Previously on Survivor 18 new castaways were marooned on the islands of Fiji, ready to repeat all the tricks of last season. But hot damn did they have more success. Despite tragically losing Jackson before the first immunity challenge, the Ika tribe arrived at tribal council ready to play. Sadly for Zach, that was as far as his game went. More importantly, it also broke Maryanne’s heart as he was the literal embodiment of every white man she has ever loved. We then lost Marya, Jenny and Swati in quick succession, before Daniel blew up his game and set up the demise of Vati post-merge.
Speaking of which, the fake merge cost Lydia her game before Chanelle became the queen of the jury. Ika lost Rocksroy and Tori in a double tribal council before Omar took control by getting rid of Hai and Drea. In turn, that painted a target on his back and got him booted by Maryanne’s epic 3-2-2 play. This then led to Lindsay getting booted before the fire making challenge took out Jonathan, leaving Romeo, Mike and Maryanne to face the jury at final tribal council.
Despite Romeo putting in a strong showing, he came out of the experience with nary a vote while Mike’s subpar performance scored him only one as the jury gave Maryanne a resounding win for not only a game well played, but for dominating final tribal council.
After the cast finished filming the on island reunion, I quickly pulled Maryanne aside to toast her success. While she had a wild yet somehow quiet game at the start, she expertly read the room and was able to reset once she realised how she was being perceived, leading her on a path to greatness. Pulling off some epic moves at the right moments to not only get her to the end, but earn her the win. More importantly, she also was an epic and engaging character that will go down in the pantheon of legends. But for now, we’ll always have Maryanne Picoketchutney.
I always had a fear of the bright yellow pickle that lived in my fridge as a child, but thankfully with time comes wisdom and as an adult, my love affair began. Super tart, a little bit sweet and lightly spice, this is the perfect accompaniment for any occasion. Particularly a win.
Maryanne Picoketchutney Makes: 1.5L.
Ingredients 500g cauliflower, cut into small florets 200g zucchini, cut into a fine dice 100g green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced 1 onion, diced 2 tbsp sea salt 600ml malt vinegar 3 tbsp English mustard powder 1 tbsp coriander seeds 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds 2 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp turmeric ¼ cup plain flour ⅔ cup raw caster sugar 2 bay leaves
Method Combine the cauliflower, zucchini, beans and onion in a bowl with the salt. Cover and leave to steep at room temperature overnight. In the morning, rinse under cold water and drain.
Whisk 100 ml of vinegar with the mustard powder, coriander, mustard and cumin seeds, turmeric and flour to form a paste.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the mustard mixture and cook for a couple of minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add the drained vegetables and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Ladle the mixture into sterilised jars and seal immediately, storing in a cool dark place until opened. Then devour, immediately.
Previously on Survivor the final five appeared to be neatly split into two pairs or Jonathan and Mike on one side and Lindsay and Maryanne on the other with Romeo left right out. Before heading to the immunity challenge, treemail arrived with a puzzle which they had to solve for a clue to an advantage in the challenge and while Lindsay jagged it, it didn’t help as Mike powered through the puzzle and snatched it out from under her. Back at camp Maryanne was confident Mike would play his idol for her despite the fact he literally promised everyone by Romeo the exact same thing. Ultimately though, his idol play for Maryanne – who sat on hers – didn’t matter, as she joined with the boys to take out the biggest threat left in the game, Lindsay.
The final four arrived at the final immunity challenge where they were all feeling exhausted and nervous about what lay ahead of them. Speaking of which, the challenge is the iconic simmotion one that famously cost Wentworth the game in Second Chances, and many other icons throughout the years. The tribe would each have to drop balls into a metal contraption, slowly adding more throughout the challenge with the last one still juggling balls taking out the win.
Everyone spoke about what was driving them to take out the challenge, though it was Maryanne who gave us all the heart, opening up to Probst that she is just grateful to be there in that moment, because she knows it means that everyone in her family will be watching along at home, cheering her on. And since there is a bit of a feud in her family, she is hoping the power of Survivor brings everyone back together, and that would mean more to her than a million dollars. And well, give her the money too please.
Almost as soon as the challenge got under way, Mike dropped his ball out of his hand in a lapse of concentration. Everyone else made it to their second ball before Maryanne tragically dropped hers. As she broke down in tears, Romeo and Jonathan continued to fight through as they added a third ball followed by a fourth, which was enough to end Jonathan’s game, handing Romeo – yes, ROMEO – individual immunity. Like a damn icon. He opened up about how his entire game has been completely exhausting, constantly on the bottom and everyone’s plan B, but not only is he now safe, he has made it to the final tribal council.
Back at camp Romeo was well and truly feeling his oats, ready for everyone to finally treat him with a bit of respect as they tried to make their way to the end. Mike pulled Romeo aside to assure him that he knows he will be making fire, but it is important that he makes the right decision of who exactly he needs to face, given Maryanne is more of a threat to win than Jonathan. Speaking of the duo, Maryanne was coaching Jonathan on how to make fire, given she would far prefer to sit next to him than Mike in the final three.
Mike and Romeo returned, with Mike taking Jonathan to the shore to convince him that it is critical that should Romeo offer to take him to the end, he takes it. Because he needs to take his place in the final however he can get it. Which Jonathan could tell was just him trying to get into his head before the unsafe trio split up to continue practice making fire.
The jury were shocked as Romeo arrived at tribal council wearing the immunity necklace before he spoke about finally having his star moment and how proud he is to take out immunity. Maryanne admitted that she is very much ready to vom, despite how confident she is in her firemaking skills. Jonathan too was busy hyping himself up while Mike admitted he knows he is making fire, though is worried about who his opponent may be. Romeo meanwhile spoke about second guessing himself and worrying about who to save, though that he ultimately is sticking with his gut, taking Maryanne along for the ride and leaving the boys to battle it out in fire.
With that, Mike and Jonathan took their place at the fire making stations and while Jonathan made fire with ease back at camp, he struggled to get a meaningful flame. Mike meanwhile quickly got his flame and started to build a stack, burning through all the husk as he built an epic teepee. Jonathan soon got a flame and quickly worked to close the gap as Mike’s flame started to lick at the ropes. While Jonathan was methodical as he built his fire, Mike literally threw everything on the table and despite the chaos, he managed to burn through the rope and secure his spot at final tribal council.
Jonathan was very zen about his exit, accepting that there is nothing he could do to change the outcome and he reiterated that loves everyone in the tribe very much. He held his head high as he became the final juror to enter Ponderosa for the season and I quickly pulled him in for a hug to congratulate him on making it so far despite his massive target. Which coincidentally is why I pulled him in for a massive hug, because I wanted to feel the warmth of all of that man mountain. And then smash a celebratory Cinnamon Bunathan Young Pie, shirtless in each other’s arms.
Like everything else that comes out of Milk Bar, this little number is near perfection. Kinda like Jonathan’s body? Delicate creamy filling, earthy browned butter and super spicy, it is the ultimate celebratory dessert. Which is good for all occasions.
Cinnamon Bunathan Young Pie Serves: 8.
Ingredients ‘Mother Dough’ 3½ cups flour 1 tbsp kosher salt 1 ¼ tsp active dry yeast 1 ¾ cups water, at room temperature Liquid Cheesecake 250g cream cheese 150g raw caster sugar 1 tbsp cornstarch ½ tsp kosher salt 2 tbsp milk 1 egg Cinnamon Streusel ¼ cup flour ¼ cup rolled oats 1 tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp kosher salt 2 tbsp brown sugar 2 tbsp butter melted ¼ tsp vanilla extract Assembly ¼ cup brown butter ¼ cup brown sugar tightly packed ¼ tsp kosher salt 1 tsp cinnamon
Method To start, get to work on your mother dough by combining the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and stir with the dough hook by hand until just combined before transferring it to the mixer and kneading on low for 10 minutes, or until a smooth, soft ball forms.
Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for an hour or until doubled.
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Next, get to work on the liquid cheesecake – which you will learn about its sole majesty very soon, I promise – by popping the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beating on medium for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar and beat for an additional couple of minutes and scrape down the sides. Combine the cornstarch, salt, milk and egg in a jug and whisk together until smooth, before adding to the mixer and beating for another 3 or 4 minutes, or until beautifully smooth. Pour into a lined square cake pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside is just setting, but it is still jiggly in the middle. Remove from the oven to cool.
While that is chill and the dough is busy proving itself, turn your attention to the streusel by tossing the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar until combined. Fold through the melted butter and vanilla until clusters start to form.
Turn the oven up to 180C.
Punch down the dough, dust a surface with some extra flour and roll it out to form a 25cm disc that is about 1.5cm thick. Press into a large pie pan and place said pie pan on a lined baking sheet. Brush half the brown butter over the dough before pouring half the liquid cheesecake over the top in an even layer, followed by the remaining brown butter and the brown sugar, gently pressing into place. Sprinkle with the salt and cinnamon, followed by the remaining cheesecake and finally, the streusel.
Transfer the pie to the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until the centre is slightly jiggly while the edges have set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for fifteen minutes or so before serving. And devouring, thrilled to be back in the land of 6000 calories a day.
Previously on Survivor the final six grew more and more nervous about making it to the end, as everyone sized up who would make the easiest opponents in the final three. With Omar outed as a strategic mastermind at the previous tribal council, Maryanne was also focused on usurping his power and concocted a plan to take him out using her extra vote to swing a 3-2-2 vote. And while everyone continued to panic about her plan and who to take out should it fail, she stood firm and held everyone together to perfectly execute it and take Omar out of the game. In a very iconic fashion.
We followed the final five not back to camp, but instead to a new rain soaked beach to set up a new camp for the remaining days. Tarpless and with nothing, let’s just say the final five were well and truly gagged. Ultimately though, nothing could bring Maryanne down after taking out Omar with a massive move. Sadly she was the only one as Romeo was annoyed to have received votes, while Jonathan sassed out Lindsay for voting for him, despite the fact they both turned on each other. And ugh, this isn’t a good look for Jonathan.
Romeo meanwhile was an icon and interrupted the fight to announce that since they’re all being honest with each other, he has an idol and will be playing it at the next tribal council. So yeah, good luck to the rest of ya’s. Essentially.
The next day Jonathan was still focused on getting rid of Lindsay with the boys, while Maryanne was busy assuring Lindsay that Mike would be playing his idol for her at tribal council and as such, they would both find a way to keep going. Mike and Lindsay then caught up, with Mike assuring Lindsay that he will totally play the idol for her at tribal council and while it is the same promise he gave Maryanne, it was the only glimmer of hope she had, so she took it.
The tribe then received treemail, complete with a clue for an advantage at the upcoming immunity challenge. And while Lindsay was first to solve it, she could not find the advantage while the rest of the tribe worked together to solve the clue to block her. While Maryanne desperately tried to undermine the boys so that Lindsay could find the advantage before anyone else, guaranteeing the girls make it to the final four together. And what do you know, Queen Maryanne was successful, as Lindsay snatched the advantage and was that much closer to the end. Much to her and Maryanne’s delight.
While Jonathan looked to be boiling with rage.
The final five met up with Probst in the middle of a clearing for an epic immunity challenge where they would each have to race out to six stations to collect puzzle pieces before solving said puzzle. And while it sounds easy, the stations were guarded by obstacles and the pieces tied up by multiple knots. For Lindsay, she would only have to untie a single knot at each station, while the rest would have to work through six. Oh and the victor would also win a huge dinner of pasta, garlic bread, salad, cake and wine. So yeah, they were all very pumped.
Despite Lindsay’s advantage, she spent most of the challenge nipping at Jonathan’s heels as he absolutely destroyed the obstacles. While it is always hard to keep track of who is in the lead, Jonathan was the first to start working on the puzzle with Lindsay in a very close second place. Mike quickly joined them, while Romeo and Maryanne closed out the pack. While Jonathan and Lindsay were piece for piece at the start, Mike quickly closed the gap as he and Lindsay battled for first place. He continued to methodically work through the puzzle and despite a late-breaking push from Lindsay, he managed to snatch immunity. And tragically, doom one of our queens.
Mike started to break down over his win, overwhelmed to finally jag individual immunity and make his kids proud. Oh and then Jeffrey gave Mike a chance to fuel one of his competitors, with him stupidly opting to give Jonathan food which is a wild choice given he is the biggest competition to win final immunity challenge, assuming he survives the night. Even if they are aligned.
Back at camp the boys went off to smash their feast, pledging their undying loyalty to each other while Lindsay spat fire about how terrible Jonathan is to Maryanne and Romeo. As the boys ate, Mike meanwhile was debating who he should play his idol for at the upcoming tribal to stack the final four with the people he wants. As such, he assured Jonathan he would be playing his idol for him too and just like that, he has now pissed off two potential jurors. The hungry trio meanwhile were busy locking in their votes for Jonathan, with Maryanne assuring them both that there is no way Mike would go back on his word to her. Despite knowing for a fact he also gave his word to Lindsay.
Lindsay meanwhile caught up with Mike to play on his emotions, begging him to stick to his word and not betray her, and while her argument was compelling – and frankly, so great – the fact that she can talk her way into anything, shows how big of a threat she is. Mike then caught up with Maryanne, with her trying to convince Mike to stick to his word to her so that she could protect Lindsay. Though when she caught up with Romeo, he cautioned her that both Jonathan and Lindsay are threats. Leaving Maryanne to worry who Mike would be playing his idol for, given everything hinges on his decision. And could make or break all of their games.
At tribal council Lindsay caught the jury up on her final advantage, while Jonathan spoke about how much they were all struggling. Lindsay admitted to knowing she is likely to go home tonight due to her allegiance to Omar, while Jonathan tried to downplay how much everyone wants Lindsay to go. Maryanne spoke about trying to find the balance between her emotions and playing intelligently, while Lindsay shared how she spent the entire afternoon scrambling and pleading her case, before a quick pivot as she tried to downplay her threat level.
Jonathan stepped up to praise Lindsay for the game she played, while Lindsay said she is continuing to fight for her place in the game until the moment her torch is snuffed. Jonathan spoke about finding the balance between playing a good game and minimising your threat level, with Mike assuring everyone that if you have a solid alliance, it makes working around that a lot easier. Maryanne opened up about her need to not only find people she thinks she can beat to face off against at the end, but that also think they could beat her. And well, Lindsay was just happy that if she is getting booted for being unbeatable, that is the best way to go out.
With that the tribe voted, Mike made a big show of playing his hidden immunity for Maryanne for being so loyal to him. Romeo then announced that he would not be playing his fake idol and instead, threw it into the fire while Maryanne quietly sat on her hidden immunity idol. Jeffrey then finally read the votes with poor Lindsay tragically felled by a united tribe for being too much of a threat.
As she promised at tribal council, she was super chill and excited to be taken out for being too much of a threat, as the other option is making it to the end, getting no votes and having a shocking legacy. I pulled her in for a massive hug and assured her that she left a massive mark on the seasons and truly did play out of the best games this season and as such, is a shoe in for another go. But until then, she always has Chinese Handsay Dolapiewich.
I bet you thought I was going to take the easy route with a cheeky sandwich, but surprise, I pivoted! And when the pivot tastes as good as a slightly tweaked version of Brendan Pang’s Chinese Hand Pies, you really can’t go wrong. Spicy, warming and packing a kick, these are, in a word, perfection.
Chinese Handsay Dolapiewich Serves: 4.
Ingredients 2 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting 2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra 1 cup water 500g beef mince 3 celery stalks, finely sliced 4 spring onions, finely sliced a large handful of coriander, finely chopped 1 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tbsp dark soy sauce 1 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine 1 tsp ground white pepper ½ tsp raw caster sugar ½ tsp sesame oil ½ tsp Chinese five spice vegetable oil, to fry
Method Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and slowly mix in the water with a fork until combined. Dust the bench with a little bit of extra flour and turn out the dough and knead until nice and elastic. Oil a bowl and pop in the dough, cover with some cling and leave to rest for half an hour or so.
Pop all the other ingredients in a large bowl with a good pinch of salt and scrunch with your hands – or use a wooden spoon, I don’t mind – until well combined. Cover and pop in the fridge for the flavours to meld until the dough is ready.
To assemble, divide the dough into 8 equal parts and roll out until they are 15cm rounds and divide the filling between each disc. To close, gently stretch the dough around to seal at the top, pleat into a circle to give the look of a money bag.
Heat a couple of tablespoons in a large frying pan over medium heat and once nice and hot, add four to the pan, pleated side down and press with a spatula to flatten. Cook for five minutes or until nice and golden before flipping and cooking for a further five minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to rest on some paper towel while you cook the others.
Serve immediately, dripping in Sechuanyx Chilli Oil and devour.
Previously on Survivor Jeffrey decided to get shady and returned the Do or Die Twist to the game, which yes, we all hate. So thankfully, it was once again a total bust and Queen Lindsay lived to fight another day. Sadly, it wasn’t a good episode for all our queens as Drea trusted Omar with information about her Knowledge is Power advantage. And then our King brutally neutered its power and blocked every single one of her plans before uniting the tribe to get her out of the game.
Back at camp Lindsay was thrilled to have overcome the Do or Die drama, with the tribe all genuinely appearing to be glad she was saved. Though maybe that is because Omar set off some epic drama at tribal council to get rid of Drea and well, that always makes a survivor feel good. None more so than Lindsay, who now has an idol because the final amulet is gone and Mike feels like he owes Omar, making him grateful. And for everyone else, Omar painted the biggest target on his back since Drea pointed out he is the one that orchestrated her demise, so that is a win for everyone. Oh and Mike has zero intention of protecting Omar, instead wanting to get rid of him before he could cross him too.
As everyone slept, Mike and Maryanne caught up, with Mike reiterating that Omar is only looking out for Omar. Maryanne meanwhile was already well on the journey of wanting him gone, since the jury had just watched Omar pull off an epic move and now was the frontrunner to win, should he make it. Instead, she planned to use her extra vote to have her moment in the sun and usurp his place in power. And yas, Maryanne, work!
The next day Maryanne caught up with Omar, Lindsay and Romeo, with Maryanne sharing how paranoid Mike was becoming while Lindsay instead focused on how necessary it was to take out Jonathan. Said duo meanwhile were down by the shore to talk through their options before Omar joined them, unaware that Jonathan is well and truly ready to get rid of both him and Lindsay. And put an end to the Taku domination.
Just like that the tribe met up with Jeffrey for another reward challenge where they would have to untangle a spool of rope until they could make it to a series of obstacles, which they would then traverse before, you guessed it, solve a puzzle! Oh and more importantly, the winner could choose between chicken and veggies or a cake and cookies feast.
As the challenge got underway, Jonathan got out to an early lead while Maryanne axed herself multiple times and almost took out a camera person, laughing in delight the whole time. Lindsay started to close the gap with Jonathan before everyone caught up at the puzzle. Because yeah, it is a puzzle. Somehow, out of nowhere, Omar found his rhythm and quickly solved the puzzle, taking out victory. And dare I say it, grew the target on his back. We then got a touching moment where Omar shared that he powered through the challenge to make his niece proud. Sadly though, the joy quickly turned to shade as Jeff told him he could pick two people to join him for chicken, or three if he goes with cake. So he obviously went with cake, selecting Romeo, Maryanne and then Mike.
Which only fired up the challenge beasts even more. (I assume).
The victors disappeared down the beach to enjoy their feast, Romeo in particular, given he has not had a reward all season. While Omar spoke about feeling guilty about not picking Jonathan, he shared with us that he is thrilled to be making things more difficult for the beast. Speaking of Jonathan, he and Lindsay were both pretending to still be aligned as they smashed all their rice. When the two groups came back together, Lindsay and Mike went for a walk, with Lindsay assuring him that as long as Jonathan doesn’t have immunity, he is fine.
Mike went back to Jonathan to loop him in on Lindsay’s idol – oh, she told him about her idol – and told him that they need to guarantee she doesn’t take out immunity this week so that she can’t use said idol to protect Omar. He then ran to Maryanne to push for her to take out Omar too, assuring her that he would play his idol for her at the final five, unaware that she has her own idol and as such doesn’t need him. But in any event, she is thrilled to get rid of Omar. Mike then told Maryanne about Lindsay’s amulet idol and given she wasn’t aware of things, she was also ready to get rid of her instead since she is clearly just a goat to Lindsay.
The tribe reconnected with Probst for this week’s immunity challenge where they would each race through obstacles collecting puzzle steps, build a ladder, collect a bag of balls and then land said balls on a table maze. Jonathan obviously got out to an early lead, while Lindsay and Romeo nipped at his heels. Lindsay and Omar took over and started to pull away and got to work on their balls, with Lindsay whipping through and starting on the maze ahead of everyone. Eventually Jonathan, Omar and Mike joined her, with Jonathan landing his first ball just ahead of Lindsay. As they tried to manoeuvre their second ball towards the final slot, Lindsay dropped before Jonathan dropped just at the very end. Which gave her enough time to land her ball and take out her second individual immunity.
Back at camp everyone congratulated Lindsay on her win, while she was just thrilled to come out on top of Jonathan. Speaking of Jonathan, he was nervous about Lindsay playing her idol on Omar, so instead, he and Mike planned to take out Romeo. Lindsay assured Jonathan that Mike was the target before she caught up with Maryanne and Romeo to lock in the vote against him. While Omar took care of Mike. The duo then caught up, with Lindsay assuring Omar she has no intention of playing her idol as she doesn’t want it back in circulation.
Sadly for both of them, Maryanne was still pushing ahead with the Omar plan and caught up with Mike to talk through the plan. And Mike had changed his mind and wanted to play it safe and target Romeo and get rid of him instead. As such, Maryanne approached Romeo and looped him in on the extra vote and set in motion the plan to band together to get rid of Omar. Maryanne returned to Mike and Jonathan, telling them that with her extra vote, they could split the vote between Romeo and Omar, blindsiding Lindsay and Omar and sending the latter from the game. Barring any shenanigans at tribal council, obviously.
Right on cue the tribe arrived at tribal where Omar spoke about worrying that this one could be as wild as the last. Romeo spoke about the dynamics changing as everyone looked towards making decisions of who to sit with at the end, rather than how to get there. Lindsay agreed that they need to start looking at threats, while Omar mentioned he has been looking at threats for the entire game and now there are just less places to hide. Maryanne meanwhile spoke about feeling less on the bottom and that she was finally able to think, while Lindsay admitted she is feeling confident with the plans she is involved in. But can never guarantee she is the right plan.
Mike reiterated his passion for trust while Omar agreed that you always run the risk of someone not believing what you’re saying and changing the plan, even when you’re telling the truth. Jonathan spoke about the fact that somebody is being lied to tonight and as such, someone is going to be sad back at camp. Maryanne spoke about the fact that due to the Shot in the Dark, you can no longer rely on a unanimous vote, proving its fundamental weakness. But whatever.
With that, the tribe voted – Maryanne twice – before she pulled off the epic 3-2-2 vote against Omar, getting rid of the biggest threat. And landing a big, juicy entry on her own resume. And while it is always painful to be voted out right before the finale, Omar was still overjoyed as he entered Ponderosa. Because as the victim of an epic move, he is always going to be remembered as the biggest threat of the season that needed a big move to get rid of him. As such, we giddily smashed a Corn, Capsicum and Hallomar Zahlad and started planning his strategy for his inevitable second season.
Salty, sweet and packing a herbaceous punch, this salad hits all the right notes (and then some)! Plus, since it is salad, you never have to feel guilty about smashing a massive bowl. Right?
Corn, Capsicum and Halomar Zahlad Serves: 6-8.
Ingredients 2 corn cobs, husks and silk removed 250g haloumi, thinly sliced 3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped 2 tbsp mint, roughly chopped 1 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped ¼ cup olive oil 2 tbsp red wine vinegar salt and pepper, to taste 2 cups rocket, washed and rinsed 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into halves or quarters depending on the size ⅔ cup chargrilled capsicum, drained and cut into strips
Method Pop a cast iron griddle pan over a medium heat. Once scorching hot, brush with olive oil and pop the corn on the pan, cooking, turning occasionally, for about ten minutes, or until nice and charred. Remove from pan to cool.
Next, fry the haloumi for a couple of minutes each side. Again, hoping to get a good char. Remove from the pan.
Combine the parsley, coriander, mint and oregano in a jug with the olive oil, red wine vinegar and a good whack of salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
To assemble, pop the rocket in a bowl and sprinkle over the tomatoes and capsicum. Cut the corn off the cobs in chunks and pop over the top, alongside the haloumi. Drizzle with the dressing and devour immediately. Ideally with smug satisfaction.
Previously on Survivor, the Vati, Ika and Taku’s were dismantled however like last year, Jeffrey wanted to play things a little coy and delayed the merge. Through the power of a terrible twist that was once again trying to masquerade as time travel. After Jonathan doomed his group by leading them to victory, Rocksroy went to hourglass island where he rightly opted to give himself immunity. After Tori cussed him out for stripping her of her immunity, she then went and won it back in the first individual immunity. Which doomed everyone’s plans as she was public enemy number one, meaning out of nowhere, Lydia found herself felled and just missed the jury.
The tribe returned from tribal council, grateful to have officially made the merge and to be a part of the jury. Though according to Mike, that is as far as Romeo, Chanelle, Tori and Maryanne will go since they are left right out. Chanelle caught up with Hai, heartbroken to realise she hasn’t played the killer game she thinks she has after being left out of the last vote. Drea meanwhile was ready to drop Romeo like a newborn giraffe due to his growing shiftiness, while Lindsay was assuring Maryanne that they are still aligned and she will look out for her. Despite that assurance, Maryanne was still gutted to be on the bottom of the tribe and opened up about how it reminded her of being left out in school as a weirdo.
The next day Mike was working hard to get to know his fellow tribemates, knowing that as the old guy of the tribe, he needs to make sure people like him. And given he kindly sat and learnt about religion from Omar as he prayed and instantly made him fall in love with him, I think he’s going to be ok. At the very least, he warmed my cold dead heart.
My love Probst appeared to hide a little beware advantage on the sit out bench as the Kula Kula tribe arrived for the reward challenge. After telling us he’d be disappointed if the advantage went unfound like it did last season, he explained to the tribe that in teams of two they would swim out and retrieve five buoys in an obstacle course and then shoot them into a basket. Oh and the winners get PB&J and chips. And while Drea was chosen on one of the teams, she shared that she hates PB&J and as such, she was offered to tap out with Maryanne. Obviously Drea quickly snatched another advantage while Maryanne obviously lost the reward given she went to Drea’s former team which was decidedly lacking in Jonathan’s, who quickly got his team out to a lead. While Omar quickly shot four of the five baskets in a row, he then missed while Joanthan tagged out with Rocksroy and quickly shot all of their baskets in a row.
Meaning Maryanne shoulda just sat out and at least got an advantage.
Back at camp the victors were thrilled to discover their sandwiches and quickly smashed them, while the losers bonded over how much fun they had in the challenge. And how damn close it was. The groups combined and rehashed the order they wanted to take the outsiders out before Omar shared with us that he was also keeping said outsiders happy, pretending to try and keep them safe so he always has options should the alliance break.
Drea meanwhile was going hunting for her advantage, which was five paces away from the well hidden under a coconut. And that she needed to cover her tracks or get caught red handed. Which is what happened, since the producers hid the damn advantage in a pot of red paint like icons. While she desperately tried to clean her hands, she learnt that her latest haul is the Knowledge is Power advantage, which would grant her the power to steal one of the other idols – or any old advantage – in the game. As she returned to camp, Tori was worried she was bleeding when she saw the red on her hands. And while she lied and said she was painting something, the fact that their tribe flag was yet to be touched and all the paints were sealed, she knew there was something dodgy going on.
The tribe met up with Probst for the latest immunity challenge where they would each balance on a narrow perch and hold a buoy between sticks. Well, everyone that chose to compete because Probst was willing to give them a bag of rice if enough people were willing to sit out of the challenge. The tribe offered two people, which annoyed Probst who then offered nine. Lindsay and Drea said they were happy to sit out, with Maryanne agreeing that she would also be willing to sit out, leading to Jonathan getting Probst to offer the big bag of rice if four people sit out. Which was enough to get Maryanne crying and make people feel bad about her choosing to sit out when she is on the bottom, leading to Omar agreeing to forgo the challenge too. And damn, she is going to emotionally blackmail herself to victory, isn’t she?
Turns out Hai should have been one of the people sitting out given he dropped within a second, quickly followed by Rocksroy and Mike. Romeo soon followed while the remaining trio made it to ten minutes. Tori and Jonathan started to wobble though managed to save themselves before Chanelle dropped out of nowhere. While Jonathan saved himself multiple more times, he eventually dropped and handed Tori her second immunity in as many episodes. Once again throwing the majority’s plans into chaos.
Back at camp Hai was thrilled to have jagged the rice without having to sit out and gladly started locking in the vote against Chanelle, since Tori had immunity. He and Mike went person to person while telling Chanelle that the actual plan was Romeo, in the hope she wouldn’t play her Shot in the Dark. While Mike assured him it was all a ruse, Romeo started to get nervous and checked in with Drea to find out why things changed between them since the merge. Tori told him that Rocks told her that his name was floating around, leading to him telling Rocks what she said and well, his paranoia started to drive everyone insane. As such, Hai tried to flip the vote on him and while everyone was keen, Mike was very against it and desperate to keep the target on Chanelle. Since she has been nothing but shady to him all game.
At tribal council Jonathan spoke about the fact he was very firm about the people sitting out of the challenge being off limits in the vote. Tori mentioned that while she is safe, it is always hard to not be in the majority since they want to focus on making unified choices. Romeo told everyone they need to stop deluding themselves before Hai clapped back and spoke about not wanting to align with paranoid people. Like Romeo. Drea talked about how aligning with people is dangerous given their bad moves can reflect on you too, before Chanelle and Mike spoke about being unsure who they can trust and what is the right choice to make.
Talk then turned to being in a car and well, it was wild and confusing, though I live for Maryanne talking about holding on to the little middle seat to try and stay in the game. But yeah, who cares about cars, you know they are cursed in Survivor like pizza is on this blog. In any event, the tribe put the car talk into park and voted, with Romeo narrowly avoiding the boot as Chanelle was sent out of the game to become the Queen of the Jury.
As she arrived in the empty Ponderosa, I quickly congratulated her on a game well played. I mean, sure, she tanked it a little after her trip to ship-wheel island, but she still managed to navigate to the jury and most importantly, rule over it as the Queen. With that, I toasted to her success and filled up our royal cups with a fresh batch of Trufelle Howaioli.
At this point in my life, my mantra could easily be, if there is truffle in it, it is in me. Does it make sense? Not so much. But given how good this truffle aioli is, who cares? Creamy and packing a beautiful punch of truffle, I’m in heaven.
Trufelle Howaioli Makes: 1-2 cups.
Ingredients ½ cup Shayonnaise Swain ½ cup sour cream 1 tbsp white truffle oil, plus more for drizzlin’ 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 lemon, zested salt and pepper, to taste ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped ¼ cup rosemary, finely chopped
Method Pop everything in a jug or bowl. Stir until well combined. Adjust seasoning according to taste.\
Previously on Survivor, 18 new castaways joined Jeffrey in Fiji for another fun season of phrases, risk and tricks. Most importantly, we met Maryanne, the sweetest, most energetic person to ever set foot on the island. After Jackson was sadly medically evacuated prior to the first immunity challenge, the three tribes battled it out with Ika sadly losing after botching the puzzle. Back at camp, chaos erupted as Zach and Romeo formed a skinny bros alliance, Romeo also joined up with Drea and Rocks, while Rocks aligned with Swati. Knowing he was on the block, Zach played his shot in the dark however tragically it didn’t save him as the tribe banded together to boot him for the game.
We returned to Ika where the tribe were thrilled to still have fire despite their lack of flint, while Romeo was heartbroken to have lost his fellow skinny bro. He was thankful however that Tori had been lulled into a false sense of security after they saved her, making her an easy target for the future. She meanwhile opened up to us about the fact that part of her was disappointed to have lost Zach at tribal council and to not be the one out of the game sleeping in a real bed, which made her worry about her own strength to stick things out.
The next day Jenny and Chanelle from Vati went hunting for something to eat when they stumbled upon a crab and well, neither of them were confident in their survival abilities. Or sure how to pick them up. Though bless Chanelle, if no one else was going to step up, she was willing to and as such, she snatched it and whipped up a New Orleans style boil. Well, except for Hai, who was struggling with her veganism and was unsure how he would be able to sustain himself without hurting his core beliefs. Eventually he reckoned with the fact he needed to eat and as such, hoped to one day be able to forgive himself. Which I hope he did, very quickly.
We checked in with Taku where Maryanne was living her best life swinging around the machete and entertaining the tribe. While they were also kinda struggling with the fact her calmest level was at a casual 100%. Omar opened up to the tribe about being a Muslim, sharing that he would be going off to do prayers from time to time and as such, he isn’t looking for an idol. Then Maryanne weaved him a prayer mat and ugh, I love her so much and this is just perfect. Particularly because Jonathan offered to teach him about christianity if he teaches him about being a Muslim and ugh, Taku is just so kind and sweet.
Back at Ika meanwhile, it was all about the game as Drea was thrilled to have her extra vote. And already willing to drop her alliance with Rocks and Romeo, and instead, wanted to form an all female alliance. While Tori and Swati obviously agreed to the plan to her face, they instead realised that targeting Drea would be in all of their best interests, given she is so good at pulling people in.
We checked back in with Vati where Mike was collecting firewood while desperately hunting for an idol before he straight up discovered the beware idol, meaning we learnt the first of the three weird activation phrases. And Mike would be waiting voteless until the other idols were found. Back at Taku Jonathan and Omar continued to grow their bromance, with this time Jonathan coaching Omar in cutting up coconuts before he straight up started making Omar friendship bracelets and AGAIN, I love and ship them. Jonathan was meanwhile living for everyone in the tribe, though admitted he was struggling to bond with Marya. And just like that, she opened up about how she was playing the game for her brother who was the first healthcare worker to die of COVID in the US and ugh, I love that she is playing the game for his memory and well, let’s hand all of Taku a tied win.
Mike meanwhile was busy locking in allies with his new found idol, opening up to his existing pal Jenny before he pulled Daniel aside to loop him in too. Sadly for Mike, however, he buried his idol in the middle of the jungle but couldn’t remember where. Thankfully he and Daniel eventually found it, with him suggesting Mike shouldn’t say the phrase until the other tribes say there’s so that he can maintain an air of mystery. Daniel then immediately told Chanelle and shared he never wants the idol activated and planned to keep Mike from getting his vote back. And worst case, would be willing to vote him out instead.
The tribes caught up with my love Probst before Maryanne opened up about a love of her own, Zach, who is every white guy she has ever loved. And oh my god, can she do what Billy couldn’t in Cook Islands?
After a pep talk about holding out for love, Jeff told the tribes that to snag immunity they would each have a single caller with the rest of their tribemates blindfolded to collect puzzle pieces and then solve it. Oh and first and second place would also get fishing gear. Drea, Lydia and Jonathan were callers for each of their tribes and well, honestly, it was hard to figure out what was happening at any given moment. Vati got their first two bags back-to-back with Ika and Taku getting only their first soon after. Vati then completely dropped out of it while the other tribes powered ahead. Eventually they all caught up at the puzzle – which yes, often happens – before Taku started to struggle while Vati absolutely dominated again and snagged the first immunity challenge before Ika narrowly secured the second, sending Taku to tribal council.
Back at camp Jonathan and Omar pledged their undying loyalty to each other before quickly locking in the target on Marya and Maryanne before debating who makes the most sense. While Maryanne is more of a long term threat, both of them agreed that she was more helpful in challenges at the moment and as such, is more valuable to them. While Jonathan assured Maryanne they definitely weren’t voting her out, Omar and Lindsay were assuring Marya that she is not the target. Though maybe not well enough as she assured us that she would be playing her shot in the dark just in case. While Maryanne was trusting Jonathan, she was still nervous and as such, went hunting for an idol anyway.
Before quickly getting caught by Lindsay and Marya.
At tribal council Omar spoke about how exciting it was to be in tribal council, though was heartbroken to be voting out a member of their family. Marya agreed they’ve all opened up to each other and are bonded for life, while Omar admitted that given they are close, the shot in the dark makes him nervous. Jonathan spoke about how the tribe needs strength, but admitted that strength is varied and as such, they need a mix to move forward. Lindsay spoke about battling her own paranoia while Maryanne was concerned about which plan to go with given any number of Shot in the Darks could be played. And while she loves Zach, she doesn’t want to join him in Ponderosa just yet.
She then regaled Probst and the tribe with a tale of her love with Zach and how it will be discussed at the reunion. Ideally, when they get engaged. While everyone smiled, Marya was stuck in her nerves and opened up about coming to the game for the journey and to finally put herself first and not be a mum over Marya. With that the tribe voted and love will have to wait another day, as while Marya played her Shot in the Dark, it didn’t bring her safety and instead, she was booted from the game. Hopefully to tell Zach that Maryanne is single and READY to mingle.
Before she could get to him, I pulled her aside and congratulated her on being so open and kind during her short journey. While she didn’t end up burying her necklace on the island in honour of her brother, she was ultimately proud of herself and what she did manage to achieve in her short time on the island. She was also very proud of being able to join me for a drink, specifically a French Maryatini Sherron or three.
There is something so gloriously delicious about a French Martini, which is made all the more sweet by the fact it is super easy to make. The sweetness of the Chambord and the light tang of the pineapple work together to give you a freshly, elegant drink.
French Maryatini Sherron Serves: 1.
Ingredients 40 ml vodka 20 ml Chambord 60 ml pineapple juice ice raspberries, to garnish
Method Pop the vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice in a cocktail shaker over ice, close and shake vigorously for a minute or so. Or until foamy.
Strain into a martini glass. Top with a few raspberries and then down.
Previously on Survivor we witnessed every idea Jeff and Co. came up with for twists during their lockdowns. Due to quarantine, the season was shortened to 26 days, but due to the aforementioned twists, it proved to be an even more intense season. And since they shoot two seasons back to back, they could gag a second cast with everything they came up with (though sadly they were also unable to course correct anything that didn’t work).
But enough about last season, as three new tribes sped towards the beach in boats where we met buff as hell Jonathan, half-blind hurdling icon Drea and super cute vet Omar who wore a flamingo shirt like an icon and was totally ready to be underestimated and then strike. Just like Erika last season! Lydia is essentially Gen Z female me, hating camping, the outdoors and physical activity though loves Survivor and is willing to put herself out there for the adventure of a lifetime. Daniel meanwhile was thrilled to finally make the cast, Marya was looking to find herself, Lindsay was ready to rise to the occasion and zaddy Mike was ready to take advantage of his one shot.
Or if you’re good enough, 4-5. Amirite, Rob and Sandra?
Finally the three new tribes met Jeffey on the shore where Maryanne was thrilled to embrace the rollercoaster and ugh, she is so giddy and joyous I can’t help but stan. Maryanne opened up about her shock at having made the cast and she was just so damn happy, while Mike was just thrilled to be chatting with THE Jeff Probst. Issuing a warning that the most well-rounded will take out victory, while Zach hilariously tried to be cool by telling Jeffray that they’re about to find just what it takes to win.
Jeffrey quickly split everyone up into their starting tribes with Taku in Orange, Vati in Green and Ika wearing Blue before immediately tasking them with their first challenge where one at a time two people will run out to collect paddles from different spots in the jungle before the tribe paddle around a buoy to collect bamboo, which someone would use to form a pole to collect a flint and earn meagre supplies to await them at their camp. Jonathan, Daniel and Tori were up first to collect the paddles with Jonathan and Tori getting Taku and Ika to the earliest of leads. Though given Daniel straight up dislocated his shoulder when he tripped over, that is to be expected.
When Lindsay and Drea made it to the next paddles, they found a note announcing they had to decide whether to untie 20 knots each for an advantage or just collect their paddles and move on. When Hai joined them, the trio decided to go for the advantage but they all had to promise not to screw each other over and keep it secret. They then rubbed each other in the mud and blood supplied to prove how hard they worked to collect their paddles. When they reunited with their very confused tribemates, Taku continued to power ahead while Ika fell further and further behind despite Tori’s strong start. After Jonathan single handedly pulled his tribe’s boat into place, Marya quickly built her pole though it broke allowing Rocksroy enough time to collect the flint for Ika in a come from behind win.
After Ika and Tuku were sent off to their camps, medical were called in to fix Daniel’s LaGrossa moment as they quickly popped his shoulder back into place. And just like that, they too were on their way.
At Ika Zach was thrilled to be living out his superfan dream though was nervous how this new era could influence his chances, given he is an expert on the old era of the game. The tribe quickly introduced themselves where we learnt Swati was proudly in the national guard and ready to prove her skills and buck the trend as the obvious young, female early boot. At home she was driven to succeed and as such, she was ready to bring that into the game and ugh, Maryanne or Swati for the win, I guess. She started braiding palm fronds with Tori and Zach where they realised that as the younguns, they should align. Which is the same thought Romeo was having as he and the oldies were busy building fire and quickly locking in an alliance.
Over at Vati the tribe discovered that for losing the first challenge, they had two options to win their flint, pot and machete – either do a puzzle as a tribe or one of them would be isolated from the tribe to fill a barrel with sea water. Given Mike was clearly the one that would have to fill the barrel for his tribe, he suggested they use their brains and as such got to work counting the triangles. As a designer slash genius, Jenny took control though and they quickly figured it out.
Meanwhile at Tuku, they were struggling with Jonathan straight up coming up with 30 less triangles than Omar and as such, they split in half with three working to solve the puzzle and the others starting on the shelter. Jonathan being assigned to the latter team. After getting their supplies, Mike quickly got to work building the Vati shelter and proving his worth. We learnt he was the first Puerto Rican fire captain in Hoboken and ugh, he is so sweet and I love him. Particularly seeing how joyous he was to get fire for his tribe.
Back at Ika, the younguns looped Drea in to join them in vocalising the Survivor theme song, while Rocksroy just desperately tried not to lose his shit at their noise. Instead, he channelled his skills as a stay at home dad and directed everyone to get to work so they’d have a shelter before things got dark. Thankfully though, Drea had his back and cautioned him to tone it down a little bit, lest he paints a target on his back. After making fire, Drea went for a walk to finally learn what advantage she, Hai and Lindsay scored in the first challenge, which turns out is the new Amulet Advantage. This advantage had to be played in conjunction with any that are left in the game, with three joining together to become an extra vote. If only two are left in the game, the duo would score a steal a vote and the last player standing would ultimately end up with an idol. And honestly, this sounds way more like a curse to me.
That night at Taku, Jackson rallied his tribe together to share that he is trans and this is his second time applying, but the first as a man. His tribe quickly rallied around him, essentially giving him a cool, whatevs dude, we love you! He then opened up that his family never supported him growing up, however when his mum got sick and needed care, he moved in with his parents to look after her and was able to build a relationship while he cared for her before her death and damn, why am I sobbing in episode one?
The next day Lydia was thrilled by the tribe’s progress at building the Vati camp and quickly locked in an alliance with Hai. Noticing that they were a pair and Jenny and Mike appeared to be another, Chanelle pulled Daniel aside and pledged her undying loyalty to him. And just like that, they all are pairs! Though given Daniel is totally charming everyone, I’m going to guess he will have more options than just Chanelle should things go south. He then opened up about having leukaemia as a teen and WHY AM I CRYING AGAIN?
We checked in with Ika where Zach and Romeo bonded over being super skinny, with Zach using that to try and lock in an alliance. Back at camp they started to bond with Drea while Tori disappeared to hunt for an idol under the cover of looking for taro. And while she thought she had them all fooled, they knew exactly what she was up to. She and Zach went for a walk where Zach filled her in on the speculation, though it appeared the damage was done.
The peace at Taku was interrupted by a boat instructing one of them to jump on and, they will later learn, go on the first summit of the season. Maryanne volunteered though pretended to be scared it was a curse before eventually meeting up with Jenny from Vati and Ika’s Drea. After bonding on the very long trek to the top of the mountain we learnt that Maryanne was ready to slay the game for all the other weird kids of the world and Jeffrey, stop the show – just give her the million dollars now, please and thank you! As happened last year, the trio then split up to figure out whether they should protect or risk their vote with a split decision giving the risky ones an extra vote while if the decisions were unanimous they would either all keep their votes or all lose them. Jenny chose to protect her vote assuming the others would likely – and did – risk it, guaranteeing she keeps her vote and gifting the others an extra.
The next day Jeffrey arrived at Taku where Lindsay was busy forcing Jackson to drink more water given he had been dizzy the entire day before. Which coincidentally was the reason for Jeff’s visit. After pulling Jackson aside, we learnt that Jackson had weaned himself off lithium prior to the show but he still had some in his system, which made it too dangerous for him to continue in the game. And was the exact reason for the dizziness. He opened up that he started taking lithium due to the stress of caring for his mum but didn’t want people to assume it was due to being trans and ultimately, thought it would be completely out of his system before the game began.
He and Jeff returned to camp where Jackson announced that he wouldn’t be able to continue in the game, with Maryanne immediately breaking down over his departure. As everyone cried and praised him for being so open, they bid him farewell and he tragically sailed off as the first boot. Technically.
As soon as he arrived at Loser Lodge, I pulled him in for a big hug and told him how proud I was of his brief stint. While Jackson was only there for a few days, his openness quickly endeared himself to me and I assured him that they would be silly not to bring him back for another season. With that, we laughed, as I continued to quietly weep, before smashing a big batch of Jacksonkatsu Fox in honour of his all too short game.
While pork chops of the ‘90s loom scary in my mind, these are the perfect way to enjoy these delights. Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside, they are delicious before you even start slathering them in tonkatsu sauce. Which is obviously a must.
Jacksonkatsu Fox Serves: 2 dear friends.
Ingredients 1 cup flour, for dredging 1 egg, lightly whisked 2 cups panko breadcrumbs 4 pork loins or chops, each about 1 ½ centimetres think salt and pepper, to taste ⅓ cup vegetable oil, for fryin’ ¼ cabbage, trimmed and sliced 1 lemon, cut into wedges ⅓ cup tonkatsu sauce, for drizzlin’ and dippin’
Method Pop the flour into one bowl, the egg in another and the breadcrumbs in another. Score each side of the pork – to avoid curling as the fat shrinks – and whack with a mallet until it is a smooth cutlet. Season to taste. Working one at a time, coat in the flour, followed by the egg and then in the breadcrumbs, until well covered. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process until done.
Heat a good lug of oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the chops, two at a time, for about five minutes. Flip and cook further a further couple of minutes. Transfer to a paper towel and repeat the process with the remaining pork.
To serve, place a pile of cabbage on a plate, cut the meat across the bias and layer over the cabbage before drizzlin’ with tonkatsu sauce. Then, obvi, devouring.
After more than a year wallowing in the off-season, Survivor made its triumphant return last year complete with a few little nips and tucks as it entered its 40s (but you know, drop that 4)!
Less days meant less rewards, creating a brutal environment as the castaways were forced to utter nonsense phrases, risk their votes, steal advantages or my personal favourite, theatrically smash a clock with a hammer to go full Cher-cuterie and turn back time.
And well, Jeffy Pop loved it so much, they’re doing it all again for 42 (or again, two, depending on whether Jeff wants us to drop the four again)!
Who will follow in Erika’s footsteps and book their eligibility for Winners at War two? Check back next week for the first batch of culinary comfort!