Chicken Shomein Fairfax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Shomein Fairfax
Serves: 6.

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

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

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

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

 

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Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza

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

Previously on Survivor my boy Probst met 20 new castaways in the middle of the Fijian for a biblical battle, with the underdog David tribe taking out the first reward of the season. Meanwhile over on the overachieving Goliath tribe hot cop Dan and Kara met each other and instantly fell in love because they are beautiful. Their luck continued, with Dan then finding the first idol of the season. Meanwhile over at the David tribe things were looking bad for Nick, who was left right out and set to be the first boot after they lost immunity. Thankfully for him – and horrifically for everyone – there was a freak accident in the boat after the challenge, doing such a number on Pat that he was evacuated as the first boot.

That night back at camp things continued to be miserable as the weather took its toll on everyone, unable to start a fire or stay dry and TBH. Things were just as bad, if not worse, at the Goliath tribe they too were pelted with rain and their tribe flag was lucky not to blow away. Things were no better the next day as everyone shivered and started to break down as they desperately tried for a fire. Thankfully there were glimmers of hope as Christian and Nick went out in the wet to try and find something to find something to start fire with and/or eat. That obviously led to them talking strategy and lamenting being out of the loop on the potential last vote, and as such quickly aligned. And while I’m already loving this underdog story, Nick then spoke about the fact he was probably meant to be voted out last night and as such he is going to fight to win or die trying and damn there is something likeable about him. Probably his eyes. They then geeked out finding bamboo to reinforce the shelter and naming their alliance, unaware this isn’t Survivor. They arrived back at camp to discover that Bi had dropped by treemail where they discovered a fire making kit and tarp to ensure nobody dies.

The Goliaths too, recieved said kit and tarp and the mood appeared to champ instantly. Dan and Kara took a moment to discuss finding the idol and partake in some generic flirting. Which did not go unnoticed – much to Kara’s chagrin – with Jeremy and Alec plotting to split them up and Natalie warning her to tone it down for her safety. Wanting to work around the situation, Kara approached Angelina and Natalia to assure them that she is interested in forming a black-widow brigade, stringing their respective men along and taking them out one after the other. After taking out Queen Natalie and Mike, obvi. Speaking of Mike, he was keeping watch as Jeremy rifled through peoples drying clothes and found Dan’s idol, which Kara had warned him to be more careful with. As such, Natalia and Kara are not the only two other people that know and as such, Mike and Jeremy’s stock just went up.

Things were looking up at the David tribe too, where Davie had decided to continue providing for the tribe after his epic octopus catch.  Whilst hunting for more food, he inadvertently found a hidden immunity idol and bless him, he deserves it. Particularly for saying this smells like authentic idol leather, begging the question, is that what my couch smells like? Meanwhile Carl was lamenting the loss of Pat and decided that the no longer can afford to lose Nick, instead wanting to take out Lyrsa, who he decided was the weakest. While Nick loved that idea, Elizabeth was pissed that her best buddies name was being thrown about. As was Lyrsa who desperately wanted to scream them all down, explaining she is the reason they won the first challenge.

Over at the Goliaths Jeremy and Alec continued to look sexy in their underwear before Jeremy instantly became my favourite by stripping down. And hot damn, I need a minute. Back in the camp Natalia was getting a nose and teeth booger check from Angelina, under the watchful eye of Natalie who obviously thought it was fucking stupid. Boogers in your teeth? Childish. Queen Natalie continued to lay low, watching everyone work and sassing them as much as possible. Sadly for her, people did actually notice her and were growing tired of her bullshit. Except for King John, the George Bushy of Tushy, who thought she was a great person to work with. John pulled Natalie aside to warn her about her attitude, leading to her approaching people one at a time and questioning their decision to target her, given she is a non-threat. While everyone decided the drama was too much for them, Jeremy pulled her aside to tell her some hard truths about her lack of self-awareness. Which she refused to accept, driving Jeremy mad and locking in his resolve to get rid of her.

Dear Jeffrey finally returned to screen for the immunity challenge where he explained to the Goliath tribe that Pat was injured after the last challenge, and therefore, someone is still potentially going to be the first one out. Anyway, the challenge. One person from each tribe was required to climb up a ladder to release a key, which would be used to retrieve a bag of puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle on a wobbly table. Given that in addition to immunity they would get a huge fishing kit, Davie the provider was totally pumped. Alec got the Goliaths out to a huge lead over Bi and the David tribe, allowing they to go out and grab the puzzle pieces and return to shore before Bi reached the top of the ladder. The Goliaths continued to work on the puzzle while Bi was abandoned at the dock collecting puzzle pieces while their boat drifted away. Given the puzzle seems insanely hard the Davids quickly caught up as everyone dropped their platforms and destroyed their work. Thankfully the Goliaths put everyone out of their misery after an hour, solving their puzzle and snatching immunity much to everyone’s exhausted relief.

Back at camp the Davids lamented their loss before Bi desperately gave them all a peptalk to get their head in the game. Bi and Jessica locked in their vote for Lyrsa, though given how cagey they were being when Gabby approached them to discuss tribal, she decided to go and find a plan she feels safer with. Speaking of feeling safe, besties Elizabeth and Lyrsa desperately tried to find some for the latter, identifying Jessica as the better target. They then approached Gabby who was concerned they wanted to target her, so was all in when they suggested getting rid of Jess instead and taking out Bi and Carl’s closest ally. Elizabeth pulled Christian in with a hug – literally – and locked him in for the vote against Jessica. Christian and Gabby discussed the plan and locked in their alliance together, before Christian approached Nick. Who tragically wasn’t interested and would prefer to take out Lyrsa.

With that we obviously arrived at the insanely beautiful, grand tribal council where Jeff questioned how they could handle the cyclonic weather, which they all said brought them together. Elizabeth admitted that those bonds would make the upcoming votes more difficult, though Lyrsa admitted that you can cut the tension with a knife back at camp. She then spoke about having heard her name for being a weak link, which made Jessica sass her for not playing the game hard enough if that is the case. Gabby suggested people shouldn’t underestimate anyone, Bi said she was voting on performance despite bombing the immunity challenge, Christian spoke about the votes all being organised and Nick admitted that the game was built on deceit so that they need to build trust where they can. After a discussion of the battle between playing a tribal vs individual game, everyone shared our nervous they were though Jessica did admit that it was exhilarating. With that, they voted and it turns out tribal wasn’t as exhilarating as she would have hoped, becoming the second – slash technically first – boot.

To be honest, I shouldn’t be shocked by the turn of events that led to her demise. Despite such a strong start last episode, I had menu-planned for her to be devouring pizza in Ponderosa and as such, she would be doomed to be a pre-juror because of my curse. I held her in my arms while I cried uncontrollably while repeating sorry, which let’s be honest would have been a terrifying experience for our child contestant. Thankfully she took her boot in her stride – no doubt thanks to the extreme pity she felt for me post meltdown – and said that while the curse definitely doomed her, she couldn’t be grumpy when it is delicious as my Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza.

 

 

Just like the majestic Scot Pollartichoke Dip before her, there is no greater culinary pairing that spinach and artichoke. Particularly when in the company of cheese. Add in the glory of fresh, pillowy pizza dough, and it is hard not to be in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spinach and Jessicartichoke Peetzza
Serves: a sad second boot and her best-o.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
½ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup sour cream
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of a lemon
1-2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
200g marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
½ cup parmesan
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mayo, sour cream, parsley, garlic and lemon in a bowl and generously smear over the pizza bases. Top with spinach, artichokes and parmesan before adding some mozzarella for good measure.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, hoping not to burn our mouth with some scalding cheese. Because that would just add too much unwanted salt in your wounds.

 

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Laceberry Sherbet

Dessert, Snack, Sweets, That Is So Fetch Week

Today marks the end of our first publicised Mean Girls day celebration, That’s So Fetch Week. And while that is probably going to leave you with a feeling of crushing emptiness, be glad that you got to experience the joys of celebrating with Mands, Dan Fran, Jono, Lizzy, Rachel and now Lacey.

Well, by association at least.

I’ve known Lacey for over two decades after meeting through Susan and Kelly on the set of All My Children. As with Mands and Lizzy, I was blown away by her talent and vowed to make her a star.

That led to Party of Five and The Wild Thornberrys, which would have been enough of a success without throwing in the role of a lifetime in Gretchen Weiners. Heiress of toaster strudels and key player in making fetch happen.

Given her current status as the queen of Lifetime Christmas movies, I am super proud of Lacey and can’t even be mad that we don’t see each other as often as we like. As soon as she walked off the plane we ran into each other’s arms, sped to my home and caught up on this year’s crop of Lifetime films over a big bowl of Laceberry Sherbet.

 

 

While it appears to be a bit too healthy for my liking, I assure you that this sherbert is hella delicious. Not the powdered type like Michelle Sherbert, this frozen fruit delight packs a strong raspberry flavour and fills you with boundless joy. Which is not an overstatement.

Enjoy!

 

 

Laceberry Sherbet
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
500g raspberries, thawed
1 ½ cups milk
⅔ cup raw caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced

Method
Blitz everything in a food processor until smooth.

Strain through a sieve to get rids of any leftover solids or seeds.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn for twenty minutes or until the consistency of soft serve. Transfer to a container and freeze overnight, before devouring.

 

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Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls

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

Previously on Australian Survivor zaddy Steve was titled Dead Man Walking and sent to exile beach to continue to look like a babe. Strong, silent, solo and sexy. Despite dominating the immunity challenge from the start, he was tragically pipped at the post by Brian allowing him to use his bond with Shonella to try and take him out. Sadly for them, Monika was being wooed by Sharn and Shane though despite things looking hopeful, poor Steve was sent to the Jury Villa and we missed out on the chance of having Michelle Bridges appear at the family visit.

Side note: could you imagine if it were a family visit where the family compete. Swoon. Swoon. We fucking missed out. Swoon.

The next day Brian was feeling proud to be the last man standing, and celebrated by smashing a secret pawpaw. He was also feeling super confident thanks to his strong four person alliance, which feels like it is going to come back and bite him in the butt, right? Shonella too decided to go have some secret pawpaws, thrilled that people continue to underestimate them despite the fact they’re a power couple who are the last remaining people from their tribe and continue to slip through unnoticed. Well, until Brian wanders through and finds them smashing said pawpaw, despite their best attempts to chuck it out and run away. Which is what I would do slash why I love them. Oh … and they’re either the final two or are about to get screwed.

On the other end of the spectrum, poor Shane was feeling all the feels now that she has lost her bestie, my zaddy Steve. Add in the fact she and Sharn are a duo up against four people, and everything is hopeless for the woman not to be fucked with. Knowing they were screwed Sharn tried to go idol hunting to find a way out of said mess, though as a backup hoped that they could try and get Shonella to join them to take out Brian instead. Sharn checked in with Shonella, who weren’t really open to her suggestions given that her attempts to sow seeds of distrust actually reinforced what Brian had previously told them. Shonella then started to feel confident about their position and damn, now I am really nervous about our Queens.

Shonee took the intel back to Brian, which pissed him off and made him decide that Sharn needs to go next. Despite that already being his plan, since that is what she told the girls to try and get them to flip. Anyway, as such Brian went to Sharn to see what went down slash show her that he is the one in control. She admitted to trying to get him out, he identified her as the biggest threat and Sharn knew that she couldn’t ever trust Shonella. Sharn then went idol hunting in the hopes of a miracle and lo and behold, she found one and essentially channeled Shane by saying that she is now the one not to be fucked with.

Not wanting to leave us in suspense for too much longer Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where the castaways would have to a long, hard horizontal pole for as long as possible. Last person hanging wins immunity. Which is where I assume I would shine on the show, since that is where my limited skills lie. That being said, it isn’t really riveting viewing and after ten minutes downwind from Brian ‘Grubby Bum’ Lake, Fenella dropped followed closely by Sharn and Shane. Brian tried to convince Shonee to drop reassuring her that she is safe, though the icon had no intention of dropping. After twenty-five minutes Monika did a rare back-flop off the pole, leaving Brian and Shonee to battle it out for immunity. After half an hour Brian continued to beg Shonee to trust him, making her laugh as she thought he should be able to trust her. Ultimately though Shonee dropped, handing Brian his third immunity and guaranteeing a woman would finally call the jury home. Which just made me realise how much I would love being juror number six. Swoon.

Back at camp Brian was feeling super confident now that he is safe. Shane went for a water run, with Sharn stalking closely behind leaving the power alliance time to confirm how to split the votes. With that out of the way, Brian and the girls lay back to enjoy the sun leaving Sharn and Shane the opportunity to scramble for a solution. Sharn filled Shane in on her idol, which she was happy about however realised that that left her screwed, inspiring Shane to find a way to convince everyone to throw their votes on Sharn in order to get rid of Fenella with the idol.

Shane decided her best chance would be to play into Brian’s ego, praising him in the hopes of getting him to vote for Sharn. She then went to Monika to play up Sharn’s threat level, juicing the hell of her as she loved playing the sneaky game. Monika pulled Sharn aside to tell her about Shane’s betrayal, unaware that they were working together to put the target solely on her back to execute their idol play. Monika returned to camp, assuring everyone that Sharn is behaving exactly how they should expect and clearly doesn’t have an idol. Confident, Brian then took Shonella aside and suggested that they should just throw a vote behind Shane and the rest on Sharn. Which Shonella were very against … as they headed out to tribal.

At tribal council Steve continued to be bae – albeit a salty one – while Brian revelled in his winning form leaving Shane to dominate him and calling him a sloth based off the immunity challenge. Once more proving not to fuck with Shane Gould. Fenella and Monika praised him on laying low and making a move when needed, while Shane pretty much said it was unlikely that he will actually make it to the end. Brian however said he had faith in his allies, much to Steve’s chagrin. Shane spoke about being left right out with Sharn and that one of them would be going home tonight, with Brian defending his alliance as the OG underdogs and that Shane and Sharn shouldn’t get sympathy. They then spoke about the alliance eventually needing to turn on each other and as such, it isn’t very safe. JoJo asked Fenella whether she and Shonee were dangerous as a pair, with Fenella pointing out that there are three pairs left and they are all just as dangerous. Sharn countered that their is still a hierarchy and as such her pair is powerless and that being trustworthy should count for something.

With that the tribe voted and Sharn, as expected, played her latest idol negating three votes against her and somehow, some way sending Fenella out of the game. Much to Shonee and my rage. I was screaming into the abyss off the edge of the jury villa, wondering why they wouldn’t stick to the vote split. Just to be safe. Since it was completely doable. Unless, that was Brian’s wicked plan all along, in which case, well played. But why did it have to be Fenella. I don’t know if it was because she was down a bestie or because I was clearly spiralling, but she walked into the villa, scooped me up in her arms and told me it was all going to be ok. While I didn’t believe her, it was at that moment I caught a waft of Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls and started to feel ok.

 

 

The sweetness of the apples and aniseed of the fennel work together to make these babies a next level sausage roll experience – no offence Alyssa, Keira or Kim, obvi. Throw in the flaky pastry and the view of zaddy Steve swimming laps in the pool and I was in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pork and Fenella McSausagowan Rolls
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground, plus extra whole ones for sprinkling
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 granny smith apples, grated
1kg minced pork
½ cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper, to taste
3 sheets puff pastry, halved
1 egg, whisked

Method
Heat a good lug of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for five minutes, or until translucent. Add the carrot, fennel, chilli and apple and cook for a further ten minutes or so, until softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once hella chill like Shonella being baller, transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl with pork, breadcrumbs and a big whack of salt and pepper. Scrunch with your hands until well combined.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place the pastry on a clean surface and place a thin sausage shape of the meat mixture in the middle. Brush one of the long edges with egg and roll the pastry halves to form sausage rolls.

Cut into 2-3 inch rolls and place on lined baking sheets. Brush with egg, sprinkle with fennel seeds and transfer to the oven to bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and brown.

Devour, in honour of one half of the greatest duo in Australian Survivor history babes.

 

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Amanda Seyfried Brie

Party Food, Side, Snack, That Is So Fetch Week

I had had a dream that Lindsay Lohan would be able to drop by as a surprise first That Is So Fetch Week, Mean Girls Day celebration but then she started attacking Syrian woman in Moscow – on transit here, no less – and I thought mamma mia, I can’t have her here right now so quickly booked a private jet for Amanda Seyfried and brought her visit up a day.

Mand and I first met through the divine Susan Lucci. Suze was completely in awe of her talent, gave me a call and said, “Ben my dear. I’ve found another ingenue that you just have to meet and shape her career so that she can become a star.”

Obviously I take Susan’s opinion very seriously, so I jumped on the very next plane to the All My Children set to see for myself.

Immediately, I was taken by her talent and I grabbed my rolodex of hate because I hate the phone, not my friends obvi. Oh and yeah, I coined the term, but whatevs – to see if there was anything my friends were doing that would be suitable.

Tina doll, aren’t you writing that movie about bullying?” I naively said, implying that Mean Girls would just be a story of my life, rather than an iconic film.

“I’ve met this girl and I feel she could add some depth to the bimbo girl I told you about from school.”

With that, Mands snatched the role of Karen and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. To the point where I don’t even mind that she has co-starred with Meryl twice while I am yet to make it into one of her movies.

Given how busy she has been with Mamma Mia 2 and raising her young girl, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would like. But thankfully our friendship is one that you can slip straight back into like no time has passed at all. Though how could things be awkward when you’ve got a plate of Amanda Seyfried Brie sitting in front of you.

 

 

Hot and gooey on the inside, golden and crisp on the outside, these fried portions of cheese prove that sometimes, somehow, you can improve on perfection. So like hang in there, you know? Maybe I should be a motivational speaker too …

Enjoy!

 

 

Amanda Seyfried Brie
Serves: 4

Ingredients
250g brie
1 egg, whisked
1 tbsp buttermilk
2 cups breadcrumbs
flour, salt and pepper, to taste
2-4 cups vegetable oil, for fryin’

Method
Cut the brie into wedges. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together in a small bowl, place the breadcrumbs in a second and a heap of flour in the third with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Coat the brie in flour, dip it in the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined plate and leave to set for fifteen minutes or so … before re-dipping in the egg and breadcrumbs. Transfer to the fridge to set for half an hour.

When you’re ready to go, heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and when nice and hot, cook a few pieces at a time for a minute or so, flipping once, or until golden brown.

Devour immediately with Chillijamin McKenzie, being careful of the molten cheese.

 

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Patty Melt Cusack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Chocolate Crackelly Ripa

Dessert, Snack

Gaaaaaah, it was such a joy to be able to have my celebrity Fame Hungry superfan and dear friend Kelly Ripa over. I mean, the look of joy on her face from the moment she stepped off the plane to when she sat down for her requisite – and now signature – food-smeared face photo is something that will stay with me for all of time.

Knowing that I was making such a dear friend so happy was but icing on the cake of a wonderful date.

As you know, I met through Kell when visiting Susan Lucci on the set of All My Children and we instantly hit it off with our joie de vivre and wicked senses of humour. And despite her sweeping Mark off his feet at the time I was desperate to woo the zaddy for myself, we have always remained the best of friends.

And as an aside, she is beautiful and perfect and she and Mark make the best couple, so screw you jealous trolls!

Anyway – I was casually dating Regis Philbin in the early ‘00s when Kathie Lee Gifford quit Live! and reminded him about their chemistry during her previous appearances. The rest, as they say, is history. Oh, and you’re welcome America.

But back to the date, while she didn’t give any any spoilers from the upcoming season of Riverdale or think my All My Children reboot would work, we still had a lovely time. Though how could you not when you’re surrounded by mounds of Chocolate Crackelly Ripa.

 

 

Given these bake-sale staples are so well known that the recipe is pretty much open source at this point, credit where credit is due so thank you Kellogg’s! Crunchy, sweet and oh so moreish, there is nothing I’d rather make to honour my girl Kell!

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Crackelly Ripa
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
4 cups rice bubbles
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
250g copha, melted
¼ cup cocoa

Method
Chuck everything in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Portion in to patty cases.

Set in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Devour.

 

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Steve Biliss Balls

Uncategorized

Previously on Australian Survivor Benji continued to slither his way through the competition however taking out Mat and humiliating Sharn made him a target. Particularly with Shane, who reminded us not to fuck with Shane Gould. Shane and Sharn took their opportunity at reward, swinging Monika and Brian back to their side. Not to be outdone, Brian found an idol and then won himself individual immunity. Things got tense at tribal council as Shonee whipped out her vote steal and snatched away Sharn’s vote in the hope of getting her out. Sadly for her, Monika and Brian flipped on Benji and rendered her move useless, sending the self proclaimed king out of the camp.

Back at camp Sharn was shocked to still be in the game, pulling Monika and Steve in for a big hug and hot damn I am jealous. Full of joy, she was hopeful that Brian and Monika were back with them and she can make it to the end. Sadly for her however, Brian immediately caught up with Shonella to assure them that he just wanted to get out Benji and the four of them will stick together to get to the end.

The next day Sharn was still feeling zen to be back in the game while Steve further slipped into my heart, loving the lack of people around to interact with. They then marvelled at Shane  and how much of a tough icon she is, dominating at camp, kicking ass and providing Steve with life advice and I’m crying. I mean, Steve was giggling like a school when Shane called him a grumpy old man … which is what MISH BRIDGES says to him. He then went down a Mish rabbithole and please let this be a family visit episode. Anyway – I ship Steve and Shane and need a moment to feel my feels.

Shane meanwhile is glad that they’ve become close friends, but more importantly she wants to win and she is not going home without a title. She is thrilled to be leading the Champions alliance, however she isn’t happy that Brian and the girls used Shonee’s advantage to take a shot at Sharn. Nor is she happy about them flushing Brian’s ego. Shane then decided that she plans to split up Shonella to weaken Brian’s game, and debated the merits of Fenella or Shonee first.

Speaking of Shonella, they were watching Brian catch fish and skinny dip while they stroked his ego. No doubt much to Shane’s chagrin. Meanwhile Brian was worried about what Monika was thinking, given they both flipped on the girls and she seemed to be gravitating towards the Champions. Monika caught up with Shonella to assure them that she was still with them and Brian, while they all started to worry about Steve trying to find a bond with Monika. On day 40, which they all agreed was sketchy slash extremely obvious.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where everyone would balance an idol on the end of a seesaw, with the last idol standing winning immunity. Brian and Steve spoke about the pain in their glutes before Shane became the first one out, followed by Fenella and Sharn after seven minutes. Brian did his best tennis player impression, grunting his way through the pain while Steve stood like a sta … nope, Steve was next to drop leaving Brian, Shonee and Monika to battle it out. After twelve minutes Brian dropped, leaving the girls to stand still in a battle of wills before Monika dropped and Shonee was shocked to take out immunity. I mean, Shane may be over her but damn that reaction was gorg.

Oh and then Jonathan dropped dropped a bomb on everyone, telling them that instead of booting someone at tribal tonight, the person that gets the most votes becomes the Dead Man Walking. While it sounds hella ominous, it only strips the person of their vote at the next two tribal councils. And while yes, that sucks, they can still win immunity and participate in everything at camp, so if you’re smart, you could make it work.

Back at camp Sharn knew that the end game would come down to whichever side doesn’t get lumbered with the dead man walking. She and Shane went to get water and discuss who to target, agreeing that Fenella is the best bet as it instantly neutralises Shonella being a duo. Sharn approached Monika to talk about targeting Fenella, which she quickly agreed to before having a minor breakdown over how hard the game is getting. Sharn went to Steve and Shane to tell them all the good news, which seemed to arouse suspicion in Brian. And Shane, who really felt like she couldn’t trust Monika despite the fact she desperately needs her. With both Monika and Shane agreeing to take each other to the final three, despite neither believing it.

Brian pulled Shonella and Monika aside to discuss who they should target for dead man walking, with Brian pushing for Steve and the girls desperately wanting to take Shane’s vote. While Brian wasn’t convinced about targeting her, Fenella worked overtime pointing out how Shane is the better option. Brian then pulled Monika aside to point out how important it was to get rid of Steve’s vote, leading to her breaking down about how difficult the entire thing is.

At tribal council JoJo quickly filled the jury in on the final twist of the season before Sharn admitted to being shocked by it and Shane pragmatically said that she isn’t scared of the dead man walking going back to camp, since it is a straight up fact. Sharn quickly went in pointing out that people need to take advantage of the twist to neutralise some of the bigger threats. Monika sounded like she started to falter about flipping, leading to Sharn reminding her that fortune favours the brave. Shane admitted that the tribe is fractured and identified Shonella as a power couple, while Steve shared that they are a non-factor to him as other people are busy trying to work with them, so he can’t be bothered. Jonathan tried to hype up their power status, while power Monika grew more and more confused. Sharn continued to play hard to get her over to their side, while Shonee and Brian whispered to change their target to Steve. With that the tribe voted and Monika played it smart, sticking with her alliance and voting for Steve to become the dead man walking.

Which you know pissed Shane off and will hopefully give us the glorious reminder not to fuck with Shane Gould.

Back at camp, Steve was feeling pissed and served some killer facial expressions whilst going in on Monika. Reminding her that he, Sharn and Shane are the only ones working around camp and she is completely blinded by Brian. And though I love zaddy Steve, it was the best move for Monika TBH. Shane and Sharn pretended to be sympathetic to an emotional Monika, telling her she was played by Brian and they’d be willing to work with her moving forward.

The next day Shane and Sharn caught up to work through their pain, while Shonee was giddy about how everything fell out at tribal. And now that Brian and Monika are loyal, she is excited to no longer be playing the bottom. Which is probably the first time we’ve disagreed. Brian too was thrilled that Steve is the Dead Man Walking and to be in control. Sadly for both of them, Sharn was confident in her abilities to pull Monika back to their side and highlight how dangerous the Brionella trio are.

Monika arrived back at camp with treemail where they learnt that as part of being Dead Man Walking, Steve would be sent immediately to Exile Beach and wouldn’t return until the next immunity challenge. With one less person in camp, Sharn decided to corner Monika to commence pulling her back over to save her game. And most importantly, Sharn’s. Monika proved her skills as a master barrister playing on her ego and her insecurities to rebuild their relationship.

At the reward challenge the tribe were split in half to compete in an obstacle course for an Indian feast – Samosas, Saag Paneer or Mango Chicken, anyone? I think this reward is just my leftovers?! Anyway the teams would be required to send two people out in the ocean to use symbols to decode a puzzle which they would then use to open a lock … releasing balls which the remaining person will land on a trough. Shonella and Monika faced off against Brian, Sharn and Shane, with Monika using Shonee and Sharn’s time in the drink – Matt Chisholm forever – to get advice from Shane, who was having none of it. Shonee got her team out to a sizable lead until Monika found a new nemesis other than bellyflopping, drifting out to sea while Shane closed the gap and took a lead for the Champion trio like the graceful dolphin that she is. Brian shot his first balls before Monika even made it back to shore, oh wait no, he won reward for his team while she was still adrift.

At reward – which I can confirm, I made – Sharn and Shane were delighted to see the paint and cutlery. The girls toasted their success before Queen Shane asked Brian where he stood and what his thoughts were for the endgame. He admitted that he voted against Steve because like Shonella, he sees him as a threat leaving it open for Shane to start working on getting rid of Fenella instead of Steve, if they guarantee his safety moving forward. Brian however didn’t trust it, and told them that if Steve won immunity one of them will be going next. Which Shane shockingly opted out of commenting on.

Speaking of Steve, we checked in with him at Exile Beach where he endeavoured to see the positives and treat it like a holiday. He then looked through his photos and letters from home, and reflected on how great a relationship he has with Sharn and Shane. He then was fired up and hot damn am I thirsting for zaddy Steve.

Everyone reunited at the immunity challenge – with Steve the happiest we’ve seen him all game – where they would each be required to balance a ball on the end of an ever-extending pole while scaling obstacles, before using a ledge to drop it into a bucket. Steve, Fenella and Shane got out to an early lead, while Brian and Shonee languished at the back of the pack. Steve continued to extend his lead with his killer ball and pole workmanship, with Fenella and Brian desperately working the pole to try and close the gap. I mean, who can’t manage two metres of pole? Sadly zaddy Steve dropped his ball allowing Brian to catch-up, the boys were back and forth at the gutters until Brian, somehow, snatched victory.

Back at camp Shonella congratulated Brian on his victory, while Shane and Sharn simmered. Shonella, Brian and Monika then discussed plans for the upcoming tribal, with Brian suggestion they should split the votes between Steve and Sharn to safeguard against the idol. The underdogs went to get water with Steve sharing a haul of fruit his allies whilst trying to figure a way out of their mess. Shane Gould spoke about herself in the third person whilst trying to formulate a way to save her friends and break up the power structure. Shane decided Sharn should work to pull Monika over to their side and blindside Fenella during the split. Proving to be as wily as they say, Brian could see what they were planning and worked overtime to convince Monika to stick with him. Sharn however was a formidable foe, working her magic on Monika to swing back to the Champions.

Before heading out to tribal Steve joined the fray trying to sow some distrust in Brian’s mind, pointing out that if he goes Brian will become the biggest threat and as such he needs to adjust his game. Steve then spoke sports and while I was confused, I loved it all.

At tribal council Steve continued to let his zaddy flag fly, talking about the fact he may not have a vote but he still has a vote. Fenella deemed him a threat, leaving Steve to point out that he is yet to win a challenge while the likes of Brian, Sharn and Shonee have dominated. While Shonee admitted she felt her’s was a fluke, Steve told her that he believed she is a threat – motivational zaddy. Monika said that what makes a threat is different to everyone, while Steve went aggressive and said that this tribal is him or someone else and if it is him, he will work that jury to not reward anyone he doesn’t like/respect.

Shane then threw shade at Shonella for not being helpful around camp, suggesting everyone go out to Exile and see who really can survive. Brian countered that Shane has been carried through challenges, leaving Steve to rise to be the feminist-ageist icon that he is and defend her honour and tell him to treat her with some respect. He then said that Monika too has been carried, pissing her off and making me hella confused. With that, the tribe voted and surprisingly the vote split remained and were divided equally amongst Sharn, Fenella and Steve. On the revote, however, things didn’t go zaddy Steve’s way and he found himself becoming the latest member of the sausage-fest jury. Which is a movie I’d watch the shit out of. Anyway, as a close personal friend of The Biggest Loser franchise, I’ve been friends with Mish and Steve for years and was honoured to be on site to whip him up a batch of Steve Biliss Balls to dull the pain.

 

 

While they are healthy enough to keep Steve happy, these babies are totally delicious. Nutty and smooth, sweet and salty, I just can’t get enough of these balls in my mouth.

Enjoy!

 

 

Steve Biliss Balls
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
6 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water for 5 mins
⅔ cup almond meal
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup 70% cocoa chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup desiccated coconut for rolling

Method
Drain the dates and place in the food processor with the almond meal, peanut butter, chia seeds and vanilla. Blitz until well combined. If the mixture is too crumbly, add some more peanut butter until it is just holding and sticky. Fold through the dark chocolate.

Shape the mixture into little balls, roll in coconut and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour.

Devour, giddily, knowing you’re loved. Like we all love The Commando.

 

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Benjami Drops Wilson

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Baking, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Previously on Australian Survivor Shonee purchased a jar of lollies and a vote steal at the merge auction, while Benji remained the only person left with an idol after winning immunity at the last channel. I mean, Sharn found a hidden immunity at said challenge, however crapped it out and lead to Benji flushing it out, While she tried to play it on Mat who was getting blindsided by Benji’s insurgence, he managed to take her down and forced her to play it on herself. That of course led to the successful blindside of Mat, leaving Benji to return to camp with a ropeable Sharn, Steve and Shane.

Back at camp things were hella tense and while Benji, Brian, Shonella and Monika were thrilled, zaddy Steve held Shane and Sharn close and comforted them over their loss. Benji then gloated about being the new godfather while Steve and Sharn were in tears, making me hopefully for his downfall after serving his chaos purpose. Thankfully Benji’s hardcore play stoked a fire in Shane and she vowed to channel Russ-hole and sabotage the fire and bring an end to the game. The next day Queen Shonee noted that there was a post blindside shift and while she was worried about it, Queen Shane reminded us not to fuck with Shane Gould and hot damn I need that final two to happen right now.

Everyone tried to pull together, congratulating each other on making it as far as they have until it got hella awkward as Steve and Sharn awoke and Benji tried to be pleasant with them. Sharn then shared about how torn she was, to be screwed by Benji and feeling so alone despite being a strong as shit woman. Albeit, stuck on the bottom. She decided that getting Brian and Monika back on board was her only chance for survival, so approach Grubs to return to the Champion strong mentality and get rid of Benji. While he was awkwardly trying to dance around, she played the bottom perfectly and assured him that Mat’s blindside doesn’t impact on their relationship, and she is willing to use her past with Benji to benefit him and Monika. Sadly Brian saw right through the attempt and vowed not to buy her pledge. Brian took the intel back to the Mighty Ducks alliance and Benji’s ego continued to grow, pushing for loyalty and taking out his ex-ally Sharn.

My boy JoJo and the belly-flop structure of Monika’s nightmare returned for the reward challenge where the tribe would be split in half and race to jump off a tower, grab a ball a shoot as basket, with the first to three snatch fried chicken, chips and softies and DAMN it is worth it, no. Benji and Shane were team captains, with Benji snagging a team of Steve, Fenella, and Shonee leaving Shane to take Brian, Sharn and Monika. Tragically Shane lost the first point to Fenella, despite being a boss. Next up were Benji and Bellyflopika who pencilled dived her way to safety while Benji scored a second point for his team. Brian peed from the platform before battling Steve – and maybe a UTI – who didn’t bellyflop his way to the end, unlike Brian who punched it to the end and got the other team on the board. Lucky he unloaded, right? Shonee and Sharn were next, with Sharn tragically slaying Queen Shonee and tying things up. Shane and Fenella returned to play for victory with Shane nudging the ball out in front and snatching victory like a boss, leaving Fenella desperate for some swimming lessons and Steve in awe of her mad skillz.

Benji and the losers returned to camp with Shonella just glad to get a double portion of rice, while Steve quietly sat and observed what was happening. Benji went for a walk with Shonee, where she shared her vote-steal secret with him, hoping to use it to go from Indian to Chief which is problematic but I feel like it wasn’t meant to be malicious. Meanwhile at the reward, fried chicken proved to be the great equaliser, bringing Brian and Monika back into the Sharn and Shane fold. Shane knew it was her shot and used the time to find a way to undermine the Benji alliance, while Sharn completely missed an idol clue in the ice bucket at the reward. The four agreed to put the previous tribal behind them and to instead focus on taking out the biggest threat in Benji, with Sharn floating a blindside at the upcoming tribal. Shane and Sharn continued to downplay their betrayal to try and bring everyone back together, with them hopeful about succeeding … despite Shane not trusting Brian. Not to be outdone, he made a song and dance about searching for an idol clue, only to casually find an idol at the reward without anyone noticing.

Forgoing any camp action, JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where the tribe were required to bounce a ball on a disc while standing on a box, with Queen Shon hopeful Mat’s departure could even things up for everyone. Tragically Shonee and Monika were out almost instantaneously, before Fenella dropped her ball and joined them. They were then joined by Sharn, leaving Shane and the boys to battle it out for ten minutes. Tragically Queen Shane was next to fall, leaving Brian to try and distract Steve and talk about who is more skilled with balls. Spoiler alert: I am. After an hour, JoJo transitioned them to one hand with Benji dropping, followed closely by zaddy Steve, handing Brian with his first immunity.

Back at camp Benji was feeling super confident about his place in the game, which Sharn pulled Brian and Monika aside to lock in a vote against Benji. Despite Sharn not trusting Brian. The remaining Contenders caught up by the shore, with Benji admitting to feeling nervous about the upcoming vote. He then approached Monika to share that the Contenders were planning to use Shonee’s vote steal and that they would be tying things up if she didn’t jump. Zaddy Steve then got in on the act with Monika filling him in on the plan as they tried to figure out a way to possibly save Sharn. Steve and Sharn caught up, with our two twin-esque heroes struggling to find a way to save her and get to the end. Sharn in particular, struggling with the idea of going out.

The Mighty Ducks alliance were catching up over coconut as Sharn and a sneaky Brian loitered around trying to find some intel. Knowing that Brian is the key to their success, Shonee and Benji pulled Brian aside with Benji saying that Sharn was planning to vote him out … DESPITE THE FACT HE IS IMMUNE. Shonee was obviously ropeable, knowing Benji’s stupidity likely cost them another blindside as they madly tried to pretends she was planning to take him out in the future.

At tribal council Jonathan was quick to remind Sharn of her idol fuck-up at the last tribal council, with Sharn admitting Benji rattled her and cost Mat his game. Benji admitted he only told her to play it for herself to avoid his Mat blindside being ruined. Steve spoke about being heartbroken by the vote, while Benji and Brian gloated about how great a move it was. While Mat was pissed in the jury. Shane gave him kudos for the gameplay but admitted she was pissed … and then sabotaged the tribe but destroying the fire and being an absolute Queen. Reminder: don’t fuck with Shane Gould.

Sharn too was hurt by Benji’s move, Benji tried to downplay the situation as a group move and Shonee explained that had Mat not been destroyed, she and her allies would have been left to wonder who would be next. Sharn spoke about feeling nervous and needing to stay honest, while Benji spoke about finding people to trust and accepting deception is part of the game. Monika spoke about trusting her gut and relying on how she felt when talking to her allies, while Steve shared that it is all about faith and that having faith in people can save you. Before they headed off to vote Shonee played her vote steal, snatching Sharn’s and using it to vote for Sharn … twice. Tragically all it did was tie things up, much to Shonee’s frustration. Though thankfully it lead to the downfall of Benji, ending an epic albeit at times frustrating arc as zaddy Steve giggled like a bae.

Now I KNOW i have given Benji a lot of shit but bitch stole my place on the cast and I am hella jealous. I mean, we are both called Ben, have Sideshow Bob hair and a penchant for flaming out, so I assume that is the only reason I wasn’t there. That being said, he managed to keep this season interesting and without his wild, villainous, oft-nude ride, we’d be pretty bored. Which is what I said as I apologised for yelling at him over some Benjami Drops Wilson.

 

 

A little bit sour and a little bit sweet, these are the perfect food to honour his sneaky, glorious game. On top of that, they’re fucking delicious. Like the rise of villain Queen Shane “don’t-fuck-with-me” Gould.

Enjoy!

 

 

Benjami Drops Wilson
Serves: 6-12.

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
zest of a lemon
2 ⅓ cups flour
⅔ cup raspberry jam

Method
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for about ten minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg and zest and beat until just combined. Add the flour, fold through, and then beat for a further minute or so, or until the dough comes together. Cover and transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls, place on a lined baking sheet and flatten to form small discs. Repeat the process until all the dough is gone. Make an indent in each disc, fill with a small dollop of jam and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

When lightly golden, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to finish off. Or just devour, whatever you’d rather.

 

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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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