Danni Floatwrights

Drink, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Guatemala, Sweets

After a blissful week in Byron with Nico and a cruel irony of Liberty-Belle being felled during Pride Week on ANTM, I needed someone far less X-rated and scandalous respectively, to help me celebrate ticking over to sub-two-weeks-left-until-Ghost-Island. And boy was Queen Danni Boatwright the right woman for the job.

As a fellow notable sportscaster and journalist, I knew Danni before her time dominating the irritatingly forgotten season of Guatemala.

While I concur, it did have some wholly unlikable contestants and saw the universally beloved Stephame LaGrossa go from hero to villain (was it solely ignored so she could compete as a hero?), its camps were located in freaking temples and had some amazing contestants worthy of a return. Danni, being one of them.

Rant over.

Kind of … Amy for second chances, damn it.

Despite being on the wrong side of the numbers post-merge, her friendly nature, competitive drive and ability to spot her Hogebooms from her Hawkins, allowed her to seize control of the endgame and murder the most beloved contestant thus far in the final tribal. And it was glorious.

After – spoiler alert – almost returning for Game Changers, Dan has a renewed love for the game and like Tom looks forward to camp-curse LaGrossa making an appearance on Ghost Island, to ruin challenges like the medallion of power … or the everyone gets a prize contestants of San Juan del Sur.

We spent our time gossiping, laughing and plotting all the themes better than the arbitrary ones rolled out in recent years. It was thirsty work, and thankfully I kept the Danni Floatwrights flowing for the duration.

 

 

Does a Root Beer Float call for a recipe, I hear you ask? Screw you … they’re delicious and I make up the rules on this ‘ere website, Manchego Lentox be damned.

Plus … it means it is super easy to follow along at home, meaning you too can feel like part of the A-list.

You’re welcome slash enjoy!

 

 

Danni Floatwrights
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
1-2 scoops vanilla ice cream
375ml can root beer

Method
Scoop ice cream into a highball like you’re Eric Reichenbach.

Slowly pour root beer over said perfectly scooped ice cream

Drank, greedily.

 

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Turkey Tom Westyum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Have I mentioned, tom yum? Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Tom Westyum
Serves: 4.

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

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

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

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

 

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Vecepia Baowery

Main, Poultry, Street Food, Survivor: Marquesas

Just like the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3, I’m about to be back, back, back, back, back again on a remote(ish) island in Fiji to cook-up some culinary commiserations for the 19 soon to be losers and 39 days, one sole survivor, of Survivor: Ghost Island. As has now become traditional, I am counting down to the premiere by spending time with past victors. And we’re kicking things off with one of my favourites – Vecepia Towery.

Now hold up – did I desperately want Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien to take out Marquesas? Without a doubt. But does that take away from the low-key brilliance that was Vecepia’s win, the likes of which we had never seen up until that point? No.

I mean, not even the kite flying challenge could diminish my love of the underrated Marquesas.

Not only did Vecepia land on the worst tribe in Survivor history at that point, but she overcame a three-seven disadvantage at the merge to lead (with Sean and Kathy, yes) the first ever shake-up in Survivor, rallying the minority to turn on the majority and overthrow the game. For that alone, you can’t count out Vecepia. Particularly when you take into account the journal she kept, that helped her snatch victory in the fallen comrades challenge.

Anyway, as you should probably have guessed by now, V is one of my dearest friends and I will defend her to the end of the earth. Knowing that, she was thrilled to answer my call and drop-by to honour the 36th season of the show … which Marquesas kind of set up to become what it is.

We laughed, we cried, we strategised about ways to get more people from early seasons brought back for returning player seasons and most importantly, we absolutely annihilated some four-weeks-to-go Vecepia Baowery.

 

 

I love me some bao buns. So, so, much. And these spicy little numbers do nothing to reduce said love. Spicy, sweet and a bun slathered in white creamy goodness? Perfection.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vecepia Baowery
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece ginger, sliced
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 long red chillies, chopped
½ cup Chinese rice wine
⅓ cup dark soy sauce
1L chicken stock
4 chicken thighs
½ cup rice flour
2 tsp Chinese five-spice
vegetable oil
8 buns and the cucumber from Bret LaBao Buns
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
small handful of coriander leaves, to taste
kewpie mayo, to taste

Method
Prep your buns and cucumber as per Bretty’s recipe.

Place the garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns, chillies, rice wine, soy and stock in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, reducing heat to low when rollicking. Add the chicken and simmer for twenty minutes or so. Remove and allow to cool before cutting across the thigh into short 1 inch wide strips.

Combine the rice flour and five spice in a bowl and toss through the cooled pieces of chicken to coat. Place enough vegetable oil to fill a pot up to 1cm and place over a high heat. When shimmery and starting to get that weird dancing appearance, reduce heat to medium and add half the chicken, cooking for a couple of minutes – flipping once – until they’re gloriously crisp. Remove to a paper towel and repeat the process.

To assemble, spread open your buns, slather with some kewpie, top with cucumber, capsicum, chicken, more kewpie and some coriander. Devour immediately.

 

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Bento Driebergen Box

Burgers, Main, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, 18 strangers were stranded in Fiji before Katrina, Simone and Patrick were sent packing before the triple H’s were split into three new tribes. After the little switch, Alan, Roark and Ali found themselves on the wrong side of the numbers. At the merge, sweet Jessica found herself becoming the final pre-juror before Desi, Cole, JP, Joe, Lauren, Ashley, Mike and Devon found their way to the jury, and they vote Ryan and Chrissy as the runner-ups of the season.

Ben got an absolute roasting from the jury when they spoke about how he outwitted and outplayed the rest, seemingly giving up after being the underdog for the last few weeks of the game.

When it came time for Ben to wrap up his game, he spoke about being involved in booting each member of the jury as they were hurdles to his victory. That of course puzzled everyone, as Mike was booted thanks to Devon throwing a vote as insurance, Ashley would have been booted no matter how Ben voted. Mike called bullshit and asked him why he should win, rather than why he booted them. Joe then used the d-word – disappointed – as he said that for someone that had their back against the wall since day one, he seems to have given up. He then spoke about overcoming PTSD and broke down, earning back some respect from the jury … enough to secure five votes and hand him the title of Sole Survivor.

While you could argue about the ease with which Ben found idols and then, when they were no longer valid, was saved by a new last-minute twist, he evidently did enough to convince the jury that he was the most deserving player. Plus – his ability to fool everyone when playing the double agent was amazing and truly changed the course of the game.

That alone is worthy of a Bento Driebergen Box.

 

 

First up, yes, I am aware that this is not served in a bento box but the principles remain the same … so just stay quiet ok? In any event, these babies are delicious so use your imagine if you’re concerned about it. I mean, how do you go past bacon, beef, sweet potato fries and some delightful aioli – and dare I say it, all the fixin’s – in any combination you want.

Congratulations on a game well played Ben and to everyone at home, enjoy!

 

 

Bento Driebergen Box
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
500g beef mince
1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into matchsticks
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
8 slices streaky bacon
1 onion, roughly diced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 slices high-melt American cheese, cut into quarters
1 tomato, thinly slice
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
4-8 pickles, sliced
4-8 mini Kirsten Bunst, split open
Coolaioli, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the sweet potato on a lined baking sheet and toss through some extra virgin olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for twenty minutes or so, or until crisp and golden.

Combine the mince in a bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper until well combined. Form into 16 balls and flatten to form small patties. Place on a lined baking sheet with the bacon and cook them all together for fifteen minutes, or until the mini-patties are just cooked through.

Heat a lug olive oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion over medium heat, or until soft and sweet. Add the sugar and muscovado, and caramelise for about five minutes. Remove from heat.

Now to serve you could use an actual bento box to help the name of the recipe make sense … but where is the fun in that? So scatter everything into tiny mounds on a plate, assembling as you see fit as you eat with your hands … like a toddler. One man’s bento is another man’s deconstructed slider. Either way, they’re good for devouring.

 

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Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger

Bread, Burgers, Main, Snack, Street Food, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the final three battled it out in front of the jury to explain why they outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the rest. While Ryan tried his darndest to explain how dominant his social game was, the jury didn’t buy it and he landed in third place with only Devon’s vote.

Chrissy, of course, dominated her speech about outlasting everyone else – seamlessly weaving from talking about being an underdog, kicking ass in challenges, making genuine connections and playing a solid game that was both heroic and didn’t leave a trail of destruction like Ben.

She then spoke about mother’s being the ultimate heroes, always putting people first and being the heroes, healers and hustlers of their families … and that she would be the ultimate ambassador for their season. Despite the fact she completely nailed the final tribal speech and played an extremely strong game, she only managed to secure Ashley and Mike’s votes and finished in second place.

You could argue that without her so called advantage on day 38, Chrissy would have been crowned the sole survivor and be a million dollars richer. Whatever the case, that didn’t happen and she was stuck in the finals with Ben, who was able to convince them that being an underdog was enough to secure him the victory.

In any event, Chrissy played a killer game and truly did dominate the game from day one and was more than worthy of a delicious Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger.

 

 

A little bit sweet, a shit tonne of spice and the juiciest pork and crispiest skin work together to create a killer burg. And that is before you even add Slawren Rimmer to the mix, which truly elevates it to greatness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chrispy Porkfbeck Burger
Serves: 4.

Ingredients
750g pork belly, skin scored in a 1cm-wide crosshatch
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp sea salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
125g palm sugar, shaved
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 red chilies, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 Kirsten Bunst
Coolaioli, to serve
Slawren Rimmer, to serve

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C.

Place pork belly on a rack over a roasting pan and pour 1L freshly boiled water over the skin to open up the hatch. Combine the pepper, chilli, salt and oil in a bowl and rub into the freshly opened skin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours, or until tender. Once it is cooked through, crank the temp to 240°C and cook for a further ten minutes or so, or until the skin is very crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the pork is resting, chuck the palm sugar and ⅛ cup water in a medium heavy-based saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rapidly boil and cook, with minimal stirring because I can’t judge, for about five-ten minutes, or until it just starts to caramelise. Remove from the heat and whisk, carefully because it is hot as balls and will splatter, in the juice and fish sauce, chillis, ginger, garlic and zest. Set aside to cool.

Cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices. Split and toast the buns, smear each half with aioli, place a small mound of slaw on top, add a couple of slices of pork, drizzle with some chilli caramel and devour.

 

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Ryan Ulrich Bread

Bread, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, the final four outlasted Katrina, Simone, Patrick, Alan, Rourk, Ali, Jessica, Desi, Cole, JP, Joe, Lauren, Ashley and Mike before discovering Probst has one final twist up his sleeve. Along with winning a record-equalling fourth immunity, Chrissy was given the advantage of selecting one person to take with her to the final three, leaving the other two to battle it out in a fire making challenge. While it was Chrissy’s advantage, there is no doubt it was more advantageous to Ben who defeated Devon and sent him out of the game as the final boot.

The final three got up to watch the sunset together and to celebrate their achievements. We then got to experience the montage where all of the finalists speak about why they deserve to win, with Ryan proud to live up to the hustler name and be the last one standing. Chrissy was proud to overcome throwing up at the first challenge to being the last woman standing and living her dream. We then got some heroic music as Ben spoke about being good with battles as an ex-marine, begging the question – is this a misdirect from the deserving Chrissy win or flagging that Ben, in fact, will win.

We then cut straight to final tribal where the jurors filed in one by one before Probst opened up the new final tribal council format – introduced last season – where the jurors all debate how the finalists outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the rest.

Desi kicked off the outwitting portion by congratulating Chrissy on kicking ass in challenges and Ben for conveniently finding 1000 idols and then asked whether Ryan did something, or whether he was dragged because he was beatable. Ashley joined in the fun asking why Ryan never bothered forming a relationship with her. He then said the plan was to work her through Devon and pull strings from behind. Joe, Lauren and JP then joined the fray to get some confirmation about it.

Joe then went IN on Ben, asking why he failed so hard at the social game and focused on causing chaos. Ben defended himself, saying he has struggled in social interactions since returning from service. Sensing the fact Ben may be swinging some sympathy votes, Chrissy jumped in to highlight her superior social game and that she made personal connections with everyone, whilst also being loyal. Things then got hella dark as she listed Joe’s personal fear of marriage because his parents’ didn’t work out. I mean, could memory, but damn, this tribal is getting dark yo.

Cole then asked why Ben painted a target on his back after he kept stealing food, which kind of seems obvious … but then again, he is pretty so whatevs. Cole was willing to forgive Ben if he just admitted he was using it to get him out, leading to Ryan arguing that he was friends with Cole so therefore more deserving of his vote. Ashley jumped in to defend Chrissy and point out that the boys spoke about sharing themselves with jurors, while Chrissy asked about them. It then devolved into a he said she said between Ryan and Chrissy leading to Desi and Lauren jumping in to tell them to play nice and be proud that they made it there, rather than bashing each other.

Dreamy Cole then kicked off the outplay portion of the roundtable by congratulating Chrissy’s challenge prowess, Ben’s ability to find and play idols – feels repetitive, no? – and complained about Ryan not doing anything. He tried to defend himself for not contributing around camp, pissing everyone off as not camping is not a good enough excuse for not trying. Joe jumped in to save him and told him to focus on his advantages instead. Ashley again brought up the female dominance in immunity challenges, allowing Chrissy to talk about how great she played. Joe then anointed her the Queen, upsetting me that he clearly ignored my dear SDT. The good one, not the shit one.

Ben then spoke about finding idols and being saved by Chrissy’s advantage, begging the question – what can he say to convince them he played a decent game. Desi did raise a good point however in saying that if the others had used their time wisely, they could have avoided him finding idols and therefore, he deserves credit for their epic fail.

The outlast portion gave Ryan the chance to say that all he had to survive was his social game. He then tried to go the Stapley route and said he went to most of the tribal councils and survived thanks to his social game. Mike then interjected to ask if he learnt anything while playing the game. He then went off on a tangent about being reminded of the importance of family and being introspective, which was a compelling enough statement to get Devon to cast a vote for him to win and land him in third place.

While he was disappointed not to take out the victory – or second place – he was just so excited to have not only played the game but also make it all the way to the very end. Plus – how can you be said when eating bread? Particularly one as delicious as my Ryan Ulrich Bread.

 

 

I am sure every toddler would disagree with me, but there is nothing better than a freshly baked rye bread. A little bit earthy, a little bit sweet and completely soothing, all you need is a slather of butter.

Enjoy!

 

 

Ryan Ulrich Bread
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 cup lukewarm water (Off topic but why is it lukewarm. Was Luke not a very warm person, but he wasn’t cold?)
2 tbsp treacle
7g dried yeast
2 cups rye flour
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Method
Combine the water, treacle and yeast in a small jug, and leave in a warm place for ten minutes or until frothing. But not in an aroused way.

Combine the flours and salt in another large bowl, leaving a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture and oil into well while stirring until it comes together. Transfer to a stand mixer and knead with a dough hook on medium for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a large greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm, dry place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Punch back the dough until it has returned to its normal size. Shape into a large ball and place on a lined baking tray and cut a 1cm deep cross into the top of the bread. Return to the warm, dry place and leave to prove for a further hour, or until doubled again.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Chuck it in the oven for ten minutes before reducing the temperature to 180°C and baking for a further 20-25 minutes or until crusty on the outside and it sounds hollow on the inside.

Serve warm with butter and a dickload of treacle. Cause that is damn perfection.

For devouring, obvi.

 

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Devon Pinto Beans on Toast

Breakfast, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the four of the final five’s complacency lead to Ben finding yet another idol. Despite Chrissy’s best attempts to use her dead super idol to her advantage and play it as an idol to stop him searching. Yes, it was too little too late, but thankfully for Devon he felt Ben was too confident for someone that was about to be voted out, and threw a vote on Mike to save himself and send Mike to the jury.

The final four returned to camp, once again shocked by Ben’s latest idol play and Devon receiving his first vote. Ben then checked in with Ryan to see whether he and his series of idols broke another record. While semi-gloating that night, he was feeling decidedly less confident the next day given idols are dead. Though Probst did say that the final four would bring about another twist, so who knows.

Chrissy for one was extremely nervous about the twist as if all goes according to plan and one of their three win immunity, she wins a million dollars and Ben goes home in fourth.

Given she said immunity three times, Probst appeared for the final immunity challenge of the season which features the victor also getting said twist. The challenge seemed simple with the castaways required to spell our heroes, healers and hustlers on a wobbly platform. Looks were deceiving however as Chrissy quickly dropped her first batch of letters, as did Devon. Ryan and Ben got out to an early lead, while Chrissy and Devon continued to bumble around. Public enemy number one Ben then overtook Ryan and placed his final letters and locked in the platform, thinking he had immunity. Tragically for him, one of the letters was upside down and he lost most of his blocks as he unlocked the structure to fix it. That lead to Ryan, Chrissy and Devon all following suit and dropping all their blocks. The panic started to set in with Ben dropping again, followed by Ryan, Chrissy, Devon, Ryan and Devon. It came down to Ben and Chrissy who were neck and neck before Ben dropped again, giving Chrissy enough time to finish the puzzle and snatch her record-equalling fourth immunity challenge.

They returned to camp where Ben was feeling completely defeated, knowing he was a dead man walking. Ryan and Chrissy spoke about them potentially being millionaires soon while Ben spoke to Chrissy about the possibility of taking him to the end. While she told him she would think about it, she knew it may cost her the game. Little did he know that Chrissy’s advantage was actually a disadvantage, which gave her the opportunity to pick one person to take to the end and leave the other two to compete in a fire challenge for the final spot. Which bodes well for Ben and not good for Devon, as Chrissy thinks he will be better at making fire than Ryan.

Chrissy took the information to Devon and Ryan so that they would be across it and Devon could use the time to practice making fire. While Ryan was thrilled his ineptitude secured his place in the final three, there was an overwhelming sense of doom as Devon went down to the beach to practice making fire and immediately broke the flint.

Things didn’t go that much better for Devon at tribal council where after Ryan joined Chrissy as a member of the final three, Ben was shocked to learn he had yet another life and made quick work of the fire while Devon struggled to even get a spark, sending him out of the game as the final juror.

As heartbroken as he and his enormous torso were to exit the game on day 38 by an unprecedented twist, he quickly brushed it off as just part of the game. I screamed and threatened to sue for what felt like six hours before calming my farm and getting down to whipping up some Devon Pinto Beans on Toast for the morning after making Devs feel better.

 

 

While they oft have smack talked about them as the musical fruit, beans are fucking delicious and wholly nutritious … which is super convenient if you just spent 38 starving on an island and backed it up with a very late night.

Enjoy!

 

 

Devon Pinto Beans on Toast
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tomato, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and cut into half-moon discs
400g can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ tsp smoked paprika
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices sourdough, toasted
parmesan, to serve

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a medium skillet until nice and hot. Reduce heat to low, add the onions and garlic, and sweat until soft and sweet. Add the tomato, beans and a lug of water and cook for two minutes, or until almost completely reduced. Add the paprika and a whack of salt and pepper, stir and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately on freshly toasted sourdough, top with some parmesan and devour thinking this is why I’m a morning person.

 

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Mikey Zahalsky Bread

Bread, Main, Pizza, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap

Previously on Survivor, 18 strangers were stranded in the middle of Fiji and were arbitrarily split up into tribes of six – either heroes, healers or hustlers. That being said, Chrissy the heroic actuary is doing God’s work. Ryan kicked off his game with a secret advantage, which required him to pass it on to someone attending the first tribal. He gave the idol to Chrissy and set off an alliance that has carried them to the final five with their other ally Devon.

Speaking of Devon, he was gifted a disadvantage of not voting at the first post-swap tribal, Lauren had to hold onto a vote to play it at a later tribal and Mike, bless, burnt half of her idol in the tribal council fire, rendering it useless and Ben idolling her out of the game. He then played an idol at the next tribal council as well, sending Ashley out of the game as the sixth member of the jury.

The mood was somber back at camp after the latest #BenBomb with Mike grateful for being saved and Ben quickly disappearing to find another idol. Since the other four were confident he won’t be able to find another one and instead focussed on one of them winning immunity, you know that he will in fact find another idol. How they can stand around talking about where he went while concerned about him finding another idol, rather than trailing him like Andrea did with Malcolm is beyond me and completely absurd?

The next day Ben was feeling totes emosh about not finding an idol and given up on his sleep when out of nowhere and completely not rigged, he finally found another idol guaranteeing him a place in the final four.

The rest of the tribe awoke while Ben casually lazed about the shelter and Devon got a fire going, which feels like foreshadowing. Chrissy decided that it was time to bury the hatchet with Ben, though unbeknownst to him it was directly into his back. She then floated the idea of taking the best players to the end if he wins the next immunity challenge, while she gave him no assurance she would take him if the shoe were on the other foot.

Ben then guaranteed Chrissy would be the next one out … and you know what that means, Probst arrived for said reward/immunity challenge. The final five were required to swim out and climb up a crate step and jump off to release some keys, then cross a balance beam and collect some more keys and swim to a platform to unlock and complete a puzzle. Devon and Ryan – somehow – got out to an early lead before the balance beam made quick work of leveling the playing field. Mike and Devon arrived at the puzzle first, though Chrissy was first to release the puzzle. Challenge beast Chrissy continued her dominance – shock – taking out immunity and scoring herself comfort food and cheesecake, which she loves, because obviously. It is the food of mums and gays.

Wanting to stir shit up, Probst allowed her to pick to people to share in the feast with Chrissy taking Mike and Devon. The three of them had a quick look for a clue to the final idol before Chrissy made a toast to the three of them making the final four with Ryan. While it could have been a dangerous decision, Ryan had no interest in strategising while on babysitting. Back at reward, Mike decided they should hide Chrissy’s dead super idol and pretend that they found it on reward to get Ben to stop looking … for the idol he already found.

Chrissy then told Ben about her idol and told him to stop wasting his energy searching, filling she and Ryan with confidence and Ben with joy that he longer needs to pretend to look for the idol. He then got to work identifying who to take out with the real idol, deeming Ryan to be zero threat and debating who was best to take out out of Devon and Mike. Ben made one flaw however and didn’t strategise which made Devon nervous that against all odds, Ben had an advantage up his sleeve, and debated the merits of putting a vote on Mike just in case.

At tribal council, everyone but Ben spoke about how he was public enemy number one. Chrissy then spoke about how it was too hard to babysit Ben at all times, before Mike briefly spoke about their collective complacency before Chrissy brought out her fake idol as a show of power. Ben continued his defeatist attitude before trying to smear Chrissy’s game for gloating and tugging on the juror’s heartstrings as he spoke about how much he wanted to win.

As the votes were about to be tallied, Chrissy decided against playing her fake idol before Ben pulled out his real idol, much to the delight of the jury and the terror of the final five. Devon looked like he was about to throw up, making it extremely lucky that he put a vote on Mike leading to a 1-1 tie between him and Mike. The remaining three then revoted with Ben gloating to Devon that his fate was in Chrissy and Ryan’s hand, though thankfully for the walking torso his trust was well placed and Mike became the seventh juror.

While Mike was super disappointed in himself for not throwing a vote on Devon to save himself, he was proud of the way he played the game and was thrilled to see me waiting for him in Ponderosa with a big ol’ Mikey Zahalsky Bread.

 

 

I am only new to the monkey bread kind of scene but I’d argue that this is already one of the best. I mean, take all the gloriously comforting things you’d put on a pizza, and making it into a cheesy mess of dough? There is nothing better.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mikey Zahalsky Bread
Serves: 1-8.

Ingredients
1 cup grated mozzarella
¼ cup grated Parmesan
50g cold unsalted butter, grated
4 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
small handful parsley, roughly chopped
small handful oregano, roughly chopped
¼ tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
non-stick  oil spray
Pizsa Zsa Gabor dough
1 cup passata
200g sliced pepperoni

Method
Combine the cheeses, butter, shallot, garlic, parsley, oregano and chilli flakes in a medium bowl with a good whack of salt and pepper.

Spray a bundt tin with non-stick oil and roll the dough into golf-ball sized balls. Line the base with a couple of pieces, dot with passata, pepperoni and some of the cheese mixture. Continue the process, adding more balls and topping until they’re all gone, topping with any leftover cheese. Transfer to a warm place and allow to prove for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Transfer the bundt into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until puffed, golden and brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes before turning out of the pan and devouring.

 

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Smashley Avolan

Bread, Breakfast, Main, Side, Snack, Survivor, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, TV Recap, Vegetarian

Previously on Survivor, the alliance that Ben spent two weeks pretending not to be a part of contemplated getting rid of him for realsies. Thankfully for him though he had an idol in his pocket, some chaos at tribal council and Mike around to throw half of Lauren’s idol in the fire. Ben played his idol while Lauren could not, sending her out of the game with Ben’s sole vote.

Things were rather solemn as Solewa returned to tribal, shocked by the fact that Ben pulled off the ultimate idol play, topping even Wentworth’s brutal slayage of Savage back in Cambodia. Ben then meandered off to get some water – I assume to toast his success – before Chrissy, Ryan and Mike confirmed with Devon that he and Ashley had no idea what was happening. They then locked him in as the next to go, which you know, means that he is safe this episode.

Ben returned from his drink to Devon heckling him about voting out the wrong person as he was going to make sure he doesn’t win immunity, despite the fact Lauren has won more challenges than him.

Early the next morning, Ben woke up to make a fire slash use the alone time to search high and low for his rehidden idol. Sadly for him, Chrissy and Mike woke up while he was gone and realised what he was up to. Though, they didn’t act on it, so who knows? I guess not everyone can be Caramoan Andrea to Malcolm and babysit them until they give up?

My lover Probsty arrived for the reward challenge, where the final six were separated into pairs and required to walk through an obstacle course to untether themselves from a rope before tossing three rings onto big, hard sticks. Given it was for an overnight getaway to a private resort it was, as Jiffy says, worth playing for. Coming as no surprise, Ben and Ashley got out to an early lead, followed closely by Devon and Chrissy while Mike and Ryan languished behind. Chrissy and Devon found a good rhythm, overtaking Ben and Ashley and securing reward. Obviously Jeff gave them the opportunity to pick one person to take on reward with them. They picked their mutual friend Ryan much to the chagrin of Ashley who was ropeable to be left out … and was conveniently left back at camp with the other half of the tribe.

She continued to seethe back at camp where Mike suggested they all take five minutes to rant before moving on. He then used his allotted rant time to paint a target on Ryan and Devon, saying he was concerned that the latter is trying to woo the former back to his side. Ben interrupted his rant to find out who he was targeting at the next tribal, with the silence letting him know that he was his target. Mike then went for a walk, allowing Ben the opportunity to talk to Ashley, clear the air and find an in. That being said, she shut him down pretty firmly and he resigned himself to finding the idol, which Mike assured us wouldn’t happen. So …

Over at the reward, Chrissy, Devon and Ryan got to work feasting before Devon kicked off the scheming, reaffirming that Ben needs to go first while Mike is also too much of a loose cannon to leave around. Chrissy then floated themselves as a potential final three, which the other two jumped at. After locking in their new alliance, Chrissy continued her favourite pastime and painted a target on the last remaining female, Ashley, deeming her to be more of a threat than Ben. Though I’m not sure why, other than the fact that she called her out at tribal. While that makes sense for Chrissy’s game, how is she going to sell that to Devon and Ryan?

Probst returned to the scene for an epic immunity challenge where the castaways were required to run a huge-ass obstacle course before untying sandbags before using said sandbag to toss into their basket and release a ladder. They then had to get another wall, toss it into a forked gap … and release another ladder. It obviously finished off with a big ol’ puzzle. Everyone was kind of neck and neck the entire way, which is kind of surprising given it looked insanely tiring. Given the puzzle was too hard to tell where people were placing, the long story short is that Chrissy took out victory and secured her place in the final five.


Back at camp Ben was feeling sore about losing the immunity challenge, disappearing to search for an idol while the remaining five hung out to re-confirm that they were going to take out Ben. They then moved the conversation to the water, worrying about him finding an idol WHILE HE WAS OPENLY SEARCHING FOR THE IDOL. Ashley then disappeared, allowing Chrissy to throw out the idea of getting rid of Ashley instead of Ben, to flush out Ben’s potential that nobody was guarding against and eliminating her final challenge threat. As expected Ben then found a clue to the idol while all alone, telling him it was hidden on the underside of the shelter. Everyone was casually chatting by the fire while Ben lounged around under the shelter, laying in wait for an opportunity to snatch the idol.

At tribal Ben spoke about being the odd man out before Probsty cut him off to throw some shade at Ashley not being selected for the reward, stoking Chrissy and Ashley’s simmering rage. Ryan and Mike spoke about their final three plans before Chrissy pointed out that making such a deal sends the message to them, that you think they are beatable which is terrible jury management. Ben then spoke about being a lone wolf before Mike appears to have put his foot in it, pointing out that Ben is good at playing the game and he wouldn’t be surprised if he got his way at tribal, making Ashley paranoid as she hasn’t heard of any plan Ben has come up with.

After some back and forth Devon locked in the fact that Ben was going home tonight, leading to him pulling out the idol and saying that that isn’t actually happening. Chrissy didn’t appreciate his gloating, while everyone else was kind of just dumbfounded. Ben then asked Ashley and Devon if they wanted to go back to camp tonight, which Ashley agreed to and was instructed to take out Mike. Devon however wasn’t so sure Ben would play his idol, leading to Ben playing it early and everyone else to panic as they headed off to vote. Despite agreeing to take out Mike, Ben joined with the rest of the tribe to take out Ashley and send her to my loving arms in Ponderosa.

While Ash was weeeeellllll pissed after her blindside, the love of her dear friend slash ex-swim coach was able to bring her back to normal. As you know, I’m a big deal in the swim scene – hey Kat and Lisa! – and became a dear friend of Ash while coaching her and getting her into the lifeguard biz. She may have calmed down after I explained how well she had done, she wasn’t able to come back to normal until she attacked some Smashley Avolan.

 

 

Let’s be honest, there is nothing better than a good smashed avo … and I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet, but this is pretty damn perfect. Though I am a millennial and value avo more than owning a home, so who knows if I’m actually correct. That being said, lemon, chilli and feta – need I say more?

Enjoy!

 

 

Smashley Avolan
Serves: 2 bitter Betty’s on the jury.

Ingredients
4 slices of fresh sourdough
1-2 avocados
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
100g feta (but realistically closer to 200g)

Method
Toast the bread to taste.

Smash the avo with a dash of lemon juice, chilli, and a good whack of salt and pepper.

Generously heap on the toast, crumble with feta and devour, with extra lemon juice as required.

 

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Tyson Apostollen

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

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

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

Yes, I only learnt the word zaddie last Thursday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Enjoy!

 

 

Tyson Apostollen
Serves: 12.

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

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

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

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

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

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

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

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

Then devour, greedily.

 

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