Janey Ducké Dumplings

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World, RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World 1, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World, the top six were finally tasked with playing Snatch Game. Now, in a Family Feud format! While Ru encouraged her to go with the riskier character, Janey missed the opportunity and shrunk away. Pangina meanwhile gave a full Mariah illusion, though wasn’t very funny. Though that be because she was on a panel with Juju giving the most demented Cher ever and Baga who gave an acting masterclass as Kathy Bates in Misery. She ultimately landed in the top with Blu, who gave a hilarious one-two Mike Myers punch before she won her first ever solo challenge after demolishing the lip sync. Then things took a hard pivot as she went full Naomi Smalls, eliminating Pangina who then sobbed with heartache. While Blu was literally shaking with shock based on her actions.

Backstage the dolls were well and truly shell shocked about Pangina’s elimination and her reaction to it, while Blu apologised and admitted even she didn’t think it would go like that. While Blu worried about whether she will have a career ever again, Mo encouraged her that she will and people will move on since it is a game, after all. While Baga meanwhile was focused on wanting some of Pangina’s outfit, with Mo joking she won’t fit into it.

The dolls sat down to kiki and congratulated both the girls on their lip sync before Juju questioned why Blu did what she did, with her admitting that she voted Pangina for being the biggest competition. Since that is what she did with Jimbo, and her now being a winner left her at risk should Pangina win another challenge. Baga then gagged the dolls with the news that she was also going to get rid of Pangina, with her motive being like Scream 2’s Mrs Loomis, good old fashioned revenge. As Mo and Blu caught up, Mo admitted that she would probably have done the same thing if she was in the top. And assured her that she will still be honouring their alliance should she make it to the top this week.

The girls had processed their trauma the next day with Blu proudly reminding the girls it was her first solo win ever. While Juju assured them that while Thailand would have been rooting for Pangina and they will be super disappointed, they still have a sister in Pangina. While Blu admitted that being a little villainous was quite fun and she didn’t really feel bad anymore. Talk turned to whether the final five is what everyone was expecting with Mo admitting that she is not surprised she is there, though is still shocked Janey made it past day one. Oh and promised them that it is finally time for the US girls to shine.

Ru dropped by to announce this week’s Maxi Challenge, where the dolls would rework Ru’s song Living My Life (in London), putting a spin on the verse in honour of their hometowns. And after writing their verses, will join Little Mix’s Jade Thriwall to record their songs. And then choreograph a routine and perform it on the mainstage.

The dolls sat down to talk about their towns with Juju doing Boston while Baga will focus on Soho. And then did a Toni Braxton impersonation, which was a vibe. Mo then suggested that to decide the order of verses, they should go alphabetically meaning Baga goes first, Blu next, followed by Janey, Juju and then Mo. Which Juju correctly identified as a smart move, given it guaranteed Mo could be the closer to the end and leave a lasting impression with the judges. They moved on to writing their lyrics with Mo going the heart route about growing up poor and seeing the world thanks to Ru, while the girls dragged Juju for her lyrics. Which I thought were good?

When it came time to record their verse with Jade Thirwell, Baga was praised for being 100% her and absolutely knocking it out of the park. Blu continued to feel her oats for eliminating Pangina, and was solid in her record while poor Janey admitted she is not the strongest singer. But bless her, she tried. To quote Coco, find a key girl. As Jujubee was busy knocking it out of the park, Janey was whispering with her sisters, worried about how bad she was while sweet Mo just encouraged her to do some sick choreography.

Oh and trust and believe, Mo was also near perfection.

The group moved on to choreographing their performance with Mo terrified by the very different skill levels amongst her sisters. As such, she took control and told Janey she could do the end and she’d take the start. But while both of the dolls were trying to keep things simple, Baga already looked like she was ready to throw up. Until Blu asked when she would be contributing to the moves, leading to Juju suggesting they invent the Baga Chipz, much betta, move to help out. Poor Juju tried to get Mo and Janey to simplify the choreo, but given they only managed one verse in rehearsal, this is either going to be one big mess or a glorious triumph, and this is all a fake out.

Elimination Day arrived with Baga exhausted after a night working through the choreography before she and Juju caught up, with Baga admitting that Drag Race saved her life because she was an alcoholic before cutting back when on the show. When she admitted to drinking litres of gin a day, Juju noticed a lot of parallels in their journeys. Baga admitted that she can still have a drink but no longer considers herself an alcoholic while Juju opened up about needing to be completely sober. She explained that sobriety changed her entire life, leading to her leaving a 13 year relationship and completely changing her life for the better. And is this the beginning of Juju winner’s edit?

Yeah, yeah – insert the butterfly meme. I’m desperate for her to become Drag Race’s Boston Rob. I mean, she is from Boston after all.

Blu meanwhile was opening up about how much she loves her hometown despite how conservative it is, with Janey opening up about also growing up in a very conservative village and her parents sending her to school in Amsterdam to let her live freely. Because as she said, she was a very, very gay child. Which, relatable. Mo opened up about her very religious upbringing, conversion therapy and even a stint as a Minister. She spoke about how they are all constantly taught to be ashamed, before reminding all of them and us, that we are enough. And ugh, I love them all. 

Ru, Michelle – fresh from Party City, where she belongs – and Graham were joined on the judges panel by Jade Thirwell for the premiere of the Living My Life (In London) rumix. And damn, they were good. Even with Baga’s old lady dancing. The engineer did wonders with Janey’s record, Baga was fun, Blu was feisty but as predicted, this was truly the US girls time to shine. Juju was pitch perfect and looked absolutely stunning while Mo was spitting fire and giving absolute rockstar vibes.

On the Work of Art runway, Baga Chipz looked cute as Vincent Van Gough’s sunflowers but in a plot. Blu was perfection as a Picasso, Janey was Warhol’s Marilyn brought to life, and was stunning from head to toe. Juju looked gorgeous in a nude gown, channelling a stunning Miami art deco building, geddit. While Mo stole the show as a Dali rose and bleeding heart.

Baga received praise for bringing herself to the performance despite her lack of ability and for giving a glammed up version of a Baga look on the runway. Blu was praised for taking the shot at Pangina by Michelle while everyone loved her performance but felt her runway was a bit overwhelming. Ru then questioned Blu’s decision, who doubled down on only doing what Pangina did the week before which Ru congratulated her on. Janey was then read for blending into the background throughout the performance despite looking like a star. Both in the challenge and especially on the runway. Juju was praised for completely arriving, knocking the challenge out of the park and looking like perfection both times. Despite Graham not appreciating the art deco vibes on the runway. And well, the judges all lived for everything Mo did this week because she is a star. And her runway is just beautiful.

Ultimately and very deservedly, Juju and Mo were named the top two queens, meaning the remaining girls were all up for elimination. Backstage the dolls grabbed their drinks and toasted to Mo and Juju finally jagging a win, with Mo opening up about how good it feels to get that well earned praise. She then admitted it feels like a tougher choice than last week, given Mo would have totally cut Pangina if she survived. Baga asked about their judging criteria with neither being sure, making Blu nervous her alliance with Mo won’t stand. And she was worried about skiddies.

Mo pulled Baga aside with the latter telling her how much she loves Mo and wants to compete against her, quickly charming Mo into saving her. Blu meanwhile reminded Juju that she wasn’t the weakest in the challenge and as such she should be saved, using Juju’s criteria for Blu saving her the week before, against her. While she admitted Pangina’s wails are playing on a loop in her head and as such, she was tempted to take out a threat. Janey assured Mo she wants to be here and she feels she has grown throughout the competition and been given the opportunity to succeed. Baga assured Juju she wouldn’t be sending her home if the tables were turned before suggesting Juju should just eliminate her, given everyone did well and deserves to be there. With Juju admitting she knows what Baga is doing by downplaying herself as a threat. But isn’t even mad. Mo assured Blu their alliance stands while Janey and Juju spoke about the fact Janey had pulled her lip stick once but also saved her the time earlier.

Mo and Juju took their places on the mainstage, assuring us we were in for a show and well, a show they did give us. As soon as Toy by Netta kicked off, both of them gave it their all. Juju was cute and demented, Mo was all energy and fierce and well, it was definitely a fight. Ultimately though it was Juju who finally jagged her second win of the franchise, before she tearfully eliminated the iconic Janey Jacké.

Given Janey is just iconic and totally down to earth, she was totally fine with her elimination, accepting that she did the worst in the challenge. That being said, it is easier to feel zen when you know you were one of the three people to dominate the season, none of which are in the final. Meaning she also joined the robbed goddess club! I fell in love with Janey while watching her on Holland, so I was thrilled to be able to catch up with her and finally give her the culinary comfort she deserves, in the form of Janey Ducké Dumplings.

I feel like I’m on a bit of a dumpling kick at the moment and honestly, when they taste this good, I don’t even care. The rich duck is sweetly spiced by a little bit of hoisin to create the easiest, most decadent dump’ you could think of.

Enjoy!

Janey Ducké Dumplings
Serves: 2 dear friends, who I guess could now be lovers. Because as they say, how can we be lovers if we can’t be friends.

Ingredients
300g duck breast, minced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
½ tsp sriracha
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
40 gow gee wrappers

Method
Combine the duck minced, spring onions, garlic, ginger, hoisin, sriracha, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge to chill for a good half an hour or so.

When the flavours have come together like the queens from across the globe, place the wrappers on a clean board and cover with a damp cloth. Working one-by-one, spoon a teaspoon of mixture into the centre of your dumpling wrappers and crimp or fold as desired. You know I go for the old easy pleat option to cover my bad joins.

Once they’re all done, heat a lug of oil in a large frying pan with a lid over medium heat. Cooking 6-8 at a time, pop the dumplings in the hot oil to fry on the bottom and cook for a few minutes. Add about ½ a cup of water and immediately pop on the lid, cooking for a further five minutes or until cooked through.

Repeat the process until they are all done – they can be frozen uncooked, but I am greedy – before devouring. With either some Nam Jimbo or extra hoisin. Or sriracha. Pretty much, you do you boo!


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Haylal Snack Peake

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 castaways were dropped in the outback, far from the tropical islands we’ve grown accustomed to – thanks COVID! One by one they were felled as – yep, doing it – Phil, Janelle, Gavin, Benny, Mitch, Joey, Daini, Shannon, Georgia, Rachel and Simon headed home before the two tribes merged and formed the Fire tribe.

Instead of the Beauty tribe, which will always be a sore point to me.

Kez was the first victim of the new tribe before Chelsea was medevaced, leaving Baden to become the King of the Jury. He was quickly joined by Gerald, Laura, Emmett, Andrew, Dani, Wai and Cara, leaving Flick as the lone Brawn standing against George and Cara.

And by standing, I mean hunching painfully in a brutal final immunity challenge where the trio faced off for over five hours before Hayley took out victory and gave her the power to eliminate the final juror. Which obviously became Flick.

After a hard fought final tribal council where both George and Hayley clearly articulated their games, proving just how good they both were, the jury favoured Hayley’s more well rounded approach and awarded her the title of Sole Survivor. And, you know, the half mill.

As you can imagine, Hayley was buzzing as I sidled on to set to congratulate her, pulling me in for a massive hug. You see, Hayley and I are former colleagues and dear friends – you know how painful I can be, which is an asset to a researcher – so I was so excited to be there to share in her win.

Hayley dominated the game and made massive moves throughout the season, and while she was briefly voted out, she used that to her advantage, expertly adapting her play to make it to the end and rightfully take out the game. The only way I could truly do justice to such an epic, entertaining and at times chaotic run was gifting her a triumphant Haylal Snack Peake.

While I was late to the party when it came to the majesty of the HSP, I have well and truly made up for lost time when it came to the holy grail of food. The chips are crispy, the chicken is packing a punch, a little charred and oh so juicy that by the time you get to the garlicky sauce and gooey cheese, there is no denying this is made for winners.

Enjoy!

Haylal Snack Peake
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 cup Greek yoghurt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp tsp onion powder
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
1kg chicken thighs, no skin, no bones (no jokes about me normally loving a bone)
1 batch Jud Beerza Battered Fries
2 cups grated cheddar
¼ cup smokey BBQ sauce
¼ cup garlic sauce
¼ cup sriracha
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Start by mixing up the yoghurt through olive oil together in a large bowl until well combined. Add the chicken and toss with your hands, making sure that every piece is sopping with the marinade. Cover and pop in the fridge for six hours. Overnight is ideal, but like you, I don’t have time for that so six will do, ok?

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Grab a bunch of metal skewers and a baking dish that they can precariously balance either side on so they are elevated. I’m not the best at explaining, but it will make sense in a bit. Remove the chicken from the fridge and thread on to two parallel skewers, jamming the thighs close together so they look like baby kebab sticks (I obviously couldn’t be bothered to Google it).

Once they’re all on skewers, line the baking dish and balance the ends of the skewers on the sides of the dish so the chicken is elevated from the base. Pop the dish in the oven and bake for half an hour, or until brown and glorious. Remove from the oven, baste with the juices and return to the oven for twenty minutes. Remove from the oven again when it is charred, baste and leave to rest for five minutes.

While you work on the fries, stand the skewers upright and carve the chicken from them like the do at a kebab shop (side note: how hypnotic was watching that, drunk at 2am?) and leave to rest in their juices.

To assemble, pop your chips in a bowl, top with the cheese and follow with a generous helping of the chicken. Drizzle with the sauces, add a bit more cheese and a sprinkle of parsley to feel healthy.

Then devour like you haven’t had a decent meal in 48 days but are also thrilled to be victorious.


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Chilli & Herbaden Chooke

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Poultry, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the producers continued to go balls to the wall with twists, loading up the tribe with three immunities which were won by Emmett, Dani and Andrew. They then learnt that they would be the only ones eligible to vote at tribal council before Jonathan gagged us with just what exactly he meant by eligible, as the trio were forced into a fire challenge with the winner being the sole person to cast a vote. Despite Andrew being a straight up ‘survival expert’ and Emmett having more bravado than the Golden God himself, Queen Dani took out victory and cast the sole vote to boot Baden from the game.

That is when we were gagged with one final twist from production, as he was sent to the majestic Redemption Rock where he awaited an opponent to return to the game. Caught up in the myriad of twists however, fate intervened and poor Chelsea was medevaced after tribal council. And while she is still technically in the game at this part of the story, *spoiler alert* her stay in hospital didn’t help and she had to be removed to make a full recovery.

But more on that later, ok?

While the Brawns tribe anxiously awaited to learn whether Chelsea would return, they got together to lock in their loyalty to each other while the Brains quietly sat back at camp wondering how to get themselves out of their current predicament. And in the middle were George and Cara, who were catching up by the shore and re-pledging their undying loyalty to each other. And only each other. With that, George pulled the Brains aside to leak more information to them about Kez leaving an idol for Flick. And while she already sold George and Cara out before the last vote, Hayley was unsure how she was going to use this to get herself out of her current predicament.

Back at camp poor Dani was really struggling, breaking down over missing her closest friend Chelsea and unsure who she could trust moving forward should she officially be pulled from the game. Emmett pulled her aside to make sure she was ok, with her admitting that in addition to worrying about Chelsea, she is also regretting sending Baden home over Hayley given she is sure that she can’t trust her moving forward. Particularly since George wandered by, right on cue, to point out that Hayley is busy hunting for an idol, just like he told her to.

Wanting to clarify things, Emmett pulled George aside and told him that Hayley told them that George and Cara have been leaking information to the Brains. And while George vehemently denied it, I don’t think this is ending well for George. Because while Emmett believes him for now, I can see the truth coming out with a little more cursory digging.

My love Jonathan returned to oversee the next immunity challenge and advised that Chelsea is not out of the game yet, however she also won’t be at the next tribal council. With that out of the way, Jonathan explained the tribe would each negotiate a wobbling curved beam while balancing a table with a rope and spelling immunity out in block form on top. Oh and you know Emmett was confident he’d be able to make it three from three. Andrew and Emmett were neck and neck at start, until Andrew dropped his stack. Hayley and Dani started to close the gap before Dani dropped hers leaving Hayley as the closest to catching Emmett. Until she dropped, while Emmett slowly and calmly focused on the task at hand. Maybe I shouldn’t have been shady about the confidence, given he is apparently a beast?

While everyone continued to close the gap and then dropped their stacks, Emmett was cool, calm and collected and earned another well deserved victory.

Back at camp Hayley was well and truly fed up with her current predicament, knowing that idols are not enough to make it to the end. That being said, while the Brains were out hunting for idols, George caught up with his allies to encourage them to vote for Hayley given she is the most threatening, despite them wanting Andrew out next due to his challenge prowess. And well, George’s persistence made Emmett wonder why he was so desperate to get rid of Hayley instead.

George ran off to find the missing Dani, with him convincing her that they all need to vote Hayley at the next tribal council rather than split it. With her in, he then decided to get all of the Brains to join in the fun and send Hayley out of the game in a landslide. He told Andrew she threw his name under the bus with the Brawns before Hayley watched him go person to person to ensure they were on his side. With that, she decided it was time to guarantee he can’t smear her name anymore and get rid of him ASAP. And she had just the information to get the Brawns onside – the fact that Kez handed off the idol to Flick after they executed her blindside together!

While George was trying to woo Wai to join the anti-Hayley train, Hayley approached Emmet, Flick and Gerald to spill all the information that George had been feeding her since the merge. After telling them about George tipping her off about the Laura vote and Kez’s idol, she agreed to join them to vote out Andrew if that is what they need from her to prove trust. She wasn’t sure if she could believe it however, catching up with Laura and Andrew who agreed that they should load all their votes on Gerald as the least likely to be protected by the rest of the Brawns. Andrew assured Hayley that George and Cara are definitely with them and the Brains are ready to run the game, however Hayley, obviously, was still not buying it. At all.

At tribal council George tried to downplay any complexity within the tribe, praising the power of the majority alliance. Hayley agreed that she and the remaining Brains are well and truly at a disadvantage before talk turned to trust, with George sharing that he likes to see how people react under pressure and that is what builds his trust. Gerald got sick of the non-talk, pointing out that Hayley came to them this afternoon and aired everything that George and Cara told them to do to save Laura. 

Hayley admitted to everything, while George denied it and said that it is all a lie and he will not buckle to the pressure Hayley is trying to put on him. Emmett pointed out that buckling under the pressure isn’t a confirmation or denial, so pressed him to just admit it or deny it rather than dancing around it. This got George spiraling, while Hayley calmly pointed out he is still acting like a politician, much to the delight of Emmett.

Dani whispered to Hayley that she believes her before Hayley asked her fellow Brains to either confirm or deny the information, with Wai and Laura backing her while Andrew wasn’t willing to throw George under the bus yet. Hayley stepped in and pointed out that George promised Andrew he was with them tonight, with George denying it, much to the frustration of Andrew. Dani continued to wrack her Brain, wanting to trust Hayley before Hayley tripled down, pointing out that she knows that Flick has Kez’s idol. And how does she know that? George told the Brains.

George continued to get more and more defensive, with Hayley admitting that she is truly fighting for her life and has absolutely nothing to lose. With that, the tribe voted and despite airy all of George’s dirty laundry, the Brawns stuck together and booted Hayley from the game. And by from the game, to Redemption Rock where she was reunited with her closest ally Baden.

Hayley caught Baden up on everything that happened and how unwavering the Brawns are when it comes to George. Baden rightly pointed out that it blew up in her face and that even though the Brawns probably believed her, they were always going to get rid of them ASAP given they’re the bigger threats. And well, I kinda love sassy Baden schooling her for ruining both of their games. Despite how much I still love Queen Hayley.

Things were less tense the next morning as Baden and Hayley assured each other that winning your way back into the game is good for the resume. Baden agreed that he is probably better placed now if he returns, rather than just staying. He then shaded Hayley saying if she gets back, she’d be well placed to take out second at this point as Hayley ranted about people lying when they way they aren’t playing to win.

Meanwhile at the Fire camp, the Brawns started to panic about what Chelsea’s lingering absence means before Jonathan arrived and shared that Chelsea has been diagnosed with temporary balance issues, meaning that she had to be removed from the game officially. With her one regret being that she couldn’ say goodbye to her tribemates. But you know, we already covered that.

Jonathan kindly assured them that she would be fine and not to worry about her before he left, leaving a crying Dani alone, heartbroken to have lost the one person she could trust moving forward.

The Fire tribe arrived to meet Jonathan by a stream where they learnt that neither Baden or Hayley had officially been voted out of the game and instead, the duo would be facing off in an endurance challenge to hold on to a pole suspended over water for as long as they can, with the victor returning to the game and the loser going home permanently. And while they were both desperate to get back into the game, it really isn’t the most interesting challenge to write about, other than to say that the Fire tribe were clearly rooting for Baden while Emmett pointed out that this is not something he would want to compete against Hayley on.

While Baden struggled the entire time, Hayley was like a statue as she focused on the task at hand. Ultimately winning her spot back in the game after only 20 minutes, as zaddy Baden definitively exited the game to become the King of the Jury. After casually burning his buff, obviously which just seems a tad cruel, but whatever.

I audibly – and theatrically – gasped as Baden arrived at the Jury Villa, given I had blown a month of my salary on an unnamed betting site to say that he would sit in the final two with Hayley. After processing my shock, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how heartbroken I was to see his game end. You see, Baden and I are dear friends as I’ve worked extensively in the cycling world. As is oft the case, I left the industry in a scandalous cloud after some of my medical practices brought down one of cycling’s biggest stars. But Baden being kind, he kept in touch. No doubt because he is just so kind and always abides by the rules, so he didn’t have to fear my reputation bringing him down with me.

After explaining to him the importance of being the King of the Jury and his requirement to set the tone of how they behave, we quickly disappeared to enjoy a Chilli & Herbaden Chooke.

Like Baden’s spicy personality on Redemption Rock, this little roast is delightfully packing a punch. Add to that the sweet, fragrant herbs and the glory of stuffing this little netted number is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Chilli & Herbaden Chooke
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp oregano, chopped
100g breadcrumbs
1 egg
2kg chicken, butterflied and deboned but retaining the skin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced|
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
kitchen twine or butcher’s netting

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet over low heat and saute the onion for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Transfer to a bowl and mix together with the lemon zest, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano and breadcrumbs. All to cool before mixing in the egg.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Lay your butterflied chicken on a chopping board, skin side down and lay the stuffing down the centre like a long sausage. Roll the chicken to enclose before trussing the roast with twine, or my favourite, butcher’s netting. Mainly because I’m not great at knots.

Rub the roast with a little bit of olive, season with a whack of salt and pepper and transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile combine the oil, sriracha, garlic, muscovado and salt and pepper in a jug. Once the chicken is on it’s way to getting hot, hot, hot, remove from the oven and baste with the chilli sauce. Reduce the oven to 180C and return the saucy chicken to cook for a further half an hour, basting every ten minutes or so to get it nice and sticky.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, pour over any of the remaining chilli and leave to rest for ten minutes before slicing, serving and devouring. Like a King of the Jury, for instance.


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Simon Meeso Ramen

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn, Main, Soup, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor Hayley continued to be an absolutely dominant icon, pulling Dani aside to float the idea of booting Simon from the game with an idol in his pocket. Unaware there are actually two idols in his gorgeous pockets. After Brains once again lost immunity, Rachel and Laura tried to get George to see sense and flip back to the Brains to give himself the best shot. He didn’t, which tragically led to Queen Rach leaving and poor Laura left all alone on the Brains tribe.

We checked in with the Brains who were waking up from the coldest night, which honestly is how my heart feels now that the legendary Rachel is gone. But since I wasn’t aligned with her, I guess things were frostier for Laura who was all alone on the tribe with nobody. Though being a determined fighter, she was going to find a crack whether it kills her. After going for a walk to get everyone’s water, George suggested someone should follow her and obviously he then immediately chased after her. He realised that he was almost as screwed as her, so suggested they should finally start working together to take control. Which is really something he should have done when the Brains would have had a majority. And given that, she wasn’t really buying it as an option. Though she was buying into finding an idol.

He then returned to camp and let a massive fart rip which is important, if you ask me.

There was less gas going on at the Brawn camp where Simon was proud to make it to the halfway point of the game and glad that he arguably has the strongest alliance left. An alliance that is working with the Brains and has an easy boot lined up in Flick. Oh and his two hidden immunity idols. And while he looked happy sparring with Dani, the fact that she jabbed him in the gut is meant as foreshadowing, right?

To make me more nervous that we’re about to lose our speedo king, he told Dani and Chelsea about his second hidden immunity idol. And you just know that means Dani is ready to get the ol’ Sandra Bullock going because two idols making the merge in someone’s pocket is a very dangerous thing.

My love Jonathan returned for the latest – or is that last, thanks to TV listings – tribal reward challenge where the tribes would row out to pontoons to collect rings and then race to land said rings on to oars that when flipped, spell out reward. And should they win, they get to visit the survivor candy and store and well, I don’t love sweets but those brownies looked delightful. And the maltesers too, TBH. As is oft the case, Brawn got out to the earliest of leads until Baden straight up snapped his oar due to brute force. Then Emmett happened, coaching everyone through the challenge and pushing himself to the absolute limit. Quite literally, as he pushed them to shore. Both tribes were neck and neck when it came to tossing the rings, until Emmett pulled away, landing all six rings and winning reward for his tribe.

And Laura is finding an idol at the reward, isn’t she?

After arriving at the site of the reward the tribe were gagged to learn that they would each be visiting solo and while George wanted to be strategic, Kez quickly suggested they draw straws. And well, fate was on Laura’s side as she was up second after Cara and that much more likely to find an advantage. Particularly since Cara could only focus on the sweets, quickly smashing everything in sight. Wait, no – she found the advantage in a tube of lollies! And what an advantage it was, giving her a VIP ticket to the next tribal council, including two votes that she could use to swing things in her favour.

By the time Laura made it to the store, she went searching through everything for an idol but tragically came up empty handed and instead, realised that she just needs to guarantee the tribe wins the next immunity challenge. She was followed by Emmett who smeared extra candy over his body for later, Gerald just smashed strawberries, George finger banged every vessel and then Kez straight up destroyed everything in sight.

We returned to camp Brawn the next day where Dani was still focused on blindsiding Simon ASAP, pulling Hayley aside by the billabong to finally get things moving. While Hayley was terrified about the prospect of him making the merge, Dani assured her that they can pull it off. She then suggested they throw the next immunity challenge and Hayley needed to get her troops on board, given Dani has already convinced Chelsea. Aka, her people. Which Hayley quickly did, telling her fellow Brains and Flick about the idols. 

The first pressure point being that they need to throw the immunity challenge without making it obvious.

As such Jonathan made his triumphant return for the immunity challenge where everyone on the tribe would stand on balance beams and hold a rope to keep a disc steady while trying to balance balls on it without dropping. And well, SImon offered to sit out and damn, this is just going to be too easy, isn’t it? And by that, something will go wrong, won’t it. While Brawns were wanting to throw it, they took an early lead in the challenge as Gerald and Kez struggled for the Brains. Thankfully for team ‘throw the challenge’, Chelsea successfully made Brawns need to reset while poor Simon kindly cheered them on from the side, encouraging them to keep focused and not be hard on themselves. Obviously Brains started to pull away as Brawns successfully looked frustrated by their failings before Brains put everyone out of their misery and snatched immunity.

Before they departed the challenge, Cara opted to play her VIP ticket advantage to the upcoming tribal council for her and a friend to cast votes. But obviously not be eligible to receive them. In any event, she chose to bring George along with her and well, you just know this is going to spook Simon into playing his idol, isn’t it?

Back at camp Simon was heartbroken to have lost the challenge, though was glad to finally be able to get rid of his other nemesis Flick. After spotting her chatting to the Brains, Chelsea offered to break up the conversation and stop them from planning something. And by that, she went up to keep Simon calm enough to not play his idol. Simon then went to lock in the Flick vote with Andrew and Baden, though was willing to throw out the fact he will play his idol to keep them scared. When they returned to camp, Flick ran off to hunt for an idol with Chelsea pretending to tail her to make it look more authentic. 

Chelsea then pretended to be sent back to camp, forcing Simon to follow her instead and unwittingly left everyone else talk and solidify the plan. Dani meanwhile was reminding everyone that if it was her, she would play one of the idols which appeared to make Hayley nervous. Though Baden just gave them the ol’ Gene Cousinaeu, telling them that they just need to give the acting performance of their lives. And honestly, I love him. Almost as much as Hayley, who was nervous Dani was building this up as her star move and as such, wanted to build a counter plan to throw some votes on Dani just in case to guarantee Flick’s safety.

Like the brutal icon she is!

Hayley then caught up with Baden by the billabong and they agreed to load their votes on Dani, with Baden offering to talk to George and Cara as soon as they arrived at tribal council to guarantee they vote for Simon too. Given he is the only person they trust. Baden meanwhile returned to camp and worked to ensure that the Brawns were still feeling good and not realising that he and Hayley were actually staging a coup and guaranteeing the numbers for the Brains post merge.

At tribal council Cara and George admitted that they aren’t sure where their two votes would be going tonight and as such, wanted a full performance from the tribe. Dani being an icon told them that Brawn don’t play like that and as such, they need to calm down and relax because their votes won’t mean anything. As Baden whispered that their votes would make a difference. Flick gave the perfect performance as the woman on the bottom, with Dani and Simon both agreeing that she is going home tonight. As Baden continued to try and get Cara and George’s attention, despite talking about it being a straightforward vote.

Dani continued to play up her confidence in booting Flick from the game, while Hayley spoke about her fears that votes don’t always go where they need them. Baden continued to whisper to Cara and George about Simon and his idols and while things were going well, Simon caught them and asked if they had anything to add. With that Simon spoke about always being nervous and damn, Dani and Chelsea looked like they were ready to snap. Simon continued to talk about blindsides and Flick still having a chance until her torach was snuffed. And damn, this is blowing up, isn’t it?

With that Cara, George and the tribe voted, Hayley continued to be a savage icon who I stan and Simon blew out his thong on the way to cast his, which is super ominous. And while he noted it, he calmly held on to both of his hidden immunity idols as everyone started to smirk. And those smirks turned into full blown smiles as the votes were tallied, piling up on him before Dani was gagged to see three votes come in for her. Ultimately though it was my speedo king who was blindsided with two idols in his pocket.

Given Simon is such a fan of the game, he took his blindside in his stride and was so damn upbeat and kind when he arrived in loser lodge. You know, despite having his dream brutally ended. I pulled him in for a hug and reminded him that while he was booted, it was in an iconic fashion and as such, he will always be remembered in the series. And well, I’d gladly welcome him back next season already.

After catching up – we’re dear friends, training at the same Brisbane gym, obvi – we laughed, cried, plotted out his story for the next All Stars. But most importantly, I then got to work whipping up something nourishing to lift his spirits. Aka my Simon Meeso Ramen.

This take on the Antoni modern classic is near perfectionly, full of umami goodness, but all at once sweet and salty. You know, all of the good things. Add in a kick of chilli and a punch of fresh herbs, you’ve got a dish as perfect as Simon looks.

Enjoy!

Simon Meeso Ramen
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 tsp sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
250g pork mince
salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup miso paste
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2L chicken stock
4 large eggs
400g udon noodles
2 medium carrots, julienned
4 shallots, sliced
½ cup corn kernels
1 tbsp sriracha sauce
Microgreens, sprouts and coriander, to taste

Method
Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a stock pot over medium heat and cook the garlic for a minute or two. Add the pork and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go, until browned. Season with salt and pepper before adding the miso, ginger and stock. Stir until well combined before bringing to the boil, then reducing heat to low and simmering.

Meanwhile, soft boil the eggs – aka drop them into rapidly boiling water and cook for 5 minutes – and cook the noodles as per packet instructions.

While the rest is happening, add the carrot, shallow, corn and sriracha to the ramen and stir. When the eggs are done, run them under cold water and peel, and drain the noodles.

To serve, place the noodles in four bowls, top with ramen and then split the eggs and place one in each bowl. Top with microgreens, sprouts and coriander, and if you’re spicy like me and Simo, more sriracha. And edible flowers, which i did before King Simon kindly told me to eat the prettier one, while he takes the ugly dish. Thus, the ugly photos.

I mean, isn’t Simon the sweetest? I mean, he is as sweet as this!


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Divina de Campo Boy

Burgers, Main, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 1, Snack, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK the final three were tasked with writing a verse in the ru-mix to Rocket to the Moon and then lip sync to it and dance on the mainstage, with the trio all slaying the performance and looking like a million bucks on the runway. They were joined by the eliminated queens who returned to watch the lip sync for the crown, but record scratch only two would be performing as Baga was eliminated from the competition in third place.

With that The Vivienne and Divina took their places to lip sync for the crown to Wham’s I’m Your Man and I know I say this a lot, but damn did they turn it out. Divina hit every syllable, The Vivienne served comedy and both of them positively glowed as they ate up the stage and proved why they earnt their places in the top two. And why this race was so damn close. They criss-crossed the stage and had the judges in hysterics before The Vivienne glided to the front of the stage on her knees in a full on ball gown.

Which I would argue is what pushed her over the edge, ultimately handing The Vivienne the inaugural crown.

While Divina was bummed not to take out victory, she was thrilled to have pushed herself out of her comfort zone and get to showcase her skills to a whole new audience. Plus, she truly owned the season with her whistle tones, which is a true win.

I’ve been friends with Divs for years, going to school together and trashing on Thatcher while we whispered about boys and hid our identities thanks to her hideous policies. It wasn’t a good time nor am I making light of it, but having a friend to go through all that with was a godsend and really forged our friendship. And I’m so grateful to be able to congratulate her on her success with our Divina de Campo Boy.

Spiced sausage, the tang of mustard and pickles and the kick of sriracha work together to create a glorious sandwich. Add to that the crunch of the roll with the delicate bread and creamy lettuce, this true is a holistic taste sensation.

Like Divs well rounded bag of skills.

Enjoy!

Divina de Campo Boy
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g andouille sausage
½ cup Shayonnaise Swain
¼ cup wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
4 6-inch crunchy baguettes, split in half lengthwise
8 butter lettuce leaves, torn, washed and dried
6 bread and butter pickles, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
fries, to serve

Method
Bring a skillet up to temperature over medium heat and once scorched, cook the sausages turning every few minutes or until cooked through. This should take about ten to fifteen minutes. Once cooked, remove to a paper towel to rest.

While you’re working the sausage, combine the mayo, mustard and sriracha with a good whack of salt and pepper and stir to combine.

To assemble the sandwiches, slather each split bun with a generous heap of sauce. Layer the lettuce on the buns, top with pickles and onions and then cut the sausages into chunks and add those too.

Then devour, with or without the prize. Wait, I mean fries.


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Spicy Macharroni Chills

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Main, Pasta, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 24 Australians were dumped in the Fijian jungle, once again split up into tribes of Champions and Contenders with the latter desperate hoping to get revenge on Shane Gould. Who last year taught us that she is not to be fucked with. One by one they were sent from the game with Anastasia, Laura – yep, happening – Susie, Nova, Steven, E.T., Sam, Sarah, Hannah, Casey, Matt, booted before the merge, Ross was tragically medevaced, ultrafan Andy was felled before the jury, while Shaun, David, John, Daisy, Simon, Janine and Abbey were sent to the jury back-to-back. After losing the final four immunity challenge, all hope looked lost for Luke who tried to convince Pia to vote with him and force Baden into a fire making challenge against the returning Champion. Ultimately Pia knew her best shot was to trust in herself to get to the end and joined the Contenders to send Luke to the jury, breaking Australia’s hearts in the process.

The next morning the final three stood by the shore taking in the view, with Harry thrilled to finally be the odds on favourite to win the game. Clearly unaware that pride generally comes before the fall. Pia was lacking Harry’s bravado, struggling with the fact she had to vote out a dear friend to make it to the final three. She listed her impressive resume and hot damn, I need her to win. Baden was sick of being underestimated and honestly, I am just feeling guilty for essentially writing him off as a non-entity in the episode.

Finally they arrived at a clearing where Jonathan’s killer guns welcomed the trio to their final immunity challenge where they were required to stand on two narrow pegs while holding on to two ropes keeping heavy idols aloft, with the last one standing snatching immunity. Before the challenge got underway, Jonathan gave them all a little extra inspiration for the challenge and called out their family. Harry sobbed as his girlfriend and mother were wheeled out, Baden broke down as his parents and brother arrived on the scene, but Pia’s emotional reunion with her husband and kids was the true star of the moment. Pia was crying, her husband was crying, the kids were cute bewildered and desperate for a nap and honestly, my goofy grin couldn’t be wiped off my face. Then I cried happy tears.

After Pia gave an inspiring speech about appreciating her family even more, the families were sent to sit out bench and the final three stood atop their perches. Baden, giddy for the fun ahead. Both Baden and Harry looked wobbly early on the challenge but the trio managed to power on for an hour, which was just long enough for the sun to set and the set to light up in fire in an epic manner. After two hours Baden started talking about stargazing, which his mum pretending to be interested though clearly not giving a fuck. Baden then started running his mouth like Christian Hubicki and honestly, I stan. After 4.5 hours the pain started to get to PIa, before Harry nearly tumbled off the pegs only to be saved by the love of his girlfriend. At five hours Pia buckled in pain, moaning through while her husband covered his eyes from the sidelines and tried to remind her that she could do it. While Pia fought back tears, her husband reminded her that she can drop if she wants however she reiterated that she isn’t ready to go home.

He then went full lamaze class, helping her stay focused, getting her to breathe through the pain and miraculously, she found the strength to pull her idols back to the top. The challenge then ticked over to 6.5 hours, earning the record for the longest challenge in Australian Survivor history. But at what cost, honestly. Harry was shaking and grunting in pain, Pia looked like someone was cursing her with an avada kedavra. Then, out of nowhere, Harry asked Jonathan to come over and help him out of the challenge and honestly, my heart broke for him in that moment and I’m back to loving everyone. Pia then asked for help getting out of the challenge, breaking down in tears and handing Baden final immunity.

Pia, why couldn’t you wait long enough to make a deal with Baden?!

We immediately arrived at tribal council where the jury were shocked to see Baden wearing immunity. He admitted that the power of being the only person voting tonight is really weighing on him, aware that both have played strong games and not sure who the jury will respect more. Pia jumped in to fight for her life, not willing to say Harry doesn’t deserve it and instead reminding Baden that he and Harry have played the entire game together and as such, Harry, the flashier player, already owns them and he won’t be able to claim them. Harry argued that his game is already transparent, while Pia has been stealth and letting her get to the end to argue her case is the bigger risk. Harry then pointed out the majority of the jury are also Champions, so already the odds would be stacked against him.

Pia jumped in to point out that she voted out every Champion but Janine and as such, she has made a lot of enemies and as such, he has the better shot against her. Harry pointed out that Pia makes very convincing arguments and as an actress, knows how to perform for an audience. He then pointed out that he wanted to take Baden before the final immunity challenge and honestly that just proves that he thinks he can beat him. Which Pia rightly pointed out before reminding Baden that everyone has tried desperately to get rid of Harry throughout the game and his final big move, would be taking him out in front of the jury.

With that Baden went off to vote and hot damn, Pia the icon somehow won the battle and Harry was sent from the game with the single vote.

Was Harry as likeable a villain as David? No. Was he as nude as my favourite Contender John? Of course not. Does his half-closed eye fill me with concern about what happened? Undoubtedly. But none of that takes away from his ridiculous staying power in the game. While cockroach sounds like a mean title, I explained that it was true and he should wear the title proudly because there were a lot of other people that didn’t survive their shitty hands – and then I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride – which only prove how strong a player he is. So despite myself and the fact Nick Wilson is his favourite player (a sign of a new fan), I whipped him up a Spicy Macharroni Chills.

 

 

Just when you thought chilli and macaroni cheese couldn’t get any more delicious, I go and mix them up in a vat and bake it with even more cheese. It may not be pretty or elegant, but like Harry’s game, it is effective in filling you with all the happy feels.

Enjoy!

 

 

Spicy Macharroni Chills
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
500g macaroni
olive oil
3 punnets of cherry tomatoes, pricked
salt and pepper, to taste
500g fresh chorizo, casings removed
2 onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups milk
2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated
2 cups vintage cheddar, grated

Method
Heat oven to 150C and put a large pot of salted water over high heat, and cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

Place the cherry tomatoes on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or so.

Heat a small lug of oil in a dutch oven and cook the chorizo, breaking up with the back of the wooden spoon, until browned and the fat has started to leak out. Add the onions and cook for a further five minutes, or until softened and sweet. Add the butter and cook until melted before dumping in the flour, mustard powder, sriracha and Worcestershire and stirring into a glorious gloop. Cook for a minute or so before bringing off the heat and stirring through the milk. Return to the heat and cook for a further five minutes, or until the milk has started to thicken.

Once the pasta is ready, add it to the dutch oven with the blistered tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of each cheese and stirring until well combined. Decant into a large baking dish, top with the remaining cheese and bake for half an hour, or until golden and bubbly.

Devour immediately, trying hard to avoid the ropes of molten cheese. Like Harry avoided the boot for longer than anticipated.

 

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Tex Mex van den Burger

Burgers, Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Africa, Survivor: All Stars

There are less than three weeks until the new season of Survivor kicks off and we almost have an official cast – remember the good old days when the pre-season lasted four weeks, swoon – and as such, I convinced my boy Lex van den Berghe to drop by and help me celebrate.

Sandra, not Rob. Obviously.

I’ve known Lex for decades, doing his first tattoo. Like Phoebe Buffay’s, it was a single dot after I broke down in tears admitting that I had no idea what I was doing, nor could I draw. While it was the end of my time posing as a tattooist as part of a grift, Lex appreciated my honesty and we became the best of friends.

Well until he found a pair of brothers in Africa and I stopped talking to him for a couple of years out of jealousy. Until he explained that he only aligned with Ethan because we had matching hair, after which I felt really awful for bribing Rob to eliminate him in All Stars.

(Please don’t tell him I played a part in that, it really turned out worse than I expected and I feel so guilty).

But anyway, I avoided talking too much about this seasons returnees and instead we focused on the amazing diversity of the cast we’ll learn about in the coming days and the fact that they err on the side of older. Which is something I always prefer.

Obviously Lex agrees that Janet is going to be the break-out star of the season and our dream final three is Karishma, Kellee and Noura. Oh and he is super keen to set me up with Tommy, Vince and Ronnie. Emphasis on and. With the formalities out of the way, we toasted to a good season and the dream that season 41 will be a fan voted Third Time’s the Charm on which he can dominate before smashing a Tex Mex van den Burger.

 

 

Less burger and more chilli sloppy joe, these babies are super simple and delicious enough to look impressive. Hot and spicy, sprinkled with a generous helping of cheese and piled high with all the tex-mex fixins’, there is no better way to spend time with one of your besties.

Enjoy!

 

 

Tex Mex van den Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
4 Kirsten Bunst
1 serve of Chilli con Kim Carnes
1 avocado
1 lime, juiced and zested
2 shallots, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup vintage cheddar, grated
sour cream, to taste
sriracha, to taste

Method
Cook the buns and chilli as per Kirsten and Kim’s recipes respectively.

Combine the avocado, juice and zest of the lime, shallots and a tsp of sour cream in a bowl and mash to combine. Season and leave aside.

To serve, split the buns and toast before ladle some chilli on the base. Sprinkle with cheese, dollop on some guac and sour cream and drizzle with sriracha, close the burger and devour. Joyously.

 

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ustralian Survivor's second boot Laurolex Choong

Laurolex Choong

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2019), Breakfast, Main, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor 12 new champs were dumped in the Fijian jungle to face off against a brand new batch of chumps. The Champions lived up to their names early on, taking out reward and setting themselves up with a killer camp while the Contenders struggling to get it together. Particularly Baden who wasn’t metabolising John’s ‘thing’ beans. Thankfully they found their footing at the right time, snatching immunity and leaving the Champions to battle it out amongst themselves. While Steven’s athletes alliance decided to target Pia, Luke rallied the rest in an attempt to get rid of Susie, neither of which interested Nova. She then employed her Canberra background, politicked and got my dear friend Roxette look-a-like Anastasia booted from the game.

The next morning we checked in on the Champions, who were busy as work fixing up the camp as rain rolled over the beach. Janine then gave the tribe a bit of a boost, leading the group through yoga and bringing everyone together. Luke tried to follow along but remembered his skills lay in being a creep, so instead wandered off to find a location to build this year’s spy shack right next to the well, to secure optimal goss.

Meanwhile over at the Contenders Mr Megan Gale got the fire started, much to the delight of his tribemates. As they gleefully smashed their first hot meal, poor Baden was feeling left right out, unable to find a ride or die – we then heard about his backstory and I am in love with him. He and Shaun then bonded cutting wood and let’s just say, there was definitely wood in my house. Ruining my vibe was Andy who was not keen on Baden, deeming him ill equipped for the game. He then admitted that he hasn’t been able to speak strategy and then brought up the lack of superfans on the tribe, which I’m fairly certain Baden realised was a terrible attempt at a cover up.

We then saw John in speedos and I still find him inappropriately sexy.

Back at the Champions, Pia was feeling her oats after surviving the first tribal council, until Susie broke my spirit and reminded me that Pia is still screwed as she believes that the seven athletes will never break up. Which I desperately hope breaks up at the next tribal council. Luke and Zadavid were desperately trying to figure out how to get themselves, Pia and Janine out of their predicament. They decided that Abbey and Ross were their best hopes, so David put his sexy body on the line and went to woo Abbey while Luke tried to buddy up with Ross. After quickly charming Abbey, he followed up with Ross and TBH, if either of them refuses David they are mad. I mean, he has a white speedo?

Jonathan and his guns returned for this week’s reward challenge for fishing gear and material to build a raft where the tribes would face off in pairs to push a turnstile around until they crossed their colour over a line. Matt and Shaun made extremely quick work of E.T. and Luke, snatching the first point for the Contenders. John and Andy put up a valiant fight against Steven and Ross, who ultimately secured the Champions first point. E.T. and Janine made quick work of Baden and Hannah, while Casey and Sarah evened things up against Susie and Pia after laying in wait for a couple of minutes. Then Janine and Abbey happened, destroyed Sam and Daisy and snatched reward for the Champions. Did I mention Janine is a bloody icon?

The Champions were jubilant back at camp, none more so than E.T. who was ready to go fishing ASAP while everyone else focused on the tarp. While the men went to scope out the fishing prospects, Pia, Susie and Abbey rummaged through the raft bamboo, just missing the clue that had been shoved up inside it. Much to Luke’s delight, who only went fishing to try and distract everyone from looking. Thankfully he caught a minnow for the tribe of eleven, so everyone was kinda happy, and hopefully for him, distracted.

The mood was decidedly more sombre back at the Contenders camp where Shaun continued to be the most beautiful man on the cast. But enough about that, Laura was particularly smarting given she was forced to sit out of the challenge and she worried that it was because she is short. She decided she needed to form bonds with people given they believe she is weaker, approaching Casey and Hannah to try and save herself. She was right to be worried though, given ice cream man Harry did not trust her in the slightest and felt getting rid of her should be his number one priority.

Back over at the Champions Luke lay in wait under the cover of darkness to search for his idol. Tragically Ross has the strangest snore of all time, keeping Nova and Pia up with him in hysterics. Eventually though, they went to sleep, giving Luke enough time to find the clue to the hidden immunity idol, which told him it was buried near the swamp, filling him with joy … as it isn’t something that someone else will be able to stumble upon. Given he isn’t part of the athletes alliance, I desperately hope this isn’t foreshadowing for someone snatching it without a clue.

Jonathan finally returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to dive down a slide into a pull, climb over two walls, pull them down to clear a path, drag a heavy box of puzzle pieces through the mud … and then solve said puzzle. John continued to look sexy, rocking a speedo and getting the Contenders out to an early lead. Ultimately the tribes both got to the walls at the same time, with the Champions barely edging out a lead. The gap closed again, as the tribes were neck and neck pulling their boxes through the mud. More importantly, John looked great covered in mud. Both tribes were exhausted, with David coaching the Champions to be calm and have a break to get a second wind. Which they did, dragging it to the end zone, while the Contenders continued to struggle at the final obstacle. Steven and Ross worked hard on the puzzle, driven by the pained screams as the Contenders continued to struggle, ultimately snatching victory while their competitors wallowed in the mud.

Back at camp the Contenders were heartbroken to have lost, particularly Matt, who identified Baden as the weakest link, the reason for their loss and as such, decided he needed to go. We then learnt that Matt is a teacher slash wrestler and while he is coming across as arrogant, I find him very attractive. He then rallied Sarah and Laura to get rid of Baden, while Harry approached Andy to discuss what he was thinking. Once again, Andy surprised me by wanting to protect my dear sweet Baden, knowing he is a safe number for him, so he and Andy decided to flip the vote on Laura instead. Harry worked his way around camping explaining why Laura needs to go, which made her nervous since he hasn’t had a conversation with her. She then approached Harry to find out what he was thinking, with him lying that he is still planning to get rid of Baden. She then questioned who Baden thinks is going home, and she did not buy his lie that he thinks it is Sarah. Matt however didn’t love the idea of getting rid of Laura, so tried to convince Harry that putting his neck on the line wasn’t the best idea.

At tribal council Jonathan rubbed salt in Matt’s wounds, pointing out that they can’t seem to pull together many wins. This made Matt point out that they have a few weak spots in the tribe and while Daisy denied that there are weak team members, he continued to allude to Baden, though didn’t have the strength to admit it. Shaun admitted that strength is important in the early phase of the game, while Baden and Laura both tried to convince the tribe that neither of them have simply had the opportunity to highlight their strengths, which may save them down the line. Laura regretted not making stronger bonds, Andy continued to be way too much though made the valid point that friends are needed to survive in the game. Laura argued that friends are only good if you can trust them and in Survivor it is hard to trust anyone. Andy then spoke in circles though appeared to impress Jonathan, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Laura and Baden both gave last ditch pitches to their tribe and given the way the hero music began to swell as Baden bared his soul to the tribe, it seems like a foregone conclusion. Andy then reminded people that strength isn’t everything, and cohesion is just as important. Matt then described the vote as simple, before they all filed off to cast theirs and four each stacked up on Laura and Baden, proving it clearly wasn’t that simple. Well until the remaining votes rolled in for Laura and sent her from the game as the second boot.

She heard me before she even finished descending the stairs from tribal council.

“Those stupid height-ist bastards. How dare they do this to our community?!”

Have I ever mentioned I am barely 5”10 like Cindy Crawford? No? Well I am, or not. You know what I mean. In any event, I pulled Laura into my arms and commenced sobbing uncontrollably, heartbroken that she was booted when Harry is also useless in challenges, Andy is super annoying and Matt’s cockiness is making it really hard to thirst for him. Why does such a plucky icon have to go, when they are disappointing me? This sort of thing went on for a good three hours before she could calm me down long enough to explain that she was ok, went out with her head held high and was pumped to wash away her disappointment with a big, fat Laurolex Choong.

 

Laura Choong smashing her second boot Laurolex Choong

 

While this is a highly Australian-ised version of the Ugandan breakfast of champions, it maintains all the tasty happiness. Warm, crispy chapati and soft, fluffy eggs sandwiching a bunch of vegetables, bacon and cheese – it is near perfection.

Enjoy!

 

Laura Choong smashing her second boot Laurolex Choong

 

Laurolex Choong
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
6 rashers bacon, diced
1 tomato, roughly chopped
4 shallots, sliced
½ red capsicum, diced
½ green capsicum, diced
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp sriracha
2 Chapategan Garlicsior

Method
Place a frying pan on the stove over medium heat and cook the bacon for five minutes, or until lightly crisped. Add the tomato, shallots, capsicums and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Take half of the mixture out of the pan and pour half the eggs in the pan. Sprinkle with half the cheese, drizzle with half the sriracha and cook for a minute or two before topping with a chapati. Flip onto a piece of greaseproof paper and roll the chapati to form a roll … of eggs.

Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients and smash with your favourite second boot.

 

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Beve and Blarke Bean Sauce

Main, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Tess didn’t react well to the Brad blindside leading to her and Tara going to (passive aggressive) war. On the flipside, Matt’s confidence grew and grew following the blindside, however Lisa admitted to patiently waited in the wings to take her shot at him. Sadly she was unaware that Matt and Dave were old school chums and as such, were protecting each other at every possible juncture. Before the cracks could show in that alliance, they rallied the tribe to take out one of the biggest threats in the form of icon, goddess and queen, Renee.

Back at camp Dave was caught up in the semantics of the betrayal that lead to he and Renee’s feud, unable to see how telling someone to put their vote on her is wrong if he voted with her in the majority. Thankfully Zadam explained that it was in fact a betrayal since they didn’t actually communicate anything. Despite the peptalk, Dave was still hurt slash concerned about his game and as such, Adam was sick of the whining – don’t whine in front of Adam FYI – and vowed to get him out ASAP.

The mood was looking up the next day as Matt and Zadam joked about a Scissor Paper Rock immunity challenge – which would be iconic, TBH – and chilled around camp. Thankfully Lisa was on hand to bring some excitement, identifying that now is the time for her to take out Matt since they’re down to seven and she no longer needs to worry about Renee. Before we could see her work her magic, treemail arrived announcing a glorious food reward. They think.

With that, they trundled off to find Kiwi Jeff to learn they would need to balance a pole of corn on the end on an ever expanding long, hard pole – aka the challenge that almost killed Joe-gel in Second Chances – with the winner snatching themselves a sweet feast. Which almost made them all cream their shorts. Given this isn’t the most exciting challenge to watch unless someone faints, the Kiwis added some Harry Potter musical queues as Lisa made jokes – maybe – about nobody liking a floppy pole before she, Tess, Tara, Adam and Matt dropped their corn leaving Dave and Eve to battle it out. Though since Dave had clearly struggle for the past couple of minutes, it came as no surprise that he soon followed and handed Eve a shit tonne of sweet treats. And us, the joy of seeing Dave just miss out on winning another challenge.

While Matt felt that yet another Eve victory painted a big old target on her back, she chose to share her reward with his bestie Dave – and Zadam who reminded us about his massive pregame botox injection – so hopefully that can help keep her alive. Adam was concerned about sharing the reward with Dave, given his penchant for eating to the point of vomming … until he saw the massive spread and almost died. Though true to form, Dave made out like he had eaten too much and that he was regretting it. Which Adam obviously felt was a dramatic cry for attention.

Back at camp Lisa and Tara tried to convince themselves the pre-challenge teaser was more than enough for them before Tess put an end to the happiness by pointing out Dave had been on every reward while she hasn’t been on one. While that didn’t get Tara to bite and want to take her out, Matt was more than willing to get her out as the endurance challenge queen. While Matt and Tess seethed, Adam, Eve and Dave bonded on reward and opened up hope for our quiet queen to avoid the boot. As did the fact that Lisa actively kicked off her assault on Matt making quick work of pulling in Tara and them trying to figure out the other two people that would be best to help them.

The victors returned back to camp with Dave continuing to be dramatic about how full he is, much to the absolute disgust of Adam who quickly unfriended Dave after their bonding. Adam then decided it was time to get rid of Dave, puzzled about why it hasn’t occurred already and why Matt wants to keep him around. Speaking of which, Matt lamented about the difficulty of playing the game with someone he is already friends with as it is yet another layer of deception they need to keep in check. Unaware she was leading the charge against him, Matt and Dave checked in with Lisa to see where her head was at heading into the next tribal. Obviously she quickly assured him that she is all in on taking out Eve and they headed back to camp … until Lisa and Matt spotted an arrow on the ground, made a meditating excuse to get rid of Dave and found themselves a hidden immunity idol. Which is great, except for the fact Lisa wants to take him out and he technically snatched it first.

With that, Matt was feeling confident about his place in the game and his alliance with Lisa thanks to his assurances that it is their idol. Sadly she isn’t feeling that trust as it now makes getting him out just that little bit more difficult and her chances of winning are now slim to none. And her pain broke my heart because I would totally react the exact same way. Lisa was feeling more confident the next day after coming up with a plan to get him to hand over the idol and sell it as a way to keep things even between them by having someone ‘own’ it and the other ‘hold’ it. Sadly it made her feel like he didn’t trust her, though thankfully that wasn’t the case and vowed to work with her to make it to the end.

Matty Chis returned for this week’s immunity challenge where the castaways were required to manoeuvre bamboo through a tangled piece of rope, then across a balance beam and lastly through an obstacle, dropping people along the way. Tess made quick work of the first stage, joined by Matt, Dave, Lisa and Adam for the second obstacle. Despite hoping to take out immunity to ensure Matt didn’t, poor Lisa didn’t survive the second round as Matt, Tess and Dave faced down the final stage. All three remained neck and neck throughout the challenge, though since Dave never wins it was clearly a two horse race which Matt tragically won. Well, tragically if you’re a fan of Lisa. Which everyone should be. Making it even worse, she audibly said “oh no, Matt won,” as he took out the challenge and she is concerned someone may have heard her.

Back at camp Lisa tried to come up with a plan B for the upcoming vote, while Matt tried to rally the troops to continue on with his plan to get rid of Eve. Dave and Eve caught up by the shore and decided to focus their attention on getting rid of Tess, or so Eve thought. Adam joined Matt and Lisa by the well to discuss who to get rid of and the weird pre-tribal mood. While they all lamented not wanting to take out Eve, Adam confirmed that her challenge prowess was a concern while poor Lisa had to stand silent instead of countering the fact she is the best chance of beating Matt at a challenge. She then went to talk to Tara who was keen to vote Dave instead, though Lisa felt they had left it too late to change up the vote before tribal and that sticking their necks out would come back to bite them. Tara tried to convince Matt to flip to Dave which did make him nervous about whether he could trust her, though appeared to talk her around from flipping. While on the other side of camp, Adam and Tess spoke about not wanting Tess to go and considered getting rid of Dave instead. Thankfully the stars aligned and Tara and Adam were able to talk before tribal council about pulling in some numbers to get Dave out instead … however since Tara has never spoken to Adam about strategy, it seems doomed to fail.

At tribal council Matt spoke about his second immunity win painting a bigger target on his back, Tara shared that she is not a hustler baby and instead just listened to what people told her while poor Eve started to break down about not being a hustler and fearing for her place in the game as everyone had ignored her during the day. She then kinda went one step too far and spoke about how hard she has fought – aka how well she has played – through sobbing tears, cementing why she does need to go. While she didn’t want to shame the people she felt betrayed her, Dave felt that she was hurt by him not voting with her despite not actually having any control or sway to change it.

Poor Eve continued to fight through tears and begged people to vote with their heart before Matt gave everyone a chance to speak up before voting. Which Zadam did, telling her that while he likes her they have never actually had a strategic conversation and as such, he has no idea what tomorrow would bring if he did in fact flip. While she – rightly – pointed out that he has a huge amount of influence on the tribe, her pleas however were too little too late, as she found herself booted from the game. While she was really gutted and emotional to find herself heading to the jury, dear, sweet Eve was quickly cheered up by the sight of a big bowl of Beve and Blarke Bean Sauce.

 

 

Now I am ashamed to admit that beef and black bean isn’t usually on my go-to list of Chinese take-away dishes, given our delicious it is. Let’s just put it down to childhood loathing – unadulterated loathing – and never really wising up to the fact of this beauty in my teen years because I had men to secretly thirst after.

So … enjoy!

 

 

Beve and Blarke Bean Sauce
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
¼ cup shaoxing wine
2 tsp raw caster sugar
600g beef fillet, thinly sliced
2 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black bean sauce
1 tbsp sriracha
1/4 cup beef stock
vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 green capsicum, cut into large dice
100g mushrooms, sliced
4 shallots, cut into 5cm lengths

Method
Combine half the shaoxing in a large bowl with the sugar. Add the beef, toss to coat and leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour. While that is gettin’ chill, whisk the remaining shaoxing in a jug with the cornflour, soy, black bean, sriracha and stock and leave to rest.

When you’re ready to rock, heat a lug of oil in a wok and stir fry the beef in batches for a couple of minutes or until browned. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a minute before adding the capsicum and mushrooms. Cook, stirring for a further couple of minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Stir through the shallots and serve immediately, on a bed of fluffy rice.

Devour through your tears.

 

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