Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji to start the (shortened) adventure of a lifetime. After losing back to back – or it is Baka to Baka – challenges, Baka went to tribal and tragically booted sweet Morriah from the competition. That departure set off a chain reaction of females getting targeted, with Justine, Nneka and Lindsay all following her out the door.
After a brief reprieve to blindside Geo from the game, the three tribes were dissolved and we entered the earn-the-merge phase of the game. Gabler led the charge against his nemesis Elie, booting her from the game before the Gaia tribe was formed. At that point Dwight was blindsided, seemingly with Jeanine’s idol in his pocket before Jeanine was booted to become the Queen of the Jury. In a split tribal council James and Ryan were booted back-to-back before Noelle proved too great a threat to leave in the game, before Sami’s double dealing saw him joining the jury right behind her.
At the final six things got feisty as Jesse pulled out Cody’s idol and played it on Owen to spook Karla into playing hers, allowing the tribe to blindside Cody from the game in a brutal fashion. That left Karla in danger at final five after Jesse played Jeanine’s idol to save himself, sending Queen Karla to the jury. Tragically that was as far as Jesse’s journey went though, as Cassidy took out final immunity, pulled Owen to the end with her and left Gabler to eliminate the biggest threat in the fire challenge.
The jury grilled the final three to figure out who they felt was most deserving of the win and while they each argued compelling cases, it was clear they were vibing with Gabler’s charming answers. Which ultimately left Owen finishing in third place and Cassidy as a very capable runner-up.
Thankfully despite sharing his plans to donate the entire prize to charity with us earlier in the episode, Gabler kept it a surprise to the jury meaning people couldn’t use it as a way to invalidate his win. As Gabler clearly articulated throughout the season, he played a stealth game, popping up to take out his rivals when needed and dropping back down to hide when he didn’t need to make a play. And while that isn’t always exciting to watch, it is effective and add in the fact he is a fun character, he makes a worthy entrant in the winner’s circle.
Plus the way he donated the prize to Veterans in Need in his fathers name had me crying. By the time he sweetly dedicated the win to everyone in the cast and how they all gave him something to learn and grow from, which is what compelled him to give back, I was a blubbering mess as I toasted his victory with a piping out tray of Mike Gabler Cheese Balls.
Gloriously gooey mac and cheese formed into perfect balls, chilled, coated and fried until crunchy, these are the perfect dish for providing you with culinary comfort or to mark a hard fought victory.
Mike Gabler Cheese Balls Serves: 6.
Ingredients 500g macaroni pasta ¼ cup butter 2 ¼ cups flour 3 cups milk 1 cup cream 2 tbsp dijon mustard 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated ⅔ cup gruyere cheese, grated ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated salt and pepper, to taste 3 eggs, whisked 2 cups panko breadcrumbs vegetable oil, for fryin’
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook macaroni according to packet directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour to make a roux. Remove from the heat and whisk in milk, cream and mustard before returning to the heat and simmering until thickened. Add ¾ of each of the cheeses and season to taste. Pour into a lined baking sheet and allow to cool before covering and popping in the fridge for an hour or two to firm up.
When you’re ready to go, take ¼ cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Roll each in the remaining flour, followed by the whisked egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
Pop about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and once scorching, fry each ball for about five minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove to drain on some paper towel before repeating the process until done. Then devour, greedily.
Previously on Survivor after Jesse was felled and sent to the jury by Gabler, the final three awoke on Day 26 and toasted making it to the end. They then obviously pivoted to talking through their strategies when facing the jury before taking their places at the final tribal council. While the jury assured them all their votes were up for grabs, Gabler appeared to be playing into what they wanted to hear and charmed them more and more with each answer. On the flipside, Cassidy’s strong game was called into question by the jury while Owen was ignored for having zero sway over the direction of the season. Which was enough to land him as the second runner-up.
While poor Cassidy scored a sole vote from her ally James, leaving her shocked to finish as the runner-up behind Gabler. Who turned out to really play like the Ali-gabler.
As Probst and Co continued to reset, I pulled Cassidy in for a massive hug and immediately broke down in tears, devastated to have not had another iconic young, pretty, crafty winner join the club. Despite absolutely dominating the season and pulling off a revenge arc third only to Shonee and Arya Stark, the jury weren’t convinced that she was their winner and tragically shut her out of the vote despite her bestie James.
Thankfully despite her disappointment at the outcome, Cass assured me that she truly is proud of herself for all that she achieved throughout the season and for now being her own inspiration and to all the young fans out there. Which was well and truly enough to get us in the festive spirit to toast her success with a hearty, comforting Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche.
The light eggy ricotta melds perfectly with the sweetness of the veggies to give you a quiche so jam-packed full of flavour, even the most ardent of bacon lovers won’t be able to argue against.
Pumpkin and Zuccassidy Cluiche Serves: 8.
Ingredients olive oil 1 onion, diced 2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and halved 1 sweet potato, diced 1 cup butternut pumpkin, diced 2 sheets shortcrust pastry 8 eggs ¾ cup heavy cream 1 cup ricotta cheese salt and pepper, to season ½ cup vintage cheddar, grated tomato relish, to serve
Method Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Pop a lug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions until soft and sweet. About five minutes or so. Place the zucchini, sweet potato and butternut on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil and pop them in the oven to roast for about half an hour or until golden. Remove both from the heat to rest.
Cut each pastry sheet in quarters and press into individual pie dishes. Prick the bases with a fork, line with some baking sheet and fill with pastry weights and blind bake for 10 minutes before removing the pastry weights and cooking for a further couple of minutes to brown.
Whisk the eggs, cream and ricotta in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the onion into the prepared dishes, followed by the sweet potato and pumpkin and finally the zucchini. Add in the cheesy egg mixture and sprinkle with a little bit of the cheddar. Transfer the dishes to a baking sheet and pop in the oven to bake for half an hour, or until golden and set.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before slathering with some tomato relish and devouring through the disappointment.
Previously on Survivor the final four faced off in a massive final immunity challenge and while I’d love to say it was a hard fought four way battle, it really only came down to three. And then two, after Gabler faded away like Jesse and left Owen and Cassidy to fight it out for the final immunity of the season. After a late breaking drop from Owen, Cassidy earned her place in final tribal council and attention quickly turned to who would be the smartest person to potentially knock out Jesse in the fire making challenge. While both Owen and Gabler wanted the glory, Cassidy knew victory could give one of them the upper hand and as such, deemed Gabler the lesser threat to her victory, sending him in to the challenge to thankfully – for the rest of them, duh – eliminate the biggest threat of the season, Jesse.
The final three awoke on – shudders – Day 26, surprised to have made it all the way to the end. Owen was thrilled to just not have to worry about Probst snuffing his torch, while Cassidy was focused on prepping a compelling speech. Owen was nervous about what the jury wanted from their winner, though was glad to articulate how he managed to navigate the game as the underdog. Gabler was proud of how hard he worked to make it to the end and was hopeful his first votes of the season would be those needed to win. Cassidy meanwhile admitted she is living out her dream to have made it to the end, and was just hopeful she would be able to prove that she has been the dark horse all season and managed to get rid of everyone that came for her.
We pivoted to the final tribal council after some telling remarks from the jury, before Jesse kicked things off praising the trio on playing strong games, though reminded them they have to answer some tough questions honestly and with, dare he say it, fire. Noelle asked each how their games differed with Gabler articulating he focused on building trust and had so many alliances, he always had options to move forward. And it worked, given nobody has ever voted against him. Cassidy focused on the fact that she always knew who was going home before it happened and she built the right bonds at the right time to navigate to the end. Particularly since women were aggressively targeted pre-merge. Owen meanwhile opened up about how he had high hopes for the game as a super fan, though it all came crumbling down from the first tribal council and he has been fighting on the bottom since then And he has fought, every, damn, night.
James asked Owen if he ever put his neck on the line for an ally, which led to Noelle piping up and pointing out that he did the night he trusted her to use the Steal a Vote to get rid of James. Gabler spoke about bag gate with Jeanine copping to the fact she definitely went through the bag. He explained Elie painted a target on his back going out, but he expertly went back under the radar. Karla asked Cassidy what pre-merge move she did to propel her to the point, explaining trusting in James and Karla when they flipped on Lindsay was the biggest move. Gabler spoke about ducking back under water after Elie painted a target on his back was the biggest move, while Cassidy admitted she kept a mental list of everyone that came for her and as such, used her bonds to systematically eliminate them.
Jeanine pointed out that Cassidy’s core alliance was clear though asked the boys to explain theirs with Owen admitting to being close with Noelle, Cody and Jesse. Gabler spoke about how he had a bunch of alliances and while he tried to say he was only close with Jesse and Cody, which Sami called bullshit on. When he mentioned nobody had voted for him, Cassidy countered that maybe that is because nobody viewed him as a threat. And while Noelle and Jesse tried to defend him, it felt like a blow. Ryan turned talk to immunity wins with Cassidy surprised she won so many, particularly the final one, while Noelle admitted to being a Paralympian and assured her she should be proud of herself. Proud of herself, but wondered why she didn’t go to fire to prove herself. Which fired up Cassidy who felt that she played such a strong game that she didn’t need it and the most important thing was to take Owen with her to weaken him and take away the potential of him having another way to show he was an underdog.
Karla jumped in and asked how they all fought until they couldn’t go any longer. Owen opened up about the tragedy of Karla snatching the final advantage out from under him, though admitted the loss fired him up enough to take out that win. James jumped in and questioned how he felt about how he handled himself while on the bottom, with Owen wisely admitting that he wishes they never fought. Which lol, jurors, stop with those sorts of questions as they look petty. Queen Karla then asked them to point out their worst moves with Gabler worried about putting him neck on the line, Cassidy opening up about regretting how they spoke to each other before she was voted out while Owen felt he had a plethora of mistakes, though he doesn’t regret getting bamboozled since it carried him to the final tribal council.
Jesse then opened up about having a PHD in voting behaviours, asking them to articulate when they drove a vote their way. Gabler identified the Elie vote post-merge as his biggest move, while Cassidy turning people on Ryan was her move. Sadly for her, Ryan pointed out that wasn’t the case and the boys had been planning his demise beforehand. While Owen straight up admitted that he never drove any votes as he never had any sway or power in the game.
With that the jury voted and with a single vote to Cassidy’s name, the rest piled up and handed Gabler victory. Much to the absolute shock of Cassidy and Owen. And TBH, me. As Probst and Co. reset for the insta-reunion, I pulled Owen aside and into a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game with the hand he was dealt and as such, should be super proud of all that he achieved. Plus, he had a killer mane of long, luscious hair and as such, is my new go-to for inspo when I go for my blow out. Which was enough to distract from the fact I am the reason he had such a shitty hand, given I cursed him pre-season by lining up a delicious Pepperowen Knight Pizza.
Rich and spicy, there is nothing better than a simple pepperoni pizza. I mean, it is just bread, tomato, pepperoni and cheese, but that combination is powerful enough to solve all the world’s problems. And warm your heart.
Pepperowen Knight Pizza Serves: 1 losing finalist and his curse-enacting bestie.
Ingredients 2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor ⅓ cup passata oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste 200g pepperoni mozzarella, to taste
Method Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions and preheat the oven to 180°C.
Smear passata over the prepared bases, sprinkle with the herbs, followed by the pepperoni before topping, generously, with mozzarella.
Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Serve and devour immediately, eating through the pain.
Previously on Survivor the final five settled into their new beach before facing off in earning an advantage in and then competing in the latest immunity challenge. While Karla managed to jag herself the upper hand it was Owen who took out the win, meaning the target was firmly placed on both her and Jesse’s back as the two biggest jury threats left in the game. As the rest of the tribe tried to figure out who was the better option, they floated the idea of painting a target on Gabler and Cassidy’s backs instead. At tribal council Jesse made a show of playing Jeanine’s long-lost idol for himself and while Karla worked tirelessly to make someone else a target, the rest of the crew rightly banded together to send her out of the game in fifth place.
We followed the final four as they met up with Probst for the final immunity challenge of the season where they would race to move a bowl using tongs through a spring maze and balance it on the top of the structure. First to build their tower, winning immunity and deciding who would be sitting next to them at the final tribal council. Cassidy obviously got out to the earliest of leads as Gabler and Owen nipped at her heels. As Gabler took the lead, his tower started to wobble in the breeze due to it being off centre, with it dropping down to three bowls and handing the joint lead to Cassidy and Owen. The duo picked up the pace to pull ahead before Owen dropped a single bowl, twice, eventually knocking his stack and giving Cassidy plenty of breathing room to land her final bowl and snatch final immunity.
Proving the fact that when one Queen falls, another rises. All hail Queen Cassidy.
While the boys were heartbroken to lose the challenge, Cassidy was so proud to be living her dream and hopefully be an inspiration to little girls like those that came before her were for her. Oh and she tellingly suggested this could be a million dollar necklace, soooo, she is taking Owen and hoping Gabler will eliminate Jesse in the fire challenge, right?
Back at camp attention immediately turned to who would be better to take on Jesse in the fire challenge. Owen felt taking him on would be best for his game, while Gabler was fairly confident he would be better at it. Well, I assume. Owen admitted to us that he was feeling defeated by the game but desperately practised and after getting a roaring fire, immediately went to Cassidy to assure her that he can easily beat Jesse. Speaking of Jesse, he was well and truly terrified about his chances given he can’t really make fire. Bless him though, he knew his only shot at winning the fire challenge was to face off against Cassidy so he approached her to suggest that the only way she has a shot at winning is to eliminate him.
Which she obviously saw right through.
Jesse broke down in confessionals, knowing his time is seeing more and more likely to come to an end, disappointed to not be able to win a challenge – and the money – for his kids. Cassidy approached Gabler to check in with him before straight up auditioning him in fire making, though sadly, it didn’t appear to be going very well. Gabler then opened up to us in confessional that he plans to donate the entire prize to charity should he win and damn, that would be a wild flex and I love it. Oh and poor Cassidy continued to debate who would have the better shot at taking out Jesse, and not just that, who would take him out but also wouldn’t be able to use the challenge win to push them over the line to victory.
At tribal council Cassidy spoke about how proud she is to have taken out the most important win of the season, flexing that this is also her third immunity win, equalling the most for the season. She opened up about being the most popular person in camp and how it is also a burden, given if she makes the wrong move, it could cost her. Jesse pointed out he suggested she should face off against him to win in fire, with her calmly articulating that she is confident in the game she played and as such, didn’t need it to prove anything further. With it clear Jesse would be making fire, both Gabler and Owen agreed they wanted to be the one to earn their spot at tribal council. Which Cassidy said was all well and good, but the only thing she cares about is making the decision which is best for her game. With that, she took Owen through to the final tribal council, leaving Gabler to be their potential saviour against Jesse.
The duo took their places at the fire making stations and got to work building their stacks. Gabler quickly got a small flame which quickly grew as Jesse got his going. Gabler methodically added sticks and nurtured his flame while Jesse’s whimpered out. Gabler’s continued to grow as Jesse got another flame which continued to grow, though tragically it wasn’t enough as Gabler earnt the third spot at fire making challenge – in a record breaking amount of time. Poor Jesse, the jury and us at home were heartbroken by the loss as Jesse fought back tears, sharing with Probst that he feels like he disappointed his family by coming this close and losing. Gabler sweetly assured him that they would all be so proud of him as he continued to cry about how disappointing it was for the money to slip through his fingers. Cassidy jumped in and assured him that he was only targeted because he was unbeatable and ugh, I too am now crying. Particularly as the jury applauded him as his torch was snuffed.
He was obviously gutted to come so close to victory as he arrived at Ponderosa, but I pulled him in for a massive hug and assured him that he will go down as one of the great players. And like Karla, is guaranteed another shot at the title (though given he is such a threat, winning may prove even more difficult). As such, he was quickly perked up as we toasted his killer run with a big fat Jesse Picolopez Cone.
Piccolo cones are fast becoming my jam. Small enough to not feel guilty, big enough to fill you with joy. Add in the fact these babies are full of flavour and you’ve got a snack you’ll keep going back to.
Jesse Piccolopez Cone Serves: 1 robbed goddess and his unwavering cheerleader.
Ingredients 1 batch Cookara & Kayream Ice Cream 24 mini waffle cones, store bought because duh 200g white chocolate 1 cup crushed oreos
Method Whip up the ice cream as per star of Season 2 of The White Lotus Kara Kay’s recipe and transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the cones before transferring to the freezer to set for a couple of hours. If you don’t have something to sit the cones upright in, simply semi-freeze the ice cream first and then fill the cones when it is firm.
While the cones are setting, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Dip each ice cream in the chocolate, sprinkle with some crushed oreos and return to the freezer to set for half an hour.
Previously on Survivor the top six faced off for reward where Owen led himself, Karla and Cody to victory for a much needed pep in the form of coffee and pastries. Sadly for them, while enjoying said spoils, the losers were back at camp where Gabler was calmly pointing out both Cassidy and Jesse need to take out their closest allies if they want a shot at winning. After Cassidy took out immunity, it became a battle for the duo to make their allies the target. The initial plan revolved around getting Karla out by lulling her into holding on to her idol, though eventually it landed on Jesse playing Cody’s idol to spook Karla into burning hers while everyone else blindsided Cody himself. Which happened and was oh so brutal. But oh so glorious to watch.
The next day Jesse was still thrilled that his plan went perfectly, blindsiding Cody and flushing Karla’s idol in a delightful show for the jury. That being said, he and the rest of the final five awoke on a new beach and had to start everything from scratch and well, that is just exhausting. So win some and lose some, I guess. Gabler was confident in his chances of taking out the win given he has been hiding in plain sight all season. Owen was shocked to have made it to the end, despite starting on the absolute bottom and being blindsided over and over. Jesse knew he now had a massive target on his back, while Cassidy was proud of having voted perfectly all game, though knew that she needed a big move to take out victory. While Karla was just grateful to still be alive given her body is straight up shutting down. But trust, our Queen is ready to FIGHT.
As the final five hunted for food in the jungle, they stumbled upon a clue each for the final advantage. They would have to unscramble words for directions to the phrase, with Cassidy just focused on making sure that Karla is not the one to get it given booting her will be her big move. Jesse meanwhile knew nobody intended to take him to the end and as such, was just as desperate. Despite Owen whipping through the phrase, Karla was the first to solve it and ran off to find it. Sadly for her, he ended up hot on her trail and overtook her as she limped to the rocks, before realising it had to be hidden in a tree. As the other trio struggled with the phrase, Karla and Owen hunted through trees with Queen Karla snatching it just ahead of Owen. Like, by a matter of centimetres.
Which obviously pissed him off. Karla meanwhile was obviously giddy as she learnt that the advantage would give her a leg up in the next immunity challenge. And given she is so beat up, this is an advantage she truly needs.
Right on cue Jeffrey appeared for said immunity challenge where the final five would race a buoy through a series of obstacles before walking blocks over a balance beam between two rods and then solve a word puzzle. Oh and in addition to immunity, they would get an epic steak reward. And since Karla won the advantage, she would only have to carry two thirds of her blocks to the puzzle table which is arguably a huge advantage, not a slight one. Everyone was neck and neck with the buoy, with Jesse slowly falling out of the challenge. Owen took a slight lead as the girls nipped at his heels as Jesse worked to close the gap. The balance beam proved to be the great equaliser, making Karla’s advantage all the more powerful as everyone raced to solve the word puzzle. Despite Karla thinking she had the phrase, it proved wrong allowing Owen enough time to step in and jag himself immunity.
As is tradition, Owen was given the power to take someone on reward with him, selecting Cassidy with zero hesitation as the other trio sadly returned to camp. But first, at the Sanctuary Owen and Cassidy were delighted to see a massive plate of food with Owen thrilled to have a guaranteed place in the final four. The duo started to talk through who would be the better person to eliminate tonight, given both Karla and Jesse are major threats, though they couldn’t really land on who was the most important to get out now. Owen felt like Jesse’s move at the previous tribal council made him unbeatable, while Cassidy was concerned about Karla’s ability to talk her way out of trouble. And say, into a million dollars. Plus Cassidy, like Mrs. Loomis, loves some good old fashioned revenge on people coming for her, so Karla would be her preference.
Back at camp Gabler – who the victors felt had no shot at final tribal council – was disappointed that Owen didn’t take him on reward, particularly since he was so damn fatigued. Karla and Jesse meanwhile were busy trying to figure out a way to avoid going out due to their threat levels, with Karla suggesting they loop in Gabler to get rid of Cassidy instead. Sadly for Jesse – or Karla, TBH – Karla actually was coming for Jesse after the Cody move and as such, wanted to lull him into a false sense of security. While Gabler wanted to stick with Cassidy and Owen, given he is fairly confident he would be able to beat them at the final tribal council. Begging the question, is he going to beat them at the final tribal council?
Owen and Cassidy returned to camp with Karla quickly pushing the importance of them banding together to get rid of Jesse first. While Owen was convinced, when it came to Cassidy she fought back as Karla explained how much better a game Jesse has played and how he will destroy her. Oh and then when that didn’t work, she straight up threatened Cassidy with smearing her name to the jury and guaranteeing she doesn’t win. Enraged, Cassidy pulled Jesse aside to tell him that Karla had been throwing his name out all afternoon and while he wanted to stick with the majority, his head told him that Cassidy was a bigger threat in the final immunity challenge. And that could cost him.
At tribal council Jesse spoke about the importance of throwing other people under the bus to reduce their threat level, specifically throwing out Karla’s name. She then pointed out that the last tribal council proves just why everyone needs to get rid of him. He then gagged literally everyone by announcing that none of it matters to him, given he is also immune since he is currently in possession of Jeanine’s idol. After Owen confirmed it looked legit, Karla immediately pivoted to suggesting getting rid of Cassidy and Gabler are also options. Cassidy downplayed it as nothing but a last ditch attempt, until Jesse and Karla got up to talk about another big move they could pull off. Eventually everyone was up and whispering as Karla pretended to not be coming for Cassidy, though when everyone sat back down, she admitted she knew Karla was still coming for her. While Gabler was just confused about which of the plans going around made the most sense.
With that the tribe voted and despite the theatrics of tribal council, Jesse stood firm and played the idol on himself as the tribe banded together to eliminate Queen Karla in fifth place. As she made her way to Ponderosa she was a little disappointed, though mainly just proud of how well she played and how much of a threat she had become. And while that threat level is what cost her, it totally guarantees her a second shot at the game and once I reminded her of that, she was positively joyous. Though maybe she just loves a Karla Cruz Godoy Rogers.
Yeah yeah, a Roy Rogers doesn’t have alcohol but it has all the sugar, which is sometimes better. Sweet cola mixed with joyous cherry-esque – despite the fact grenadine is pomegranate – flavour? Sign. Me. Up.
Karla Cruz Godoy Rogers Serves: 2.
Ingredients 90ml grenadine 600ml cola 2-4 maraschino cherries, to garnish
Method Divide the grenadine between two tall glasses and fill them with ice. Top with cola, stir and then garnish with a cherry or two.
Previously on Survivor Sami was feeling nervous after being left out on the last vote, immediately trying to do damage control with Karla. And despite knowing he couldn’t be trusted, Karla was open to working with him moving forward. With the glimmer of hope, Sami got to work turning Cassidy and Karla against each other. A boat arrived announcing a new mystery clue hidden in the jungle with everyone darting off and walking directly past it multiple times before Cody finally jagged it, allowing him to bet on the next immunity challenge. After Owen and Karla literally outlasted the tide, Probst decreed they were both immune which made Cody also immune, given he bet on Owen. At tribal council Sami’s double dealing finally caught up with him and despite a late-breaking threat to play his Shot in the Dark, the tribe banded together to boot him from the game.
The next day the top six watched the sunrise together, reflecting on Sami exiting as wildly as he played. Owen meanwhile was happy that the plan came together – and that he was in on it, for once – though was annoyed that they weren’t able to embarrass Karla in the process, thanks to her late breaking flip to voting for Sami rather than Cassidy. But don’t despair, he was more than ready to find another way to splinter the girls’ relationship. He pulled Cassidy aside for a walk, talking about how glad he was that she was still in the game given Karla had almost gotten the votes to flip things on her. While she knew she couldn’t completely trust Owen, she didn’t want to be naive and as such got to work figuring out where the truth lay. Cassidy immediately approached Karla and while she assured her that she never brought her name up – when she did – she could tell Cassidy wasn’t believing her. And then straight up turned on the waterworks to guilt her and ugh, it was iconic.
I. Love. Her.
Karla approached Jesse to get him help convince Cassidy she didn’t throw out her name and while he agreed, he instead went and confirmed Karla was coming for her. And just like that, Karla and Cassidy are now gunning for each other. For realsies.
The tribe met up with Probst for a reward challenge in teams of three, where someone would be strapped in a ball to guide two blindfolded players to navigate them through a course to a table maze. And then have to direct the still blindfolded people to solve the maze, with the first trio to finish getting to smash coffee and pastries at the Sanctuary. Aka a gazebo decked out with treats. Owen directed Cody and Karla into the earliest of leads while Cassidy desperately tried to keep Jesse and Gabler hot on their heels. Despite Owen getting his team to the puzzle with a massive lead, both teams managed to be working on the puzzle at the same time and it became a race to the finish with Owen, Karla and Cody winning the reward by a matter of seconds.
We followed the victors to said Sanctuary where they joyously smashed their reward, which instantly made Cody giddy. After dancing off the sugar, talk turned to the game with Karla feeling like she has a massive target on her back. She lied to the boys that she doesn’t even have the idol everyone thinks she does before turning on the tears to help convince them, lamenting how she has had a target on her back all season long. After going for a walk, the boys conferred that they finally think Karla doesn’t have an idol though they agreed that one of Karla or Cassidy has to go. And while Cody would prefer the latter, Owen still thinks Karla is the biggest threat.
Back at camp Gabler was proposing they lock in a final three, highlighting how you can’t really split Jesse and Cody or Cassidy and Karla’s game, and as such, both of them need to axe their allies to take out the win. They started to debate the merits of getting rid of both of them before Cassidy straight up told them about Karla’s idol. The two groups came together with Gabler quickly catching Cody up on the existence of said idol and while he was feeling good about Karla on reward, he is now sure that she needs to go next to ensure he is the only person in the final five with immunity.
The tribe met up with Probst again for the latest immunity challenge where they would race through a series of obstacles to release numbers, which they would then use to release a key, which they then use to unlock puzzle pieces. And then, you guessed it, solve the puzzle! Cody got out to the earliest of leads with Cassidy nipping at his heels. While Jesse was at the end of the pack, he whipped through the numbers and darted out in front. Despite the excitement, everyone made it to the puzzle at the same time – obviously – as Cassidy started to inch out in front as Karla nipped at her heels despite the fact her hands were literally numb and cramping, which is honestly concerning. In any event, she tried to power through but it was all for nought as Cassidy slotted in the final piece just ahead of Cody and snagged herself immunity.
Back at camp Owen and Gabler lamented that Cassidy’s win was the worst case scenario for them, given the fact both Karla and Cody can be protected by their idols. Speaking of which, the duo caught up to admit they each have idols and locked in a plan to bluff about playing them to get people to flip the vote on to Gabler or Owen and then use their idol at the next tribal council. Both Gabler and Owen were fine to vote for the other as Karla locked in Cassidy. Sadly for Karla, Cody caught up with Owen to tell him it is all a ruse to get Karla to not play her idol so they can actually blindside her tonight. Which obviously worked for all the guys.
Except for Jesse, who knew that taking out Karla boosts Cody’s resume and not his.
Jesse pulled Owen aside to let him know that he is actually in possession of Cody’s idol and as such, they can actually use it on Owen to spook Karla into playing her idol, while actually taking out Cody, which essentially moves all the credit on to Jesse. That plan then whipped through camp before Cody and Karla decided to do show and tell with their idols, meaning Jesse was no longer in possession of the idol and all the plans could be thrown into disarray. But trust, Cody is still sure tonight will be the biggest blindside of the season. Which feels ominous. For him.
At tribal council Karla opened up about how her body is completely shutting down and how she is struggling with hunger and exhaustion. Cody meanwhile was bummed that he lost immunity by seconds, while Jesse pointed out that he and Karla are also safe given they have idols and they are going to be playing them tonight. Owen played up how nerve racking it is to know he could go home from just one vote, while Jesse admitted that while Cody and Karla could be bluffing, he feels he doesn’t have any power to call them on it. Cody agreed that he and Karla had spoken about the fact they planned to use their idols to keep going forward and decide who goes home, while one of the few without immunity, Gabler, was still confident he will be here tomorrow. Which lol, of course. Jesse meanwhile was worried about which plan would come together, while Owen admitted that he was just leaning into the school of Sandra and assuring everyone he will vote anyway, as long as he is safe.
Oh and Cody was confident in his plan coming together.
Sadly for him, his was not the plan that came together as the tribe voted and Jesse played Cody’s idol for Owen, which instantly spooked Karla into playing hers while Cody had no way to protect himself. With that votes came in for Owen and Karla before the rest piled up on Cody and blindsided him from the game. Brutally. But entertaining as hell for us, obviously.
While I was living for the epic late-breaking move, I kept my joy to myself and instead focused on how sad I was that poor Cody was the victim. I mean, Cody would have been like a smart, strategic version of Fabio winning which TBH, is something I would have loved to have seen. Which was obviously more than enough to cheer him up post-boot, as I pulled him in for a hug and congratulated him on a game well played with the recipe of the season, a Cody Assenmars Bar.
While I’m always Team Snickers if I have to choose, a large portion of my heart is still dedicated to the Mars Bar. Melt in your mouth, all at once light and rich, this copycat bulks up the ratio of the filling and enhances all the joy. In my not-very-humble opinion.
Cody Assenmars Bar Serves: 12.
Ingredients 2 ¾ cup glucose syrup 3 ½ cups raw caster sugar 1 cup cream ½ cup milk 2 large egg whites 2 tsp vanilla extract ¾ cup water 1 tsp malt extract ½ cup cocoa powder, sifted 800g milk chocolate, melted
Method Kick things off by getting to work on your caramel, combining 1 cup of the glucose syrup, 1 ½ cups of raw caster sugar and the cream and milk in a saucepan over low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and heat without stirring until it reaches 119C. Pour into a lined, heatproof 8x30cm dish and place it into a cold water bath. Leave to rest.
To make the nougat, combine the egg whites, ¼ cup glucose syrup and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer, and the remaining sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan with the water and malt extract. Pop the saucepan over low heat and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 116C. At that point, turn on the stand mixer and whip the whites on high speed. Once the saucepan hits 127C, remove from the heat and add into the whites in a slow, steady stream. Once it is gloriously thick, reduce to medium and add the cocoa powder and a quarter of the chocolate and beat until well combined. Remove and pour over the caramel and allow to cool completely before popping in the freezer to set for a few hours.
To assemble, cut the caramel and nougat into 12 equal bars. Dip each into the chocolate and place on a lined baking sheet to set for a further hour before devouring, gloriously.
Previously on Survivor the tribe competed for an epic overnight reward complete with snacks, a shower, a bed and the added surprise post-challenge of letters from home. Despite Noelle falling behind the pack on the balance beam, she powered through tears and her leg almost falling off to pull off the most epic come from behind win ever seen on Survivor. After taking half the tribe with her for the reward, those left behind started to plot, realising that while she keeps getting knocked down, she always bounces back and finds new allies. And as such, the tribe banded together to blindside Noelle for being too big of a threat to win.
Back at camp Sami was disappointed to be left out of the vote, feeling like his game is going to be difficult to salvage. But bless him, did he try! He tried to pretend that Gabler wrote down Karla’s name at tribal council and then when everyone told him that no, that was not the case, he eventually admitted he did it, but only to try and flush the idol. Gabler meanwhile was busy filling in Owen on what happened, assuring him that he still plans to go to the end with him and has a plan to take out the biggest threat/s – the duo that is Jesse and Cody. And while it sounded great, Owen was still frustrated, given once again he keeps being left out of votes and is essentially the joke of the season.
Which again, is why I would suck at Survivor because I am not this resilient and would totally have this happen to me.
The next day the tribe were feeling a bit more chill as Sami got the fire going, while Cody laughed about not wanting to participate in the fire challenge against him. Which totally means Cody is coming fourth or winning, right? We then had a deep dive with Sami who opened up about how desperately he wants to make his family proud and as such, he would hold his head high and fight. He approached Karla to apologise for voting for her, asking that they move past it and be open to working together. As such, he lied and told her that Cassidy was the first person to float her name and despite the fact she and Karla were solid, she immediately wanted to target her. We then learnt that Karla had told Cassidy about her idol and as such, she decided Sami knowing about its existence made Cass guilty. The girls then caught up, with Cassidy rightly flagging the fact she is nervous about Sami trying to sow distrust between them.
And while she was correct, I’m worried Karla isn’t vibing with her anymore.
We fast-forwarded an entire day when a boat arrived at sunrise advising them all to run into the jungle to find a hidden advantage. So they obviously did as told and immediately went hog wild trying to find the needle in the haystack. Sami literally walked past it multiple times before Cassidy dropped by and missed it too. Gabler then suggested they band together to try and find it war style, this time with Owen and Gabler also missing it. As Jesse, Karla and Cassidy spoke about giving up, Owen stood in front of it alongside Gabler and Sami before Cody straight up leant against the advantage. Before he eventually noticed it, quickly grabbing it off the tree and pocketing it without anyone noticing.
He learnt that to win immunity at the upcoming tribal council, he would simply have to guess who would win the next immunity challenge, the infamous last gasp! Meaning he can either just win the challenge himself, or guess the one least likely to panic as water lapped at their face.
The tribe pivoted to Probst in the ocean where they took their places under the grate in the ocean to wait it out as the tide rapidly made things more difficult. Well, after Probst explained the challenge to everyone but kept the person Cody bet on secret from everyone. Gabler was the first to drop out of the challenge before the swell became too much for Sami and he followed. Jesse was next to drop before Cody fought valiantly for a couple of minutes before ultimately exiting. After two hours of absolute hell, Cassidy exited leaving Karla and Owen to battle it out and well, they were insane. So good at the challenge that after three hours the tide literally started to turn, meaning the challenge would either have to go for another 12 hours or they could both have immunity. Which is obviously the option Probst and Co. went with. While Cody looked on with a big, telling grin.
Back at camp Sami was very nervous about there potentially being three people immune at the upcoming tribal council. As Karla and Owen spoke about how proud they were for making history, Cassidy felt heartbroken about the fact she tried so damn hard and still came up short. She was also very nervous about the fact people may target her to weaken Karla, given she is immune. She approached Karla to float the idea of getting rid of Sami and while she said she was on board, Karla immediately went to Sami and locked in the vote against Cassidy. We then got a supercut of telephone as Sami locked in Cody, Cody went to Jesse and then Jesse spoke to Gabler.
Sadly for the plan, Jesse wasn’t so sure it was best for his game and after confirming with Karla that she wants Cassidy gone, he immediately decided that getting rid of Sami is safest given he is so good at making fire. As Jesse filled Owen in on the plan, he floated the idea of flipping it on Sami instead, given it would have Cassidy and Karla fighting each other in the final six and make it easier for them to go to five. Which is genius. Owen agreed to go talk to Gabler while Jesse caught up with Cody, who agreed that making Karla look silly would be good though he still finds Sami more trustworthy than Cassidy.
Oh and Cody told us that he is immune after correctly backing Owen in the challenge.
At tribal council Probst gave a monologue about tides before Gabler spoke about the importance of the final seven tribal council at setting up the end game. And given three people are immune, it is even more terrifying than usual. Karla admitted the dance is both confusing and scary, while Owen was even more nervous, though maybe because he is always left out of the plans. Sami spoke about clearly being on the bottom and he reiterated he is a free agent, while Jesse mentioned it is crucial to never rule out someone as an option. Cassidy felt like the closer they got to the end the game changed to not just who needs to go but who you can beat, which makes every decision even harder.
Sami then straight up told everyone he would be playing his Shot in the Dark tonight and that if everyone told him the truth, his vote wouldn’t matter anyway. This irked Karla who called him out and told him it was offensive, while Gabler gave zero fucks and literally said he was planning to vote the way he was going to either way, so doesn’t care if Sami is performing. While Jesse reminded everyone he could also just be bluffing. With that the tribe voted and it wasn’t a bluff, as Sami played his Shot in the Dark – which didn’t give him safety – Cody announced his immunity to the tribe which was unnecessary as the tribe banded together to boot young Sami from the game. Meaning their gamble paid off.
As Sami arrived at tribal council, I licked a handkerchief and started wiping the dirt off his face as my long-lost parental instincts kicked in. I assured him he is a very good boy and that me and his family are so proud of not just the young man he has grown into, but the game that he played. While like young Julia from Kaoh Rong he got run over for playing in the middle, the fact that he managed to make it that far was impressive. As such, I gave him a pat on the back and toasted his run with a fresh and healthy Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow.
This vegetarian version of san choy bow is jam packed full of veggies – hidden for the kids, obviously – and even more so with flavour. Plus, you can feel super smug when you eat it since it is so healthy. Which is a personal fave flavour enhancer.
Tofu Sani Choyadi Bow Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 ½ cups long grain white rice 1 tbsp vegetable oil 450g firm tofu, crumbled 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced 1 red onion, sliced 2 celery stalks, finely diced 10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced 1 red capsicum, sliced 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced 1 tbsp palm sugar 2 tbsp soy sauce 3 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tsp sesame oil 3 tbsp shaoxing rice wine 1 iceberg lettuce, leaves removed 1 long red chilli, sliced small handful coriander, leaves picked sriracha hot sauce or hoisin, to serve
Method Pop the rice and 2 ¼ cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Once rollicking, reduce to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Set aside, covered for 5 minutes to steam.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or wok over high heat and add the tofu and cook, stirring for about five minutes, or until golden brown. Add the veggies and cook for a couple of minutes or until just tender. Add palm sugar, soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and shaoxing, and cook stirring for a couple of minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.
To serve, divide the lettuce leaves among plates, top with rice, followed by the tofu mixture and a sprinkle of chilli, coriander and any sauces you like before devouring.
Previously on Survivor the tribe was carved back into two for the now-annual split tribe double tribal round. And as we’ve come to learn, chaos well and truly ensued. Over at the losing group Queen Noelle led the charge against James, playing her Steal a Vote on Owen to lull him into a false sense of security before brutally blindsiding him from the game. Over at the winning group, Cassidy and Ryan’s feud came to a head with the former finally coming out on top, blindsiding him from the game with a full bag – and pair of pants – of seafood to boot.
Back at camp emotions were mixed as the groups came together and though Karla was meant to be out of the loop on the James plan, she was glad Sami told her about it. Obviously though, she was nervous. Cassidy meanwhile was thrilled to outplay her nemesis Ryan, particularly when he was still actively targeting her. Jesse on the other hand was feeling super powerful, knowing where all the advantages are and being super well connected with literally everyone in the tribe. Begging the question, is this the pride that comes before a fall or a strong thing to point out for a winner?
My love Jeffrey returned early in the episode for the latest reward challenge where they would each stand in a frame and spin around to wind in a buoy before racing over a cargo net and over a balance beam to collect a sandbag, untying knots and tossing said sack on a pole. For an epic feast and luxury overnight reward. So yeah, it was a big one. Owen got out to an early lead, followed by Noelle, Cody, Sami and Karla. Eventually everyone made it to the balance beam which is where things got a little hard to watch as Noelle struggled due to her leg. While everyone started tossing their bag however, Noelle persevered as she fought through tears and the suction on her leg giving out before she finally arrived at the end of the challenge and straight up won on her second toss.
Like the damn queen that she is. I mean, oh my god she is amazing.
Everyone rallied around to congratulate her on such an epic come from behind victory before she opened up about how hard she tried and how losing her leg ultimately made her the resilient person she is (and I could only wish to be). Probst then dropped the bomb that in addition to food and a bed, she would also be getting letters from home and she’d be able to take two people to join her. After selecting Sami and Jesse, Jeffrey gave her one more, ultimately selecting Owen, perfectly splitting the tribe in two to no doubt cause some chaos.
At reward the foursome were well and truly thrilled as they sat down to smash the feast before they took time for a little bit of love from home. Owen sobbed, Jesse was brought back to being in juvenile detention and reminded of how far he has come in life and yep, it only took two people to have me crying like a baby. Noelle’s mum was an icon, sharing she was checking the weather and sending good vibes, while Sami’s dad had given up some food in his honour. After bonding over the love, Sami turned the conversation back to the game and suggested getting rid of Cassidy as soon as possible given she is allegedly a flipper. And while Noelle was more concerned about Sami being a flipper, she was onboard with Owen’s plan to split the vote on Karla and Cassidy and for the reward group to take control of the game with Gabler and Cody.
Back at camp the losers were far less energetic and jubilant as they ate a sad coconut over the fire. Not wanting to be left out of the fun chats they were having on reward, Cody tried to get people focused on the game and spoke about how untrustworthy Sami is. Cassidy took him for a walk and the duo spoke about instead targeting Noelle, given she is going from strength to strength in the game and as such, needs to be stopped in her tracks. Cassidy moved over to Gabler and Karla with them equally keen to get rid of Noelle. Though Gabler, TBH, was more excited about the fact he is the one with all the options.
The two groups came together to meet Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would have to balance a platform with a rope and build a house of cards first. Or, you know, the one to have it highest after a certain amount of time. Noelle and Karla quickly dropped as they found the rhythm of the challenge, followed by literally everyone multiple damn times. And as hilarious as it is to watch the supercut, I’m guessing it isn’t fun to read, so I’ll cut to the chase and let you know that Cassidy won. Well, eventually, after almost winning multiple times before she finally put everyone out of their misery.
Back at camp Noelle was nervous about what to do now that they can’t split the vote, which only got worse when Gabler confirmed that the other women were going for her and tried to flip Cody. Speaking of Cody, he and Jesse caught up about what happened while the tribe was split and while he was grateful to Noelle for giving him the love from home, Jesse also knew she was a threat. And well, the letter reminded him why he is here, and as such, the duo locked in the vote against her.
Jesse meanwhile was nervous about it all falling apart, so told her the plan was still to get rid of Karla but that they would now split the votes on Sami. He then got busy throwing Sami under the bus by telling Noelle he is going for her on the split. Lastly he went to Karla to lock her in and while she was nervous about it coming together, he approached Gabler to lock in an outright majority to get rid of Noelle. Wisely though, Gabler knew it would be dangerous to burn Owen and Sami so close to the end, leading to Jesse dominating by calmly outlining just how threatening Noelle is. He then looped back to Cody to fill him in, while Gabler approached Karla to assure her that he will be voting Noelle to save her. And then target Jesse and Cody next, given they are clearly the power couple.
At tribal council Noelle spoke about how proud she is to overcome the challenge and prove to other people with a disability that they can do anything. Jesse pivoted to the reward, talking about how grateful he was to hear from home despite his ugly crying now going to be shown on TV. Gabler meanwhile alluded to a shake up, while Noelle admitted it was tough to navigate amongst the confusion while Owen was hopeful that relying on trust would pull him through again. Jesse agreed that trust is the currency, though shared that confirming whether it is real is the hardest part of the game. While Cody was more concerned about timing, given the contents of the conversations change minute by minute and as such, you can never tell whether you’re in power.
Sami agreed and admitted none of them really know what will happen until they vote. Oh and then Gabler spoke about being snipers, while Karla was hoping to catch people out before it happens. Noelle acknowledged the fact there are still idols in play and as such, they have to play a quiet, sneaky game before Jesse reiterated what his son said, which was to get that money. With that the tribe voted and Karla wisely held on to her idol as the plan came together and Queen Noelle was tragically booted from the game.
Noelle followed the sound of my rage cries to Ponderosa where we pulled each other in for a massive hug. As a fellow famed athlete, I obviously met Noelle while a college athlete and we became the firmest of friends. And while I obviously gave it up due to scandal and laziness, we kept in contact, so I was thrilled to be able to be there to celebrate her killer game post-boot. And commence plotting how she will win her inevitable All Stars season over a piping hot Noelle Lambertshranger.
While a bushranger isn’t exactly a famed pastry dish, I spotted it in a local butcher and immediately knew I had to try my hand at a little copycat version. The rich, earthy lamb works perfectly with the mustard and SOMETHING ELSE to give you a light, hearty dish that will have you coming back for more.
Noelle Lambertshranger Serves: 4.
Ingredients 1 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion, sliced 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp dijon mustard ¼ cup red wine 2 sprigs rosemary leaves, finely chopped salt and pepper, to taste 4 small boneless lamb steaks, flattened to about 1cm thick 2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted 1 egg, whisked
Method Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion, stirring, for about five minutes or until soft and sweet. Add in the garlic and cook it off for about a minute before stirring in the mustard, red wine, most of the rosemary and a good whack of salt and pepper. Cook stirring for another couple of minutes or so, or until the mixture thickens and becomea little claggy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
To assemble the bushrangers, place the steaks on a board and divide the mixture amongst them to form a line across the middle. Cut the pastry into quarters and place the lamb parcel on one side. Brush the edges and cover with another piece of pastry, getting as creative as you like with crimping of using offcuts to decorate.
Brush the parcels with egg, sprinkle with the leftover rosemary and transfer to the oven to backe for 20-3 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve with either a creamy mash or a fresh salad, then devour. Like a Queen.
Previously on Survivor the tribe was split into two groups as has become tradition – not back to two tribes – for a little double tribal council. Probst then threw down a challenge for reward, with the person that could last the longest in the immunity challenge winning PB&Js for the tribe. And try as Karla might, her stitched up hand proved too much to overcome as she took out immunity but left her group hungry as they headed to the first tribal council. While James quickly locked in everyone against his nemesis Owen, things weren’t so simply as Noelle played him, stealing Owen’s vote and using it to join with Sami – and a reluctant Karla – to blindside James from the game.
But first, let’s take a little step back.
We followed the winning team back to camp where they quickly got to work making their PB&Js and greedily devouring them. With that out of the way, Ryan pulled Gabler aside to quickly lock in the vote against Cassidy. They went to Cody to float the idea and while he pretended to be keen, he immediately went to catch up with Jesse and Cassidy, admitting that he really likes her and as such, wants her to stay. She then went all in, assuring them that they already have a good bond and can trust each other and as such, it makes sense they go to the end together. She then opened up to us about her love for her family and how she is playing in honour of her deceased sister, who she used to watch the show with, and well, if they eliminate her after this beautiful personal content, I will be very very angry.
Cody and Jesse caught up solo to talk through the best move for their game moving forward, unsure whether it was a good idea to keep Ryan around as a meat shield despite the risk that voting out Cassidy could potentially piss off her allies Karla and James. Jesse rightly pointed out that going to tribal council second gives them more options, suggesting that if Owen goes out they keep Cassidy around to keep James and Karla happy, while if James is gone, they could be safe to take a shot. Locking in their options, they approached Gabler to get him on board and well, this could really be interesting!
At tribal council they were positively shocked to see James sitting on the jury, though also a little bit delighted, TBH. Jesse spoke about how James clearly was in a powerful position before the split while Ryan was concerned about what his boot meant for any alliances he was in. Cassidy made Probst very happy, talking about the monster coming to get for them, particularly given they are now back to a small tribe dynamic. Ryan too was concerned, given it only takes three votes to be out of the game. We flipped back to Cassidy who spoke about how difficult it is to handle having conversations and then see the people you just spoke to disappearing to talk to other people.
Cody meanwhile loved being safe, though felt it came with the heavy price of having a little power and feeling like he was in the driver’s seat for the night. Ryan agreed that people spent more time talking to Cody than him, though he had 30 pounds of clams in his bag and well, should they vote him out, he is happy to walk out with them. While Cassidy was just nervous about how the vote will reverberate through the dynamics when the groups come back together. With that the tribe voted and tragically booted zaddy Ryan – and his clams – from the game.
After quickly dishing up James his jam, I ran to find Ryan in Ponderosa and pulled him in for a massive hug, assuring him that he played a great game. But more importantly, reminded him that he is such an inspiration and is SUPER hot to boot and as such, if he isn’t invited back to the very next possible All Stars season, I will riot, or something. He obviously thought I was joking about everything, so we laughed and celebrated his success with a big, fat bowl of Ryan Wedgranos.
You know I have a passion for fried potato in all their forms, but there is something super special about wedges. I mean, a little spiced, chunky enough to give you the perfect balance of crunch and fluff, AND their frequent collaboration with sour cream. How could you go wrong?
Ryan Wedgranos Serves: 2 dear friends that would make a glorious couple.
Ingredients 1 ½ tsp paprika 1 tsp garlic powder ½ tsp onion powder 1 tsp salt ½ tsp pepper 1 tsp dried oregano ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut each into 8 wedges 3 tbsp olive oil sour cream and sweet chilli, to serve
Method Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and parmesan in a bowl. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and sprinkle over the spice mix. Toss until well coated.
Spread the wedges out in a single layer on lined baking sheets, ensuring one of the cut sides are face down. Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning once halfway through to the other cut edge, and bake until browned and crisp.
Then devour them with a vat of sour cream and sweet chilli, which is customary in a pub.
Previously on Survivor Jeanine, Noelle and Owen were well and truly on the outs and while Sami wanted to make a move, was trying to play in the middle to avoid upsetting anyone. Speaking of upsetting anyone, Ryan and Cassidy continued their feud as Owen and James started another one. At the immunity challenge, Probst offered up a bag of rice to the tribe if five people were to forgo the challenge and despite James assuring him he was good, Owen knew his nemesis was lying and as such, not only played the challenge but one immunity. With Owen no longer an option, the alliance turned their attention to the girls and tragically booted Jeanine from the game.
Leaving us with just three more women.
Back at camp Sami remained ready to switch things up, despite just going with the easy Jeanine vote. He caught up with Owen and Gabler, with Owen filling them in on his ongoing drama with James and the fact that he lied about Ryan being the target. Thankfully Gabler had looped him in just before tribal and as such, the Baka men were still keen to work together. They returned to camp where James checked in on Owen to see if he wanted to talk through tribal council with Owen hilariously shutting him down and while James said it was all cool beans, he immediately ran to Karla and Cassidy to complain about how rude Owen was to him. Particularly given he wrote down his name two tribals ago. And yeah, these two just hate each other at this point and are openly gunning for the other, I guess?
We quickly pivoted to Jeffrey looking like an absolute dream on the beach for the latest immunity challenge. Where they would be split up into groups of five to compete with one person winning immunity and the other four in danger at their group’s tribal council. Yep, this is double tribal week! But anyway, as for the challenge, they would each hold a bar up to keep a ball balanced above them with the last one standing in each group winning immunity and the last one standing overall winning reward for their group, in the form of PB&Js. Oh and the honour of being the second tribal council.
Cassidy, Jesse, Gabler, Ryan and Cody formed one group, while Owen, Sami, Noelle, Karla and James were the other. Almost instantly Jesse was the first one out of his group, followed closely by Cassidy and Noelle back-to-back. James was gagged to see his ball drop before Gabler gave out, followed by Owen. That left Ryan and Cody to face off against Sami and Karla and while they were all like statues – Karla with a still injured hand – Sami dropped out of nowhere, leaving Karla gagged to have taken out immunity before she quickly tried to refocus to win PB&J. Sadly for her team, she couldn’t hold out any longer, leaving Cody to ultimately win PB&J for his team after Ryan eventually dropped.
We followed the losing team back to the former Vesi camp where they immediately got to work scrambling. While Owen and James getting water together – lol – Noelle, Karla and Sami talked through the most obvious move, with Karla feeling bad about them clearly having to eliminate Owen. Speaking of the feuders, they were arguing at the well and, given it appears clear that they are all voting for Owen, I guess he is safe. They fought all the way back to camp where James grew more and more frustrated at Owen, with the duo both blaming the other for the drama as everyone else rolled their eyes.
They eventually pressed pause so James could speak to Karla about how frustrating it is to be pushed into drama. James then caught up with Noelle who assured him that she plans to steal Owen’s vote at tonight’s tribal council. Sadly for him however, it was only to lull him into a false sense of security and vote him out with Owen(‘s vote) and Sami. And well, I love Noelle’s 3D chess to navigate around James’ advantage and the potential Shot in the Dark. Sami however didn’t want to blindside Karla and as such, approached her to see what she would prefer and while she was keen to get rid of Owen, Sami got to work convincing her how important it is to get rid of James now and keep the outsiders around as an easy vote in the future. And damn, that is a compelling argument. Particularly since it makes her more of a free agent in the larger alliance.
At tribal council Owen spoke about how difficult it was to go back to an empty camp, while James reiterated that it definitely led to dramas back at camp. Sami spilled the tea to Probst about the boy’s feud and while he tried to be diplomatic, it is still clear they hate each other. Owen spoke about how disappointed he was to see Jeanine go last tribal council, particularly since James tried to make him vote the wrong way. Noelle then continued to charm us, talking about the screaming match and how she just wanted to eat before Owen and James continued to argue. Which obviously made Noelle tell them to stop, given she is over the testosterone. Like an icon.
James spoke about the ongoing importance of building trust while Sami and Karla started to whisper about which way they should vote. Karla then opened up to Probst about how despite being immune, she is still always nervous about being on the outside. Talk turned to the advantages with James wanting to know where they all are, while Noelle wanted to leverage them to build trust. Speaking of which, as Probst sent them off to vote she opted to play her Steal a Vote and snatched Owen’s, setting off the plan to get rid of James as Owen spoke about how nervous he now was. Thankfully it did just end up being a ruse as both Sami and Karla stuck with Noelle’s pair of votes to boot James from the game.
And well, he was salty.
When he made it back to Ponderosa, I assured him that blindsides really are a sign that you were playing a good game and as such, he should be proud. Ignoring the fact that the Shot in the Dark inherently makes blindsides necessary, but I digress. In any event, while he was very salty to have been booted, I quickly turned around his mood with a deliciously sweet Fig James Jones.
While my first introduction to fig jam was the ‘90s social sport team name – why you would want anyone to ask you about how fucking great you are is an aside – this is neither cringe nor annoying, only delicious. A little tart with a hint of vanilla, this jam will have you buttered all the buns, all the time.
Fig James Jones Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 1kg figs, trimmed and diced 500g raw caster sugar 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped 1 lemon, juiced with the rind peeled into strips
Method Pop everything in a saucepan, cover in cling film and leave to stand overnight at room temp.
The next day, place the mixture over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce back to low and cook, stirring, for about 45 minutes or until thick and gloopy. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and rinds, and gently mash the figs to break up.
Transfer to sterilised jars to store, or devour immediately.