Chocolate Creampie Trang

Baking, Dessert, Pie, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Brad won immunity again and Aubry felt everyone was against her. Which they were, booting her in fifth place.

Once again, Probst was quick to return for the final immunity challenge of the season – an epic obstacle, water slide, puzzle combo. I mean sure, it looks pretty simple but after starving for 38 days, this is guaranteed to be a struggle.

Brad got out to a an early lead, which was just as quickly taken by Sarah with Troyzan hot on her heels. Sarah continued to extend her lead, while Troyzan struggled with his second bag and fell out of it. Then out of nowhere, Brad overtook Sarah snatching the last bag of puzzle pieces and made quick work of the puzzle, equalling the record by snatching his fifth individual immunity.

Turns out he was able to do what Monica would do, going from a pre-merge boot to a finalist on his second attempt.

Back at camp, Troy jumped straight into Brad’s arms knowing that as the biggest goat remaining, he too was guaranteed to be a second runner-up. They quickly agreed that getting rid of Tai was the best plan, particularly since Brad is confident the jury will reward his challenge prowess and his experience as a lawyer guarantees him a better performance in front of the jury.

Tai made a last ditch plea to Sarah to vote for Troyzan and force a firemaking challenge between one of them and Troy. Sarah appeared to be swayed, knowing that she could potentially beat everyone remaining and a successful win in the challenge is yet another point as far as the jury are concerned.

We returned to tribal council where Aubry made a play to snatch the jury facial expression crown from Michaela. Brad was proud to be guaranteed a spot in the final but was concerned about who would be joining he and Troyzan in the final tribal. Sarah and Tai agreed that it was one of them and that if they want to go to the end together, they had to try and force a tie.

Tai started a smear campaign against Brad’s bullying, before Brad gave the jury a live show. Troyzan was quietly confident, but given how most of the tribals have gone this season couldn’t bring himself to feel safe. Sarah kept looking back at Brad and Troyzan nervously, clearly confused as the headed to vote … luckily for her, the odds were in her favour with her joining the boys to boot Tai from the game.

As you know, I met Tai when he supported my one man, nude version – did I mention it was nude, because it was – of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Golden Gate Park. While it wasn’t as celebratory as our previous Ponderosa pow-wow, Tai was still the most upbeat and positive person in the room.

That being said, who doesn’t like a nice wet creampie? That sounds dirty. Who doesn’t love a  chocolate-y creampie? Still off. I gave him a Chocolate Creampie … Trang.

The Trang saves it from being smutty, right?

 

 

Sweet, slippery, sticky and altogether delicious, this is the second best creampie a guy could ask for.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate Creampie Trang
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
1 ⅓ cups chocolate biscuits, blitzed to a crumb
75g unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp raw caster sugar
⅔ cup muscovado sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
pinch of kosher salt
4 egg yolks
3 cups milk
30g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup double cream

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Combine the biscuit crumbs, 75g melted butter and the ¼ cup of raw caster sugar in a bowl until combined. Press the base into a pie dish and bake for 15 minutes, or until crisp. Remove and allow to cool.

While that it chilling like Tai finding idols, whisk the muscovado sugar, cornstarch, salt and yolks in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until combined and slowly stir in the milk. Bring to the boil over medium heat, while whisking, reduce heat to low and still whisking, simmer for a minute or so or until it is thick. Sieve the custard into a bowl and slowly whisk in the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Cover with clingwrap and cool for a couple of hours.

Once cooled, transfer to the crust, smooth over, cover and place in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

When you’re almost ready to devour, lightly whisk the double cream with a tablespoon of raw caster sugar until it forms soft peaks. Spoon over the pie, slice and devour.

 

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Aubry Bracco Vin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

No? Exactly – enjoy.

 

 

Aubry Bracco Vin
Serves: 6.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Debbean Wanner Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the tribes merged and Zeke decided it was the perfect time to turn on his two closest allies Andrea and Cirie. Thankfully for the latter two however, Debbie decided it was the perfect time for the tribe to boot Ozzy, leading the charge to send him to the jury.

Back at camp Debbie basked in the afterglow of tribal, confident that her majority were locked in and would not budge. On the other end of the spectrum, Andrea was feeling uneasy about being left out of the loop and lashed out at Zeke for targeting her. This made Zeke feel unease and trapped with the majority, until Sarah pulled him aside and vowed to work together to sway the game.

Uttering lines being drawn for the 700th time in the episode, Sarah pointed out that the tide always comes up and washes them away. I wonder if she knew that Debs did hers in concrete, making it impenetrable?!

Not wanting to be left out of the fun my boy Jeff arrived to preside over a cheeky team reward challenge for a luxury picnic on the beach – which is an oxymoron, I know. Given that there are an uneven number of castaways, someone was left out and thankfully for our viewing pleasure … it was Michaela, who cussed out her competitors and provided sassy commentary while missing the secret advantage hidden until the sit-out bench.

Oh … and the challenge? The teams had to complete an obstacle course over the water which for the first time ever made me wish this were Australian Survivor because there was blurring aplenty as people lost their clothes over the obstacles.

Brad got his team out to a very early lead against Tai – which was no-doubt cemented by Debbie’s expert crawl across the balance beam – which never really went away. To add insult to injury, poor Cirie struggled to make it to the second platform until Sarah joined her to help her finish the course.

After Brad’s team secured victory, Troyzan returned to the game and joined Sarah, Tai and Zeke to help her finish the course. Which she did and then broke down in tears.

I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.

To make my face leaks worse, she then spoke about how she pushed herself to prove to her sons that you should never give up. I’m probs paraphrasing here but the tears distracted my vision.

While Brad, Aubry, Andrea, Debbie and Sierra left to enjoy their reward, Jeff summoned a boat to collect the losers when Sarah spotted the secret advantage that Michaela had been sitting on for the last hour, quickly snatching it for herself and cementing this episode as the Sarah show.

Back at camp the losers continued to win me over by holding a Cirie love fest with Sarah talking about how proud of her she was and Tai telling her that her kids would be proud of her achievements. Softening me and the cunning strategist that is Cirie Fields.

Getting us back into the game, Sarah removed herself from the rest of the tribe to discover her secret advantage was the cursed vote stealer – last used by Stephen Fishbach to boot himself from the game – which she vowed to use correctly.

Meanwhile Civil Air Patrol Captain Debbie Wanner and the rest of the victors enjoyed their flight to the luxury beach picnic which truly did look quite amazing. After Brad gloated about his move to split from his alliance of Sarah and Troyzan in the challenge to ensure they’d be able to keep abreast of what was happening in each location.

Andrea then vocalised her pain about Zeke turning on her for no reason, before Sierra ominously claimed that the game was locked down and she was in control.

Back at camp, Cirie got to work winning Sarah back over to her side as she appealed to her need to change how she played the game and make moves to earn her the win. While Sarah wasn’t convinced it is the right time to make a move, she definitely was ready for it … which doesn’t bode well for confident ol’ Sierra.

Sensing I was struggling with the lack of eye-candy left in the game Jeff returned for a(nother) classic immunity challenge where everyone has to spell immunity with blocks, balanced on a teetering table. Jeff got to work giving Tai sass for not being able to spell immunity – despite English being his second language – which as dear Joe del Campo can attest, is difficult on no food.

Andrea got out to an early lead before dropping her tower, allowing Troyzan to overtake her and take out his first immunity win of the season as blocks of letters rained down at the other end of the course. Sadly though Fiji does not appear to be his island.

With her ally winning immunity Sierra was feeling extremely confident and quickly threw the target on Andrea, which her alliance was all on board with … despite Michaela’s sass potentially moving the target to her back. Despite Debbie trying to get rid of Michaela, Brad – her nemesis from two episodes ago – was able to convince her that Andrea was the biggest threat at the moment.

Given that she was left out of all the discussion with her own alliance, Sarah started to feel nervous and decided that it was potentially time for her to make a move. She approached Zeke and decided they need to work with Andrea to flip the numbers and take out one of the alliance. Sierra then pulled Sarah aside to run the numbers and propose a final three with them and Debbie, making her feel like maybe she shouldn’t make a move.

Debbie continued to be a dominant strategic force and told Aubry to vote Michaela as a secret cover for their Andrea boot. Aubry didn’t love that and took the information straight back to Andrea, Michaela and Sarah and vowed that this is what happened before she booted Debbie the last time and she was too difficult to trust. This obviously made Sarah’s predicament even more confusing.

Wanting to put us out of our misery, they arrived at tribal and  – after a brief reflection on Cirie’s challenge experience – got to work going back and forth between how the numbers would go down. Debbie spoke about how strong the six were while Troy drew eyerolls talking about how people should be grateful to make it to six.

Zeke then argued that the deck of cards reshuffle after every vote, to which Sarah agreed … somehow upsetting Michaela who would benefit from said reshuffle. Which she did, with the votes rolling in between Andrea and Debbie – as she pulled out another prop and starting snacking on popcorn like the sass queen she is – with Sarah flipping on her alliance to send Debbie out of the game as the third member of the jury … again.

Illuminati confirmed?

As you know, Debs is a dear dear friend of mine and we’ve been lucky to be co-workers at 398 of our previous jobs ranging from when we were street mime in Paris, dance teachers in Stars Hollow, ran as part of Ned Kelly’s gang, were tour guides in Bonny Doon, ran a Japanese cat cafe, were nude models/#girlbosses in San Francisco and invented post-its. Needless to say, girl and I are close as fuck.

While Debs was disappointed to be vanquished by Aubry and her over-confidence for a second time, she was thrilled to be reunited with her favourite recurring co-worker in Ponderosa. Though she may have been thrilled to see the Debbean Wanner Salad.

 

 

Earthy, spicy and a little bit fresh … I honestly don’t think there is a meal that could better represent the wild and exciting nature of my dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

Debbean Wanner Salad
Serves: 4 as a main, 6-8 as a side.

Ingredients
400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
400g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400g can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels, cooked and left to drain
½ red onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
½ red capsicum, finely diced
handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup muscovado sugar
½ tsp ground chilli
¼ tsp ground cumin
olive oil
salt and pepper

Method
Combine the beans, corn, onion, celery, capsicum and parsley in a large bowl and toss to combine.

In a large jug, combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, chilli and cumin with a good lug of olive oil and a good whack of salt and pepper. Add to the bowl and toss to combine.

Transfer the salad to the fridge and allow it to rest and absorb the flavours for a couple of hours … then serve and devour.

 

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Calabneh Reynolds

Condiment, Dip, Side, Snack, Survivor: Game Changers – Mamanuca Islands, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, Jeff told us that twenty of the biggest game changers in Survivor history returned including the man who almost died for salt and pepper, the man who was cursed out weekly at redemption island and a man who lost the game but walked away with money from Sia.

Talk about game changers!

Amongst the excitement of their returns, actual legend Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine got off to an aggressive start and silenced many of her doubters by surviving the first two tribal councils … send fellow actual game changers Ciera “BIG MOVEZ, she-voted-out-her-mom” Eastin and Tony Vlachos out of the game as the first and second boots.

Concerned that Malcolm’s return is lessening his standing in my heart, Jiffy Pop didn’t waste time with showing us the post-tribal vibe at the rapidly vanishing Mana and called the tribes out to the beach, acting all coy. Given his subtle hinting, Zeke quickly surmised that a swap was afoot.

With that, three new tribes were formed where Troyzan and J.T. were royally screwed as the solo members of their old tribes on their new tribes. I mean, sure Hali and Caleb were also screwed on new Mana … but they got lucky being classed as game changers in the first place, so I figure it is on their side.

Over on new Nuku, Malcolm and Varner were thrilled to be moving on up to a camp filled with chickens, goats, tools, decorative home furnishings and an easy boot in J.T.

Knowing that he is fucked with a capital fuck-you-Brad Culpepper, J.T. did what any rational person would do in that situation and lured everyone out into the middle of the ocean, swam back to the beach and searched for an idol. I assume the idol was plan B, plan A being that they would just float away and reappear years later. Maybe?

Meanwhile at new Mana, fuck-you-Brad Culpepper answered the question of who up-cycled the excess objects from the marooning and got to work rectifying the lack of camp decor – dare I say it winning me over in the process – while Hali and Caleb proved they’d be terrible at faking orgasms, barely mustering a smile as they talked about how much they preferred their new tribe.

Not falling for it Brad pulled Tai aside to discuss who to get out first where Tai immediately tried to protect his part-time lover Caleb, throwing the target on to Debbie … while Brad continued his growth arc and identified that despite his strength, Caleb needed to be the first to go to break up the Kaôh Rōng four and continue the decimation of OG Mana.

We finally checked in with the new tribe, Tavua, where Zeke was thrilled that Troyzan gave them an easy target while Ozzy decided it was time to put his 115 days playing Survivor to good use and lead the tribe as they started over.

Not feeling as safe as she appeared, Cirie approached Ozzy to make sure the air was still clear from the time she blindsided him 9 years ago. On the flipside, Troyzan was feeling as screwed as he appeared – despite Andrea’s claims that he wasn’t – but thankfully had a tiny shred of luck and found the clue to the hidden immunity idol, which will be tucked under the table at the next immunity challenge.

The next day Sandra and J.T. ironically lead the charge to hunt the goats at new-Nuku – the literal ones, not the ones they wrangled on their way to their victories. J.T. and Malcolm quickly caught the cutest baby goat of all time and then its mother who couldn’t bare to leave its child. Despite Sandra’s desperate pleas to the otherwise, the tribe quickly realised that causing the Fijian version of Bambi was brutal and let them both go and agreed to kill one of Tai’s ex-chickens.

Hopefully not Monica.

Also, swoon Malcolm, swoon. That kind heart!

Almost like my lust for Malcolm manifests him, Jiffy Pop reappeared for the first threeway immunity challenge of the season. In addition to immunity, they were also playing for comfort or seasoning … so you know Caleb is going to go all out in this one.

Nuku got out to a quick lead, followed closely by Tavua. Despite catching up on the see-saw obstacle which broke Missy’s ankle in season 29 – talk about a game changing moment – Mana sadly continued their losing streak … now with new castaways!

Back at camp, Debbie and Tai pulled Sierra aside to discuss the vote where Tai continued his lack-of-understanding playing style and pointed out that he was very close with Caleb … very close. Conversely Sierra went for the play-it-with-half-a-brain, pointed out that she wasn’t close with Hali, despite playing together on Worlds Apart.

Which strategy will work in the long run?!

Brad continued his redemption edit, pulled Tai aside and seemed to convince Tai that voting out his closest ally and friend was the smartest move, leading to poor Tai feeling extremely confused as he arrived at tribal.

Jeff quickly got to work addressing the Kaôh Rōng elephant in the room where Debbie tried to distance herself from them, Tai was Tai and Caleb also tried to distance himself and point out they had a week in their original tribes and that loyalty may have taken over.

It quickly turned into the low-rent version of Tony vs. Sandra as Hali and Caleb started to throw the shade, Hali pointing out that she had less options in the tribe and wasn’t a threat, Caleb played up his athletic ability and said Hali was easy to manipulate as the game goes on … which is a good thing. Hali came out of her shell – a little bit – and threw it back in his face saying that his strong headedness and athletic ability makes him a threat.

Brad played the middle and said they both bring value to the tribe, Tai got game and said that he is taking a big picture approach and isn’t focussed on just the next challenge, Caleb mentioned Hali having relationships from OG Mana while he had none while Hali denied it and said she is looking to make relationships to carry her into the next stage of the game.

Yep – it was as confusing as always as they went to vote. Sadly for Caleb, his relationships on the current tribe were seen to be too threatening as he found his way out of the game on day nine … again. To semi-quote Abi-Maria, at least you didn’t almost die?

As you know, I’ve been friends with Caleb for years after he attended one of my USO shows so he was thrilled to be able to catch-up at Loser Lodge this time rather than hospital. I mean sure, he was disappointed to finally have his torch snuffed for the first time but he was thrilled to get a big old glob of my Calabneh Reynolds.

 

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that cheese is the greatest thing to happen, ever. And this is probably the easiest one you could make. Creamy, soft and delicate, it is the perfect accompaniment to a platter, toast or just eaten with a spoon.

Enjoy!

 

 

Calabneh Reynolds
Serves: 1 first time torch snuffee … or 4-6?

Ingredients
½ tsp kosher salt
500ml Greek yoghurt
olive oil, to drizzle
zest of a lemon, optional
½ tsp chilli flakes, optional

Method
Line a sieve with a couple of layers of moist – fuck I love the word moist – cheesecloth, leaving enough overhanging to cover later.

Combine the salt and yoghurt, transfer to the lined sieve and cover with the extra cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a bowl and allow to rest/drain in the fridge overnight to 24 hours. The longer the whey drains, the thicker the cheese.

When ready to serve, transfer to a bowl and drizzle with oil, zest and chilli … the latter two being optional, though highly recommended.

Devour.

 

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Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly

Dessert, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, Sweets

Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!!

Yes, the secret – which I’ve surprisingly kept for the last twelve months after stealing the urn from Probst and counting the votes – is finally out and my dear friend and ex-colleague Michele Fitzgerald has officially been crowned the Sole Survivor of Kaoh Rong: Near-Death Island.

I first connected with Mich a couple of years back when we were both tending bar in Jersey where we bonded over our mutual love of Harry Potter. While I eventually left the bar to work as the Giudice’s financial advisor, our experiences did inspire me to travel back in time and write the screenplay to the hit 80s film Cocktail.

Poor Mich’s win has been quite polarising – hell, even I’m still debating whether Aubry was robbed of the title – but the fact of the matter is, she gave a strong final tribal council performance and won the vote. Convincingly.

Thanks to what people are calling a jury full of people that are helly-jelly of Aubry’s game, Michele was able to articulate her impressive, low-key game and convince them she was deserving of the title. In honour of the haters, I had to make her a Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly.

 

michelderflower-raspberry-fitzjelly-1

 

Haters are gonna hate … unless you serve them up this floral, tart and delightful dessert. While I will always be team Aubry – in honour of our dark curls, cool glasses and nerd behaviour – Mich played a hard, subtle game and her skill at connecting with others and making moves when she needed to was underestimated by us at home.

Congratulations Michele – while Aubry was also a deserving candidate, you completely earned your win. Enjoy your victory jelly!

 

michelderflower-raspberry-fitzjelly-2

 

Michelderflower and Raspberry Fitzjelly
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
150ml elderflower cordial
250ml water
100ml vodka
5 leaves gelatine
125g fresh raspberries

Method
Combine the cordial, water and vodka in a large jug.

Break the gelatine up into pieces in a heatproof bowl, covering with a dash of the liquid and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes. If needed, place the bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water and stir until completely dissolved.

While the gelatine is soaking, rinse the raspberries.

Pour the gelatine liquid into the jug and stir to combine. Half-fill whatever you’re using as a mould – I went with margarita  glasses as this is a victory dessert and I’m not an animal – dot a couple of raspberries in each and place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours. Leave the remaining mixture at room temperature.

Repeat the process with the liquid and fruit, and return to the fridge to set for a further few hours.

Devour in honour of our reigned champ – well done Mich!

 

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Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto

Main, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

It pains me to say this … absolutely pains me, the runner-up / first loser of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, is the undisputed queen of the island Aubry Bracco.

While I agree that Michele earned her win, laying low and moving when she needed to, building relationships and winning some well-timed challenges – Aubry was the dominant force of the season, reading the situation perfectly and dictating the votes at every tribal she attended.

Thankfully – and I use that term loosely – losing Neal didn’t impact on her placement, so I guess it makes it easier to accept.

Well, easier to accept than the O.J. verdict at the very least.

I’ve long been friends with Aubs, having attended Brown University together with Summer Roberts where we connected over her love of drawing with crayons and my love of finger painting.

While I returned to Australia (following one of my deportations), we stayed in close contact throughout the years via our passion for social media.

Aubs was feeling defeated when she made it to Ponderosa after reading the vibe of the jury and knowing that she’d have to wait an entire year for her second place cheque. Thankfully I had a nice big bowl of my Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto, as a chaser to my warm embrace of course.

 

aubrie-mushroom-bracotto-1

 

Like Aubs’ run in the game, the risotto packs a punch and overcomes some strong flavours to result in a smooth, delicate dish that is fit for a winner.

The winner that should’ve been – enjoy!

 

aubrie-mushroom-bracotto-2

 

Aubrie and Mushroom Bracotto
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
60g unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 ⅓ cups arborio rice
100ml white wine
3 cups chicken stock, warm
100ml pure cream
300g mushrooms
150g brie, torn into pieces

Method
Heat the oil and half the butter in a pan over medium-low heat.

Add the onions, garlic, chilli and half the rosemary, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and sweet.

Add the rice and stir to coat the grains before adding the wine. Stir and simmer for a minute, or until evaporated. Mix in the stock, a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed completely before adding the next. Continue cooking, while stirring, for about 15 minutes before adding in the cream and cooking for a further minute. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a skillet over high heat and cook the mushrooms and remaining rosemary until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season.

Add the mushrooms to the risotto, stir to combine and serve immediately, topping generously with pieces of brie.

 

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Mai Tai Trang

Drink, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

After Cyd went out in, well technically without, flames, we returned to camp – after spending a bit of time with Cyd’s buff mum – where Aubry discussed her ability to pull it out and Michele was concerned about Tai’s decision to save Aubry and what that means to her potential victory.

Echoing the audience at home, Tai questioned whether it was a final two or a three given Probst’s cryptic wording.

Ultimately though it was classic Probst just being classic, as a new twist was unleashed where the final three competed for the right to vote out a juror. After a tight race, Michele continued her low-key – is that her motto? – string of challenge wins and after hearing Aubry and Tai’s compelling arguments, sent a guaranteed and persuasive Aubry voter, Neal, packing.

Ultimately though, it didn’t impacted the outcome as my dear friend Tai continued in the hallowed tradition of Becky Lee by getting zero votes at final tribal council.

I first connected with Tai while staging my own one-man, zero audience, independent adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in San Fran’s Golden Gate Park. Given his gentle, loving spirit Tai would offer me support as he went about his job. You could argue that his kindness is responsible for my excessive, irritating self-confidence.

Tai was upset after final tribal, not because he lost but because he had just said goodbye to his dear friend and surrogate son #MarkTheChicken. After assuring him that he should be proud of his game – and that I had no chicken recipes for the top two – he started to perk back up.

My miracle, liquid elixir – which is just butt-loads of alcohol, dressed up with tropical mixers – may have had something to do with that though. Either way, my Mai Tai Trang was just what doc-Tai ordered.

 

mai-tai-trang-1

 

I was very depressed by the lack of audience for my performance back in San Fran, which resulted in my downing a morning mai tai to give me the courage to continue with my dreams. After connecting with Tai, I started to double the batch as a way to say thank you … for being a friend.

Give the light, fresh flavours and a good whack of booze, it is also the perfect way to down your sorrows after snagging no final tribal council votes.

Enjoy.

 

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Mai Tai Trang
Serves: 1-2, depending on the mood.

Ingredients
60ml spiced rum
25ml freshly squeezed lime juice
20ml orange curacao
10ml orgeat
crushed ice
mint sprig, to garnish … or if you forgot, a lime wedge

Method
Combine all liquid in a cocktail shaker, shake.

Place some crushed ice in the base of a glass, top with the booze, garnish with mint … or the aforementioned lime wedge and wash away your sorrows.

 

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Cydney Goujons

Main, Poultry, Snack, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Previously on Survivor Darnell crapped, Jen had worms whispering in her ear, Liz the robot malfunctioned, Caleb almost died, Alecia was bullied, Anna was screwed by the swap, Peter was screwed by his smarm, Neal almost died, Nick was a pretty girl, Debbie worked hard, Scot was nah-bro’d, Julia was run over in the middle of the road, Sargsonyle was vanquished and Joe ate too much meat … and almost died.

And then there was four … well five including the breakout star of the season #MarkTheChicken.

We opened with Tai and Aubry planning how to reclaim the numbers after Joe’s bowels had a beef with him, before Probsty’s took us straight to a reward challenge where Aubry’s underrated stint as challenge beast finally resulted in an individual win. Knowing that she needed to woo (not him) Cyd back to their side, Aubry chose to share her reward with Cyd and give them better odds of beating Michele in the next immunity challenge.

That or she was hoping a steak would take Cyd out for her like Joe?

But best laid plans, amirite? Cyd didn’t OD on satay and Michele ruined their plans by winning immunity.

There was discussion back at camp as Cyd and Michele tried to turn Tai on Aubry but surprisingly, Tai stuck with his ally and forced a taitie between the girls, and let their fire making skills make the final choice.

Despite getting a few of Alecia’s leftover embryos, Cyd was never able to have a flame take off, sending her to the jury and ending her dreams of paying off her parents mortgage (and breaking hearts across the globe in the process).

Well except Sia’s, I guess as she didn’t give her a cheque. Boo.

Obviously I am a close friend of Cyd’s, having met on the bodybuilding circuit a few years ago. Despite the fact that she refused my steroid regime – if only Crystal Cox had don’t the same – and I was eventually banned from the sport because of my roid abuse (and rage), Cydney stuck by me like the kind spirit that she is.

Cyd was heartbroken (and breaking) as she made her way into Ponderosa and ran straight into my comforting arms. While the first cut is said to be the deepest (or is that the Vytas), I almost feel it is worse to go out just before the finals (ask Wentworth). To come so far and get cut just before having the opportunity to plead your case to the jury is something that only your fourth place prize money / a loving meal can fix.

Given the scandal that came from feeding Joe meat in a spicy liquid, I wanted to give Cyd something soothing, comforting and delicious, with a bit of a kick, to get her in the best headspace before making a million dollar decision. While yes, they are spicy, my Cydney Goujons certainly fit the bill!

 

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There is nothing better than a spicy chicken (not Mark) goujon. I mean, moist chicken with a kick of spice wrapped up in a crunchy coating – perfection. Plus it is gluten free, so less inflammatory meaning it is comforting and sensitive … in light of Mr Joe’s issues.

Enjoy!

 

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Cydney Goujons
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli
½ tsp smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ tsp celery salt
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp parsley
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
pepper
1 cup almond meal
1 egg, whisked with a bit of milk
500g chicken breast, sliced into thick strips … that look like goujons

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Combine the herbs, spices and almond meal in a large shallow bowl with a good whack of pepper. Whisk the egg in a second shallow bowl.

Dip a strip of chicken into the egg, drain and place it into the spice mix, flipping to coat. Place on the baking sheet. And then, this may come as a shock, repeat the process until all the chicken is done. You can drizzle them with olive oil, but Cyd and I are health conscious / I don’t feel they need it.

Place the chicken in the oven and bake until crisp and golden, or about 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

Devour with a plate of steamed veggies … or a massive vat of mash, depending on whether you’re a Cyd or a Ben.

 

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Joe Del Campho

Main, Soup, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Yeah, yeah – previously on Survivor, Jason couldn’t pull off the impossible and was sent to Ponderosa despite everyone in the alliance trying to turn on each other. But this episode, seriously? Again! Another freaking medevac!?

Poor little Joey, Joe-Joe aka Rudy 2.0 found himself experiencing some severe #GastrointestinalDistress and was swiftly pulled from the game in fifth place. Confirming to Tai that, despite his fears, he goes home with his idol in his pocket.

Game, set, match editors – well played!

Anyway, let’s rewind. We got back to camp and again Joe spoke, before Michelle and Tai butted heads over Tai’s late-game villain turn after he once again flipped on his alliance for the third time.

We then headed straight to reward where Joe shocked everyone and won the reward, proving that slow and steady wins the race, and ended his anti-Anglim streak in the process.

Damn straight he #GetsItDoneAt71!

I first connected with Joe about four decades ago when we worked for the FBI together. Joe is an absolute gentleman and acted like a mentor to me, despite my questionable relationship with the law.

We stayed close throughout the years – despite my many scandals, arrests and stints in rehab – and Joe has remained a constant in my life and has always tried to help me be the best version of me. Could you imagine how bad I would have been without him?

Anyway, poor little Joe overindulged in the delicious meat at his Hef reward, despite not being a big meat guy, and sadly that was his downfall.

We heard all about Cydney upping her game (by downplaying the fact that she could literally crush everyone left in the game), Joe, Cyd and Aubry formed a final three alliance, Tai and Michelle joined forces, Aubry and Tai reconnected while Michelle and Cydney solidified their bond … all for nothing after Joe was done in, I assume, by an extreme case of meat sweats!

Having zero respect for the fact that he was just medically evacuated for stomach issues – and the fact that he is 71, to boot – I decided to go with a (potentially) digestively aggressive Joe Del Campho to welcome him to post-hospital Ponderosa.

 

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In my defense, pho was Joe and my go to meal after cracking a case / defeating the bad-guys / whatever it is we did in the FBI back in the day (I was way too high to remember those days) – it was to us, what shawarma is to the avengers, you know?

So yeah, onion, par cooked-meat and chilli isn’t a good thing on paper – but it was the ultimate comfort food for my dear old friend. Despite that, the fresh flavours, delicately cooked meat and the kick of heat and lime work together to bring you a pho that dances in your mouth.

Plus, ginger is good for you … so there is that, right? Enjoy!

 

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Joe Del Campho
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
5 cups beef stock
3cm piece ginger, finely grated
2 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
cinnamon quill
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
dried pho noodles, softened in boiling water for a couple of minutes
250g beef sirloin, finely sliced across the grain
1 onion, finely sliced
4 shallots, green part only, finely sliced
⅓ cup chopped coriander
black pepper
lime wedges, to serve
sliced chillies, to serve
Thai basil leaves, to serve
bean sprouts, to serve
sriracha sauce

Method
Place stock, ginger, spices, fish sauce, soy sauce and 2 cups of cold water in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Place a handful of pho noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to rest until cooked through or about fifteen minutes, drain and leave to rest.

Thinly slice the steak – it helps if you freeze it for about 20 minutes before.

Remove the spices from the stock mixture with a slotted spoon.

To serve, place pho noodles in the bottom of a bowl, layer the raw steak and onion over the top and cover generously with the piping hot stock. Season generously and sprinkle on some coriander.

To eat, season to taste with lime juice and chilli and add in some basil and sprouts. As I like heat and disregard Joe’s health, I topped it up generously with some sriracha.

The heat may have got things moving?

 

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Kyle Jasonion Soup

Main, Soup, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

Previously on Survivor, everything was going fantaistically for Mark’s best friend and Aubry and Cydney rejoiced over wine (who wouldn’t), before Sargsonlye survived another tribal council as they sent my dear, sweet protege Julia to Ponderosa.

After tribal, Michelle and Sargsonyle were feeling on the outs and a miracle occurred – Rudy 2.0 finally had a speaking role.

And what an absolute dream it was!

Sargsonyle – who we learnt at tribal (not to get ahead of myself) went by Jason, despite his name being Kyle and his nickname being Sarg – was very upset that nobody was playing the game (stealing Ciera’s script from last season) to which Rudy 2.0 / old Joe explained that not playing the way he wanted, didn’t mean that people weren’t playing.

Yas, queen!

After dropping truth bombs we went to a reward challenge – it involved trios playing with balls until they slipped into holes, so you know Probst was thrilled – where Joe, despite being mega chatty, continued his hallowed anti-Anglim spree.

While J, Tai and Mich were away on reward, Joe continued to dominate the screen time, getting the girls in on the wood collecting action like an older version of Butch from The Amazon. Pissing off Cydney in the process.

Then Tai wanted Michelle out, and Michelle decided it was time to finally cut Jason while Jason also wanted Joe gone and Cydney decided that Tai should be voted out for dictating a potential Michelle boot.

By the time we made it to Tribal with immunity around Cydney’s neck, it was anyone’s game. Despite Tai using his extra vote against Michelle, it was poor, tough, aggressive Jason that made his way to jury.

I first connected with Jason when we worked together a few years back in Michigan. He was one of the best bounty hunters in southeast Michigan, I was the best (encouraging the character of Horse Renoir in the process). As crushing as that was for him, he never held it against me and looked to me for guidance.

We lost contact after I committed a whole bunch of fraud and ended up as one of his bounties, so it was quite awkward to see him in Ponderosa. Thankfully I had my Kyle Jasonion Soup to use as a distraction (slash weapon, if needed – soup be hot ya’ll).

 

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My earliest experience with french onion soup was not a pleasant one. Remember that 90s dip your mum used to make with the powder soup mix and sour cream? No, just me. It was delicious, Kraft Onion and Bacon Dip delicious and that is terrifying, embarrassing and fills me with culinary shame. Yes I would still eat both of them with a spoon, but I shouldn’t love something like them.

Pretty much what 90% of Hollywood says about me, I guess.

Once you’ve had legit onion soup however, you will both forget about the powder dip and your shame. The sweet caramelised onions mixed with the freshness of the sage and sharp bubbling cheese truly warms your soul. And considering it is soup, it also heats you up.

Perfect for the Kaoh Rong heat – enjoy!

 

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Kyle Jasonion Soup
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
30g butter
olive oil
4 red onions, peeled and chopped
4 large white onions, peeled and chopped
3 shallots, peeled and sliced
200g leeks, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
20 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped, reserving a couple to garnish
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 litres vegetable stock
½ loaf of stale(ish) sourdough, thickly sliced
Handful of grated vintage cheddar cheese
Worcestershire sauce, for seasoning

Method
Heat the butter and oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onions, shallots, leeks, sage and leek aka everything solid, season well and give a good stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover leaving the lid slightly ajar and sweat, stirring occasionally, until soft and sweet – about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

When the onion menagerie are slimy, sweet and sexy, remove the lid, add the stock, increase the heat and bring to the boil. When boiling like Tribal Council tension, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Yes, this takes a while to cook but don’t rush it. I mean, 32 days is longer so don’t even complain to Jace!

While simmering, toast the bread, top it with a generous layer of cheddar and a reserved sage leave, and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.

When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavour.

When everything is hot and ready – like me in Skarsy boudoir – ladle the soup into bowls and top with the cheese toasts and a drizzle of worcestershire.

Devour … avoiding burning your throat in the process. Being soup, that is definitely a challenge.

 

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