Rob Pastramianon Rye

Main, Survivor, Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: Redemption Island

There is less than a week until Survivor makes it hopefully-triumphant return to our screens with David vs. Goliath … after a couple of, how do I say, lacklustre seasons. But I have high hopes! I mean, Mike White is great, Elizabeth Olson is an icon and Natalie seems to be a dominant force of nature. And if they made the final three, I could die happy.

But not everything always goes your way, and someone that knows that better than anyone else is my dear friend Rob Mariano.

While he gets a lot of hate for only winning on his fourth attempt to very impressionable competition, you can’t deny the man is a legend of the game. And plus, Russell bombed on his fourth attempt, so it isn’t a guaranteed win.

I’ve been friends with Rob for years, after falling in love with him in Marquesas. I found my in with him through Vecepia, we became best buds and I even introduced him to Amber in preparation for All Stars. And given how that worked out for them, it should come as no surprise that our friendship has never faltered after that.

While he is yet to spoil whether there is a tribe expansion and the merge colour via his adorable daughters’ pre-season celebration pics, he was very excited to spoil how delicious my Rob Pastramianon Rye is.

 

 

If you ever have the opportunity to go and have a legit pastrami on rye at Katz’s, run don’t walk. And well, if you don’t, just make this and know that while it is great … Katz’s is better. No shade to my fresh Pastrami Malek, nutty Swiss Cheese and crunchy pickles.

I promise, you’ll enjoy it. So enjoy!

 

 

Rob Pastramianon Rye
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
4 slices Ryan Ulrich Bread
1 tbsp seeded mustard
2 dill pickles, sliced
4-6 slices Pastrami Malek, warmed in a frying pan
4 slices Swiss cheese

Method
Toast the rye and smear with seeded mustard.

Top with pickles, pastrami and swiss cheese.

Devour, greedily.

 

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Rissole Hantz

Australian Survivor, Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders, Main, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Survivor: Redemption Island, Survivor: Samoa, TV, TV Recap

Previously on Australian Survivor, JLP introduced us to the 24 new castaways by way of the Locky Gilbert Memorial nude challenge where the tribes faced off against each other one at a time for supplies, though tragically remaining clothes. Over at the Contenders, poor Steve K was getting himself into trouble, searching through their loot and skittishly running around camp looking for idols. Much to Matt D’s chagrin. Meanwhile over at the Champions, the misplaced Russell found an idol in sub-twenty seconds while everyone else became friends. The first immunity challenge rolled around and poor Jenna found herself getting injured before Matt D struggled on the puzzle and led to the Contenders losing immunity. Despite Steve K being the obvious target, Matt D got super paranoid and spent the afternoon hunting for idols before completely reading his tribe for filth at tribal council before they sent him out of the game as the first boot.

Proving once again that The Secret is real, we opened up at the Contenders the next day with Benji, Zach, Steve and Robbie wanting to snatch my heart by providing an extended nude scene as they frollicked in the waves in their uncensored, homoerotic glory and just like that, Locky was usurped as my Australian Survivor crush and those four snatched my heart, while making up for the pain for the opening challenge. That is a quadruple I could ship.

Things were tragically more clothed at the Champions camp, with Steve sharpening a machete in his jocks the sexiest thing we got. But anyway, this isn’t just about the sexy tragically and I was trying to tone it down … but FOUR BUNS. I mean, swoon. Anyway, the champs were pulling together to finalise their camp and continue to get to know each other. Shane continued to work her way into my heart, going person to person making friends and being super cute. Even falling for Jackie’s lie that she is a rubix cube champ, rather than our best poker player and trying to better than Adam last year.

Back at the contenders the boys had tragically put their clothes back and the tribe got to work finalising their camp, now with fire. And unity following Matt’s departure. As much as everything was experiencing peace and love at camp, poor Tegan was starting to miss her babies and was feeling down. Thankfully Heath was also missing his young child and that is an alliance I can really get behind, particularly since Tegan was determined to take down the Champions one-by-one. Hopefully they pull in Jenna who is also determined to destroy the champs, and I am here for her.

Oh, wait, no – Brian and Mat just helped Damien out of the water and now I love them. The only person not feeling the love on the Champions tribe was Russell, with Lydia and Shane concerned about him running around and whispering to people. Not to be outdone, Russell was angry at his tribe, feeling like he is the easy one out and so instead called a camp meeting, announced that he had an idol and challenged them that the game was on. And while I love that it spooked the hell out of his fellow tribemates, I … just … wish he didn’t find a damn idol.

Distracting from the drama, JLP returned for the reward challenge where the Champions gloated about their plush digs and the Contenders sassed the shit out of them. Thankfully that was the perfect attitude leading to the Sumo at Sea challenge where two people face off and then they need to pummel each other until one falls off. As someone that has competed in the challenge before, Russell tried to coach Steve as he went to face off against Zach however once again Zach game up victorious. Paige quickly destroyed Monika and Jenna dominated sweet Queen Shane, before poor Anita faced off against Lydia, who smacked her straight into the drink. I mean water, this isn’t Survivor NZ. Robbie and Mat faced off again, with Mat’s fast feet once again coming up victorious. Jackie tied things up by smashing Shonee before Heath and Brian faced off again, with Heath tragically losing. Again. Sharn beat poor Tegran, Moana narrowly beat Fenella – what?! – before Steve K faced off against Russell. Despite my high hopes, Russell smashed Steve K and took victory for the champions, who elected for the comfort items – including tarp – over option B of fishing gear.

Back at the camp the Contenders were licking their wounds after another loss, with Robbie smarting to lose to Mat again while Zach was proud to be the #CommandoKiller. One thing they all agreed on is the fact that they hate the Champions and desperately want to beat them, so joined together, did a cheeky workout before Jenna continued to be the Contender Queen by leading them in a chant and vowing to snatch immunity.

Meanwhile over at the palatial Champions camp, they struggled to figure out where to put their hammock and other rich people problems. Even Russell was feeling like he should keep hope alive – spew – pulling Jackie aside to try and align with her and take control of the tribe. While Jackie believed that working together could be beneficial, I’m not convinced she was sold. Even when he swore on his non-existent wife’s life. He then ran to Mat, Steve W and Damien to try and make an alliance in his faux-wife’s name, and while they seemed to be more receptive to the idea … I still feel there is an epic flameout coming. Russell then spoke to Damien while the tribe slept – well except Moana who heard everything – about Jackie wanting Damien out and them needing to take over. Thankfully Moana straight up hates Hantz and ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found his Queen SDT of Australian Survivor and I am thrilled.

JoJo returned for the immunity challenge where the tribes were required to swim out to a an A-frame to release four buoys, climb up a huge platform and diving for four more buoys … before shooting said buoys from the top of the platform to goals on the surface below. Benji – sadly clothed – got the Contenders out to an early lead, functioning as a solid unit and snatching all their buoys before the Champions even released one. Tegan extended their lead making quick work of the first submerged buoy until zaddy Steve W and Lydia started to close the gap. Poor Shane however struggled to untie their last buoy, allowing the contenders to shoot – and miss – eight baskets before she returned to the platform. While Mat got the Champions out in front, Heath finally got his eye in and scored eight goals in quick succession and snatched victory for the Contenders.

Things descended into chaos back at camp as everyone split up into groups and tried to come up with a plan for tribal council, since their number one target has an idol. Queen Shane was still keen to vote out Russell in the hope he doesn’t play his idol, while Jackie rallied the troops to get a majority on Russell with Shane or Damien as the back-up. Lydia too was keen to take out Russell, while Russell ran around trying to paint a target on everyone’s back and make them so confused that they don’t know who to vote for. Russell spotted Jackie and Monika plotting together by the shore and quickly scurried over to spook them and turn the vote on Shane to preserve his idol.

As Russell’s ego continued to grow as he praise his masterful gameplay, Queen Moana stepped up to the plate and said she was sick of Russell and was desperate to get him out. While Mat was on Russell’s side and willing to take out Jackie, Moana tried to sway him before going to Lydia, Monika and Sharn to form an alliance against Russell as a back-up.

Russell arrived at tribal council wearing his immunity idol to intimidate his opponents, while Damien wondered why the hell he elected to once again starve and be cold. Mat was surprised about how quickly the game changed after losing immunity, Shane lamented about the pain of voting someone out before Russell sassed her told her that was part of the game. Russell then continued to gloat about his Survivor history and how this was the best camp he’s ever had, though the tribe were slow to play the game. Thankfully Sharn called him out and said that he told her they’re all terrible at the game, before Moana started heckling every single thing that came out of his mouth. Until he mentioned the fact he is definitely playing his idol and one of the others will be going out. Jackie, Damien and Sharn admitted to being scared about going home, with the latter reminding them that the disharmony started that morning and surprise, surprise, that lead to them losing the challenge.

While things started to look like Russell’s play worked, Moana was still pissed about his general attitude and started whispering to others that she still planned to take him out and tried to get them on her side. Russell once again confirmed that he would be playing his idol no matter what, before everyone went off to vote. Moana, with the best vote confessional since Wendell’s rap at Chris … telling Russell he lost three times and maybe he should review his games before trying again since he has never won. JLP gave him the chance to play his idol which, surprise surprise, he declined, before he was shocked to see that the tribe made up of majority of athletes were able to hold their nerve, pile their votes on him and BOO tie it between him and Jackie (with some on Shane and Damien for good measure). With them sitting out, everyone else went off to vote and YAAAAAS send him out of the game WITH AN IDOL AROUND HIS NECK!

Now given how bloody close I am with Queen SDT, I absolutely relished the opportunity to see Russ fresh off becoming the first boot from his tribe – particularly with an idol around his neck – and rub his face in it like Moana, Lydia Shane and Monika while voting him out. But … then it kind of lost some of its joy as he didn’t seem to be as bitter as I thought. So instead, we sat down to a fairly civil meal of Rissole Hantz … before I threw his new hat in the fire after he went to, I assume, cry himself to sleep.

 

 

I had a huge, aggressive plan for his meal saying that rissoles are basic and ugly, and while you can respect their purpose and sometimes they taste really freaking delicious – hey Ross! – they’re still a rissole and you’ll always be embarrassed for liking the ugly meat nugget.

But again, he was semi-pleasant and so I instead told him that the fact that they taste so damn good and melt in your mouth is a metaphor for the fact that even though he is hated, there is some good in him. I mean, at least he woke up the tribe, Pearl.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rissole Hantz
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chilli flakes
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup vintage cheddar, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, for fryin’

Method
Combine everything but the olive oil – obvi – in a large bowl and scrunch with your hands until well combined. Shape into 8 inch-thick rissoles and place on a lined plated.

Heat a small lug of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and brush over the pan. Once scorching, cook a couple of rissoles for 3 to 4 minutes each side, or until cooked through.

Serve immediately with Gabriel Mash and peas, and be thankful that sometimes basic can be pretty decent.

Devour.

 

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Turkey Tom Westyum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Have I mentioned, tom yum? Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Tom Westyum
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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

 

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Tyson Apostollen

12 Days of Survivor Christmas, Baking, Bread, Dessert, Snack, Survivor, Sweets

While Yul most definitely has the most festive name in Survivor history, my dear friend slash Survivor three-peat Tyson is the most festive person to play the game.

I mean, sure, he had an epic three season arc going from cocky douche, to bumbling babe to dominant champion, but he also had a three season ascension in zaddiness which was decidedly festive.

Yes, I only learnt the word zaddie last Thursday.

From his nude Tocantins tribal twink look, to his animalistic Samoan swimmers to his lovely bunch of Caramoan coconuts, Tyson made me feel things that lay dormant inside for year.

Oh what a lovely ma’ fuckin’ bunch of coconuts.

I first met Tys back in the mid-00s while researching Utah as part of my work writing the little known musical The Book Of Mormon, the hit TV show Big Love AND getting into the cycling world as part of an elaborate scheme to bring down Lance Armstrong. My third least favourite Lance.

While I’m not normally keen on the site of male cyclists in lycra – mainly because they only sit around cafes leaving their ball-sweat on the chairs … which in retrospect, should be my jam – I had a soft spot for Tyson and we fell into a passionate love affair.

Like most of my passionate love affairs, ours fizzled out quite quickly – maybe it would have been different if he listed me as his loved one in Tocantins – we remained close friends. Mainly because he was such a babe and it is super hard for me to find friends that have as much sass as I do, so I have to hold on to them when I find them.

But anyway, we celebrated a Christmas together in Utah during our brief romance and he fell in love with my sweet dough. I mean, all freaking Christmas, his face was buried in it, ravenous. But I guess, who can pass up a Tyson Apostollen.

 

 

Inspired by culinary queen Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar stollen, this baby is delicious enough to convert even the most staunchest of anti-marzipan-ers. Fruity and dense with pockets of gooey sweetness, did I just describe myself. Who knows!? Eat up!

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyson Apostollen
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 egg yolk
¼ cup muscovado sugar
1 tbsp glucose
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7g active dry yeast
5 ½ cup flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ¼ cup warm water
145g butter, cubed, plus extra 115g melted for coating
1 cup raisins
¾ cup craisins
½ cup currants
¼ cup candied lemon
3 tbsp bourbon
250g marzipan, broken into chunks
oil, for brushing
icing sugar, to coat

Method
Whisk the egg yolk, sugar, glucose, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl until fluffy and thick, or about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the warm water and stir by hand with the dough hook for a minute or so. And by that, holding the dough hook like a wooden spoon. You get it? Anyway, add the yolk mixer, pop the hook in the mixer and knead on medium for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and lump free. Add the cubed butter, piece by piece, allowing the dough to come together after each addition.

Reduce speed to low and add in the mixed fruit, kneading for an additional minute or until combined. Brush a clean large bowl with a flavourless oil, transfer the dough to said bowl, cover with some cling and leave to prove for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Punch back the dough and dot with the marzipan before lightly knead throughout. You could also split the dough in two, roll them out, smear with marzipan and roll up, but I find dotting it throughout haphazardly makes it more cray, like Tys. If you do dot, then split it into two and transfer to a lined baking sheet, shaping like a turkish-bread-esque loaf.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Once cool, brush with the melted butter and press into the icing sugar to seal. Dis is both good – dis real good – and fresh.

Then devour, greedily.

 

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Charcucirie Fields Board

Main, Party Food, Side, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, twenty game changing survivors returned to go big or go home which was sadly ironic, with all of the big, iconic players – sans Cirie, Ozzy and Aubry – going home pre-merge. But oh what a pre-merge that was! Tony dug a bunker, Sandra stole something and blamed it on other people, Malcolm was brutally axed by Tai’s first idol and Varner shockingly outed Zeke at tribal.

And then last week happened.

After dominating the merge portion of the game, Cirie went into the second tribal of the episode – after taking out her girl Andrea – with Sarah’s vote steal in hand. Sadly though, she didn’t read the fine print and couldn’t actually use it, planting a seed of distrust with Sarah and sending her other close ally and new queen of jury reactions Michaela, to the jury.

Back at camp, kween Cirie made quick work of winning Sarah back to her side throwing Tai under the bus. While he tried to hem and haw, he eventually opted to continue with his traditional gameplay and immediately flip back, tell the truth and earn the wrath of Sarah.

The next day, Tai went for a walk with Brad to share the knowledge of his two idols to try and win someone over after his disaster last night. Sadly the walk returned villain edit Brad to the fray, saying he would gladly take the idols and vote Tai out … and I don’t think the idol theft would be for the purpose of home decorating.

Probst quickly arrived for the first immunity challenge of the episode – with an additional feast for the victor back at camp – which is a mighty epic maze to collect bags of puzzle pieces. While mazes are always hard to really tell how people are going, Brad, Tai and Troyzan got out to a quick lead, the former taking out a cameraman in the process. Troyzan started to take a lead as Aubry and Cirie started to close the gap. Brad, Aubry and Cirie ultimately made it back to the puzzle first, which really should have favoured Cirie, given her prowess. Sadly it wasn’t the case however, with Sarah closing the gap before Brad just snagged victory despite leaving a piece in the bag the whole time.

As is often the case, Jeff gave Brad the opportunity to share his reward with two others and isolate the other three. Poor Tai was among the latter with Aubry and Cirie, which kind of shocked me given the fact Tai and Brad appear closer than Brad is with Sarah. But what evs?

Troyzan finally got what feels like his first confessional of the season to remind us about his idol before sitting down to his meal with Sarah and Brad. The three then weighed up boot options for the tribal ahead, planning to throw their votes on Aubry and force Tai to play one of his idols and to hand over the other to bully Brad. For safekeeping.

Tai was feeling wistful, having lost his power in the game. Brad however, didn’t appear to care. Tai then showed Troyzan his idol, spooking him. Thankfully the returned villain edit of Brad was quick to inform Troy that he’d be taking Tai’s idol and voting him out like a fool the next night.

Surprising me, Tai approached Aubry for some much needed help in navigating away from Brad’s bullying, showing both of her idols in the process. Before they could come up with much of a plan, Cirie arrived on the scene and assured them that working together was the best option for the three of them … which is the most iconic final three remaining.

Cirie exited post plea, leaving Aubry to comfort a crying idol.

Troyzan told Sarah about Tai’s two idols, Tai told us he couldn’t trust Cirie, Cirie and Aubry knew they had no other option than sticking together and Tai cried again … which obviously took us into tribal where Michaela was quick to deliver some killer facials.

Aubry spoke about the fallout from the previous tribal, quickly pointing to Tai as the rat. Tai tried to defend himself, which annoyed Sarah and Brad. Sarah felt that it was everyone against Tai, while kween Cirie knows that people have made it through worse … and one. Cirie wasn’t feeling confident, while Aubry was keeping the the faith that she’d somehow survive tribal and/or the confusion.

Then it happened – advantagemageddon!

It started with Tai playing an idol on himself, followed by his second one on Aubry. This spooked Sarah into playing he one tribal only immunity idol, forcing Troyzan to throw his idol into the mix … meaning Cirie was eliminated from the game without any votes as the only person left in the game that wasn’t immune.

Fucking kill me. Fucking. Kill me. Fucking. Kill. Me.

Given the fact that she is an icon, she was given a touching exit that honoured her legacy, given a round of applause and a standing ovation from the jury.

Fucking kill me. I am broken – at least Probst made the audience also give her the standing ovation that she deserves.

As you know, this hurts so much more given how important she is to Annelie and my life – getting us clean and mostly sober, and treating us like family. She arrived in Ponderosa and I ran into her arms and broke down worse than her Micronesia final words.

I was gutted. Ruined. And most importantly salty, like the meats included on my Charcucirie Fields Board.

 

 

Fat hour, wine snacks, tapas, party food, hors d’oeuvres – I don’t give a fuck what you fucking call it (sorry, still so angry for the iconic Cirie), a good charcuterie can cure almost anything. But hey, you know how much I love a good piece of meat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Charcucirie Fields Board
Serves: 4-6.

Ingredients
2 chorizos, sliced and fried
sliced hungarian salami
sliced pancetta
sliced pepperoni
pate
chargrilled artichokes
chargrilled capsicums
sundried tomatoes
Sierra Dawn-Hummus
a small wheel of brie
small vintage cheddar
water crackers
French breadstick, thickly sliced

Method
So this is pretty basic … place it all on a board and devour.

Why waste time on cooking, when in the presence of the kween?

 

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Quesandillaz-Twine

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Tavua continued to dominate immunity challenges, which was very lucky for Troyzan. Unluckily for Mana, Debbie went from lovable-nuts to scary after missing out on sandwiches while over at Nuku J.T. and Aubry’s plot to boot Michaela backfired on the former, sending him out of the game with an idol in his pocket.

Oh and Sandra stole the sugar, blamed it on her closest ally and still came out clean.

Back at camp Aubry gave her best Adam Klein impression while congratulating the people that blindsided her. Despite it being fairly obvious why it was J.T. over her, Aubry asked them why she was saved before correctly identifying that Sandra was running things and is the best player out there, royally screwing her in the process.

Over at Mana, Tai decided to make the most of last episode’s hidden immunity idol clue and get his wood wet under the cover of darkness. Turns out, that little process gives you a happy ending. What a damn surprise.

Clearly getting hot and bothered, Jiffy Pop arrived for what the tribes assumed was an immunity challenge which was instead another swap were Sandra and Varner became the latest people to be completely screwed by the game, ending up on new-Nuku with Ozzy, Sarah, Andrea, Zeke and Tai.

Everyone else but Debbie ended up on new-Mana, while Deb found herself without a tribe and a pony, heading to exile island until one of the other tribes boots someone to make room for her.

New Mana arrived – or returned – to camp where Troyzan was thankful to have some allies, while Brad was feeling screwed though was hopeful to hook up with Troyzan – which is a weird porno I’d give a shot – given his One World connection to my girl Monnie Culpepper.

Over at new Nuku, Sandra and Varner did their best to ingratiate themselves to their new tribe members. Sandra being Sandra, remained calm and was sure that she would be able to find her feet.

And just like that, Zeke and Ozzy went for a walk to reaffirm the need to get rid of Sandra, before rallying their fellow ex-Tavuans and lining up a decoy boot in Tai. Which given his past will not go well if he finds out, despite knowing Sandra is the biggest threat.

Feeling uneasy, Tai approached the Nuku well hoping to find their hidden immunity idol … which he did, bringing his total for the episode to two and the season to three.

Why couldn’t it be Sandra?

We then caught up with Debbie who was approaching what she thought was Exile Island and instead landed on a luxury yacht complete with feast and – oh wait, here is the shitty part – cockstainCochran to provide advice … and thankfully something useful in an advantage.

Hatred aside, this is a crazy showmance I can get behind. And I assume, so can Debbie who is more excited to see him than the presidents and prime ministers she has, of course, also met.

Debbie then told her potential new boyfriend about how confident she was and ragged on Brad ‘fuck you’ Culpepper, before Cochran presented her with – what I assumed was an engagement ring – the options for her advantage. She of course elected the worst advantage, the extra vote – which has booted its holder every time it has been played before – rather than an advantage for her tribe at the next immunity challenge or my personal favourite, a kit to build a fake immunity idol.

Sadly a devious revenge plot where she gives a legit looking fake idol to Brad to boot him will not come to fruition.

The next day Zeke and Varner connected by the beach where Varner shared how desperately he wanted to make the jury on his third game. Zeke, knowing he should start making Sandra and Varner relax, told Varner how much they wanted Tai out of the game. The entire conversation made Sandra anxious … but Sandra is smarter than mostall players, and knew something wasn’t adding up.

Not wanting to leave us hanging too long, Jiffy Pop returned for the first immunity challenge as new tribes where they were required to get wet, pull themselves off … a platform and over monkey bars before running to shore and placing their piece(s) in a cart and pulling them into shore.

Obviously it ended with a puzzle.

Mana got out to any early lead, which despite Varner’s best efforts to pull up a load, never went away, sending Mana to tribal council.

Back at camp, Zeke reconfirmed the need to get rid of Sandra, while Varner was feeling confident it was Tai. Again, Sandra’s superior intuition shone as she felt nervous – for the first time in three seasons – and approached Ozzy, Sarah, Zeke and Andrea about booting Tai to avoid a Kaôh Rōng kaôh-lition.

While Sarah and Ozzy weren’t wanting to budge on the Sandra vote, they acknowledged how persuasive and right she is, and that they do need to break up the trio of Tai-Aubry-Debbie.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tai then approached Varner to tell him that Sandra was indeed the target … allowing Sandra time to come up with a plan, which is never a good thing.

With that, they arrived at tribal where Andrea announced that they would continue in the tradition of the season – like All Stars before it – to boot the biggest threat, while Ozzy spoke to the back of Sandra’s head about the positives of keeping a bigger threat as a shield before Sandra announced that she was confident it was her as no one was talking to her.

This spooked Tai … who then commenced talking in circles, confusing himself and making the rest of his original, original Nuku tribemates. Sarah then mentioned being open to a couple of options, spooking Tai even more before Sandra said that she’d vote for whoever he wanted her to. Before he whispered a name to her.

He then gave Varner the same name, to which Varner mentioned they still needed another person. The rest of the tribe wanted the goss … so Tai then announced that he was now considering Ozzy, spooking Ozzy, Zeke, Sarah and Andrea, who then commenced their own whispering.

After some back and forth and everyone being confused, they threw their hands in the air and decided to just vote … which sadly – and I hate that I’m even typing it and never assumed I would have to – resulted in my dear friend, sass-monster and greatest player of all time Sandra Diaz-Twine being voted out for the first time.

Thank fuck those fuckers fucking applauded her on her way out the door. The stupid fucks. The Queen is dead, long live … the D-list returnees rounding out the cast?

While I was fuming by the time she arrived at Loser Lodge, Sandra took her first ever boot in her stride … until I convinced her to break into both camps while they were at the next challenge and burn their camps to the ground. FYI, that is why they were crying in the next episode preview.

As you know, I met Sandra when I was her server at Outback Steakhouse and we quickly bonded over being fiery, sassy and persuasive. While she has never been able to get me out there as a contestant – she tried for Blood vs. Water but Aras got jealous – I was scheduled to appear as her loved one, which is probably more of a tragedy than seeing the Queen and Malcolm felled within a fortnight.

Obviously that meant I was in desperate need of some comfort food, meaning I had to whip out my famous Quesandillaz-Twine.

 

 

An ode to my girl’s winning ways, these quesadillas are the absolute best – spicy, cheesy and with a good whack of chilli, the crunch in your mouth and go a long way to help even the sharpest of pain.

Enjoy … if you can!

 

 

Quesandillaz-Twine
Serves: 1 first-time boot and her irate firebug of a bestie.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
400g canned diced tomatoes
400g canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 avocados, pitted and diced
small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
canola or vegetable oil, for frying
8 tortillas
250g sharp cheddar, grated
1 lime, cut into wedges
sour cream

Method
Brown the mince in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking-up with the wooden spoon as you go. Add the garlic, onions and a good whack of salt and pepper and  cook for a couple of minutes, or until the onion is just translucent. Add the spices and cook for a minute, before adding the tomatoes, black beans and paste. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about twenty minutes, or until the liquid is pretty much gone.  Remove from the heat and stir through the avocado and coriander.

When you’re ready to devour, heat a large clean skillet over medium heat and add a lug of oil. Place a tortilla in the pan, sprinkle half with cheese, top with the mixture and more cheese, because this is comfort food. Fold the tortilla over to form a semicircle, pressing down on the quesadilla to set. Flip once, cooking a couple of minutes each side. Repeat the process until the mixture or tortillas run out, I don’t mind which.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges – because you don’t need to feel guilty if the food is hand-sized – and serve with a squeeze of lime juice, a dollop of sour cream and, of course, hot sauce.

Devour, in honour of Sandra.

 

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