Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza

Main, Pizza, Poultry, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Matty boy took us all the way back to when they were marooning 18 Kiwi castaways on an island half way between Thailand and Myanmar where Dave saw Matt one of his best mates from school. Chani went on a losing streak, seeing Jose, Karla and Frankie exit the game back to back to back, the latter because she got too paranoid about Eve owning the hidden immunity idol. Last week Arun and Josh formed an alliance at the Outpost before Khangkhaw threw the challenge and – gag of the season – kept Dylan and booted Kaysha from the game … without looping Tara or Lisa in.

As such you just know a swap is afoot, no?

Back at Khangkhaw Dylan was still trying to process the fact he was still in the game and awkwardly tried to find anyone to talk to. On the flipside Matt was thrilled that his plan when off without a hitch because as much as he liked Kaysha, he knew she was more threatening and therefore needed to go. Sassy Dylan gave everyone a chance to verbalise any of their issues with him after tribal, with Tara offended that he threw her name out there while also being frustrated by being left out of the vote. Sooooo … hopeful she is feeling nice and scorned just ahead of that swap.

Chani awoke the next day, still appearing blissed out after avoiding tribal. Liam in particular is riding high, pottering around camp and making it feel more like home. Eve too enjoyed the time off, though was still worried about the fact everyone knows about her idol and that target could definitely come back to hurt her. Meanwhile Tess and Tara were enjoying fishing while Brad and Zadam chatted about Dylan being an outsider while the poor guy sat by himself and wished for that swap knowing he’ll be booted without one.

As such Matty Chis re-appeared for the reward challenge where Chani were shocked to see that Kaysha was booted before Matty finally acknowledged the horrific vagicide … AND THE FACT IT IS TIME FOR A TRIBE SWAP! What a damn surprise?! While it was telegraphed for the first fifteen minutes, let’s focus on the fact the had to body paint their way to divide into their tribes and that may get us some male skin. Wait, no – no one did an Ozzy. Anyway, new Khangkhaw was made up of Eve, Tess, Lisa, JT, Liam, Brad and Tara while Renee was the sole female on Chani with Dylan, Dave, Matt, Josh, Adam and Arun. Which Josh and Arun were thrilled about since they made an alliance on the outpost and Matt and Dave since they were best friends in school.

Anyway, we’ve got a reward to deal with which saw two members of each tribe forced to hold a pole on a platform, then get spun around as someone else grabs a rope off the base and runs it back to the start. They each then have to walk over a balance beam – dizzy as hell – and then join their tribe in getting between two points without touching the ground. Like the iconic time Sierra Dawn-Thomas lead her team to victory in Worlds Apart via barrel rolling. Given it was for comfort, peanut butter and flour though, it is well worth it.

Liam and Dave were neck and neck spinning Tess and Matt around super fast, so fast in fact, that the pole snapped right off Tess’s disc and flung her into the ground and appeared to break her neck. As is oft the case in Survivor NZ, the medics were called and while she looked concussed, paralysed and her buff flew clear off her head when she rag-dolled, she was given the all clear and allowed to continue. Sadly the same could not be said for the disc portion of the challenge, with it axed and the tribes minus Tess and Adam forced to work on the second portion of the challenge. While new Chani got out to an early lead Khangkhaw closed the gap and snatched victory for their tribe, giving Tess a pillow to lay her concussed head on.

We followed new Khangkhaw back to camp where Chani were thrilled to see what island luxury looks like, and JT excited to idol out one of the OGs. The knock to Tess’ head seemed to make her kinder to outsiders, telling Eve, JT and Liam that she was thrilled to have them in her life. On the flipside, Liam was hella nervous despite being the most useful and least threatening member of the ex-Chanis. Though given Eve left the damn idol back at Chani, maybe he is right to feel nervous. Meanwhile new Chani arrived at their camp where literally only Dylan seemed excited, since he is now the swing vote and their appears to be more food. Dave ran away from his tribe to snatch Eve’s idol before anyone noticed, before Josh shard how nervous he was despite having multiple connections and being physical. Arun being Arun offered to grab everyone water, before Dylan latched straight on to him, spilled the tea and all but signed his life over to Chani.

Matt Chis that cheeky devil called Eve away from camp to see a medic despite feeling fine … because he was dropping her idol off thanks to Dave. And by dropping off, giving her the option to gift it to someone back at new Chani or keep it for herself. Which she obviously kept for herself because she isn’t stupid.

New Chani sang Dave happy birthday before he and Matt found themselves a quiet spot to reconnect, which isn’t as good as it sounds. Instead of the fan-fic running through my head, Matt spilled all the Khangkhaw tea to Dave and then shared that he thinks he saw JT grab the idol at the challenge. Which he didn’t, but well played Matt. Meanwhile Brad was feeling confident in his place in the tribe, thinking he’d easily be able to get Tara and Lisa back on side. Well, until the ex-Chani members wanted to hear the post-tribal goss which only highlighted the fact they were left right out. As such, Brad pulled Lisa aside to make sure they were still tight and then locked in JT as the boot, should they lose the next challenge. Tara and Tess then caught up with Tara deciding it was important to stick together, despite not really trusting them. Lisa pulled Liam aside to see if he was ok, sensing he was upset about the tribe swap. They then bonded by the fire and had a chat, though it didn’t appear to touch on gameplay. But I ship the shit out of them.

The first immunity challenge as new tribes rolled around where Khangkhaw spoke about their glorious camp, while poor Chani could only counter that their camp was flat. That says it all, really. Anyway, two at a time people swam out to a suspended cage to release fish traps holding puzzle pieces. Chani got out to a huge lead thanks to Adam and Matt which Arun and Dave maintained despite Lisa and Liam’s best attempts. Brad and Tara continued to close the gap for Khangkhaw, though they were no match for Renee and Josh handing Dylan a handy lead on the puzzle over JT. Which he put to good use as her secured immunity for Chani and TBH, saved himself from certain doom.

We followed Chani back to camp with Dylan thrilled to have secured victory for the tribe, pissing off Adam who felt it was a lucky victory and it all came down to the lead they gave him. Side note: just fuck already, because the tension is making Dylan the good guy. The sexual tension was cut by the speculation about who would get the boot with Arun hoping for a big Khangkhaw name, with them agreeing that it depends on whether they’re playing a long game or a short game. And that booting Brad would mean certain doom for them.

Back at Khangkhaw Liam was concerned about their survival while JT tried to make inroads with Lisa. Brad and Tess and hooked up to look in a plan, concerned that JT has an idol – thanks to Matt’s bad intel. Liam started scrambling, approaching Brad to see if there are any cracks in the alliance before Brad hinted that they think JT has an idol, and as such Liam or Eve are in danger. Liam briefly considered flipping to Khangkhaw  but was too damn kind, so instead headed back to JT and Eve to share that they know about the idol giving them the idea to pretend JT does have the idol and attract the votes to Eve or Liam to give them a better chance of playing it correctly. As a back-up Eve and Liam approached Tess, who also didn’t give anything away making them unsure of who to play the idol on.

At tribal council Matt quickly got everyone to admit that despite becoming a new tribe, they were still split right down the middle. Tara defended themselves by saying that while they wouldn’t like that, when you don’t know them you can only base your decisions on numbers. JT tried to pretend he was lying about not having an idol which Tess and Brad fell for hook, line and sinker, before Lisa threw out a reference to being honourable to distract from her killer game thus far and JT said that he has always done what he said he would at tribal. Which TBH, is way to vague to save himself just before they headed off to vote. Thankfully for him though, Eve opted to play her idol for herself and his bluffing worked as poor, sweet Liam was voted from the game.

Given he is such a positive, delight, Liam wasn’t too annoyed to be the first victim of the swap – maybe he was proud to end the vagicide? – and instead focused on the fact he stayed true to himself the entire game and managed to make some wonderful friends. He was so damn nice and chill, it made me feel even worse when I pulled out my Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza and explained he was only booted because of my culinary curse.

 

 

Despite my pizza curse claiming its latest victim, it is hard to hold an ongoing grudge when they taste this good (or are as chill and kind as Liam). The spicy satay, the earthy gloriousness of broccoli and cashew and the sweetness of capsicum and onion … there is nothing more to say than dis good. Dis, real good.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken, Brocolliam and Snosepeas Pizza
Serves: 2.

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
2 chicken breasts, diced
½ – 1 cup satay sauce
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
1 onion, sliced
½ red capsicum, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
a small handful of snow peas, top, tailed and cut into 1cm slices
⅓ cup cashews, roughly chopped
mozzarella, to taste … though you’d be mad not to drown it

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place a frying pan over medium heat and cook the chicken for a couple of minutes, or until starting to brown. Add the satay sauce and cook for a further couple of minutes, or until cooked through and the sauce has started to thicken.

Smear passata over the bases and sprinkle with the herbs. Heap on the onion, capsicum, chicken, broccoli, snowpeas and cashews, and drown with mozzarella.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, wallowing in the sadness that pizza is now my Reality TV kiss of death. My sincere apologies Steph, Brendan, Steph and Karla.

 

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Kaytshu Whakaurrau

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

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Chani broke their losing streak – and Liam, a fence – snatching a much needed reward of fishing gear. Sadly said gear included a clue to the hidden immunity idol, which Eve stupidly shared with the entire tribe before ultimately grabbing it for herself. And insighting idol envy amongst her fellow castaways. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw poor Dylan continued to be left right out, though thankfully for him, Chani went back to losing and returned to tribal where Franky and Eve’s idol war resulted in Franky’s blindside.

Back at camp Chani went through the usual motions of being dejected following the loss of a member, none more so than Renee who felt bad about how kind she was on the way out the door. Oh, and she felt super concerned about the boys club ruling the tribe. Thankfully Dave was also disappointed by the outcome, so there just might be hope for her yet. Things were looking up slightly the next day as Liam, Renee, Eve and Dave joined together to brush their teeth using charcoal. Renee then continued to boost spirits, cooking up a delicious snack out of the rice.

Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw Dylan acknowledged that despite living the Survivor dream so far, he is under no delusion that he will go when they go to tribal. To confirm this, Adam ran us through the many faces of Dylan and really highlighted the fact that they aren’t friends. In turn Dylan confirmed that he has noticed that Adam hates him and I’ve just realised that they need to make out and cut the sexual tension. On camera, preferably. In any event, he has Kaysha on his side … though sadly not Lisa and fellow outcast Tara, as they’re less concerned about taking out the ‘jocks’ and more concerned about joining Josh and the zaddies to throw the challenge and finally get some freedom from the gloom.

Matty arrived for this week’s reward challenge where Sassy Dylan – as predicted by Adam – arrived to shade Chani for being sexist before Matt shared that they’d be competing in a muddy sumo challenge for drinking chocolate and biccies, aka smoko. Which TBH, I would love in the 40C heat. Josh – zaddy – made quick work of JT, as did Renee over Tess and Arun over Dylan. Out of nowhere Adam destroyed Dave, followed by Kaysha annihilating Eve before Liam and Matt battled it out and made me wish this challenge had more skin because it was glorious. Before my mind could wander too far, Josh beat Dave, Tess dominated Eve, Arun took one back over Matt, Liam beat Dylan, Kaysha beat Renee, Adam destroyed JT, Liam beat Dylan again and Kaysha bested Renee again before Josh secured victory for Khangkhaw against all odds over Arun.

The victorious Khangkhaw returned to camp and made quick work of the biscuits with Brad and Matt practically creaming their shorts thinking about how good they were. Meanwhile over at Chani everyone was feeling sad about missing out on said biscuits, though vowed that winning immunity is what matters and they need fight. Particularly Renee who feels way down the bottom and doesn’t feel like she has anyone that she can trust.

The next day we joined Kaysha who ran us through the alliances of Khangkhaw which seems eerily like they may be losing immunity. While she was concerned about Brad and Josh’s bromance, it is Tess and Adam that concern her. Feeling like Matt is on the bottom of the five-person alliance, she pulled him aside to continue building their relationship in the hope that she was parlay that into an alliance. That party was put on hold when Brad returned to camp to announce this week’s draw for a visit to The Outpost. Despite insinuating that Kaysha was rigging the draw, Josh pulled the short straw from Khangkhaw while JT did rig it for Arun to go for Chani.

The boys arrived at The Outpost to discover that this week’s visit didn’t come with a challenge and instead issued them a dilemma. They would each select one person from their tribe to not to attend the immunity challenge which in turn, would make them immune should their tribe lose. Josh and Arun then started talking with Arun making quick work of finding out what was going on at Khangkhaw and trying to form an alliance with Josh for down the track. Going one step further, Josh they identified everyone he wants to boot on Khangkhaw, while Arun stayed mum and tried to throw him off the scent. With the excitement out of the way, Josh suggested they both sit themselves out of the challenge with Josh following through and taking himself out, while Arun decided to stick with strength and sit Eve out.

Arun returned to camp and proceeded to share the dilemma with the rest of Chani, throwing Josh under the bus for taking himself out and telling Eve that she would be left out of the challenge … and would be immune should they lose. While Renee felt even worse about her place, Arun reiterated that Josh seemed not to care whether they win or lose and he felt they were going to throw it. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw Josh shared that he was resting himself, filling his alliance with glee and making Kaysha realise just how little she meant to the rest of the tribe.

Everyone but Eve and Josh arrived for this week’s elaborate immunity challenge where the tribes were required to run an obstacle course while tethered together to grab balls. Once they had collected all their balls, they were to then use said balls and the chains from their legs to form bolas which they would use to toss at a ladder for victory. Chani got out to a huge lead, though it kind of seemed like Tess wasn’t hiding the fact she was throwing it, so it isn’t much of a surprise. Khangkhaw caught up at the first obstacle where they focused on hindering Chani’s progress. Sadly it was all for nought as they escaped the obstacle and managed to collect all the balls from the second obstacle before Khangkhaw arrived allowing Arun to snag his three bolas before Brad even had a chance to start tossing. Handing Chani their first victory.

Tess was feeling responsible for the loss, which she was, though her mild sadness didn’t fool Kaysha who was livid that she threw the challenge. While she desperately wanted her gone, she knew she didn’t have the numbers so was just hopeful she could flush her potential idol. Adam and Tess caught up to run the numbers with Tess starting to freak out while Adam tried to calm her down and assure her that worst case, they will play the idol to protect her. Meanwhile Dylan tried to do anything to survive just another day, approaching Josh to save him on account of being a superfan which truly is the worst thing you could try and sell. Brad joined Tess and Adam to lock in their vote for Dylan, while Kaysha and Dylan were hoping to convince everyone that he has an idol to force them to split the vote and muster up enough votes to take out Adam. Kaysha joined Matt, Brad and Tara to float the idea of a contingency plan in case Dylan plays his imaginary idol, slowly working them around to targeting Adam which they all appeared to agree with despite saying they couldn’t trust her. While Kaysha went to comfort Dylan, Brad took the plan to Lisa and then assured her that it wouldn’t happen and to still vote Dylan. Which works for her because she is an icon and getting rid of him bring some calm to camp which will allow her to continue laying low.

At tribal council Matt acknowledged their shock to finally arrive at tribal while Lisa said she’d rather not be ticking this off her Survivor bucket list. Dylan was quick to verbalise the fact that he is royally screwed and went in on the tribe for pretending they have been playing the game since day one. Adam mentioned he felt the tribe had one bad egg, whilst not actually saying it was Dylan whom he was sitting next to. This lead to an iconic moment, where Dylan turned to share everything he hated about Adam followed by Adam telling Dylan just why he hated him. In my head, they then made out and it was angry and sensual. Instead Adam shared that Dylan has been trying to get rid Tara, Tess and/or Brad, everyone, since day one. Adam then called him a snake, which Matty Chis shared that that is kind of the point. Adam quickly pointed out that he needs to be smarter about it, thats all and that he is playing the game too.

Lisa joined the fray saying she felt it was just 18 years of super-fandoming exploding in ten days and it may be too much for Dylan to overcome. Kaysha jumped in and broke down about how Dylan was being attacked before acknowledging that she too was feeling nervous. Sadly said nerves were well placed as the tight-five or whatever they’re calling themselves turned on her and sent her from the game as the fourth boot, much to the shock and horror of Dylan.

I was still struggling to comprehend what I was watching via the little camera feed Matt patches me from tribal when she arrived at Loser Lodge. I mean, sure, I should be used to losing one of the strong women based on the way things are going this season … but damn, that was a blindside yo. I continued talking like this for a good hour or so before I realised that Kaysha too was struggling to comprehend what just happened. While she was upset to lose the game, she is such a sweetheart that she couldn’t hold it against any of her tribemates. Though she definitely wanted Dylan to prevail in the battle, somehow. In any event, we were both so sad that we needed something hella comforting which led to us smashing a couple of bowls of Kaytshu Whakaurrau.

 

 

Rich creamy curry heaped over fresh, crispy katsu chicken and served on a bed of the fluffiest rice possible. What is there not to love? That, my friends, is comfort food.

Enjoy!

 

 

Kaytshu Whakaurrau
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2-3 chicken breasts
½ cup flour
salt and pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tbsp milk
olive oil spray
vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
500g chicken thighs, roughly diced
2 carrots, cut into rounds
1 potato, finely diced
¼ cup flour
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp ketchup
1 cup long grain rice
pickled daikon, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Beat the chicken breasts using the back of a frying pan until they’re roughly 1cm thick. Combine the flour and a good whack of salt and pepper in one bowl, the breadcrumbs in another and the egg and milk in a third. Coat the chicken in the flour, dusting off any excess before coating it in the egg wash, followed by the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Spray the chicken with a generous amount of olive oil spray and transfer to the oven for twenty minutes, or until golden, crisp and cooked through. Remove from oven and keep warm while you work on the rest of the components.

Place a good lug of oil in a pot over medium heat and sweat the onion, garlic and ginger for about five minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the chicken thighs and cook, stirring, until just starting to brown before adding the carrots and potatoes and cooking for a further couple of minutes. Add the flour, curry powder, garam masala and cayenne with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to come together. Stir through the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare the rice as per packet instructions.

When the curry is starting to come together, stir through the honey, tamari and ketchup and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from the heat and stay warm.

To serve, place a generous dollop of rice in a bowl. Slice the katsu into diagonal strips and place on top of the rice before topping with the curry. Serve with pickled daikon and devour, greedily.

 

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Francauliflower Mash

Side, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor New Zealand, Chani continued to live on struggle with a massive storm whacking any last shred of hope straight out of them and had Franky on the edge of quitting or life, depending who you ask. Despite winning literally everything Khangkhaw weren’t doing a whole lot better, with both Kaysha and Adam smashed by the reward challenge. Which reminds me, Matt channelled Locky, now he is my favourite and I’d like him to smas … nevermind. Once again Khangkhaw took out immunity – and Brad snatched a hidden immunity idol at the challenge to boot – and sent Chani back to tribal where poor Karla found herself becoming the second boot.

Back at camp Chani were lamenting their losses and vowed not to return to tribal. Well except for JT who was thrilled to be down in numbers so that when they swap, their alliance will be strong and able to bring down the other tribe. While that is the hope for when you’re down in numbers, it is also difficult to pull off when you’re obviously difficult to trust. And since Franky is already finding him trustworthy and he played Tess at the outpost last episode, I don’t see it happening. But surprise me JT, if only because your hat game is strong.

Things still weren’t looking great the next day as Chani struggled to muster any energy and instead waited for advice of a challenge, swap or merge. On the flipside, Zadam was leading Khangkhaw in a bit of a sing-a-long while cleaning up around camp and generally dominating at surviving. Tess tried to convince Dylan to flood out a tarantula nest before talking about how she was out to prove people wrong and show that you don’t need muscles to win. Though then she couldn’t decide if team pink was female or gay guys and I started to worry that she is going to make me sad soon. Though Zadam is still a fan and as such, I will continue to buy into her winner’s edit.

Potentially feeling threatened by my love for Adam, Matty arrived for this week’s reward challenge were each tribe would send two people into battle balancing statues, with the first person to knock their opponents off winning a point for their tribe. First tribe to ten points win a dickload of fishing gear, so Chani desperately need it to stay alive. Thankfully Dave and Eve dominated Zadam and Tara respectively, giving them a 2-0 advantage. Liam continued the winning streak over Josh before Renee just straight up pushed Tess out of the way to score another point. JT’s 80s school teacher look was no match for Brad before Franky beat Lisa, Arun smashed Dylan, Liam beat Josh and destroyed the set, Tara took one back from Tara, as did Brad from Dave before Eve and Arun beat Tess and Adam, leaving Franky to snatch the first victory for Chani over Lisa.

Chani returned to camp elated and got to work fishing to try and give them some energy. Well, except for JT who desperately just wanted to fulfill his life’s dream of possessing a hidden immunity idol. Sadly for him, it was Eve that found the clue tucked away in the fishing net and while she stupidly announced it and shared the clue with everyone else, she technically grabbed the idol and became its owner despite vowing to use it for the best of the tribe. When she eventually found it after a treasure hunt with Renee and Franky, neither of whom trusted her to use it for their advantage. She and JT then caught up about her snatching his dream away before he tried it on and vowed to us that one way or another, it would become his.

Meanwhile Khangkhaw was feeling the burn of their first loss and Kaysha started to bitch and moan about Dylan not listening to the rules. But wait, psych! It was all part of her plan to put some distance between them so people no longer see them as a pair. Which is genius for her except the fact it paints an even biggest target on her closest ally’s back. Distracting themselves from the drama, the tribe – minus Zadam who couldn’t give a fuck – decided to go for a coconut hunt before Dylan disappeared to hunt for an idol and skulk about like Sandra Diaz-Twine to eavesdrop on his tribe. Thankfully it seemed he was only hearing Kaysha bitch about him, which he had approved. Sadly for them though, Matt was starting to think that Kaysha’s rapid 180 was disingenuous and that maybe it was all a ploy.

With the idol firmly in Eve’s pocket – well actually I can only assume that. It could still be around JT’s neck – Franky decided it was high time she started thinking about breaking her alliance with Arun, JT, Dave and Eve and take out the latter, SInce Renee and Liam both work hard and are good in challenges. While Arun seemed receptive to the idea, she was unaware that he was more closely aligned with JT and Eve and ya’ll know this ain’t ending well for the ZM Wildcard. Meanwhile JT and Eve went for a wander to the well, with JT using the time to continue the push to snatch the idol. Though that was quickly replaced by Eve deciding she needs to target Franky should they return to tribal.

Both tribes drew straws to see who should go to The Outpost, with Eve continuing her hot streak and representing Chani – and taking her idol JIC it is a random tribe swap – and Kaysha going for Khangkhaw much to Dylan and Tess’ chagrin, the latter who was concerned about her lying about her adventures at The Outpost … which she did last week. Anyway, Eve and Kaysha met Matt to discover they’d be competing in the Malcolm Freberg memorial challenge from Philippines, where they needed to balance a ball on an ever expanding stick. It was for the contents of a child’s birthday party – I assume cheezels and BBQ thins included – so the girls were V keen to snatch the win / crack-out on the sugar. Also – calling soft drink fizzy? Amazing. Oh FYI, the challenge was extremely boring from the play-by-play perspective, so Kaysha defeated Eve just after the third round kicked off leading to Kaysha breaking into tears before Matt even told her the reward was for her and her alone and gave her the chance to have a chat with Eve to try and get a handle on the tribal dynamics. While they both tried to get some information out of each other, they gave tribal council responses and it was kinda dull. I mean, where are the damn trainwrecks?!

While Kaysha was away from camp Dylan continued to be public enemy number one, with Zadam and Brad annoyed by his sulking. Though given everyone is hating on him, I kind of feel like it is the only thing he can do. Thankfully Kaysha returned before any drama exploded and quickly told the tribe the truth about her experience on the outpost and how she smashed a shit tonne of food. Which neither Adam or Tess believed, turning it into an inquisition.

The next day the tribe reconvened for this week’s immunity challenge where they would be required to release puzzle wheels tethered underwater one at a time – from the deepest to the shallowest – before solving said puzzle. Matt rubbed a bit of salt in Chani’s wounds talking about their passion for tribal while Dylan tried to pretend he wasn’t on the bottom of Khangkhaw, saying they all just wanted another couple of days together. Matt and Franky were neck and neck, however Franky bombed getting out of the water meaning Josh had already secured the second piece for Khangkhaw before Renee had even gotten in the drink for Chani. She then swallowed water and made a quick escape before Matt and Josh dominated for Khangkhaw and Chani couldn’t even get the second. While Renee eventually got a second wheel, it was all for nought as Khangkhaw got all the puzzle pieces, solved the puzzle and snagged themselves immunity. Again.

Back at camp the mood was decidedly somber with everyone feeling shitty about bombing the challenge and having to get rid of yet another person. Renee decided Eve needed to go to flush out the idol before Eve and JT tried to convince Dave to join them in taking out Franky, which he didn’t want. While Franky assumed she had JT and Arun’s loyalty, she still got to work scrambling with Renee to get rid of Eve. Dave was feeling completely lost, given he trusts Franky more and the fact she is stronger in challenges. Which they desperately need right now. Dave tried to help Franky get herself out of her predicament, with her approaching everyone to try and find an out before pulling Liam and Arun aside on the walk to tribal to try and bamboozle her way to safety.

By the time they arrived at tribal council I was hella confused, particularly after they all admitted to being shocked to have lost the challenge. Which was a complete blowout. Arun shared that the last challenge wouldn’t impact his vote tonight before Franky admitted to being extremely nervous. JT interjected to share his vote was decided by who he likes and trusts, before Dave tried and failed to deny the existence of an alliance. The boys then got sidelined by receiving – swoon – before Matt addressed the hidden immunity idol, which they quickly told him was not actually a secret. Matt continued to needle away at them to try and find out who was in danger though failed, before sending them off to vote. Once again for the strongest remaining female, Franky, and sending her out of the game as the third boot.

While Franky was feeling down when she arrived at Loser Lodge, her mood quickly improved upon discovering her favourite journo school – seriously, what is with all the journo connections this year? – lecturer was waiting in the wings. Despite overplaying and trusting the wrong people – looking at you Arun – the last episode, she had been playing a good, scrappy game that can only be played by someone on a flailing tribe. I then listed all the iconic victims of a terrible tribe – Gina from Marquesas, Angie from Palau, Liz from Samoa, Zane from Philippines etc. – and she quickly perked up. Which coincidentally is when I pulled out my Francauliflower Mash.

 

 

I was scared that this healthier version of mash wouldn’t go down well with our third boot, but damn was I wrong. Though given how amazing this tastes, I shouldn’t have doubted it. Light, creamy and velvety smooth, this is the tastiest winter warmer that won’t make you feel guilty.

Something something summer bodies … is this what I’ve become?

Enjoy!

 

 

Francauliflower Mash
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp unsalted butter
a dash of milk
¼ cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Cook the cauliflower in a steamer for five-ten minutes, or until tender and cooked through.

Transfer to a bowl with the butter, milk and salt and pepper, and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Stir through the parmesan cheese and serve immediately before, you guessed it, you devour.

 

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Puttaneskarla Karaitizza

Main, Party Food, Street Food, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor NZ, 18 new castaways were dumped on islands in the middle of a Thai lake where Matt made quick work assuring everyone that the rules of the season will mirror traditional US Survivor – which is the gag of the season, TBH. He then thrust the castaways into an individual challenge for an unknown power … which turned out it gave the winner, Jose, the chance to select her own tribe. Sadly for her, she didn’t seem to do the best of jobs with Chani losing both the challenges and sending her out of the game as the first boot.

Back at camp the surviving members of the Chani tribe returned to camp with Liam reeling from the choice to send their strongest female home. On the flip side JT was celebrating and quickly defended himself by saying Jose targeted him, while Franky and Renee reiterated that she was dangerous and made them feel on the outs. And as for Karla, well she was thrilled to have survived and to be able to show her strength … she was keenly aware that she was still firmly on the bottom of the tribe.

The next day the Chani tribe were thrilled to finally have fire and be able to eat actually cooked rice while the winning Khangkhaw tribe were beginning to show cracks. Particularly for poor Dylan, who’s plans to align with the biggest threats didn’t suit the bigger threats in Matt, Josh and Brad who instead wanted him out ASAP and to align with Tess, zaddy Addy and per Tess’ request, Lisa. Clever girl Tess, clever girl. The one thing going for Dylan is that as much as they want him out, they also don’t like Kaysha and want her out as well.

My boy Matt arrived for this week’s reward challenge where Khangkhaw were shocked to see Jose became the first boot. The challenge involved tribe members getting in the drink and swimming out to a platform, jumping off and releasing a key which will then unlock a box of rocks that they will use to break tiles, all for fresh tropical fruit which made Zadam cream his shorts thanks to his passion for watermelon. And that in turn made me cream my shorts thinking about him creaming his shorts. Anyway, he got the tribe out to a strong start beating Dave to the platform though was tragically overtaken on the ladder until he slayed the swimming portion and snatched back the lead. Renee took the lead over Tara giving Liam a huge advantage over Kaysha which was made worse when she couldn’t smash her key allowing Karla to lap her when getting Chani’s fourth key. JT was out for the fifth key before Matt flashed his way into my heart like King Locky. While they were well and truly behind by the time Josh swam out … when it looks that good, he shouldn’t complain.

Damn Matt, you making a play for my heart and I am so into it.

Anyway by the time they got to throwing balls Brad made quick work of overtaking things before pulling ahead and snatching victory from Chani. But since Matt gave us a killer view of his rump, everyone’s a winner … and that’s all that matters. Well, except for Chani who were dejected, Kaysha who injured herself and Zadam who projectile vomited from over exertion. Thankfully he put it down from trying so hard whilst being completely unfit … though mentioning he had a rock in his knee makes me nervous we’re going to suffer a huge loss via medevac. He quickly perked up back at camp and taught everyone about the wonders of watermelon and his mantra, ‘peace, love and watermelons’.

Meanwhile over at Chani, JT and Liam discovered a new twist requesting they send one member of their tribe to the Outpost. While they weren’t sure what it exactly entailed, everyone was ok with him going and seeing whether he is honest and trustworthy. And not put a target on their back. Over at Khangkhaw the tribe danced around volunteering by figuring out what the outpost is before Matt suggested they all draw straws rather than continuing to waste time. With Tess selected, her alliance were thrilled while Kaysha was desperately hoping for a tribe swap.

Tess and JT arrived at the outpost where Matt explained that a different person needs to attend each week and will be faced by a challenge or dilemma, which would have ramifications throughout the game. He then challenged them to build fire and burn through a rope for an unknown reward … which is totally an idol clue, no? Out of nowhere, Tess was quick to get a flame and – gag of the season – build a lasting fire while JT struggled, snatching victory for herself. Which was a hidden immunity idol clue. Matt then gave Tess the chance to lie to her tribe about what happened and talk to her opposition JT, who quickly worked to convince her that telling him the clue was a good idea in order to keep his silence. While she was initially reluctant to share the clue, she quickly folded and they both learnt that the clue would be hidden under the mat at the next immunity challenge. He promised to keep quiet and go with whatever lie she wants to tell her tribe, but there was no way you could make her feel ok for making the epic blunder.

Tess returned to Khangkhaw and told them she was against JT and won the fire challenge before seamlessly slipping in the lie that the challenge was for mattresses, tarps and other comforts … but for both tribes. So to continue rubbing salt in their wounds, she opted for no one to get the reward. Over at Chani JT made quick work of throwing Tess under the bus, telling them about her victory and the location of the idol … but that it was only for her tribe. While Arun wasn’t buying the entire story, JT filled him in on the fact it would be under both mats and wasn’t sure whether to keep it in their alliance and only tell Dave and Eve, or tell everyone. Showing that he is playing a long, deep game, he explained that no matter what seeing if anyone else goes for it will show who she is aligned with and has the idol which will be valuable information come the merge.

Franky proved to be mildly psychic, concerned about getting a roof on the shelter in case it rained which of course led to a torrential downpour. That led to Franky having a mild breakdown and came close to quitting while Karla shivered her way through the night, making Renee proud of them and Arun concerned about their willpower. Franky continued to struggle throughout the day with a fever and struggling to breathe leading to them calling the medic to make sure she was ok. This made Karla felt a little bit safer, and as such, she was instantly iconic and I love her. Meanwhile at Khangkhaw, Tess pulled Adam aside and told him the truth about everything that happened at the outpost, with them to scramble to come up with a plan to snatch the idol whilst simultaneously blocking him from going for it.

The tribes arrived at the immunity challenge where the Khangkhaw alliance and Arun and JT panicked to figure out how to snatch the idol without anyone noticing. Matt explained that the challenge would require three people to hold a stick across their back while the remaining members for the other tribe would load them up with weights. Brad seamlessly snatched the idol without anyone noticing thanks to an untied shoe before he, Josh and Kaysha faced off against Dave, Arun and Renee for immunity. While Khangkhaw focused on putting weight equally amongst the Chani tribe members, Chani loaded up the boys – dream – before Dave became the first person to drop out of nowhere. Renee followed soon after leaving Arun to carry the entire tribe on his back. While Brad struggled with his 70kgs, Arun couldn’t hold on any longer dropping the bar and handing Khangkhaw yet another victory. Though that lead to Lisa adorably fanning out over snatching the idol from Matt and snuggled with sexy, naked Matt and as such, I feel Chani should be grateful.

The Chani tribe discussed Khangkhaw’s ribbing as they arrived at the challenge before Arun quickly shared the information that Tess is clearly aligned with the Brad, Josh and Matt since they played dumb about what she won at the challenge. Given the way they figured out all the politics of their rivals, I wouldn’t count them out just … hang on, we’re at Khangkhaw post challenge. And Josh and Brad are swimming together and look totally babin’ before we learnt the rules of the idol, which seem to be the same as the US though it may remain in play if you’re not physically in possession of it when you get voted out. I dunno, that sounds weird. But Kiwi Jeff is wild and babin’, so who knows?

Back at Chani the tribe finally got to scrambling with Liam keen to get everyone focused on getting rid of the weakest tribe member, given getting rid of Jose didn’t help them in challenges. While they agreed Karla was the weakest, JT was concerned that Franky was also weak and a threat, and that makes her the most enticing of targets. While Karla was emotional, she seemed to accept her fate while Franky started to pull it together and find a way to keep herself alive, assuring Renee that while she almost quit she can sort it out and fight for the tribe.

At tribal council Matt quickly kicked them while they were down, saying they were dejected at the immunity challenge. Eve spoke up and countered that while yes, they were tired, they’ve pulled themselves together and are a strong, close family. Karla defended herself, saying that everyone had a dark moment last night, but they all pulled together before everyone but Arun admitted it was far tougher than they were expecting it to be. Franky shared that while she wanted out last night, she fought to stay and will continue to fight. Renee and JT agreed that life has been hell back at camp, though JT believed that a Chani will win the game meaning it will either be prophetic or he’ll look like an idiot. While we won’t find out for weeks, Eve jumped in to talk about her family getting her through before she broke down over how much she missed them. While everyone, Karla and Franky included, felt that they needed to keep the tribe strong, Karla tried to fight for her spot sharing that she is an experienced camper and knows how to maintain a fire. Nervous, Franky jumped in and reminded them that while she has been sick and wanted to quit, she fought through it and will continue to fight for the tribe. Sadly for Karla, Franky’s impassioned plea had more of an effect on her tribemates leading to poor Karla becoming the second person out of the game.

Given I’ve known Karls the longest out of all the castaways, I was gutted to see her walk into loser lodge knowing the true grit – great movies, both versions FYI – and determination she possesses. I first met Karla when we were studying journalism together – though separate to the time I studied with Sylvia Jeffreys and mentored Matt Chis. I get around – and we quickly bonded over our love of photographic excellence (remember, I was an Instalebrity briefly). Anyway, we’ve been dearest friends for close to two decades and as such, I knew the only thing that could cheer her up after suffering shitty luck in the game was a Puttaneskarla Karaitizza.

 

 

While I hate anchovies with the fire of a thousand suns – If I wanted something hairy and full of bones I visit Matt and his peach … or Nico, swoon – but if you take them out of a puttanesca pizza, you truly have perfection. The capers and bacon bring more than enough salt, so by the time you add some sriracha, you’re in heaven.

Enjoy!

 

 

Puttaneskarla Karaitizza
Serves: 2

Ingredients
2 bases as per Pizsa Zsa Gabor
⅓ cup passata
oregano and basil, roughly chopped, to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced and fried
⅓ black olives, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup capers, roughly chopped
sriracha, to taste
mozzarella, to taste

Method
Prep the bases as per Zsa Zsa’s instructions.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Smear passata over the prepared bases and sprinkle with the herbs and garlic. Heap on the bacon, olives, mushrooms, capers and sriracha, and cover with mozzarella.

Transfer to the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Devour immediately, in fear for the next person I’ve flagged for pizza on Reality TV. Because it is most definitely a cursed cuisine, just ask Steph, Brendan and Steph.

 

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Jose Tikka Maasdama

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

Previously on Survivor N … o wait a minute, Survivor NZ is one-upping Australian Survivor and has ditched Knee-coo-argh-goo-arua and has headed to a new location in the form of Thailand – yes, pronounced Thailand. While that makes me mildly misty for Brian Heidik’s porno past – he is a garbage person though, I know that – Tanya Vance’s illness and Shi-Ann’s robbery with the fake merge, I am mostly thrilled to have an inland location and thirsty after the Kiwi camera angles. Sigh, Lee and those up-short confessionals – swoon.

Anyway 18 Kiwi castaways boated their way through the Thai waterways – JT, Josh and Adam being particularly babin,’ and Tess speaking for all of us (or maybe just me) shocked by the fact tigers are in Thailand – before meeting Matt on a tiny remote island in the middle of a lake. Despite assuming they had already been split into tribes, the castaways arrived on shore en masse with Renee already terrified by the youth and physicality of her competitors. Though what everyone should really be worried about is the fact that Dave and Matt are High School best friends and in all likelihood will be a strong pair.

After Matt gave the laundry list of changes for the season – hidden immunity idols are a yes, redemption island is a no – Kaysha said she was ready to play, Jose shared she would love the money and Liam felt they would be more cutthroat. Putting that theory to the test, Matt announced that they would be kicking things off differently this year with everyone competing in an individual reward challenge for the, psych, he didn’t tell us … but they pick the tribes, no? Anyway, the challenge kicked off with Jose, Franky, Matt, Renee, Josh, Eve, Kaysha, Arun and JT dominating 20 knots and moving on to the second, now shirtless, round. Josh is still my fave, though Matt is coming through. Anyway, they swam out to a platform in the leak to find another bag of tiles, with Arun, Matt and Jose the lucky three to find tiles despite Franky’s dominance. The final three then swam back into shore before literally ordering tiles from 1-100. Despite being neck and neck with Matt’s glistening torso, Jose took out victory only to discover her victory won her – and Matt, who she selected for coming second – the opportunity to select her tribe. Jose selected Arun, Eve, Dave, Franky, Liam, Renee, JT – who was thrilled to be picked late – to form Chani, with Karla rounding it out as the only remaining female. Matt asked Tara, Josh – swoon – Tess, Brad, Kaysha – shocked she wasn’t first selected – Adam, Lisa forming the Khangkhaw tribe with Dylan completing the tribe by default.

Arriving at the island Chani’s spirits were up, until they discovered the food supplies were scarce and then opted to drink water without caring about whether they needed to boil it. Jose took on a leadership role by default, suggesting they clear a path to limit the risk of snakes and get to work building a fire and shelter closer to the shore. Despite admitting that selecting the tribe kind of made it obvious for her to take the lead on the tribe, Eve warned us that it could easily come back to bite her. Meanwhile over at Khangkhaw, Tess and Adam were overwhelmed harsh location while Josh and Brad made quick work of putting together a shelter.

Despite being on the island less than an hour, Karla slashed her hand with a machete and almost bleeding out which made her feel even worse, already feeling on the outs of the tribe. While people were distracted by the drama, JT noticed Arun looking for clues to the hidden immunity idols and decided that if you can’t beat them, join them and forming an alliance. While Liam felt nobody was worrying about playing the game yet, JT followed up his two-person alliance by pulling in Eve and Dave, and Dave rounding out the majority with Franky.

Tara decided to play up the mum-card, despite Barb killing the competition last year with that exact strategy. While she was out sorting the bathroom amenities for her new kids, superfan queen Lisa shared that she was also going to play the mum card and pretend she just wanted to make her kids proud. While she wanted to downplay her passion for the game, she took Tess under her wing and gave her a list of dos and don’ts in the game. While Lisa felt it was all a rouse and didn’t buy it, Tess was hoping the lack of knowledge would allow her to dominate without making herself a threat. Soooo, Tess will eventually blindside Lisa, no? Back at Chani, Arun was hoping to avoid being seen as a leader, leaving Dave and Jose to focus on building fire. That was contrasted with Khangkhaw who decided it was a good idea to soak some rice overnight so they’ll have some mildly moist rice ahead of the next challenge, hopeful it would be enough to get the jump on their competition. Jose was concerned about the target she painted on her back, though was proud of winning the challenge and felt she had selected a strong tribe that would keep her safe. Sadly for her, Franky was sick of her running her mouth which is an easy excuse to get rid of someone early.

The tribes arrived at a muddy field to meet Matt for the first tribal reward of the season for tools and a flint to help sort the fire sitch and make their live easier. The challenge would involve pairs running out into the mud, finding a bag and touching their mat with it … before the other tribe’s pair snatch it. Jose and Renee made quick work winning the first round over Lisa and Tara. Matt and Adam evened things up thanks to the dominant blocking of Adam over Dave and Arun … I think. It was sexy mud wrestling and my thirst is real. Tess and Kaysha owned Franky and Karla, leaving Josh and Brad to battle it out against Liam and JT for the win. Once again, the dirty shirtless men were writhing and hugging before Brad made a break and secured victory for Khangkhaw. Matt then wished Adam happy birthday, his flowing locks look glorious in the mud and damn, everything was right in the world.

Particularly knowing the God filled himself with botox to keep his fellow castaways guessing.

Back at camp Khangkhaw made quick work getting fire thanks to Tara’s passion for pyromania, while poor Chani struggled to make fire with sticks rubbing salt in their wounds. Chani decided to follow Khangkhaw’s lead and cook some rice in the sun to try and turn things around for themselves. Thankfully the winning ways of Khangkhaw ran into a problem as they loaded their fire with rocks to aid cooking … only for them to start exploding everywhere and almost killing the tribe. With that, Dylan extinguished the flames and they were back at square one. Adam felt people were yet to pick up on the fact he was avoiding work as much as possible, while Dylan and Kaysha went hunting for rocks, idols and building an alliance with them, Tara, Lisa and Adam. Slay queens. Khangkhaw then sat down to Adam’s birthday dinner of actually cooked rice, sang him happy birthday and it was fucking delightful. Poor Chani then tried to eat their sun-rice and started to feel even worse about themselves.

Matt returned for the first immunity challenge of the season where the tribes would be required to use long, hard poles to build a staircase and then run through an obstacle course, unlock puzzle pieces and complete said puzzle. Khangkhaw got out to an early lead while Jose started barking at her tribemates, though somehow they caught up which I assume says the strategy works. Matt then dominated the key maze, giving Khangkhaw back the lead from Franky allowing Dylan and Lisa to secure immunity for their tribe.

After their second loss, Jose proclaimed the strategy to blindly follow her worked well, despite the loss which immediately made me nervous since that isn’t really having any results. On the flipside, Franky was nervous about the vote after letting the tribe down. She went to get water with Renee and Dave, with them deciding they need to keep the tribe strong at this stage, though unsure what exactly that meant. While Franky identified Karla as an option and she felt like she was on the bottom, it didn’t really feel like it as they arrived at their iconic cave tribal council.

Eve felt disappointed to be at tribal council, while Renee felt that they were no weaker than their opponents despite their track record. Franky was nervous after blowing the competition, Dave thought the suffering was bringing everyone together. Renee and JT thought you should never feel safe in the game, Franky downplayed her scheming, Liam thought there had been no scheming, Jose felt they were outliers for being positive and not plotting while Karla was nervous and felt that no one should feel blindsided since everyone should be feeling nervous at their first tribal. That however was completely false as the votes rolled in for her and Jose, with Jose finding herself becoming the first boot to her and Karla’s utter disbelief.

While Jose was feeling her feels when she arrived back at loser lodge, she was thrilled to see me – her mentor and friend from Blenheim – there with a warm, slightly patronising smile. Given her dominance in the challenges, she was surprised to find herself becoming the first boot … until I reminded her that Ulong did it to Jolanda in Palau and we can always channel my pettiness into sabotaging them. Tragically she still wished her tribe well, though I suspect it had a lot to do with my Jose Tikka Maasdama.

 

 

Given she was kicked in the guts, I knew she would need something to give her back her spice … and let’s be honest, a Tikka Masala is the best way to do it. A little bit of heat and a shit tonne of spice, I had Jose back in top form in a matter of mouthfuls. Which is meant to sound less sexually aggressive than it does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jose Tikka Maasdama
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
2 tbsp garam masala
salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup natural yogurt
600g lamb, diced
vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
800g can diced tomatoes
1 cup double cream

Method
Combine half the garam masala with a good whack of salt and pepper, the cumin, coriander, chilli, lemon zest and juice and natural yoghurt in a bowl. Add the lamb and toss to coat before covering and placing in the fridge to marinate for an hour or so.

Heat a lug of oil in a large pan over medium heat and sweat the onions for a couple of minutes. When starting to soften, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute before stirring in the tomatoes and remaining garam masala. Once bubbling, add the lamb and marinating liquid. Stir to combine and bring to the boil before reducing to low and simmering for fifteen minutes.

Once the lamb is cooked through, add the cream and stir to combine and heat through. Serve immediately with rice, poppadoms and all the fixins’ … which Jose will never hear as the first boot.

Don’t be sad though. Devour!

 

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Off to Tea-land, Thigh-land … Thai-lend?

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand

However he pronounces it, my dear friend Matty Chisholm bigged me to join him on location and cook his castaways some some post-boot culinary commiserations.

Given Kiwis are literally the nicest people on the planet, Tom was a total babe last season and I love to spend spend time ogling at shirtless men through dense bush, I jumped on the next flight to Thailand and prepared to live out my jungle fantasy.

Who will be the first one to get the unchoicest cut? Check back Tuesday as we catch up with the the person joining the Dee Harper First Boot Club.

Image source: TVNZ.

 

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Matt Cheeseballm

Main, Party Food, Snack, Survivor NZ, Survivor NZ: Thailand

Good news everyone! Survivor NZ returns in less than a week, and while Thailand is far less likely to result some butchered pronunciations – remember Knee-Coo-Argh-Goo-Ah? – my dear, dear, dearest friend Matty Chisholm is back on the case to carry the show to greatness once again.

While sure, it felt very old school compared to what we’re used to these days … and both Tom and Barb were egregiously robbed of a deserved win, Survivor NZ had its moments of greatness. And had the ability to fix some of its mistakes heading into the second season.

Or so Matty assured me before I was whisked away to share a villa with him in the Thai jungle for 40 days whilst cooking for the latest cast-offs.

(“I’d be too nervous unless we share Matt!” I lied through my teeth).

Anyway, as a fellow, classically trained journalist, Matt and I have been close friends for years. I was working on the 20/20 crew that was interviewing his family about his inspirational brother’s story, and took Matt under my wing after spotting a fellow storyteller.

While Matt is hella busy with press and the impending arrival of his second child, he was thrilled to be able to follow in Probst and Jonathan LaPaglia’s footsteps and countdown to the latest season / celebrate all things Survivor.

Obviously we can’t spoil too much other other than to say that this season is nik livil – dare I say it, school yard pick tribes are on the horizon to start – though after a belly full of my Matt Cheeseballm, why wouldn’t you be happy?

 

 

Now first things first, yes, this recipe sounds like jizz ball. But I will counter by saying, how doesn’t that sound appetising? Creamy, salty, meaty and packing a kick, what more do you want to smear on a cracker? I’m talking about the dip FYI. And a cracker, not a SAO.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matt Cheeseballm
Serves: I say one, you say 6-8.

Ingredients
250g cream cheese
1 ½ cup vintage cheese
1 red capsicum, diced
4 shallots, sliced
6 rashers streaky bacon, diced, fried and drained
a handful of chives, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped

Method
Blitz the cheese together in a food processor until well combined.

Remove to a bowl, fold through the capsicum, shallots, bacon, chives and a good whack of salt and pepper. Transfer to the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

Once chilled, remove from the fridge, shape into a ball and roll through the roughly chopped parsley to coat. Place on a plate and chill in the fridge to fully set for an hour or so.

After that, it is open slather so demolish with you fave crackers.

 

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Deetroot Harper Salad

Salad, Side, Snack, Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on … hang the fuck up, what is this fresh hell. Where am I? It walks like a duck, acts like a duck but sounds like a moa! I’ve been bamboozled, and this is Survivor New Zealand!

In any event we are in Nicoooraaaguuua, where we first met Lou who channelled me and had zero idea about basic global geography. Next up we met the funny and charming Dee which sounds more ironic, and Tony who was cool with spiders and Sala who most definitely was not.

The castaways were trucked on to the beach where Shannon the zookeeper quickly won me over with her super fandom before the host – my frenemy Matt Chisholm – butchered the pronunciation of Nicaragua for the second time, as he welcomed the castaways.

We once again got some facetime with Dee who was thrilled to be here and face a tribal council before announcing she was thrilled to play as the villain, cementing her as my red-hot favourite for first boot.

Mike however wasn’t convinced Dee would (last long enough to) be the villain, Nathan didn’t like his chances in challenges and Tony mumbled his way through something … I think about being a provider but I honestly have no idea.

Immediately overtaking Shannon as my fave, we were introduced to Hannah the plus-sized model, roller derby competitor and power lifter – fucking swoon! Matt then christened her the queen of the Mogotón tribe – in addition to my heart – joined by Avi, Izzy, Lou, spider-fearing Sala, Shay, Tom and spider-loving Tony.

On the flipside, Barb was thrilled to be a part of the purple tribe aka Hermosa, as was Georgia who just felt like it was better for her while poor Nate had zero interest in the tribe since he felt he better connected with people on the other tribe. They were joined by Jak, Lee, Mike, Nate, Shannon and the infamous Dee.

After Tom lamented that all the people he connected with landed on the other tribe also, begging the question – is this actually day one? – my boy kiwi Probst dropped the bomb that both tribes would be joining him later that night to vote out a member each. Dum, dum, duuuummmm – that sounds ominous, no?

Everyone was rightly concerned about the twist, realising they’ve given up more than a month of their lives to spend less time on the island than Jonathan and Wanda. I wonder if one of the first boots will write us a song?

Wanting to give us some instant drama, Matt announced that the tribes could loot as many of the items placed they had scattered around the beach in a set amount of time which I can not for the life of me remember, so let’s say it was two minutes. Or one. I don’t know, I was drunkenly heckling from the back of the truck they just rolled up in.

Izzy was quick to play dirty – or heroically if you frame it like Rupert being a pirate in Pearl Islands – and stole the items from the other tribes’ mat while they weren’t looking which upset Lee … which in turn made me happy as he shared his pain with a camera angle clearly framing his crotch.

Lee was not alone, with the entire Hermosa tribe well pissed leaving Izzy to have immediate regret for her actions and attempt to give them a pity knife which Lee tossed back to her … and then Nate told Jak to go get back. It was as odd as it sounds.

Mogotón arrived at camp with their abundance of goods slash collection of throwing knives, where Tony was quick to take on the role of leader and share his wealth of survival knowledge, rubbing his tribe mates the wrong way during his monologue. Avi however wasn’t bothered by his assertive behaviour or the casual sexism, given that it keeps the target off him.

Hannah continued her assault on my heart by killing a crab and complaining about Tom underestimating her because of her weight, rather than trusting that she is strong. Izzy and Shay were also concerned about Tom’s shiftiness and the three agreed to blindside him at tribal that night. She then worked her ass off lugging rocks everywhere and almost single-handedly built the camp. Kween.

Shay then approached Sala to join her and the girls but was swiftly and sadly rebuked, with Sala telling her that Tom and Avi want Hannah or Izzy out at tribal that night and he was on board.

Over at Hermosa, Dee took a leaf out of Tony’s book and decided to appoint herself leader before outlining her extensive preparation – to us – to appear nice. She then got to work aligning with Shannon and Georgia, both of whom had little interest in aligning with her.

Proving that she gives zero fucks for the aforementioned alliance, Georgia immediately approached Mike to form an actual alliance … though was so obvious about it, she spooked Lee. Mike then pulled Nate aside about aligning with Shannon and Georgia, putting the final kibosh on poor Dee’s alliance. Then Barb put the final nail in Dee’s coffin and confirmed that she didn’t trust her and wanted her gone ASAP.

Nate however was less convinced that the alliance would hold due to his age, before being proven right when Shannon and Georgia introduced casual ageism to the episode. Sensing trouble, Dee attempted to channel Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine and told Mike she was willing to vote anyone other than her before throwing Barb’s name out and continuing the ageism.

Back at Mogotón, Shay pulled Hannah aside and told her that the tribe were planning to target either her or Izzy. Izzy pulled Sala aside and gave a less than rousing speech about how Hannah may be weak but she is also strong and that they should target Tom, which is the perfect way to segway into the first tribal councils of Survivor NZ.

Mogotón were first up, where Tom felt it was rough that someone would have to go home on day one which Lou agreed with before adding they’ve barely had the opportunity to get to know people. Hannah continued to win me over, imploring people not to trust a book by its cover while casually dropping all her skills into a single sentence. Avi made an early play for worst deflector at tribal council, saying that he can’t have everyone’s back when asked point blank if he had Hannah’s. Oy.

Tony proved that he was more self-aware than I gave him credit for, saying that people had been biting their lip around him before outing the fact that alliances have been formed despite any and all denials. Sala spoke about his integrity before Izzy spoke about feeling uneasy after giving up the knife that she stole from the other tribe … before Matt reminded us they were playing for the runner-up prize of O.G. Survivor as they headed in to vote, incorrectly folding the parchment.

Sadly as quickly as she won my heart, Hannah became the first boot of Survivor NZ before Matt quickly ushered in Hermosa to claim his next scalp.

Hermosa were quick to address the fact that they were naive to trust the other tribe at the looting before Georgia spoke about how much she loved everyone, to which Matt – winning me back over in the process – called bullshit. Shannon name checked Heroes vs. Villains before Matt checked in with resident villain Dee, who was quick to disassociate herself from her previous assertions. Lee danced around Matt’s questions about alliances before Dee jumped back in to spook the sensors as they went to vote.

As predicted – YAS me – poor Dee became the first person voted out of Hermosa and the second person voted out of Survivor NZ … or is she? Yep, the sound you’re currently hearing is Survivor fans across the globe screaming about the return of redemption island … though yay, Hannah is still here! Silver linings, people!

Anyway back at camp, Hermosa got to work building a fire, blissfully unaware that Dee was still alive in the game, plotting her revenge. Over at Mogotón, Tony wasn’t having as much luck proving his worth slash making fire, while Shay spoke about how guilty she felt for voting against Hannah.

The next day Hermosa got to work expanding their shelter before sitting down to an ill-advised meal of rotten fruit. Meanwhile Izzy had fallen ill at Mogotón and was questioning quitting on day two – maybe she ate some of the rotten fruit – proving once again that they should have kept Hannah in the game.

Speaking of Hannah, both tribes were finally clued in to the fact that she and Dee were not out of the game – yet – and that they were about to compete in the first redemption island duel, a classic where they both had to work a big strong pole, stick it into a hole and release themselves from behind a cage.

Hannah got out to an early lead, snagging the first two keys before Dee had even managed to work up a pole. Despite a valiant effort from Dee to even things up, Hannah secured the third and final key, released herself and sent Dee packing as the first official elimination of the season.

Despite feeling upset to become the first boot, Dee was ok with the fact when she spotted me in loser lodge. You see, I connected with Survivor superfan Dee when she briefly stalked this here patch of cyber-space as part of her weekly Survivor media coverage. Being desperate for even the faintest whiff of positive attention, I started a Fame Hungry fan club for her and made her the president and founding member.

The dish we served at her inauguration brunch – and to cheer her up post boot? Obvi my roasted Deetroot Harper Salad.

 

 

This little baby goes a long way to proving the ancient Australian proverb “you can beat an egg, but ya’ can’t beat a root” correct because these roots are bloody stunning. Sweet, warm beetroot, creamy feta and the tart balsamic are perfectly complemented by the crunch of walnut and pepitas.

To the kitchen, ya … enjoy!

 

 

Deetroot Harper Salad
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
2 large beetroot
200g danish feta, crumbled
½ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
⅓ cup pepitas, roasted
2 cups baby spinach
a lug of balsamic vinegar, to taste
a lug of olive oil, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Wash the beetroot, roughing up the skin a bit as you go. Wrap each in foil, place on a lined baking tray and bake for an hour.

While the beetroot is cooking, combine the feta, walnuts, pepitas and spinach in a large bowl. Add a lug of balsamic and olive oil, season and toss.

When the beetroot are done, remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes. Unwrap the foil and gently rub the skin away from the beetroot – which it should do, but if not peel them now – cut into large chunks and toss through the salad.

Serve with the beetroot still warm and devour.

 

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