison screamed instructions to her tribe, securing immunity just before the Davids. Who were all cohesive and supportive of each other and I love that.

Well except for Lyrsa, who was planning on voting out Nick before even leaving the challenge. Out of nowhere however, the tribe were back at the challenge beach as Pat was stretchered off the boat in extreme pain, unable to see. Dr Joe and the team swarmed around him as Gabby broke down, worried about Pat as all she heard was a giant crack when they hit a giant wave when they were on a boat back to camp. Probst arrived to figure out what happened, with medical worried about the extent of his injury. As it became evident that he would be medevaced from the game, Pat begged them to allow him to stay while sobbing whilst sucking down oxygen in pain.

As the helicopter flew in, his tribemates started to breakdown and worried about his injury. When given the ok, they all rushed around and told him how much love they had for him and how their hearts are with him. Jessica hoped that he was still grateful for the experience as they were grateful for him and dammit, now I’m crying. Throw in Gabby’s guilt about misjudging him at first and I’m sobbing. Probst checked in with the tribe, with Jessica saying she feels like they just keep getting kicked down. Clearly feeling sorry for them, Probst cancelled tribal council and told them a flint would await them back at camp.

It honestly was one of the most heartbreakingly cruel exits up their with Wanda and Jonathan, and just below Queen Kourtney Moon who was at least medevaced for an ingame incident. Even more cruel, knowing that Pat is the one that inspired this year’s theme, worked like a boss around camp and was someone that you’d really just want to succeed in life. Given I have a messiah complex, I obviously went into full nurse mode – paging future healer tribe member – and ushered him back to health within a couple of days, in no small part thanks to the sustenance provided by my Patty Melt Cusack.

 

 

Now I must confess – not anything about my loneliness, or its potential to kill me – that the idea of patty melt used to disgust me. I mean, why wouldn’t I just have a burger or a toastie? One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, slapped myself repeatedly over the head like Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and realised how stupid I had been. A patty melt is perfection! Dripping cheese, a thick juicy patty and the addition of sweet, buttery onions? Swoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Patty Melt Cusack
Serves: 2-4, broken-back-ed people.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
butter
2 onions, sliced
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 slices white bread
8 slices American Cheese

Method
Combine the beef, Worcestershire, sriracha and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Divide into four, shape into patties, cover with cling and place in the fridge to chill while you work on the onions.

Melt a small lug of butter in a small saucepan or medium heat until foamy and sweat the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and golden. Add the muscovado, balsamic and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further five minutes, after which they should be sticky and glorious.

Heat a skillet over low heat and when nice and piping, add the patties and cook for a couple of minutes each side until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, and wipe the skillet clean.

To assemble, place a slice of cheese on four slices of bread, top each with caramelised onions, followed by the patty, the remaining cheese and the last slices of bread.

Melt another knob of butter in the skillet and fry the sandies on each side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour immediately, filled with boundless joy. Despite a major back injury.

 

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Rob Pastramianon Rye

Main, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: Redemption Island

There is less than a week until Survivor makes it hopefully-triumphant return to our screens with David vs. Goliath … after a couple of, how do I say, lacklustre seasons. But I have high hopes! I mean, Mike White is great, Elizabeth Olson is an icon and Natalie seems to be a dominant force of nature. And if they made the final three, I could die happy.

But not everything always goes your way, and someone that knows that better than anyone else is my dear friend Rob Mariano.

While he gets a lot of hate for only winning on his fourth attempt to very impressionable competition, you can’t deny the man is a legend of the game. And plus, Russell bombed on his fourth attempt, so it isn’t a guaranteed win.

I’ve been friends with Rob for years, after falling in love with him in Marquesas. I found my in with him through Vecepia, we became best buds and I even introduced him to Amber in preparation for All Stars. And given how that worked out for them, it should come as no surprise that our friendship has never faltered after that.

While he is yet to spoil whether there is a tribe expansion and the merge colour via his adorable daughters’ pre-season celebration pics, he was very excited to spoil how delicious my Rob Pastramianon Rye is.

 

 

If you ever have the opportunity to go and have a legit pastrami on rye at Katz’s, run don’t walk. And well, if you don’t, just make this and know that while it is great … Katz’s is better. No shade to my fresh Pastrami Malek, nutty Swiss Cheese and crunchy pickles.

I promise, you’ll enjoy it. So enjoy!

 

 

Rob Pastramianon Rye
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 slices Ryan Ulrich Bread
1 tbsp seeded mustard
2 dill pickles, sliced
4-6 slices Pastrami Malek, warmed in a frying pan
4 slices Swiss cheese

Method
Toast the rye and smear with seeded mustard.

Top with pickles, pastrami and swiss cheese.

Devour, greedily.

 

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Clubbie Sandwicki

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champions and Contenders were no more as the tribes merged, reuniting Shonella and Sharn and Lydia with their fellow Champions. Though not that Mat cared, given they allied with Benji and Robbie in his absence. Things only got worse for the duo as Shane pulled out of the immunity challenge and used that time to rally the troops against blindsiding Lydia. Which she executed to perfection, with Benji and Robbie once again left in the dark.

We returned to Koro Savu the next day where Shonee was continuing her helpful kick, starting fire and keeping Fenella like the queen that she is. Though given she is just grateful to have Fenella back – aka the only person she likes – she is willing to look after her. They then laughed about their ability to float through the game, find cracks and hot damn I want to be their bestie.

The clothed duo of Benji and Robbie were sulking by the shore, worried about what being left out on the Lydia vote means for them. Benji continued his streak of being wrong, identifying Mat as the one in charge and vowing to get his revenge. Completely unaware that Queen Shane is the icon in charge. To Mat’s credit, he knew the boys were pissed and approached them to tell them that Shane spearheaded the move and he had no other option. However once again, Benji chose to be wrong and decided it was a complete lie. Continuing his delusions of grandeur, Benji decided to cause chaos and paint a Survivor masterpiece. He kicked that off by reminding us that Monika is on the island, approaching her about forming an alliance over pawpaws. Which is a shitty omen, given pawpaws are foul.

Sharn too was still smarting about the outcome of the previous tribal council. Knowing she needed to lock in some backup options, she connected with Benji to see whether they were still good. Obviously they still were because Sharn is another dominant queen and is friendly with everyone. Meanwhile Mat and Steve were overcome with some paranoia by the shore, with zaddy Steve concerned about everyone turning on them now that Lydia is gone. Which is totally what is happening in the next few tribals, right? They checked in with Sharn who once again assured them everything was ok and that they could take out Robbie or Benji next.

Robbie and Fenella interrupted the plotting by returning to camp with an ominous note telling them to select one person to go up the path and make a decision for the tribe. Given everyone loves and trusts Sharn, they chose her and she was faced with the decision to take a huge bag or veggies … or a smaller one, an advantage at the next immunity challenge. While she debated about doing the right thing, she did the right thing for her game and selected the advantage, meaning she would only have to hold half the weight required at the challenge.

She returned to camp and told them she chose veggies for the tribe over a plate of chocolate biscuits for herself and one other person. While everyone was quick to buy her story, Sam called shade and needled her in the hope that she’d break. He tried badgering, taking her on an old fashioned guilt trip and hot damn, Sharn is a queen.

My boy Jonathan made his triumphant return to the screen for this week’s immunity challenge where everyone would be required to hold a disc like the prayer-moji with a giant sack of weights suspended from the bottom with the last sack hanging, winning. Monika quickly dropped out as Shonella compulsively readjusted to stay in the challenge, tragically to no avail for Shonee who dropped and was followed quickly by Shane and Fenella. Sam became the first male to drop, followed quickly by Steve. After fifteen minutes Brian dropped, followed by Benji at twenty minutes, leaving Mat, Robbie and Sharn to fight it out. Everyone was struggling and hot damn, how did I only just find out Mat is missing the top of two of his fingers?! Anyway Robbie dropped, followed by Mat who offered to give Sharn immunity despite the fact that she was owning the challenge anyway – having half the allocated weight may have had something to do with that – and has now had it back-to-back.

Back at camp Benji was hoping to make his way back on top with Robbie – which I would obviously watch – while Mat was confident about the tribe banding together to get rid of Robbie, despite the fact that is another meatshield heading out of his game. Robbie approached Mat to see if anyone was throwing his name out, with Mat admitting that he was planning to vote him out. He then ran his mouth further, telling him it would be a split vote and as such, an idol won’t help. Benji decided to join the fray, aggressively checking whether they’d split the vote on him. He then pulled a tearful Robbie aside and vowed to do whatever he can to protect him.

With that, Benji approached Sharn to float the idea of taking out Mat first as he’s a far bigger threat and Robbie really has nothing going on. He then checked in with Shonee to see whether she and Fenella would be open to voting out Mat instead, as taking out the leader would cause the Champions to splinter and potentially give them other options. Shonella regrouped to talk options, unsure whether keeping Robbie around as a shield would be beneficial and whether they could hijack the split vote to get their own way. Robbie and Benji continued their attack, approaching Sam who was feeling well and truly left out. Given his vulnerable state, he was open to the plan and speculated whether now was the right time to make a move against Mat. Speaking of whom, Mat approached Benji as they were planning to head to tribal council to confirm that they would be voting for Robbie and that they would be interested in keeping Benji around if he joined them.

At tribal council Jonathan reminded everyone that while someone will be voted out tonight, they’d get the honour of becoming the King or Queen of the jury which is pretty much the next best thing. Benji agreed it made everything even more complex moving forward while Brian felt confident that he was making bonds to keep him in the game, and I assume, get some votes at the end. Sam spoke about the people on the bottom of alliances needing to flip eventually, while Robbie smugly smiled to himself. Mat tried to reiterate the importance of loyalty … before Robbie went in, pointing out how big of a threat Mat is and that he and Benji are free and ready to make a move. Monika agreed that people on the bottom would need to flip, but only if they could see the benefit of it for their game. Mat spoke about threats, Benji struggled to articulate what the vote meant to him, eventually spluttering out that he hopes to help people along as far as he can, smartly pretending he doesn’t think he can win. Robbie reiterated that he and his allies are willing numbers, if people want to make a move.

With that, Jonathan sent the tribe off to vote and he tragically discovered that he had no allies in the game, as the tribe banded together to take him out and make him the King of the Jury. Which I hope sees as increase in his nudity. While poor Robbie was gutted to find himself checking into the Jury Villa, my aforementioned and oft referenced too thirst kept me from pointing out that he only has himself to blame after sharing too much information and being hella obviously while painting a target on his back. Instead, I giggled like a school girl and madly tried to shake our beer cans so they’d spray all over us while we sat down for our a Clubbie Sandwicki or two.

 

 

Like Rob, these babies are stacked so full of meat that you’re left salivating and begging for more. And if said more is referencing more Survivor recipes, you’re in luck because hot damn this is a gangbang of franchises with NZ and US joining forces with us to serve a killer sandy-j.

Gangbang. Sandy-J. Robbie.

Enjoy!

 

 

Clubbie Sandwicki
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
800g chicken breasts, sliced in half
8 rashers streaky bacon
12 slices Paige de Keragne, toasted
8 cos leaves, rinsed
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
¼ cup Shayonnaise Swain
Jud Beerza Battered Fries, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil over medium heat and cook the chicken for 5 minutes each side, or until golden and cooked through. Remove from heat and keep warm while you fry the bacon in the same pan until crisp.

To assemble, place four slices of bread on a chopping board and smear over the mayo. Top with lettuce, bacon, tomato, chicken and another piece of bread. Smear with mayo and top with lettuce, bacon, tomato, chicken and the remaining bread. Secure sandwiches with toothpicks or something similar to maintain structural integrity.

Serve with fries and devour.

 

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Sylvia Jafflies

Main, Snack

Let me tell you, the phrase contractually obligated has never made me feel better! While my lunch date with Sylvia started off quite awkwardly – on account of my epic over-the-phone tantrum – she sat me down, and in her calmest newsreader voice, explained that she only hosted the greatest annual Christmas program on Australian television with my ex because it was contractually obligated.

Contractually obligated. Who would have thought that phrase could sound so good? Particularly after contractual obligations have forced me into appearing in questionable programs overseas and being the face of Spam for the entirety of the ‘90s.

Now I know that I would normally launch into an epic tirade and stir up a feud if they tried to use contracts to explain their actions, but Sylvia is honestly one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met and as such, I didn’t question the pain it caused her to buddy up with Curt.

As I mentioned, Sylvs and I were thrust together in 2006 after missing the first day of Spanish class at UQ and were required to sit a make-up class. As is oft the case, I realised that her grasp of the language was far superior to mine, so hitched my wagon to hers and became study buddies slash friends. I mean, sure, most of our study dates at Wordies were spoken in English but that made for a fun ride in class and helped me receive so many disappointed sighs from our Colombian teacher.

When we weren’t downing arancini – not Arianna’s – while learning our pluscuamperfecto, I did my best to culturally appropriate – is that a way I can use it, probs not, but you get what I mean – Latin American cuisine to further our education. Which is how I invented the Sylvia Jafflies.

 

 

Jaffles are probably the greatest invention for uni students – cheap, quick and easy, and oh so comforting when you’re wanting to die at the end of semester. Add the additional comfort of chilli and guac, and you’ve got the ultimate study food. Scrap that, just food. It is the ultimate food.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sylvia Jafflies
Serves: 2 distracted Spanish students.

Ingredients
4 slices white bread
butter
1 cup Chilli con Kim Carnes
100g sliced Mexican manchego
1 avocado, mashed
sour cream, to taste
Sriracha, to taste

Method
Now this is harder than an end of semester entrevista, so pay attention.

Start by turning on a jaffle iron and buttering the bread.

Divide the chilli across two slices, top each with manchego and close the sandwiches with the remaining bread.

Butter the top of the bread and place butter-side down on the jaffle iron.

Butter the remaining pieces of bread and close the machine.

Cook until the red light turns green … aka five minutes or so, and the bread golden and the cheese is gooey.

Slather in avo, sour cream and sriracha before devouring, carefully, on account of the piping hot cheese.

 

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Chali Fordogs

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Hali and Michaela were left out of the Culpepper’s Angels alliance on nu-nu-Mana, while Varner well … you saw how desperate he was to stay and how human decency ultimately wins, when he was swiftly booted from the game. Probs for good.

We opened up at Nuku the following day, where Sarah’s winner edit returned with an absolute vengeance, telling Tai that she is not willing to be compassionate with Varner and was not ready to forgive him. Knowing how brutal Varner’s actions were, Tai started to cry thinking about how awful it was for Zeke. Not wanting to be outdone by the tears, Sarah reiterated to Zeke how grateful she was to get to know him.

Zeke then made a play for a winner’s edit, giving a rousing speech about why he wasn’t open about his identity and how thankful he was for the tribe’s support … on the way to his victory.

Wasting no time getting down to business, the tribes met Probst on the beach for the merge … Mana with all their soft furnishings, I assume, because Brad was concerned he would have to start another camp concept from scratch. Wanting to continue with the twist-every-episode theme of the season, Probst told the tribes that a person from each would have to volunteer to miss out on the within-sniffing-distance merge feast.

Continuing with the WWMD – FYI, what would Monica do –  theme of his game, Brad immediately volunteered – earning the suspicions of Zeke and Cirie – with sweet Tai following suit on Nuku. I assume to make a play for this season’s alpha male.

As is generally the case – though normally less last supper-esque – the merge feast was a mix of gorging (Sierra loves HAM!), relief and people watching, the latter being where Cirie finally entered the fray and instantly reminded us why she is an icon of the game.

Meanwhile over at exile beach – five metres from the feast – Brad and Tai quickly got to work spilling the T on where alliances were standing with each tribe, before Tai – obviously – professed his love for Brad.

After last week’s outing incident, Debbie decided to add a bit of sexual aggression into the mix, rubbing against Cirie, mooning Tai and twerking – while sober – in an attempt to lull people into a false sense of security, which made me feel the complete opposite.

The newly merged tribe reunited at camp to congratulate each other for making the merge (YAS, Michaela and Brad are finally datable) before Debbie kissed – kindly, not aggressively – and made up with Brad Culpepper. Not wanting to dwell on the love, Zeke then told everyone what happened with Varner earning the respect of Aubry.

As with all merge episodes, there was then a shit tonne of scrambling before the immunity challenge: Ozzy approached Troyzan and Brad, Brad threw the target on Michaela and Hali, Ozzy then delivered the Michaela information to Zeke and Sarah, while Troy shared it with Tai … who in turn told Hali before everyone else found out.

Remember the Jay has an idol scene last season? That on steroids.

Sierra then approached Zeke to reiterate said Michaela plan, complaining about the fact she just appears all the time … before Michaela proved Sierra’s point and appeared from behind a bush to find out what they were plotting.

Cirie being Cirie got us up to speed on what was actually happening – even with a damn chicken on the roof – talking to Zeke and Andrea about how their alliance with Sarah would be better served to keep Michaela around and that they should strike out either Sierra or Brad.

Finally, some damn clarity on where the alliances are!

The next day, Hali lamented the fact that nobody was really willing to play with her and how she needed to kick Michaela into gear. Which she did, leading to her connecting with Cirie. Pray hands, praise etc. I don’t even know where to start with how much I love these two together. I want Cirie to adopt me as a nephew and give me life advice / make all my decisions. Sandra is the queen … but Cirie is the kween.

Cirie is life. I love Cirie. Seriously, Cirie for President.

Can you be made a saint while still alive? If not, we need to make an exception.

Snapping me out of my Cirie fangirling, Jiffy arrived for the first individual immunity challenge of the season where they each had to keep a piece of wood balancing between their head and a plank.

Surprisingly challenge beast Debbie was amongst the first few out … following Zeke, Hali, Troyzan and Cirie. While Hali worked on her tan, the challenge quickly came down to a battle between Tai and Andrea with the latter ultimately taking out the win and securing individual immunity for the third time … on a third different season.

Back at camp, Sierra gloated about being in charge and how important it is to get Michaela out … before throwing Hali under the bus, pointing out that she was playing way more confidently than she was on Worlds Apart meaning, clearly, that she had an idol.

She then told Cirie, Brad and Debbie that they would be splitting the votes between Michaela and Hali, before Michaela did what she does best and manifested, before being directed to boot Zeke.

Not liking how that plan could impact her game – kween – Cirie pulled Zeke aside to try and turn the target to Hali, rather than Michaela. Zeke then approached Sierra, wondering (rightly) how it made sense to target Michaela over Hali, when they were trying to flush Hali’s hypothetical idol.

Cirie continued to prove why she is amazing, telling Micheala that the plot to vote out Zeke was fake and that she was trying to save Michaela, and more importantly, save someone that would be loyal to her over her rivals.

At tribal council – Cirie’s first in seven years – Jeff got to work trying to cut through the madness, with Andrea outlining that this is the point where lines were drawn and Debbie likened the situation to musical chairs.

Poor Hali and Michaela then spoke ominously about not having a clue about what was happening tonight, which sadly for Hali should have highlighted the fact that her hypothetical idol made her public enemy number one. Ultimately Hali found herself becoming the merge boot / once again, the first member of the jury – congrats Hali, you’re the jury equivalent of first boot Frannie and greatest of all time, two-time victor Sandy.

Despite a valiant, failed effort to save herself, and being confused as to why people were so threatened to keep her in the game, Hali was an absolute delight. We laughed, we cried – thinking about how weird Mike from Worlds Apart’s voice is – and she regaled me with tales while I threw together a victorious slash comforting batch of Chali Fordogs.

 

 

You know I love chilli so hot it liquefies me organs and you should really know how much I enjoy some trash food … meaning these chilli dogs are amongst my favourite meals.

Fiery chill and misc meat sausages shoved straight up some pillowy buns before being slathered in a generous helping of cheese. I honestly don’t know if I’m aroused or hungry.

Scrap that, I’m both – enjoy!

 

 

Chali Fordogs
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
½ batch Chilli con Kim Carnes
6 hot dogs
6 hot dog buns
American mustard, for serving
1 cup grated cheese

Method
Cook the chilli as per Kimmy’s instructions.

Once the chilli is done, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. When splish-splashing about, quickly add the hot dogs and cook until the sausages float to the surface.

While the sausage is getting moist, split the buns and slather in mustard. Drain the sausages and altogether gently and firmly slip them inside the buns. Top with chilli and cheese … and devour, immediately.

 

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Kat Dumonte Cristo

Australian Survivor, Main, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Craig got a clue … to the idol before a pair of downright sexually explicit challenges led to Vavau heading to tribal council. Somewhere in that time Rohan secretly slipped Phoebe his idol, saving her and sending him out of the game.

We opened at Vavau where Phoebe was left all alone swearing the death of Kat – and I assume the entire resort wear category – while Craig tried to perk her up and congratulate the play, despite him now being the only physically strong person left on the tribe.

The next day Andrew continued to rapidly outgrow his britches and gloated about his perfectly executed game. Shame he can’t perfectly execute the phrase shooting fish in a barrel.

He is the smartest person here, remember.

After Craig had an unsuccessful jaunt down the beach to find the idol, Kat approached Phoebe to rub salt in the wounds as the vultures – literally (… well maybe, all birds look murderous to me) – circled.

Finally we got a Saanapu proof of life where Lee and Sam continued with last night’s homoeroticism and celebrated their bromance, while the tribe enjoyed the life of luxury – making me wish Kat had lucked her way on to this tribe – and El appeared to be the only person thinking about the game started work on finding the cracks within the OG Saanapu.

Back at Vavau, Phoebe knew she was screwed so went searching for the idol with far more success than Craig. While Phoebs was enjoying a high point, the rest of the tribe were feeling dejected and defeated heading into the immunity challenge. While they are right to be scared, I feel Saanapu’s arrogance offers them hope for the future.

Though not today, they totally lost the challenge. Thanks to Andrew – self-proclaimed smartest person in the game – who struggled to recognise a large cartoon octopus in the puzzle and then completely gave up, leaving Kate to struggle on by herself.

We returned to Vavau where Andrew continued to sound like the NRA and focus on the need for guns and shooting, arrogantly assumed he was in control and continued to butcher phrases whilst throwing the target on Kat with nine lives.

Kate continued to win me over by talking to Craig about flipping the vote on Andrew who is as useful in challenges as he is with colloquialisms. The rest of OG Aganoa also realised that Andy was complete and utter dead weight, and turned their attention on him.

Then Phoebe shared the fact she found an idol with the girls forcing Kristie’s resting bitch face to work overtime.

We arrived at tribal council where JoJo gave a little bit of sass and some snide remarks about the poor decision to send Rohan home. Once again, Phoebe played hard at tribal, Sue showed her fire and Andrew professed his puzzle prowess, despite the fact he literally gave up during one in the last immunity challenge.

Then Kat happened, made Phoebe and Kristie shit their pants and confused the hell out of me as they went to the vote.

Sadly it was all for nothing as Kat made her way out of the game, hopefully taking Andy’s bastardisation of the English language with her.

As you’ve probably been able to guess, Kat and I first connected while modelling together for Trent Resort and Resort Report. We travelled the country, making in store appearances in DJs and becoming the best of friends.

I knew that Kat would only want one thing after arriving at loser lodge, my famed Kat Dumonte Cristo.

 

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After a hard morning on the shop floor wooing rich octogenarian women, this little beauty was the only thing we could stomach. Decadent, rich and altogether delicious, it was everything those old ladies told us we weren’t. Perfect too, when you’ve just be voted out of your tribe.

Enjoy!

 

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Kat Dumonte Cristo
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 thick slices of sourdough
Dijon mustard
mayonnaise
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
4-8 slices ham, size and preference dependent
2 large eggs
¼ cup milk
good whack of salt and pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
2 tbsp butter
icing sugar
4-6 cornichons

Method
Lay out the bread on a chopping board, spread mustard on two slices and mayonnaise on the others. Layer some gruyere, ham and some gruyere again on two of the slices and top with the others. I know it goes without saying, but make sure each sandwich has both a mayo slice and the mustard. I KNOW but lower common denominator, you know?

Meanwhile whisk together the egg, milk, salt and pepper and nutmeg in a large shallow bowl, and dip each sandwich in the egg mixture, turning once or twice to ensure they are adequately coated.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat until foamy and beautiful – is there anything more beautiful than foamy butter? Reduce heat to low and add the sandwiches and fry for a about five minutes a side, turning only once, until they are golden and beautiful on both sides.

Serve piping hot with a dusting of icing sugar and a couple of little cornichons. I mean, we aren’t animals!

 

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Philly Collins Cheesesteak

Main, Party Food, Snack

It was always going to be an awkward start to my peace feast with Phil, what with the viral infection injection thing. Oh, and the whole gag I sold to South Park about his obsession with his Oscar – FYI, that was totally true and I’m 30% sure he had it on him when he dropped by – and well, I can’t talk about everything else I’ve done to him due to the lingering lawsuits and payouts.

Just trust me when I say that Phil was on the receiving end of one of my top ten most vicious moments.

But then it wasn’t awkward, not even at all. Time apparently heals all wounds as Phil took me in his arms as soon as he walked into the house. I cried, he cried, then he sobbed, I pretended to sob to avoid it being awkward and then I apologised.

Literally two minutes in and my epic apology monologue – it rivalled Cersei’s revenge monologue for epicness – wasn’t even needed. Thankfully I’ve burnt a lot of bridges so I’ll be able to use it again, I’m sure.

Phil has been super busy since coming out … of retirement early last year, remastering his old albums, writing new material and planning a tour. Oh and he signed a book deal and will be releasing his autobiography in October … and when I heard that, everything became clear – he wants me to ghostwrite the book.

While I’m pretty pissed he expects me to plug it out in a mere matter of months, given the countless ways I ruined his life I really couldn’t say no. Plus, at least I can manage my image in the story, you know?

Either way, Phil got a ghostwriter, I got some undeserved forgiveness and we both rekindled our friendship over my famed – and his favourite – Philly Collins Cheesesteak.

 

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I’ve made no secret of my love for warm meat, slathered in creamy cheese … but these really get me salivating. I mean, tender slices of steak on a soft pillowy bun and cheese, my favourite, cheese – it doesn’t get any better. Oh yeah, it does – sweet onions, earthy mushrooms, hot mustard and peppers.

It really does get better – enjoy!

 

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Philly Collins Cheesesteak
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 hoagie rolls
6-12 slices provolone
1kg loin steaks, trimmed and sliced into thin strips
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
hot english mustard

Sauteed mushrooms
2tbsp unsalted butter
500g button mushrooms, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Caramelised onions
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large brown onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, you guessed it – to taste!

Peppers aka capsicum
2 tbsp olive oil
1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1/16 tbsps of salt and precisely 6.3g freshly ground black pepper, but seriously … to taste

Method
Place the steak in the freezer for about half an hour while you get to work on all of the other elements.

Start with the mushrooms and melt the butter in a frying pan over high heat until foamy. Reduce heat to medium, add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft, silky and browned.

Then move to the onions and start again by melting the butter over high heat until foamy. Reduce the heat, this time to low, and cook the onions slowly until they are soft and caramelised – about half an hour. Keep an eye on the onions, but move on to the peppers now, ok?

In another pan – how many pans do I expect you to own? Maybe decant the mushrooms to a dish and keep warm, wipe out the mushroom pan and heat, this time the oil, over high heat. Add the capsicums and stir-fry for a minute or so, or until they are soft and vibrant.

Now that they are sorted, remove the steak from the freezer and slice very thinly. Heat a griddle over high heat, brush with oil and cook for about a minute per side. Remove to a dish, pour over the worcestershire, season and keep warm.

Now for the fun to start – split the hoagies, butter generously (if you like heat) with hot english mustard, spoon in mushrooms, onions and peppers, top with the piping hot meat and layer with cheese. Hopefully your cheese will melt from the heat more than mine did, but hey it is cold for Brisbane at the moment.

Then, don’t think twice – devour.

 

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The Croque Madame

12th Annual Easter Meggstravaganza, Easter Meggstravaganza, Main

Yes, The Rock is now more widely known as a movie star but let’s be honest he will always be the acclaimed televisual faux-athlete of the WWE … making him, obviously, the perfect fit for the successful TV star of the Meggstravaganza.

Oh, plus he has Ballers that is currently on HBO, so he is firmly in the TV legend realm. Fun fact: Ballers was originally conceived as a romantic comedy about my sexual exploits in the late 90s / earlier 00s, just before he hit the big time.

I first met The Rock while attending the non-shit version of William McKinley High School, where we quickly bonded over being man-children and having to shave in kindergarten. Our love for wrestling also bonded us, although he was less enthusiastic about my Ancient Greece inspired naked/sexy Greco-Roman Wrestling, called Dicko Roman.

While the style didn’t reach the mainstream, I did parlay it into a beautifully scripted porno that, to be honest, should have crossed over to mainstream … like a gay, hardcore Debbie Does Dallas.

The Rock has long been a fan of Meg Ryan’s work (we used to spend our Friday night slumber parties play wrestling and watching her rom-coms), so he was thrilled to be given the opportunity to help her re-ascend to greatness.

He is very busy, what with him currently filming Babe-watch with my on again-on again fling, Zeffy, but was able to take some time out to snack on a rich The Croque Madame.

 

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While this isn’t the most ideal meal to serve someone busy being shirtless and oozing sex appeal like the OG Mitch Buchannon, The Rock just can’t go past the quintessential French brunch version of the grilled cheese. Between the rich white sauce (which admittedly I am very heavy handed with to avoid waste … despite the risk it poses to my heart), the gruyere (which smells like SJP looks, a foot), the whack of dijon and the perfectly fried egg, you can’t help but be there to devour it.

Before a slow-mo run into the water to burn of the extra calories – enjoy!

 

the-croque-madame-2

 

The Croque Madame
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
30g unsalted butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
¼ tsp salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup Gruyere, grated
4 slices sourdough
Dijon mustard
4-6 thin slices of deli ham
2 large eggs
pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In small saucepan, melt the butter over high heat until it starts to foam. Whisk in the flour and cook until it is golden and viscose, before adding the milk and salt, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in a pinch of nutmeg and half the cheese.

Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet, spread with dijon and top with the ham and remaining cheese. Divide half of the bechamel over the top and close the sandwiches.

Melt a lug of unsalted butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add the sandwiches and fry on both sides until golden brown and the cheese is melted and gooey.

Place the sandwiches on the baking sheet, top with remaining bechamel and bake in the oven until it crisps and browns. About ten minutes.

While the sandwiches is becoming gloriously golden, wipe out the frying pan and heat over high heat. When nice and hot, reduce the heat to low and fry the eggs, sunny side up, until the white is gloriously cooked and the yolk soft.

Remove the sandwiches from the oven, plate, top with the fried eggs, season, devour, regret eating so much and run slow-mo into the water, obviously after waiting 15 minutes.

Or you could run in straight away and hope that you hit some trouble and need Zeffy to save you. Which coincidentally is one of our top ten role play situations!

 

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