Tyson Apostollen

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Sweets

While Yul most definitely has the most festive name in Survivor history, my dear friend slash Survivor three-peat Tyson is the most festive person to play the game.

I mean, sure, he had an epic three season arc going from cocky douche, to bumbling babe to dominant champion, but he also had a three season ascension in zaddiness which was decidedly festive.

Yes, I only learnt the word zaddie last Thursday.

From his nude Tocantins tribal twink look, to his animalistic Samoan swimmers to his lovely bunch of Caramoan coconuts, Tyson made me feel things that lay dormant inside for year.

Oh what a lovely ma’ fuckin’ bunch of coconuts.

I first met Tys back in the mid-00s while researching Utah as part of my work writing the little known musical The Book Of Mormon, the hit TV show Big Love AND getting into the cycling world as part of an elaborate scheme to bring down Lance Armstrong. My third least favourite Lance.

While I’m not normally keen on the site of male cyclists in lycra – mainly because they only sit around cafes leaving their ball-sweat on the chairs … which in retrospect, should be my jam – I had a soft spot for Tyson and we fell into a passionate love affair.

Like most of my passionate love affairs, ours fizzled out quite quickly – maybe it would have been different if he listed me as his loved one in Tocantins – we remained close friends. Mainly because he was such a babe and it is super hard for me to find friends that have as much sass as I do, so I have to hold on to them when I find them.

But anyway, we celebrated a Christmas together in Utah during our brief romance and he fell in love with my sweet dough. I mean, all freaking Christmas, his face was buried in it, ravenous. But I guess, who can pass up a Tyson Apostollen.

 

 

Inspired by culinary queen Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar stollen, this baby is delicious enough to convert even the most staunchest of anti-marzipan-ers. Fruity and dense with pockets of gooey sweetness, did I just describe myself. Who knows!? Eat up!

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyson Apostollen
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 egg yolk
¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp glucose
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7g active dry yeast
5 ½ cup flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ¼ cup warm water
145g butter, cubed, plus extra 115g melted for coating
1 cup raisins
¾ cup craisins
½ cup currants
¼ cup candied lemon
3 tbsp bourbon
250g marzipan, broken into chunks
oil, for brushing
icing sugar, to coat

Method
Whisk the egg yolk, sugar, glucose, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl until fluffy and thick, or about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the warm water and stir by hand with the dough hook for a minute or so. And by that, holding the dough hook like a wooden spoon. You get it? Anyway, add the yolk mixer, pop the hook in the mixer and knead on medium for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and lump free. Add the cubed butter, piece by piece, allowing the dough to come together after each addition.

Reduce speed to low and add in the mixed fruit, kneading for an additional minute or until combined. Brush a clean large bowl with a flavourless oil, transfer the dough to said bowl, cover with some cling and leave to prove for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Punch back the dough and dot with the marzipan before lightly knead throughout. You could also split the dough in two, roll them out, smear with marzipan and roll up, but I find dotting it throughout haphazardly makes it more cray, like Tys. If you do dot, then split it into two and transfer to a lined baking sheet, shaping like a turkish-bread-esque loaf.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Once cool, brush with the melted butter and press into the icing sugar to seal. Dis is both good – dis real good – and fresh.

Then devour, greedily.

 

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Yule Log Kwon

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Survivor, Sweets

This year Christmas decided it didn’t want to play ball with our scheduling, so instead of leaving you hanging for a couple of days I decided to do a couple of throwback slash additional 12 Days of Survivor Christmas recipes to fill the gap. And no that isn’t a reference to them being zaddies.

But then again, it’s not not a reference to them being zaddies.

Despite kind of disappearing from the Survivor world after his dominant – even without the God idol – performance in Cook Islands, I can never imagine a yuletide without my dear friend Yul Kwon.

You see, I first met my dear friend Yul while he was attending Yale Law School. As is oft the case, I was running a scam – different to the Vice Chancellor one Hiz caught me out on – Yul figured it out and I returned to priz to find my ciggies and barter my way to greatness slash escaping priz.

Given he was such a babe and was so damn nice, I couldn’t help but stay in contact with him and guilt him into helping me become a better person. While you can question his success, I did love how hard he tried and so recruited him for Survivor to say thanks.

While Ozzy gets a lot of credit for his Cook Islands performance and the triumph of the Aitu 4, Yul is the glue that held everything together and successfully kept them in the game and carried them to success. I was in Los Angeles for his pre-Christmas victory and we were both desperate for something celebratory AND festive, which led to the birth of my famed Yule Log Kwon.

 

 

Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s take on the holiday classic, there is no better way to celebratory the holidays than with a thick, fat, nutty yule log. Which sounds a lot like I’m talking about scat … but I’m not, because this is delicious.

Enjoy!

It’s not scat.

 

 

Yule Log Kwon
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
6 eggs, consciously uncoupled
150g muscovado sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract, plus 1 tbsp for the buttercream
½ cup hazelnuts, peeled, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
200g dark chocolate, chopped
250g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
225g butter, at room temperature

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Uncouple the eggs into two separate bowls – the whites into a large, clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer and the yolks in a medium bowl. In should also be clean, FYI. Whisk the whites at medium speed, until they’re forming thick peaks. Sprinkle in about a third of the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks are holding.

Now focus on the yolk bowl, whisking in the cocoa, vanilla and remaining sugar until it forms a moussy consistency. Lighten the yolk mixture with a couple of dollops of egg whites before folding the rest through in thirds, followed by the hazelnuts, making sure to retain as much air as possible.

Transfer to a lined swiss roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for about five minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cooled.

While things are chilling, melt the chocolate in the microwave and set aside before beating the icing sugar, butter and tablespoon of vanilla in a stand mixer on medium, or until pale and fluffy. Fold through the cooled chocolate until smooth.

To assemble, place the sheet of cake on lined, flat surface and trim the edges. Smear a thin layer of icing over the top of the cake – all the way to the edges – before rolling tightly along the longer side. Cut the ends on an angle to make it look more loggy and place the off-cuts on the side, setting with some additional icing. Generously ice the complete log, covering all the surfaces, before scratching in some wood marks using a skewer or fork. Make sure you don’t forget the rings at the end.

Dust with a light flurry of icing sugar before devouring.

 

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Jericroquettes Malabonga

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Party Food, Side, Snack, TV Recap

And after 55 days out in the Samoan jungle, we finally have a new sole survivor in the form of Jericho.

He and Tara managed to outwit, outplay and outlast Joan, Adam, Kate, Tarzan, Aimee, Sam, Mark, Jacqui – yes this is a shameless plug for all our other recipes – Kent, AK, Ben, Odette, Jarrad, Anneliese, Henry, Tessa – yep, still going – Sarah, Luke, Ziggy, Locky, Michelle and Pete, to battle it out in the final tribal council.

While his performance at final tribal was – like night and day with last year’s champ Kristie’s – rather subpar, Luke’s going into bat for him and Henry pushing him to get fiery were enough to hand him a win for a game well played.

I mean, sure, I am shook to see that sometimes nice guys do win after he worked his ass off around camp to provide for his tribe, single-handedly tried to save his tribe from crushing defeat and made some hilariously ridiculous metaphors to give people a laugh … I assume. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he did get pretty villainous on his way to the prize.

Now it is quite awkward, but Jericho and I aren’t the best of friends after he restrained me on a flight for “drunk and disorderly behaviour,” so I wasn’t thrilled to see him out in Samoa, let alone taking out the win … but he did manage to win me over while we shared his victorious Jericroquettes Malabonga.

 

 

It could be said that croquettes are quite simple, but there is no denying that they’re delicious and definitely have more than meets the eye. Plus – potato, bacon and cheese. How do you go wrong?

Congratulations on your victory Jericho – enjoy!

 

 

Jericroquettes Malabonga
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 potatoes, cooked, mashed and cooled
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and – you guessed it – cooled
2 eggs
3 shallots, thinly sliced
½ cup plain flour
½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
salt and pepper

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine the mashed potato, bacon, 1 egg, shallots, half the flour and the mozzarella in a bowl. Divide into 10 balls – I like a big fat croquette – and roll into a sausage shape.

Place the remaining flour in a bowl, with the remaining egg whisked with the milk in another and some seasoned breadcrumbs in another. Roll the croquettes in the flour, followed by the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking tray, chuck it in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven and devour immediately, with some Spicy TomaJones Sauce.

 

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Mikesican Polloway

Main, Poultry

Given Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers is but a week away – I mean, Franny will already have another member of her first boot gang – I decided to bury the hatchet with Mike Holloway to celebrate its return.

While I generally reserve these countdown dates for my most favourite victors, I’ve never really appreciated Mike’s game and feel it is time to apologise for trying to ruin his reputation in the Survivor community.

Say what I do about his at times questionable gameplay, he did make a compelling underdog and made it to the end by equalling the individual immunity record. Obviously that doesn’t make up for the fact he horrifically misplayed the auction advantage situation, nor the fact that he was at times overbearing … but without him, nobody would have stood up for Shireen while she was being abused and that moment is enough for me to overlook the rest.

I’m not going to lie, it was an extremely awkward phone call to make when I called to invite him. And yes, it took him an extremely long time believe I wouldn’t throw acid in his face on arrival but he did, eventually, agree to drop by and let me apologise while counting down to next week’s premiere.

Again, it was super awkward for a hot minute after Mike’s arrival but we eventually got back into the swing of our friendship – we met while working construction together in Texas – and had a delightful night together. As friends, thankfully for both of us.

We laughed, we cried and reconnected as we gossiped about who took his place in the cast of Survivor: Second Chance (we both agree it was Andrew ‘at least you made the jury’ Savage). We then distracted ourselves from throwing shade on Savage by toasting to upcoming season, over a delicious Mikesican Polloway.

 

 

Sure this name is clunky but once you’ve tasted this Mexican inspired roast chicken, you will no longer be passing any judgement. Fresh, spicy and packing a punch, this tender roast makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside … and wanting to say God bless Merica. Well, that is what Mike said, anyway.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mikesican Polloway
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 large free-range chicken
olive oil
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 limes, zested
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 onions, quartered
3-4 potatoes, quartered
2 red capsicums, quartered
a small handful of coriander

Method
Preheat the oven to 240°C.

Combine the cumin, ground coriander, paprika, lime zest, oregano and salt and pepper with a good lug of olive oil and rub on the outside of the chicken. Prick the two limes with skewers, then stick them up the chicken’s bum.

Place the garlic, onions, potato and capsicum in the bottom of a baking dish, toss through a lug of olive oil and place the chicken on top. Place in the oven, reduce heat to 200°C and roast for an hour and fifteen minutes.

When the chicken is golden and crisp, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a plate to rest for 15 minutes … before carving, serving and devouring with the veggies and a sprinkling of coriander.

 

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Ham & Cheese Danish Stapley

Breakfast, Main, Snack

Guys – there is only a fortnight to OG Survivor and between that and the fact Locky and Sarah both made the merge on Australian Survivor, I could not be happier. Though maybe it’s because I got to work through my issues with one of my favourite Survivor victors, Denise Stapley.

I will forever defend the game of one Ms Lisa Whelchel and her killer final tribal council performance, but there is no way Denise could possibly lose the Philippines. I mean, between being the first coming of Jacs, thanks to her amazing alliance with Malcs, and therapising Abi-Maria at tribals, the woman attended every single tribal council of the season – a feat yet to be equalled – and overcame a huge numbers disadvantage to make it all the way to the end.

Oh, and did I mention she was an absolute challenge beast to boot?

While I impatiently await her return – she is going to be the second two-time winner, just you wait – we catch-up on the reg, given she is my therapist. As you probs guessed, it was actually me that suggested her to Probst. You’re welcome Jeff.

Anyway, it was such a treat to have her over to catch-up in person and gossip about the upcoming season, her potential allies on the future all winner’s season and make her a huge batch of thank you (for being a friend) Ham & Cheese Danish Stapley.

 

 

Flaky, salty and dripping in cheese, there really is nothing better with a fresh, strong coffee … while waiting her return to the game. Hear me Probst? Bring back Denise ASAP.

While you wait, enjoy!

 

 

Ham & Cheese Danish Stapley
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 sheets puff pastry, quartered
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup swiss cheese, grated
8 thin slices of ham
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Sprinkle the sliced shallots and a quarter of the cheese diagonally across each square of pastry. Place a piece of ham on top and sprinkle over the remaining cheese, with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Bring the two empty corners together and press one over the other and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until golden, puffed and crisp.

Then, obviously, devour.

 

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Cophie Clarke Ice Cream

Dessert, Snack, Sweets

While my boy Probst may not agree, my friend, goddaughter and spirit animal Sophie Clarke is up there with one of my favourite survivor victors. And as such, is the perfect person to help continue our countdown heroically healing hustler countdown.

I’ve known dear, sassy, witty Soph since she was a wee babe, being an old friend of her father, journalist Thurston Clarke. We met at Yale and became the closest of friends, with him eventually asking me to be the godfather of his daughter Sophie.

Way back in 2010-11 – a time when Australian Survivor was yet to be rebooted for the second time – I decided that Sophie needed to compete on, and obviously win, Survivor to fulfill my dream for me.

While I was completely shooketh when I got out to Samoa and discovered that Probst had neglected to tell me that my sweet goddaughter would be competing on a rigged returnee captain, redemption island season. Thankfully for me, my sharp-tongue and athletic prowess had rubbed off and helped propel her to day 38, where she defeated challenge beast Ozzy and sent him out of the game.

As much as I hate to admit it, Coach did play a strong game in South Pacific – I will always prefer his performance in his Tocantins boot episode – Sophie destroyed him at final tribal council (like Michelle did to Ben on Monday night) and clearly articulated why she was better and therefore deserved the win.

Given she’s been hella busy with med school, we haven’t seen as much of each other as we would have liked recently so she jumped at the chance to fly on over and mark the beginning of the new season … and casually gloat about now being Dr Clarke.

We used to spend a lot of time together, wandering around New York over a cup of joe, so I knew there was only one thing I could possible whip up – a delicious Cophie Clarke Ice Cream.

 

 

Shamelessly – and mildly – adapted from Nigella’s recipe, this sweet treat is near perfection. Particularly when you half the instant and switch out the liqueur for espresso. Who would have thought I’d cut out alcohol?

In any event, enjoy!

 

 

Cophie Clarke Ice Cream
Makes: 1.5L.

Ingredients
600ml thickened cream
395g condensed milk
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
¼ cup fresh espresso, cooled

Method
Whisk all the ingredients together until soft peaks form.

Transfer to airtight containers and freeze overnight, or for six hours or so.

Then devour, greedily.

 

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Richard Hash

Breakfast

While I feel like we’re balls deep with Survivor, following the surprisingly choice Survivor NZ: Nicaragua – pronouncing every damn syllable, obvi – and being half-way through Australian Survivor 3.2, the granddaddy of reality TV – Probst’s Survivor is returning in just under four weeks with the premiere of Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.

Not to be confused with RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, which I can exclusively confirm will be subtitled Hennies v. Hunties v. Hallelus.

As with last season, I wanted to spend the lead-up reconnecting with my dear friends slash past Survivor victors. And as such, I knew I had to kick this season’s celebrations off with a date with my ex-lover, dear friend and all around OG Richard Hatch.

In what is almost reality TV history now, Richard Hatch is attributed with being the person to establish the strategic (slash invent the) game of Survivor. Despite people thinking otherwise, there were others tinkering with strategy in Borneo, though Rich was the most successful and charismatic, so is remembered solo. Plus, he won over a delightfully homophobic Rudy with his nudity to boot, making him a true icon.

Just a less bone-inducing one than Locky #neverforget

After dominating Borneo, Rich returned for only his tragic second appearance, surviving far longer than Jenna Lewis wanted winners to, before being bamboozled and blindsided.

While Rich has had a colourful history with the law, taxes and appropriateness, he has always been a loyal friend … despite being an ex-lover, and for that I’ll always be eternally grateful. So much so, when he drops buy to lust over the new cast slash lock in our winner tips, he will always have a fresh Richard Hash waiting for him.

 

 

Spicy, fresh and hearty, a hash is a perfect winter breakfast to celebrate being the first Sole Survivor, clear the blues of being bamboozled and or a prison-hooch induced hangover.

Enjoy!

 

 

Richard Hash
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 chorizos, sliced into discs
3 cooked potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
1 tbsp chilli flakes
150g feta, crumbled
4 eggs
small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Heat a lug of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. When nice and soft, add the chorizo and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the potatoes and chilli flakes and cook for a further five minutes, or until the chorizo oil has been absorbed by the potatoes.

Crumble feta over the top, crack the eggs over and transfer to the oven to bake for five-ten minutes, or until the white has just set.

Gently fry the onion and garlic in a little oil in an ovenproof pan until the onion is soft. Add the chorizo and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and a good whack of salt and pepper, before devouring.

 

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Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs

Breakfast, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap

After 39 – or 40 days, depending on whose narration you trust / whether you go off the titles, rather than the final day supers – surviving a rough start on the weaker tribe, gaining some power and allies at the swap and navigating the post-merge with ease – aside from the Sala blindside and never being able to win a challenge – Avi landed in the final three with Tom and Barb.

Thanks to his dominant social game, the final tribal council was a complete Avi love fest – with a Barb roas-t as the supporting act. The jury then all piled their votes on Avi, except for Jak, handing him victory over Tom … and the runner-up prize for the US seasons.

While Avi’s game wasn’t as showy, exciting – or physical – he made extremely strong bonds early in the game, that carried him through to the final tribal council. What is most impressive about this, is that he was able to stay in the game despite everybody knowing they would lose to him in the end.

J.T., meet you kiwi equal.

I mean, as much as Barbs’ game impressed me strategically, the way she was willing to play the game to get Avi to the end and almost give up to guarantee him one vote at final tribal is a testament to his social game. Sure it is boring to watch, but it is no less artful.

Given the fact that I was hardcore fangirling over Tom, I wasn’t as gracious and congratulatory as I could be when we met up post game.

“Hey Ben – are you going to cook something for me like everyone else,” he asked like a victim of my rage.

“Make your own fucking eggs,” I screamed … before breaking down in tears and then laughing maniacally. I mean, what are the odds that I’d make eggs – more specifically Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs – for the inaugural Sole Survivor of Survivor New Zealand?

 

 

Like Avi, these babies are hard to fault. Perfectly boiled eggs, butter slathered toast and a hearty spoon of dukkah. It isn’t a showy meal, but it feels right for Survivor NZ. I mean, at least it isn’t melted funsized chocolate in a ziplock bag?

Enjoy!

 

 

Avi Dukkah-Jones Eggs
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 eggs
2 tbsp dukkah
4 slices of bread, toasted and slathered in butter to serve

Method
Heat a saucepan of water over high heat. Once bubbling, add the eggs and boil for five minutes.

Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking.

Peel the eggs, slice in half and generously sprinkle with butter before devouring.

 

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Saramen Lacina

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

Previously on Survivor, Ciera exited first – not able to throw the target on to her mother, followed by Tony, Caleb, a screwed but-not-in-the-way-I-want-to-screw-him Malcolm, J.T., Queen Sandra, and a desperate Varner. Hali was once again Queen of the jury, quickly followed by Ozzy, Debbie, Zeke, Sierra, Andrea, Michaela, an eliminated by default Cirie, Aubry and Tai, leaving Troyzan and Brad to round out the final three with my girl Sarah Lacina crowned our newest Survivor.

From the very beginning, Sarah knew that she needed to change up her game if she wanted to have a chance … giving us close to 6000 separate quotes about Officer Sarah playing like a criminal. But hey, when it works, you can’t really mock her!

While Sarah was also lucky to avoid most of the pre-merge tribal councils, if they did attend she was well enough positioned that she likely would have survived all the carnage.

When some members of the jury weren’t thrilled with the way she made personal connections only to turn on people, I started to fear she was about to get the Dawn Mehan treatment. Thankfully the new jury format allowed for people to jump in and defend her, and also allowed her more time to address these issues and help win people back to her side.

Despite the heartbreak of not being able to celebrate Sandra’s third win (yet), I was super excited that my dear friend Sarah had learnt from her mistakes was able to convert that into victory. While our friendship started in a questionable manner – she arrested me during one of my wild phases – she took me under her win and tried to do the opposite of her game changers game, turning me from criminal to cop.

Sadly for her, my prior arrests nipped that in the bud … but we always stayed friends and try and catch-up as often as we can for a Saramen Lacina.

 

 

Hot, spicy, sweet and fresh – ramen is always a delicious option. Throw in barbecue pork belly and you can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

 

 

Saramen Lacina
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
600g pork belly, skin removed (by that … 600g sans skin)
⅓ cup char siu sauce
peanut oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Sriracha
200g ramen noodles
4 eggs
2 baby bok choy, quartered lengthways
100g shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 long red chilli, thinly sliced

Method
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Brush the pork with half the char siu sauce and place in the oven for half an hour. Reduce heat to 120°C and bake for a further twenty minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest, brushing with the remaining char siu sauce.

While the pork is resting, heat a lug of peanut oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the shallots, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes, or until super, duper fragrant.

(It is now that you should also bring a small saucepan of water to the boil over high heat).

Back to the fragrant pan, slowly add the stock, tamari, fish sauce, Sriracha and 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, add the noodles, bok choy and mushrooms, and simmer for about five minutes.

With the ramen simmering, the saucepan should be boiling, at which point you should add the eggs and cook for four minutes, or until soft boiled. Peel the eggs.

Then, slice the pork into 1cm thick pieces.

Transfer the ramen to a bowl, top with pork and an egg sliced on top. Probs avoid drizzling Sriracha over the top if you’re wanting to photograph it … but otherwise, that’s the only addition I’d suggest … before devouring your victory meal!

 

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Quesandillaz-Twine

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Tavua continued to dominate immunity challenges, which was very lucky for Troyzan. Unluckily for Mana, Debbie went from lovable-nuts to scary after missing out on sandwiches while over at Nuku J.T. and Aubry’s plot to boot Michaela backfired on the former, sending him out of the game with an idol in his pocket.

Oh and Sandra stole the sugar, blamed it on her closest ally and still came out clean.

Back at camp Aubry gave her best Adam Klein impression while congratulating the people that blindsided her. Despite it being fairly obvious why it was J.T. over her, Aubry asked them why she was saved before correctly identifying that Sandra was running things and is the best player out there, royally screwing her in the process.

Over at Mana, Tai decided to make the most of last episode’s hidden immunity idol clue and get his wood wet under the cover of darkness. Turns out, that little process gives you a happy ending. What a damn surprise.

Clearly getting hot and bothered, Jiffy Pop arrived for what the tribes assumed was an immunity challenge which was instead another swap were Sandra and Varner became the latest people to be completely screwed by the game, ending up on new-Nuku with Ozzy, Sarah, Andrea, Zeke and Tai.

Everyone else but Debbie ended up on new-Mana, while Deb found herself without a tribe and a pony, heading to exile island until one of the other tribes boots someone to make room for her.

New Mana arrived – or returned – to camp where Troyzan was thankful to have some allies, while Brad was feeling screwed though was hopeful to hook up with Troyzan – which is a weird porno I’d give a shot – given his One World connection to my girl Monnie Culpepper.

Over at new Nuku, Sandra and Varner did their best to ingratiate themselves to their new tribe members. Sandra being Sandra, remained calm and was sure that she would be able to find her feet.

And just like that, Zeke and Ozzy went for a walk to reaffirm the need to get rid of Sandra, before rallying their fellow ex-Tavuans and lining up a decoy boot in Tai. Which given his past will not go well if he finds out, despite knowing Sandra is the biggest threat.

Feeling uneasy, Tai approached the Nuku well hoping to find their hidden immunity idol … which he did, bringing his total for the episode to two and the season to three.

Why couldn’t it be Sandra?

We then caught up with Debbie who was approaching what she thought was Exile Island and instead landed on a luxury yacht complete with feast and – oh wait, here is the shitty part – cockstainCochran to provide advice … and thankfully something useful in an advantage.

Hatred aside, this is a crazy showmance I can get behind. And I assume, so can Debbie who is more excited to see him than the presidents and prime ministers she has, of course, also met.

Debbie then told her potential new boyfriend about how confident she was and ragged on Brad ‘fuck you’ Culpepper, before Cochran presented her with – what I assumed was an engagement ring – the options for her advantage. She of course elected the worst advantage, the extra vote – which has booted its holder every time it has been played before – rather than an advantage for her tribe at the next immunity challenge or my personal favourite, a kit to build a fake immunity idol.

Sadly a devious revenge plot where she gives a legit looking fake idol to Brad to boot him will not come to fruition.

The next day Zeke and Varner connected by the beach where Varner shared how desperately he wanted to make the jury on his third game. Zeke, knowing he should start making Sandra and Varner relax, told Varner how much they wanted Tai out of the game. The entire conversation made Sandra anxious … but Sandra is smarter than mostall players, and knew something wasn’t adding up.

Not wanting to leave us hanging too long, Jiffy Pop returned for the first immunity challenge as new tribes where they were required to get wet, pull themselves off … a platform and over monkey bars before running to shore and placing their piece(s) in a cart and pulling them into shore.

Obviously it ended with a puzzle.

Mana got out to any early lead, which despite Varner’s best efforts to pull up a load, never went away, sending Mana to tribal council.

Back at camp, Zeke reconfirmed the need to get rid of Sandra, while Varner was feeling confident it was Tai. Again, Sandra’s superior intuition shone as she felt nervous – for the first time in three seasons – and approached Ozzy, Sarah, Zeke and Andrea about booting Tai to avoid a Kaôh Rōng kaôh-lition.

While Sarah and Ozzy weren’t wanting to budge on the Sandra vote, they acknowledged how persuasive and right she is, and that they do need to break up the trio of Tai-Aubry-Debbie.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tai then approached Varner to tell him that Sandra was indeed the target … allowing Sandra time to come up with a plan, which is never a good thing.

With that, they arrived at tribal where Andrea announced that they would continue in the tradition of the season – like All Stars before it – to boot the biggest threat, while Ozzy spoke to the back of Sandra’s head about the positives of keeping a bigger threat as a shield before Sandra announced that she was confident it was her as no one was talking to her.

This spooked Tai … who then commenced talking in circles, confusing himself and making the rest of his original, original Nuku tribemates. Sarah then mentioned being open to a couple of options, spooking Tai even more before Sandra said that she’d vote for whoever he wanted her to. Before he whispered a name to her.

He then gave Varner the same name, to which Varner mentioned they still needed another person. The rest of the tribe wanted the goss … so Tai then announced that he was now considering Ozzy, spooking Ozzy, Zeke, Sarah and Andrea, who then commenced their own whispering.

After some back and forth and everyone being confused, they threw their hands in the air and decided to just vote … which sadly – and I hate that I’m even typing it and never assumed I would have to – resulted in my dear friend, sass-monster and greatest player of all time Sandra Diaz-Twine being voted out for the first time.

Thank fuck those fuckers fucking applauded her on her way out the door. The stupid fucks. The Queen is dead, long live … the D-list returnees rounding out the cast?

While I was fuming by the time she arrived at Loser Lodge, Sandra took her first ever boot in her stride … until I convinced her to break into both camps while they were at the next challenge and burn their camps to the ground. FYI, that is why they were crying in the next episode preview.

As you know, I met Sandra when I was her server at Outback Steakhouse and we quickly bonded over being fiery, sassy and persuasive. While she has never been able to get me out there as a contestant – she tried for Blood vs. Water but Aras got jealous – I was scheduled to appear as her loved one, which is probably more of a tragedy than seeing the Queen and Malcolm felled within a fortnight.

Obviously that meant I was in desperate need of some comfort food, meaning I had to whip out my famous Quesandillaz-Twine.

 

 

An ode to my girl’s winning ways, these quesadillas are the absolute best – spicy, cheesy and with a good whack of chilli, the crunch in your mouth and go a long way to help even the sharpest of pain.

Enjoy … if you can!

 

 

Quesandillaz-Twine
Serves: 1 first-time boot and her irate firebug of a bestie.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
400g canned diced tomatoes
400g canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 avocados, pitted and diced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
canola or vegetable oil, for frying
8 tortillas
250g sharp cheddar, grated
1 lime, cut into wedges
sour cream

Method
Brown the mince in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking-up with the wooden spoon as you go. Add the garlic, onions and a good whack of salt and pepper and  cook for a couple of minutes, or until the onion is just translucent. Add the spices and cook for a minute, before adding the tomatoes, black beans and paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about twenty minutes, or until the liquid is pretty much gone.  Remove from the heat and stir through the avocado and coriander.

When you’re ready to devour, heat a large clean skillet over medium heat and add a lug of oil. Place a tortilla in the pan, sprinkle half with cheese, top with the mixture and more cheese, because this is comfort food. Fold the tortilla over to form a semicircle, pressing down on the quesadilla to set. Flip once, cooking a couple of minutes each side. Repeat the process until the mixture or tortillas run out, I don’t mind which.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges – because you don’t need to feel guilty if the food is hand-sized – and serve with a squeeze of lime juice, a dollop of sour cream and, of course, hot sauce.

Devour, in honour of Sandra.

 

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