Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade

Breakfast, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul's Drag Race UK 4, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the top four were tasked with their final, epic challenge for the crown. Writing and recording verses on a Ruple mega mix and performing it live on the mainstage alongside their fallen sisters Just May, Starlet, Copper – yep, it’s happening – Sminty, Baby, Le Fil, Dakota and Pixie. After a cheeky kiki with Ru and Michelle, obvi. Despite all four of the dolls killing the final challenge and serving stunning looks on the runway, the judges decided the final lip sync would be a two horse race and as such, kept Danny and Cheddar to fight for the crown and eliminated Jonbers alongside the iconic, lip sync assassin Peppa.

While I was heartbroken to miss out on one final lip sync from Peppa, I understand why the judges kept the final two around given their track records were so evenly matched. That being said, it didn’t make losing Peppa any easier.

Peppa exploded out of the gate in the very first episode, giving an iconic entry, an artistic photoshoot and perfection on the runway. And while she landed in the bottom a couple of times, she was never really bad, leading me to question whether Ru just wanted to see her turn out another show just like Alan and myself.

After shooing Jonbers away to finish off his pity burger, I pulled Peppa in for a hug and thanked her for not just being an icon, but also for gracing us with her presence. Because that honestly feels like the only appropriate way to react to seeing her perform. As such we laughed, held each other tight and toasted her run with a piping hot Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade.

This little basque brunch number almost is almost the personification of Peppa herself, a little bit fiery with surprises dotted throughout – pancetta, in this case – and ultimately a positively lovely way to spend your time. Though instead of watching her perform, you eat.

Enjoy!

Pancetta and Black Peppa Piperade
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
olive oil
200g pancetta, cut into strips
1 red onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 yellow capsicum, diced
800g can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs
¼ cup basil leaves, shredded
crusty bread, to serve

Method
Heat a small lug of olive oil in a deep frying pan or dutch oven and cook the pancetta and onion for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the pancetta crisp. Add the capsicums, tinned tomato and tomato paste with a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it has started to reduce slightly.

Make 4 wells in the stew and crack an egg in each. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or so, or until the whites are set and the yolks are to your liking. Sprinkle the basil over the top and serve immediately. Before devouring alongside a tonne of bread, because duh!


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Willow Country Poil

Main, RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race 14, Seafood, Street Food, TV, TV Recap

Previously on RuPaul’s Drag Race fourteen news queens entered the Werk Room, again split into two batches of seven. Unlike last season, Ru got a little bit cheeky and implied that Orion Story and Daya Betty were felled in their respective first episodes. Only to gag the dolls by welcoming them back when everyone came together. The gags kept coming in the third episode as all the queens lined up to select a RuPaul chocolate bar with Ru explaining that after a queen loses a lip sync they would each open theirs. If it is chocolate, they sashay away as normal however if it was golden, they would live to slay another day.

So yeah, Ru is in her Wonka era now.

Sadly for June Jambalaya she did not have a golden ticket, making her the third boot that is the official first boot of the season. She was soon followed out the door by Alyssa before Kornbread’s onkle went cleek and she was medically evacuated. Orion then officially exited the competition before we farewelled Maddy and the lovely and iconic Tranos herself, Kerri Colby – that look, OMG.

After what felt like weeks of non-eliminations and the worst Snatch Game on record, Daya was delighted as Jasmine Kennedie was finally sent packing before Bosco found the golden ticket. As we had another non-elim, Ru got crafting and booted DeJa and Jorgeous in a double elimination. Only to decide that neither Angeria nor Willow deserved to miss out on a place in the finale, giving us our first ever top five.

While poor Angeria was eventually cut on finale night, alongside Daya and Bosco, Willow’s reprieve landed her the crown after a mindblowing lip sync against Camden. And well, I am absolutely thrilled for her.

On paper, Camden may have had the stronger track record but Willow’s consistent place among the top queens and her general star power always made her my favourite. In life and for the crown. I mean, list of ten of the most iconic looks of the season and Willow would be half of them. On top of that she is funny, can dance, is kind and just so damn cool. Which is why she more than deserved the crown and the piping hot Willow Country Poil.

I talk a lot of shit about seafood, particularly crustaceans since we all learned from Drop Dead Gorgeous, you just don’t know when they last cleaned their house. But a good ol’ Low Country Boil is a dish I will gladly make an exception for. Spicy, sweet and wholy life affirming, this southern classic is near perfection.

Enjoy!

Willow Country Poil
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
100g old bay or cajun seasoning
2kg small washed potatoes
3 medium red onions, peeled and thickly sliced
1kg smoked pork sausage, cut into thick coins
8 corn ears, cut in half
1.5kg prawns

Method
Half-fill a large stockpot with water and stir in the seasoning. Bring to a rollicking boil and add the potatoes to the pot and bring back to the boil, cooking for 5 minutes. Add the onions and sausage and cook for 15 minutes, before adding the corn and cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir in the prawns and cook until they turn pink, aka are cooked. 

Drain the food into a colander, discarding the liquid, and serving on a platter. Or newspaper if you’re less uptight/scared of eating outside due to birds than me.


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Gigantes Swati Goel

Breakfast, Main, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor 42, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, mother nature proved quite the spoiler in the immunity challenge and while Taku were able to dominate and quickly earn their immunity, the other tribes weren’t so lucky. Mainly because they didn’t have a Jonathan who absolutely beasted his way through the challenge, keeping his tribe from drowning and single handedly finishing said challenge. After resetting the challenge and skipping over the water section, Vati lost and despite knowing her alliance was already down a vote, Chanelle decided to risk hers at the summit. Which obviously meant she lost hers too, leading to a deadlock vote between Lydia and Jenny, before Daniel’s fear doomed not only his alliance with Chanelle – after throwing her under the bus over and over – but sent the iconic Jenny from the game.

Back at camp Daniel realised how badly he cooked things but instead of immediately apologising, he requested the tribe ignore everything for the moment and instead talk it through in the morning. Chanelle meanwhile did not want to wait, calling him out for completely throwing him under the bus though admitted to us that getting rid of Lydia was totally her idea. She then continued her revenge bus-throwing, telling Mike that Daniel told her he didn’t have a vote because of his idol. While Hai summed it up succinctly explaining that everyone in the tribe blindsided him except for Lydia, who is only here because Daniel stupidly told him that he desperately didn’t want to go to rocks, meaning all Hai had to do was hold firm. Hai then pulled Mike aside and the duo apologised to each other and vowed to work together now that Daniel is persona non-grata. While the same can not be said about Mike and Daniel as Mike parented him by explaining how disappointed in him that he was.

Jeffrey arrived first thing the next day as the tribes lined up for a reward challenge where they would each have to untangle themselves from a rope, hook a sled of balls and then shoot some hoops for a feast of fish. Which they obviously have to clean and cook themselves in this new era of Survivor. Taku got out to an early lead which was obviously only extended, given they have Jonathan on their tribe. Maryanne quickly shot her first basket, followed by Omar on his second try before Jonathan and Lindsay secured reward before anyone else even came close to finishing. Sadly though, Jonathan explained that they keep dominating because they’re such a tight four which obviously painted a target on all their backs. Despite the fact Tori called Jonathan out for carrying his tribe. Which seems like a bad idea for her game too, but whatever.

Taku returned to camp and was delighted by just how massive their fish were before Maryanne and Omar told Jonathan that he shouldn’t have outed how tight they are. Though given he is so indispensable, he doesn’t really have to worry. Jonathan opened up to Lindsay about how he hated Tori calling him out for being so strong, though he did try to look on the bright side about how it now means everyone knows that he is the ultimate shield. He then told us how playing Survivor has always been a dream of his and how he is working so hard so that his tribe knows that he is playing a selfless game to lessen his threat level. Given it is a bad idea to boot someone who is straight up keeping you alive. Well, bad idea to boot them early.

Meanwhile over at Ika, Romeo was busy building a fire while Rocksroy barked orders to him about how best to do things. Which made Romeo more and more annoyed by him. Swati and Tori caught up with Swati floating the idea of getting rid of Drea and her extra vote so that they could take a power position. Sadly though, Tori had no interest in working with Rocksroy and he was essentially their only option to take control. Despite hating him, Tori caught up with Rocksroy to form a bond though given she thinks he is a narcissist, she has no interest and this isn’t going to end well. She continued to push through her reservations, telling Rocksroy about Drea’s extra vote to build trust. Which he immediately broke, going straight to Drea to out her for sharing said information and essentially making everyone turn on her.

The tribe rejoined with Jeff over the water for the latest immunity challenge where after Maryanne once again told her tale of the bunny rabbit eating dinner in the mailbox, they would race out to a tower, climb said tower to release keys before unlocking puzzle pieces. And solving said puzzles. While yeah, yeah Taku got out to an early lead, the most important part of the challenge was who took Monika Radulovic’s mantle as the belly flopping icon with Lydia missing her key multiple times though thankfully she did not crack her gut . As Taku whipped through the puzzle, Ika struggled, allowing Vati to catch up with Chanelle powering along and taking out the second immunity, sending Ika back to tribal council.

Back at camp Rocksroy was growing more and more frustrated by the tribe’s inability to win, though he was very much looking forward to getting rid of Tori. Meanwhile Tori was catching up with Romeo, who told him that Swati told her that everyone but her was aligned and as such, Tori felt she could only work with Swati. This pissed off Romeo who went to Drea to float the idea of getting rid of Swati instead. Particularly since she straight up told everyone that they were her number one. Tori included, who they next caught up with to officially lock in the vote to get rid of her instead. Swati grew nervous and caught up with Romeo and then when he didn’t make her feel any better, she approached Drea to try and clear the air. And while Tori’s story sounded more plausible, Drea felt like neither she nor Swati were really good for her game and as such, she wasn’t sure who to prioritise getting rid of first.

At tribal council Drea wasn’t really sure how to articulate the general vibe of the tribe, while Tori straight up called it a mess but was hopeful that voting out the messy one will help bring them together. Swati tried to talk around in circles and play coy about Tori trying to blindside Drea before Tori jumped in and told her she was projecting and that Swati had been trying to get rid of Drea from the first tribal council. Drea meanwhile was frustrated to always have her name on the block despite wanting to bring everyone together while Swati grew more and more nervous, telling the tribe that getting rid of Tori will fix all of the tribe’s problems. With Romeo agreeing that getting rid of the person the majority wanted to vote out would bring them together. Rocksroy jumped in to praise Swati for putting herself out there despite her insecurities. Which appeared to be the kiss of death as after playing her shot in the dark and not gaining safety, she was booted from the tribe. While her sole remaining ally Rocksroy looked on, enraged.

Sweet Swati was pretty chill and accepting as she entered Loser Lodge, despite her obvious disappointment. While everything seemed to be going well early on in the game, Swati’s multiple deals unravelled everything. Along with Tori taking advantage of it, which was something she and Zach were able to bond over. That and a piping hot bowl of Gigantes Swati Goel.

I know, I know – beans aren’t usually the most exciting of meals, but these are an oh so delicious exception. Smooth, sweet and packing a little bit of spice, these are a perfect mid-week dinner or a delicious winter breakfast. Essentially, get amongst them.

Enjoy!

Gigantes Swati Goel
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 rashers streaky bacon, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1 tsp chilli flakes
800g can diced tomatoes
400g can butter beans
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
⅓ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
100g feta, crumbled, for serving

Method
Heat a lug of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and cook the onion and bacon together for five minutes. Or until golden and sweet. Add the garlic, carrot and chilli and cook for a further few minutes or until starting to soften.

Stir in the tomatoes, butter beans, tomato paste and bay leaves with half a cup of water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for fifteen minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, red wine vinegar and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with a heaping of feta and devour. Soothingly.


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Birriana Goodchild

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 24 new castaways were dropped into the middle of the lush, Australian bushland. While they entered the game as 12 pairs, Jonathan quickly split them up to form two tribes of individuals. Each had to face off in the first reward challenge where Nina beat her mother – Queen Sandra – to secure reward for her tribe. The Water tribe however bombed the following immunity challenge, while a poor, injured Alex looked on from the sidelines. Back at camp, Andy quickly suggested everyone should band together to get rid of him, however Nina had other ideas as she effortlessly rallied the tribe against Andy. At tribal, Shayelle and Briana were beaten to the idol by Chrissy which was ultimately pointless given Andy was booted anyway.

The next day Shayelle was worried about how her partner Ben was faring over on the other tribe, so focused her energy on leading the tribe in some yoga as a distraction. Because she is an actual yogi, rather than a Henry yogi. While everyone was living for her calming energy, Chrissy was more focused on the fact she was a goddess and instead decided she would try and beef her up in the jungle.

Meanwhile over at the Blood tribe, Sophie was struggling with the heat and completely shocked by life in the jungle. We then learnt that the tribe had still not gotten fire which is quite a concern on Day 3. Thankfully, Briana’s dad Dave finally got a flame as everyone gathered around to block the wind, which instantly changed everyone’s mood as they sat down to a pot of rice. Sophie caught up with Sandra, sharing that a bunch of people would love to learn from her while they are here which made Sandra feel mildly more relaxed about her standing. Though Sophie knew that as great as having Sandra is, she is always a threat. Which should in turn make her nervous. The tribe ventured to the well, worried about who had been voted out at the last tribal council with Kate already having a bad feeling it was Andy. While Sandra warned us that should Nina be voted out, she will be coming for anyone and everyone like the Hulk.

Speaking of Nina she was busy knocking up a washing line on the Water Tribe before they all lazed under the shelter to enjoy some shade. That is, until some of the logs started to snap and they had to rebuild the entire structure. Nina shared that while her mum prepared her for life in the game, she is wanting to play her own game and opened up to her allies that Andy being so keen to be in the presence of her mum is part of what made her nervous about him. Tragically though, while she was vibing on Mark, Alex and Jordie, she was unsure how to feel about Khanh, which is essentially my dream alliance. Particularly as Briana got in her ear talking about how threatening he is.

While that makes me nervous, given the fact that Chrissy is out for Briana’s blood after the way she treated her at the last tribal council, I am hopeful Chrissy will get her revenge before I lose my love Khanh.

Briana meanwhile was living her best life, loving her in-game bestie Shayelle and thinking she is a boss. We learnt a bit more about her, which essentially was that she rollerskates, wears rainbow stripes and is fun. Which is all you need to know – I mean, after the last two years, I’ll take an eternal optimist to bring up my mood! Thankfully, she is self-aware to know her performance at tribal council could be a problem for her game so approached Chrissy in the water to apologise to her and clear the air. And while I thought it was going to be a good thing, her apology was essentially, the game has started and as such, Chrissy was even more annoyed by how intense she is.

The tribes joined Jonathan by a river where poor Kate was heartbroken to see her big brother Andy had indeed been voted out and ugh, watching her hold back tears was heartbreaking. Until she shaded the Water tribe, pointing out he is weirdly good at both puzzles and throwing things and as such, they just made it easier for her tribe to win challenges. Speaking of which, today’s would see people from each tribe racing to climb out of a large, net cube before jumping off and grabbing a flag to secure a point. First to four winning fishing gear and comfort items.

Once again, Sandra refused to sit out of the challenge with Sam taking her place on the sit out bench as Croc and Jesse faced off against her husband Mark and Khanh. And damn, Khanh was a beast as he battled Jesse, climbed out and scored the first point for Water. Kate and Sophie then fought off Nina and Briana and damn, was it a fight as they all scraped and yanked at each other before Nina broke free and snatched another point for the Water tribe. Leading to Sandra apologising to Kate for her daughter’s behaviour.

We then had Mark introduce Khanh to Sam as his boyfriend and just like that, my basement is flooded. I mean, Mark and Sam are so relaxed and fun this year, and I’m living for it!

Up next were Shay and Chrissy fighting Sandra and Amy, with Shay single handedly fighting everyone off and taking out another point for Water. That meant KJ and Khanh faced off against David and Michelle for victory, where David literally tried to rip off Khanh’s shorts who nearly gave full Sugar, before pulling up his pants and securing the win for his tribe. Given this is Blood V Water, Jonathan gave them the opportunity to share their spoils with the other tribe with Water quickly opting to give their loved ones some comfort items while they hung on to the fishing gear.

Back at camp the Water tribe were thrilled by how well they performed in the reward challenge. Well, for a split second before Briana held on to the tackle box with a vice grip to hunt for an idol clue in front of all of the tribe. While she thought she was super smooth and bubbly about it, she was well and truly putting everyone off side as Khanh complained about her intensity. And vowed to keep how at risk she is from her so she continues to annoy the tribe until they boot her from the game.

Meanwhile the Blood tribe were grateful to have been given their comfort items, none more so than Kate who was still heartbroken to have lost Andy. As she walked off to clear her mind, Michelle joined her to make sure she was ok. As they wandered chatting and looking for firewood, Kate spotted Ben, Sophie, Amy, Jordan and Sam plotting by the well, suggesting that if Andy is cutthroat, it is likely Kate is too and as such, they need to keep an eye on her. We then learnt more about Sam who promised us that she has learnt from the mistakes from her first game, vowing to be less anxious and more observant. Oh and she and Mark just want to get to the merge so they can reunite and run the game to the end like Rob and Amber before them.

Back with the rest of the tribe, Croc was asking Sandra about whether there is a point in the game where everyone just loses their mind, with her wisely explaining how everyone gets paranoid at different times and you just need to be agile. Sadly for Croc though, while he was learning from the great, Sam and Sophie are already suggesting he can’t get to the merge and as such, he won’t last long enough to find out more.

The tribes reconvened with Jonathan for the immunity challenge where they would have to drag three barrels over hurdles before grabbing three more barrels, which they thenhad to navigate through a path and up to the top of a platform before rolling them down to knock vases off a series of poles. After Sophie took her place on the bench – Sandra wisely choosing to keep performing in the challenges – both tribes made their way to the second trio of barrels neck and neck. While Water had the slightest of leads, Croc’s leadership, and honestly brute strength, was enough to see them close the gap. Wait, no, Water pulled away again and then knocked over their first vase before Blood even joined the fray. Eventually Blood started rolling too, quickly tying things up as both tribes knocked off their second vases in quick succession. Before Jesse calmly knocked off Blood’s third and secured immunity for the tribe.

Back at camp Briana was ready to cause a little bit of chaos in the hope of saving her game, while Chrissy shared that she is feeling like a hot mess. She admitted to KJ and Mark that she is feeling very nervous, with Mark emphatically telling her not to worry. Chrissy then caught up with Mel, Jordie and Josh to lock in the vote for Briana, knowing that she has been playing too hard too fast and as such they need to take her out. Chrissy assured them that she watched Briana like a hawk yesterday but reminded them that somebody needs to watch her today to make sure she doesn’t find an idol and ruin any plans.

Oh and Chrissy shared she is aligned with KJ, Mark, Mel, Jordie, Josh and Khanh and ugh, why is Nina not included in this majority?!

Speaking of Nina, Briana pulled her and Alex aside to float going after Chrissy which they obviously agreed to. As Briana went person to person to woo them to her side, she got absolutely nothing and as such, grew more and more paranoid. She and Shayelle then went hunting for the idol, leading to the rest of the tribe sending out a search party, arriving just in time to see Shay unhook a hidden immunity idol from the top of a tree. As Briana ran to her to celebrate the moment and I assume, her safety.

While King Khanh threatened to steal it before making the real boss move of picking it up from the ground and handing it to Shay, reminding her it is hers and hers only. In front of everyone. After Briana went back to camp, Khanh and Nina got into Shayelle’s ear and told her that Briana was totally planning to steal the idol from her which is why he jumped in to give it to her. Sadly, the drama only made Shayelle more confused about tribal council given she will clearly either be sending her ally Briana home or instead Chrissy, who brings good vibes to the tribe.

At tribal council Alex opened up about how shocked he was to survive his first tribal council, though he shared how grateful he was, given he feels much better. Josh spoke about how that speaks to their desire for a cohesive tribe rather than tossing him aside at the first sign of injury, which immediately made Briana talk about how much she loves everyone. Though she did admit that she is closest to Shay. As Briana spoke about hoping the tribe valued her, Chrissy said that everyone should be expecting their name to come up and as such, she is nervous. Jordie said that everyone is performing in challenges, so like Josh, his vote would be based on keeping the tribe harmonious. 

Chrissy suggested she would have received more votes at the last tribal council if she didn’t find the idol. Mark suggested that this tribal council would be pretty logical and not problematic while Briana assured her allies that she trusts everyone she spoke with (like Andy last tribal, uh oh). Chrissy agreed she could trust her people though wasn’t exactly sure she trusts the plan. Briana then started whispering to Shay to vote for Chrissy before Khanh spoke about being close to a few people, which made Briana more and more nervous. Despite being confident earlier, Briana started to spiral before trying to pull it together. And then immediately threatened the tribe that she was ready to do something crazy.

With that, the tribe voted and nothing crazy happened as the tribe banded together to boot Briana from the game. Well except for Mark who threw a vote on Chrissy, ideally to paint a target on Shay though I feel he is way too nice and was just covering bases in case an idol was played.

But I’ve digressed. Like Andy yesterday, seeing Briana arrive in Loser Lodge was quite triggering because I see a lot of myself in her. I’m a little bit too much and when backed into a corner, try too hard to win people back despite it being the last thing people want. While Bri was disappointed to be out of the game, she was already hopeful to come back, learn from her mistakes and take out the win – which honestly, is the kind of energy the world needs right now. As such, I served up a big bowl of Birriana Goodchild and vowed to send all the good vibes for her second go.

Don’t let the looks fool you! While birria may appear to be a boring old stew, it is actually a feisty bowl of flavour and goodness. Which like Bri, is just what the world needs more off.

Enjoy!

Birriana Goodchild
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
5 dried guajillo chillies
4 dried ancho chillies
4 dried chiles de arbol
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
400g tinned crushed tomatoes
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp olive oil
1.2kg beef chuck, cut into a large dice
salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, diced
1L beef stock
2 sprigs thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon cloves

Method
Place the chillies in a bowl and top with freshly boiled water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes before removing the stems and seeds. Combine the soft chillies with the apple cider vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin and 3 cups of the chilli water in a blender and blitz until smooth. Leave aside.

Preheat the oven to 150ºC.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, season the chunks of beef and sear a few pieces at a time, until browned and caramelised on the outside. Remove to rest on a plate and repeat the process until done.

Return the beef back to the pot and top with the chilli mixture, onion, stock, bay leaves, thyme, cinnamon and cloves. Stir and bring to the boil before covering and popping in the oven to cook for about 3 hours, or until juicy and tender.

Remove from the oven and remove the visible bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves – or play it fast and loose like me and eat around the cloves. Serve immediately and devour, glad to have played the game.


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Veronica Green Curry

Main, Poultry, RuPaul's Drag Race UK, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK 2, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Drag Race UK the queens put on a comedy show about life’s grandest of comedie, love. In what is fast becoming tradition Bimini slayed, Lawrence got in her head, Tayce focused on sharing her gold another day and A’Whora was bleeped as quickly as a gay thot is banned from Instagram. More importantly, villain Ellie emerged, desperate to claim a win, scheduling the show to screw over Lawrence and A’Whora and while their rage ended up impacting Ellie’s performance too, it worked as A’Whora landed in the bottom opposite her bestie Tayce. Before Tayce, Tacye’d and eliminated her from the competition.

The queens ventured backstage in utter shock after A’Whora sashayed away with two badges against Tayce, who had only one to go with her three bottoms. Tayce on the flipside was not shocked, given she knows how to turn a lip sync and knows she will always slay. Ellie meanwhile was thrilled that A’Whora didn’t write a nasty message on the mirror to her about the set order. This led Lawrence to continue ranting about Ellie daring to play the game strategically, brutalising Ellie by pointing out that it wasn’t really worth it, given she never won that badge. Much to the delight of Tayce and horror of Bimini, as the two delights congratulated Ellie on having the guts to do it slash made sure she was ok.

Things were still tense the next day as Lawrence continued to shade Ellie’s track record, while Bimini was proud of herself for really cementing herself as a contender. Even more so than last week, when she cemented herself. Tayce meanwhile was more delighted by the fact that Lawrence could not let things with Ellie go, laughing that A’Whora would be over it as soon as she found herself under a cock. The only thing stopping Lawrence’s rage was the arrival of Ru for this week’s mini challenge requiring everyone to indeed love puppets. Yes, it is the puppet gloryhole shadefest. Ellie was first at the whole reaching deep to grab Tayce, Lawrence scored Ellie – oh god – Bimini scored Lawrence, leaving Tayce with the one and only Bimini Bon Boulash.

The dolls split up to drag up their puppets’ lives, before puppet Tayce arrived in her shocking dishrag dress talking a million miles an hour, sounding a bit like Baga Chipz but ultimately being entertaining as hell. Lawrence didn’t destroy Ellie as badly as I thought, being charming and sassy while reading her for filth. Once again Bimini was hilarious, charming and brutal and ugh, give her the crown now, please. I live. Oh and then Tayce was hilarious despite being nothing like Bimini. Once again – again – Bimini took out another well earned victory, this time earning her the right to cast the roles in this week’s Maxi Challenge, acting in the soap opera BeastEnders. Unlike Ellie however, Bimini opted not to be shady – probably because she was not really feeling threatened – and let the queens take the role that they liked after selecting herself the role of Scat Slater.

With that Bimini took Tayce aside to give her her breastplate for the challenge, allowing Ellie and Lawrence time to clear the air. And while Ellie was quick to apologise and explain why she did what she did, Lawrence really couldn’t let it go and Lawrence, you need to move on otherwise you’re only going to hurt yourself. Back over with the duo oozing with charm, Tayce was bouncing her tits and giddily planning not to blend the pale tits to match her skin tone to add more comedy.

Again, I love her.

Before we could see more from my loves, the girls were interrupted by the arrival of Eastenders’ own Natalie Cassidy to give the girls an acting masterclass via Skype. From screaming “Rickay” to working through their emotions saying “Bubbly’s in the fridge,” the take away was to add light and shade which is clearly something unique to British soaps, since Toadie’s mullet never screamed nuance to me. But I digress.

The queens arrived on set to shoot with Michelle Visage who encouraged the girls that this could be a classic … if they nail. Right out of the gate Bimini and Tayce slayed, while poor Lawrence couldn’t even get through the door on her first cue. She and Ellie then caused each other to spiral, missing line after line, even forgetting character names. Meanwhile my loves Bimini and Tayce sat on the sidelines thrilled that this is more likely to be the trainwreck of the scene rather than them. Michelle then stopped filming to give Lawrence a pep talk, reminding her to get out of her head ASAP, less she wants to bomb. Before immediately ending the shoot.

Elimination Day arrived with Ru inspired by Survivor and gifting the girls with letters from home. The top four gathered around to read their letters, with Ellie reading Bimini’s letter resulting in my love breaking down in tears about wanting to make their mum proud. Tayce’s letter was read to her by Bimini, with once again her mother lovingly backing her for the win and proving why parents need to back off their own bullshit and let kids feel their vibes because Tayce and Bimini are thriving because of it. Lawrence and Ellie’s mums were also delightful, loving and supportive, but you don’t need to hear me praise these four women in the same way. Just know that they are all amazing and have done a wonderful job with their children and fostered the environment to let them thrive.

On the Panto Dames runway Lawrence was a delightful sewing machine complete with stunning mint hair. Tayce meanwhile was a gorgeous Tinkerbell in blue, Bimini channelled full panto realness as a gaudy baby doll while Ellie was glorious as a shimmering queen of hearts. As is oft the case, the acting challenge fails proved to be a fake out as the girls all slayed the performance. Bimini was loud and trashy, Ellie was delightfully camp, Lawrence was a scrappy villain and Tayce was totally demented.

Ru praised all the girls for delivering a killer acting challenge before Michelle read Lawrence for getting in her head in the challenge and told her that she needed to trust in herself, because she delivered. That being said, they all lived for her panto inspired runway. Tayce was universally beloved in the acting challenge despite not leaning into the Karen of it all. That being said, Ru didn’t live for her runway given it was panto rather than panto dame. Bimini once again received universal praise for literally everything she did, from the arch of her back scrubbing the floor to her stunning, playful runway that was full panto dame realness. The judges loved everything about Ellie’s performance in the acting challenge and lived for her runway, before Michelle ominously praised everyone for delivering a killer performance and advised that this will well and truly be the most difficult challenge to judge both here and in the US.

Backstage the girls were excited to slay the challenge but slowly started to panic, realising the judges will be splitting hairs and as such, anyone could land in the bottom. Tayce in particular was terrified, given the judges didn’t love her runway given it was lacking the dame and she couldn’t fathom surviving a fourth lip sync ahead of the final. This led to her throwing Ellie and Lawrence under the bus for being under the bus, with Ellie shifting the blame solely on to Lawrence. Which led the Scots to once again start fighting over who was worse and to not start blaming each other.

Ultimately Bimini continued her victorious streak, taking out her record equalling fourth win of the season while Lawrence was deemed safe, leaving Tayce to once again face off, this time against Ellie. And oh did they battle from the very first note of Steps’ Last Thing on My Mind.  Each queen hit every letter of every syllable, Tayce was duck walking, Ellie was cartwheeling into a death drop in a damn fucking hoop skirt. There were splits, flips, kicks, voguing and urgh, I was so grateful when Ru decreed that both queens shantay and stay, because THAT was a lip sync. Meaning all four queens would be progressing to the finale, which is convenient given Veronica finally received a negative COVID test and was able to join me to celebrate the season and her place in the pantheon.

As she walked into the Werk Room, I didn’t give her a traditional hug out of the utmost of caution against catching COVID – hey, I’m paralysed by fear, ok. I’ll get locked out of Australia – I did give her a really warm and loving smile, assuring her that while her momentum was stopped dead in its tracks, I am confident we will see her at the end of Season 3. Which proved to be enough to perk her up, as did the Veronica Green Curry.

Spicy and warming with an aggressive punch of freshness, there is honestly nothing better than a green curry. Which yeah, I say about most things, but I love food, ok?

Enjoy!

Veronica Green Curry
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1kg chicken thighs, diced
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 onion, sliced
½ cup green curry paste
1 cup broccoli florets
2 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 zucchini, seeded and sliced
2 cups coconut milk
1 ½ cups chicken stock
5 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
1 red chilli, sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
¼ cup thai basil leaves
jasmine rice and coriander, to serve

Method
Pop the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss the chicken through the starch and add to the pan, and cook, stirring, until browned. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet before adding the curry paste and cooking off for about five minutes.

Add the vegetables and stir until well coated before stirring in the coconut milk, stock, lime leaves, chilli and the cooked chicken. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until reduced. Remove from the heat and stir in the fish sauce, sugar and basil.

Serve immediately, piping hot before devouring. Galvanised and ready for a triumphant return.


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Michelle Ragougan

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor (2017), Australian Survivor: All Stars, Main, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor the All Stars were immediately thrown into some brutal challenges, the first of which featured a clue to a hidden immunity idol hidden at tribal council. And while Henry was lucky to grab it unnoticed, it was only valid for three tribal councils. When his tribe won the next two immunity challenges, he handed it off to Mat to cause some chaos at tribal council. Mat and the leader of his rival alliance, David decided to come together to help protect each other, and for David, to get revenge on one of his allies. Brooke then found an idol hidden at camp, completely throwing their plans into chaos. Until they gave an Oscar winning turn at tribal council and Mat correctly played him idol on Jacqui, before David begged Brooke to play hers on him and poor Daisy was gobsmacked to be booted from the game third.

In time to do exit press for her first season.

We checked in with Vakama the next day where the excitement of the previous tribal council was a thing of the past, and instead, Jacqui was showing off her killer physique. I mean, she looks like what Teresa Gudice wishes she looked like in a bodybuilding comp. Back at the shelter Mat was still processing his emotions from the epic tribal council, still shocked that the plan worked and that David didn’t backstab them. On the flipside the wounded majority alliance were feeling super nervous, unsure how Mat found out the votes would pile up on Jacqui and as such, speculated that there is a rat in their midst. Locky approached Mat to see if he could get any intel from him about the mole and while Mat dutifully told him that it was an educated guess, Locky did not buy it.

Speaking of the mole, David was on cloud nine – flushing both the idols, solidifying his secret alliance with Mat and getting his revenge on Daisy. Which I’m not really sure was needed, but since it was spectacular, I will let it slide. That being said, David was nervous and knew that he needed to keep his story straight and make sure nobody compares stories and realises he is a mole.

Meanwhile over at Mokuta Nick was busy knighting Lee for his spaghetti arms, while Henry was quietly sulking the corner since he is left right out on the bottom of the tribe. He regrouped and decided to approach Nick, bonding by the water well and hoping to form an alliance. Sadly for Henry, Nick learnt from his first season and was happy to sit quietly and wait for the chance to strike and as such, cannot align with Henry. Though obviously he pledged his loyalty to Henry and planned to ice him ASAP.

My love Jonathan graced us with his presence for the reward challenge where one at a time, someone from each tribe would face off on either side of a chest and try to push it and therefore their rival, off the edge of a dock. With the winning tribe getting some piping hot fish and chips. Oh, but before that AK threw Henry straight under the bus and announced that Mat played an idol at the previous tribal council THAT WAS GIVEN TO HIM BY HENRY AT THE LAST IMMUNITY CHALLENGE. I mean, I didn’t love him in Season 2, but AK is a deadset messy legend and I live. Henry was first to face off against Mat, allowing plenty of time for people to make jokes about them being idol buddies. Despite looking like an easy win for Mat, Henry stood his ground and clawed back the lead … until Mat overpowered him and sent him into the water.

Next round Jacqui chose to avenge Zach’s shitty views, however was sadly pushed straight into the water. But damn I love her. Lydia was up next, with AK challenging as Locky reminded him that Lydia is strong as shit. Direct quote. Despite being strong as shit and putting up a hell of a fight, AK dominated and scored another point for Vakama. Net up were Tarzan and Harry and hot damn, Tarzan is a beast and I live, easily winning the point. Though sadly not giving Harry a kiss like the last challenge. Just some hella sass on his way to winning the reward for his tribe.

The victorious Vakama were thrilled about the prospect of smashing their fish and chips, until they discovered they had actually won fishing gear and some potatoes, oil and salt to make chips once they catch the fish. With everyone trying to pretend they weren’t bitterly disappointed, they used the time to hunt for a clue or idol amongst their spoils to make the win moderately worth it. Mat then flipped the crate and found the idol hidden inside it in front of the entire tribe, leaving the majority furious and Mat, well, he was left smiling with a big, shit-eating grin.

As the majority went fishing to calm their nerves, Mat pulled Moana aside to let her know about his secret alliance with and growing trust in Dave. Finally finding her missing spark, Moana was thrilled about the turn of events and was happy to make a deal with the devil if it gets her further. And keeps Mat and David as the biggest threats. I mean, does Moana need a nemesis like Russell to keep her fire burning? Whatever it is, I love her again.

Later that night Dave was feeling nervous about his growing alliance with Mat, so slinked away into the night to make a fake hidden immunity idol. Well eventually, after hours and hours trying to cut a gem off their tackle box. Side note: aren’t all tackle (boxes) a gem?

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge which required the tribes to hold barrels over tiles with a rope, with people allowed to step out of the challenge and hand their barrel over BUT as soon as a single tile breaks, the tribe loses. Meanwhile the iconic Shonee sat out of the challenge, directly on top of an immunity idol clue and please don’t let her follow Michaela’s lead and miss it. David and Lee had a Zoolander approved model off in the first five minutes before Michelle dropped out of the challenge and handed her barrel off to Zach. After half an hour Zach passed a barrel off to Henry, by way of Lydia, while Sharn struggled to hold on. Out of nowhere Phoebe passed her barrel off to Locky before Lee took over Sharn’s barrel. After more than an hour and 15 minutes, and some desperate back and forths, Zaddy John dropped one of his two barrels and handed victory to Vakama. And Shonee exited her seat without noticing the idol clue.

Back at camp Michelle was feeling nervous about being the first one to drop out of the challenge, particularly since her tribe was made up of three-four professional athletes, depending on where you stand with washed-up Gladiators. Lee pulled Michelle aside, with her reminding him that she is on the bottom and as such will vote for anyone other than her. She echoed that sentiment to Sharn, John and Zach. Though she could tell that nobody was actually interested in saving her. Meanwhile Abbey was using the loss as motivation to keep the tribe strong, dejectedly tell everyone that they need to start winning challenges – after just coming off a winning streak – and get rid of Michelle. Not to be outdone, Lydia too was rallying the troops to get rid of the weakest.

Thankfully Henry knows that brute strength is not how you win Survivor and as such, decided that Sharn is the smarter vote given how persuasive she can be. Unless in front of a Survivor jury against Shane, obvi. Henry pulled Zach aside, with the latter quickly agreeing to getting rid of Sharn instead. He then approached a receptive John and Michelle, before making his way to Nick. Who was not thrilled by the turn of events, and as such, wanted to flip the vote on Henry. For trying to flip the vote on Sharn. With that Nick approached his little rascals, with both Harry and Shonee keen to change things up and get rid of the threat. Nick approached Lydia, Abbey and Lee to try and get them to see sense and get rid of the very sketchy Henry. However, sadly, that made Abbey nervous about Nick being shifty. Though not enough to get rid of him, since he is still stronger than Michelle.

At tribal council John struggled to stick his torch in the slot – I have one ready for him, though – before talking about their loss at the challenge and how people dropping out impacted them. Zach was surprisingly diplomatic before Michelle went all in, reminding everyone that after Lee bombed the first challenge they agreed that losing a challenge wouldn’t be punished in a boot. Sharn agreed that challenges will always cater to different types, before Michelle commenced pleading to the athlete mentality and quoting football. Lydia agreed that they do need a good mix of skills, though didn’t seem to convince Queen Michelle who reminded everyone that loyalty is just as important. Particularly if a tribe swap is imminent. John and Henry agreed loyalty and numbers are critical to making it further, before Abbey agreed it is important but, yeah nah, she cares more about strength.

Which obviously annoyed Michelle.

Nick joined the fray to remind everyone of the importance of forming a cohesive, harmonious group. Shocking nobody, Zach was focused on strength before Harry countered that his vote is solely based on forming solid alliances, while Shonee was just glad to finally be asked a question at tribal council. Michelle again reminded everyone the importance of trust before Henry gave her the kiss of death, saying he is confident that the votes are going to go his way. With that, the tribe voted and tragically, Queen Michelle was felled.

I knew that we would lose one eventually, but I am so heartbroken to see one of our Fourth Place Robbed Goddesses exit the game. Though I guess at least Mish kept things semi-consistent by becoming the fourth boot. Which is the only positive thing I could come up with as I sobbed into her arms as she entered Loser Lodge.

Remember when Michelle completely destroyed Ben at tribal council in Season 2?


That is how I choose to remember Michelle. Not as the woman that was felled by the strength first mentality which comes from the brutal challenges of Australian Survivor. Lucky my Nigella inspired Michelle Ragougan is hella comforting, because I truly needed it.

 

 

Sweet, salty and covered in a silky melting of cheese, the ragu is the perfect hearty little meal to whip up when you’re down. Add in a little bit of chilli to Nigella’s classic, and you’ve got perfection. No offence Nige.

Enjoy!

 

 

Michelle Ragougan
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
200g pancetta, diced
500g lamb mince
⅓ cup marsala
salt and pepper, to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g green lentils
200ml beef stock. You could use chicken, but the bird and land combo makes me anxious. Like the thought of Flick and Shonee carrying the Fourth Place Robbed Goddess flag alone
125g red leicester cheese, grated

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, or until soft and sweet. Add the pancetta and cook for a further five minutes before adding the lamb mince and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned.

Crank the heat to high and add the marsala and a good whack of pepper – and salt, if ya like it salty – stir while it bubbles like crazy before adding the tomatoes, lentils and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for half an hour, or until the sauce has thickened up.

Serve immediately, cover in a generous heap of cheese and devour. Knowing that eating you feelings is the only appropriate way to work through your pain.

 

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Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles awaiting my dear Sarah Ayles to eat while I rant about Andy surviving.

Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles

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

Previously on Australian Survivor Jonathan threw a spanner in all of the works, forcing everyone to drop their buffs – sadly not John’s speedos, though – and switched up the tribes. The three Champion women lucked out and stayed strong together in a Champ majority on the new Contenders tribe, while David and Luke were royally screwed as the only OG Champs remaining on the Champions tribe. Oh and Daisy and Shaun’s alliance was also split up, though that only became relevant after the new Champions continued in the tradition and lost immunity. You see Shaun had told Andy about his idol, who then spread the information to the rest of the Contenders on the Champions tribe, with Daisy overhearing and deciding that he is no longer to be trusted. With that, she approached  John and Baden to flip to David and Luke with her and blindside Sam – who never got a freaking confessional – which they did, leaving the OG Champs alive for another episode with an idol in each of their pockets.

We opened up with at the new Contenders tribe where Abbey, Ross and Pia were still lamenting the downgrade of facilities from what they were useful at Camp Champ. While the girls struggled in the squalor, sweet angel Ross tried to find the bright side and honestly he is too pure for this world. I just get the goofiest grin whenever he is on screen and I hope he knows how much I appreciate him.The tribe sat around bonding and downing coconuts, while Janine was thrilled to have the majority on her new tribe. Though was struggling big time when it came to remembering Casey’s name. Or was it Cassie. Talk then legit turned to eating Harry, despite his fake child at home. Pia’s serving suggestion was to turn him into a kebab. Harry then vowed that he will be taking control of the tribe and was thrilled that Luke or David likely went home at last night’s tribal.

Speaking of the new Champions tribe, Andy – who looks more like Sonic the Hedgehog than the original movie version that they’re currently fixing – was still shell-shocked by the blindside while David was thrilled to have found his way into the new majority so quickly, thanks to Daisy’s vendetta against Sam. Desperate Andy approached David to pretend that he was trying to protect David at the last tribal and honestly, the desperation reeks of insincerity and I need him out ASAP. And if that performance keeps up, I think I’ll get my wish. Sarah too was seething after the previous vote, so approached Hannah to float the idea of wooing Baden back to their side to get rid of Daisy in a revenge plot which sadly seems shortsighted given the Contenders early domination. Shortsighted but good TV.

Jonathan summoned the tribes to a rolling river where the Contenders were shocked to find Sam was booted the night before, none more so than Harry who had just felt confident enough to get arrogant. But back to the challenge where someone from each tribe who swim against the flowing river, with the last person staying in the marked zone winning a point for the tribe. First to three winning a Survivor cafe experience, so everyone was as thrilled as I was given swimming calls for speedos. Once again Luke and Matt faced off against each other, with Matt making quick work of Luke. Again. Leading to even more arrogance from Matt. Ross and Baden went next and despite starting strong, poor Baden wasn’t a chance against the surfing champ. Janine got out strong against Andy, until the current washed her away and Andy – urgh – got the Champions on the board. Abbey and Daisy proved an interesting match up, with both women working hard as Daisy drifted into Abbey’s lane and Abbey almost wiped Daisy off the course before ultimately, Daisy won the point and tied things up. The final match-up between Hannah and Casey was far less interesting, as Hannah washed right out of the field giving Casey the point and handing victory to the new Contenders.

The Contenders arrived at their cafe reward where Shaun was thrilled to finally take out a reward, Casey got her first confessional and Matt was struggling to understand why he wasn’t miserable. While everyone was frothing over the food, King Ross smashed four coffees and quickly started to lose his mind before having a power spew and coming back for seconds. Harry meanwhile wasn’t so thrilled and couldn’t move past the fact that Sam was voted out, while Abbey and Janine quickly got all of the information out of Harry and Casey, finding out Sam and Daisy didn’t get along, meaning Harry likely won’t work with Daisy or her ally Shaun. While Harry desperately tried to make in rounds with the former Champs, he didn’t look to be having much luck and felt on the outs with his new closest ally Casey. The latter however had other plans, leaving him for dead and buddying up to Janine, Pia and Abbey to try and save herself while Harry wandered around until he found the damn idol.

And while it is exciting for him, I just want to know what happened to his eye and if it is what happened to Benji’s last year as it looks angry.

Jonathan returned for the immunity challenge where two people from each tribe would be placed in chambers while their remaining tribemates would race over balance beams to collect buckets of water from the ocean to fill up the other tribe’s chambers. Given poor Sarah can’t catch a break, she was submerged in one of the Champion chambers with Hannan in the other while Casey and Pia were the potential drowning victims for the Contenders. It is pretty hard to tell who is leading at any given moment, so let’s focus on the fact Hannah seems super fun and entertaining and I hate that she is the last person remaining without a confessional. Pia was the first to be completely submerged, followed closely by Hannah while the two desperately tried to keep their noses above water before Hannah and Pia dropped out one after the other, leaving Casey and Sarah to battle it out. Tragically Sarah fought valiantly however it wasn’t enough as the Contenders kept a steady flow of water going into her bath forcing her to bow out, handing victory to the Contenders.

Back at camp the Champions assured each other that they did all that they could at the challenge before Andy tried to find a way to live to see another day. He then approached David as, to quote him, David is smart for a model and he himself is scary smart, so he thinks they will make good allies. Sadly for Andy, David could see through all of his lies though given he holds the power, he doesn’t really mind. Yet. He rallied his allies and suggested they get rid of Sarah, given she isn’t as agile as Hannah with everyone jumping on the plan quickly. Andy left the group and approached Sarah to see what she was thinking, with Sarah suggesting going to the top of the totem pole and get rid of Daisy. Andy then ran back to the shelter, lay next to Daisy and told her what Sarah and Hannah were planning, filling the icon with rage.

Sarah then wandered over to Baden and Luke at the well, telling them that Andy threw her under the bus before David and Hannah joined them. Sarah asked David what his plans were, with him admitting that he was going to vote her out … though would happily turn on Andy instead. David then said Andy was playing so badly he was planting landmines, forgetting where they were and then blowing himself off all up the beach and I LIVE. Daisy and Sarah then caught up with Daisy suggesting that she would be willing to get rid of Andy instead. The only certainty as they headed off to tribal council, is that once again David and Luke are safe and their two idols will remain in the pockets for another episode.

At tribal council Andy tried to downplay how shocked he was by Sam’s blindside before Jonathan congratulated David on surviving the insurmountable odds. David downplayed the OG tribes, reminding everyone it is a new game and they are one unit. Sarah admitted that the lines were well and truly blurred, while Daisy reminded them it is eat or be eaten. Hannah admitted it is too hard to trust anyone in a long term way, while Sarah alluded to Andy continuing to play the middle and Luke blurted out that there was some madness back at camp. Andy tried to be coy about the situation, where he shoved his hole leg in his mouth which everyone was aware of, before Sarah verbalised that she is the one that walked up on Andy’s dick move with the Sonic impersonator getting more and more nervous. Wait, no, cocky, as his fuck-up is only an issue for Sarah. John told everyone to pull their heads in, Andy spoke about the importance of trust – much to John’s disgust – while Sarah sounded defeated, warning them to all keep one eye open.

With that the tribe voted and despite me crossing everything in my body, praying to a wide range of deities and promising not to cuss anyone out tomorrow for asking stupid questions, it was my dear Sarah who was booted from the game as low-rent Sonic sped to smug another day.

Once again, I was a giant ball of rage as Sarah entered Loser Lodge and fearing that I was on the brim of freaking out, she took me in her arms and told me to breath through the pain. She assured me she was proud of the game she played, and glad to prove herself and while I fought back tears thinking of all the ways the game has tried to bring up memories of the tsunami for her and the fake that yet another woman was booted over a smug, beige male, I realised that all we needed – Sarah, I and the world at large – was a big comforting Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles to dull the pain.

 

Sarah Ayles joyfully eating Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles while I rant about Andy surviving.

 

Thankfully this rich casserole is glorious enough to wipe away some of the pain of seeing this icon leave the game. Earthy lamb, the tang of ale and the sharpness of some gruyere work together in perfect harmony to honour the ultimate survivor of this season who deserved so much better. #Justice4Sarah

Enjoy!

 

Sarah Ayles joyfully eating Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles while I rant about Andy surviving.

 

Lamb Cassarahole & Ayles
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1.5kg lamb shoulder, diced
2 tbsp flour
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp tomato paste
345ml bottle ale
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 baguette, sliced
100g gruyere cheese, grated
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to serve

Method
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a dutch oven and sweat the onion, garlic, celery and carrot for five minutes, or until your kitchen is hella fragranced. Add the lamb and cook for a further five minutes or so before adding the flour and cooking off for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, mustard, tomato paste, ale, stock, bay leaves, muscovado sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, and a good whack of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Once the casserole is thick and gloopy, top with the baguette and all of the cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until the cheese is golden and glorious.

Sprinkle with parsley, serve and devour.

 


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Shane Goulash

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders (2018), Main, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, 23 Aussies and 1 three-time American loser were marooned in the lush jungles of Fiji for the non-biblical battle between top dogs and underdogs. Despite getting out to a strong start in the opening challenge, the Contenders were first to suffer a loss with Matt giving an extremely patronising speech at tribal leading to him becoming the first boot. He was followed out of the game by self-appointed King Russell Hantz, Damien, Steve K, Jenna – yep, doing this – Moana, Anita, Zach, Paige, Jackie, Tegan and Heath.

In honour of the Spicys, two became one and the tribes merged, leading to the downfalls of Lydia, Robbie, Sam, Mat, Benji, Steve, Fenella, Monika, Shonee and Brian before Shane defeated Sharn the prosecutor in front of the jury.

Despite being fairly low down the totem pole early in the season, Shane managed to find her way into the main alliance and make it to the merge where she truly flourished, while not being able to be fucked with. From finding idols, to dominating around camp, spying for allies, fostering critical bonds, orchestrating pivotal blindsides and being a damn boss, Shane managed to defy expectations for the older female archetype and played, arguably, the showiest game of our three victors.

And prove that Shane Gould will always be a champion. Obvi one that is never to be fucked with.

The only fear I have about Shane’s victory, is that we’re going to have to suffer through Dawn Fraser next season and let’s be honest, Dawn is no Shane. And I don’t want to fuck(ing deal) with Dawn Fraser.

After giving a rousing toast as she left the island, I raised her arm in triumph and congratulated her with a big, hearty, piping-bloody-hot and victorious Shane Goulash. Huzzah for Shane Gould, iconic, Queen of Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders.

 

 

Packing a powerful paprika punch, this goulash is the perfect thing to renew your energy after 50 days starving on an island. Rich hunks of beef melt in your mouth, while the spicy sauce is like a warm hug. Throw in some mash, and you’re in heaven like Shonella smashing margs or Benji doing whatever he does to a plate of nachos.

Enjoy!

 

 

Shane Goulash
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1kg chuck steak, cut into large cubes
3 onions, quartered
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 of each red, yellow and green capsicums, cored, seeded and cut into chunks
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp tomato paste
400g canned diced tomatoes
1L beef stock

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Heat a lug of oil in a large dutch oven and season the beef with a whack of salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pan in a couple of batches and cook until sealed. Remove from the pan, reduce heat to low and cook the onions for ten minutes or so, or until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and sweat for a minute.

Bring the heat back to medium and return the beef to the pan with any leaky juices with the three paprikas and the three capsicums and cook for a minute or so. Add the paste and bay leaves, stirring until well combined. Add the tomatoes and stock, stir and bring to a simmer.

Remove from the heat, chuck the lid on the dutch oven and transfer to the oven to cook for 2.5-3 hours, or until tender and your house smells like it is not to be fucked with. Like Shane Gould.

Serve with a shit tonne of Gabriel Mash, sour cream and chives. Then devour, like the ultimate champ that you are.

 

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Aubry Bracco Vin

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

Previously on Survivor, advantagemageddon occurred meaning five of the six people were immune, eliminating kween Cirie by default.

She better be the first – and only – five time player.

Not wanting to remind us of another painful Cirie exit, Probst returned for the second immunity of the night – the classic dropping balls, balancing them on your hard rods and guiding them through tight holes. Aubry and Troyzan struggled dearly while Brad and Sarah took an early lead. Sarah choked at the last minute of the first run, giving Brad a clear outright lead … from which no one else could catch-up, giving him his fourth individual immunity of the season.

With Brad immune, Aubry was particularly scared given he has zero interest in ever working with her. Confirming her fears, Brad felt victory was in sight and quickly locked in the Aubry vote with Troyzan and Brad.

Aubry tried to work over Tai and Sarah, knowing that Brad was dragging Troyzan to the end as a goat no matter what. Sarah pulled Tai aside to see whether she could trust him again, trepidatiously asking what they should do … with even Tai locking in the vote against Aubry.

Tai then joined Brad in the hammock, where Brad continued to bully him saying that he had no choice and had to vote with him no matter what for the rest of the game. This spooked Tai, who returned to Sarah and confirmed that they should get of Brad’s right hand Troyzan.

We returned to tribal to be reminded that Cirie was eliminated by default, breaking hearts globally.

Probst got his man-boner out to gush over Brad’s immunity run, with Troyzan hopefully he could snag a win the next time. As expected, Aubry wasn’t feeling confident … but boy did she try to convince Sarah and Tai to boot Troyzan and free up another seat at the final tribal. Sarah tellingly said that Aubry’s pitch was great, if that is what is best for all of them. Everyone but Troyzan was feeling concerned about who they could beat in the final, which is crazy since he is the least likely to win. Sadly Aubry’s pitch fell on deaf ears – or at least ones that didn’t have interests that align with hers – as she found herself booted from the game in fifth place.

Hey – at least she actually got votes before getting her torch snuffed, I guess?

As you know, Aubs and I attended Brown with Summer Roberts, and the three off us have been the best of friends ever since. Thankfully this post-boot catch-up was less heartbreaking than our last, given that she was robbed the last time and this one I’m surprised she stayed as long as she did with as large (and as recent) a target as she did.

I’m even more thankful that Aubs is so easily pleased by any food on offer – coleslaw, anyone – because it means that she completely goes nuts on our dates, particularly if it means she gets Aubry Braccos Vin.

 

 

Straight up, there is bacon, chicken, mushroom and red wine – do you need me to say anything more?

Yes? Go fuck yourself. Sorry, that’s aggressive. But kinda deserved.

No? Exactly – enjoy.

 

 

Aubry Bracco Vin
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250g smoked streaky bacon, roughly diced
olive oil
2kg chicken breasts, cut into a large dice
¼ cup Cognac
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
3-4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
6 onions, sliced
3 tbsp flour
2 cups Côtes du Rhône ( … or any red wine, though how good are all those accents?)
2 cups chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
400g mushrooms, quartered

Method
Start by heating a lug of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and cook for a further ten minutes, or until sealed on the outside. Add the Cognac, let it bubble up and stir for a few minutes. You could light the cognac and let it burn off the alcohol, but I’m scared of fire and would totally lose the final four tie-breaker.

Add a good whack of salt and pepper, the bay leaf, thyme and onions, stir and cook for a further fifteen minutes. Sprinkle in the flour while stirring and cook for a minute or so before adding the wine, stock, garlic and tomato paste to the pan. Bring pot to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about half an hour, stirring as you see fit.

Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for a further fifteen minutes, or until soft and glorious.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately on a bed of mashed potatoes, or with thick chunks of crusty bread.

 

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Stew Hwang

Main, Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance

When Woo Hwang was selected for a second chance, I was skeptical. He  made undeniably one of the worst final two picks in Survivor history, costing himself the million dollar win. Tony Vlachos, the winner of the season, was also massively unlikeable. So what does that say about our friend Woo? Nothing good, I’m afraid.

Naturally, watching Woo’s BvBvB failure was not the first time we’d crossed paths. Woo was auditioning with Ben and I for a lifetime backed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles telemovie. While Ben was flaunting his assets for the role of April, Woo was gunning for Leonardo. In a massive twist of fate, the casting agent was so impressed with Woo he snagged the role of April AND Splinter (Ben’s second choice) right out from underneath him. As you can imagine, there is a very long suffering grudge between the two.

To see Woo fail was massively rewarding in his first season, but I was really gunning for him in Cambodia. Despite not being one of my personal returnee choices, he seemed to really grow a backbone out there, even at the risk of copping an Abi-Maria coconut to the head.

How can we best comfort Woo for being voted out too soon?

 

IMG_6401

 

The Stew Hwang is the ultimate in sweet spicy comfort food. Slow cooked to tender perfection and served by the generous bowlful, this is the perfect non-alcoholic way to drown your sorrows.

 

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Stew Hwang
Serves: 8

Ingredients
1kg lean topside of beef, diced into 1-inch cubes
100g streaky bacon or lardons, roughly chopped
1 large brown onion, diced
4 small cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups red wine
3/4 cup plum jam
2 tablespoons minced chilli
2 400g cans diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
4 sprigs rosemary

Method
Preheat oven to 140°C. In a large cast iron Dutch oven, brown diced beef in batches and set aside.

In the same pan, brown lardons and onion until soft and aromatic. Add garlic and red wine and allow to simmer for five minutes or until liquid is reduced by a third.

Add jam, tomatoes, stock, chilli and rosemary. Cover with tight fitting lid and bake in oven for up to four hours, stirring hourly, until meat is very tender. Cook for final 30 minutes uncovered so sauce can reduce.

Serve with warm toasted bread or mashed potatoes.

 

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