Popcorn Wells

Party Food, Side, Snack

While we’ve both grown older since first becoming friends in ‘60s, the sweet, sparkle was well and truly still in her eye as I spotted her coming through the international arrivals gate. We gingerly – no pun intended – ran across the crowded room and straight into each other’s arms.

She held my face in her hands and said something that shocked me to my very core.

“I can’t believe it has been 16 years since we’ve seen each other!?”

Somehow I managed to have a mouthful of water, did a spit take and then fainted from shock. Well shock and my passion for causing a scene.

As I was roused awake by a hunky security guard and his less-so offsider, I locked eyes with Dawn once more and like a less selfish old Rose, whispered “it’s been 16 years? 16 years,” I then inserted a dramatic pause, “since the inaugural Spudfest?!”

 

 

“Yes my dear, and I’ve missed you each and every day,” said my dear friend and Idaho potatoes spokeswoman.

After the security guards carried us to our car – princess style, of course – we ventured back to my house and quickly got to catching each other up on the past decade and a half. We held hands, laughed, cried and wondered what the rest of the island gang would think seeing us together again.

Too worked up from the emotion of the day, neither of us felt like gorging on a rich, comforting meal. Which was convenient, because I was hella keen to nosh on some Popcorn Wells like in the good old days.

 

 

While it is hard to make popcorn that tastes as good as the stuff at the movies – I think the butter and salt needs the hours sitting in the warmed, glass case of emotion to fully release their flavours – this little number is pretty good fresh. Generously buttered, lightly salted, it has your stomach craving more, more, more. That’s how it likes it. That’s how it likes it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Popcorn Wells
Serves: 2 dear friends.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup popping corn
salt, to taste
melted butter, to taste

Method
Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat until the oil is shimmering.

Add a kernel and if it starts spinning, or better still pops, add the rest of the corn. Immediately pop on the lid and shake the pan. Return to the heat and once the popping kicks off, agitate the pot semi-frequently to keep the unpopped pieces shimmying down to the bottom.

Once the popping has all but stopped, remove from the heat and season with salt. Cover again and give a good shake before pouring in melted butter to taste, covering again and giving a more aggressive shake to ensure it is all coated.

Then devour. At SpudFest, or at home. Your choice.

 

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Henry Gorenicholson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor physical battles dominated the game, leading to a focus on strength on each tribe. After going on a losing streak, Vakama were determined not to return to tribal council and came to both challenges fired up. After scoring a fish and chip reward – kinda – Mat found an idol in front of the entire tribe, much to Locky’s dismay who finally wanted to be the person to snag an idol. At the immunity challenge – which was again super physical – Michelle quickly dropped out, putting her tribe on the back foot from the start, which tragically led to their loss. Also Shonee sat out on a bench which featured a clue to the hidden immunity idol which see didn’t see, which is just as tragic as you could imagine. Back at camp Henry pushed to get rid of Sharn, which made Nick decide it was Henry’s time to go. While Abbey and the Athletes – who sound like the world’s shittiest band – opted to focus on strength and sent Queen Michelle out of the game.

The next day Mokuta was feeling mighty miserable, which obviously led to John welcoming Lee into the Australian Survivor nudity club. The self-annointed Dumb Dumb Club frolicked, flipped and showed off their gloriously pasty buns and hot damn, I’m drippin’ more than the Fijian skies.

Meanwhile over at Vakama the mood was just as low, though tragically far more clothed as Locky worked his arse off to keep the tribe afloat in the torrential ran. Add to that the fact he is sitting pretty in the majority alliance AND is falling for Brooke, and you could say that Locky is on cloud nine. Wait, scrap that, he is fixated on the fact that Mat has an idol and as such, he decided to start wearing it around camp to taunt poor love struck Locky. As Mat desperately wants to make him look as silly as possible.

We returned to Mokuta where the rain had stopped, the clothes were tragically back on and the tribe were doing some home improvements like a less chic version of Brad and Monica Culpepper. Well except for Henry, who was busy doing his best Coach impersonation while Nick worried about how to deal with him after spooking him at the last tribal council. With that Nick started to do damage control as Henry ranted and raved about how to save himself and play like he has no other option, while Nick sat in the shelter looking like he is about to shit himself. Based on the conversation Nick decided that Henry’s next target is going to be Shonee, so instead of trying to manage him, approaches the rest of the tribe to warn them how dangerous Henry is, so that everyone manages the situation on his behalf.

Speaking of Henry, he was reflecting on his first time in the game and remembering his mother, who passed away just before he went out. Not one to be down for count, Henry channelled his grief and as Nick feared, started working his way round the tribe to show how strong he is and play up how weak our icon Shonee is.

My love Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge – sadly clothed – where each tribe would face off one-or-one to knock an idol of the other’s handle with the first to four scoring victory. For a huge pack of cones, so you know Harry is excited. Mat and Henry were first to face off, with Henry chasing him down like prey and quickly snagging the point. Abbey made quick work of Moana, Queen Shonee was felled by Phoebe, Zach destroyed AK before Henry’s tricky juggling skills scored Mokuta the victory over David. Before the tribe headed out to smash their ice cream, Locky and Phoebe interrupted the proceedings and told Jonathan that they would like to use their previous reward and join then at the ice cream shop. Thankfully Jonathan is a messy icon, and asked them which two people they would like to send, outing their lie that it had to be used by them to the rest of their tribe.

At reward Harry was well and truly in his element, making ice creams and running around like a delirious child. Speaking of deliriousness, Henry was thrilled to show off his strength, so was working overtime to make as many friends as possible while they were all sugared up. Meanwhile Locky and Phoebe were filling everyone in on how much better the Mokuta camp is before Locky split up to gather intel from his rivals. While the tribe, smartly, stayed quiet. Making it super awkward, and honestly, painted a target on his back. Meanwhile my queen Shonee was loving the sugar but more importantly, loved finding a hidden immunity idol clue under a log. Redeeming herself for the day before. She bided her time until the tribe cleared out to wash their hands before she learnt that the idol was hidden under the well. She went for a wander into the jungle to find the well and got to work lifting it out of the way, grabbing the idol and then returning the well to its place.

Oh and she was wandering around in a jumpsuit and slides.

Terrified about being caught, she panicked about whether the well looked weird before her best friend Nick stumbled upon her. After confirming that the well looked normal, she looped her ally in on the intel and honestly, their happy dancing was too pure for this world and I ship the hell out of them.

The delicious Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to build a staircase out of heavy logs before collecting a hammer, pounding in some stakes, releasing a tunnel, climbing through a mud pit and some obstacles before shooting some baskets from a deck using a catapult. Mokuta got out to an early lead on the log stairs while Vakama struggled to grip their logs, given they were wet and slippery. I mean, I’m sad I have to use Jono’s smutty puns, but they also make me so proud of him. While I was welling up with pride, Vakama started to close the gap when it came to shooting baskets, thanks to Lee’s extremely steep learning curve. With both tribes even on nothing, Henry swapped in for Mokuta while Locky started to score basket after basket. Ultimately scoring a huge come from being immunity for Vakama while Henry narrowly avoided a nudie run, scoring one basket for the tribe.

Back at camp Nick quickly made it his priority to rally the troops against Henry, however was banging his head against a brick wall given all of the athletes are so passionate about keeping the strength. Thankfully Lee surprised me and was receptive to the idea of getting rid of Henry, and the plan quickly evolved to splitting the votes between him and Zach and getting rid of Zan Hen. Sadly for them however Abbey and Lydia weren’t feeling the plan, and Henry was busy winning over John by the fire. With Zaddy John, tragically agreeing to join him to vote out Shonee. They quickly pulled in Zach before taking the athletes aside to rope them into the plan, unaware that Harry – who invited himself along – is actually aligned with Shonee.

Harry took this information back to his fellow rascals, with Shonee quickly letting him know that she found an idol and as such, she will use it if she gets even a hint of danger. Wanting to keep the idol for a rainy day however, they split up to change the tide of the vote and continue to highlight Henry as the biggest threat. While they started to make inroads, Lydia warned Henry that people are nervous about his erratic gameplay and it would be wise to play an idol should he have one. With that, he decided to quickly throw together an idol and then plant and find it in front of everyone at tribal council. Which hopefully would be enough to force Shonee to play her real one. And given she is the CEO of the tribe, why wouldn’t she?

At tribal council Nick admitted that the tribe is still not really cohesive but hopefully after tonight, they actually will be. He used it as a rallying cry against Henry, highlighting the importance of predictability to the game. Abbey spoke about playing emotionally, Lee said that try as they might, they can’t separate their hearts from the game. Jonathan asked Lydia if they were strictly targeting the weakest, which she tried to dance around and said that she is solely focussed on doing what the majority want. Obviously Zach was all in on keeping the tribe strong before Shonee reminded everyone that they have actually won the same amount of the challenges and as such, they shouldn’t be so focussed on losing two immunity challenges in a row. John lied and said literally anyone could go tonight before Henry weighed in and said that that is a lie and in fact he or Shonee would be going tonight. Though he at least can add some strength to the tribe.

Shonee countered that she has something far more important and that is loyalty and doing what she says. Henry tried to counter it, challenging people to give him a chance. Nick tried to bring things back to making a logical decision and getting rid of the erratic players, while Henry’s eyes darted around looking for his fake idol amongst the trees. Shonee appeared to grow more and more nervous and as they were about to vote, Henry showed off his erratic behaviour, making a huge deal about finding his fake immunity idol. Shonee and Nick were unconvinced about his display and tried to calm the tribe, but they were all extremely nervous as they headed out to vote. Given she was too stressed to be blessed, Shonee played her idol and challenged Henry to play his, should it be real. Which it wasn’t so he didn’t, and as such, he found himself voted out of the game after Queen Shonee negated the majority of votes that were cast against her.

Whether it was in his best interests or not, Henry played his heart out and that is something I will always love about him. Plus, he is a total babe, despite not getting in on the nudity action. I took him in my arms as he arrived at Loser Lodge before sitting him down and berating him like Tyra did Tiffany for daring to try and target the one true Queen of Australian Survivor, my Shonee.


Emotionally spent, the only thing I could do was apologise for being not mad, disappointed in him and serving him a piping hot bowl of you-should-have-aligned-with-Shonee Henry Gorenicholson.

 

 

With as much fire as Henry had right out of the gate, this quick throw together meal appears anything but. Rich, tasty and packing a punch, you can’t be sad with this on your plate. Even if you don’t make the jury and are unlovable.

Enjoy!

 

 

Henry Gorenicholson
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 tsp peanut oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
500g beef mince
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bunches bok choy, trimmed and halved
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
2 tbsp kecap manis
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 lime, zested and juiced
200g thin egg noodles, cooked as per packet instructions

Method
Heat the oil in a wok over high heat and once scorching, add the shallot and garlic and cook for a minute. Add the mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for a couple of minutes, or until nice and browned. Season with a good whack of salt and pepper, and reduce heat to medium.

Stir through the bok choy, capsicum and broccolini, and cook for a further minute or so. Add the kecap manis, sriracha, lime zest and juice, and stir until sticky and starting to thicken.

Remove from heat and toss through the noodles. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.

And devour. Always devour.

 

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Jericho Maloo Bonda

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Side, Snack, Tapas, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 giants of the game returned to the island to get revenge, redemption or to detain their crown. John still loved speedos, Shonee is still a queen and Locky is still bae. After a gruelling opening reward challenge the Mokuta tribe got to claim a pre-built luxury camp, leaving Vakama to suffer through their first day. Thankfully though it lit a fire under them, or more specifically Locky, as he dominated the challenge and secured immunity for the flailing tribe. Back at camp Lydia quickly got to work getting revenge on Shane, rallying the numbers to take out our queen despite her valiant efforts to save herself.

The next day Mokuta were decidedly more upbeat, though mainly because Shonee was telling an iconic story where she pulled over an uber to pat a dalmation, bonding with its owner and then getting employed as his personal assistant. I mean, thank you Shonee. And thank you editors for making up for the severe lack of Shontent leading up to the season.

While everyone was falling under Shonee’s spell, Henry went slinking through the jungle to take a look at his latest idol. Rather than trying to make inroads with his tribe after isolating himself by aligning with Shane. He returned to camp and immediately started chatting to Harry by the fire, hoping to throw him off the scent that he voted for him the night before. Speaking of Harry, he got to work wooing Shonee, suggesting that the two of them should align with Nick. And just like that, I like Harry because he has exquisite taste and I want to be their best friend.

We finally checked in on Vakama where poor Locky was still rubbing his stick, desperate to start a fire while Jericho was like a phone when it is out of battery. Meaning, obviously, that he is running on empty. What a wordsmith?! While Phoebe didn’t call him out and calmly sat chatting, AK and David joined Locky to work on the fire. While once again AK grew tired of the calmness, hoping to lock in some allies and cause some chaos. The battle lines, apparently, were drawn by age lines with the old hags aligning, while the hotties – like him – all wanted to work together. Which was great for David, given he is super pretty but also almost 40. So I assume he is the swing vote, and honestly, I want to swing on him like a big old vine.

Adding to his beauty, he continued to rub his stick well into the night until finally, he got an ember and started a fire for his freezing tribe. I mean, what a beautiful provider?!

My boy Jonathan arrived for the reward challenge where three people at a time from each tribe would face off on a platform at sea, working to push the others off until only their tribe remains. It was for the chance to shop at the Survivor store, getting the choice of a range of critical items to make their camp life a little bit easier. In the first round Lydia, Abbey and Sharn were shockingly destroyed by Daisy, Moana and Brooke, thanks to Daisy crushing Lydia in an iconic scene. Zach, Lee and Nick were net to wrestle Locky, Mat and David, and honestly I didn’t care who won, only that they were all writhing around with each other. After Locky pulled Mat into the water, the round was halted as Zach heard his knee pop leaving Nick to battle against Mat and David all by himself. Which was adorable, particularly when David refused to battle to give Nick a fair shot.

I mean, fucking swoon.

Queens Shonee and Michelle eventually climbed onto the platform with Abbey to battle against Jacqui, Phoebe and Flick. With Flick and Jacqui quickly taking out our Queens, Abbey and Phoebe battled for over 20 minutes, with Abbey twerking in Phoebe’s face like she was angling for a rimjob until Phoebe freed herself from her clutches. After pacing around each other, Abbey lunged at Phoebe’s jugular leading to yet another epic battle before Abbey eventually scored a point for Mokuta. The boys made a return to the fray with John, Henry and Lee facing off against Locky, David and Mat – again – leading to another stunning sight of shirtless men wrestling, with Henry showing some crack and John trying to dack his opponents before going into the drink with Mat. Locked in a hug, Henry and David decided to chat about their positions in the tribe. Much to Moana’s – who I keep forgetting is in the cast – chagrin. Ultimately David pushed Henry in, leaving Lee to fight for his tribe’s survival, ripping Locky’s shorts off to stay alive. Unaware that Locky has zero qualms about getting nude in a challenge.

After securing victory, Jonathan surprised Vakama with the twist that only two of them will be going to select their reward from the shop. With the tribe selecting Phoebe – who had never, ever won a reward – and Locky, who took off his shorts to score the win.

With the duo off shopping, the rest of Vakama returned to camp and quickly congratulated Daisy for embarrassing Lydia and Abbey in a physical challenge. Focusing on the wrong things, Jericho asked what the shop would look like before suggesting that since they were split up, they likely will be getting a dilemma. And oh my goodness, have I been too hard on Jericho because that is the perfect thing to point out after seeing the only other winner of the cast just became the first boot.

Meanwhile over at the shop Phoebe was just excited to actually win a reward before they discovered they were able to snatch five rewards, either for themselves or the entire tribe. With that, they selected the chance to invite 2 people to a reward that their tribe loses – for themselves), a flint for the tribe, a bowl of cookies … which they cracked before leaving the store like a tantruming toddler, and then a boring old tarp and some potatoes. Trust solidified, the sneaky duo returned to camp with Phoebe wisley choosing to stay quiet and let Locky tell the story. Well until Daisy, AK and Jericho started to see holes in their story, crunching the numbers and making them nervous. Which led to Locky and Phoebe relenting and telling their allies that they also received cookies, which they stashed to share with the rest of the Heathers.

Before we could find out whether they would be sprung with the cookies, my love Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where each tribe was required to run under an obstacle, up a tower and release six barrels which they would race like Sierra-Dawn Thomas Anglim before standing them on discs and tossing sacks on each of them. Once they stand them up. As prophesied by Queen Michelle, Mokuta took an early lead, motivated by their loss at the reward challenge. Mokuta continued to slowly pull away, until Vakama’s final barrel got stock in their chute. Allowing Mokuta to push further ahead, with Queens Michelle and Shonee riding a barrel like it was their throne. Vakama slowly started to close the gap until Moana slipped off her barrel, meaning Mokuta could start the sack tossing before the others had even finished the course. Despite flailing in the previous throwing challenge Lee redeemed himself, scoring the first two points, with Henry scoring another before Vakama finally joined the fray. While Mat and AK desperately tried to close the gap, the lead proved too much to overcome, with Lee and Henry scoring immunity by the skin of their teeth.

And proving Queen Michelle to be a trusted psychic.

Back at camp the tribe quickly smashed a meal before everyone started to scramble, with the Heathers excusing themselves to scramble while the olds were left back at camp to find a way to save themselves. Jericho suggested they eat all the food while they were away, which takes away from his earlier wisdom. Meanwhile over with the young’uns, they were locking in the vote against Moana who was terrible at the camp with the bonus being that it would break up her close alliance with Mat. David however wasn’t sold on the idea, feeling it was way too obvious for them and as such, suggested they too get rid of their tribe’s previous winner. The group quickly locked in the vote and split up, before Phoebe shared that she didn’t want to vote for Jericho but also didn’t want to rock the vote earlier.

Speaking of Jericho, he was rallying the minority group, suggesting that they join together to vote out Daisy. With that done and dusted, Mat and Jericho bid adieu to Jacqui, Moana and Tarzan and got to work trying to woo AK and Phoebe over to their side instead. And while Phoebe was sold on their pitch, knowing she and Daisy have no plans to work together long term, like Nick last night, she didn’t want to put her neck on the line.

At tribal council Phoebe was nervous to be back at tribal council after her losing ways on Aganoa. David felt like no time had past since his last stint at tribal council before Flick put her foot in it, saying that she is voting for who is best for ‘us’. Jericho quickly questioned who the ‘us’ are before Moana straight up pointed out the 7-5 split amongst the tribe. Phoebe tried to downplay alliances before Mat played up his loyalty, reiterating that you need strong allies to make it to the end. AK shared that he was just keeping an ear out to the answers at tribal council before making his decision, making everyone in his alliance nervous and poor Phoebe look like she wanted to throw up. Phoebe changed tact and reminded everyone that she came from the worst tribe on her season and as such, she was really focused on staying strong to avoid losing again.

Jericho played the emotional card, trying to squeeze out some tears and sharing how much he loves everyone and how sad it will be to see someone go. Surprisingly the tears made Phoebe start to feel guilty, and as such, question if she was making the right decision. With that, Moana saw hope – get it? – and told Jonathan that the tribe would be going to vote before the opportunity passed themselves by. With that, Jonathan heeded her advice and the tribe voted, with the Heathers winning the battle and sending the only remaining victor from the game.

While I wasn’t his biggest fan in his first season – I mean, he was competing for my affections with Locky so never stood a chance – I truly felt sorry for him as he wandered into Loser Lodge. I mean, as soon as he saw Shane had gotten the boot you could see that he knew he would be following her straight out the door. As such, I pulled him in close, apologised for being harsh, threw out a confusing metaphor and then whipped out a big ol’ plate of Jericho Maloo Bonda.

 

 

Essentially the Indian equivalent of his first season’s victory meal, bondas are gloriously crisp balls of fluffy, spicy potato. Do you even need me to say anything else to convince you? Get thee to a kitchen, stat!

Enjoy!

 

 

Jericho Maloo Bonda
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
6 potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
olive oil, to taste
2 onions, diced
2 green chillies, diced
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 lemons, zested and juiced
2 cups rice flour
salt and pepper, to tase

Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions for five minutes, or until semi-translucent. Add the ginger, chilli and chilli flakes and cook for a further minute. Remove from heat and stir through the lemon zest and juice.

Place the pre-mashed potato into a large bowl and add the zesty onion mix and rice flour. Season and stir with the wooden spoon until it is well combined.

Form into balls, somewhere between the size of golf balls and tennis balls, and transfer to a lined baking sheet until all the mixture is done.

Drizzle with oil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Devour with some raita, in a state of mixed-metaphor bliss.

 

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Pia Mintanda Soup

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

After fifty days in the Fijian jungle, after Anastasia was booted from the game first thanks to Pia’s machinations, Laura was booted in lieu of Baden. They were followed by – yep, happening again – Susie, Nova, Steven, E.T., Sam, Sarah, Hannah, Casey, Matt, King RossAndy, Shaun, David, Zaddy John, Daisy, Simon, Janine, Abbey, Luke and Harry, leaving Pia and Baden to battle it out at the final tribal council.

And to say Pia dominated is a bloody understatement.

She clearly articulated her game, stood up to people that downplayed her achievements and really drove home to Baden how bad his final decision was as she claimed the first unanimous victory of the series.

Bow down to Pia Miranda, the one true Queen of Australian Survivor. Nay, Australia. Ever since she smacked that bitch Carly Bishop in her film debut, Pia has held a special place in my heart. I first met her on the set of Alibrandi when I was part of Anthony Lapaglia’s entourage slash personal security detail to protect him from Matthew Newton. Pia and I quickly bonded, so I vowed to protect her as well free of charge.

A few months later we were catching up and decided to tune in for the finale of this new little reality show called Survivor, and while watching Rich defeat Wiggles we fell in love and both vowed to both play and win the game some day.

While my moment in the spotlight is yet to come – I am growing my man bun first to make people think I’m relaxed rather than driving my anxiety and strung higher than Everest – I am so proud to have born witness to Pia’s game. From narrowly escaping becoming the first boot, her charm quickly found her solid allies that she could use as a shield while dominating the game socially. Which is ultimately what handed her the game and title of Sole Survivor. And the Pia Mintanda Soup prize that goes along with it.

 

 

While pea and ham soup is enough to make most people shudder at the thought of peas in soup, this baby is so good it will win you over. Like Pia. Glorious sweet peas and a good whack of mint work perfectly with some salty prosciutto to fill your heart with joy and make you feel like a Champion. Again, like Pia.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pia Mintanda Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g frozen peas, defrosted
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
8 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup thickened cream

Method
Combine the peas and stock in a dutch oven and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour. Add the mint and a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for a further ten minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Heat a lug of oil in a fry pan and cook the prosciutto for a couple of minutes, until glorious and crispy. Transfer to some paper towel to drain.

Meanwhile blitz the soup until nice and smooth. Return to the heat and stir through the cream. Season if required, going lighter on the salt than the pepper, and cook for five minutes.

Serve immediately topped with a cross of prosciutto and devour. Victoriously.

 

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Luke Tokolate Banana Bread

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Abbey continued to roll with the Contenders boys, with their sights set directly on Luke. Knowing he was screwed, Luke searched high and low for an idol and while he couldn’t find one, instead he won a powerful advantage followed by the next immunity challenge. Abbey and the boys identified Pia as the next biggest threat and worked to get rid of her, while Pia worked Luke to see if they could move forward together. Luke played his advantage and senr Baden back to camp, leading to an epic game of whispers and posturing that led to Luke and Pia standing strong and blindsiding Abbey from the game.

Pia, Luke and Harry returned to camp with Baden shocked to hear Pia was still in the game, while Luke celebrated the fact that he pulled off one of the biggest moves ever. Pia joined him to congratulate him on putting on an epic show, thrilled that she was able to charm her way into him protecting her. On the flipside Harry wasn’t thrilled by the turn of events, knowing that he was made a fool of and as such, he could only double down on the fact he needed Luke to go.

The next day the top four sat by the shore and congratulated each other on making it this far, with Luke particularly excited to have broken his record by making day 47. He was also particularly shocked to have not been sent packing as soon as he landed on the beach, given he has played before and showed what he was made of. He then ran through his resume and it was hella heartwarming and honestly, I teared up a little. Even when he went wild in the water. Harry was still salty about the previous tribal council and knew that Luke wins if he makes it to the final tribal council, and as such, he needs to win the next immunity challenge to get rid of him ASAP. Harry also noted that Pia is the next biggest threat, hid behind a meatshield while dominating the game strategically.

Pia returned to camp with a box with a quiz and honestly I wasn’t sure what was happening until they voted for Luke and Baden to get burgers and I realised it was a de facto reward challenge. While Harry shaded Baden’s weak gameplay to us, Baden was proud of the game he played with the hand he was dealt and well and truly exceeded his expectations.

My love Jonathan returned for the second last immunity challenge of the season where the final four each had to try and keep their balls in the air. One by one they would drop a ball at the top of a maze and race to the bottom to catch it and keep the cycle going, slowly adding balls at regular intervals with the last person standing taking out immunity. Everyone worked slowly and methodically with their first ball, trying to get the rhythm of the maze and figure out how they will manage when four balls are in play. Everyone made it through the first and second balls, with the panic well and truly sitting in as they added in their third balls. Pia ultimately was the first to drop. The fourth ball then tragically claimed Luke, followed by Baden, handing Harry his first immunity win.

An exhausted Luke then started to break down and honestly, I have some horrible Kelley Wentworth flashbacks and my heart is broken.

Back at camp Harry doubled down on the fact that he needs to take out Luke if he wants to have any chance of winning. He then approached Baden to lock in their votes against Luke, thought tried to downplay how desperately he wants him out of the game. Baden wasn’t as convinced about who should go next, knowing he has no shot against Luke thought wanting to keep him around because he likes him the best. Luke and Baden then caught up and lamented about Harry’s win, with Luke heartbroken to have fumbled at the last moment and trying to find the perfect balance of convincing them to keep him around without being overbearing.

Luke proposed that he and Baden vote together, and Pia and Harry will vote together and then he will face off with Pia in a fire challenge to guarantee they’re both in the final three and have a better shot of beating Harry and getting to the end. While Baden seemed open to the idea, he admitted that he won’t be able to make a decision until tribal council. Uneasy Luke and Pia caught up with them proposing causing a tie between Luke and Baden, with Pia knowing that he would win and let’s be honest, she is guaranteed a place in the final two as both boys would take her. While Pia wasn’t sure which way to go, she knew that if she couldn’t win, she wants him to to better his family’s life. They then broke down and spoke about how much they mean to each other and honestly, I’m a fucking mess. After that emotional little interlude, Pia went for a walk to try and figure out which way is better for her game, knowing that she can beat both Harry and Baden but realising that neither of them will take her to the final tribal council.

At tribal council Harry continued to think the contrived toothpick thing was cute, while he gave the jury his best shit eating grin as they filed in. He spoke about the pride and happiness of securing himself immunity, and more importantly kept it from Luke. Luke spoke about how hard it was to let his game literally slip through his fingers. His voice started to break as he spoke about having only one option left, sharing that he will be voting Baden and hoping that Pia will join him and force them into a fire challenge. He then went one step further and said that he will take her to the final tribal council if that happens, though assured her that he won’t be annoyed if she voted him out too. She spoke about her current dilemma, not sure whether to play with her head or her heart, and not sure which one actually gives her the best chance of making it to the end. As an aside, keeping Luke gives her the best shot at making it to the end.

Baden admitted that he is not confident should it end in a fire challenge, given he has done minimal work with the flint. Harry tried to praise Luke’s pitch and tell him it makes sense, though tried to get into Pia’s head and tell her that a guaranteed place at the end isn’t better than having to rely on herself to get there. With that the tribe voted and Pia decided to trust in herself, joining the boys and sending Luke out of the game as this year’s fourth place robbed goddess of the season alongside Flick, Michelle and Shonee.

Through tears, I took him in my arms and reassured him that he should be proud of his performance and I’m so glad to once again whip him up some comfort

While I slept on the power of the people’s Champion during his first run – I was a Sarah fan and was always distracted by Locky’s nudity, so, yeah – he well and truly won me over on his second attempt. Which I guess is why he manages to make it deep, and I believe always will, when he plays Survivor. He is laid back, fun and dulls the pain of starving on an island. Like my Luke Tokolate Banana Bread would if Jonathan ever wanted to offer my services for a reward.

 

 

Sweet and warm, this baby may not solve all your problems – right Apu – but it does kind of feel like a culinary hug. Lightly spiced and dripping with sticky chocolate, this is what dreams are made of.

Enjoy!

 

 

Luke Tokolate Banana Bread
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
225g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
60g muscovado sugar
70ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
175g sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and chocolate in a bowl, and whisk together the muscovado, sunflower oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bananas in another. Fold the wet mixture through the dry until just combined.

Transfer to a lined baking dish and place in the oven to bake for an hour, covering with foil for the last 30 minutes. If an inserted skewer doesn’t come out clean, reduce heat to 150C and return to the oven, uncovered, for a further five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour, slathered in butter.

 

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Abbean Holmes Soup

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Luke and Abbey were playing the middle of the two duos, with the former unaware that everyone – but Abbey – was plotting his demise. When he took out immunity and saved himself, Harry pivoted and put the target back on to his nemesis JaQueen. This put Luke and Abbey back in the middle and try as JaQueen and Pia might, they were unable to swing them back to their side, and JaQueen was tragically beheaded. Not literally, but it felt hard to watch. As Janine is a bloody icon.

Back at camp Pia was disheartened to have lost Janine though explained to the tribe that as an award winning actress, she could tell that it was coming since they’re shit actors. Abbey was proud to make it to the final five, and have the chance to show the jury that she can pull off a big blindside in getting rid of Janine. And since she has grown to enjoy a cheeky blindside, looked forward to rolling Pia next. Which can’t happen as my heart just couldn’t take it.

The next day Harry was thrilled to have Janine’s scalp in his collection like a munted Hannibal Lector. The rest of the tribe lazed about – Abbey not keen on having another bean, don’t tell John – while Harry decided that Luke is the last person left that could beat him in the final two, and as such, needs to go. He pulled Abbey and Baden aside to lock in the vote against Luke, and then quickly lined up the back-up target of Pia should he win another immunity. Given they can all see that she was the mastermind behind the boss lady. Speaking of Pia she wasn’t feeling it after losing her island bestie, though focused on her family who she was fighting for. She then put a smile on her dial, pretended to be happy and got to work winning people back without them noticing that she is coming for revenge.

She knew that Luke was her best shot, so huddled with him in the shelter and assured him that she has no desire to vote him out and as such, is his best bloody shot at staying in the game. He assured Pia that she has nothing to worry about as he knows he will be booted the moment he doesn’t have immunity or an idol. As such he went searching for another idol and after days of meandering the jungle, finally spotted a clue hidden in the tree. It led him to the other end of the beach where another clue was hidden within a coconut. This in turn led him back to camp to grab a machete before heading back to the coconut where he learnt that he didn’t find an idol and instead, won the power to send someone out of tribal council before the vote which makes them safe and robs them of the right to vote. At the final five. Which is fucking huge.

My dear Jonathan and his guns of steel returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would stack dominos along a beam tethered to a trip obstacle, with the first person to stack their dominos and have them clang – is clang the right word? – into a gong snatching immunity. Harry and Abbey got out to an early lead, while Luke trailed closely behind. Luke dropped three blocks, followed by Harry dumping a bunch handing Abbey the lead, with Baden close behind. Everyone kinda caught up, while Abbey, Baden and Pia tried to respace their blocks to give them a shot at victory. Baden then knocked all of his off the beam, allowing Abbey the chance to snatch victory however she didn’t space hers enough bringing it down to a fight between Luke and Pia, with Luke actually snatching a record equalling individual immunity.

Back at camp Harry was super grumpy about Luke’s winning streak, knowing full well that he and his fake son don’t stand a chance against him in the final two. He and Abbey went for a walk to lock in the plan B to take out Pia, with Harry sure that there is no way she will win anything and as such, will not help them get rid of Luke. Baden joined the duo and they all locked in the plan, worried about getting caught and then straight up giving each other pinky promises under the watchful eye of Pia and Luke. Pia laughed about them clearly planning to vote her out, though vowed not to go down without a fight. Unaware that she was charming the shit out of her biggest hope.

Abbey caught up with Luke, completely unaware that he knows she is gunning for him and Pia. He assured Baden, Harry and Abbey that he was with them until the end, though he was hopeful that he would be able to swing something to save Pia. He approached her and promised that no matter how it looks at tribal council, to trust him and she will be safe. He told us that his plan is to send Baden back to camp and force Harry into turning on Abbey with him and Pia. Knowing they needed to lull her into a false sense of security, Pia and Luke approached Abbey to float getting rid of Harry. Pia said she would be putting her acting skills to use at tribal, Abbey was unaware of the plot against her and Luke was honestly so far down a rabbithole that he worried that he would end up blindsiding himself.

Again, like a fucking icon.

At tribal council Luke interrupted Jonathan’s praise of his immunity streak by standing up, handing over the note and immediately sending Baden straight back to camp. He exited in utter confusion, thrilled to make it to the final four but shocked about what will go down in his absence. Abbey and Harry were shocked about the turn of events, while Pia pretended to be disappointed that he didn’t choose to save her. Luke then started whispering to Pia, which made Harry and Abbey nervous, though Harry admitted that it is unlikely that Luke would leave his plan to the very last minute and as such, it was all for show. Jonathan tried to rub salt in their wounds about being left out, leading to Luke whispering to Abbey while Pia whispered that Harry was awesome.

Sensing his imminent doom, Harry started to burn everything down and told them all that Luke is in control and unbeatable. He then mentioned that there is one way that they can save themselves, unaware that he is only burning himself given Luke isn’t going to flip on Pia to keep a fellow immunity threat around. Pia reminded everyone that staying focused on Luke is forcing others to make stupid decisions, while Luke said that only one person needs to worry this tribal council and it is about time they take the garbage out. Pia admitted that she is kind of shocked to potentially making it through the tribal and Harry tried to remind everyone that he is not the biggest threat left in the game.

With that the tribe voted and Luke and Pia’s hail Mary plan worked perfectly, with Abbey voting Harry, Harry voting Pia and Pia and Luke banding together to blindside Abbey from the game. And impressing the hell out of the jury with their flashy move. While she was overshadowed by her former closest allies Pia and Janine’s dominant games, she formed one third of Australian Survivor’s answer to the Black Widow Brigade and that is something that makes me immensely proud. Particularly after she blindsided her childhood hero and one of the aforementioned closest allies slash queens. In any event, she did me proud and surprisingly I told her that, took her in my arms and gave her a clearly island appropriate bowl of Abbean Holmes Soup. Despite the fact she wished to never eat another bean.

 

 

Essentially flavoured just like a can of refried beans, this isn’t going to be something that everyone loves. But if you love refried beans like Ab (used to) and I, roll right up. Earthy, spiced and pack with simple charm, this baby proves that sometimes plain(ish) can be your favourite flavour.

Enjoy!

 

 

Abbean Holmes Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 chipotles in adobo
800g canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp thyme leaves
a small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
100g queso fresco, crumbled

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic, tomatoes and chipotles, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the pinto beans and cook off any excess liquid from the rinsing before adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and simmer for half an hour, stirring infrequently.

Once the liquid has reduced to be just under the solids, add the herbs and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat, season and blitz until smooth.

Return to the heat and cook for another five minutes, adding some extra stock if it is too thick. Serve, top with queso and devour through the tears of your life.

 

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Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Daisy and Simon were sent to exile beach before facing off to return to the game, with the queen of green grass and rain exiting the game for good. After Luke took out immunity, Simon once again found himself as the target with Abbey, Luke, Baden and Harry planning to send him out of the game again. JaQueen and Pia weren’t so keen on that idea however, trying to woo Simon and the Contenders to their side to take out Abbey instead. When it became obvious that their backs were against the wall and the plan was a bust, they joined the rest of the tribe to send Simon out of the game. Unanimously. Again.

The next day the tribe awoke to wish Pia a happy birthday before reminiscing about what she would normally do on her birthday. She then spoke about how hard the game has been and how much she has missed her family. She then wrestled with Harry to celebrate and vowed to overcome the overwhelming minority she has found herself in since Abbey flipped the script on her and JaQueen.

Abbey, Pia and Luke then went fishing together while the latter regaled us with tales of how far he has come in the game and most importantly, how proud of himself he is. He then welled up and honestly, swoon – he is too pure for this world. And that is before he even mentioned his daughter having cystic fibrosis. We then checked in with Harry who reiterated that he is a cockroach before he and Baden caught up to come up with their next plan, deciding to join with Pia and JaQueen at the next tribal council and take out Luke. Speaking of JaQueen she shared that she signed up for Survivor to challenge herself and honestly, she is just a bloody icon. She then reminded us that while she is now on the bottom of the tribe, she believes in herself and Pia to make it through. Speaking of Pia, she was still out fishing with Abbey and Luke, charming the shit out of them and looking for another in while JaQueen approached Baden who floated the idea of joining together to get rid of Luke.

My boy Jonathan arrived for the latest immunity challenge where the castaways would need to untangle themselves from a rope that is looped over a log, crossing a balance beam, tossing sacks to release a key and unlocking themselves and, wait for it … solving a puzzle. Luke and Abbey got out to an early lead while Harry looked to be nearing a heartattack which honestly, is not something I want to witness on TV tonight. JaQueen started to chastise herself as Luke and Abbey started to navigate the balance beam, with the AFL champion snatching the lead. Well until Luke proved more adept at tossing sacks. Luke started solving his puzzle while Abbey tried to close the gap and the rest of the crew slowly made their way to the sack tossing portion of the game. Harry joined Abbey and Luke on the puzzle, with JaQueen and Baden soon following. While Harry desperately tried to close the gap, Luke started to panic before getting his eye in and snatching immunity for the third time.

And unwittingly blowing up everyone’s plans.

Back at camp Abbey was the only person that wasn’t completely bummed that Luke had won yet another immunity challenge. JaQueen quickly pulled Baden and Harry aside to flip the vote on Abbey instead, given she is the next biggest challenge threat. Sadly for her Harry was more interested in targeting her instead, so pulled Abbey aside with Baden to float booting JaQueen instead. The boys then mentioned that Janine and Pia had suggesting voting her out to try and seal the deal, however, that only seemed to make her less likely to join them. Abbey then took the intel back to Luke and mentioned that she caught the girls getting frustrated after he won immunity, and while they agreed they need to stick together, they weren’t sure which duo to side with. We then returned to JaQueen who told us that her and Pia have no intention of siding with Harry and that their plan is actually to reconnect with Luke and Abbey to get rid of Baden. Which everyone agreed on as he stumbled upon the scene.

At tribal council Harry spoke about the likelihood that a Champion will take out the game, though did vow to fight until the very end. Baden praised them for staying tight and holding firm on their Champion strong mantra. JaQueen spoke about how tight their group remains and how she wants one of them to take out the game. Preferably her. Harry tried to pitch that the Champions who feel most likely to be blindsided should join him and Baden to make a move first. Abbey spoke about the generic confusion of the game, unsure which side was telling her the truth and she should trust moving forward. Baden continued to point out that it is always better to make a move sooner rather than later, rather than regretting their choices from the jury. Luke and Abbey spoke about the safe option sometimes being the smartest.

Harry was disheartened, Pia mentioned that making a move at the wrong time was just as bad as not making one while Luke mentioned that the vote ahead will be straightforward and simple. With that the tribe voted and it turns out that the vote was straightforward for Luke and Abbey, as they flipped on Janine and Pia and sent the godmother from the game. While the tragedy of JaQueen exiting the game is something that I will carry with me for the next few months, I am grateful that we could honour her spirit with some Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries.

 

 

 

Now I know we’ve already experienced the majesty of haloumi fries in the Australian Survivor context – oh, hi Mark! – the addition of lemon and garlic is enough to give them a boost. Crisp on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth in the centre and packing a major punch of garlic, these are proof that you can always do better. Which I imagine is what Janine would remind us in a killer inspirational speech.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Garlic Janine Halloumis Fries
Serves: 1 powerful CEO and her dear pal.

Ingredients
½ cup flour
2 garlic cloves, minced plus 2 extra finely sliced
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp chilli flakes
400g Halloumi Holbrook, sliced into long chip shapes and patted dry
vegetable oil, for fryin’
1 tbsp oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine flour, garlic, dried oregano and chilli in a bowl.

Pour 2cm worthy of oil into a large pan and place over medium heat.

Once nice and hot, coat the haloumi in the flour mixture, shake off the excess and transfer to the oil to cook for a couple of minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process until the haloumi is done.

To serve, combine fresh oregano, lemon zest and a good whack of salt and pepper and sprinkle over the hot chips. Squeeze some lemon juice and devour, hoping to work through the confusing trauma of losing one of our Queens at the hand of another.

 

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Sosie Bacon Jam

Condiment, Gravy, Sauce

Wellity wellity, look who is back for some Sunday sauciness! Wait, no, shit, like Patty Hogg, I’ve said too much, I’ve said too much. Let me backpedal, I was on the phone to my love Kev last weekend – it was Daddy’s day, after all – and my god-daughter Sosie yelled out to send her love and talk about how much she missed me.

After Kev and I were done letting each other know how much we love each other, I got him to put Sose on the line and told her to get out here and visit with me some time. Ten minutes later she told me the flights were booked and to get baking.

So obviously I have known Sosie for her entire life and as her godfather have always tried to help her out when she needed it. I then got her cast in the Scream TV show, in an HBO vehicle and opposite three of my boyfriends in 13 Reasons Why, so I think you would agree I’ve been quite successful.

I was feeling super nostalgic spending time with Sosie, so told her how proud I am of her ad nauseum. Before whipping her up a vat of Sosie Bacon Jam.

 

 

Sticky, sweet and with a gloriously salty kick, bacon jam is quite possibly one of my favourite things. Chuck it on a burger, a sandy, with some cheese, in a quiche, hell even a shoe Old Gregg style, I will eat it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sosie Bacon Jam
Serves: 1-2 cups.

Ingredients
olive oil
500g streaky bacon, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup bourbon
⅔ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup muscovado sugar
2 tbsp thyme leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a small lug of olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the bacon over medium heat for about fifteen minutes, or until crispy, caramelised and straight up glorious. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Add the bourbon and cook the alcohol off for a minute before stirring through the apple cider, muscovado and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and leave to simmer, stirring semi-frequently, for 20 minutes, or until thick and sticky.

Season to taste and transfer to a sterilised jar. Or just eat with a spoon like a true member of the Bacon clan would.

It can keep for a week or so refrigerated, but I don’t think you’ll have any left over. Just sayin’.

 

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Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Champion girls were riding high after blindsiding David, with JaQueen pointing out that they need to get rid of one more Contender to solidify their game. Daisy found a second idol and was hopeful it would be able to turn things around for her, though sadly found it in front of Luke and Pia. As the Champs plotted who to vote against at tribal council, Luke and Pia spilled the beans about the idol and gave the Champs an upper hand in the latest head-to-head battle. Despite Daisy trying to play it cool, JaQueen scared her into playing the idol for herself, which didn’t help to save her as the Champions banded together to take out my king, John who was booted by the rest of the tribe.

Fully clothed.

The next day JaQueen and Baden were bantering over the fire, with Baden happily hacking at a coconut and proud that he has learnt to communicate with others. He haphazardly tried to slice breakfast, almost becoming a double amputee in the process, which further endeared him to his tribemates. I mean, the hilarity almost killed Pia who is killing the game and honestly, that is his best plan ATM. Otherwise, he is not winning.

Later that day JaQueen was riding high from John’s boot, given it means that the Champion majority has without a doubt taken control. And as such, she was feeling confident and planned to push her allies to get rid of another Contender next. Speaking of the Contenders Daisy and Harry were sitting by the shore heartbroken about their predicament, though shocked about how close everyone had gotten. Daisy was rightly feeling stupid about misplaying a second idol, before hunting for a third idol to keep herself safe, her allies be damned. She and Harry went searching, desperately, followed by Luke and Simon who were tasked with keeping an eye on them, Daisy started to get strategic, pointing out that Luke told everyone about her idol and that some told her it happened. While it was fake, that made Luke and Simon feel very anxious about their place in the tribe, immediately blaming Pia and vowing to get their own form of revenge.

Before Luke could take a shot at the one true Queen of Australian Survivor, Jonathan returned for the next reward challenge where everyone was split into duos to do an upright version of Twister. It was for an overnight spa getaway, so everyone was shitting their pants at the thought of winning. Pia and Daisy found themselves as one pair, Luke and Baden another, Abbey and Harry together versus JaQueen and Simon. One person was responsible to remove the even numbered pegs, while the other had the odds with everyone surviving the first round before Luke almost gave Baden a wristy and flooded my basement. While that didn’t happen, he did reach around before Harry fell from the wall and eliminated himself and Abbey. Everyone survived the next few rounds while Luke and Baden plotted about how they will survive the next few rounds of votes in the niche they’ve created in the middle … while JaQueen’s bush-feet dominated. Out of nowhere Baden fell out, while his father Luke tried to keep his spirits up. The remaining pairs kept a dominant pace before Pia slid off, handing Simon and JaQueen the win. Jonthan then gave them the chance to invite another duo to share the reward, with JaQueen rightly sharing the spa to their runners-up.

At the spa the victors were shocked by how opulent the reward was, despite the fact the weather was miserable and Simon like JaQueen believes that it is palm frong, not frond. Daisy was the most hopeful, feeling like Luke being left back at camp is the best chance for her to make a dent at the Champions numbers with JaQueen. Speaking of JaQueen, she was wise and asked everyone to go through the remaining castaways and list their pros and cons, pointing out why Harry and Luke are dangerous, with nobody able to point how dangerous she is. Simon then shared that Luke was annoyed that Pia allegedly told everyone that he knew about Daisy’s idol, filling her with nerves and unsure who to trust moving forward. Simon then doubled down and pointed out that Luke needs to go ASAP, with Daisy jumping on board and sharing it is her best chance to survive.

Back at camp Luke was feeling salty about Daisy’s lie, pulling Abbey aside and sharing that that intel made its way back to the Contenders. Knowing he would be screwed if he sticks with the Champs, Luke pulled Harry and Baden aside to find out who was spilling the tea and low-key, how does he orchestrate a blindside with them. Harry knew what he was trying, so lied that Pia is the one that shared the idol intel. Harry and Baden made quick work of pulling him in, identifying JaQueen and Pia as the biggest threats before the trio plotted to get the rest to split the votes, while the three of them band together to take someone out. Someone named JaQueen.

Everyone reconveened for the immunity challenge where they would each have to do a bicep curl to hold a ball, with the last one standing without their ball on the floor, snatching immunity. As they speculated who would win, Baden dropped his ball and pretend to be shocked. Though I feel like he meant to drop. Harry almost drop is, before Daisy’s fell out of nowhere while JaQueen threw some casual shade. Like the icon she is.Out of nowhere Pia dropped, followed closely by Harry, who should have been the first to go. Abbey was the next to go, thanks to a former broken wrist while JaQueen, Simon and Luke battled into their second hour. JaQueen then felt a spider on her knee, requesting that Baden remove it for her. Baden being an icon chose to ignore her request, leading to Daisy getting up to help as Luke eliminated himself. JaQueen and Simon battled out with the former desperately trying to get Simon to drop and give her a win.Harry used this to his advantage, telling Simon that he would drop if her felt safe which backfired, led Simon to barter for a reward – should JaQueen win one – and hand JaQueen a well earned victory.

Back at camp Harry was feeling super nervous, given his number one target had immunity. This made him feel super salty and since he couldn’t get rid of her, he was hopeful that Daisy would have formulated a plan at the reward. She joined with Baden and Harry to point out that they were all planning on voting out Luke at their next chance, and while they like Luke, they were just hopeful it would be enough to save them. Meanwhile JaQueen was nervous about Simon wanting to get rid of Luke and since Daisy was on board with his plan, JaQueen wanted her gone as she could predict everyone else’s moves.

Simon and JaQueen went for a wander into the jungle to lock in the plan to take out Daisy and while Simone didn’t want to, JaQueen barrelled through and told him that they would take her out and tell her that Harry would be going. Daisy stumbled on the scene and while they tried to lie and tell her Harry would be going, she knew it was a lie. With that, she approached Luke and floated the idea of getting rid of Pia and him joining the Contenders.

Pia too was feeling nervous, worried about Daisy’s lie ruining her relationship with Luke slash the game. With that she approached Luke to clear the air, and pledge their undying allegiance. The entire Champion alliance then got together to lock in the Daisy vote, though Luke’s growing nervousness started to make JaQueen anxious and hot damn, we have a vote coming. Baden and Luke then caught up with JaQueen, Pia and Simon watching on and let’s just say Alibrandi was only looking for a reason to flip the vote, convincing the other two to get rid of Luke to guarantee their numbers.

At tribal council Luke acknowledged that the post reward divide could have impacted the game, given half the tribe were left out feeling like shit. Pia admitted it was pretty sweet, while Daisy was hopeful after making friends in the jacuzzi. She continued to push that the spa crew formulated a plan, hopeful that they could pull in one other for a blindside. Luke said that making a plan and missing is very dangerous before JaQueen jumped in and CEO’d to say that the reward plan was just misdirection, while Daisy sharing that it was a lie and they were planning. She then spoke about mopping and flopping, before Janine double down on saving her allies.

Pia joined the fray, assuring everyone that everyone was at least floating everyone else’s name and TBH they all agree with the plans, whether they intend to follow through or not. Harry thought that was bullshit, Luke was nervous, Abbey continued to espouse loyalty, Daisy was nervous and Janine wanted everyone to stay solid. Then Jonathan dropped the bombshell that they would not actually be voting someone out of the game and instead, the person would be sent to exile beach to await the next person to be booted from the game before they battle it out for a chance to return. With that the tribe voted and Daisy found herself sent to exile, filled with nerves about what she was going to face while awaiting her next opponent.

The next day we did a welfare check of Daisy on Exile Beach and honestly it looked pretty desolate and I would have been absolutely terrified. She then kind of broke down from loneliness, despite being grateful to still be in the game. To make it worse the rain started to bucket down which is usually her favourite thing. But then she lit a fire, steeled herself and vowed to not just return but win the game.

We dropped by camp where the tribe were busy doing chores and running errands, while Pia, JaQueen and Abbey joked about the lack of Instagram with their lives and whether they are actually in Fiji if they can’t prove it. Pia spoke about how strong their alliance is, though knew that she will have to channel her inner Joe Pesci in Goodfellas ASAP and start whacking people. Speaking of people that need to be whacked, we checked in with Harry who was nervous about joining Daisy on Exile and tried to find a way to send literally anyone else. He was hopeful that his chats with Luke are the key to fracturing the dominant Champion tribe, so rallied Baden to join him and try to fracture the alliance. And send his nemesis JaQueen to Exile … and out of the game.

Harry approached Luke and played into his nerves, explaining that as soon as they can, his allies will blindside him. He admitted that he has more trust in Harry at this point in time, and was keen to flip things up and make a move. They then laughed about JaQueen and Daisy spending time alone on Exile, given JaQueen was tiring of Daisy. Harry then approached Abbey to see what she is thinking, before pointing out why it is the stupidest move for her. This started to make her nervous, realising that riding coattails will not pay off in the end and hot damn, may she actually flip on her closest allies? Again.

Don’t tell Nova.

Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where everyone would lay on a steep ramp above the water, holding on to a pole. With the last one left hanging winning immunity. Almost immediately Baden dropped into the water – with a joyous weeeeee – before quickly being joined by Janine. Everyone else made it to 30 minutes before Harry couldn’t hold out anymore. Jonathan clearly grew bored, so after 45 minutes he forced everyone down to just one arm which made quick work of Abbey. After 90 minutes – which is honestly insane – Simon and Luke dropped one after the other, handing Pia her first individual immunity win. Which is just as ridiculously amazing as you would expect.

Back at camp Pia was relishing in her role as a challenge beast, thankful that she won’t have to suffer through Exile. Janine too was thrilled that Pia won immunity, as that meant they can power ahead with their plans and send Baden to exile to eliminate Daisy once and for all. She rallied her fellow Champs and told them that they have the numbers to split the vote and not worry, which made Abbey more sure that making a move against her was a good idea. Well when she wasn’t riddled with fear about Janine coming back to the game and destroying her. Abbey approached Harry and Baden to float flipping the vote to Simon, given the girls will be more forgiving of that deception. While Harry admitted that he would prefer JaQueen out of the game, he straight up didn’t mind so approached Luke to see whether he would be ok with voting out Simon. And you know he was.

Abbey approached Pia and JaQueen to do some yoga and allow JaQueen to continue the push to get rid of Baden. Getting nervous about Abbey’s movements, Harry approached JaQueen and Abbey to talk about the dwindling time remaining in the game and as such, the need to start locking in the right path to the end.

At tribal council Pia continued to be thrilled about her immunity win, particularly since it means that she won’t have to suffer through Exile. JaQueen spoke about the complexity of the vote ahead, assuming that should a Champ get booted and come back, they will be furious, almost talking directly into Abbey’s soul. Baden spoke about being nervous before Harry pushed hard for the Champions to finally make a move and take control of the game. Simon admitted that Harry’s pitch sounds good, though planned to stay solid. JaQueen agreed that she didn’t see anyone budging, before Harry said that they have the luxury of not feeling nervous. JaQueen then grew sassy and pointed out that the Contenders only have themselves to blame. Abbey tried to play coy, Simon admitted that somebody strong needs to face off against Daisy, with Luke, Pia and Abbey all agreeing that they fear an angry Daisy returning to the game.

Luke was confident that he was in on the real plan, Simon said that he was feeling confident while Abbey crushed Baden and Harry’s spirits, saying that the numbers speak for themselves. JaQueen mentioned the vote won’t really impact the tribe, and that the main concern it what happens the next day. With that the tribe voted, Abbey and Luke flipped to the Contenders and Simon found himself heading to Exile.

After randomly voting for Abbey.

Later that night Daisy was shocked to be joined by Simon, who was well and truly shocked himself. They caught up and Simon filled him in on Harry, Luke and Baden flipping the script, while Daisy silently started to panic about facing off against a former athlete in the upcoming duel.

The next day Daisy awoke and put her game face on, while Simon spoke about how difficult Exile was despite not having to spend any time there alone. My boy Jonathan and the remaining tribe waited for them to arrive at the duel, with Daisy talking about how difficult it actually was to be by herself for a couple of days while Jonathan threw some casual shade at Luke and Harry. Jonathan then told the duo that their battle would see them guiding ten discs through a suspended maze and balance them on top with the first person to build their tower returning to the game and the loser out for good. Simon got out to an early lead while Daisy took a slow and steady approach. Simon then dropped a disc, allowing Daisy to take a slight lead before she dropped a disc and handed the lead back to him. Just. They stayed neck and neck for much of the challenge before they both dropped on their eighth disc, leaving them both to start over. Since Daisy dropped first, she had a small lead on the second build however dropped at the last minute, allowing Simon to snatch victory and return to the game.

Daisy was pretty gutted to lose the challenge at the very last moment, but was thrilled to finally be in the arms of a warm, loving fellow Queenslander like me. Not wanting to kick her while she is down, I avoided pointing out that the wasted two idols which could have really helped her game, so instead served her a big ol’ Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad to perk her up.

 

 

I know, I know, you don’t make friends with salad. But when they taste this good, you can surely make an exception. The sweet, sticky dates work perfectly with the creamy cheese and earthy walnuts to make this salad something really special.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pear, Datesy & Richardson Salad
Serves: 4, or one broken exiled castaway and her besto.

Ingredients
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp seeded mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
250g baby spinach or swiss chard, sliced
½ cup walnuts, roasted and chopped
6 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced thin
1 pear, cored and sliced
⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese

Method
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and a good whack of salt and pepper in a jug and whisk well to combine.

To make the salad, toss the dressing through the shard – or spinach – until everything is nicely coated. Add the remaining ingredients, toss again and serve immediately.

Then, obvi, devour.

 

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Alicia Caraway Meatballs

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: The Australian Outback, Tapas

Get your flagging finger ready and sidle up to my face because Survivor: Island of the Idols is back in less than four weeks and my girl Alicia Calaway is finally making her triumphant debut on this here anthropological study.

I’ve known Alicia for years after training as personal trainers together in NYC and when Probst was casting Australian Outback, I knew she would be a perfect fit. While her epic finger-waving fight with Kimmi made our friendship difficult for a couple of years, we eventually buried the hatchet as I aggressively tried to help pre-game for All Stars.

While Alicia’s most famous moves in the game are the aforementioned fight and providing a break to the Mogo Mogo pagoning in All Stars, she also holds the joint distinction of being the first person to vote for the winner of two seasons.

Given she has a history with Rob, I thought it would be entertaining to bring her over to celebrate his return with Sandra to pal around Gilligan’s Island style. Though tragically, they had moved on from their All Stars dramas and instead she was excited to see him back. And hopes it isn’t as long between this season and his next.

Again, I won’t say anything here about warring winners.

We laughed and caught up on life, toasted to the ongoing success of the show despite its ever worsening twists and gorged on Alicia Caraway Meatballs in the hope that Island of the Idols will follow David vs. Goliath and be a killer season despite the shitty title.

 

 

I stumbled upon this recipe on Taste.com.au in a desperate hunt for something quick, easy and featuring caraway, and it quickly won my heart. Delicate meatballs, with a good whack of spice and sticky sweetness? They’re now the second favourite balls I like in and around my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alicia Caraway Meatballs

Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup

Method
Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, egg, caraway, chilli and garlic in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined and form into golf sized balls.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and once hot, toss through the balls and cook for ten minutes, or until cooked through. Add the maple syrup and toss to coat.

Serve immediately and devour, careful not to wag the balls near my face. Though there would go my social life.

 

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