Previously on Drag Race France as the dolls edged closer to the end, they were tasked with naming a signature fragrance and starring in the commercial. So aka, French versions of Delusion by Jinkx. While Paloma, Soa and Grand Dame definitely erred closer to Jinkx, Bertha and Lolita gave off more Coco Montrese. Ultimately Paloma shone just that little bit brighter, taking out her second win of the season. Bertha and Lolita meanwhile lip synced for their lives, with Bertha showing skin and Lolita straight up shaving her head. Which proved to be the winning move, saving herself and sending Bertha out of the competition.
Backstage the dolls were shell shocked by Bertha’s departure, as she willed Soa to make it to the end and jag the win in her message. Everyone gathered around to toast her performance and praised Lolita for demolishing the lip sync. The next day the dolls were once again fired up and ready to slay, as Lolita unveiled her fully shaved head. Talk turned to how Paloma killed the challenge, before everyone ran through their track records with Lolita feeling the pinch. Nicky arrived and after shading them by asking where the top four were, she gagged them by announcing that this week’s Maxi Challenge they would have to makeover one of their besties. Grand Dame, Soa and Paloma would be making over their female besties, while Lolita got her best friend slash fellow dancer that looked like his twin.
Everyone split up to kiki with Nicky hanging out with Grand Dame and her friend, who we learnt is a make-up artist and well, they are going to be good. Soa and Jackie would be going with matching energies, Paolma and Camelia were going to go with a vintage theatre look. Which made Nicky nervous, given it sounds so simple.
With Nicky exiting stage left, the dolls started to get their new sisters prepped, with Lolita nervous about her friend walking in heels. But once he got them on, he was living his best life and ready to shine. Paloma’s friend meanwhile, was not as confident given she never wears heels. Soa obviously delighted the other girls, talking about drag being all about personality and to not fear their debuts. Antonio then pivoted and grew nervous about his drag birth, though was focused on making his wife and daughter proud, and to get Lolita to the top. Paloma and Soa then asked if he was going to be tucked and well, that definitely made him nervous. Camelia looked delighted with her Paloma mug, while Kiki lived for Soa’s warrior mug and Antonio was gagged by how beautiful she looked.
Nicky, Daphne and Kiddy were joined by Raya Martigny et Loic Prigent on the panel as Paloma introduced Columbina and well, they were living their best lives giving vintage theatre camp. Lolita and Paquita were delightfully vibrant Mexicanas, with confetti, synchronised dancing and gags and well, I live for them. Soa and Kiki were so good, giving harpy chic and all the drama. While La Grand and Ma Petite Dame were silly and delightful as living dolls and well, to quote Trinity, I LIVE.
Paloma received universal praise for her Irma Vep inspired runway with her only critique being that she was so focused on making sure her new sister was doing ok. And Kiddy being triggered by the matching outfits. Columbina opened up about how proud of her friend she is and well, it was so sweet to watch. Lolita’s friend also gushed about how proud he was of his friend, with them receiving universal praise for the look, despite it erring on the side of gimmicky. Soa opened up about how proud she is to have made it so close to the end, while the judges lived for the theatricality and heart of their runway. Despite it not screaming drag. While La Grand and Ma Petite were beloved for liberating Barbie and looking a million bucks and giving big Paris and Nicole vibes.
Backstage the dolls welcomed their new sisters to the family, with everyone grateful to have a reminder from home to calm their nerves. Talk turned to their fallen sisters, with Soa praising all of them for making it such a fun season. Talk turned to who would be in the bottom with everyone releasing that all the critiques were on the same level and as such, something may be up.
Ultimately there was no winner this week, nor bottoms, as everyone would be competing in a lip sync Lalaparuza to make it to the end. With the winners of the first round of lip syncs jagging a little gift – a new outfit – while the second round would send someone home. First up were Lolita and Soa to Dieu m’a donné la foi. And well, it was an absolute battle as both of the girls came to flight. Soa made the most of her feathers while Lolita revealed a bejewelled bodysuit and a little banana to snack on. Lolita gave acrobatics and attitude, while Soa was in the pocket from start to finish, giving comedy and being an all around star and well, it was only right she made it through to the finale. Particularly since she had her cakes out.
Paloma and La Grande Dame took their place on the stage to lip sync to Le Banana Split, which was a missed op for Lolita, if you ask me. Both the dolls were energetic and having the best time, using every corner of the stage but TBH, I couldn’t take my eyes off Paloma. Botched split be damned. Which rightly earned her a spot in the finale alongside Soa. Oh and a new outfit.
Lolita joined La Grande Dame – well, after an outfit change – to lip sync for the last spot in the finale to La Grenade and well, I’m most shocked about the fact they could afford the rights to three songs in a single episode. While Lolita was brimming with power and fight, La Grande Dame gave glamour and all the attitude. It turned out to be a tight lip sync, but when Grande Dame started giving sass to Lolita, it was clear that she had booked her spot in the finale as poor Lolita was eliminated in fourth place.
Despite falling so close to the end, Lolita rightly felt proud of herself for making it to the top four. Particularly given how strong the season has been. As she rounded the corner to the Werk Room, I pulled her in for a hug and thanked her for bringing so much joy and energy to the season. While at times she felt like an outsider, her bravery in sharing those feelings and building relationships with her sisters was truly beautiful. And well, very deserving of a big, fat Lolita Cubanana.
Do you really need multiple versions of pork on the same sandwich? No. But do I find that question offensive and stupid? You betcha, because a cuban is damn near perfect – from the ham to the roast pork, mingling with the nuttiness of the cheese and the tang of the pickles, this is heaven on bread.
Lolita Cubanana Serves: 2.
Ingredients 4 slices sourdough 1 tbsp American mustard 4-6 slices leg ham 4-6 slices roast pork 6 slices Swiss cheese 3 pickles, thinly sliced 1 tbsp butter
Method Spread the bread with mustard before piling the ham, pork, cheese and pickles on two of the slices. Use the empty slices to close the sandwich and butter the top.
Pop a skillet over medium heat and once hot, place the sandwiches buttered side down. Spread the butter on top of the remaining butter. Once the sandie is nice and golden, flip and cook for another couple of minutes, or until it is also nice and golden.
Then devour, victoriously. Despite being eliminated just before the end.
Previously on Survivor South Africa the original Yontau members had their backs against the wall on each of the post-swap tribes. At new Yontau, Dante was busy targeting Dino who was quickly winning everyone else on the tribe over, while his only ally Phil worried about becoming collateral damage. On Masu, Toni took the chance to take control of the tribe, forming bonds with Steffi and Tejan, and pulling in Killarney to get revenge on her Yontaus. Which tragically cost Thoriso the game, despite the fact she knew being loyal to Felix would lead to her demise.
The next day things were very very awkward for Felix at Masu, given he was all alone. And while he desperately wanted to seek revenge, he knew he had to bide his time to really achieve his goals. Toni and Tejan meanwhile were locking in a vote against Killarney should they return to tribal council, with her assuring Felix that she will be protecting him. Despite the fact he is a number for Dante and Co. meaning it may not be in her best interests, given she is so well connected outside of Dante. Tejan meanwhile caught up with Felix and assured him that he will (also) be protecting him throughout the game and while he was super friendly to his face, Felix was ready to smack him and desperate to stop having to be nice to those in power.
Over at Yontau Phil and Dino were just desperately waiting for the merge, hoping it can save them from being on the wrong side of the numbers. Dante meanwhile was busy plotting how to get rid of Dino, even though he doesn’t have any numbers or power. His plan was to get Meryl to tell Dino about the (expired) idol and that he would be playing it, though given he was so strong with how he floated the plan with Meryl, Marian and Palesa, it was starting to become clear that he won’t have any allies left come merge. Oh and Marian was planning to pass off her diplomatic immunity to Steffi should Masu lose the upcoming challenge.
The tribes reassembled with Nico for the latest immunity challenge, this time played as individuals with everyone standing on a perch over the water holding a ball above their head. Last one standing winning tribal immunity, before both tribes attend tribal council and vote someone out of the losing tribe. Oh and the last one standing from each tribe will venture to the Outpost. Everyone was still standing after 15 minutes, leading to Nico upping the ante and forcing them to hold the ball over their heads, rather than balancing it on them. Almost immediately it cost Felix his place, quickly followed by Dante. They obviously started gossiping about their respective tribes and who they should target at the upcoming vote, which could be good news for Dino, given he and Felix are tight.
Shane was next to drop who suggested they vote out Dante, wait no, Dino. Palesa dropped out of nowhere and added to the Dino pile on before the pain became too much for Marian and she joined the pile on. After struggling for what felt like eternity, Killarney finally dropped leaving three per tribe to fight for immunity. Well, until Meryl dropped out of nowhere, leaving Phil and Dino to fight for their safety. While Toni started assuring Dino that he can drop and the Masu tribe will look after him and Phil, and help them take out someone. Dino eventually fell out of the challenge, handing Phil the trip to the Outpost. Marian meanwhile started floating the idea of using diplomatic immunity and guaranteeing another one of their numbers are safe. And while Dante was very against it, Meryl was all for it and suggested they band together to get rid of Palesa, given how close she is becoming with Dante. Out of nowhere, Phil dropped handing Masu immunity before Tejan, Steffi and Toni debated who should go, giving it to Toni as the only one yet to visit.
After Nico handed immunity off to Masu, Marian pulled out her Diplomatic Immunity and used it to join the Masu tribe and save herself at the vote ahead. As Toni and Phil headed off to the Outpost, Dino was feeling nervous again while Palesa admitted both tribes attending tribal council truly changes things as their fates are no longer just in their tribe’s hands.
Back at Yontau Palesa was growing more and more nervous about the vote, feeling like she had to pledge her allegiance to an alliance ASAP. She caught up with Meryl and Dino about Marian playing the Diplomatic Immunity with Dino concerned about her influencing things at Masu. Which was making Meryl super excited. Speaking of Marian and Masu, everyone was quite sombre which was confusing to Tejan given they are all likely to have made it to the merge. Steffi opened up to us about being disappointed by Marian’s arrival, wanting to have used the swap to build her resume on her own. Which is something Marian picked up on, given everyone was pretty damn frosty since she arrived.
Over at Yontau Dante and Shane were worried about two tribes reconvening at tribal council, particularly given they have no idea what is happening over at the Outpost. Shane suggested they go hunting for another idol, given Dante is unlikely to play the idol for anyone other than himself. Completely unaware Dante’s idol is dead. Felix and Marian were catching up at Masu, with Felix worried about which side to go with between his current ride or die Dino and Dante, his ride or die from their OG season. Steffi meanwhile was disappointed to have let Toni go to the Outpost, with Marian catching up with her to see if she was ok. Which put a target on Steffi’s back, just as she feared, as Felix, Tejan and Killarney speculated why Marian came over and what her agenda could be. Particularly focused on her potentially just being there to gather intel ahead of the suspected merge. With Marian just trying to assure Steffi their OG alliance is still solid, despite Steffi warning her that should there be another tribal immunity, there is no guarantee Marian will be safe.
Bouncing back to Yontau, Meryl shared her fears about Marian leaving to Dino, opening up about how difficult it is to be aligned with Dante given he is volatile and takes a lot of her energy. Thinking Dante is immune, she then floated the idea of getting rid of Palesa and while Dino was obviously keen for anyone else to be a target, he argued that Palesa is far nicer to him than Shane and would rather get rid of him. Meryl then shared that eventually, sooner rather than later, she will turn on Dante, but right now, she would rather target his potential number Palesa. Speaking of Palesa, she caught up with Dino and the duo put everything on the table, outlining their numbers on either tribe and how they can navigate the merge. With Palesa obviously doubling down on getting rid of Shane in the hope of getting in with Toni’s post merge numbers.
We finally arrived at the Outpost where Phil was desperate for a little bit of safety. Sadly for him, the advantage on offer was for two half idols should they correctly guess who will be voted out at the next tribal council. Which are huge stakes, but could screw over one of them should their alliance not last long. As such, the duo sat down to talk about the upcoming vote and spilled the tea on the rumours floating around each tribe. Their initial plan was to split the vote between Dante and Shane, while Phil suggested getting rid of Meryl to really make Dante feel isolated. Ultimately switching back to Shane at the last minute, while hyping up the hatred for Dante to make him play the idol.
Sadly for their idol chances, it was at that moment that Shane found a hidden immunity idol. Wait, no, it was Diplomatic Immunity and since Marian had already used it, it was null and void.
The mood around camp in general was very tense, with Shane sharing his Diplomatic Immunity find with Meryl and suggesting that while it is expired, he can use it to create a little chaos. Concerned about everyone being kinda safe based with their idols or the assumptions of people having one, Meryl was considering playing her tribal council pass, given it is likely going to come down between her and Palesa as the safe options.
Phil returned from the Outpost and told a little half-truth story about the half-idol, before he pulled Dino aside and suggested they get rid of Shane. Though he didn’t give all the truth. Palesa meanwhile was concerned about working with Dino and Phil, though knew she had to make a decision and felt they were safe given they were connected with Toni. As such, they were all planning to load all their votes on Shane.
Toni returned to Masu and filled them in, kinda, on the Outpost and suggested they all vote out Dante. Marian felt she was shifty and Killarney could tell she was lying, while she disappeared to fill Steffi in on the true plan to get rid of Shane instead. Sadly for her, Steffi didn’t love the idea and as such, was planning to mix things up herself. She pulled Killarney aside and suggested they join with Marian and Shane, and along with Felix, can take control of the game.
Over at Yontau Dante was still pushing for the vote against Phil, while Meryl quietly pulled him aside and suggested they team up to get rid of Palesa without Dante knowing. Not only does it keep them both safe, it weakens whatever Dante is planning moving forward and as such, they were both on board. Phil and Dino caught up about Meryl and debated whether they can trust her, with the latter concerned about what she can do moving forward and feeling like she is the far smarter move than the already abrasive Shane. Phil took that suggestion to Palesa, agreeing that she is totally more dangerous come merge and as such, was locked in on taking out Meryl. Shane then caught up with Phil to float the idea of getting rid of Palesa and assured him that he has never lied to him. He then spoke about Dante saying he has an idol, though admitted he is yet to see it. Oh but he has one. Which pushed Phil over the edge, given so many people are claiming to have an idol now.
Back at Masu Marian caught up with Steffi and Felix, worried about the perceived abundance of advantages and suggested maybe they vote for Palesa instead. Particularly since it weakens Shane. They rejoined the rest of their tribe and suggested the idea, which annoyed Toni given she was desperate to get rid of Shane. Steffi made sure that Toni was very vocal about her plan coming out on top, in the hope it would make everyone concerned about navigating around her throughout the season.
Meryl and Dante meanwhile caught up with the latter very nervous about going home, debating who would be best to target to keep them safe, given Marian would be annoyed if Shane goes, while Meryl ws nervous about how dangerous Palesa is. Particularly since she has been playing such a social game this season.
At tribal council Palesa was nervous about preemptively playing a merge game, as Marian mouthed to Dino to play his idol for Shane. Dante was concerned about the previous relationships coming into play and muddying the waters, while Shane suggested the increased prize money would make things more complicated. Relationships be damned. Phil spoke about being a free agent coming in and glad to build new bonds to push ahead, while Dino was nervous about navigating through the future merge phase.
After everyone started whispering amongst themselves, Nico grew sick of it and suggested everyone get up to gossip. Marian rallied her former allies to join the Palesa vote, while Meryl was worried about the votes being split between her and Shane. There were whispers of Shane, Palesa and Meryl and well, it was all confusing. While everyone was just nervous, as Tejan questioned why they are now planning on turning on one of their own. He then blew things up and asked people to clarify the plan, with Shane pulling out his pouch and suggesting he has an idol, while Steffi begged for them to just damn vote already. Tejan talking about being annoyed but feeling like his hands are tied and as such, he was fine to just get it over with.
With that the tribe voted, Dante outed his idol had expired, as did Shane and his expired pass while Dino held on firm to his real one. As Nico read the votes, much to Tejan and to my horror, they piled up on Queen Palesa and tragically booted her from the game. Just before the merge, which officially went down at tribal council.
Palesa didn’t need a map to find me hiding in Loser Lodge, following the sound of my screaming tears, heartbroken she missed out on the chance to take out a well deserved victory. Despite playing a very strong game her first go, she came in and completely changed the way she played, learning from her mistakes and changing strategy to keep everyone on their toes. And without a twist, I firmly believe she would have made it through the week unscathed. But alas, twists twisted and as such, we had to drown our sorrows with a Palesar Taulad.
While I experienced a slight trauma upon the discovery on the abundance of anchovies washing through a caesar salad, I quickly moved on after realising it tastes good. Creamy, salty and oh so crunchy, this salad is a sensory delight.
Palesar Taulad Serves: 2 icons feeling the blues.
Ingredients 4 streaky bacon rashers, diced 2 eggs 20g butter 2 garlic clove, minced 3 slices sourdough, cut into a 1cm dice 1 cos lettuce, washed, dried and roughly chopped ½ cup parmesan cheese, shaved ¼ cup Caesharonne Salad Dressing
Method Pop a skillet over medium heat and get a pot of water on another hob and bring to the boil. Once the skillet is hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring, until nice and crispy. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon. Once the pot of water is boiling, gently add the eggs and hard boil.
Moving back to the skillet, add the butter and garlic and saute for a minute. Add the bread and cook, agitating frequently, until they become golden brown – or in my case, brown brown – and crisp.
Combine the lettuce, parmesan, bacon and croutons in a bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. Remove the eggs from the pot, peel and cut into quarters and toss over the salad. Then devour, joyously.
Previously on Australian Survivor Sophie was feeling her oats as the cockroach of the season, despite the fact she only miraculously dodged the boot twice in a row due to a twist and Alex quitting rather than skill or gameplay. Identifying Khanh as a big threat, she realised aligning with him could be mutually beneficial and approached him about aligning. Which he sadly had zero interest in. With Sophie gone from the tribe, the alphas were outnumbered on Blood, though after losing the immunity challenge miraculously were able to make some new friends. After Amy found an idol, she was ready to make a strike on Sandra and take control, however the Queen had already sadly scooped them up as they banded together to boot Amy’s bestie Jay.
The next day things were very zen over at the Water tribe as Nina shared how well positioned she was in the tribe and how she was excelling at the game. While I would have loved to hear more from Nina, I was just as distracted as the cameraperson was when her ally Jordie started to repeatedly flash his bum. And just like that, I was back to stanning our overall king. Despite the excitement and the joy of hearing how well Nina is playing, I couldn’t help but become filled with dread as she opened up about being confident in her chances of making it to the end.
The two tribes reconvened with Jonathan where Sam spoke about how united their tribe was, which perfectly cued up JLP to tell them to drop their buffs. Yep, it’s tribe swap time! Given there were 19 people remaining, Sandra, Amy, Dave and Jordan were joined by Shay, Nina, Jordie, Josh and Mel on Blood, while Khanh, Chrissy, KJ and Sophie welcomed Sam, Michelle, Croc, Ben and Jesse on Water, leaving poor Mark tribeless. Well, for a moment, as he was given the right to choose which tribe to join, ultimately selecting to join Blood. Much to the absolute rage of his wife Sam, who was SO ready to play with him. Not wanting to play with their loved one however was Nina, who was heartbroken to be on a tribe with her mother given she now has a huge target on her back. And once again, dread.
Before we could enjoy any drama, Jonathan explained that to take out the reward four people at a time from each tribe would battle in a boat tug-o-war competition to capture a flag, with the first new tribe to three scoring a reward of hot dogs and soda, so you know I would have died to win if I was out there. First up Ben, Croc, Chrissy and Sophie faced off against Mark, Jordan, Mel and Sandra, with the new Water tribe quickly scoring the first point. Josh, Mark, David and Jordie methodically then worked together to tie things up over Croc, Khanh, Jesse and Ben. Sandra, Mel, Shay and Nina worked hard on the third round though were eventually overpowered by Sophie, Sam, KJ and Michelle who scored the second point. Oh and then Ben, Sophie, Croc and Chrissy blitzed through the next round, jagging reward for their tribe. And most importantly, we got to see Ben cheering in his speedo, so everyone is truly a winner.
Back at camp the new Water tribe were delighted to find their hot dog cart, quickly getting to work smashing their snacks and soft drinks. While Sam was thrilled they proved themselves as a new tribe, Chrissy was just thrilled to finally have Croc by her side before talk turned to the fact that Mark was given a choice to join the tribe with Sam and instead opted to keep themselves separated a little longer. Which Sam admitted was a strong strategic decision, despite it hurting. After Croc spoke about feeling bad for those that couldn’t reunite with their pair, Sam and Sophie went for a walk to clear the air and while Sophie promised there were no hard feelings, Sam was very sure that she couldn’t be trusted.
Chrissy interrupted the calm celebrations when she noticed a clue hidden in the side of the cart, quickly rushing to it to snatch it without anyone noticing as she shoved it up her pants. Successfully managing to keep it there, unlike Sharn. Well, until she and Croc awkwardly hugged and she handed it off to him. Back at camp, they went for a walk together where they read their clue and upon Chrissy figuring out where their idol would be, darted off to the river to jag it without anyone noticing. With Croc planning to keep it secret, given that is the advice Sandra gave him and ugh, I now love Croc.
We finally checked in on the new Blood tribe where Jordie was thrilled by how the swap played out for him, keeping him with all of his closest allies and in the majority on the new tribe. And well, to say he was confident is an understatement. Jordie immediately identified Sandra as the biggest threat and vowed to get rid of her ASAP. Essentially. Mark opened up about deciding to stay away from Sam, knowing it was the safest option for them, despite it not being what he truly wanted. As everyone washed off in the water and formed quick bonds, poor Sandra was left alone with Dave back at camp and attempted to try and start over with him, given it is her only option. While she was hopeful Nina’s strong bonds and likability would be able to help her out, she was still very nervous.
Speaking of Nina, she was thrilled to still be on a tribe with all of her allies but sadly – though wisely for her – she approached them to assure them that should they want to vote out her mum, she will be ok with it. While she quietly wondered to us whether she could really bring herself to break her mum’s trust, she also felt it would be hard to cross her allies too.
The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Jonathan explained they would chop through a rope to release a net, climb said net to cross a tower, collect some boxes on balance beams, climb up another tower where they would drop the boxes over the side in an attempt to release a ball. And then use said ball to solve a table maze. Josh got Blood out to the earliest of leads, though they were quickly overtaken by Water who whipped up the nets. After Michelle fell on the balance beams, Blood managed to pull ahead again. Well until they struggled to smash their boxes, giving Water a huge lead while solving their table maze. Sadly, they couldn’t get it together as Nina started to talk her tribe through the puzzle. Though not quickly enough, as Water narrowly took out immunity.
And left Sandra to contend with her Day 16 curse. Much to my mildly simmering rage.
Back at camp Nina quickly apologised for choking while calling the challenge while the rest of the tribe tried to rally and raise her up. Sandra meanwhile stressed about having to go to tribal council on Day 16, though she was hopeful Nina’s connections may be able to keep around for another few days and break said curse. Not wanting to rest on her laurels though, Sandra caught up with Mark and pointed out she has issues with Dave should they be looking for a target, while Dave, Jordie and the cousins hung out to lock in the vote for Mel. Nina went for a walk with Shay and Josh with them filling Nina in on the plan to get rid of Mel, given she is clumsy and may be a liability in future challenges. Which was music to Nina’s, and importantly my ears.
Sandra meanwhile was back in the water with Jordan, Dave and Amy, with them shocked by the fact Water are willing to get rid of one of their own despite being in the minority. Sadly it was at that moment that Jordie decided they really should have some fun with the vote and instead take out one of the weaker OG Blood women in the form of Sandra, and then at a whisper, Amy.
Jordie, Josh and Mark giddily locked in the vote for Sandra given she is not only weaker and from the rival tribe but most importantly, a massive threat. While Jordie and Josh wanted to give Nina a heads up, Mark assured them it was too dangerous given she could get Shay to play her idol to save her mother and ruin not only their plans but their alliance. Speaking of which, Nina, Sandra and Shay were catching up and well, this better end with an idol play otherwise I’ll be heartbroken. While the trio felt the vote was still going Mel’s way, Sandra worried about what would happen after that given there is nowhere else for her to hide. Even though she isn’t even hiding anymore.
Mark, Jordie and Josh caught up with the other former OG Blood members and Mel to float the Sandra plan and tragically everyone seemed thrilled to jump on board. Thankfully though Nina could tell that Mark and Mel were acting weird with her and as such, felt like something was up. While Jordie caught up with Sandra and assured him the plan was still on Mel, desperate to claim the scalp of Sandra in a blindside.
At tribal council Sandra spoke about being happy with the new tribe, reiterating how proud she is to still be in the game. Mel opened up about being nervous about the upcoming vote, while Mark tried to downplay the fact the original Water tribe hold the majority in this new tribe. Which Jordie reiterated, though far less eloquently. Shay mentioned that she would be voting on strength, given she is desperate for some food and to get another win. This got Sandra fired up, announcing that is not how Survivor works or how it is played, given one person is not a deciding factor in losing a challenge. Sandra then doubled down and pointed out that alliances are more important because come merge, the weak will outnumber the strong and once the strong people start losing immunity, they are immediately booted. Unless they have allies willing to protect them.
This speech spooked Shay, given she thought she knew what would be playing out while Jordie spoke about every season being a clean slate and kinda pretending like Sandra isn’t a damn icon that could wash each and every one of them any day of the week. And well, he better moon us tomorrow if he gets his way tonight because I am growing tired. Nina admitted she is nervous about the upcoming vote, with Jordie pretty much saying he isn’t looking forward to facing a loved one back at camp which narrows down the boot to one of four people, but really only Sandra. Speaking of the Queen, she admitted that she is definitely expecting to receive a couple of votes at tribal council, though continued to speak strongly, reiterating that being a pair is strong and as such, made Josh and Jordan nervous about potentially being the only pair left in the tribe.
Jonathan then asked Nina whether she felt being a pair was important and when Sandra tried to look her in the eye, she told her to look at Jonathan instead as her eyes welled up. This well and truly got Sandra nervous as she spoke about knowing what she signed up for, though she still looked gutted. Before reminding us that the queen stays queen.
With that the tribe voted and tragically, there were no miracles as Shay played her idol for herself – not sure why, though – and Queen Sandra was unanimously booted from the tribe. Once again swap-screwed on Day 16. Which is why I threw the most epic tantrum Charters Towers had ever seen when I got word that Sandra’s curse had completed its hat trick before she claimed her triple crown.
My tantrum wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t cute, though I would argue it was completely justified.
Sandra is a complete and utter icon and if her new tribes would only stop losing the first challenge after a swap, she should be a lock for the merge after enough time to endear herself with her new people. Instead, we’re left with the brutal tragedy that one again, Sandra is not on a jury at the worst but more ideally addressing one.
While I was heartbroken by her placement on paper, her run on Australian Survivor has only managed to cement her status as the best to ever play the game. Her strategy is simple and logical, but one that not many people could pull off season after season with her finesse.
As soon as I saw her enter the Pre-Jury Villa – no Loser Lodge for MY queen – I immediately started sobbing and ran into her arms. While she wasn’t receptive to my ideas for her to disown Nina and adopt me in her place, or to find Jonathan and production and force them to re-shoot tribal council, or even add a new version of Redemption Rock where Sandra is automatically given the win; she was grateful for my enduring love and support and glad that I was once again by her side on Day 16 to eat our feelings, this time with a Triple Pork, Corndra Cheeaz-Twine. A meal I had tragically thought would manifest the third win, rather than enacting her curse for a third time.
Now I can not take ownership of this recipe – that is Jock Zonfrillo, with some minor tweaks for my preferences – I knew Sandra’s return from retirement needed to be marked with something decadent and regal, worthy of her legacy. This very baconny, very cheesy number is near perfection – smokey and umami, sweet and salty, it is the only glorious meal worthy of someone as glorious as the Survivor GOAT.
Ingredients 50g thinly sliced smoked pancetta 25g smoked salt 25g dark muscovado sugar 10g ground black pepper, to season 10g hot smoked paprika 10g ground star anise 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1.2kg pork belly 1 cup cloudy apple juice 150g sourdough, blitzed to form crumbs 230g sharp aged smoked cheddar, coarsely grated ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped 120g unsalted butter, diced 60g flour 2 ½ cups milk 130g blue cheese, diced 130g Fontina, coarsely grated 130g Talleggio, coarsely grated salt and white pepper, to taste 400g smoked bacon lardons 1 bunch shallots, thinly sliced 4 garlic cloves, minced 5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed 3 x 400g cans sweetcorn, drained ¼ cup sour cream
Method Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Start by working on your bacon rub by placing the pancetta on a lined baking sheet and cooking in the oven for fifteen minutes, or until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel to remove grease and allow it to cool. Once chill, combine the pancetta with the smoked salt, muscovado sugar, black pepper, paprika and star anise in a food processor or blender and blitz until crumbed.
Next, score the skin of your pork belly and rub it with oil followed by all but 2 tbsp of the bacon rub, getting it on the meat and skin until it is gorgeously marooned. Pop the pork belly on a rack in a baking dish, skin side up, and pour the apple juice into the dish. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, before reducing the heat to 180C and cooking for a further hour. Keeping an eye on the apple juice in the pan and topping up with more, or water, should it run dry. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.
While the pork is getting gorgeously browned, combine the bread crumbs, 100g of the smoked cheddar, parsley and the remaining bacon rub in a bowl until combined.
Next step – FYI, there are a lot of steps and it is what Sandra deserves, so deal – melt half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add the flour, whisk and cook for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk to combine before returning to the heat and bringing to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining cheeses and cooking for a further couple of minutes, or until well combined. Season and keep warm.
In another saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat and cook the lardons for five minutes or until starting to caramelise. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook for further five minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the corn and stir until warmed through.
When the smells have you more than ready to eat, cut the pork belly into a dice, reserving the crackling for a side or to top. Combine the corn and lardon mixture with the cheese sauce, before folding through the pork belly and sour cream.
Transfer to a baking dish, top with the crumb and pop in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve immediately and devour, eating all your feelings away before the next episode.
And remember, the Queen will always stay Queen. Day 16 curse be damned!
Previously on Survivor we experienced the ultimate – not the best, that is still Micronesia or Heroes vs. Villains – battle with 20 former winners taking to the island to become the champion of champions. Or to Tony, the King to Sandra’s Queen. Then, well, Rona happened and the show was off air for a year and a half and well, let’s just say, it is a relief that Jeffrey L. Probst is back on the screen.
More specifically, back on the screen to welcome us back and share how much he missed us all. No prizes for guessing who was standing directly behind the camera when he delivered that monologue! (It was me, FYI). Anyway, after pointing out a new beware advantage we learnt that the shorter game came with smaller tribes, no food and a lot of risks to make the game even more dangerous.
With that, the three new tribes jetted their way through the ocean where we met Evvie from the Yase tribe, who was thrilled to kick off the new phase of the show. Danny meanwhile binged the show in lockdown and was ready to put his NFL past to work on the Luvu tribe. And well, Heather is my early fave, given she is an older woman and hella charming. JD meanwhile rubbed me the wrong way, given he is young and I am aging. As a frontline worker Voce was just glad to be away from the hospital, Shan was ready to give Pastors a bad name – I think – Sara was just glad to not be stuck in 2020, Deshawn was ready to leave isolation, Erica felt ready to be uncaged and Xander looks like he is going to be a wild twink. And that is a compliment. Think Shawn Mendes playing Survivor rather than being dopey and sweet?
Poor Heather was dropped as my favourite to make way for the iconic Genie, who is perfection personified. Hippy, happy and just so damn charming (I still love you too Heather). She was joined by 17 others on a ship in the middle of the ocean where Jeff officially welcomed them to the new season, with Abraham talking about how ecstatic he is to just not have to wear a mask. Erica meanwhile was grateful she wasn’t dropped from the cast due to the delay, while Naseer won my heart talking about learning English from watching Survivor when he came to America. I mean, what?! He is adorable. Heather spoke about watching the show from the start with her boyfriend, who became her husband AND now with their children. They are all just. So. Sweet.
Jeff then challenged everyone to grow and evolve and have difficult conversations, which led to him questioning his use of the phrase ‘come on in guys’. And after queer, female, icon Evvie told Jeffrey she was ok with, everyone agreed and the game was afoot. We learnt that the blue tribe would go by Luvu, the yellow tribe would be Yase while the green tribe is Ua. Jeffrey then put them to their paces in the first challenge where they would scavenge the boat for six oars for their boat before climbing in and paddling around a buoy to retrieve a key with the first ones to finish getting some meager supplies, while the rest would have nothing. While Luvu got out to an early lead, Ua was hot on their tail as Yase wandered aimlessly around the ship. Ua meanwhile dominated the rowing, pulling away and secured victory as Jeff read Yase for filth for their dodge performance.
Oh and we learnt that Luvu were so shit at paddling because they didn’t unclip the anchor which is hilarious and iconic and I love them.
We first followed Ua back to camp where we met Sara, who shared that her grandmother tragically passed away from COVID and she is out on the island for her, given she is a fellow Survivor fan. She was joined on the tribe with Queen Genie, rancher Brad – who is adorable and sweet – Ricard, JD and Shan. We learnt that Brad also lost his father a week before flying out for the game and ugh, this is going to be super rough if everyone has suffered COVID losses. On the more upbeat end of the spectrum, JD quickly put their flint to use and made fire for the camp and ugh, their joy was so pure.
The Yase tribe meanwhile were embarrassed to have bombed the challenge, though were glad to be together. In their shame. Yase was made up of Liana, Tiffany, Xander, Voce, Abraham and Queen Evvie, who discovered a challenge set up for them on the beach. They had the option to do a brain teaser counting triangles or two of them could gather enough water to fill two buckets and if they failed whichever one they chose, they wouldn’t get any supplies until after the first tribal council. Voce obviously thought it was a horrible idea to do the bucket challenge, which he and Xander were forced to do while the rest of the tribe got to work setting up camp and searching for idols.
Over on Luvu they too opted for the bucket challenge, leaving Danny and Deshawn to get it done. Before immediately snapping bambo and losing their first buckets of water. Meanwhile at Ua, Queen Genie was opening up about her wife and the support she has always had from her traditional family and ugh, why am I crying so much? Ricard meanwhile was opening up to Sara about his husband and how they met just before he was due to foster a child. But given her husband is a total babe, he was smitten, they quickly got married and had a baby. But now he is guilty about leaving his pregnant husband at home with a toddler that doesn’t understand where he went and when he is coming back.
Back at Luvu, the guys quickly gave up on the bucket challenge and instead were hunting for an idol. Sadly for them, however, Naseer went to make sure they were ok and spotted them, making him backpedal on his plan to not talk strategy until the challenge was done, pulling in the rest of the tribe for a final four.
Over at Yase the boys were struggling with the challenge, though powering along as best they could. Meanwhile Evvie and Liana were catching up, suggesting that the boys would be bonded by the challenge and as such, they should form a duo and side with them. Liana then caught up with Abraham and instead of a generic getting to know you conversation, Abraham opted to shade Tiff for diving off the boat in the opening challenge and paint a target on her back. Sadly for him, Liana pulled her aside and filled her in on everything before we learnt that she had a preemptive mastectomy which ultimately discovered that she had early-stage cancer. Which is just honestly so mind blowing to think about.
We returned to Ua where JD was trying to lay low and not talk strategy in the hope of hiding his superfan status. Obviously that didn’t go unnoticed though as Ricard, Sara and Shan caught up by the well to talk about how hard he is trying to charm everyone and as such, they suggested they should get rid of him ASAP. Well, maybe not Shan, given she was actively forming a ride or die alliance with every single member of the tribe.
Deshawn and Danny meanwhile had given up on the hunt for their idols and returned to working on the challenge while Xander and Voce trudged away on their beach and honestly, all I know is that my basement is flooded. As were all the barrels, as both tribes secured themselves supplies. As soon as it was done, Sydney pulled Deshawn and Danny aside to fill them in on Naseer dobbing them in and DON’T DO THIS TO SWEET NASEER!?
The next day Sydney was living her best life at camp before a boat arrived requesting one person jump on with absolutely zero information. Imagine if someone just stumbled upon camp and suggested this and they went with it? Chilling. Anyway, obviously nobody wanted the target that volunteering would bring, leading to Danny throwing his hand up to avoid them debating all day. Meanwhile Xander gladly took the nomination over at Yase given everyone felt he was least likely to lie to them, leaving the duo to battle or join JD from Ua, thanks to him picking a white rock.
With that, the trio joined together on a new island where they learnt they would take a nice stroll up to the top of a mountain and well, this is a movie I could watch all night. On the way up, we learnt that JD was bullied growing up and that he has worked hard to change his image, inspired by Survivor icons Ozzy and Woo. At the top of the island we learnt that the trio would tragically split up to make a private decision before returning home. Wisely, Danny suggested they come up with a consensus decision so their stories are the same. Sadly for him, the challenge was simply to choose whether to risk or protect their votes. If everyone selected protect, nothing changes. If everyone selected risk, they all lose their vote at the next tribal council. And if it is split, the people that selected risk people would get an extra vote.
Before we could learn anything, we followed Danny back to camp where he quickly filled the tribe in on the truth and surprisingly, everyone believed him. Xander too opted with the truth route, pointing out he went for the extra vote so that come swap or merge, the tribe now have something in their pocket to get ahead. JD meanwhile sat his tribe down for a very in depth story time and while he almost told the entire truth – minus his choice – he gave so much information that they felt they couldn’t trust him.
The tribes reconvened with Jeff for the first challenge of the season where Ricard gagged everyone by announcing that he had more time to process Jeff questioning ‘come on in, guys’ and requested he drop ‘guys’ which makes so much sense given his family, so don’t even try giving him hate internet. Before getting to the challenge, Jeff announced the new ‘Shot in the Dark’ twist where they would each get a die that they can play once throughout the game at tribal council when it came time to vote, where they can forfeit their vote for a one-in-six shot at a piece of parchment deeming them safe.
But enough about the twist, in the immunity challenge they obviously need to traverse a bunch of obstacles to retrieve puzzle pieces, push said puzzle pieces up and down additional obstacles before ascending a tower and solving said puzzle. Oh and the two tribes that lose will both be going to tribal council AND losing their flints until the next immunity challenge. All tribes were neck and neck before Ua took the slightest lead and Luvu dropped one of their bags, costing them valuable time and leaving them to languish at the back of the pack. Ua were first to start working on their puzzle, quickly joined by Yase while Luvu desperately tried to close the gap. Which they did, whipping through the puzzle and snatching immunity for their tribe.
Back at Yase, Evvie broke down in tears over losing the puzzle for the tribe, knowing it may paint a target on her back. Thankfully for her, Liana and Tiffany were more focused on getting rid of Abraham given he was so quick to target Tiffany on the first day. Meanwhile Abraham was trying to rally the boys to join him in getting rid of Tiff as the weakest. They then took the information to Evvie and while she sounded on board, she knew it was a bad idea for her game. As such, she pulled Voce and Xander aside to point out Abraham is more of a liability, I assume in the broadest sense of the word. She took the information back to Tiffany and while the latter’s gut told her that she would be safe at tribal, she knew not to be complacent and as such went hunting for an idol. Tragically not spotting it when it was right in front of her.
At tribal council the tribe dipped their torches in the fire before Tiffany praised the tribe for being so harmonious and loving. Abraham meanwhile turned things to strategy, suggesting the vote needs to focus on strength, given the tribe is so small. Tiffany spoke about how great Abraham is at talking without actually saying anything at all which led to him highlighting his strength again for good measure. Evvie meanwhile suggested it was a different game, but agreed that strength is still important while Voce crunched the numbers and suggested the ‘Shot in the Dark’ twist isn’t really that scary. Because, you know, maths.
Liana spoke about how nerve wracking the twist is for those that don’t roll their dice, while Xander just wanted the tribe to come together and prove themselves as assets slash challenge threats. Which Evvie reminded them is important for setting up their end game. With that the tribe voted, Xander stealthily pocket his extra vote and poor Abraham found himself becoming the first boot of the new era.
As someone that has posed as a cyber security analyst, you know I am a former best friend of Abraham’s. Who, for the record, I call by her legal name Eric. Anyway, as I spotted him in Loser Lodge, I ran into his arms and gave him a massive hug, knowing how painful it would feel to go home so soon after such a long wait. Then I learnt that by going home, the pre-juror’s were truly going home. Effective immediately and as such, I reminded him he is a sweet, charming guy, handed him a Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie and bid him adieu.
There are so many jokes I could make about how much I love the pickle, hiding said pickles etc. but at the end of the day, those tart little numbers are something I just don’t joke around about. I mean, pop them on a toastie and you take it to the next level.
Cheddar, Erickle & Abraham Toastie Serves: 2.
Ingredients 4 slices sourdough 2 tbsp Shayonnaise Swain 6-8 slices English leg ham 1 cup vintage cheddar, as sharp as you can find, grated 2 dill pickles, thinly sliced salt and pepper, to taste butter, for spreadin’
Method Lay out your bread on a chopping board and spread each with the mayo.
Top two slices with a quarter of the cheese each, followed by the ham, the pickle and the rest of the cheese. Season with a little salt and a good whack of pepper and top with the other slices of bread, mayo side down.
Spread a little butter on the top slices of bread and get a large skillet on the hob over medium heat. Once hot, place the sandies butter side down and cook for five-ten minutes, or until golden and crisp. Smear some butter on the top slices and flip over to cook for a further five-ten minutes. By which time that side should be crispy and the cheese, gooey and glorious.
You know how when Randall Pearson is being all dreamy, kind and loving, rather than dismissing Beth and her feelings? Well that is what my dear friend Sterling is like, only better.
I greeted him at the airport, and TBH, it was like a moment out of a rom com. He dropped his bags, ran towards me and lifted me up into the biggest, warmest hug known to man. While I weightlessly spun around the room, I wondered if this was the moment we would fall in love.
He then let me go, patted me on the back and I remembered that we were both happily married, and agreed many years ago, never to let our palpable chemistry get in the way of our beautiful friendship.
We got back to my house where I immediately pummeled him … with questions about This Is Us’ upcoming season, including but not limited to, am I the other parent of Kevin’s child once he comes out and I become his love interest, will Milo show skin like in the pilot and will the Pearsons become less self-absorbed?
He was more non-committal than I liked on the first two, I offended him on the last one, so we agreed to disagree and focus on our beautiful friendship. And smashing a pair of rich, tasty Sterling K. Hot Browns.
While I only recently learned of the majestic hot brown, as soon as it was in my mouth, I knew it had to be dedicated to my lovely Sterl. Warm and comforting, with a big meaty punch (of heart, in his case), there is nothing I want in my mouth more than this. At a meal time.
Sterling K. Hot Brown Serves: 2.
Ingredients 1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup milk
1 cup vintage cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, fried until crispy
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices sourdough, toasted
8 thin slices turkey
chives, sliced, to garnish
Method Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, Once foamy, add the flour and cook for a minute or so, or until a glorious roux has formed. Remove from the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking, before returning to the heat to bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, still stirring, for five minutes, or until thickened. Add half of each cheese, the nutmeg, hot sauce and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and remove from the heat.
To assemble, place the bread on a lined baking sheet and arrange the turkey and tomato on top. Spread sauce on top of each and finish with the remaining cheeses. Transfer to a grill and cook on medium for a couple of minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
Transfer the sandwiches to a plate, top with bacon and chives and then, finally, devour.
Previously on Australian Survivor Anita and Tegan battled it out on Exile, with Anita sent from the game and Tegan sent back to roast the people that turned on her. Meanwhile over at the Champions, everyone was loving life, Steve was giving me life and well … we don’t see much from them because they keep winning. As such the Contenders returned to tribal council where somehow, against all odds Benji managed to avoid the epic fallout from his lies, in no small part thanks to Zach just digging his grave and getting himself booted. I mean, you can tell the exact moment Benji and Robbie could tell that Zach had ruined his game.
We opened up at the Champions with my love Steve Willis, tragically doing clothed yoga while Jackie and Brian roasted him for being quiet, sexy and focused on meditating and exercising. I mean, I love Steve because he is the best … but I’m also loving Brian for the sassy commentary. Well, until it dips over to being malicious, then I choose Steve. Forever and always. Brian continued to watch Steve and Lydia doing yoga in his jocks – which yes, is kinda hot – while Jackie praised how well she was set up on her tribe. She has Brian, Monika and Sam – I think – in her pocket, with Shane so scared she’d jump to anyone, and planned to take out Mat or Steve – BACK OFF – ASAP. Mat noticed the fact that Jackie was rallying troops to get him out, so tried to get Monika on side to launch a counterattack and to take control. So I guess congratulations Contenders, you’ve won immunity.
Speaking of which, the ladies of the Contenders were rejoicing in the peace following Zach’s boot. Shonee in particular was glad to no longer have to smell him or hear about his love of protein shakes, chickens and generally being boring. The girls were interrupted from roasting Zach by a random treemail announcing treasure hidden somewhere at their camp. The tribe giddily ran around the island and discovered that they were given the pity prize of their loved items from home. Paige got photos, Benji got a random doll from his nana, Tegan got her son’s bunny – the same as Brian’s daughter and my niece’s – Shonee got a photo of her zaddy husband, Robbie got a picture of his family, Fenella got a picture of her boyf and Heath got some bracelets and a picture of his daughter, and hot damn if you’re not crying you have no soul. Thankfully it brought them all together and it finally seemed like they may be at a turning point.
With all the talk about dominating the Champions at the next challenge, Jonathan returned for said challenge to see if they could put their money where their mouth is. The reward challenge required the tribe to run and climb up a wall, jump off and grab a rope before swimming out to an A-frame and tether themselves on top, with the first tribe to complete getting to smash nachos and fresh margs like Julie Cooper-Nichol. Mat and Steve thankfully were rocking the speedos so I’m not exactly sure what was happening, though I think the Contenders were in front despite Tegan and Robbie belly-flopping. Since Monika completely axed herself. Shane went for gold to try and close the gap, however the Contenders maintained their epic lead while Monika freaked about having to attempt the dive again … while Steve served cake to the camera. Once again, Mon missed the rope while Mat and Steve willed her to finish as the Contenders ascended their A-frame as Monika smashed herself, this time successfully on the third go. Despite a late push for a comeback thanks to Heath and Robbie struggling with the ropes, the Contenders finally secured their first reward while poor Monika cried in pain.
The Contenders were sent out to enjoy their reward with an ominous note and a warning that since it is a family style nachos, they’d have to be prepared to share. Shonee however was too busy being thrilled by the incoming margs and the fact that they won the first challenge after booting Zach, despite him telling them he was the only thing keeping them together.
Back at camp the Champions praised Monika for persevering through the challenge despite continually axing herself. And while I want to mock it, the fact that she took the moment to remind herself that while she isn’t an athlete she deserves to be a champion and has a renewed fire to take out the win.
At the reward, the Contenders discovered that their share meal and drink came with the mother of all shit twists with everyone eating one at a time and forced to eat as much as they want slash see fit until everyone had a turn. Or the food was gone. With everyone jockeying to try and organise the order to suit them, Tegan outplayed Benji and assured him that the girls would eat less and as such should go first … knowing full well an idol would be hidden at the food. While she searched the entire place, she came up empty handed. Fenella and Shonee followed without looking for an idol, while Paige had a cursory glance before Benji arrived and moved the food from the bottom of the platter to discover a clue etched in the wood. He quickly deduced it was hidden on a sandbank, and just like that my heart broke as he smashed the nachos like a pig and desperately tried to hide the clue. Heath arrived and questioned the mutilated nachos, though didn’t appear to notice the clue … however Robbie did. Oh wait, no. He missed it, despite it being completely exposed. Back at camp Benji gazed out at the island, though was stuck in wait until the tide went down. And even then, he was terrified about being caught and having an even bigger target on his back.
My boy Jonathan returned for the latest immunity challenge where two people would hold a net over a log, while the other tribe would try and shoot coconuts into their baskets with the latest person standing securing immunity for their tribe. So yeah, so Zach … the contenders could probs have used you. And I was totally wrong about Contenders snagging immunity. Both tribes focused on loading up the men, with Heath and Steve slowly getting more and more weight while Fenella and Lydia were chillaxing. Ultimately Heath dropped while Steve struggled, leaving Fenella as the only hope against Lydia. Steve continued to take nut after nut until we both dropped our loads and it became a battle of the women as Fenella struggled and Lydia looked like the challenge beast that she is. Obviously before poor Fenella couldn’t hold out much longer – dem nuts, yo – giving immunity to the Champions again on account of Lydia being invincible.
Back at camp Paige was confident in her ability to play the swing vote, instantly making me nervous about her survival. Everyone was feeling dejected about the upcoming vote, with Benji knowing he can’t snatch the idol ahead of tribal council so instead looked to throw the vote to Paige. Shonee was all in as she can’t read Paige … until Benji tried to win back some trust by admitting that he is a millionaire, which made her instantly want to target him. She then went straight back to Fenella and told her they should vote him out, leading to Fenella saying what we’re all thinking – that his accent is total bullshit. Benji and his accent approached Heath to lock him in on the Paige vote, despite neither of them trusting each other. Meanwhile Robbie and Tegan were also talking about getting rid of Paige and leaving the couples in tact for this round. Benji joined them and assured Tegan he wouldn’t screw her over again, though despite the fact she doesn’t trust him she knows she needs to keep him close for this round. And well Paige just hoped the Survivor God’s would shine on her.
At tribal council Jonathan shaded the Contenders on their losing ways, before Tegan and Fenella admitted that they had each found a close ally, as did Robbie before poor Paige tried to get in on the action despite not being meaningfully allied with anyone. Tegan admitted that she needs to put things aside and work with people, even if she doesn’t trust them. Benji tried to pretend he hasn’t been caught up in his messy web of lies, Heath planned to move past prior blindsides, Shonee reminded us that Survivor isn’t the place to hold grudges and, well, Benji just felt confident her won’t be going home. 95% sure, to be exact.
With that the tribe went off to vote and tragically, opted to run over the girl in the middle in Paige rather than knock Benji’s smug face out of the. And boy was she pissed. While she seethed like I did with Zach last night, I quickly won her over with the smell of a freshly baked Paige de Keragne.
Pain de Campagne is essentially just a fancy way of saying French sourdough, but when it tastes this good you should let me indulge in my smugness. Adapted from a couple of recipes I found because I wanted an easier option, this easier version is still delicious. And light. And gloriously sour and ready for a slathering of butter.
Paige de Keragne Serves: 4-6.
Ingredients 1kg 00 flour 250g rye flour 2 tsp yeast, crumbled 800ml tap-cold water 15g sea salt
Method To make the starter, combine 100g of each of the flours in a bowl with ½ tsp of yeast and ½ cup water. Mix until well combined, cover and leave to ferment for at least 12 hours. I started making it back on day 11 when it seemed likely Zach’s anti-woman stance would take her out.
When the starter is adequately fermented, combine the remaining ingredients with the starter in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead with a dough hook on medium speed for about 10 minutes. Or by hand, if you need to work out some Zach anger. Did I mention Zach and I are feuding?
Once the dough is nice and elastic, shape into a ball, cover with a warm damp cloth and leave to prove for an hour or two.
When the dough has doubled in size, knock back, divide into two or three balls, shape and place on a lined baking sheet. Cover the shaped dough and leave to prove for a further hour or so.transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake for
Preheat oven to 250°C.
Once adequately proven, slice the top with shallow lines feeling your Meryl-in-It’s-Complicated-making-croissants self and place a baking dish of boiling water in the bottom of the oven. Transfer loaves to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Devour, freshly sliced, as the butter melts all over the bread.
Previously on Survivor, the four of the final five’s complacency lead to Ben finding yet another idol. Despite Chrissy’s best attempts to use her dead super idol to her advantage and play it as an idol to stop him searching. Yes, it was too little too late, but thankfully for Devon he felt Ben was too confident for someone that was about to be voted out, and threw a vote on Mike to save himself and send Mike to the jury.
The final four returned to camp, once again shocked by Ben’s latest idol play and Devon receiving his first vote. Ben then checked in with Ryan to see whether he and his series of idols broke another record. While semi-gloating that night, he was feeling decidedly less confident the next day given idols are dead. Though Probst did say that the final four would bring about another twist, so who knows.
Chrissy for one was extremely nervous about the twist as if all goes according to plan and one of their three win immunity, she wins a million dollars and Ben goes home in fourth.
Given she said immunity three times, Probst appeared for the final immunity challenge of the season which features the victor also getting said twist. The challenge seemed simple with the castaways required to spell our heroes, healers and hustlers on a wobbly platform. Looks were deceiving however as Chrissy quickly dropped her first batch of letters, as did Devon. Ryan and Ben got out to an early lead, while Chrissy and Devon continued to bumble around. Public enemy number one Ben then overtook Ryan and placed his final letters and locked in the platform, thinking he had immunity. Tragically for him, one of the letters was upside down and he lost most of his blocks as he unlocked the structure to fix it. That lead to Ryan, Chrissy and Devon all following suit and dropping all their blocks. The panic started to set in with Ben dropping again, followed by Ryan, Chrissy, Devon, Ryan and Devon. It came down to Ben and Chrissy who were neck and neck before Ben dropped again, giving Chrissy enough time to finish the puzzle and snatch her record-equalling fourth immunity challenge.
They returned to camp where Ben was feeling completely defeated, knowing he was a dead man walking. Ryan and Chrissy spoke about them potentially being millionaires soon while Ben spoke to Chrissy about the possibility of taking him to the end. While she told him she would think about it, she knew it may cost her the game. Little did he know that Chrissy’s advantage was actually a disadvantage, which gave her the opportunity to pick one person to take to the end and leave the other two to compete in a fire challenge for the final spot. Which bodes well for Ben and not good for Devon, as Chrissy thinks he will be better at making fire than Ryan.
Chrissy took the information to Devon and Ryan so that they would be across it and Devon could use the time to practice making fire. While Ryan was thrilled his ineptitude secured his place in the final three, there was an overwhelming sense of doom as Devon went down to the beach to practice making fire and immediately broke the flint.
Things didn’t go that much better for Devon at tribal council where after Ryan joined Chrissy as a member of the final three, Ben was shocked to learn he had yet another life and made quick work of the fire while Devon struggled to even get a spark, sending him out of the game as the final juror.
As heartbroken as he and his enormous torso were to exit the game on day 38 by an unprecedented twist, he quickly brushed it off as just part of the game. I screamed and threatened to sue for what felt like six hours before calming my farm and getting down to whipping up some Devon Pinto Beans on Toast for the morning after making Devs feel better.
While they oft have smack talked about them as the musical fruit, beans are fucking delicious and wholly nutritious … which is super convenient if you just spent 38 starving on an island and backed it up with a very late night.
Devon Pinto Beans on Toast Serves: 1.
Ingredients extra virgin olive oil 1 onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 tomato, roughly chopped 1 carrot, peeled and cut into half-moon discs 400g can pinto beans, drained and rinsed ½ tsp smoked paprika sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 slices sourdough, toasted parmesan, to serve
Method Heat a lug of oil in a medium skillet until nice and hot. Reduce heat to low, add the onions and garlic, and sweat until soft and sweet. Add the tomato, beans and a lug of water and cook for two minutes, or until almost completely reduced. Add the paprika and a whack of salt and pepper, stir and remove from the heat.
Serve immediately on freshly toasted sourdough, top with some parmesan and devour thinking this is why I’m a morning person.
Previously on Survivor, the alliance that Ben spent two weeks pretending not to be a part of contemplated getting rid of him for realsies. Thankfully for him though he had an idol in his pocket, some chaos at tribal council and Mike around to throw half of Lauren’s idol in the fire. Ben played his idol while Lauren could not, sending her out of the game with Ben’s sole vote.
Things were rather solemn as Solewa returned to tribal, shocked by the fact that Ben pulled off the ultimate idol play, topping even Wentworth’s brutal slayage of Savage back in Cambodia. Ben then meandered off to get some water – I assume to toast his success – before Chrissy, Ryan and Mike confirmed with Devon that he and Ashley had no idea what was happening. They then locked him in as the next to go, which you know, means that he is safe this episode.
Ben returned from his drink to Devon heckling him about voting out the wrong person as he was going to make sure he doesn’t win immunity, despite the fact Lauren has won more challenges than him.
Early the next morning, Ben woke up to make a fire slash use the alone time to search high and low for his rehidden idol. Sadly for him, Chrissy and Mike woke up while he was gone and realised what he was up to. Though, they didn’t act on it, so who knows? I guess not everyone can be Caramoan Andrea to Malcolm and babysit them until they give up?
My lover Probsty arrived for the reward challenge, where the final six were separated into pairs and required to walk through an obstacle course to untether themselves from a rope before tossing three rings onto big, hard sticks. Given it was for an overnight getaway to a private resort it was, as Jiffy says, worth playing for. Coming as no surprise, Ben and Ashley got out to an early lead, followed closely by Devon and Chrissy while Mike and Ryan languished behind. Chrissy and Devon found a good rhythm, overtaking Ben and Ashley and securing reward. Obviously Jeff gave them the opportunity to pick one person to take on reward with them. They picked their mutual friend Ryan much to the chagrin of Ashley who was ropeable to be left out … and was conveniently left back at camp with the other half of the tribe.
She continued to seethe back at camp where Mike suggested they all take five minutes to rant before moving on. He then used his allotted rant time to paint a target on Ryan and Devon, saying he was concerned that the latter is trying to woo the former back to his side. Ben interrupted his rant to find out who he was targeting at the next tribal, with the silence letting him know that he was his target. Mike then went for a walk, allowing Ben the opportunity to talk to Ashley, clear the air and find an in. That being said, she shut him down pretty firmly and he resigned himself to finding the idol, which Mike assured us wouldn’t happen. So …
Over at the reward, Chrissy, Devon and Ryan got to work feasting before Devon kicked off the scheming, reaffirming that Ben needs to go first while Mike is also too much of a loose cannon to leave around. Chrissy then floated themselves as a potential final three, which the other two jumped at. After locking in their new alliance, Chrissy continued her favourite pastime and painted a target on the last remaining female, Ashley, deeming her to be more of a threat than Ben. Though I’m not sure why, other than the fact that she called her out at tribal. While that makes sense for Chrissy’s game, how is she going to sell that to Devon and Ryan?
Probst returned to the scene for an epic immunity challenge where the castaways were required to run a huge-ass obstacle course before untying sandbags before using said sandbag to toss into their basket and release a ladder. They then had to get another wall, toss it into a forked gap … and release another ladder. It obviously finished off with a big ol’ puzzle. Everyone was kind of neck and neck the entire way, which is kind of surprising given it looked insanely tiring. Given the puzzle was too hard to tell where people were placing, the long story short is that Chrissy took out victory and secured her place in the final five.
Back at camp Ben was feeling sore about losing the immunity challenge, disappearing to search for an idol while the remaining five hung out to re-confirm that they were going to take out Ben. They then moved the conversation to the water, worrying about him finding an idol WHILE HE WAS OPENLY SEARCHING FOR THE IDOL. Ashley then disappeared, allowing Chrissy to throw out the idea of getting rid of Ashley instead of Ben, to flush out Ben’s potential that nobody was guarding against and eliminating her final challenge threat. As expected Ben then found a clue to the idol while all alone, telling him it was hidden on the underside of the shelter. Everyone was casually chatting by the fire while Ben lounged around under the shelter, laying in wait for an opportunity to snatch the idol.
At tribal Ben spoke about being the odd man out before Probsty cut him off to throw some shade at Ashley not being selected for the reward, stoking Chrissy and Ashley’s simmering rage. Ryan and Mike spoke about their final three plans before Chrissy pointed out that making such a deal sends the message to them, that you think they are beatable which is terrible jury management. Ben then spoke about being a lone wolf before Mike appears to have put his foot in it, pointing out that Ben is good at playing the game and he wouldn’t be surprised if he got his way at tribal, making Ashley paranoid as she hasn’t heard of any plan Ben has come up with.
After some back and forth Devon locked in the fact that Ben was going home tonight, leading to him pulling out the idol and saying that that isn’t actually happening. Chrissy didn’t appreciate his gloating, while everyone else was kind of just dumbfounded. Ben then asked Ashley and Devon if they wanted to go back to camp tonight, which Ashley agreed to and was instructed to take out Mike. Devon however wasn’t so sure Ben would play his idol, leading to Ben playing it early and everyone else to panic as they headed off to vote. Despite agreeing to take out Mike, Ben joined with the rest of the tribe to take out Ashley and send her to my loving arms in Ponderosa.
While Ash was weeeeellllll pissed after her blindside, the love of her dear friend slash ex-swim coach was able to bring her back to normal. As you know, I’m a big deal in the swim scene – hey Kat and Lisa! – and became a dear friend of Ash while coaching her and getting her into the lifeguard biz. She may have calmed down after I explained how well she had done, she wasn’t able to come back to normal until she attacked some Smashley Avolan.
Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than a good smashed avo … and I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but this is pretty damn perfect. Though I am a millennial and value avo more than owning a home, so who knows if I’m actually correct. That being said, lemon, chilli and feta – need I say more?
Smashley Avolan Serves: 2 bitter Betty’s on the jury.
Ingredients 4 slices of fresh sourdough 1-2 avocados 1 lemon, cut into wedges 2 tsp chilli flakes salt and pepper 100g feta (but realistically closer to 200g)
Method Toast the bread to taste.
Smash the avo with a dash of lemon juice, chilli, and a good whack of salt and pepper.
Generously heap on the toast, crumble with feta and devour, with extra lemon juice as required.
Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 new Australians were cast into the Samoan wilderness – for the second season of the third attempt of Australian Survivor – before whittling the numbers down to the final three after 53. While they weren’t as flashy as Luke, Henry, Locky or Queens Michelle and Jacqui, Peter, Tara and Jericho have fought hard to make it to the end and survive through a very unpredictable season.
We opened up with our final three commencing the fallen comrades – which needs to be brought back on OG Survivor – where Tara and Peter awkwardly had to dance around Joan, while Jericho tried to pretend he knew something about Adam, Kate and Tarzan. We then paid our respects to Aimee – aye – and lovebirds Sam and Mark, before being reminded by how much of a Queen Jacqui is. Tragically she was followed by Kent, then (thankfully) AK, Ben and Odette, the latter two who got more airtime now, than they did during the game. Jarrad then kicked off the jury portion, followed by super-idol victim Anneliese, before they all praised Henry for his game and fauxgi spirit. They then (awkwardly for Jericho) spoke about ex-juror Tessa’s logical, methodical approach to the game, Sarah’s ability to get down and dirty while playing the game and providing for the tribe. Jericho then described Luke as his other half which is a term I absolutely hate given that it implies people are not whole unless they’re in a relationship. We honoured Olympic powerhouse Ziggy, b-b-b-banging Locky – sadly no rehash of the nudity – and the true Queen of the season, Michelle.
Seriously, they flew through that.
The end of their walk led them to the same cliff Kristie dominated Lee and El last year for the final immunity challenge of the season. Tara was shocked to still be in the game, while Peter knew it was do or die and I assume, Jericho was thinking about kittens and puppies being washed out to sea. Jonathan hyped the challenge, telling them that unlike last year’s challenge, this year it will be conducted under the cover of darkness, making it even colder and miserable…r.
Jonathan spent the early stages of the challenge baiting the contestants to remember how uncomfortable the challenge would be, which truly is savage. Darkness fell by the hour mark where Tara took one in the face – I assume she was referring to a wave – before giving the blunt answer that she was feeling completely shit. Jericho then commenced gloating and playing mind-games with Tara and Pete. The latter then tried to channel Kristie, speaking about how much he loved Survivor and wanted to make it to the end.
To distract from the pain and to add some interest, Tara spoke about how diverse all of the castaways are before her emotions started to get the better of her. Showing true kindness and, shudder, mateship, Jericho and Peter tried to give her a pep talk and motivate her to not give up. She tried to talk through the pain while the boys came up with ways to distract her from the pain – and Jericho got some spelling tips – before she ta-ragically couldn’t hold any longer and stepped down from the challenge at the 3 hour mark. The boys managed to last an extra two hours which seemed not to have phased Jericho at all, while Peter was hunched over like a dead body on The Ring. Try as he might, Peter was in too much pain and asked for JLP to help him out of the challenge, handing Jericho immunity … and by the look on his face, the win. While Peter broke down, Jericho and Tara joined him and all sat, hugged together, comforting him by the fire. Then nature proved to be savage, and threw out a huge wave that wiped out their warmth.
Not wanting to waste any time, we lost the entirety of day 54 as the final three arrived at tribal council where Jericho was daunted by the decision in front of him. Jonathan then led the jury in a round of applause for the final three’s effort in the challenge before Jericho was forced to sit between Tara and Peter as they fought for their place in the game. Or to vote them out, I honestly can’t tell, as both their arguments were that they were not the easy one to take out … which is exactly what you want to do to win the game. Tara then proved she is saavier than I gave her credit for, throwing Peter’s logic to get rid of Jericho three days ago against him.
Peter then went all in for Tara’s game, outlining why she is a goat … and again, that is meant to be his case for getting rid of her. A fired up Tara then tore into Pete’s game, saying him winning is disrespectful to the game which is a better pitch when highlighting how easy someone is to beat. With that, Jericho cast his sole vote and sent Peter out of the game as the final juror.
While he was feeling pretty salty when he arrived at tribal council, he freely ran into the arms of his dear friend – me, we’re both totes homo in communications, of course we know each other – and lamented what could have been. I joined him in crying, though thinking about the tragic loss of Michelle at the previous tribal council. Thankfully I cooked through the pain and whipped him up a big, comforting batch of my Feter Confit Tomato Crostini.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of bruschetta … but this is where its at. I love tomatoes, but have always struggled with them in their raw state, so this is the perfect fix to the Italian classic. Rich and caramelised tomato, tart creamy feta and sweet basil? Sign me up!
Feter Confit Tomato Crostini Serves: 6.
Ingredients ¼ cup olive oil 4 cloves of garlic, crushed 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed 1 tsp raw caster sugar 1 tsp champagne vinegar 500g cherry tomatoes, halved salt and pepper, to taste small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped 200g feta, whipped 12 thick slices sourdough
Method Preheat oven to 130°C.
Combine the oil, garlic, fennel, sugar, vinegar and tomato in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. And when I say good, I mean good. Ok? Transfer to a lined baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or until soft and caramelised. Fold through the basil leaves.
Grill the sourdough, spread with the whipped feta and top with the confit tomatoes … before devouring.
Previously on Australian Survivor, the time had finally come for Matt, Flick and Kristie to split El and Lee and coast to the final three … so obviously the girls actually stuck with Lee and El as they made Matt the Magician disappear.
Seriously, I’m at the end of my tether and starting to lose faith in Kristie.
We opened up straight after tribal where Lee bemoaned the fact that Flick had tried to blindside the lovers again, despite the fact she literally told them that she was planning on booting El. Kristie then said something cryptic and wandered back into the woods, while you beaut El pulled Flick aside and tried to make her feel guilty. Ironically, she is the only one with nothing to feel guilty for, as she is the only one left making it interesting.
By the time day 52 rolled around, Flick realised that the OG Aganoans were in an alliance and that she is well and truly screwed. Not to be outdone, Kristie then ran us through her options which are rapidly becoming win final immunity or lose the game, since booting Matt last tribal.
Kristie then started a circle jerk – not literally guys, Sam has gone so Lee is riding solo in that regard – where each castaway had to say something they are proud of from their time in the game. Obviously El’s proudest moment is Lee – she needs to back off my (very soon to be ex) man.
Wanting to cut my grass, the producers then laid out enough ingredients to cook a feast, however Flick – being the only contestant left with a brain – used the opportunity to learn how to make fire in the hope that she could force a tie. So I guess Ten’s slight wasn’t a complete bust.
El and Flick started to have a babe off over the aforementioned fire while Kristie tried to emulate Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine by hiding in the rocks and eavesdropping. Lee then dropped by to talk about how horribly Flick is manipulating Kristie, despite it being his entire game, before El – hopefully – foreshadowed Kristie’s final immunity victory while creeping on her as she ate. Obviously in a hella patronising way, as El is known to do.
Despite having pushed me into a corner for the last half an hour, Kristie then started to work her way back into my heart by running off in the middle of the night to practice making fire. She may not have worked hard for the win, but it would be hilarious if she pulls it off … and kind of perfect for a completely bizarre season that always seem to head towards greatness, before choking and fizzling out with an eh.
Finally we arrived at the immunity challenge, an old favourite comprised of different stages from previous challenges. Given the fact that they’ve been pretty useless in challenges all season, it was no real shock that neither Kristie or Flick had any hope of victory while El, the deadset cobber that she is, was able to take out the victory.
More importantly, Lee got caught up in the ropes before working on getting his pole nice and big and hard enough to have a crack at penetrating my (key)hole.
With El wearing the necklace, we arrived back at camp, where the tribe commenced their scrambling … which pretty much meant Lee and El chilled while Flick worked overtime to try and convince Kristie and then El and even Lee to vote with her. And Kristie looked on, panicked from the shore.
Despite a strong performance at tribal council calling out literally everything, poor Flick’s work was all for naught as she found herself out of the game and into my arms. Obviously I was a mess to see my closest friend of the cast – we started as Meter Maids together in 2012 – booted from the game. After disgracing myself with the leftover Mattrioskas and a rancid Desmopolitan, Flick nursed me back to health the next morning until I was well enough to whip were up a big batch of my Scrambled Flick Eggintons.
While they may not be the most difficult or elegant dish, there is something perfect about something as simple as scrambled eggs. Lightly whisked and folded through foaming butter, scrambled eggs can cure anything … even watching a season of your favourite show take a pretty hard nosedive.
Scrambled Flick Eggintons Serves: 1.
Ingredients 3 large eggs salt and pepper 1 tbsp butter, plus more for toast a couple of slices of sourdough
Method Crack the eggs into a bowl, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and give a hearty whisk.
Slowly melt the butter in a small frying pan over low heat and cook until frothy. Pour the beaten eggs into the pan and slowly stir with a spatula, dragging the spatula around the edges of the pan and dragging towards the centre, creating light, delicate folds.
When they have formed delicate, wet curds, remove from the heat and butter your toast – you need to make toast at some point in this process, FYI. In that time, the eggs will have finished cooking. Spoon over the toast, season with a good whack of pepper and devour.