Jenneer Saagustin

Main, TV, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders luck started to wear thin and try as they might, they couldn’t pull together a win in either challenge. Maybe in part because Lydia almost pulled Jenna’s ankle straight off her leg, but I digress. Heading back to tribal, the Contenders seemed split down gender lines with Paige trying to join the boys to get rid of Shonee, though they intended to target her and the girls and parents alliances  – aka the girls minus Paige and plus Heath – joining together to target Steve K. In the end, the boys and Paige were shocked to see their two different plans blow up and poor lil’ Steve sent from the game.

We opened up at the Champions where Moana and Mat were bonding over their football careers, and while sport chat normally makes me feel anxious, it was hella sweet to see them talking about their dreams like that. Sharn and the one true Steve then joined the fray and damn, wouldn’t this be a sweet final four? I can’t believe I’m rooting for the Champions.

The next day we checked in with the Contenders where everyone was quiet after Steve K’s blindside. The most shocked, however, was Paige who not only landed in the minority but she only received votes from the people that she thought trusted her. For some reason, she went back to the boys to see whether she could trust them again instead of going to the girls and parents alliance. Meanwhile Zach continued his descent into villaindom, bitching about Paige’s fears while Benji and his fluctuating accent continued to dwell in the background.

Meanwhile back at the Champions everyone was feeling the love for one another. Well, except for Lydia and Sharn who were sick of Brian never doing anything to help. Ever. Though they could see the silver lining, agreeing that it makes voting him out that much easier. Speaking of Brian, he defended his laziness saying that if everyone else wants to work they can and he doesn’t need to prove himself. While I agree with that, the fact he thinks ‘Brian Time’ is not painting a target on his back and killing his strategic game, shows he has no clue.

Oh and Jenna is still well injured and is really emotional, which is heartbreaking to watch.

Jonathan quickly made his return to the screen for the reward challenge though Paige quickly turned it into a tea spilling session, sharing that the vote was not unanimous, much to the disgust of her tribemates. Before she could lay all their secrets bare, Jonathan announced that the challenge would require the tribes to make their way down a course using three barrels and two planks without anyone touching the ground. Once at the end, two castaways would try and fish four balls to them and attaching them to a frame. Once he announced that it was for an Aussie pub lunch, everyone was overcome with joy and desperate to smash a pint. The Champions got out to an early lead thanks to the leadership and all around perfection of Steve, crossing the line before the Contenders were even half done. Brian and Jackie snagged their balls while the Contenders continued to flounder, crossing the line as the Champions attached their first ball. Jenna and Zach quickly secured their balls and closed the gap … before briefly overtaking, only to drop their balls and hand victory to the Champions once again. Much to Robbie’s chagrin.

The dejected Contenders tribe returned to camp with Anita trying to boost everyone’s morale. Meanwhile Zach, Benji and Robbie pulled Tegan aside to talk about how poorly Paige performed in the challenge. To prove their point, Zach went down on the beach and held Robbie and Benji on his shoulders – I squat double them *eyeroll* – in full view of Paige and the girls. While I would normally be all in for such messy, pettiness … he is just a dick now.

Washing the taste of jerk out of my mouth we headed over to the beach pub where Steve and the Champions were thrilled to be downing a pint and smashing a pie before Shane noticed a photo board celebrating why they are Champions. They then swapped stories about their achievements and it was all sweet as hell, I assume until it got to Jackie as she trolled them with a picture of her playing with her rubix cube. It was iconic, but then Shane spoke about her achievements at 15 and Mat about his autistic son and how he and his iconic wife Chloe started a charity to help other families get help. Once again, fuck me dead, I am crying.

The tribes reconvened for the immunity challenge where Robbie was desperate to get another win on the board and looked willing to kill to get it. Before getting to the challenge, Jonathan announced that the doctors were still concerned about Jenna’s ankle and she would be choppered out to undergo scans to make sure it wasn’t fractured. Thankfully though, it seemed to only be for the challenge and if cleared she will be able to return to the game. With those tears out of the way, each tribe would start on a large platform and one-by-one slide down and swim to platform before paddling a canoe out to a tower, retrieving three rings, returning to the top of the tower and landing the rings on a pole.

The Contenders got out to a slight lead on the slide portion, which continued to grow as Brian steered the Champions well of course with Steve as their only hope. Benji snagged all the Contenders rings before the Champions made their way to the tower. Then Steve happened, catching up and pedaling the boat at full speed backwards. Sadly they had to turn the boat around, giving the Contenders their lead back. And then some. The Champions snatched back the lead whilst hoisting themselves up the wall, until Brian struggled and allowed the Contenders to pull back in front. That is until they missed landing all of their rings. Mat landed the first ring for the Champions, followed closely by Jackie getting their second and while Zach managed to snatch one, it was all for nothing as Moana secured another immunity for the Champions.

Back at camp Zach didn’t care which female goes home, as he deems them all useless. Heath tried to give everyone a pep talk, saying that if Jenna returns they need to vote her out as they need to maintain their strength. While they all agreed to have a nice afternoon, Anita spread that Paige was sharing intell with the Champions at the challenge like wildfire, much to the rage of Queen Tegan and they tried to secure enough votes to take her out. Sadly that was interrupted by the return of Jenna who arrived on crutches and tearfully announced that she had been cleared to stay however was unable to do anything really, except for throwing, boosting morale and doing puzzles. While Heath continued to push to get rid of Jenna for the sake of the tribe, Tegan couldn’t bring herself to take out their ally and begged him to join them in getting rid of Paige instead.

At tribal council Jonathan asked for an update on Jenna’s health, leading to a heartbreaking monologue about how much she contributes to the tribe and how desperately she wanted to stay. Fenella praised her leadership and positivity as everyone nodded their heads in agreeance. JoJo got shady and questioned the boys about throwing their votes on their ally Paige. Paige tried to pretend it was all good between them and that they all trust each other. Anita started shaking her head, completely disagreeing that Paige can be trusted. Zach joined the fray talking about how great Jenna is, however she is useless to them at the moment and they need to take her out. Shonee and Tegan spoke about how much Jenna means to them and that trust is important to them. Heath wrapped things up talking about the fact they need to keep the tribe strong before they become extinct.

Jenna then jumped in and told everyone to trust their gut and follow their heart when it comes to the vote. She then told the girls that they need to remember how strong they all are, and not to let anyone push them around. Meanwhile Robbie and Benji started whispered about who else, if anyone, they could possibly vote for. With that, the tribe voted and one be one, the votes rolled in for Jenna and the poor, motivational icon found herself booted from the game she so desperately wanted to play.

While she was pretty upset when she arrived at Loser Lodge, she agreed that her tribe made the only decision they could. As hard as it may be to accept. We then cried for a bit about how sad we were to see her before settling in to smash a Jenneer Saagustin to cheer her up. Until it hit me …

 

 

Curry is the new Pizza Curse?! The curse was waiting out their on Ghost Island and since I – *spoiler alert* – didn’t make pizzas for anyone in this cast, its powers grew and transferred to curries. I mean, how else can you explain the back-to-back curry losses? You can’t.

Though … when they taste this good, how can you complain. Fresh paneer, creamy spiced spinach – YAS YAS YAS.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jenneer Saagustin
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
peanut oil
200g paneer, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric
2 tomatoes, diced
500g frozen spinach, defrosted
½ cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Heat a good lug of peanut oil in a large pan over medium heat and fry the paneer on either side for a couple of minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the heat and transfer to some paper towel to drain.

Add a little more oil to the pan and saute the onion, garlic and ginger for five minutes or so, or until softened. Stir in the garam masala, cumin, chilli and turmeric, and cook for a further minute or until your kitchen is so fragrant you can barely contain yourself. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for about ten minutes.

Once the fragrant tomatoey goodness is starting to reduce, bring the heat back to medium and stir through the spinach. Cook for five minutes further before stirring through the cream and paneer, and cooking for an additional five minutes.

Serve immediately and devour with a tonne of rice, chapati, naans and/or papadums. Preferably and, not or.

 

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Steve Mankhouw Chicken Curry

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

Previously on Australian Survivor the Contenders got off to a rough start, with Jenna getting injured in the first challenge and Steve K’s paranoia rendering him a social pariah. That is until Matt killed his game at the first tribal and Steve K got his kit off with the zaddy club and won his way into my heart. Sadly for them and the future of glorious man nudity, a burgeoning all women alliance was forming at the Contenders and could strip me of my joy, one bun at a time. Despite nailing the reward challenges, the Champions struggled in immunity challenges, sending them to tribal back-to-back. With Russell out of the way as an easy target, Jackie and Damien tried to rally their troops with war hero and seeming delight Damien booted from the game.

We opened up at the Contenders camp where Shonee, Anita and Fenella were hunting for pawpaws, with Fenella continuing her relatability streak by complaining about the bush. Meanwhile out on the shore Steve K and Robbie were having a clothed bonding session doing some tai chi and/or martial arts. Me know sports, no? Steve shared that he is the ultimate puppet master of his tribe, working on making connections with the bro alliance to save himself before making a crab trap with Zach. Hot damn, I love Stev … wait, no, playing too hard. He spent his time bonding with Zach to broach the idea of taking out the women, despite being down in the numbers. Zach at least realised they were down in the numbers and needed to take them out if they were going to fight down gender lines.

Meanwhile over at the Champions Mat was lamenting their string of losses and having to vote out Damien. Thankfully it woke him up a bit, making him realise that he needed to play the game. This lead him to Moana, who was more than keen to align with him and further her budding kingdom. To solidify their alliance, she not only told him about her hidden immunity idol but asked him to hold onto it for her. Why do I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well for her?

Before my bad feelings could come to fruition, Jonathan returned for the reward challenge where one member from each tribe would cling to a long, hard pole for dear life – aka my life – while two people from the opposing tribe work to pull them off and drag them to their mat. Given it was for a vanity and toothbrushes, both tribes were all in. Off topic: how good is brushing your teeth? Heath and Brian were first on the pole, while Sam, Mat, Robbie and Zach worked to extract them. Robbie and Zach made quick work getting Brian off … the pole, dragging him towards the mat – and victory – while Mat and Sam had an on-off dance with Heath and the pole.

Next up Jackie and Paige tried to hold off Fenella, Jenna, Sharn and Moana. While Sharn and Moana got out to an early lead, Paige put up a hell of a fight, flailing about before they ultimately scored the point. Heath and Steve W jumped on the pole for round three, with Benji, Robbie, Brian and Mat working to rip them off. While both groups quickly got their men off, Steve W and Heath put up a hell of a fight before out of nowhere, Robbie got a second wind and dragged Steve W – and Benji, who was hugging him – over the mat for another point. Next up Shonee and Lydia jumped on the pole, with Shane – with an assist from Monika – dominating Shonee and tying things up.

Match point featured Jenna and Jackie on the pole, with Lydia, Moana, Paige and Fenella working to rip them off. While Lydia and Moana got out to an early lead, Jenna started screaming in pain while Lydia tried to drag her away. This saw the challenge stopped with the medic called in, telling her to sit out of the challenge and leaving them to reset. Given they reset with Paige and Lydia on the poles and Moana, Sharn, Anita and Fenella dragging, it was no surprise that the champions won their third reward in a row.

Back at the Contenders, everyone was concerned about Jenna’s injury given she is good in challenges and brings up morale. The medic advised her that she should leave the game to avoid doing any further ligament damage, making her think about home, her daughter and all the reasons while she can’t bring herself to quit and will keep on fighting.

Things were far sunnier at the Champions tribe where they were thoroughly enjoying brushing their teeth, ogling themselves in the mirror and in Brian’s case, making sure his brows haven’t challenged the Spice Girls and done an old two becomes one job. With everyone distracted, Moana, Sharn and Mat got together to solidify their alliance, making me concerned that she is becoming way too confident.

At the Contenders tribe the gender divide continued to widen, as the boys all bro-ed it up and Zach’s confidence started to rub Queen Shonee the wrong way. She vowed that the boys needed to go one after the other however was concerned about losing the strength, so instead of going for Zach planned to target Steve K. While they weren’t sure whether Paige would be with them, Shonee, Fenella and Anita were convinced that they’d be able to swing Heath and Jenna to the side to make up the numbers and take control of the game. Did I mention Shonee is a queen?

JoJo returned to lord over the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to chop through a rope to make their big balls drop before lugging said balls through some obstacle, stringing it back up over a pole and swinging it into targets. The Champions got out to an early lead, however the Contenders were able to overtake on the wall obstacle as Jackie struggled to pull herself over. Sadly for them the lead didn’t last long as the Contenders couldn’t undo a knot, allowing the Champions to snatch back the lead. When it came to lobbing the rope over the final pole, the Contenders managed to take their lead back with Heath and Steve K knocking out a target before even Mat got the rope over. Once again, the Champions caught up – thanks to Steve W coaching Mat through the rope – and snatched victory, with the Contenders struggling to knock out their final target.

Back at camp Zach congratulated everyone for working hard in the challenge, despite being thrilled he can take out one of the women. Speaking of whom, the girls were hanging out by the shore to lock in their vote for Steve K and while everyone said they were keen to get rid of him, Paige wanted to check in with the boys and see what they were thinking. Paige went for a chat with the boys and shared that she was actually aligned with Robbie, Zach, Benji, Heath, Jenna and Tegan. They all agreed that Shonee was the actual target, split up and the boys locked in their actual target as Paige. Confused Tegan, Jenna and Heath disappeared to discuss the pros and cons of taking out Steve K or Paige, with them appearing to favour the idea of taking out Steve K with the Fenella, Shonee and Anita trio. Over the afternoon Zach grew more confident in his numbers and their impending blindside – the biggest ever done, in Steve’s word *coughs* still waiting for Sue’s big move *coughs* – which TBH left me fairly certain that tribal is a formality and Steve K is tragically exiting tonight.

At tribal council Jonathan quickly addressed the gender divide on the tribe, which Fenella quickly tried to deny saying she would happily drink a beer with the boys. Benji and Jenna continued to deflect JoJo’s questioning, before Rob admitted that there is definitely a majority  within the tribe. Tegan played it coy, saying she hoped she was part of it and would be voting with who she spoke to, allaying both sides fears. Steve and Benji spoke about trust and joked about their male intuition, much to the disgust of the females on the tribe and me on the couch. Zach and Steve admitted there were feeling confident about how the vote would play out, while Heath, Tegan and Jenna’s smirks seemed like that was not the case. As predicted, the votes rolled in and Steve K and the nudist club were shocked to discover they had been planned and Steve K found himself out of the game as the fourth boot.

Given my passionate love of Uber Eats – nope, not a paid endorsement … but they easily could pay me –  I’ve become quite a dear friend of Steve K as he delivers my shame foods around to the backdoor – surprisingly not a euphemism – so no one can judge me/assume I am a professional eater. I oft worry about how hard he has to work, carrying kilos of brisket, burgers and fries to me on the hour, so I always make sure I tip him in gallons of delicious Steve Mankhouw Chicken Curry.

 

 

Back when I was even more basic white boy – can you believe? – a very mild mango chicken curry was as far as me and my colon were willing to push Indian. Oh, how the times have changed! Thankfully this version has ever so slightly grown with me, adding a light kick of chilli to the sweet mango and tomato sauce leaving the tender chicken bathed in, well, glory.

Enjoy!

 

 

Steve Mankhouw Chicken Curry
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
3 onions, two whole and one diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 red chillies
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander ground
1 tsp garam masala
¼ cup natural yogurt
500 g chicken thighs diced
olive oil
6 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
400g can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
270ml coconut cream
500g mango, pureed
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Place the whole onions, half the garlic, the chillies, chilli powder, ground fennel, coriander and garam masala in a food processor and blitz until well combined. Add the natural yoghurt and blitz for a further minute. Transfer to a large bowl, stir through the diced chicken and transfer to the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

When the chicken is ready to go, heat a lug of oil in a large pan over high heat and cook the cardamom and cinnamon until nice and fragrant. Add the remaining onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, or until soft.

Reduce heat to medium and add the chicken and marinade and cook for about five minutes. Once your kitchen is hella fragrant, add the tomatoes, tomato paste and coconut cream and bring to a rollicking boil, before reducing to a simmer, adding the mango puree and cooking, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour by which time it should be thick and spicy.

Serve piping hot on a bed of rice and with a massive pile of naans and papadums for ease of devouring.

 

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Kylarizo Colemanchego Quesadillas

America's Next Top Model, America's Next Top Model 24, Main, Snack, Street Food

Previously on America’s Next Top Model, 15 girls moved into Model Manor in the Hollywood Hills with the hope of following in India Gants’ footsteps and becoming America’s Next Top Model. One by one the girls went home, starting with Maggie and followed by Ivana, Liz, Rhiyan, Coura, Liberty, Christina, Sandra, Brendi K, Erin and Rio.

After once again being saved from getting the chop, Jeana remained in the final four who were then tasked with going to casting with the dastardly Philipp Plein. Despite surviving the casting relatively unscathed – compared to Khrystyana who he likened to a horse and forced to have an emotional breakdown – poor Shanice arrived at the Paper shoot to discover that based on her performance, the judges would be eliminating her immediately.

The girls shon to various degrees during the shoot, progressing to the final runway where poor Khrystyana couldn’t get out of her head. She was better off than the girl that was partnered with Jeana, however, who was abandoned at the end of the runway. In any event, Khrystyana was tragically felled in third – like the robbed-Goddess Shangela before her – and after a brief reading from the judges Jeana was handed the runners-up crown and Kyla proved that nice gals don’t finish last, snatching the title of America’s Next Top Model.

Like Tyra and the judges, Kyla grew on me week after week as she grew, blossomed and routinely stood up for herself against the tyranny of Rio and Jeana. While Khrystyana was obviously my favourite, Kyla hit her stride at exactly the right time, killing the Pantene and Paper shoots which is essentially a ticket to victory. That alone is worthy of a delightful Kylarizo Colemanchego Quesadillas.

 

 

Hot and spicy, deliciously smokey and packing the punch of manchego, these quesadillas are almost as light, sweet and vivacious – not that one – as the new queen that is Kyla.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kylarizo Colemanchego Quesadillas
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
250g hot chorizo sausage, cut into discs
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
300g manchego cheese, grated
12 tortillas
olive oil, for brushin’

Method
Heat a skillet over high heat and cook the chorizos for a minute or two, or until the oil has started to leak out and your kitchen is hella fragrant. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To assemble, place a tortilla on a workspace, sprinkle with cheese, top with the meaty, oniony, mushrooms and top with another sprinkle of cheese before placing another tortilla on top. Repeat the process until you’re out of tortillas.

Bring a clean, dry skillet to heat over a medium heat. Once scorching, brush with some olive oil and fry a quesadilla for a couple of minutes, or until browned and crisp. Flip and cook for a further couple of minutes. Repeat the process until done.

Devour, immediately.

 

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Turkey Tom Westyum

Main, Poultry, Soup, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Palau

So I’m going to start by going a little off topic, which is so on brand for me that I really shouldn’t have had to say anything. Anyway I was already hitting peak excitement for Survivor’s return in less than three weeks, particularly given I got to reconnect with my dear friend Tom Westman today … and then I started listening to Josh Wigler’s First One Out, and now I’m surprised I haven’t had an aneurysm in anticipation.

Anyway … if you love Survivor, listen to it. If not, ignore the above par and continue on.

I’ve known Tom for years, meeting not long after 9-11. I was starting to fetishise all first responders following their bravery during the attacks, and was working my way through the ladder companies to find me a mans. While Tom ultimately wasn’t won over by my charm and sexuality, he did grow to love me and guided me like a big brother.

As is oft the case, he failed at turning me into a decent person but for some reason, never gave up on me. I repaid the favour by getting him cast on Palau … which earned him a mill, so technically I was a good investment. Fun fact: if he had made it farther on Heroes vs. Villains, I would have been his loved one visit.

Like me, he is hella excited for the new season and hopes that the cursed Stephenie LaGrossa doesn’t have to spend the entire time on Ghost Island, and can at least enjoy some tropical delights while sucking the life – literally – out of one of the tribes.

Was it a kind of dark way for our conversation to go? Sure. But when it comes with a side of Turkey Tom Westyum, how can you be mad?

 

 

Spicy, fresh and healthy – for the sole reason that turkey is healthy, duh – this tom yum, is the tom yum to beat all tom yums. Sorry Tom Yum Everett Scott, this is a winner.

Have I mentioned, tom yum? Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Tom Westyum
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g turkey mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tsp ground ginger
handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
vegetable oil
1 bunch of shallots, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp tom yum paste
1L chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 birdseye chillies, halved
1 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
salt and pepper

Method
Combine the turkey mince in a bowl with a clove of garlic, lime zest, ginger and a tablespoon of chopped coriander. Form into balls and place on a lined baking sheet in the fridge to semi-set.

Heat a lug of oil in a large deep frying pan and cook the shallots and remaining garlic for a minute or so. Add the tom yum paste and cook for a further minute. Stir in the stock, lime leaves and chilli and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, gently place the balls in and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Stir through the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, remaining coriander leaves and a good whack of salt and pepper. Serve immediately and devour, piping hot.

 

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Vecepia Baowery

Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor: Marquesas

Just like the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I’m about to be back, back, back, back, back again on a remote(ish) island in Fiji to cook-up some culinary commiserations for the 19 soon to be losers and 39 days, one sole survivor, of Survivor: Ghost Island. As has now become traditional, I am counting down to the premiere by spending time with past victors. And we’re kicking things off with one of my favourites – Vecepia Towery.

Now hold up – did I desperately want Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien to take out Marquesas? Without a doubt. But does that take away from the low-key brilliance that was Vecepia’s win, the likes of which we had never seen up until that point? No.

I mean, not even the kite flying challenge could diminish my love of the underrated Marquesas.

Not only did Vecepia land on the worst tribe in Survivor history at that point, but she overcame a three-seven disadvantage at the merge to lead (with Sean and Kathy, yes) the first ever shake-up in Survivor, rallying the minority to turn on the majority and overthrow the game. For that alone, you can’t count out Vecepia. Particularly when you take into account the journal she kept, that helped her snatch victory in the fallen comrades challenge.

Anyway, as you should probably have guessed by now, V is one of my dearest friends and I will defend her to the end of the earth. Knowing that, she was thrilled to answer my call and drop-by to honour the 36th season of the show … which Marquesas kind of set up to become what it is.

We laughed, we cried, we strategised about ways to get more people from early seasons brought back for returning player seasons and most importantly, we absolutely annihilated some four-weeks-to-go Vecepia Baowery.

 

 

I love me some bao buns. So, so, much. And these spicy little numbers do nothing to reduce said love. Spicy, sweet and a bun slathered in white creamy goodness? Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vecepia Baowery
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece ginger, sliced
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 long red chillies, chopped
½ cup Chinese rice wine
⅓ cup dark soy sauce
1L chicken stock
4 chicken thighs
½ cup rice flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice
vegetable oil
8 buns and the cucumber from Bret LaBao Buns
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
small handful of coriander leaves, to taste
kewpie mayo, to taste

Method
Prep your buns and cucumber as per Bretty’s recipe.

Place the garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, chillies, rice wine, soy and stock in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, reducing heat to low when rollicking. Add the chicken and simmer for twenty minutes or so. Remove and allow to cool before cutting across the thigh into short 1 inch wide strips.

Combine the rice flour and five spice in a bowl and toss through the cooled pieces of chicken to coat. Place enough vegetable oil to fill a pot up to 1cm and place over a high heat. When shimmery and starting to get that weird dancing appearance, reduce heat to medium and add half the chicken, cooking for a couple of minutes – flipping once – until they’re gloriously crisp. Remove to a paper towel and repeat the process.

To assemble, spread open your buns, slather with some kewpie, top with cucumber, capsicum, chicken, more kewpie and some coriander. Devour immediately.

 

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Chillijamin McKenzie

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Condiment, Dip, Sauce, Sweets

Can you believe we almost survived 2016 – huzzahs all round! While the year has been the absolute pits, I’m still hoping to salvage it with the ultimate festive celebration with my he-bros, gals and gentiles of The O.C.

Given my close relationship with the cast, I’ve had many a sleepless night over the last few weeks, trying to perfect my Chrismukkah catch-up schedule that a) won’t offend anyone – you know that Tate can be a bit of a diva – is b) festively appropriate and most importantly is c) culturally appropriate.

With those criteria in mind, there was only one person I could select to open up our 12 Days of Chrismukkah celebrations – the incomparable Ryan Atwood … aka Ben McKenzie ak-to me-a Benny Mac.

I’m an old family friend of the Schenkkans – oh FYI, McKenzie is totally his stage name – having worked with Ben’s grandfather and President Lyndon Johnson to pass the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. While I had a falling out with Presi Jo after he discovered my many scandals and personal foibles, Ben’s grandfather took me in and raised me as his own … and I’m sure you can put it all together and see that Ben was named after me.

Anyway, my career and addictions took off and took me away from the family for an extended period of time but when we needed a brooding unknown to play the classic character Ryan Atwood, I knew that my pseudo-nephew and namesake was the only person capable of playing the part.

After Ben was done reenacting the scene when Ryan and Marissa meet with fans in my driveway – don’t tell him but those people that just happened to be waiting for us when we got back from the airport are fans that purchased an O.C. experience for an exorbitant amount of cash – Ben was thrilled to be able to relax, catch-up and celebrate the start of our festive fun by helping in my sweatshopkitchen to make a generous batch of an edible gift, in the form of my Chillijamin McKenzie.

 

chillijamin-mckenzie-1

 

Like Ryan, the jam is deceptively sweet with a good kick of heat, spice and heart.

And obviously you want to drizzle him all over your meat … or cheese (but that is less smutty, unless … ).

 

chillijamin-mckenzie-2

 

Chillijamin McKenzie
Makes: 1.5L.

Ingredients
lug of olive oil
1 onion, peeled and blitzed in a food processor
3 cloves garlic, blitzed in the aforementioned food processor with the onion
pinch of salt
150g fresh hot red chilli peppers, tips removed
150g capsicum, cored, deseeded and roughly chopped
1kg jam sugar
600ml cider vinegar

Method
Heat a small lug of olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat and cook the onion, garlic and salt for about ten minutes, or until fragrant, sweet and soft.

Place the chilli and capsicum in the food processor and blitz until they are finely chopped into delicate flecks. Or fleeks. This is totes on fleek – you girls keep me young!

Combine the sugar and vinegar in a large saucepan over low heat and cook, sans stirring, until dissolved. Add in the chillis, onion and garlic and stir to combine.

Turn the heat up to medium-high, bring to the boil and cook for about ten minutes with minimal stirring – less is better, but I won’t judge.

Take the pan off the heat  and allow to cool for half an hour, in which time sterilise some jars.

After the half hour the jam should have started to thicken and be suspending the flecks throughout the mixture. Decant into the jars, seal tightly and allow to cool.

Refrigerate after opening.

 

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Jalfleezi Carseldine

Australian Survivor, Main, Poultry, TV Recap

After booting El the night before, Kristie and Lee awoke on the final day to the customary breakfast feast where Kristie was giddy from excitement while Lee only seemed concerned. Maybe he realised that not wanting to play the game wasn’t actually the best strategy to win?

Not messing about or wanting to see Lee suffer in his thoughts, we arrived at final tribal council where the jury were trotted out to give us some excitement and bring the pain, right?

Oh yes, yes indeed! Well … kind of at least.

Before that though, Lee and Kristie were given the opportunity to make opening statements were Lee – of course – pledged loyalty, mateship and a moralistic game while an assertive Kristie emerged and completely dominated her opponent.

Then the good stuff happened well, after El was startled to be making a speech and then bumbled her way through an attempt to throw Kristie under the bus. Thankfully new Kristie wasn’t having a bar of it and shut her down.

Next it was Queen Flick’s turn to wonder why Kristie hadn’t made any big moves, to which she eloquently explained she was playing with the cards she was dealt and didn’t have the luxury to play in the majority and saw what happened when people stuck their necks out.

Brooke then teed up Lee dumping El – praise – before laying into Kristie for being controlled by Lee every step of the way. Obviously new Kristie wasn’t taking it and told her that she was using Lee by making him feel like he was in control.

JL – like us at home – then introduced herself to Kristie before absolutely tearing the ignorant and arrogant Lee – her words, obvs … since we’re boning – a new arsehole. While that would normally make me jealous, it was the most excitement I’ve seen on the show in weeks, so I let it slide.

Kylie then dropped by to remind us of that first episode winner’s edit and why it disappeared so quickly. I mean, seriously, you use your opportunity to tell them to keep answering questions?

Sam then dropped by to fill the non-fun angry juror quota, where he awkwardly confronted Lee for taking advantage of Kristie. Which is fine and all, if new Kristie hadn’t emerged at the start of final tribal and confirmed she was also using Lee.

Thankfully – or so I thought – Nick arrived to call them both out, asking where this Kristie had been the entire game, which had kind of already been answered, before slamming Lee’s morality … and making a bizarre casually homophobic comment from 2005, leading me to say forget you, go home, GOODBYE, you look weird cleanly shaven. Oh and eat yo’ damn rice.

Sue arrived and spoke for the audience, saying that Kristie’s game completely did her head in. Once again, new Kristie let Sue know that while her game ended her’s she went to twenty tribals, knowing who would go home every time.

Matt then tried to pull a rabbit out of his hat asking Kristie who he would be giving the money to – new or old Kristie – if she won his vote. Um, Matt – the ancient Samoan witch who will live on the island and never touch the money, duh. It is worth it.

With that, it was finally time to vote and given the fact that none of them really asked Lee any questions about his strategy, it is no surprise that Queen Kristie earnt her crown and took out the title of Sole Survivor.

Sadly for Lee, his kids were trotted out just in time to witness his loss – and I assume to let El meet her new step-kids – but thankfully it did distract him from the pain of losing the game he had never seen, in a landslide.

As I’ve made it quite clear throughout the season, Lee and I have been on-again, off-again lovers – block your ears Nick! – meeting at the cricket pitch when I answered a Craigslist ad for someone looking for someone to bat off and play with balls. While Lee hadn’t placed the ad, I was taken in by his banging bod and pursued him relentlessly until I eventually wore him down.

Wanting to distract from his loss and reinvigorate our spark in a tropical setting, I decided to whip him up our favourite date meal my Jalfleezi Carseldine.

 

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Like my dear Lee, this curry is super hot. Like, damn hot. Throw in some thick, juicy balls and you’ve got a mouthful of absolute goodness. Oh and I strongly recommend serving generously slathered with raita as it is hot and real adds the smutty visual you want when eating outwith Lee.

Enjoy!

 

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Jalfleezi Carseldine
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
500g chicken mince
¼ cup jalfrezi curry paste
⅓ cup frozen peas, defrosted and drained
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped, plus extra to garnish
250g cauliflower, trimmed and blitzed in a food processor
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, grated
vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
2 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ground coriander seeds
800g chopped tomatoes
small knob of butter, about a tablespoon
juice of one lemon
lime wedges, to serve
sliced red chillies, to serve
long grain rice, to serve
raita, to serve

Method
Place mince, curry paste, peas, coriander, cauliflower, shallots and carrot in a large bowl, season and mix well.

Shape into meatballs – roughly the size of golf balls – with wet hands, place on a lined baking sheet, cover and place in the fridge for an hour.

Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic until translucent, aka a couple of minutes. Add all the spices and cook for a further minute to release the flavour. Add in the tinned tomatoes, rinsing the tins out with a bit of water and adding it to the pan. Give a good stir, turn the heat up to high and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, gently drop in the meatballs and simmer, covered, for about half an hour, stirring sporadically.

Uncover, stir through the butter and lemon juice and remove from the heat.

Serve on a generous bed of rice with lime, chilli, coriander and all the usual fixins’ – if only Jeff was here to say that – raita, pappadums, naan etc.

 

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Stuffed Kate Campbell Peppers

Australian Survivor, Main, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, the tribes merged forming the new Fia Fia tribe before Brooke dominated at the first individual immunity challenge and Sue told her fellow minority members that they’d be safe if they stuck together. They then all literally voted for a different person and Conner went home.

We opened back up with Flick and Brooke feeling confident after tribal thanks to being in the mega-majority of nine – let’s hope you’re on the right side within that group … and the group within that one, girls – while Kate and Sue were rightfully feeling screwed.

To quote Keith Nale, maybe you should have stuck to the plan and Kylie/Sam may have switched?

The next day the tribe opted to undertake some camp renovations, I assume to eat into the audience of their rival – the terribleThe Block.

Either way, sweet Kate then cornered Kylie and tried to commence a good old fashioned battle between good and evil, deciding that the key to her safety was pulling in the kind, good sports. Yeah it could be boring, but wouldn’t another Nick blindside be delightful?

To help thicken the plot, Brooke and Flick dragged El into their confidence as they plotted the downfall of the minority. Just putting it out there, 9 vs. 3 shouldn’t really call for this much plotting. While Kate continued her fight, going to Sam and Lee and became a less arrogant version of Spencer and drew out the hierarchy in the sand in the hope they’ll buy that they are at the bottom and will flip.

Sorry, where was I? I just said Sam, Lee, bottom and flip, and now I’m distracted.

Anyway, we were then treated to a delightful display of gender stereotyping while the girls primped and preened before Sam and Lee finally started earning their keep and got to work wooing Kristie to their side to blindside Nick. Meanwhile out in the water Nick, Flick, JL and Brooke continued plotting to get out Kate. Though is it plotting if that is the plan every time we check in? I guess it takes time to get to your entire alliance when it is most of the tribe.

Finally JoJo arrived for the next immunity challenge to change the narrative. While it is good that it is about balls, it looks really difficult and has a menacing sound and is making me anxious. After a surprisingly long and gripping challenge – shit, am I Probst? – El continued the female dominance, taking out the ball challenge over a former professional cricketer.

Back at camp, shit started to hit the fan in earnest with the majority applauding El’s immunity win before they quickly locked in their votes on Kate and Sue while Sam’s winner edit finally kicked in as he worked hard to axe Nick and take control of his own game.

Then Kylie happened and spilled all to Brooke … who ran to Flick, turning the girls against Sam. While I truly want Nick out, that is a surprisingly good move on Kylie’s part. The girls then confronted Sam – changing their mind from earlier – before storming away from the conversation as they headed out to tribal.

JoJo had barely started to question the castaways before all hell started to break loose with Flick calling out the scrambling, Kate calling out the majority, Kylie trying to diffuse the situation and Kate taking a leaf out of Ciera’s book, calling out the majority and telling the passive players to start playing the game … before ultimately calling out Nick. Then Sam jumped on board, calling Nick a snake, Nick was passive aggressive about people being pious while Lee started groaning and was over the drama.

After all the drama, Kate had a shit eating grin as they headed out to vote however after everyone laid into Nick, he played his idol and guaranteed that is was Kate going out of the game and just missing the jury.

I’ve known Kate for years – as you can probably guess, I was involved in the boating accident so can’t really talk about the early days of our friendship – and she has always had such a wonderful attitude and never gives up. Despite not getting to experience the joy of making the jury – like a young, female Andrew Savage – she did get to experience my Stuffed Kate Campbell Peppers, and that was a win for her.

 

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Spicy, sweet and hearty – these babies are everything you need to eat through the pain of just missing the final stage of the game.

Enjoy!

 

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Stuffed Kate Campbell Peppers
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 large red capsicums
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g lean beef mince
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chilli flakes
2 tsp cumin
½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
½ cup long grain white rice
200g feta, crumbled

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Cut the tops off the capsicums – reserving for later – and remove the seeds and membrane, and stand on a baking paper-lined baking dish.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened – about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so and it is nice and fragrant.

Add the mince and cook for five minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. Add the herbs, tomato, rice, ½ cup of cold water and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir through the feta.

Divide the mixture between capsicums, top with the capsicum lids, drizzle with oil and bake for 45 minutes or until capsicums have softened and skins start to get rich and blistered.

 

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Arroz Conner Pollo Bethune

Australian Survivor, Main, Poultry, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor – yes, I have to stipulate that now – Vavau neared extinction after the tribes absorbed resulting in major casualties in sweet, angel Craig and Aganoan goddess Phoebe.

We opened up right on schedule with the melancholic Vavau tribe, now down to three comparing their level of skeletal-ness. I literally can not pick a winner of this competition though.

Thankfully the tribes convened for what they thought was their next challenge where the Vavauns were surprised to discover they’ve been saved from themselves as the tribes actually merged and were treated to the Survivor Auction.

Conner walked away with the first two items, blowing all his money in the process, Sam bought some mediocre looking nachos, Brooke got a very cheap bath – why did no one bid against her? – while Lee got the ultimate prize – an advantage – for only $80, before Nick paid $440 for a covered item … which also turned out to be an advantage in the game.

The tribe arrived at their new camp, the former Vavau tribe, which made the old Saanapuans wistful for their days of opulence over at their camp. Instead they were stuck in the Survivor slums which Kristie and Phoebe attempted to burn to the ground but a week ago.

They immediately got to work scrambling as one tribe, with Flick leading the charge against Conner while Sue rallied the counter alliance to topple Saanapu. I’m not sure who should tell them the immunity challenge hadn’t even occurred yet?

Lee then disappeared to the well to discover his advantage, which is to block someone voting at tribal council.

Nick then disappeared to the well, at a different time, where he discovered he paid $360 more than Lee for an idol clue rather than a guaranteed advantage. Thankfully he found the idol … however sadly it was just after being sprung by Lee who is now wary of him.

The dominant alliance then found a pink piece of cloth and decided friendship bracelets were the best way to highlight the pecking order before they arrived at their first individual immunity challenge.

Sadly I was not competing as I would have dominated, I’ve never met someone that grips a pole quite like me!

After what seemed like an eternity, the poles got wet and slippery – according to JoJo, I didn’t actually see rain and think he was just feeling inspired by Probsty – before Kylie’s memory lapsed and Brooke took out immunity.

We returned to camp for the actual scrambling where we were reintroduced to Flick who seems to struggle with pronunciation before Nick got to work over-explaining a vote split, Sam worked his way into my good books by trying to turn it on Nick and Sue got to work dominating with a plan to screw Nick’s split vote.

The tribe – oh did I mention they called themselves Fia Fia? They did – arrived at tribal with me quite confused as to what would happen. Flick was confident, Nick was quietly confident and Conner was trying his best to throw the target on to someone else.

Anyone.

JoJo then opted to call out the friendship bracelets and attempted to throw them all under the bus as we headed into the vote, however poor Conner ran out of luck and found himself voted out.

While I’m sad that Sue’s plan didn’t come to fruition just for Nick’s tantrum alone, Conner was a legitimate threat and made sense however telling him how much of a scrappy underdog he was, isn’t what he wanted to hear as he stepped out of the game.

I’ve recently been teaching law in Canberra which is where I connected with Conner – seriously, why universities continue to hire me is beyond puzzling. As you can tell from the game, Conner is perceptive and could pick up on the fact I was not a qualified lawyer or professor. Despite this, his kind heart got in the way and we started a friendship despite his better judgement.

Thankfully for him though, that friendship meant I knew exactly what he needed as he exited the game – his favourite, my Arroz Conner Pollo Bethune.

 

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Hearty, warm, spicy and soothing – this dish is the epitome of comfort food while also packing a punch. Delicate saffron, a kick of cumin and the tart olives? Enjoy!

 

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Arroz Conner Pollo Bethune
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
½ cup white wine, or as much as your drinking allows
pinch of saffron threads
6 chicken thighs fillets, diced
1 onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground sweet paprika
400g can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 dried bay leaves
1 ½ cups short-grain rice
3 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed
1 cup pitted green olives, rinsed and drained
½ cup chargrilled capsicum, drained and roughly chopped
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Combine the wine and saffron in a bowl and allow to steep.

Heat a good lug of oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion and garlic and sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook until browned.

Reduce the heat to low and add the tinned tomatoes and paste and cook stirring for a minute. Add the wine/saffron and bay leaves and cook until reduced slightly, about five-ten minutes.

Stir in the rice and stock, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cover, cooking for about half an hour stirring occasionally. Or until the liquid has all absorbed.

Remove from the heat, stir through the olives and capsicum and leave to stand for about ten minutes.

Then serve and devour.

 

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Frijoley Fisher Dip

Condiment, Dip

It is so hard being a close friend of celebrity dynasties. I mean, you catch up with one of your dearest friends and next thing you know, their kid half-sister is calling begging to reconnect as well!

Sure I would consider Joely Fisher a dear friend but just because I needed some soul affirming love from Carrie doesn’t mean I need to field over 100 missed calls a day from Jo, begging to catch-up.

After a quick call from my service provider begging me to just take the damn calls and free up their network, I relented and offered her a quick weekend slot to tide her over and help me soften up after the infuriating desperation of her calls.

As you can probably guess, I first met Jo through Caz after connecting in rehab and like the rest of the broader Reynolds-Fisher Dynasty, is a complete triple threat. Obviously being the youngest that I’m friends with, our duelling talents led to a friendly rivalry that would go on to inspire the hit movie Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Despite this, we have always remained close so I didn’t verbally assault her for the incessant calls.

Joels hasn’t be overly busy recently – aside from a guest stint on Tim Allen’s show and Drag Race U – so honestly, I was wary that this catch-up was an attempt to get back in the spotlight. Thankfully I was wrong and bless her heart, she truly just wanted some down time with a dear friend.

After learning that, I threw out my laxative-laced treat and quickly whipped up our favourite from our old vegas days, my Frijoley Fisher Dip.

 

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Beans and by extension, bean dip, often get a bad rap for the music the oft inspire – which is not a probs if you’re singing and dancing 8 shows a week in Vegas – but this dip is killer. Maybe that has something to do with the shit tonne of cheese?

Warm, creamy and spicy – it is the perfect accompaniment to reconnecting with a friend.

Enjoy!

 

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Frijoley Fisher Dip
Makes: 2 cups.

Ingredients
800g canned pinto beans
⅓ cup cream cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp diced pickled jalapeños
1-2 shallots, finely sliced
extra cheddar and/or sour cream, to garnish

Method
Chuck beans and cream cheese in a food processor. Blitz.

Transfer to a small saucepan over medium heat, add other ingredients, stir to combine and heat until until all combined.

Top with shallots, grated cheese and/or a dollop of sour cream.

Devour.

 

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