Jason Porkstein Chow Mein

Main, Street Food, Survivor South Africa, Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island, TV, TV Recap

After the longest, darkest off season Survivor is back. No not the Jiffy Pop brand of Survivor but a Survivor, and since Nico my love is super hot, you’re going to buckle in. Whether you like it or not, ok? Because this is Survivor SA.

We opened with my dear Nico, perilously close to a cliff face on the southern tip of Africa, filling me with fear and dread since we’ve all lived through enough in the last 18 months. I mean, that was worse than the Game of Thrones series finale. Anyway, my mood perked up when we met Tyson who is a babe and just like that, I love him. We followed him with Jason who is thrilled to have a homeground advantage being in SA, despite everyone having the same advantage. Though it turns out Amy kinda proved Jason may actually be correct, since she has no idea what to fear IN HER OWN COUNTRY.

Though maybe that is because in Australia, we just assume all bugs and snakes will kill you.

My hair twin Qieän was living for lady Rupert who we learnt is called Santoni. She in turn is scared by how built Marisha is and Anesu was intimidated by a shirtless old zaddy called Shaun. Nicole is looking forward to being underestimated, shirtless zaddy was shirtless so I didn’t absorb much information aside from his passion for backstabbing while sweet Pinty was pumped to be honest – no Queen Pinty. Nico then introduced us to the conceptImmunity Island which appears to be the same as Island of Secrets, which was fun and not overpowered, so I’ll let it slide.

Oh and Thoriso is ready to win, Wardah is ready to practice her mindfulness and Renier is excited to prove himself. And Tyson swung back around to tell us he will win. So I’m going to say he actually will win. As much as I love most of the cast.

The castaways finally joined Nico for an official welcome to the game where Santoni spoke about her weird and whimsical ways and damn, I love her. Tyson again reminded us he is here to win and again, I’ll listen. Until I realised Chappies was showing off his beautiful gams because now he has won something. My heart. Oh and Marisha the strong was charming and iconic, and I feel deep within my waters that I’m really going to enjoy her.

Nico explained that someone will head to Immunity Island after losing an immunity challenge. Once there they will be faced with a challenge offering them advantages and disadvantages. But that is all he was willing to share at this stage.

Nico instead announced that they would be split into two tribes based on random draw with Amy, Anela, Dino, Jason, Marisha, Nicole, Qieän, Renier, Shaun and Thoriso landing on Zamba and Vuna made up of Anesu, Carla, Chappies, Kiran, Mike, Pinty, Paul, Santoni, Tyson and Wardah. Nicole was thrilled to be on the tribe with buff queen Marisha, while Paul was annoyed to be the only buff guy on the weaker looking Vuna tribe. Though Anesu thinks orange is a colour of abundance and therefore, didn’t care. And now, I vote for her to win. Oh and Thoriso was annoyed to be with the buff squad while Amy was thrilled to be with them, as Wardah was loving the energetics of her tribe. And then Jason talked smack about his rivals’ chill ways.

But enough set-up, the tribes were immediately tasked with running into the jungle to grab as many supplies as possible in two minutes. Oh and to make things more complicated, there were two immunity necklaces for each tribe that are good for their first tribal. As they ran off Renier knew not to go for immunity and instead to look out for an advantage amongst the loot, while everyone ran around like mad for the fruit and snacks. While Dino it turns out, was the one to make a run for his tribe’s immunity necklace. And nobody from Vuna snagged one. Dino was thrilled to not become the first boot, though was nervous about what it could potentially mean for his game. Nico then announced that there was also a brown envelope with a tribe advantage in it, but the person had to reveal who they were to receive it. With Renier thrilling his tribe by the fact that he grabbed it, but I can’t help but feel the secrecy may come back to bite him. And you guessed it, I love him.

Particularly since Nico told them that Renier is a game player. Though he did win the tribe camp comfort supplies, so maybe they won’t worry too much.

With that the tribes grabbed their maps and headed off to their camps, ready to start the game. We first checked in with Zamba where Dino was apologising for grabbing the immunity necklace before the tribe went on a group trip through the jungle to get water and to get to know each other. Meanwhile at Vuna they was far more chill about things as they got to work and hanging as a pack, talking about not working too hard and just doing a temporary shelter to get them going. Chappies meanwhile was wooing me as he rubbed two sticks together in his undies to try and make fire.

We bounced back to Zamba where Renier was happy to let other people take a leadership role in the tribe and paint a target on their backs. And given how the tribe grew more and more frustrated as they attempted to build their shelter, Jason girl, you’re in trouble. Well other than Shaun and Qieän who were desperately searching through the supplies for a flint or an idol. Which Amy noticed and immediately reported to Renier, Dino, Jason and Anela. And all of them were thrilled to have a target on someone else’s back. Oh and during the conversation we learnt that Nicole and Marisha were also aligned, apparently.

At Vuna Pinty and Chappie waded in the shores and quickly aligned, Kiran and Anesu aligned in the shrubs due to attending the same university before Kiran roped Carla, Mike and Tyson into their alliance. Oh and Anesu was quick to align with Wardah, given they are both influencers and Wardah thinks Anesu should keep her career as a doctor secret. And then Wardah caught up with Tyson and aligned with him too as Chappies and Pinty tried to recruit Anseu. But let’s be honest the main take away is that everyone wants to align with Anesu. And who wouldn’t because she is now my winner’s pick.

That night Zamba were sleeping under their shelter on the ground while Vuna struggled to stay dry in the rain. Though Carla proved herself to be a damn icon and that truly matters to me.

Zamba woke up dry and comfortable on day two, ready to finish their shelter and make things more comfortable while Thoriso worried about getting herself up from the bottom of the totem pole. As such, she set her sights on Shaun and his brash lack of people skills and turning people against him.

Before she could get to that, treemail arrived tasking each tribe with sending one champion to go and battle creating fire using a flint, with the winner securing a fire making kit for their tribe. Chappies and Jason were each nominated, with Thoriso quickly surmising that by nominating Jason the tribe appear to trust him and as such, she had another target in her sights. In any event, Jason and Chappies joined Nico with the latter trying to intimidate Jason by pretending they already have fire. Which Jason rightly called bullshit on. But more importantly, I think they should date. In any event, both of the boys were quick to get a flame but Chappie ultimately smoked the competition and secured reward for his tribe.

Oh and then Nico gave them diplomatic immunity, meaning both of them now have the power to mutiny from their tribe after losing immunity but only before the merge. Which could be really interesting.

Back at camp Chappies was quick to share his victory with the tribe though wisely kept quiet about his power to defect, should he need it. While Mike pondered whether something else happened at the challenge, Chappies invoked Zaddy John and got naked and ran into the water as a dick-straction. So basically, I love Chappies and would die for him. Meanwhile at Zamba, Jason was heartbroken to have lost and he too kept his mouth shut about his immutinity. Queen Thoriso meanwhile was frustrated by the fact the loss won’t really change anything for Jason and right on cue, he wandered off to align with Shaun.

That night at Vuna, the tribe joyously gathered around fire and basked in the warmth and victory as they roasted their veggies.

The next day Nico returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would swim out to retrieve rope rungs from buoys before using them to build a rope ladder to get to a second level of a tower where they would need to solve a rope ladder puzzle and then venture to the top floor and wait wait wait, I’ve missed this, solve a puzzle. Renier got Zamba off to a slight lead over Chappies, which Paul quickly closed as Jason was felled by knots. Vuna continued to hold on to their lead, building their ladder while Zamba desperately tried to close the gap. Until Santoni struggled and the tribes became neck and neck. Zamba got their start on the second ladder first, getting to the final level while Vuna languished on the second. But then the puzzle happened, as Vuna smoked them and snatched the first immunity thanks to Queen Anesu. As Dino begged Paul to save him and send him to immunity island.

Sadly for him, the tribe went with my Queen Thoriso. Which is the only answer I was willing for them to make.

We followed Thoriso off to Immunity Island where she learnt that she had earned immunity for herself, as well as food, shelter and fire. But obviously there was a cost, where she could face a challenge for another advantage and risk losing her vote at the next tribal. Though if she doesn’t play, she has to return to the tribe and hand over the immunity necklace to someone else. Obviously she opted for the challenge and got digging in a sandpit to find a red ball within a couple of minutes, which she sadly failed at and ended up losing her vote.

Back at camp Shaun was annoyed by Dino trying to align with the other tribe while Amy languished over being the reason they lost the challenge. Dino acknowledged that he was trying to woo the other tribe and Rinna it (aka owning it) to his advantage. Thankfully for him, Amy, Nicole and Marisha didn’t care as they desperately wanted Qieän gone first and were willing to join him. Meanwhile Jason and Anela – aka Smash – were catching up about who best to target and focused on the scramblers, which made Jason nervous given he is aligned with Shaun. In fact, it made Jason so nervous while trying to protect Shaun that Anela started to think Jason needed to go. 

Shaun meanwhile was busy searching everywhere for the idol.

Renier joined Jason to talk plans and while they were aligned, Renier grew nervous about Jason’s unpredictability. And immediately got to work turning the vote on Jason. The girls quickly got on board, but only if Smash was willing to join them. Then Jason and Renier spoke to Dino about the vote, with Renier earning icon status by pointing at Jason to let Dino know to vote for him. While Jason was confused as to why he was holding his hand up the entire conversation. Meanwhile Shaun was desperately trying to get Anela to protect him, surmising that since nobody has given him a name, he is clearly the name. Which really upset Qieän, given it was a sign that she will be an early boot.

At tribal council Thoriso rejoined her tribe, completely unaware that even without immunity she would have been safe tonight. Shaun spoke about the nervousness caused by the backstabbing of the previous day as people were looking to build their alliances. Jason spoke about the beautiful friendships they are already forming, before Shaun cut in to tell them that friendship is nothing and they need strength to make it to the merge. Amy spoke about focusing on trust as her deciding factor while Shaun continued to try and cut in, this time talking about working hard and being above board with everything. With Anela cutting him off to point out the target was on his back because he was searching through the food for an advantage.

Shaun said he was actually trying to find bad fruit to dispose of it before it ruins the rest of their food. Shaun told them that if they felt he had an idol, they should have gone through his bags or at least asked him. Because that is how you build trust. Thoriso was thrilled to have immunity amongst such uncertainty, while Shaun pointed out that he would always be the target. And then instead opted to remind everyone that Dino is trying to build bonds with people on the other tribe. Thankfully that was brushed over as Thoriso was forced to announce that she doesn’t have a vote at tribal, which didn’t bother Jason because one vote doesn’t really matter should you have the numbers.

Which he tragically learnt he didn’t as he was blindsided – genuinely, I might add – as the first boot. Much to the shock and delight of Shaun, who didn’t receive a single vote. He was gutted but delightful, given he is such a babe and as such, I was thrilled to fill me, hard, to the brim with some Jason Porkstein Chow Mein.

Spicy, sticky and oh so sweet, these noodles are near perfection. A little bit of hit, full of fresh veggies and packed with my other other favourite white meat. Noodles and stir fry are always a winner, particularly if you’re the first boot.

Enjoy!

Jason Porkstein Chow Mein
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp minced ginger
¼ cup shao hsing
⅓ cup oyster sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
500g pork mince
1 onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
400g tin baby corn
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
2 tbsp minced chilli
440g fresh chow mein noodles
1 cup wombok, sliced
4 shallots, sliced green

Method
Mix the garlic, ginger, shao hsing, oyster sauce, soy sauce and pepper together in a jug and leave to rest.

Place a wok over medium-high heat and add half the vegetable oil and quickly stir fry the mince until cooked through. Add half the sauce and cook until sticky and browned. Transfer to a bowl to cook.

Heat the rest of the oil in the wok and add literally everything but the noodles, wombok and shallots. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the remaining ingredients and cook for a few minutes.

Remove from heat, serve immediately and devour. Joyously. Because a Survivor is back and Jason is as gorgeous as a stir fry.


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Dan Rengingering Beef

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

Previously on Survivor, Carl and Nick each collected an advantage and shared their intel in an attempt to find a way out of the David minority. That being said, Alison and Alec weren’t so sure they wanted to stay loyal to their fellow Goliaths though did agree to stick with them to get rid of the biggest threat in Christian. At tribal council however the Davids played into Probst’s wet dreams, using the right tool at the right time to save Christian with an idol, make Dan blow – one of – his on Angelina and tragically albeit wisely blindside my love, the George Bushy of Tushy John from the game.

Back at camp things weren’t as tense as predicted with Davie asking everyone to respect game and not take things personally. However he then delighted in inheriting John’s jacket which I assume Angelina would be none to pleased about.

Natalie. Natalie? … Natalie?

Alec, Alison and Kara removed themselves to the beach to discuss how they bounce back from the blindside, vowing to find the next advantage before it blows up in their face. Again. Alison in particular was feeling nervous, given she keeps telling the Davids she is going to flip but hasn’t, and their window for flipping is rapidly closing. Dan wasn’t taking the blindside well, given he lost one of his closest allies while saving Angelina. Worse still Kara went to have a pow wow without him and as such, he was extremely upset and felt like their showmance didn’t mean as much to her as it does him. Kara thankfully realised that now is the point to cut ties with him, given he is the albatross around her neck.

The next day my boy Jeff returned for this week’s reward challenge where the tribe would be split into two teams – Angelina, Christian, Alison, Gabby and Nick vs. Mike, Davie, Dan, Alec and Kara – to run through an obstacle course retrieving bags of numbers, which they will use to unlock puzzle pieces before solving a puzzle. It was for burgers and beers, so you know I think it is worth playing for! As is oft the case, Alec got his team out to an early lead – and looked beautiful doing it – until Mike didn’t cover the numbers to release their key, allowing Alison to cheat and close the gap. It was all for nought however as Alec and Kara dominated the puzzle and snatched the burgers for their team.

Back at camp Angelina was feeling quite emotional to have lost the burgs, forced to slum it with the Davids and Alison whilst smashing some rice. Gabby used the emptier camp to discuss working together with Alison, playing into her desire for big moves and encouraging her to forget about taking out Angelina and instead set her sights on getting rid of Dan. While she was trying to keep her options open, Mike was working to shut his down by using the reward to push the Goliath strong mentality. Dan encouraged them to return their focus to getting rid of Christian, begging the question – where is Davie? Did they kick him out of the reward? After finishing their lunch, Kara and Alec caught up with Alison to discuss their options with Kara sharing that Dan actually has a second idol. And then they all locked in a plan to blindside Dan. Well Kara and Alec at least, as Alison is still scared to get rid of her Goliath security blanket.

The next morning the Davids awoke early and went hunting for what they assumed was a newly hidden immunity idol. While everyone slowly gave up and returned to camp for breakfast, Christian applied his analytic robotics mind and segmented up the island and methodically searched until he successfully found the idol.

Jeffrey returned for this week’s immunity challenge where everyone was required to walk through an obstacle, retrieve balls, balance said balls on a disc, carry it over an obstacle and then maneuver them down a track. Alec, obviously, and Dan got out to an early lead before Carl, Angelina, Alison and Kara caught up at the track. However none of them were a match for Alec, who snatched immunity and TBH my heart. The man is fine and proved adept at ballplay.

Back at camp Kara started to panic about turning on Dan, unsure whether it is too soon. She and Alison approached Gabby and Nick about joining them to split the vote on Dan and Angelina and while they were all in, Alison started to worry that the Davids were planning to pull a fast one over them. Alison shared her worries with Alec who agreed it may be safest to stick with voting out Christian, much to Kara’s frustration. Much to Nick’s frustration, the Goliaths disappeared to the beach one by one despite having the majority. Sadly for them, this gave the Davids the opportunity to get together, share knowledge of all their advantages and hatch the best possible way to use them and snatch the majority whether the Goliaths are onboard or not.

At tribal council Alison spoke about being awoken by the previous tribal council while Gabby admitted she was relieved to take them down a notch. Christian started to play the downtrodden underdog with no options, while Dan gloated about his impressive majority and sticking with it. Mike admitted no one wants to be seen as the first person to flip and Alec spoke about blurred lines in the alliances, which frustrated Gabby who near-screamed that they aren’t asking to know who is getting voted, only that they want to help whoever is on the bottom. Dan continued to be salty, sassing her that going from being one alliance’s bottom to anothers doesn’t sound good – little does he know. This in turn drew the ire of the wider David tribe with Davie, Carl and Christian jumping in to explain how wrong Dan is and how great riding the bottom can be.

Nick pointed out everyone agreed to get rid of Elizabeth but the Goliaths reneged on their deal to take out Angelina next, labeling the Goliaths liars and saying they keep blowing the chances to shake things up. Christian spoke about the game struggling to kick into gear and Carl said that this tribal would be pivotal, given one of the Goliaths are either going to flip or another David will go home. With that the tribe went off to vote, well everyone but Alison who had her vote stolen by Nick as stage one of their plan to snatch control as the Goliaths whispered in panic with Dan wondering who to play his idol for. Dan confidently pulled out his second idol and played it for himself, which sadly (for him) was nullified by Carl’s nullifier, much to the shock of the Goliaths. With that, the votes rolled in for Christian and Angelina before piling up on Dan who looked like he was about to explode in a fit of rage as he was blindsided from the game.

Despite appearing to be filled – swoon – with said rage – less swoon – Dan quickly calmed down and even seemed to take his blindside at the hands of an unprecedented twist in stride. I mean, like Chrissy, there was no way they could navigate around a new element of the game and it cost both of them their spot. Obvi I am not saying that Dan would have won the season, but it still has to hurt. Tragically I said all of this to him and he appeared to fill – again, I wish – with anger, so I quickly had to whip up a big, fat bowl of Dan Rengingering Beef to cheer him up.

 

 

A little bit sweet and packing a spicy surprise, there is no better way I like to take my meat. At the table. Sorry, I’m just going to miss watching him during challenges.

Enjoy!

 

 

Dan Rengingering Beef
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
vegetable oil
500g beef rump steak, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
6 shallots, cut into 1 inch pieces
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
½ cup cooking sake
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
rice or Stephanie Fried Rice, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan over high heat and stir fry the beef for a couple of minutes, or until browned. Add the onions and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the shallots, garlic and ginger and cook for a minute.

Add the sauces to the pan and cook for a minute, or until thickened. Serve piping hot on a bed of fluffy rice, or better yet, with a little bit of Steph’s fried rice.

 

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Brian Lakesa

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

Previously on Australian Survivor 11 champions, 1 dud-Survivor player and 12 contenders faced off in an epic battle between underdogs and champions before Matt, Russell, Damien, Steve K, Jenna, Moana, Anita, Zach, Paige, Jackie, Tegan, HeathLydia, Robbie, Mat, Sam, Benji, SteveFenella and Monika were voted out. The final four rejoiced in making it as far as they did, though Brian vowed to get revenge on Shonee. Tragically Brian managed to take out immunity after literally everyone dropped their stack, leaving the Shhhhhhs to turn on each other, and Brian as Shonee’s only hope. Try as she might to convince Shane and Sharn to turn on each other to avoid making fire, the Champion women held strong and poor Queen Shonee was brutally taken from us in fourth place, leaving Brian, Sharn and Shane to battle it out for the win.

The final three kicked off the next day with a walk past the torches of all their fallen comrades, with Shane feeling misty about how well she has played and how much she loves the game. She then reminded us she is an icon, and in lieu of Shonella winning, this has to be Shane’s game. Brian spoke about feeling lost after retiring from AFL and that Survivor gave him the chance to clear his head and find out what is important to him, which hits waaaaaay too close to home. Sharn too was proud of her performance, though desperate to make it to the end and do what she does best, close out the case.

They finally ran into Jonathan on the shore where he announced that they would each get a cheer squad for the final immunity challenge. Sharn broke down as her entire family was brought out to visit before casually introducing them to Shane ‘don’t fuck with me’ Gould and Brian. Shane’s husband swaggered out from behind the bushes and damn, I love him too, as they hugged and Shane simply shared how fucking hard it was and that she wanted to kiss him. Jonathan then made Brian cry, offering him the chance to return his daughter’s bunny to her as he brought her, his son and wife out to visit. He then spoke about having a renewed focus of what is important to him, and damn, my cold dead heart is warming up.

Jonathan then explained that the final three would hold on to an idol on top of a pole, bobbing in the middle of the ocean, with the last person standing without removing a hand or foot, would win final immunity and decide who they’ll face off against at final tribal. Brain, Shane and Sharn made their way out to their perches, mounted the pedestals and grabbed their idols. As is oft the case, this isn’t really the most thrilling challenge to write about so after 78 minutes, Shane opted out of the challenge – I assume to pash her husband – leaving Sharn and Brian to battle it out. Though given Sharn looked like a statue and Brian was clearly struggling, it didn’t seem like much of an even fight. After almost two hours Brian tried to even things up, heckling Sharn and making her so confused he could potentially back her into a final two deal. When that didn’t work, he dared her to take him to final tribal which is sadly his only hope after he let go of the idol to take his hat off, handing Sharn final immunity. Making it even worse for Grub, it was his wife that dobbed him in after Jonathan missed him dropping. Poor Brian then broke down about his lapse in concentration, and damn I am finding him way too relatable tonight.

At tribal council Jonathan praised Sharn on winning her fourth immunity challenge before checking in with the losers, with Mat and Steve delighted in Shane lasting as long as she did in the challenge. Sharn admitted to being unsure who was the better option to take, as sticking with loyalty is less of a guaranteed win than going up against Brian, who the jury appear to hate. Shane reminded Sharn that she fought hard and played a sneaky game, though was loyal and played with integrity. Brian said that he had played the better game and as such, he should be taken to the final two … which is kinda not the best argument, though Sharn is totally the kind of person that would buy into beat the best to be the best. After more back and forth between Shane and Brian, Sharn went to cast the sole vote and sent Brain to the jury.

Poor King Grub was pretty disappointed when he arrived at the Jury Villa after dominating the game following Mat’s blindside. Though given that literally happened to everyone that assumed power of the course of the season, he quickly moved on and happily sat down to a soothing, spicy Brian Lakesa.

 

 

Packing as bigger punch as one may allegedly throw in Japan, this laksa is the perfect thing to take away the burn of becoming the final boot. Creaminess, spice and all things nice, you can help but slurp it down joyfully. Despite being crushed to lose.

Enjoy!

 

 

Brian Lakesa
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
vegetable oil
⅓ cup laksa paste (don’t judge me using the jar, we’re feuding)
2 red chillies, sliced
3 shallots, sliced
400ml coconut milk
1.5L chicken stock
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves
800g chicken breasts, diced
200g flat rice noodles, cooked per packet instructions
coriander leaves, shallots and sliced red chilli, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a large pan and cook the laksa paste for about five minutes, or until uber fragrant. Add the chillies and shallots, and cook for a further minute before slowing pouring in the coconut milk, while continuously stirring. Once combined, add the stock, fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves, and bring to the boil.

Once rollicking, add the diced chicken, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

To serve, place a mound of noodles in the bottom of four bowls, spoon over the laksa and garnish with the coriander and extra shallots and chilli.

Slurp it up, immediately.

 

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Beve and Blarke Bean Sauce

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

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Tess didn’t react well to the Brad blindside leading to her and Tara going to (passive aggressive) war. On the flipside, Matt’s confidence grew and grew following the blindside, however Lisa admitted to patiently waited in the wings to take her shot at him. Sadly she was unaware that Matt and Dave were old school chums and as such, were protecting each other at every possible juncture. Before the cracks could show in that alliance, they rallied the tribe to take out one of the biggest threats in the form of icon, goddess and queen, Renee.

Back at camp Dave was caught up in the semantics of the betrayal that lead to he and Renee’s feud, unable to see how telling someone to put their vote on her is wrong if he voted with her in the majority. Thankfully Zadam explained that it was in fact a betrayal since they didn’t actually communicate anything. Despite the peptalk, Dave was still hurt slash concerned about his game and as such, Adam was sick of the whining – don’t whine in front of Adam FYI – and vowed to get him out ASAP.

The mood was looking up the next day as Matt and Zadam joked about a Scissor Paper Rock immunity challenge – which would be iconic, TBH – and chilled around camp. Thankfully Lisa was on hand to bring some excitement, identifying that now is the time for her to take out Matt since they’re down to seven and she no longer needs to worry about Renee. Before we could see her work her magic, treemail arrived announcing a glorious food reward. They think.

With that, they trundled off to find Kiwi Jeff to learn they would need to balance a pole of corn on the end on an ever expanding long, hard pole – aka the challenge that almost killed Joe-gel in Second Chances – with the winner snatching themselves a sweet feast. Which almost made them all cream their shorts. Given this isn’t the most exciting challenge to watch unless someone faints, the Kiwis added some Harry Potter musical queues as Lisa made jokes – maybe – about nobody liking a floppy pole before she, Tess, Tara, Adam and Matt dropped their corn leaving Dave and Eve to battle it out. Though since Dave had clearly struggle for the past couple of minutes, it came as no surprise that he soon followed and handed Eve a shit tonne of sweet treats. And us, the joy of seeing Dave just miss out on winning another challenge.

While Matt felt that yet another Eve victory painted a big old target on her back, she chose to share her reward with his bestie Dave – and Zadam who reminded us about his massive pregame botox injection – so hopefully that can help keep her alive. Adam was concerned about sharing the reward with Dave, given his penchant for eating to the point of vomming … until he saw the massive spread and almost died. Though true to form, Dave made out like he had eaten too much and that he was regretting it. Which Adam obviously felt was a dramatic cry for attention.

Back at camp Lisa and Tara tried to convince themselves the pre-challenge teaser was more than enough for them before Tess put an end to the happiness by pointing out Dave had been on every reward while she hasn’t been on one. While that didn’t get Tara to bite and want to take her out, Matt was more than willing to get her out as the endurance challenge queen. While Matt and Tess seethed, Adam, Eve and Dave bonded on reward and opened up hope for our quiet queen to avoid the boot. As did the fact that Lisa actively kicked off her assault on Matt making quick work of pulling in Tara and them trying to figure out the other two people that would be best to help them.

The victors returned back to camp with Dave continuing to be dramatic about how full he is, much to the absolute disgust of Adam who quickly unfriended Dave after their bonding. Adam then decided it was time to get rid of Dave, puzzled about why it hasn’t occurred already and why Matt wants to keep him around. Speaking of which, Matt lamented about the difficulty of playing the game with someone he is already friends with as it is yet another layer of deception they need to keep in check. Unaware she was leading the charge against him, Matt and Dave checked in with Lisa to see where her head was at heading into the next tribal. Obviously she quickly assured him that she is all in on taking out Eve and they headed back to camp … until Lisa and Matt spotted an arrow on the ground, made a meditating excuse to get rid of Dave and found themselves a hidden immunity idol. Which is great, except for the fact Lisa wants to take him out and he technically snatched it first.

With that, Matt was feeling confident about his place in the game and his alliance with Lisa thanks to his assurances that it is their idol. Sadly she isn’t feeling that trust as it now makes getting him out just that little bit more difficult and her chances of winning are now slim to none. And her pain broke my heart because I would totally react the exact same way. Lisa was feeling more confident the next day after coming up with a plan to get him to hand over the idol and sell it as a way to keep things even between them by having someone ‘own’ it and the other ‘hold’ it. Sadly it made her feel like he didn’t trust her, though thankfully that wasn’t the case and vowed to work with her to make it to the end.

Matty Chis returned for this week’s immunity challenge where the castaways were required to manoeuvre bamboo through a tangled piece of rope, then across a balance beam and lastly through an obstacle, dropping people along the way. Tess made quick work of the first stage, joined by Matt, Dave, Lisa and Adam for the second obstacle. Despite hoping to take out immunity to ensure Matt didn’t, poor Lisa didn’t survive the second round as Matt, Tess and Dave faced down the final stage. All three remained neck and neck throughout the challenge, though since Dave never wins it was clearly a two horse race which Matt tragically won. Well, tragically if you’re a fan of Lisa. Which everyone should be. Making it even worse, she audibly said “oh no, Matt won,” as he took out the challenge and she is concerned someone may have heard her.

Back at camp Lisa tried to come up with a plan B for the upcoming vote, while Matt tried to rally the troops to continue on with his plan to get rid of Eve. Dave and Eve caught up by the shore and decided to focus their attention on getting rid of Tess, or so Eve thought. Adam joined Matt and Lisa by the well to discuss who to get rid of and the weird pre-tribal mood. While they all lamented not wanting to take out Eve, Adam confirmed that her challenge prowess was a concern while poor Lisa had to stand silent instead of countering the fact she is the best chance of beating Matt at a challenge. She then went to talk to Tara who was keen to vote Dave instead, though Lisa felt they had left it too late to change up the vote before tribal and that sticking their necks out would come back to bite them. Tara tried to convince Matt to flip to Dave which did make him nervous about whether he could trust her, though appeared to talk her around from flipping. While on the other side of camp, Adam and Tess spoke about not wanting Tess to go and considered getting rid of Dave instead. Thankfully the stars aligned and Tara and Adam were able to talk before tribal council about pulling in some numbers to get Dave out instead … however since Tara has never spoken to Adam about strategy, it seems doomed to fail.

At tribal council Matt spoke about his second immunity win painting a bigger target on his back, Tara shared that she is not a hustler baby and instead just listened to what people told her while poor Eve started to break down about not being a hustler and fearing for her place in the game as everyone had ignored her during the day. She then kinda went one step too far and spoke about how hard she has fought – aka how well she has played – through sobbing tears, cementing why she does need to go. While she didn’t want to shame the people she felt betrayed her, Dave felt that she was hurt by him not voting with her despite not actually having any control or sway to change it.

Poor Eve continued to fight through tears and begged people to vote with their heart before Matt gave everyone a chance to speak up before voting. Which Zadam did, telling her that while he likes her they have never actually had a strategic conversation and as such, he has no idea what tomorrow would bring if he did in fact flip. While she – rightly – pointed out that he has a huge amount of influence on the tribe, her pleas however were too little too late, as she found herself booted from the game. While she was really gutted and emotional to find herself heading to the jury, dear, sweet Eve was quickly cheered up by the sight of a big bowl of Beve and Blarke Bean Sauce.

 

 

Now I am ashamed to admit that beef and black bean isn’t usually on my go-to list of Chinese take-away dishes, given our delicious it is. Let’s just put it down to childhood loathing – unadulterated loathing – and never really wising up to the fact of this beauty in my teen years because I had men to secretly thirst after.

So … enjoy!

 

 

Beve and Blarke Bean Sauce
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup shaoxing wine
2 tsp raw caster sugar
600g beef fillet, thinly sliced
2 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black bean sauce
1 tbsp sriracha
1/4 cup beef stock
vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 green capsicum, cut into large dice
100g mushrooms, sliced
4 shallots, cut into 5cm lengths

Method
Combine half the shaoxing in a large bowl with the sugar. Add the beef, toss to coat and leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour. While that is gettin’ chill, whisk the remaining shaoxing in a jug with the cornflour, soy, black bean, sriracha and stock and leave to rest.

When you’re ready to rock, heat a lug of oil in a wok and stir fry the beef in batches for a couple of minutes or until browned. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a minute before adding the capsicum and mushrooms. Cook, stirring for a further couple of minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Stir through the shallots and serve immediately, on a bed of fluffy rice.

Devour through your tears.

 

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Arun Bowla

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

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, eighteen Kiwis were marooned in a small chain of islands in Thailand and were divided into two tribes by first boot Jose. She started off a string of strong females getting the boot before the swap turned everything on its head and the men found themselves sitting ducks. In that time Brad and Dave secured immunity idols – after Eve misplayed her’s – cross tribal alliances were made and broken – by Josh – before JT the snake was felled by illness which I assume is extreme gastrointestinal distress. After both tribes attempted to throw the immunity challenge, Chani found themselves returning to tribal council where Dylan was voted out against all reason and Renee’s better judgement.

Back at camp the tribe were shocked about being called sneaky pricks on Dylan’s way out the door, despite blindsiding him against the Chani’s best wishes. Adam on the other hand was thrilled to finally best his nemesis, while Renee lamented the fact it has probably screwed them as there is no way Matt is sticking with them. As long as queen Renee is safe, I don’t really mind though TBH.

We dropped by Khangkhaw the next day where Tess was rolled up within a bamboo mat … before she explained that it was because she heard a critter trying to attack the chickens throughout the night, and at that point, I felt a deep and profound connection with her. Lisa was feeling thankful that the cage saved their chickens, sad that JT mede-quit and hopeful that the merge was right around the corner and she could throw of the shackles of her persona and own the fact she is about to school anybody and everybody on her way to the win. Meanwhile over at Chani Adam was back to being entertaining and friendly without his hatred for Dylan ruining his edit. Renee continued to worry about her alliance with Dave and Arun, concerned they don’t value her opinion and nor do they make logical decisions. As such, she pulled Adam aside to size up a potential alliance and by george, I think she has got him … on the hook and may have a fighting chance. The kiwi queen stays kiwi queen, adios.

Shocking everyone that was expecting the merge, Matt returned to lord over another reward challenge and allow Adam to celebrate Dylan’s untimely demise at the last tribal council. The challenge involved each tribe shooting balls at a target and knocking out a line of tiles … for an unknown reward, which Matt promised was a beauty. But sadly, avoided saying in the drink or old mate idol. Tess got Khangkhaw out to an early lead and set off a pattern of the men bombing the challenge and the women schooling them. Since Khangkhaw was dominated by the remaining female castaways, they took out victory … which tragically didn’t matter because, psych, this is a merge after all.

The remaining castaways celebrated their accomplishments, with Lisa giddy about having her vote steal in play for the first merge tribal council to guarantee Adam and Matt would stay true. Before heading back to camp, Matt shared how happy he was to make the merge after promising his girlfriend her would before leaving for the game. He then broke down about missing her and went straight to the top of my faves (behind Renee). Particularly when you remember he flashed his but in episode two. Host Matt then sent the castaways back to camp for their merge feast and surprised the reward winners that they will in fact have a reward awaiting them at tree mail.

Tess was giddy arriving back at the merge camp, particularly since she was reunited with Adam and Matt. Thankfully Matt too was thrilled to be reunited with his allies, while Arun started to have the first glimmer of regretting taking out Dylan at the last tribal council as her felt like an outsider. But there isn’t time to dwell on that as the castaways discovered the feast and then got to work gorging on everything in sight. None more so than Dave who fluctuated between close to vomming and continuing to eat. Lisa then likened melted butter on a burger to the love for a child, and TBH, I don’t see how that could be wrong. Oh and Dave continued to teeter on the edge of vomtown before smashing some dessert.

Adam then questioned whether they were even a tribe anymore since it is now an individual game and Tess confirmed that Eve and Arun screwed themselves out of any potential alliance with the OG Khangkhaw tribe. The besties then reconnected by the shore and Adam used the time to focus his Dylan rage on Arun and continue to paint the target on his back. He did explain that he was planning to lie to make people look bad as a strategy which goes some way to explaining why he bullied Dylan.

Dave was feeling hopeful that he and his school friend will be able to work an alliance out while Brad and Tess spent some time to complain about Tess being boring as shit and like talking to a brick wall. She then went to treemail to collect her reward – maybe the producers are trying to make her interesting – which allowed everyone from the winning team to select a luxury item. Brad went with a toothbrush, Lisa went with toilet paper, Tara grabbed a towel, Eve went with a pillow and ever resourceful Tess went with a chocolate bar.

After the excitement Brad dropped by Adam to hear about how awful Arun was to him during the swap, as a way to chop the head off the Chani snake. The word bully was thrown around and damn is that hypocritical. Matt and Tess were reconnecting themselves, with Tess thrilled Matt survived the last tribal council against all odds. Matt however was realising that the swap brought Brad and Tess closer and as such, he wasn’t sure how long their alliance would last. While the reward winners collected their loot, Dave rallied Arun, Renee, Matt and Adam to lock in the vote for Lisa at the upcoming tribal … which will really test where those new alliances rest. Brad then brushed his teeth and was filled with joy, except when it came to Arun opting to ignore him at Adam words rather than trying to forge any sort of bomb.

Matt returned for the first individual immunity challenge where old mate idol was decommissioned and a huge ma’fuckin’ individual immunity necklace was born. Matt then announced that they would be playing the house of cards immunity challenge, where they each need to use tiles to build a 3m high tower. Lisa proved her superfan cred by building straight up, while everyone else focused on building solid foundations without realising that there are a finite number of tiles. Tess was the first person to drop, followed by Lisa which handed Matt the lead. Arun closed the gap before dropping his tower while Matt stopped building and decided to try and run out the clock and snatch victory. Which he did. Despite Lisa’s best efforts. He then slayed the runway, werked his immunity necklace and I am moister than an oyster.

Phsan returned to camp and got straight down to scrambling – after the requisite minute of congratulating the victor – with Arun gutted by his loss and concerned about whether he can truly trust Matt. Brad on the other hand was concerned about who to target, since he hates Arun and sees Dave as a threat. Matt and Adam took some time to debate which side to align with before deciding to check who Lisa is planning to use her vote steal on and just working with that. She told them both to vote Arun and it looks like Lisa and Arun will be joining in trying to get Arun out. Though given her confidence and it is one of the most cursed advantages, I’m not sure it will play out. Dave then checked in with Matt and got the distinct vibe he wouldn’t be joining the OG Chanis to take out Lisa, despite the fact Matt assured him that he has his back. The OG Chani members reconnected in the shelter and assured each other that they’d be voting for Lisa, though Renee was itching to make a move and I am prone to trusting her.

At tribal council Matt spoke about his relief in snatching immunity before host Matt congratulated everyone on making the jury and final three before reminding them their actions will now come back to bite them. Arun vowed to vote for the person who plays the best game, Brad didn’t seem phased about ignoring Arun back at camp, Tess wasn’t sure if anyone made new alliances post swap before Tara tried to downplay her alliance and say she did her usual rounds before tribal. Before the Chanis savaged her by pointing out that that was untrue and one by one said she didn’t talk to them. So essentially, Tara is Regina George and they are all feeling victimised. With that Matt went straight to … hold up, Lisa is holding up the vote like an older Hali, announcing that she will in fact be voting twice tonight, while Arun wouldn’t vote at all. Which tragically sealed his fate as Arun was sent out of the game to become the king of the jury.

Poor Arun was pretty cut up to find himself booted from the game, however wasn’t really surprised given how screwed Chani were after booting Dylan and Lisa stole his vote. Sure he didn’t love me rubbing it in like that – did I mention I berated him about that – but he couldn’t stay mad when he saw I came packing a big ol’ Arun Bowla.

 

 

What is a bowl-a? Isn’t a bowl a food receptacle, not a meal? To that I say, shut up. If Lukas Volger can dedicate an entire cookbook to bowl food – which is amazing, FYI – I should be afforded the chance to have a little bowl of goodness, ok? And yes, it may look like a mess, it is delicious. So please, leave me alone like ‘07 Britney.

Enjoy!

 

 

Arun Bowla
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
3 limes, zested and juiced
¼ cup hoisin sauce
3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 red chillies, sliced
200g rice stick noodles
vegetable oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
500g turkey mince
2 carrots, grated
small handful mint, roughly chopped
1 cup bean sprouts, trimmed
¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped roasted peanuts

Method
Combine the lime juice and zest with the hoisin, tamari, fish sauce, sriracha, sugar and chilli in a jug and stir until combined.

Cook the noodles as per packet drain and allow to rest.

Meanwhile heat a lug of oil in a wok over high heat and cook the turkey, onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes, or until the mince has browned. Pour over the sauce and noodles, and stir fry for a minute.

Divide the mixture between four bowls and top with carrot, mint, sprouts and peanuts. And hell, add another swig of sriracha for good measure. Then devour.

 

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Aimiso Stanton Soup

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Main, Side, Snack, Soup, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Jericho gave into temptation and took a jar of cookies to build his own army, which I still feel is not going to end well for him. On the other hand Tarzan couldn’t bring himself to deceive the tribe. After Asaga took out yet another immunity challenge, Tarzan continued his streak of selflessness by finding and gifting an idol to Tessa, who used it at tribal council, sending Tarzan out of the game as the fourth boot instead of their planned target Locky, who AK told to split the vote.

Back at camp, Tessa was feeling sad about Tarzan going out in the process of saving her, though things quickly turned smug when she realised that she survived the second tribal she shouldn’t have. While everyone tried to stay warm by the fire, AK confirmed that he was planning to flip on the mega-alliance as soon as he could, and intended to use the one person tribe that is Tessa.

Meanwhile at Asaga, Jericho continued to gorge on cookies while everyone slept, like a slightly more likeable version of Taylor Stocker. He then decided that he needed to expand his cookie army beyond Luke and Henry, pulling Sarah into the fold under the guise that she is the only one he could tell. Again, this will come back and bite him in the arse – mark my words!

The next day Samatau struggled to catch fish, while Tessa struggled to make friends. Given the fact that Locky is universally beloved, both AK and Tessa spoke about needing to take him out as quickly as possible. As the weather started to deteriorate, AK approached Ziggy and Jarrad to confirm that they are still tight, and vowed to pull Tessa in to make a move. Tessa, obvi was thrilled to get a second (third, or fourth) chance in the game.

That night Luke and Jericho returned to eating cookies in front of camp while everyone slept, finishing them off and sadly proving my prediction that he’s get screwed wrong. I mean, fuck, even when he went and threw crumbs on his sleeping tribe mates, it didn’t bloody backfire. I was wrong … and I will never say that ever again.

Back at Samatau, AK reminded us that he wants Locky gone at the next possible opportunity. Though Locky wasn’t 100% falling for the stories AK was telling him, he knew it was important to agree with AK before running straight over to Tara to fill her in on AK’s supposed plans. Tara then pulled Aimee aside before AK seemingly got anxious, and joined the girls to confirm he still wants Tessa gone which made Tara start to think that AK needed to go.

It shouldn’t really be a surprise when Samatau lose the next immunity, given the fact Asaga has had two scenes of cookie eating and Samatau has been complete and utter bedlam.

Wanting to see if my predictions have gotten any better, JoJo returned for the next immunity challenge where Asaga were shocked to see Tarzan booted at the last tribal council. The challenge required each tribe to form a chain while holding up discs between the hands of each tribe member, the last tribe with a single disc standing being the winner.

Once again, Henry played his fauxgi role well, coaching his tribe to breathe before Sarah and Kent became the first disc to drop. Peter and Anneliese dropped Samatau’s first disc, followed by Sam and Mark, and Jarrad and Locky, before a rapid chain of drop-outs led to a showdown between Ziggy and AK, and Henry and Mark. After more than an hour and a half of absolute struggle from AK, he and Ziggy finally dropped their disc, handing Asaga immunity and Samatau to their fourth tribal council in a row.

Before even leaving the cliff, Jarrad whispered to Tessa that they had to make a move tonight, making me extremely nervous for my thirst trap Locky. Arriving back at camp did nothing to lessen my fear, as the tribe all locked in their vote for Tessa before AK approached Tessa to float the idea of getting rid of Aimee, with Jarrad and Ziggy.

Thinking that Pete would be the best possible option to get rid of Aimee, Jarrad pulled him aside to float the idea of getting rid of Aimee. Going one further he floated the possibility of getting rid of his friend Tara, who he could see was getting very close with Locky and Aimee. Not to be outdone, Tara then pulled Tessa aside while eating to dinner to float the idea of getting rid of AK at tribal. Seeing AK’s scheming coming together, Tara, Aimee and Locky started to get more and more anxious about the numbers and approached Anneliese to lock her in to help them get rid of him.

At tribal council AK continued to feel bad about losing yet another immunity challenge before Locky pointed out that he was proud of both he and Ziggy for fighting so hard for their tribe. Putting an end to the lovefest, Tessa was asked if she still felt on the outs which she confirmed, she did … though this time, she was strangely quiet about it. The rest of the tribe all danced around how tight the alliance was before Aimee had it with the bullshit and said that the eight wasn’t as tight as they thought.

The reactions ranged from shock, delight and anxiety as the truth floated around tribal before AK tried to get the performance back on track, saying that their are eight people in the alliance and one person to vote for. Tara then decided to join in the truth bomb action, saying that they do need to start thinking of what comes next. Everyone threw out some suitable vague comments before they headed off to vote, while I popped an aspirin to get rid of my confusion induced headache.

The votes quickly started to pile up on AK, before Locky, Tara and Aimee were shocked to see them roll in for the latter, sending her out of the game as the fifth boot. Given the fact she was spewin’ and I had a headache from all the confusion, I thought I’d whip up something soothing for me and my dear friend – and personal plumber – to help us recuperate. Something like my Aimiso Stanton Soup, for instance.

 

 

I mean, sure, it isn’t a pot and a parmie at the local pub like se wanted, but I took her spewin’ comment literally, and felt it my duty to make something nourishing and spicy to help perk her up. Plus – how can you go past miso soup? It is super fresh and tasty. I’ll make you a parmie for All Stars, ok Ames?

Enjoy!

 

 

Aimiso Stanton Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp dried wakame seaweed
1L vegetable stock
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
100g mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sriracha
300g silken tofu, cut into 2cm dice
¼ cup white miso
1 shallot, very thinly sliced

Method
Heat the sesame oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the wakame and fry for a minute, or until fragrant. Add the stock, fish and oyster sauces, mushrooms and sriracha, reduce heat to low and cook for twenty minutes.

Add the tofu and miso and cook until miso dissolves.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with shallots and down, down, ay.

 

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Leonardo DiCapsicum & Feta Dip

Condiment, Dip, Oscar Gold, Oscar Gold MMXVII: Gold with the Wind, Party Food, Side, Snack

Once again we’ve come to the end of another glorious Oscar Gold celebration in honour of tomorrow’s big day. Quickly on that note – I know I normally give you live behind the scenes coverage as I walk the red carpet, try and bribe the PWC auditors/steal their briefcase, reconnect with my many ex-lovers and script doctor the hosts efforts … but Jimmy banned me from doing it this year.

Something about my inflamatory way of behaving putting me perilously close from being banned from the Academy for life.

While I am pissed, the show must go on as Hollywood needs me. Plus, you guys need to know tips for your last minute bets.

Now for the moment we’ve been waiting decades for … I was finally able to welcome my dear friend Leo DiCaps to the Oscar Gold party. While it is tragic we will no longer have sad Leo memes at every couple of Oscars, I was ecstatic to be there – live tweeting, thank you Jim – to witness Leo finally snatch the statue after years in the Oscars’ bridesmaid wilderness.

I first met Leo on the set of his first film Critters 3 where we became fast friends of the mutual disappointment we felt for our co-stars. It was on that set that I decided to take him under my wing and help him reach the heights of fame.

I think it is no coincidence that he received his first unsuccessful Oscar nom less than two years later. Leo – and the wider world – you’re welcome.

Being a newly minted Best Actor winner, Leo and I giddily got to work discussing the odds for both the male categories. He agreed that Casey Affleck’s melancholic beauty in Manchester by the Sea deserves the glory … but it extremely concerned that Julia Robert’s will be loving her life again with Denzel pipping him at the post for a loud performance.

To be honest, if anyone is pipping Casey, it should be Viggo … but anyway.

Over in Best Supporting it is essentially a one horse race with there being no way in hell anyone is beating Mahershala Ali. Though I said that about Trump’s Presidency, so who knows?

Given that we both have suits to fit into tomorrow – as Leo asked me to attend as his date – I quickly whipped up a fresh Leonardo DiCapsicum & Feta Dip to mark the first anniversary of him breaking his Oscars drought.

 

leonardo-dicapsicum-feta-dip-1

 

Creamy, tart and completely delicious. This dip is super easy to make and even easier to eat.

Enjoy!

 

leonardo-dicapsicum-feta-dip-2

 

Leonardo DiCapsicum & Feta Dip
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 red capsicums, halved, deseeded, chargrilled and peeled
2 garlic cloves, roasted and thinly sliced
1–2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
250g feta
1 shallot, finely chopped
pinch of chilli flakes
pinch of smoked paprika
salt and black pepper, to taste
crusty baguette, Turkish bread or crackers, to serve

Method
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor.

Blitz.

Devour.

 

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Bret LaBao Buns

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Previously on Survivor, we opened the finale with Jay’s killer blindside. Or maybe it wasn’t, I’m still not sure if we were meant to know that the idol was fake and I can’t be bothered rewatching yet.

Not wanting to dwell on the last tribal too much, we arrived at the next immunity involving swimming, traversing a ball through some obstacles, hard poles – yay – and a puzzle, which terrified David on account of his questionable swimming ability.

Ken got out to an early lead thanks to his exquisite ball play, his wet torso glistening beautifully in the sun.  As he lay me down on the sand and leant gently beside me and ki … sorry, tangent.

Sadly Ken wasn’t kissing me, now was he as good with those hard poles – he’ll learn, I have faith – with Bret overtaking him and snatching the lead. Despite Bret’s lead, the rest of the castaways caught up allowing Ken to snatch individual immunity with one of Jeff’s favourite phrases to say to the millennials, “not a participation trophy.

Can we just pause here to enjoy how pretty Ken looks whenever Jeff gives him immunity?

The tribe arrived back at camp where Adam got Bret to run interference for him while he scoured the island for the hidden immunity idol. With Adam away, David went to Hannah and Ken to reconfirm their final three alliance and the plan to boot Adam.

Sadly for David, Adam was successful in finding the actual hidden immunity idol, at least I think … right now.

With Adam busy celebrating his find, David and Ken pulled Bret aside to get him to join the plan to boot Adam. Bret then went to Adam to let him know David and Ken’s plan, while Adam shared his idol secret with Bret and then shared his news with Hannah who announced that she was in control of the outcome at the next tribal council.

Which generally doesn’t bode well for the person that said that.

Vinegar, sorry Vinaka, arrived at tribal and discussed the hunt for the idols, before Bret – this time – sparred with David about their threat status’, statuses, stati?

Whatever the plural of status, Hannah did control the outcome of the tribal and made the worst possible move – at least from the viewers’ perspective – sending Bret out of the game in fifth place as the ninth juror.

Obviously I know Bret, given my love of beer, Boston, bars, bars in Boston and picking up cops who are trying to arrest me for drunk and disorderly behaviour after drinking too much beer in bars in Boston.

The love affair was brief but we remained friends ever since (and I will cherish splitting Ben & Jerry’s after sleeping together through Peter Pan Live!), meaning I knew there was only one thing I could make to dull his post boot pain – Bret LaBao Buns. Emphasis on buns, that foxy minx.

 

bret-labao-buns-1

 

I love pork buns more than life itself. I also love bao buns and David Chang (and The Bun Mobile as well), but i’ve always been scared to try making them at home myself (until Cumberbitch) … but the Momofuku recipe is easy and put my mind at ease.

So yes, this is not my recipe … but I put enough love into it to make Bret happy.

Enjoy!

 

bret-labao-buns-2

 

Bret LaBao Buns
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
hoisin sauce, to serve
sliced shallot, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Steamed buns
7g dry yeast
⅔ cup water, at room temperature
1 cup bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of baking soda
30ml vegetable shortening

Pickled cucumbers
2 thick, juicy lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin disks
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Pork
1.5kg slab skinless pork belly
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar

Method
To start, place the pork belly into a roasting pan. Combine the salt and sugar and rub all over the meat, erotically if you want but that is a bit weird. Cover in cling and allow to rest overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 225°C and discard any juices – or discharges if you will. Once the oven is piping hot, place the pork in the oven, fat side up and cook for an hour, basting with the rendering fat throughout.

While that is getting as hot as Bret, my husband and I were while Walken sang his heart out, combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat, and mix on the lowest speed possible, just above a stir, for 8–10 minutes. Once it has formed a nice, not-too-sticky ball, turn it out into a lightly lubricated bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and leave to prove in a warm, dry place for an hour or so.

Reduce the pork to 110°C and leave to cook for a further hour and a half, by which point it is tender, pillowy and glorious. Once that is done, remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and allow to rest.

Get back to the buns by punching back the dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half, and half again and then each piece into three. Roll them into balls, cover in cling and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, prep the cucumbers by combining them in a small mixing bowl with the sugar and salt. Toss to coat and leave to rest – feel free to adjust the sugar and salt levels, to taste.

Then cut out 12 generous squares of baking paper and coat a chopstick in some shortening. When the balls are fully engorged, take them in your hand – and left turn – and flatten them into a long oval shape. Place the chopstick in the middle and fold over to make the bao bun, pulling the chopstick out the end to make the flaps nice and moist and place on the baking paper.

Yes – that sentence was deliberate.

Cover with cling and leave the buns to rest for half an hour.

While taking the final chance to prove themselves, cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices.

When the buns have proven themselves, get a large pot with a steamer on the stove and bring just enough water to the boil. Working a couple at a time, place the buns in the steamer, cover and steam, for ten minutes or until puffed and beautiful.

To build the bun, place one on your plate, slather with hoisin, top with the pickles and a few slices of pork belly. Top with shallots and sriracha, and devour.

 

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