Jenna Lewiscuits waiting for our fellow fame hungry Survivor All Star Jenna Lewis.

Jenna Lewiscuits

Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: Island of the Idols

Well lookie here, can you believe we’re almost back for another season to see whether we can do a more elaborate shark jumping than last season? I mean, sure, Chris broke the pizza curse by returning to the game and securing victory, but can we be sure if pizza won’t be a curse when you don’t have a safety net? Who knows.

In any event, I stick by the old adage that bad Survivor is still better than no Survivor and last season did give us the majesty of Chris’ package and flashy – not in an Australian Survivor way, sadly – end game if something I will defend until my last breath.

Given last season’s countdown finally caught me up on having the suite of victors dropping by on record, I decided that it was time to celebrate some of the non-winning icons of the game. And while Jenna may not be remembered fondly for turning on the winners in All Stars, I will always hold a special place for her in my heart.

I mean, she was one of the few people to try and break apart the tagi alliance in Borneo, famously missed out on a video from home as her family forgot and then returned to All Stars and famously set the tone, cutting Tina first and making all winners targets.

She was thrilled and honestly, kinda shocked, to receive a call asking her to drop by and help me countdown to Island of the Idols since as she put it “I’m not what most people would consider a legend of the game.” Which truly kinda broke my heart.

I explained to her as one of the few people to vote for Rob to win All Stars, I considered her a rational gamer and felt wistful wondering what the timeline would look like had he won that game. I assume no Mariano duo in the potential and definitely not confirmed by spoilers season of winners at war … with each other, for instance.

With that, she giddily accepted the fact that being a returnee was enough to get and invite while we smashed some culinary sacrifices in the form of Jenna Lewiscuits, to guarantee Rob and Sandra don’t help the contestants on their island and instead troll them into making bad mistakes.

 

Jenna Lewis moments before smashing some Jenna Lewiscuits.

 

Fluffy and melt in your mouth, biscuits truly are a thing of glory – just ask Latrice ‘Slop-It-Up-With-A-Biscuit’ Royale! Not quite bread, not quite a scone, these babies are the perfect accompaniment for sausage gravy. If only Sam knew!

Enjoy!

 

Jenna Lewis smashing some Jenna Lewiscuits.

 

Jenna Lewiscuits
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
⅓ cup milk powder
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 ½ tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tsp kosher salt
125g butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for brushing
½ cup shortening, melted
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and press through the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers until it resembles wet sand. Add the shortening and stir to combine before adding in the buttermilk and folding through.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until just combined. Flatten into a one inch thick slab of dough and cut into two inch wide circles. Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with some melted butter and repeat the process until the dough is all used.

Place the biscuits in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Serve immediately – with or without sausage gravy – and devour.

 

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Alison Raybouldy Mary

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

Previously on Survivor yada yada yada, Davie was blindsided. This is a six person finale people and I have a teeny puppy fighting for my attention, I can’t give you more than that. How hard is my life, right?

Back at camp poor Nick was feeling betrayed by his allies, confused as to why they would choose to lie to him and chucking the shit that they couldn’t bring themselves to give him one vote. Angelina followed him as he stormed down the beach, trying to allay his fears and remind him that they will be going to the final three together. Nick was concerned that Mike would target him next despite Angelina assuring him that he is safe, yelling at Mike, Kara and Alison that Mike has no shot against Alison. Mike tried to go and talk to Nick and while he reassured him that Alison will be the next to go, he vowed to take it Nick if he didn’t simmer down and threatened his game.

Probst returned for the final five immunity challenge where the tribe would be required to stand on a tall pole in the ocean and fill a tube using a bucket of water to release a key … which is used to release puzzle pieces for them to solve. Poor tall, skinny Alison struggled to maintain balance while Nick took the lead. Somehow Alison managed to close the gap and overtake him despite being struck by fear, allowing her to start solving the puzzle before anyone else made it to shore. Nick and Kara soon arrived, followed by Mike as poor Angelina struggled with the challenge. Despite being first to the beach, Nick soon overtook Alison and snatched immunity before anyone got close.

Everyone congratulated Nick on his back-to-back immunity win before Angelina pulled Nick and Mike aside to lock in the vote for Alison, though did ask that they jump on board to create a huge show at tribal council to win the jury over. She decided that Mike should convince Alison and Kara to vote for her before she plays the idol and saves herself. Given Mike doesn’t want to help build her resume nor piss off Kara, he approached Kara to tell her about the plan and generally talk smack about the absurdity of Angelina’s plan. Sadly that appeared to backfire as Kara approached Alison, filled her in and suggested they get rid of Mike instead. Alison then took the plan to Nick in the hope of swaying him after being blindside, which he was obviously open to … however he and Kara then caught up and they vowed to vote together though weren’t sure who would be tougher to beat in the final three out of Alison and Mike.

Oh and Angelina then made a fake hidden immunity idol and led Alison to find it, just to rub in her potential demise even further which is evil. But really good television and will totally see her get torn to shreds, should Alison go and she makes the end.

At tribal council Nick admitted to being shitty about being left out of the last vote before Angelina explained that she comforted him and reminded him that everyone has felt that at one point or another. Probst reminded them that Davie challenged them to make a bigger move than his blindside, which appeared to piss off Mike since there goes a promised jury vote. Angelina and Alison acknowledged their friction, Mike and Alison appeared to now have friction while Nick and Kara sat pretty, realising that their decision will decide the final four and get rid of the biggest threat. With that the tribe voted, Mike gave an extremely sassy voting confessional and Kara voted to ensure Angelina’s idol play is unsuccessful. Alison played the fake idol, pretty certain that it is fake while Angelina snickered, admitted she made it and then played her idol, over explaining the process much to the disgust of the jury.

Oh, did I mention Alison was voted out?

Despite Angelina’s nasty slash hilariously catastrophic idol theatre, Alison arrived at Ponderosa as happy and delightful as she has been all game. Except when she is hangry, obviously. After getting a brief check-up – I like free medical care, ok – and checking each other’s pulses, Alison deemed me needed a drink to calm our nerves. Which is convenient, since I had a pitcher of Alison Raybouldy Mary ready to distract from her end-game loss.

 

 

I don’t know why, since alcohol, but I’ve always been against bloody Marys. Maybe it has something to do with Kirsten Cohen’s battle with alcoholism, I don’t know? In any event, they are totally delicious and let’s be honest, allow you to drink before midday without judgement. Which is enough.

Enjoy!

 

 

Alison Raybouldy Mary
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
½ cup tomato juice
2 shots vodka
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 lemon wedges
ice, to taste
2 stalks celery

Method
Divide the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper between the glasses and stir to combine.

Squeeze the lemon wedges into each and leave in the glass.

Top with ice, garnish with the celery and down.

 

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Mat Rojersey Caramels

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Dessert, Snack, Sweets, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Mat continued to dominate and started to chip away at Benji’s ego. Not to be outdone, Benji wooed Sam to try and take a shot at Mat and finally take control of an episode let alone the game. He and Sam went to work lining up the numbers … only for Mat to dominant in a killer immunity challenge and saving himself. Meanwhile things went from bad to worse for Sam as his plan was exposed and well and truly backfired as he found himself becoming the second member of the jury. Complete with a sympathy hug from little JoJo.

We returned to camp where the newly clean Brian decided to spread the love, relocating in the shelter to be closer to his new friends Shonella. Knowing that Shonella = Life and getting in with them will either be good for the game, or just make you a kween. Well, not as far as Mat or Shane are concerned however, as they grew tired of his comedy routine and spent the evening throwing him daggers and plotting his downfall.

The next day Brian continued his comedy, rocking a snorkel mask to avoid the smoke from the fire, earning the ire of Mat, Steve and Shane. Meanwhile Benji and Shonee were catching-up to find a way to go from being a power-bottom, to a power-top … begging the question, what is wrong with being vers? Anyway – Shonee decided that in order to take out Mat, they would need to pull in Brian so off they went to get things sorted. Benji approached Mat to clear the air from the previous tribal and thank him for saving him at the last tribal. Mat too was feeling paranoid, so thought that in order to move forward he needed to take out the shifty Brian and pulling in Benji would unite him and the outstanding Contenders.

We were also reminded about Mat’s idol, meaning she is going down this episode, no?

Benji and Sharn went into the jungle for a pow-wow, with Sharn immediately assuring him that his Contenders are safe and that she wants to get rid of Brian ASAP. Sharn went for a walk, giddy with her growing power, only to discover a clue for a hidden immunity idol at the next challenge. Kween. Kween Sharn. While Sharn was missing, Benji got to work telling Brian that Mat was targeting him and Monika that Mat asked him to spy on her. Sadly for him, Brian wasn’t buying shit. Well, until he mentioned that Sharn was on board and he and Monika immediately jumped on board and King Brian vowed to take control.

My boy Jonathan returned to the screen for the immunity challenge where the tribe was required to dig under a log, with six moving on to solve a puzzle … with the top three playing Survivor snooker for immunity. Steve and Benji were first through to the second round followed by Mat, Shonee, Brian and Shane, who pulled a come from behind win and killed Sharn’s chance at an idol. Well, unless she is daring. Anyway, Brian, Shonee and Benji moved on to the final stage, and hot damn I need Shonee to snatch immunity just for being a saint. The final round was neck and neck, between the boys and not Shonee, with Benji – UGGGGHHHHH – snatching immunity. Not to be outdone, Sharn was a boss grabbed the hidden immunity idol. Well, boss … until she dropped it in front of the entire tribe.

Back at camp Sharn was forced to attempt some slapstick comedy to deflect from the fact her idol was outed as she crapped it out in front of the tribe. Mat however, was thrilled by the turn of events as it managed to deflect from his idol. Mat, Sharn and Shane got together to lock in the vote for Brian before Mat approached Monika to secure her loyalty, with he vowing that she can act and keep the blindside up. Though sadly for him, Brian doesn’t seem to be her target. Shonella and Benji also agreed to take out Brian to his face, but Benji was itching to finally take a shot at Mat and take control of the game.

The Contender trio caught up to discuss whether Brian and Monika could be trusted, with the duo wandering upon them and vowing their undying loyalty. With the power going to his head, Benji decided that now would be the ultimate time to flush Sharn’s idol. He approached his secret ally and told her that playing her idol would be the best case scenario, to get the target off her back and gain some trust back. Sadly for him, Mat interrupted their pow-wow … though not before making her nervous enough to consider flushing her idol to save herself and not Mat.

Steve also made a Brianside joke, and damn, purple zaddy is life.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to point out that Mat and his alliance were dominating the game, kinda making him nervous about his place in the game, concerned about how information can travel and how it could bite him. Benji gave a vague explanation about taking out threats, Monika shaded Sharn for her shitty/ing idol find. Brian speculated about the remaining idols left in the game, Mat shaded Russ-hole – rightly – for being overconfident and underestimating his opponents. Monika spoke – AGAIN – about idols placing a target on your back, low-key pushing for her to play the idol and flush it out with the blindside. She then spoke – AGAIN again – saying this vote, for her, is an easy won, Fenella spoke about following the numbers – which Sam and Robbie didn’t buy – while Benji was hopeful that he was trusting in the right people tonight. This appeared to make Mat nervous, with him issuing a veiled threat about being the next out if you make a play and miss.

With that, the tribe voted and Sharn opted to play her not so hidden immunity idol ON MAT leave Benji in utter shock, desperate and shitting himself like Sharn’s idol at the challenge. The votes then rolled in – like Benji’s waves of regret – wait no, Benji told her not to play it on Mat and instead told her to play it for herself to avoid going to a revote. She then played it for herself, confusedly so, as Steve anxiously watched Mat and the votes rolled him, sending him from the game to become the third juror.

Given Mat is arguably one of the nicest people to walk the planet, it was really hard to watch him be so blinded by his confidence and NOT to play his idol, when Sharn’s attempt to play her’s clearly highlighted that something was afoot. Thank being said, it was also really easy to watch his boot because the tribal council was lit and Benji convincing her to revoke her idol play and direct it to herself was masterful, despite me wanting him out next thanks to Shane’s wrath.

Anyway – MAT. I’ve known Mat for years, thanks to my long association with football. I mean, my dad played three – yes THREE – first grade games for the Roosters, I swindled the old lady in the neighbouring corporate box at Seagulls to hand over all of her soft drinks and have the thighs of a front rower. As I was saying, I took Mat and I became friends and because I loved him so, I introduced him to Chloe and hot damn did Jeans West fit best. Given how grateful they were, we’ve been the best of friends ever since and catch-up fortnightly to be besties and smash a shit tonne of Mat Rojersey Caramels.

 

 

Are Jersey Caramels something I used to tease my co-worker for eating because they are old people snacks? Sure. But TBH, they are also freaking delicious. Sweet and chewy, this edited version of the most basic recipe I could find on Taste.com is the perfect way to get rid of the bitter taste of a killer blindside.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mat Rojersey Caramels
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp glucose syrup
3 tbsp golden syrup
125g butter, roughly chopped
200g white chocolate, finely chopped
icing sugar, for kneading
500g fondant
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Combine the half of all the condensed milk, sugar, glucose, golden syrup and butter in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar and butter have melted. Up the heat and bring to a simmer, while stirring constantly, for five minutes, or until the mixture has started to thicken. Remove from the heat and fold through half the chocolate, and pour into a lined square baking pan. Smooth the top and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the icing sugar on a clean, dry working surface and knead the fondant until smooth and malleable. Add the vanilla and continue kneading until smooth and well combined. Roll the fondant and carefully lay over the caramel, pressing to join.

Repeat the caramel process with the remaining ingredients and spoon over the fondant. Smooth the top and leave to set for half an hour, before covering with cling and placing in the fridge to set overnight.

Remove and cut into cubes before devouring. Or, you know, just bite off junks. No judgement.

 

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Udonathan Hurley

Main, Side, Snack, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Ghost Island, TV Recap

Following Sebastian’s boot we opened up straight at the next immunity challenge where Probst told them they’d be required to once again complete an obstacle course to collect puzzle piece before solving said four-piece pyramid puzzle. Yep – four piece. Laurel and Wendell got out to an early start – and we got Wendell crack, swoon – followed by Dom, Don and Angela, the latter proving steak isn’t actually helpful. Wendell and Laurel remained neck and neck throughout however everyone managed to catch up and work on the puzzle at the same time before Wendell took out immunity out of nowhere.

Back at camp everyone congratulated Wendell on winning immunity while Dom was gagged by the fact pyramids are not in fact flat on top. Given that Wendell has clawed back two wins, Dom was concerned about needing to find an edge over his rival. He vowed that Angela was a non-event, so decided to see what Donathan would do if he wins the next challenge with him immediately vowing he’d take Dom. While Dom didn’t exactly trust him, he feels that Laurel is more of a threat and decided it may be best to take her out. She joined Wendell and Dom to talk about moving forward, with Dom admitting she is more threatening than the others. Once again she reiterated that her only game plan is to hope they split the votes and she was scrape a win together thanks to the stragglers. Dom and Wendell then pulled himself away to decide what to do, with Wendell suggesting it may be best to get rid of Laurel but he will definitely be using Erik’s Micronesia idol to save someone and he hopes it is a big enough move to snag him a win.

At tribal council Probst shaded Dom’s performance at the last tribal before Yanny lamented the fact that Dom and Wendell are safe thanks to immunity and idols, meaning she, Donathan and Angela were unsafe. Angela admitted they looked like they spent the day decided who to take out before Donathan spoke about his inability to win a challenge. Dom then spoke about the fear of picking the wrong person to take to the end and Wendell brought up his idol and the fact he was undecided whether to play it for someone. Laurel reminded them of her loyalty and hoped it was enough, sparking Don to once again point out he is shit at challenges.  With that, the final five voted before Dom played his idol and Wendell took the chance to showboat for the jury, playing his immunity idol for Laurel since she reminded him of his sister. They then hugged it out, exchanged the idol, played it and sent dear, sweet Donathan from the game as the ninth boot.

Given it was the wonderful most experience of his life, he was pretty damn happy when he arrived at Ponderosa, despite his boot. So after quickly catching up, discussing his game and sassing about Laurel’s ability to ruin all moves, I quickly whipped up an Udonathan Hurley and celebrated his experience.

 

 

Spicy and comforting, this is the perfect representation of sweet Donathan – aka the second recipient of the Sia LGBT player of the season. The sassiness of his tribal council performances are like a whack of chilli in a sea of kind, loving udon noodles. And that is exactly why you love him.

Enjoy!

 

 

Udonathan Hurley
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
500g pork mince
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 long red chillis, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp cooking sake
1 tbsp soy sauce
5 shallots, sliced with some green reserved to garnish
¼ cup red miso paste
2L chicken stock
500g udon noodles
4 eggs, at room temperature
200g silken tofu, cut into four slices
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

 

Method

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat, add the pork mince and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes while breaking up with a wooden spoon. Add the ginger, garlic chilli and sesame seeds and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, sake, soy, chopped shallots and miso paste and stir for a minute or so, before slowly stirring through the stock. Bring to the boil before reducing to low and leaving to simmer.

 

Prepare the udon noodles as per packet instructions, soft boil the eggs and peel.

 

To serve, place the udon noodles in a bowl, add a slice of tofu and the eggs cut in half and top with a generous heaping of the pork broth. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and the green of the shallots, and devour.

 

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Tessalad O’Halloran

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Salad, Side, Snack, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor, Luke scored big at the auction and somehow won me over in the process. Tessa scored big getting an overnight reward, taking Luke and Michelle with her and forming the champagne alliance, not to be confused with the champagne celebrant. Tessa then won immunity and set-up the biggest blindside of the season, with the various factions aligning to take out the biggest threat in the game, fauxgi, Henry.

Asatoa returned to camp where Tara was shocked to once again find herself on the wrong side of the numbers, though wasn’t disappointed by the outcome given Henry was a huge threat. Locky was also sad, though not surprised, repeatedly sharing that he spent Henry’s last minute in the game begging him to play his idol.

The next day Luke was feeling extremely confident to have regained control, despite the fact that Michelle, Tessa and Sarah are the clear brains of the alliance. Luke continued to be overconfident and my brief period of fandom once again came to an end. As she has once again lost her numbers, Tara joined Ziggy and Michelle for a turn around the jungle where Ziggy pushed herself as the ultimate swing vote. Back at camp, Luke continued to be overconfident and reminded us that he invented the spy shack, which was somehow employed by Tony Vlachos in his winning season on Survivor. Despite the fact he is overselling his involvement in a spy shack, he did catch Ziggy and Tessa plotting to get out Jericho by the well so it is worth it. As much as I want Jericho to leave.

A shark then came to the bay leading to Locky wandering out to a sandbar to try and equal Luke’s kill count. Abruptly the tribe then joined together to talk about who has received votes at tribal councils, where Queen Michelle spoke about being in control though not being considered a threat. She then talked smack about Sarah who then tried to form a women’s alliance with Ziggy, minus Tara and I think plus Pete, leading to Michelle distancing herself from her closest ally to avoid getting caught in any potential webs.

My boy JoJo returned for the next immunity challenge, which is one of my faves, requiring everyone to balance an idol on the top of a long, hard – albeit not very girthy – pole. Remember, this is the one leading to Joengel fainting in Second Chance and Keith “ma fuckin’” Nale taking out immunity. The wind was positively cyclonic, though somehow everyone survived the first three rounds before Jericho, Tara and Locky dropped out within seconds of each other, followed by Michelle, Tessa and Sarah. Not long after ticking over into the fourth round Pete faltered in his pole-work, leaving Luke and Ziggy to battle it out for immunity. Thankfully our Olympian outlasted my renewed nemesis and took out her second individual immunity.

Tara was feeling extremely nervous arriving back at camp, identifying that Tessa and Pete are the two that they need to pull in to blindside Sarah. Tessa quickly agreed with the plan, which Locky was buying but Tara was not really trusting her. Tessa and the champagne alliance then reconvened to confirm their plans to split the votes between Locky and Tara, ignoring the fact that that leaves three people to force a three-way tie.

Michelle and Tessa were feeling extremely confident in their plans, which obviously lead to Luke and Jericho plotting to get rid of Tessa due to the spy shack intel. The boys then approached Sarah and Luke became mildly likeable again, explaining that getting rid of Tessa was the best option meaning Sarah and Locky – my obvious faves – should both be safe for tonight. Sarah though wasn’t so sure about flipping on Tessa, meaning there were a sum total of 300 different plans as they headed off to tribal.

At tribal Tara acknowledged that every time she thinks the vote is easy, she ends up being blindsided. Sarah, Michelle and Locky added that everyone is playing extremely hard and that has resulted in alliances changing every hour. Ziggy added that that sort of gameplay is what is changing up the targets as the latest person to make the move is quickly becoming the newest target. While Luke and Tara, Pete and Tessa, and Sarah and Michelle all said that there are still people they trust left in the game, Sarah pointed out that she never specified for how many votes which is kind of makes me worried. Particularly when Jericho said he was planning to assassinate a threat and I can’t remember, for the life of me, who he thinks is a threat.

The votes then rolled in two a piece for Locky, Tara, Sarah and Tessa, before Dr Tessa was tragically felled and sent to the jury. While I feel sorry for (almost) everyone that gets voted out, Tessa did only manage to make it this far thanks to old Tarzan’s idol so I wasn’t as sympathetic as I could have been. Plus, she was far more compelling when she was an underdog, so I didn’t want to lift her up too much, you know? Despite this, I whipped her up a Tessalad O’Halloran which, truth be told, is the ultimate pick me up anyway.

 

 

The sweetly caramelised sweet potato, with the punch of the onion, garlic and pesto work perfectly with the beautiful orbs of cous cous and fresh spinach. Did I mention that Tessa is a doctor and I knew she’d want a responsible first meal back in reality? Well she did … and she got lockylucky that this was also delicious.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tessalad O’Halloran
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 sweet potato, diced
1 red onion, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
olive oil
250g Israeli cous cous
¼ cup Toni Basil Pesto
2 cups baby spinach

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the sweet potato, onion and garlic on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and caramelised.

While that is on, cook the cous cous as per packet instructions.

When they are both done, transfer to a bowl and toss through the Toni Basil Pesto and baby spinach before serving and devouring, in an aggressive manner like the salad flipped on you.

 

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Aubry Bracco Vin

Main, Poultry, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, advantagemageddon occurred meaning five of the six people were immune, eliminating kween Cirie by default.

She better be the first – and only – five time player.

Not wanting to remind us of another painful Cirie exit, Probst returned for the second immunity of the night – the classic dropping balls, balancing them on your hard rods and guiding them through tight holes. Aubry and Troyzan struggled dearly while Brad and Sarah took an early lead. Sarah choked at the last minute of the first run, giving Brad a clear outright lead … from which no one else could catch-up, giving him his fourth individual immunity of the season.

With Brad immune, Aubry was particularly scared given he has zero interest in ever working with her. Confirming her fears, Brad felt victory was in sight and quickly locked in the Aubry vote with Troyzan and Brad.

Aubry tried to work over Tai and Sarah, knowing that Brad was dragging Troyzan to the end as a goat no matter what. Sarah pulled Tai aside to see whether she could trust him again, trepidatiously asking what they should do … with even Tai locking in the vote against Aubry.

Tai then joined Brad in the hammock, where Brad continued to bully him saying that he had no choice and had to vote with him no matter what for the rest of the game. This spooked Tai, who returned to Sarah and confirmed that they should get of Brad’s right hand Troyzan.

We returned to tribal to be reminded that Cirie was eliminated by default, breaking hearts globally.

Probst got his man-boner out to gush over Brad’s immunity run, with Troyzan hopefully he could snag a win the next time. As expected, Aubry wasn’t feeling confident … but boy did she try to convince Sarah and Tai to boot Troyzan and free up another seat at the final tribal. Sarah tellingly said that Aubry’s pitch was great, if that is what is best for all of them. Everyone but Troyzan was feeling concerned about who they could beat in the final, which is crazy since he is the least likely to win. Sadly Aubry’s pitch fell on deaf ears – or at least ones that didn’t have interests that align with hers – as she found herself booted from the game in fifth place.

Hey – at least she actually got votes before getting her torch snuffed, I guess?

As you know, Aubs and I attended Brown with Summer Roberts, and the three off us have been the best of friends ever since. Thankfully this post-boot catch-up was less heartbreaking than our last, given that she was robbed the last time and this one I’m surprised she stayed as long as she did with as large (and as recent) a target as she did.

I’m even more thankful that Aubs is so easily pleased by any food on offer – coleslaw, anyone – because it means that she completely goes nuts on our dates, particularly if it means she gets Aubry Braccos Vin.

 

 

Straight up, there is bacon, chicken, mushroom and red wine – do you need me to say anything more?

Yes? Go fuck yourself. Sorry, that’s aggressive. But kinda deserved.

No? Exactly – enjoy.

 

 

Aubry Bracco Vin
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250g smoked streaky bacon, roughly diced
olive oil
2kg chicken breasts, cut into a large dice
¼ cup Cognac
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
6 onions, sliced
3 tbsp flour
2 cups Côtes du Rhône ( … or any red wine, though how good are all those accents?)
2 cups chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
400g mushrooms, quartered

Method
Start by heating a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and cook for a further ten minutes, or until sealed on the outside. Add the Cognac, let it bubble up and stir for a few minutes. You could light the cognac and let it burn off the alcohol, but I’m scared of fire and would totally lose the final four tie-breaker.

Add a good whack of salt and pepper, the bay leaf, thyme and onions, stir and cook for a further fifteen minutes. Sprinkle in the flour while stirring and cook for a minute or so before adding the wine, stock, garlic and tomato paste to the pan. Bring pot to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about half an hour, stirring as you see fit.

Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for a further fifteen minutes, or until soft and glorious.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately on a bed of mashed potatoes, or with thick chunks of crusty bread.

 

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Bret LaBao Buns

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Enjoy!

 

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Bret LaBao Buns
Makes: 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes – that sentence was deliberate.

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

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

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

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

 

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Tomato Soup Clarke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2016), Main, Side, Snack, Soup, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the tribe were paranoid after Nick pointed out the bleedingly obvious except for Kylie who blindly followed Brooke and Flick who got more cocky by the second and JL returned from her six week absence to win immunity before Kylie found her trust misplaced and herself out of the game.

To the joy of everyone, who did not miss her despite the fact she was a loving lapdog for the last 40 days.

Thankfully JL is making the most of her return and is reiterating what Kate and Nick said on their way out days ago – it is time to make a move and fight the power. Or something, I’m not getting my hopes up as the last six episodes have been about someone fighting the dominant alliance … only for nothing to happen.

The next day the unholy trinity met in the water for Flick and Brooke to strategise about getting rid of the boys while El did her thing and agreed with everything that was said. JL, meanwhile continued to make the most of her second chance and went to Kristie to turn the tide against the girls and actually play for herself. Then – wait for it – she approached Sue and Sam in front of everyone at camp, while Flick stared at her with more anger than my resting bitch face.

While I was hopeful that with Kylie gone the girls wouldn’t have a snitch, Matt took everything that JL had then told him – which was true and he knew it – back to Brooke. After such a triumphant episode yesterday, I’m back to hating him. Obviously this annoyed the girls and they set their sights on JL, but more importantly Brooke allowed El to tell the story and feel like she was contributing to life. Their arrogance then went overboard and I’m back to wishing for their downfalls, even though they’re the only people that have played consistently the entire game.

I’m looking at you, disappearing JL.

Finally JoJo arrived to give us some more ball action for a spitSunday roast. Sue was given the joy of sitting out of the reward and gambling for the win. Given one team had an ex-cricketer who is also experienced with my balls, she rightfully backed the winning team and got to reap the rewards of their hard work.

While the cool kids and Sue were enjoying their reward, JL got to work on wooing the sole cool kid left at camp, Flick, to consider booting Brooke, who let’s be honest will beat both her and El. The next day, JL was further on the outs with the girls now straight up ignoring her after Matt continued his assault on my sanity after telling the girls everything she had said to Flick while they were away on reward. Seriously Matt, your actions make me feel bipolar – stop.

We arrived at the next immunity challenge where the tribe had to stand on their toes and keep a block balanced between their head and a plank above – sounds boring, looks boring, genuinely difficult. Thankfully JL, the one most in need of immunity won the challenge meaning the girls had to find a new target heading into tribal.

The tribes returned to camp with the absolute shits due to JL’s victory before focusing on voting out their alliance member Matt, while JL and Sue took the time to talk smack about Matt and mock his game. Sadly, obviously, making him safe. Right on cue, the alliance then had a change of heart and decided, quite rightfully, that Sue was the next biggest threat and needed to go, and opted to split the vote between her and Kristie.

Matt then continued to show his mentalist abilities and pressed his alliance to split the vote, repeatedly, in front of Kristie … despite knowing that they were splitting the vote on her. Unless we later learn this was his move to save Kristie, this was moronic. Thankfully JL and Sue continued to show that they were the true brains, planning to throw their votes on Kristie in the hope that split happens and they can force her out of the game.

We finally made it to tribal for JoJo to put us out of our misery. Well JL actually did the job, when she opened tribal by reading Matt for absolute filth and then berated him in front of the entire tribe, impressing the jury and making him look like a dweeb.

Yes, I say dweeb now.

Wanting in on the action, JoJo then jumped on the bandwagon and started to help JL twist the knife in and rub his face in it. JLP, you beautiful bastard – finally your heavy handed approach to tribal is paying off. Flick then admitted she would need to flip to get to the end, then said she doesn’t want anyone to flip, then Sue jumped in and commenced reading the trio of girls, pointed out the entire pecking order and questioned their every refute. Thankfully Sam was still around to make no sense and not understand the game. Sadly his presence was to the detriment of Sue’s game, who made her way out of the game into my loving/frustrated arms.

I first met Sue while she was working in customs – she broke up my budgie smuggling ring and sent me to prison for a decade. Being kind, Sue responded to my prison letters and we developed a bond while she tried to help me get my life back on track.

Obviously that all occurred over a piping hot bowl of Tomato Soup Clarke, my prison weapon of choice.

 

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While I’m a huge fan of some Big Red, I’d always wanted to try making my own tomato soup and thankfully the warmth of Sue’s kitchen showed me the light and gave me the confidence to try. Warm, rich and everything Big Red isn’t, in the best way possible.

No shade to Big Red though, I love it and would be their spokesperson in a heartbeat. Enjoy!

 

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Tomato Soup Clark
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1.5kg Roma tomatoes, halved
pinch of raw caster sugar
olive oil
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
50g unsalted butter
2 onions, roughly diced
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped, roughly
4 garlic cloves, bruised and chopped in half
400g can – chopped – tomatoes, how much do I love chopped things in this recipe
2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
2 bay leaves
small bunch of basil, leaves removed with some kept aside to garnish
4 cups vegetable stock
handful small buffalo mozzarella, torn

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place the Roma tomatoes, cut-side up, on a baking tray like they are going to sunbake in the oven, rather than die. Top with sugar, drizzle with oil and season with a good whack of salt and pepper before roasting for half an hour or so, or until softened and starting to caramelise.

Remove from the oven and add their children  – aka cherry tomatoes – to the tray and bake for a further 15 minutes to ensure you’ve wiped the entire family from existence. Remove from the oven and allow to cook.

While the tomato corpses are chilling, melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan with a good lug of olive oil. Cook the remaining vegetables for a couple of minutes, until softened. Stir through the canned tomatoes and paste before adding the bay leaves, basil, stock and cooked – read, dead – tomatoes.

Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour or until tender.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before blitzing. Once as smooth as Santana feat. Rob Thomas, return to the heat and cook  for a couple of minutes before adjusting the seasoning.

Generously serve amongst the bowls and top with the torn mozzarella and reserved basil. Devour.

 

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