South West ShickAnn Huanger

Burgers, Main, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Thailand

This time next week we will have ventured to an island featuring absurdly large busts of Survivor icons Sandra and Rob, Jeffrey will no doubt have spoken about balls and poles and our first boot will have eaten their feelings with me in Ponderosa.

But more importantly, that means I have one more icon to celebrate as we anticipate the return. Which is where my dear, dear, Shii Ann comes in to play.

While All Stars cops a lot of flack because of the ugly, bitterness there was one shining light and that was the iconic underdog herself Shi Ann. I mean, name a more iconic moment than her winning immunity at the exact moment she so desperately needed it and then proceed to rub it in the faces of everyone that she was up against.

It was that spitfire moment that truly solidified her place in my heart and I was honoured that she accepted the invite to be the showstopper of this season’s countdown. Particularly since she is busy with her real estate career in NYC.

Obviously we gossiped about the cast and the upcoming season – she agrees that Janet and Elaine are icons that need to be protected at all cost – but mostly we caught up on how she has been (great), whether she would come back for another season (yes) and most importantly, whether my ex Frederick still pines after me (of course).

We then sat down to a plate of piping hot South West ShickAnn Huangers and toasted to the season ahead.

 

 

A little kick of chilli, a punch of lime and the creamy guacamole work together to make this burger sing. I mean, only stupid, stupid people wouldn’t agree that it is perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

South West ShickAnn Huanger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn, rinsed and drained
3 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 lime, zested and juiced
4 Kirsten Bunst
olive oil
1 tomato, sliced
a handful butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and drained
1 batch Lady Guagamole
hot sauce, to serve

Method
Start by combining the mince, black beans, corn, shallots, garlic, chilli, cumin and lime in a bowl, and scrunching with your hands until well combined. Split into four patties.

Place a skillet over medium heat and add the split buns to toast for a couple of minutes.

Add a good lug of oil to the pan and cook the patties for a few minutes before flipping and cooking for a remaining five minutes, or until cooked through.

To assemble, place a hearty dollop of guacamole on the base of the roll. Add a few slices of tomato, lettuce, the patty, hot sauce and another dollop of guac. Just because.

Then devour, greedily, rubbing it in the faces of those that didn’t get a burg.

 

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Tex Mex van den Burger

Burgers, Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Africa, Survivor: All Stars

There are less than three weeks until the new season of Survivor kicks off and we almost have an official cast – remember the good old days when the pre-season lasted four weeks, swoon – and as such, I convinced my boy Lex van den Berghe to drop by and help me celebrate.

Sandra, not Rob. Obviously.

I’ve known Lex for decades, doing his first tattoo. Like Phoebe Buffay’s, it was a single dot after I broke down in tears admitting that I had no idea what I was doing, nor could I draw. While it was the end of my time posing as a tattooist as part of a grift, Lex appreciated my honesty and we became the best of friends.

Well until he found a pair of brothers in Africa and I stopped talking to him for a couple of years out of jealousy. Until he explained that he only aligned with Ethan because we had matching hair, after which I felt really awful for bribing Rob to eliminate him in All Stars.

(Please don’t tell him I played a part in that, it really turned out worse than I expected and I feel so guilty).

But anyway, I avoided talking too much about this seasons returnees and instead we focused on the amazing diversity of the cast we’ll learn about in the coming days and the fact that they err on the side of older. Which is something I always prefer.

Obviously Lex agrees that Janet is going to be the break-out star of the season and our dream final three is Karishma, Kellee and Noura. Oh and he is super keen to set me up with Tommy, Vince and Ronnie. Emphasis on and. With the formalities out of the way, we toasted to a good season and the dream that season 41 will be a fan voted Third Time’s the Charm on which he can dominate before smashing a Tex Mex van den Burger.

 

 

Less burger and more chilli sloppy joe, these babies are super simple and delicious enough to look impressive. Hot and spicy, sprinkled with a generous helping of cheese and piled high with all the tex-mex fixins’, there is no better way to spend time with one of your besties.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tex Mex van den Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 Kirsten Bunst
1 serve of Chilli con Kim Carnes
1 avocado
1 lime, juiced and zested
2 shallots, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated
sour cream, to taste
sriracha, to taste

Method
Cook the buns and chilli as per Kirsten and Kim’s recipes respectively.

Combine the avocado, juice and zest of the lime, shallots and a tsp of sour cream in a bowl and mash to combine. Season and leave aside.

To serve, split the buns and toast before ladle some chilli on the base. Sprinkle with cheese, dollop on some guac and sour cream and drizzle with sriracha, close the burger and devour. Joyously.

 

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Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Side, Snack, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the battle between Champions and Contenders reached its crescendo as the two tribes merged with six OGs apiece, thanks to some impressive work from David and Luke to survive a mega-minority after the swap. After the merge Daisy snatched victory at the first reward challenge, and with it an idol, while Shaun took out immunity which gave the former Contenders the upper hand at the first tribal council. Sadly for them, David once again proved to be the master and convinced the tribe to target Andy and get rid of him as an easy vote before the jury commences. While Shaun didn’t like giving up the potential numbers advantage, there was nothing he could do to convince the Contenders it was a bad idea. After being made to feel nervous at tribal, Daisy played her idol just in case as Andy was booted unanimously. And then got one thing right, finally, by dropping the bombshell that Dave has an idol. Even though he didn’t think it was true, a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The next day we checked in with the tribe as Zaddy John was growing more and more annoyed by David’s peacocking around camp. I assume because he isn’t stripping off enough, which John, PREACH. The tribe then critiqued the model’s island looks, with most people reading him for filth thanks to his penchant for a bare chest and copious amounts of accessories. Though his passion for going to challenges at least shirtless is something I am grateful for, so I won’t shade him too much. Plus, his confidence is kind of endearing as he assumes that once again Andy’s attempt at playing the game and blowing (accidentally) up his idol secret will be a fail. Which sadly, I don’t agree with.

Meanwhile Luke was thrilled to still be in the game and somehow have the numbers advantage back after getting everyone to turn on Andy. He and his dear ally Janine were discussing how she expected to go before leaving for the game, with him sharing how much he respected her given she is so open to pushing herself. They then spoke about their tough upbringings and she told him how much she respected him and WHY AM I CRYING. They are honestly a duo I ship hard and I hate that Luke annoyed me so much in his first season. That being said Janine knows that a good social game is key for her and as such, being warm and engaging is her way to deflect from the target on her back. Though I choose to believe her love for Luke is as pure – or impure – as mine for John.

Luke and Baden then caught up to discuss their potential alliance, with Baden sharing that his plan is to ride the middle and use his bond with Luke to keep abreast of what is going on. They then spoke about the importance of getting rid of Shaun and/or Simon as soon as possible, before Shaun sauntered upon the scene just as they were bitching about him. Thankfully for him Baden has no intention of getting rid of another Contender, so planned to use the information to get rid of a Champion ASAP. Baden caught up with Daisy and Shaun who were concerned about his role as a double agent, though were grateful that he could spill the tea and help them find a way to take out David next. Shaun then attempted to dabble in some comedy, joking about David being slimy and while they kinda fell flat he is super pretty, so whatevs.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where everyone would hold themselves up between two poles on ever decreasing footholds … FOR A BRAND NEW CAR. Everyone survived the first stage of the challenge before poor Shaun became the first person out. He was followed by Daisy and Baden in quick succession. The rest transitioned to the skinniest perch, which immediately claimed Zaddy John, Luke, Pia and Harry, before Janine excused herself after an hour leaving Simon, Abbey and David to battle it out for a car they could easily buy themselves. At 75 minutes Simon stepped out of the challenge, with Abbey and Dave fighting it out for another 25 minutes before Jonathan grew tired, told them they could no longer use their hands which proved to be Dave’s undoing, handing Abbey the car. Not to rest on his laurels, Jonathan told Abbey that the boot was complete with a picnic and as such she could invite two people to join her, with the earnest AFL player selecting Dave for trying hard and John for being sweet.

At the picnic Dave gritted his teeth through the disappointment at losing the car, having to tolerate smashing the abundance of food under a waterfall in Fiji. The trio got to celebrating their luck, with Abbey happy to reward Dave’s hard work and form a bond with John. Who was looking forward to getting to know her, which instantly made me jealous. Growing tired of the bonding David decided to bring up the game, suggesting the three of them would be a solid alliance that could control their way to the end game. And while David didn’t want to go to the end with them, he’d be happy to be dragged by them. Sadly for him John had zero desire to work with him, sick of how hard Dave is playing and knowing full well that he needs to go. Abbey then turned the conversation to who should go next, with him placing the target on Shaun’s back and while the logic is solid, his aggressive gameplay irked her too.

Back at camp Shaun was understanding of Abbey taking Dave on reward, given she is so sweet. Instead of dwelling he searched for an idol and stumbled upon a mandarin tree. He was then sprung by Janine and the two of them tried to shake fruit free, while the two discussed how critical it is to get rid of Dave ASAP. Which JaQueen was all in on, vowing to blindside him at the very next chance she gets.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge which is the full blown water torture event, with everyone submerged under a grate in rising water with the last person to remain under the grate snatching victory. Almost instantly a terrified Daisy and Abbey dropped out of the challenge as the sun started to set and the rest of the competitors started to freeze. As the water covered everyone’s eyes Baden dropped out, followed by Harry, Pia, Harry and Janine, leaving Shaun, Luke, David and Simon to battle it out in the dark. After a brief struggle – which sounds like a death notice – Luke was the next to go, followed by silent Simon leaving the battling babes to hold on for dear life. With Shaun dropping out after being fully submerged, leaving a nearly drowned David to secure immunity,

Oh and then Jonathan dropped the bomb that instead of going back to camp, the tribe would be heading to a lit clearing straight outside tribal council.

The tribe frantically scrambled to identify a target, with the Champions plus Harry immediately excusing themselves to confirm that they would once again split the vote on Daisy and Shaun. Meanwhile Shaun rallied the Contenders and shared that he would be voting for Luke, since David isn’t an option and nobody can possibly beat him at the end. And while everyone agreed, they know Luke is too likeable to get anyone to flip on him at this point in the game. Shaun and Daisy then approached Simon and Abbey to see how they were feeling about things, with Shaun making the pitch to get rid of Luke … as he approached the group and stopped everyone in their tracks. Harry too added some drama, running to John with Pia, JaQueen and Daisy, to float the idea of getting rid of the biggest threat aka Luke. Simon then joined the group as the weighed up who is the bigger threat out of Shaun and Luke. While Pia was open to the flip, she was once again worried about an idol being in play.

The tribe finally arrived at tribal council where David admitted that the previous hour was complete and utter bedlam as everyone tried to draw a line in the sand once and for all. Pia shared that everyone has finally realised that it is well and truly and individual game, while Luke started to whisper to anyone near him to reconfirm the vote against Shaun. David tried to redirect the focus back to Shaun and his strength, while Shaun then pointed out that relying on immunities isn’t enough and as such, Luke and his strategic gameplay is far more threatening and is far harder to get rid of. David tried to sell his immunity victory as one for all of his allies, while JaQueen admitted that the minimal time to scramble has really complicated their games and forced people to ignore a lot of glaring issues with their plans. She then straddled the centre pointing out that getting rid of a challenge threat is something that needs to occur when you have the chance.

Shaun pointed out that getting rid of him is a shitty move and not something that would help build your resume for the jury, while someone like Luke who will beat all of them is a smarter, game-building move. JaQueen tried to reiterate that they need to get rid of strength, with Harry pointing out that they will have other chances and getting rid of Luke makes oh so much sense. John then joined the fray to remind everyone that when Shaun goes, the next strongest will become the biggest threat and as such, those people need to think carefully about how they frame their votes. With that the tribe voted and tragically the stallion himself Shaun was booted from the game.

In any normal season Shaun would be the number one person I lust after between his penchant for speedos and being gorgeous. And while I love John, I assured Shaun that he is my solid number two and I only held back on my love for him thanks to my relationship with his partner Megsy – aka Megan Gale, who I really need to catch-up with soon. Fun fact, I am godfather to their eldest. While Shaun and I were heartbroken to see him eliminated this early, we were grateful that he landed in the fourth best place – behind winner, runner-up and fourth-place robbed goddess – as the King of the Jury. I mean, how reassured are you that such a calm, nice person is setting the tone for this year’s jury. I mean, it almost makes me feel as good as filling my gob with Shaun Cheese & Hampscones.

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

There are not many ways you improve on something as wholesome and perfect as Shaun, sorry scone, but adding ham and cheese is definitely one of them. Salty ham, sharp cheddar and a kick of capsicum work together to make these babies even more perfect … er.

Enjoy!

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones

 

Shaun Cheese & Hampscones
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
100g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
200g ham, diced
6 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
½ green capsicum, finely diced
2 cups vintage cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushin’

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and whisk in the chilli flakes. Add the butter and press together with your fingertips until it comes together and resembles moist sand. How much do you love the word moist? Fold through the ham, shallots, garlic, capsicum and ¾ of the cheese into that moist mix with a good whack of salt and pepper. Pour in the buttermilk and cut it through the mixture until the dough has just come together.

Portion the dough into 8-12 even mounds and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush with excess buttermilk and a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden, puffed and glorious.

Spread the fluffy little buns, slather with copious amounts of butter and devour, as the sweet butter melts and drips all over you.

Maybe Shaun is my number one?

 

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Some Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls waiting to heal Ross Clarke-Jones after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Snack, Street Food, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor after burning himself and then his idol at two back to back tribals, Harry was feeling the heat and again focused on the Ben Driebergen strategy of finding idols until the end. Thankfully we were put out of our misery and distracted from the horrible memories of Chrissy’s robbery with Jonathan lording of the reward challenge for parmas which made John smile so brightly my basement flooded. Once again Andy struggled to get anything right, this time bombing throwing the immunity challenge as Baden single handedly beasted his way to winning the challenge, sending the Contenders back to tribal. Not wanting to rest on his second idol, Harry talked to Simon and Ross to see if they would be interested in flipping on JaQueen, Pia and Abbey and joining him and Matt to take control of the game. Sadly they weren’t interest however and after Harry played his idol, which made Janine nervous enough to play hers, poor Matt was voted out of the game.

The next day we checked in with the Contenders where Ross and the girls were thrilled to still be standing. Well sitting really, in the water as they washed themselves and relished island life. Ross then found a plank of wood which he used to attempt surfing on the reef and again, I love the man and get can’t enough of him on my screen.

We checked in with Camp Champ where they too were enjoying island life, fishing and swimming together on the reef and feeling grateful for everything they were experiencing. Andy too was loving it SA MUCH and damn, that sours things for me. They soon returned to camp where Andy continued to ruin my vibe, talking about the pain of not returning to tribal though was thankful that nobody realised. Right on cue we heard from Luke who knew that Andy’s attempt to throw the challenge were as subtle as a brick and as such, he wanted to take him down ASAP. Luke then dived into his spy shack as Andy tried to catch up with Baden, knowing that getting Baden on board is key to his safety given he single handedly thwarted Andy’s lame attempts at throwing the challenge. Luke then pulled Baden away from Andy and suggested that they will be a powerful duo as nobody would expect it.

Back at the Contenders tribe Harry was feeling all alone, surrounded by Champions while JaQueen continued to lament the pain of Harry still surviving. Ross checked in with Harry to find out whether his tears were real and was disappointed to find out his good nature was taken advantage of. Ross then joked about tethering himself to Harry to avoid him finding one, so the two goofed around as the rest of the tribe got together to hunt for the newly hidden idol. Which filled Harry with joy to have spooked them. With everyone otherwise ocupado, Harry approached JaQueen with a Hail Mary pitch to sell himself as the more helpful ally than some of her current options. She then businessed the hell out of him before agreeing that it is smarter for her to keep him around and hot damn, JaQueen is a bloody icon.

Jonathan arrived for this week’s immunity challenge where the tribes would race across a series of poles, tarzan swing across a gorge before tossing a monkey fist in a fork before using the ropes to traverse a balance beam. They then need to release puzzle pieces, build a stair ladder and light a fire at the top of the tower. After benching Andy immediately, Shaun got the Champions out to an early lead, while the Contenders slowly tried to close the gap thanks to Daisy struggling on the poles until she leaped into Shauns arms. Swoon. While the Champs started to swing across, Ross and Pia struggled on the poles allowing the Champions to extend their lead. Then tragedy struck as Ross clipped his leg while doing the Tarzan swing, fell into the ditch and started screaming in pain.

That is when I started sobbing uncontrollably. In the words of Countess Luann, don’t let it be about Ross. Anyone but Ross.

The challenge was stopped immediately as the medics were bought in as everyone stood around with a look of sheer panic on their faces. He was then carried off the challenge site by Jonathan to before the doctors decided that his injury was serious enough to warrant further medical assessment … before the challenge was restarted from where they were. Decidedly more sombre the tribes battled it out, as the Contenders desperately tried to close the gap. One by one the Champs landed their planks as the Contenders slowly made their way back into the challenge. Until they didn’t and the Champs got into their rhythm, climbing the tower, lighting their fire and securing immunity for their tribe.

The Contenders returned to camp worried about Ross’ injury and wondering what to do at tribal council, should it go ahead. The four former Champs speculated whether Harry could have found another idol, before JaQueen started weighing her options and wondering whether keeping Harry over Simon is the smarter move. JaQueen approached Pia who was keen to get rid of Simon instead of Harry with them then going to Abbey who was far less convinced about the idea. While she was getting emotional, Pia grew more and more sure that taking out Simon was the better idea as Harry is desperate and will stick with them to take control. JaQueen and Pia approached Harry who was super keen, with JaQueen only requesting his undying loyalty in return for them going out on a limb to keep him around.

As Simon wandered alone in his speedo, the new alliance of four sat around the shelter speculating about Ross’ safety. Before Ross was escorted back into camp on crutches by Jonathan, who announced that he had broken his ankle and as such such could not return to the game. The Contenders all started to breakdown, heartbroken to lose the life of the party before Ross encouraged Pia and Luke to go out and win this thing. The Champions were then wheeled over to camp so that they could farewell Ross and celebrate the bloody icon, as he hobbled away wearing Harry’s socks.

Before hopping – quite literally – into the back of the 4WD to see if he could finally have his culinary comfort. You see Ross and I have known each other for years, as I grew up surfing up and down the NSW coast from D’Bah to Bateau Bay, with Ross spotted my talent and taking me under his wing and coaching me. While I found myself too distracted by attractive men in speedos to ever get anywhere with my surfing, Ross continued to mentor me, I believe, because he loved that I paid in Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls. I mean, I could have paid him, but I am also very cheap.

 

Ross Clarke-Jones waiting to test whether Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls could heal him after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

 

These babies are so delicious and warming, that I’ve oft said that they have healing qualities and while that may seem opportunistic or convenient based on the tragedy that befell our King, the proof is in the pudding. Or sausage roll. Sweet, salty and melting in your mouth, these are the only things that will dull the pain of losing the icon of the game. Our new, literally fallen god, Ross.

Enjoy!

 

Ross Clarke-Jones testing whether Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls could heal him after his tragic injury on Australian Survivor.

 

Chicken Rossage Clarke-Rolls
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g streaky bacon, diced
1 bunch shallots, sliced
1kg chicken mince
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
6 sheets puff pastry, thawed and sliced into quarters
1 egg, whisked
¼ cup sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a skillet and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until sweet, fragrant and translucent. Add the bacon and cook for a further ten minutes, or until its just starting to brown. Add the shallots, stir and remove to a bowl to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Add the chicken mince to the bowl with the breadcrumbs, chilli, maple, sage and a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined.

Divide the mixture into 24 and form into a sausage shape. Place a sausage along one edge of the pastry squares and roll to enclose, brushing the last centimetre or so with egg wash to close. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, seam side down, and repeat the process until done.

Brush all the rolls with the rest of the egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for half an hour or so, or until golden and puffed. Devour immediately, to fix your broken, Ross-less heart.

 

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ustralian Survivor's second boot Laurolex Choong

Laurolex Choong

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

Previously on Australian Survivor 12 new champs were dumped in the Fijian jungle to face off against a brand new batch of chumps. The Champions lived up to their names early on, taking out reward and setting themselves up with a killer camp while the Contenders struggling to get it together. Particularly Baden who wasn’t metabolising John’s ‘thing’ beans. Thankfully they found their footing at the right time, snatching immunity and leaving the Champions to battle it out amongst themselves. While Steven’s athletes alliance decided to target Pia, Luke rallied the rest in an attempt to get rid of Susie, neither of which interested Nova. She then employed her Canberra background, politicked and got my dear friend Roxette look-a-like Anastasia booted from the game.

The next morning we checked in on the Champions, who were busy as work fixing up the camp as rain rolled over the beach. Janine then gave the tribe a bit of a boost, leading the group through yoga and bringing everyone together. Luke tried to follow along but remembered his skills lay in being a creep, so instead wandered off to find a location to build this year’s spy shack right next to the well, to secure optimal goss.

Meanwhile over at the Contenders Mr Megan Gale got the fire started, much to the delight of his tribemates. As they gleefully smashed their first hot meal, poor Baden was feeling left right out, unable to find a ride or die – we then heard about his backstory and I am in love with him. He and Shaun then bonded cutting wood and let’s just say, there was definitely wood in my house. Ruining my vibe was Andy who was not keen on Baden, deeming him ill equipped for the game. He then admitted that he hasn’t been able to speak strategy and then brought up the lack of superfans on the tribe, which I’m fairly certain Baden realised was a terrible attempt at a cover up.

We then saw John in speedos and I still find him inappropriately sexy.

Back at the Champions, Pia was feeling her oats after surviving the first tribal council, until Susie broke my spirit and reminded me that Pia is still screwed as she believes that the seven athletes will never break up. Which I desperately hope breaks up at the next tribal council. Luke and Zadavid were desperately trying to figure out how to get themselves, Pia and Janine out of their predicament. They decided that Abbey and Ross were their best hopes, so David put his sexy body on the line and went to woo Abbey while Luke tried to buddy up with Ross. After quickly charming Abbey, he followed up with Ross and TBH, if either of them refuses David they are mad. I mean, he has a white speedo?

Jonathan and his guns returned for this week’s reward challenge for fishing gear and material to build a raft where the tribes would face off in pairs to push a turnstile around until they crossed their colour over a line. Matt and Shaun made extremely quick work of E.T. and Luke, snatching the first point for the Contenders. John and Andy put up a valiant fight against Steven and Ross, who ultimately secured the Champions first point. E.T. and Janine made quick work of Baden and Hannah, while Casey and Sarah evened things up against Susie and Pia after laying in wait for a couple of minutes. Then Janine and Abbey happened, destroyed Sam and Daisy and snatched reward for the Champions. Did I mention Janine is a bloody icon?

The Champions were jubilant back at camp, none more so than E.T. who was ready to go fishing ASAP while everyone else focused on the tarp. While the men went to scope out the fishing prospects, Pia, Susie and Abbey rummaged through the raft bamboo, just missing the clue that had been shoved up inside it. Much to Luke’s delight, who only went fishing to try and distract everyone from looking. Thankfully he caught a minnow for the tribe of eleven, so everyone was kinda happy, and hopefully for him, distracted.

The mood was decidedly more sombre back at the Contenders camp where Shaun continued to be the most beautiful man on the cast. But enough about that, Laura was particularly smarting given she was forced to sit out of the challenge and she worried that it was because she is short. She decided she needed to form bonds with people given they believe she is weaker, approaching Casey and Hannah to try and save herself. She was right to be worried though, given ice cream man Harry did not trust her in the slightest and felt getting rid of her should be his number one priority.

Back over at the Champions Luke lay in wait under the cover of darkness to search for his idol. Tragically Ross has the strangest snore of all time, keeping Nova and Pia up with him in hysterics. Eventually though, they went to sleep, giving Luke enough time to find the clue to the hidden immunity idol, which told him it was buried near the swamp, filling him with joy … as it isn’t something that someone else will be able to stumble upon. Given he isn’t part of the athletes alliance, I desperately hope this isn’t foreshadowing for someone snatching it without a clue.

Jonathan finally returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to dive down a slide into a pull, climb over two walls, pull them down to clear a path, drag a heavy box of puzzle pieces through the mud … and then solve said puzzle. John continued to look sexy, rocking a speedo and getting the Contenders out to an early lead. Ultimately the tribes both got to the walls at the same time, with the Champions barely edging out a lead. The gap closed again, as the tribes were neck and neck pulling their boxes through the mud. More importantly, John looked great covered in mud. Both tribes were exhausted, with David coaching the Champions to be calm and have a break to get a second wind. Which they did, dragging it to the end zone, while the Contenders continued to struggle at the final obstacle. Steven and Ross worked hard on the puzzle, driven by the pained screams as the Contenders continued to struggle, ultimately snatching victory while their competitors wallowed in the mud.

Back at camp the Contenders were heartbroken to have lost, particularly Matt, who identified Baden as the weakest link, the reason for their loss and as such, decided he needed to go. We then learnt that Matt is a teacher slash wrestler and while he is coming across as arrogant, I find him very attractive. He then rallied Sarah and Laura to get rid of Baden, while Harry approached Andy to discuss what he was thinking. Once again, Andy surprised me by wanting to protect my dear sweet Baden, knowing he is a safe number for him, so he and Andy decided to flip the vote on Laura instead. Harry worked his way around camping explaining why Laura needs to go, which made her nervous since he hasn’t had a conversation with her. She then approached Harry to find out what he was thinking, with him lying that he is still planning to get rid of Baden. She then questioned who Baden thinks is going home, and she did not buy his lie that he thinks it is Sarah. Matt however didn’t love the idea of getting rid of Laura, so tried to convince Harry that putting his neck on the line wasn’t the best idea.

At tribal council Jonathan rubbed salt in Matt’s wounds, pointing out that they can’t seem to pull together many wins. This made Matt point out that they have a few weak spots in the tribe and while Daisy denied that there are weak team members, he continued to allude to Baden, though didn’t have the strength to admit it. Shaun admitted that strength is important in the early phase of the game, while Baden and Laura both tried to convince the tribe that neither of them have simply had the opportunity to highlight their strengths, which may save them down the line. Laura regretted not making stronger bonds, Andy continued to be way too much though made the valid point that friends are needed to survive in the game. Laura argued that friends are only good if you can trust them and in Survivor it is hard to trust anyone. Andy then spoke in circles though appeared to impress Jonathan, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Laura and Baden both gave last ditch pitches to their tribe and given the way the hero music began to swell as Baden bared his soul to the tribe, it seems like a foregone conclusion. Andy then reminded people that strength isn’t everything, and cohesion is just as important. Matt then described the vote as simple, before they all filed off to cast theirs and four each stacked up on Laura and Baden, proving it clearly wasn’t that simple. Well until the remaining votes rolled in for Laura and sent her from the game as the second boot.

She heard me before she even finished descending the stairs from tribal council.

“Those stupid height-ist bastards. How dare they do this to our community?!”

Have I ever mentioned I am barely 5”10 like Cindy Crawford? No? Well I am, or not. You know what I mean. In any event, I pulled Laura into my arms and commenced sobbing uncontrollably, heartbroken that she was booted when Harry is also useless in challenges, Andy is super annoying and Matt’s cockiness is making it really hard to thirst for him. Why does such a plucky icon have to go, when they are disappointing me? This sort of thing went on for a good three hours before she could calm me down long enough to explain that she was ok, went out with her head held high and was pumped to wash away her disappointment with a big, fat Laurolex Choong.

 

Laura Choong smashing her second boot Laurolex Choong

 

While this is a highly Australian-ised version of the Ugandan breakfast of champions, it maintains all the tasty happiness. Warm, crispy chapati and soft, fluffy eggs sandwiching a bunch of vegetables, bacon and cheese – it is near perfection.

Enjoy!

 

Laura Choong smashing her second boot Laurolex Choong

 

Laurolex Choong
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
6 rashers bacon, diced
1 tomato, roughly chopped
4 shallots, sliced
½ red capsicum, diced
½ green capsicum, diced
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp sriracha
2 Chapategan Garlicsior

Method
Place a frying pan on the stove over medium heat and cook the bacon for five minutes, or until lightly crisped. Add the tomato, shallots, capsicums and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Take half of the mixture out of the pan and pour half the eggs in the pan. Sprinkle with half the cheese, drizzle with half the sriracha and cook for a minute or two before topping with a chapati. Flip onto a piece of greaseproof paper and roll the chapati to form a roll … of eggs.

Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients and smash with your favourite second boot.

 

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Prawny Dumplaens

Main, Seafood, Street Food, Tapas

Now I know my reveal yesterday focused on Whitesnake and that was such a small part of her life, but the Here I Go Again film clip has had the most profound impact on my life and TBH, shaped the man I am today. And that is all because of the way she danced on the damn bonnet of moving cars.

And it lead me to the beautiful friendship we share today.

As soon as I saw her cartwheel from car to car, I knew that that is what I wanted to do with my life so I reached out – repeatedly – until she agreed to take me under her wing. After dropping the restraining order she got out on me on account of said repeated reaching out slash breaking on to her property slash dancing on the cars in her garage.

Thankfully she was moved by me breaking down into tears, begging for her to help me be more like her whilst I was getting thrown in the back of the police car, followed me to the station, bailed me out and helped me reach my dream of dance perfection.

Fun fact: she said it was the backflip I did off the side of the car while slipping out of the handcuffs – Countess LuAnn style – that made her realise I was ripe for mentoring.

Anyway, I have gone way off topic. Tawny and I have been busy the last few years, so this was our first chance to catch-up in what felt like forever. And boy was it special – we laughed about the good old days, pulled out some of our choreography and smashed what felt like a tonne of Prawny Dumplaens.

 

 

I’ve long spoken of my disgust for all things seafood, but like Carrie before her, I am willing to work through it for my dear Tawny. Plus, these doughy delights are so jam packed with ginger that the prawn tastes delicate, and even I can stomach it. Which is high praise.

Enjoy!

 

 

Prawny Dumplaens
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
200g uncooked prawn meat – aka peeled and deveined – finely chopped
2 shallots, thinly slicely
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
20 gow gee wrappers

Method
Combine the prawn, shallot, ginger, coriander, oyster sauce and chilli in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Working a quarter of the wrappers at a time, lay them on a clean, dry bench. Place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each, brush around the edges with water and crimp to close. Repeat the process until all the wrappers and/or filling is used up.

To cook, prep a steamer, line with a small piece of baking paper and cook in batches for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Devour immediately with plenty of soy and chilli sauce.

 

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Kelly LeBrockoli Salad

Salad, Side, Snack

I’m not going to waste your time listing all the reasons why Kelly LeBrock is so dear to me, it should go without saying. The woman is a saint; she is kind, funny, so sweet and always open to my hairbrained schemes to return her to greatness.

Thankfully with Kath’s BIL and SIL taking all the attention in Sydney/Dubbo – don’t mention it to The Ferg, who I really must catch up with one day soon – she had a low key arrival in Brisbane, which TBH was so nice for a change. I mean, it truly is exhausting being hounded by the paparazzi all day every day like Kell and I are used to.

Given how busy I’ve been lately – aren’t I always? – I haven’t seen as much of Kelly as I would like, and as such, I feel like you haven’t seen as much of Kell as you deserve. For that, I am sorry as I know a world without Kelly gracing the big screen and winning Oscars is not a world that I want to live in.

I apologised to Kelly for letting her down and she laughed about how happy she was and how I shouldn’t let the guilt eat at me. But it had, so I verbally-spammed her with so many different ways that we could bring her back to the A-list, including a stint on The Good Place as Janet’s mother – which links with Weird Science, obvi – competing on Survivor or joining a Housewives franchise and/or co-starring with Meryl, since her movies instantly are fast-tracked to Oscar Gold.

It was a lot to take in, so thankfully I had a big bowl of Kelly LeBrockoli Salad for her to eat while digesting my plans.

 

 

Crunchy and creamy, fresh and tart, this salad in the perfect thing to bring a bit of life to a boring mid-week meal over summer.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kelly LeBrockoli Salad
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 broccoli heads, cut into small florets
1 lemon, juiced
4 slices pancetta, diced and fried|
4 shallots, sliced
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped and toasted
½ cup craisins
⅓ cup parmesan, grated
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp muscovado sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Rinse the broccoli florets and place in a bowl of cold water with the juice of the lemon and leave to sit for fifteen minutes. Drain and shake dry, though don’t be too pedantic about it.

Toss everything together in a bowl until well combined slash coated. Devour.

 

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Chicken Shomein Fairfax

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Sharn and Shane were well and truly on the bottom, desperate to find a way to save themselves. Thankfully for them Brian voted Fenella out and upset the other half of Shonella, so when he took Monika on reward and left Shonee back at camp, the three of them formed a new alliance. Despite winning a car – a curse as powerful as my pizza curse – and not winning immunity, Brian survived tribal council thanks to his idol, leaving poor Monika to be blindsided by the SH clique who had a feeling he was packing said idol.

The next day Brian was feeling a bit salty, while Shonee rejoiced in surviving this long and being the final Contender standing. The four congratulated themselves on a game well played and were giddy about their only being three days left. Grubby continued to sulk around the camp, while Shonee listed off her impressive resume from surviving the tribal swap, navigating the post-merge flip-flop and most impressively, Benji’s nachos eating. Hopefully this is start of the winner’s coronation and not a send-off, because I can’t handle a Michelle Dougan situation again.

Meanwhile Shane was dolphin-ing it up in the ocean, talking about the complexities of the mind games and her stellar, not to be fucked with social game. She then shared that her ideal final two would be opposite Sharn, despite the fact she is a killer lawyer and would have an easier time against the disliked blindside. She followed Shonee, listing her resume of blindsides and knowing that going up against Sharn would show that she can defeat the barrister at her own game. Oh and obviously pulling off the blindside of Brian, flushing his idol and his ally in one foul swoop. Given she thinks he is villainous and wants to take him down, however isn’t sure whether taking him out next is the best idea.

Sharn and Shane went for a walk, leaving Brian time to approach Shonee to find out why she flipped on him at the previous tribal. While he pretended to trust her and accept her rational, he vowed to take her down and do what it takes. With that, he followed in the girls footsteps and listed his villainous resume and hoped that his final tribal speech would be interesting and exciting enough to hand him the win. Trying to find new friends, he went for a walk to check treemail with Sharn where they discovered a moral dilemma where a meal was sitting in the jungle and they could either choose to share with Shane and Shonee, both split it or if they can’t decide, the person that wants it for themself gets it. While they debated back and forth for a while, Brian chose to keep the food for himself while Sharn opted to split and as such, Brian got it all for himself. Which he ate, giddily and without remorse.

My boy Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the castaways were required to weave discs through a maze suspended on a spring and then stack 12 on top of said maze without knocking them off. Brian and Shonee got out to an early lead while Shane started to close the gap and Sharn took the slow and steady wins the race motto. As you can imagine, this isn’t really something exciting to type about, let alone read … so Brian placed his twelfth and then dropped the stack, as did Shane … and Shonee, leaving Sharn to Steven Bradbury. Wait, nope, she dropped too leaving Brian to snatch immunity on his second attempt. This time with far less arrogance.

Back at camp the ladies congratulated Brian on his immunity win, while Brian was proud of taking out another immunity challenge and quickly identified Sharn as the next boot. He approached Shonee to lock in the vote against Sharn since they were each other’s best hope. Shonee was fairly confident she would be able to turn Shane against Sharn, so approached her to explain how well Sharn has played and how strong she will perform at final tribal. While Shonee would prefer to be taking out Brian, she continued to work Shane hard and assured her that if they are in the final three, she will take her to the end over Brian. Shane and Sharn went for a walk and marvelled at Brian’s luck in the game, before Shane spilt all the goss to Sharn and told her that they were planning to take her out. This allowed Sharn to explain to Shane that if there is a tie between their votes and Brian and Shonee’s, Sharn and Shonee would make fire and as such, they would win out in the end.

After locking in a deal with Sharn, Shane approached Brian to see where his head was at and told him that she would be interested in flipping to them and taking out Sharn as it is their best chance. They roped in Shonee and the three agreed they would vote together, which made Shonee feel even more nervous about the vote ahead. As such, Shonee approached Sharn as she felt she was the most trustworthy person left in the game and floated the idea of joining together to take out Shane instead. Sharn acknowledged that Shane was her biggest competition left in the game and as such was conflicted about which way to go at tribal council.

At said tribal council Brian spoke about only being able to trust immunity at this point in the game, Shane agreed that she doesn’t really know who she can trust, however admitted that she planned to stick with her loyalty and hope for the best. Sharn spoke about being nervous about tribal, though planned to trust her gut, while poor Shonee spoke about not being able to trust anyone until after the votes are read. She hoped that the people she spoke with during the day and felt on the same page as were being honest and things would work out for her.

Sharn acknowledged people needing to play for the jury, trying to sway Shane into staying loyal by painting the jury as not interested in an easy – sorry Steve, giving – win. Shane said that some of the jury actual prefer the villainous gameplay, though admitted that past loyalties would come into play in the final vote. This led to Brian admitting that all the contenders would potentially vote for Shonee and as such, she is a threat. Though he backed the game he played. Sharn spoke about not knowing if she can beat everyone in the end, while Shonee tried to sway her by talking about sticking with her gut. Fellow gut-gal Sharn said that she too would be sticking to hers and with that, they headed off to vote and Sharn and Shane stuck together while Brian and Shonee didn’t, leaving Shonee to be tragically felled in fourth place.

While I desperately wanted to scream at her for essentially 2-1-1-ing herself out of the game and not even trying to go to fire, I couldn’t stay mad at her and instead broke down in tears over the fact that not only were we robbed of a Shonella final two, she follows in the footsteps of Michelle and Flick of being the fourth place robbed goddess. She held me close as I sobbed for all that we, Australia, lost until I was strong enough to serve her a comforting bowl of my Chicken Shomein Fairfax.

 

 

Sweet, spicy and packed full of comforting carbs, chow mein is one of those dishes which look complex but are super easy. So easy you can cook while blinded by the combination of tears and rage.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Shomein Fairfax
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
500g fresh hokkien noodles
peanut oil
500g chicken mince
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 chillies, sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1 red capsicum, seeded and sliced
1 tbsp curry powder
¼ cup oyster sauce
3 tbsp tamari
½ cup cooking sake
⅔ cup peas
½ cup baby corn
100g oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 bunch choy sum, roughly chopped
½ wombok, shredded
4 shallots, sliced

Method
Seperate the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water for five minutes or so. Drain.

Heat a good lug of oil in a wok and cook the mince over high heat for five minutes, or until browned, breakin up any lumps as you go. Add the garlic, chilli, carrot and capsicum, and fry for a further minute. Add the curry powder, oyster sauce, tamari and sake and cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the remaining vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat, toss through the noodles and devour, piping hot, with plenty for hot sauce in honour of her spicy confessionals.

 

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Rachon McAndcheesems

Main, Pasta, That Is So Fetch Week

While I am heartbroken to confirm that yes, this year’s Mean Girls day celebration, That’s So Fetch, is almost over, rejoice, because the queen bee herself is finally here! That is right, my dear friend Rachel McAdams aka Regina George is finally making her debut on this patch of cyberspace.

Despite only meeting on the set of Mean Girls, we quickly became the best of friends after she survived my Mr G-esque strength training to see whether she had what it takes to play Regina aka the worst parts of my character.

I was blown away by how someone so nice could so brilliantly capture how fundamentally awful I am, and decided to get her to show me how to be nice. While she failed at first and I lashed out, we reunited on the set of my then-boyfriend’s movie The Notebook, and we remained the best of friends. To the point where I gave her my blessing to pursue him after our relationship ended.

Anyway, I haven’t seen Rach since her son’s christening – I am obvs, godfather – so it was such a joy to reconnect, laugh about our fun times on set with Linds, Teens, Ames, Mands, Dan Fran, Jono and Lizzy – and Lacey, but obvi I can’t say that yet – whilst smashing a Rachon McAndcheesems.

 

 

Now I know mac and cheeses are fast becoming an over-catered market on this patch of cyberspace, I dare you to explain how the addition of bacon doesn’t send this to the next level. I mean, name a more iconic duo than bacon and cheese. I’ll wait.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rachon McAndcheesems
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 shallots, sliced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour, plus extra for dredging
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups milk
150g parmesan cheese
250g cheddar cheese, plus extra for crumblin’

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Get the pasta cooking as per the packet instructions and cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat for five minutes, or until nice and crisp. Add the garlic and shallots, and cook for a further minute. Add the butter to melt, and once foamy, add the flour, chilli, paprika, mustard and a cook whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and stir through the milk until smooth and combined. Add the cheeses to the saucepan and return to the heat until melted and combined.

By this point the pasta should be done, so drain and add to the saucepan and stir until well combined. Pour into a baking dish, top with additional cheese – potentially more than included in the dish, but who am I to say – and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Serve fresh and molten hot, obvi being careful whilst devouring.

 

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Jonathan Dan Bennoodles

Main, That Is So Fetch Week

Hey, do you know what day it is? Of course you do! It’s October 3rd aka Mean Girls Day aka the entire reason for this year’s That’s So Fetch Week going public. I know you were probably hoping that Tina or Linds would be dropping by, but they have both already gone here … and Linds is still busy stopping that child trafficking ring. So following in Mands and Dan’s footsteps is none other than Aaron Samuels himself, Jonathan Bennett.

Aka the entire reason we have Mean Girls day.

As I alluded to yesterday, Dan Fran and I had a tragic break-up on the set of Mean Girls due by my infatuation for Jonathan which culminated in our torrid affair. Tragically it ended too – maybe because I am too much like Regina George – but Jono and I have been the best of friends ever since.

Hell, I even forgave him for writing the Mean Girls Cookbook without me, that is how close we are. Though considering he chose to go with an actual chef over someone that tries things he finds only and quadruples the garlic content and adds chilli, I really had no right being offended in the first place.

Giving how busy he has been successfully writing a cookbook and hosting a baking show, Jon and I haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like lately. I mean, as besties we Skype each day, particularly since I introduced him to his Amazing Race-r boyfie Jaymes, but there is nothing like the real thing of hanging out with your friends in the same room. Smashing some Jonathan Dan Bennoodles.

 

 

Once again proving my non-chef credentials, this dan dan was inspired by a couple of recipes I found online though hella simplified. And probably nothing like how it should taste. Rich, nutty, spicy and fresh, this baby will fill you with joy and put a fire in your belly. Given the heaping of chilli, obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jonathan Dan Bennoodles
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
500g pork mince
3 tbsp Chinese chilli oil
1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp shaoxing wine
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp raw caster sugar
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
400g udon noodles, cooked as per packet instructions
1 cup baby spinach
1 bok choy, quartered
1 shallot, sliced

Method
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat and cook the garlic and ginger for a minute. Add the mince and cook for a further couple of minutes before reducing the heat to medium and adding the chilli oil, spices, sauces, sugar, stock and peanut butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce reduces.

Cook the udon as per packet instructions and add a tablespoon of cooking water to the pan if it starts to get too thick. Add the baby spinach and bok choy to the pan, and cook until heated through before tossing through the noodles.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with shallots and devour. Because it’s October 3rd.

 

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